The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. FBI: Ohio Man Schemed to Bomb U.S. Capitol

    He was an ISIS wannabe with deadly intentions. Authorities arrested Christopher Lee Cornell, 20, for allegedly planning to detonate pipe bombs at the capitol building and open fire on lawmakers. Earlier today, he allegedly bought two semi-automatic rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition in final preparation for the attack. Coming a week after terror killings in France, Cornell’s arrest highlights the persistent danger of homegrown terrorists and other sympathizers of Islamic extremism within America’s borders.

     Washington Post, NBC News


  2. ’Charlie Hebdo’ Sells Out Fast in Paris

    Freedom of the press is here to stay. Folks lined up all over France to get one of three million copies of the satirical magazine’s first issue after the massacre, helping it sell out in many spots before dawn. The cover features the image of a sad Muhammad, which has authorities on high alert over possible reprisals. Concerns are rife of a militant response to the cartoonists’ artistic defiance, which an Egyptian religious authority labeled as “unjustifiably provocative” to Muslims. Al Qaida’s branch in Yemen, meanwhile, claimed responsibility today for last week’s attack.

    ABC, DWWashington Post, NYT

  3. House Votes to Revoke Immigration Protections

    Get ready for a political battle royal. Congressional Republicans voted today to overturn President Obama’s policies that have shielded millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, while tying the measures to $40 billion in Department of Homeland Security funding. With no chance of Senate approval, the legislation is seen as a risky political statement. In a sign of intra-party strife, 26 Republicans voted against ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Meanwhile, House leaders will need to figure out how to keep the DHS properly funded.

    Politico, CNN

  4. Dangerous Measles Outbreak Spreads

    There’s quarantines in Colorado after more than 300 people in a hospital were exposed. Two kids in Utah have it. There’s cases in San Diego. All stem from one apparently unvaccinated tourist who visited Disneyland before Christmas. The initial cases made international news, and now reports say patient zero took two flights while contagious. Doctors fear the current 26 cases could all-too-easily turn into a true nightmare on Main Street.

    The Gazette, CBS, LAT

  5. Fed: U.S. Economy Growing Modestly

    We’re growing, but it’s not making most folks richer. The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report released today showed anecdotal evidence of moderate growth in most parts of the country, but energy-producing regions saw slower activity due to falling oil prices. While hiring and consumer spending picked up, wages stayed largely flat. The report doesn’t change expectations that the Fed will boost interest rates as early as June for the first time since 2008. As evidence of faster growth mounts, the Fed will have more reason than ever to act.

    CNBC, USA Today, WSJ (sub)

  6. Obama’s New Cyber Laws Raise Concerns

    Cybercriminals have been put on alert. In the wake of the Sony and U.S. Central Command hacks, the president has proposed a new package of security laws aimed at protecting online data and the country. The proposals seek to bolster consumer privacy, thwart identity theft and improve information-sharing about cyber threats between the public and private sectors. Some activists fear the latter could foster more unwanted government surveillance. But Obama’s first hurdle will be a Republican-controlled Congress.

    National Journal, ABC, BBC

  7. Italian President Steps Down

    He’s served since 2006 — and has been one of the closest allies of a prime minister attempting to force reform throughout Italy. Giorgio Napolitano, age 89, says it’ss time to retire. This could prove troublesome for PM Matteo Renzi, who needs presidential support to push his plans to overhaul both the national economy and its politics — especially an ally with the power to call snap elections as a Hail Mary. Italian politics are high drama at the best of times. This may prove no different. 

    Bloomberg, The Local



  8. Japan’s Military Spending Hits Record High

    They’ve got their eye on China. The Japanese government approved a record $42 billion military budget today, signaling the third straight year for defense hikes. The 2 percent increase comes amid territorial disputes with Chinese leaders over islands in the East China Sea. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to help Japan face growing Chinese assertiveness in the region. But if he spends too much on military might, with Japan in recession and facing rising debt, he may end up shooting himself in the foot.

