The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Patriots Beat Seahawks in Thrilling Showdown

    Look who’s deflated now? Not the Patriots, who overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the defending champs 28-24 in one of the most exciting Super Bowl matchups in recent memory. Turning the distraction of Deflategate into motivation, New England quarterback Tom Brady connected for four touchdown passes, breaking Joe Montana’s Super Bowl TD record. Malcolm Butler’s dramatic goal-line interception of Russell Wilson stopped cold a late Seahawks rally, giving the Pats their fourth Super Bowl win in six attempts. No one’s asking for a ball check this time.

    USA Today, NYT



  2. Video: ISIS Beheaded Japanese Hostage

    They claim he’s dead. After a week of negotiations, ISIS says it has murdered Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto. First the militants demanded Japan pay $200 million; then they pulled Jordan into the fray, insisting that Amman release an Iraqi prisoner in exchange for the lives of both Goto and a Jordanian pilot. Jordan fired back on Saturday, warning the terrorists that if pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeh was killed, Amman would execute all of its ISIS prisoners. Families in both Jordan and Japan have anxiously awaited word, and the news is what Tokyo feared most. Authorities, meanwhile, are investigating the authenticity of the video. 

    BBC, Washington Times

  3. Piles of Cash May Be Ukraine’s Best Hope

    Billionaire philanthropist George Soros has a plan to win back eastern Ukraine: Inject at least $50 billion into the country’s economy. Not only will it help the country get its footing as it fends off Russian-backed separatists, he says, but it could stimulate a European economy that is suffering in part because of Russia’s sanctions-induced financial collapse. And to help the European Union carry out his plan, Soros has even sourced the cash: $63 billion in unused EU bailout funds.

    NY Review of Books

  4. Albuquerque Cops: to Shoot and Protect?

    What happens when you lower police hiring standards, encourage a macho culture and close ranks whenever an officer commits abuse? That’s what is reportedly happening in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where cops kill at a per capita rate that’s eight times the NYPD’s toll. Of the 28 fatal shootings in five years, only that of James Matthew Boyd, a homeless man who suffered from schizophrenia, resulted in charges being filed against the police. The response? An investigation against the prosecutor. It seems even the threat of federal takeover may not rein in the APD.

    New Yorker, Rolling Stone


  1. Why Is America Letting Addicts Die?

    Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was just one of several thousand Americans who overdose on heroin each year, when an effective cure exists: medication plus counseling. So why do most U.S. treatment centers continue to emphasize abstinence, often with fatal results? Addicts pay an average of $31,500 a month for tough-love rehab, but 90 percent backslide. Medical professionals say the U.S. should follow France’s lead and medicate, but America seems obsessed with free will and blaming the addict.

    Huffington Post

  2. Artists and Techies Try to Fix Mexico City

    Could crowdsourcing solve traffic woes in the world’s most gridlocked cities? In the past, urban planners used zoning and other government tools to relieve congestion. Now a new lab, run by former artist Gabriella Gómez-Mont, is trying a more grassroots approach in Mexico’s capital. Creative apps help drivers manage traffic flow. Uber and Microsoft have pitched in, but the program relies on ideas — even programming — from volunteers. With success in the world’s sixth-largest megalopolis, other teeming, polluted cities are taking notice.


  3. The Least Likely TV Guru Resurfaces

    David Simon is back. And this time The Wire’s creator is telling the story of a 200-unit affordable housing project in 1980s New York. Even he doesn’t think it’ll be a hit. But then again, he never does. Simon, the occasional curmudgeon, tells stories about the unsexy underbelly of America that draw tiny audiences. And yet, here he is, nothing less than a culture warrior, shooting scenes for his next opus set to air later this year.


  4. White House Visit Puts Drones Under Fire 

    Hobbyists love them, police rely on them and videographers use them to score otherwise impossible shots. But one tipsy man’s drone sparked a national security incident that could impact everyone’s enjoyment. His toy crashed onto the president’s lawn this week, and manufacturers are now dodging flak from regulators. The FAA’s about to publish new drone rules for review, which one drone-savvy lawyer worries might require amateur users to get a pilot’s license. 


  5. Robots Set to Climb the Corporate Ladder

    Distributed Autonomous Corporations sound mundane, but they might just conquer the world. They’re an offshoot of the Internet of Things that imagines robots running businesses without human supervision, ruled instead by programs operating on thousands of clients’ computers. On the one hand, it could foster equality: no more seven-figure CEO overlords. On the other, the only people to see a payday may be the robots’ owners. DACs are no Skynet, but they may be pretty scary if their terminators come for your jobs.