The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Ebola Raises Caution and Fears

    This is what it’s come to: a bicycling nurse, journalists in tow. Kaci Hickox has become the freedom rider for medical workers fighting Ebola in Africa — and authorities at home. Defying Maine’s 21-day quarantine, the healthy nurse is protesting containment efforts run amok. President Obama and global health groups agree, warning that excessive precautions will chill caregivers and help the virus spread. “The quarantines stem from hysteria,” not science, says OZY health writer Melissa Pandika. “What we need now is more aid to tackle the disease.” 

    Reuters, NYT, LA Times

  2. Will America Swing to the Right?

    With midterm elections on Tuesday, Democrats are making a last-gasp effort to salvage a likely shellacking. President Obama, the vice president and their wives are crisscrossing the country to rally voters. If they succeed, it could mitigate the anti-government, anti-Obama drag on the party. The Dems have a better ground game and fundraising, but even that may not stem the Republican tide. Prognosticators wonder whether that will become a wave, washing away established Democrats and Obama’s remaining legislative agenda.

    USA Today, WSJ (sub), OZY, NYT

  3. Brazil City’s Homeless Face ‘Extermination’

    Since August 2012, 57 homeless Brazilians have been murdered in the city of Goiânia in what one prosecutor calls an “extermination.” With suspected links to the police and military, these killings promise to be an issue for newly re-elected socialist President Dilma Rousseff. Fighting the brutality has become increasingly urgent, as it is thought that as much as five percent of Goiânia’s homeless have perished. Already the city’s most vulnerable residents, surviving street denizens live in constant fear of the gun, knife and bludgeon. 

    Al Jazeera, OZY

  4. Time to Start Paying Attention to East Asia

    As the latest airstrikes in Syria grab headlines, hostilities are brewing at the other end of the continent. Too often the West neglects its relationships with China, Japan and other eastern Asian nations, whose interests are rubbing each other the wrong way. With competing trade, energy and land claims, it’s not unthinkable that the West may soon be dragged into new conflicts, like Vietnam’s and the Philippines’ challenges to China’s offshore territorial claims. If push comes to shove, the U.S. could be forced to take sides, former CIA deputy director and OZY contributor John McLaughlin warns.



  1. Skeletons in the Cupboard

    Everyone has a relative they don’t want strangers to meet. This old lady, born during the Great Depression and given to crying fits, may harbor a sinister secret. Her kin suspect she had something resembling Münchausen syndrome by proxy, in which caregivers deliberately harm their charges. They think she used to slip poison into their food, causing them to pass out, and many of her closest relatives died mysteriously. Grandma seemed to enjoy an average suburban life, but those near her had a below-average life expectancy. 


  2. Two Brothers Create Venetian Magic

    “I was born to be a magician,” Alfredo would say, while “Vincenzo was born to be a thief.” It may seem like the plot of a Hollywood screenplay, but the Pipino brothers of Venice shared a love of illusion. Vincenzo shocked the art world with a 1991 heist at the Doge’s Palace, making the 16th-century Madonna col Bambino vanish. After delivering it to a mobster client, Pipino outdid even that feat: He stole it again — and returned it to the museum. A true gentleman thief!


  3. Pulp Fiction Master Fires up India

    Surender Mohan Pathak is an unlikely godfather. But brushes with terrorists and wannabe heroes are nothing new to India’s thrill master. Pathak, who writes Hindi crime serials, creates characters — from investigative journalists to Mumbai mafiosi — who reveal a side of India that gets readers’ hearts pumping. Still, English-language fiction dominates the Indian market — and Hindi pulp writers’ sales are dropping. Pathak’s secret? He’s incredibly prolific, coming up on 300 novels, and his books fly off the shelves. 


  4. Photos Frame Europe’s Lonely Crossings

    In 1995, Europe lost some of its borders. Five out of the 10 EU member states implemented the Schengen Agreement, which abolished border checks between those nations, and, since then, border-less Europe has grown to 26 member states. Some, like Switzerland, are not even EU members. Many of the border checkpoints remain — reminders of the Iron Curtain and other fault lines these structures maintained. As tensions in Europe rise, photographer Ignacio Evangelista has created a series of images capturing the solitude of these lonely outposts. 

    Failed Architecture

  5. LeBron-Bereft Miami Waits for a Revolution

    What do you do when your hometown hero ceases to be yours? Miami is asking itself just that after superstar LeBron James headed back to Ohio unexpectedly, leaving its Heat without a leader or much hope. For Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat’s point guard and classic scapegoat, this marks the start of a new era. Once LeBron’s foil and little-brother figure, “Rio” Chalmers stands alone. Now he’s playing an aggressive role — and carrying on the unified, winning spirit he still represents.