    Bloomberg, Business Insider, AP

  9. World Bank Sees Slower Global Growth

    America can’t do it alone. The World Bank said yesterday that the “single engine” of the U.S. economy won’t be enough to counteract struggles in the eurozone and emerging markets. It predicts the global economy will grow by 3 percent this year, compared to an earlier projection of 3.4 percent. But the bank also warned that the greatest threat to the already precarious global recovery is the U.S., where a rise in interest rates could make it harder for other countries to borrow money.

    Bloomberg, FT (sub), BBC

  10. Muhammad Cartoon Courts Controversy, Secret Service Execs Reassigned

    New ‘Charlie Hebdo’ caricature stirs Muslim anger. (NYT)

    Four high-ranking Secret Service officials reassigned in shakeup. (AP)

    Singapore navy finds main body of crashed AirAsia jet. (AFP)

    At least 10 people dead after prison bus collides with train. (NPR)

    Pope says Sri Lanka’s first saint sets example for peace. (AP)

    House votes against Obama immigration plan. (LAT)

    EU court deems ECB bond-buying program legal. (DW)

    Gas leak fears prompt evacuation of ISS. (The Verge)

    Hong Kong leader’s speech warns of ‘anarchy.’ (BBC)

    Political uncertainty reigns in Haiti as parliament dissolves. (Reuters)

    GOP hesitant about a third Romney run for the White House. (NYT)


  1. FBI: Bartender Planned to Poison Boehner

    Someone else wanted him gone. An Ohio bartender faces charges of threatening to kill the speaker of the House. Michael Hoyt allegedly wanted to murder John Boehner, whom he served at Wetherington Country Club for years, because he believed the congressman got him fired. Hoyt — who’s been treated for a psychotic episode before and also claimed Boehner was responsible for Ebola — said he’d planned to use a Beretta .380 automatic or a poisoned drink. The former drink-mixer may now have to serve 30 years.


  2. GMO Potatoes Prove Tough to Swallow

    Pity these poor spuds. They don’t bruise as easily as the standard variety, and they contain far less acrylamide, a chemical that promotes cancer in lab rats. But the “Innate” taters happen to be genetically modified organisms, which make them untouchable for many consumers. Corporate buyers like McDonald’s and Frito-Lay won’t use them either. Even though some health-food advocates see advantages to them, these veg are getting lumped into the fierce debate over GMO crops and proving something of a hot potato.


  3. GoPro Stock Plunges on Apple Patent

    They got spooked. Investors in the hot wearable-camera company sent its shares down 12 percent yesterday after learning that Apple was granted a patent for a similar device. The proposed design even suggests improvements on the GoPro, such as decreased wind-resistance and a more durable body. But experts cautioned that the gadget giant often pursues patents for technologies that never reach consumers. Still, there’s no doubt that GoPro will face stiffer competition for its $1 billion camera business.

    Mashable, Business Insider, Bloomberg

  4. Woody Allen Delivers for Amazon

    Is it a prime-time coup? Following its first Golden Globe win, Amazon has announced that the legendary director will make his TV debut with a series for its streaming service. Allen, who will create a full season of half-hour episodes, downplayed the news: “I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas, and I’m not sure where to begin.” The high-profile deal further cements Amazon’s production prowess, but it’s not without risk: Sexual abuse allegations continue to dog the iconic filmmaker.

    The Atlantic, Quartz

  5. King James Scores, But Phoenix Reigns

    The star has returned. LeBron rebounded from a two-week pause last night to net an impressive 33 points for the Cavs. But Phoenix still prevailed, narrowly beating Cleveland 107-100. In the eight games without their king — out to nurse a sore left foot and lower back — Cleveland won just once, and the team dropped to sixth in the Eastern Conference. Many hoped LeBron’s return would get the Cavs back on track, but a single star apparently couldn’t outshine the Suns.