The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Story of the Week: Russia Antagonizes West

    Putin’s baring his teeth, and it isn’t pretty. Russia has banned agricultural imports from the U.S. and EU and threatened further trade restrictions while continuing to amass troops along the Ukrainian border. A Russian-linked cyber-weapon infected computers in Ukrainian government offices. Meanwhile, hackers from Russia destabilized cyber-boundaries by attacking hundreds of thousands of websites and stealing up to 1.2 billion passwords. The question is, will Western countries bite back?


    Sources: FT (sub), NYTNY Daily NewsWSJ (sub), Stars and Stripes

  2. Coming Up: Politicians Hit the Road

    Full-blown election fever hasn’t set in yet, but the temperature is rising. Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin hold primaries next week while the biggest names in American politics hit the road and podium to rustle up support. President Obama will attend a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser, Hillary Clinton continues her book tour and Rick Perry will spend four days courting influential Iowa. Strangest of all, though, is Sen. Rand Paul, who’s offering pro bono eye surgeries in Kentucky.

    Sources: USA Today, CSM, Des Moines Register

  3. Europe Urged Towards Quantitative Easing

    Quantitative easing has become almost standard practice since 2008, so why has the European Central Bank (ECB) rejected the policy? Central banks in the U.K. and U.S. pumped money into the economy to combat low inflation rates, but many remain concerned by European “lowflation” as prices continue to rise by only 0.5 percent. The ECB avoids buying government debt from its 18 members, choosing to adjust its lending rates instead. It’s a big gamble: Lowflation can quickly become deflation, which would send Europe into a deeper crisis.

    Source: The Economist

  4. Libertarianism Speaks to Young Voters

    Are libertarians coming in from the cold? With Rand Paul making waves as a potential presidential candidate, the libertarian movement is drawing in more young voters than ever. These citizens have had enough of the NSA, yet oppose benefits and Obamacare. But they are split on some key issues — abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration — and divided over whether they should accept Paul’s compromises with the GOP in order to finally become part of the political mainstream.

    Source: NYT


  1. Why Americans Falsely Claim Native Ancestry

    Democratic darling Elizabeth Warren claims Cherokee heritage but has failed to prove it. She follows the footsteps of President Bill Clinton and Iron Eyes Cody, the famous crying Indian from a 1970s environmental commercial who turned out to be Italian. But why pose as one of the country’s most oppressed groups? While monetary gain is a factor, belonging to the “Wannabes” also gives white Americans a claim to the timeless wisdom of Native American culture, and may absolve them from guilt over their mistreatment.

    Source: This Land Press

  2. Gaza Graphics Paint Online Self-Censorship

    Social media has revolutionized the circulation of knowledge, but is it a change for the better, or do our online social networks simply reinforce existing beliefs? Visualizations of social media connections related to the Gaza conflict show how our virtual communities are almost as divided as our physical communities. The “filter bubble” allows us to engage only with perspectives that align with our own, a concept perfectly highlighted by the Gaza crisis. State censors could soon be out of a job; we seem to be doing it ourselves.

    Source: Medium

  3. Boring Startup Aims to Become Essential

    Stewart Butterfield is the most successful failed video game creator ever. His first dud game spawned Flickr, which he later sold for more than $22 million. Now, he’s bombed again and ended up with Slack, a collaboration app on steroids, streamlining a suite of online apps while providing chat and management functions. All the cool companies now use Slack, and Butterfield apparently has Microsoft-level ambitions, which isn’t entirely unreasonable considering that Slack has grown by 5 or 6 percent a week since its February debut.

    Sources: OZYWired

  4. Revealing the Secrets of Hip-Hop’s Ghosts

    It’s meant to make the personal political, but many of hip-hop’s hard-hitting lyrics are actually written by ghostwriters, who stay in the shadows while the performers reap the rewards. Many of the biggest hits are crafted by nameless writers who provide their lyrical talents for a one-off fee, rather than royalties. Commercial ethics aside, the role of ghostwriters could lead some to question hip-hop’s authenticity. 

    Source: BBC

  5. Will Golf’s Golden Boy Succeed Tiger Woods?

    Tiger’s still the king of golf, but even royalty ages. He’s 38, which means the sport will soon face a succession crisis. Golf may have a new icon in Rory McIlroy, the young Northern Irishman who hoisted the British Open’s Claret Jug. But McIlroy, 25, seems somewhat skeptical about the “Reign of Rory” and insists that observers not jump to conclusions. One thing’s for sure: With golf’s viewership in decline, the PGA could use a new king.

    Sources: The Guardian, ESPN, SB Nation