The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Congress to Roll Out Red Carpet for Bibi

    He’s gonna talk, but will they listen? Invited by Republicans to address Congress on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to win American lawmakers’ support for scuttling an Iranian nuclear deal. Israel is aggressively opposed to the Islamic Republic developing nuclear weapons — citing security concerns — and its leaders are concerned that Western resolve for a nuke-free Tehran may be waning. Obama’s staff has urged Netanyahu not to play into partisan politics, and while they can’t stop him from talking, at least 30 Democrats, including Vice President Biden, plan to boycott his address.

    CNN, BBC


  2. Greek Deal Evokes Relief and Fury

    No financial meltdown. That’s what some economists are predicting following the storm over a four-month extension of Greece’s $272 billion eurozone bailout. But with Molotov cocktails flying in Athens over its deferral of anti-austerity measures, it’s hard to be upbeat about the future of Greece’s new leftist leaders. And there’s more drama to come, not least of which will entail convincing an anti-reform parliament in Athens that a united Europe is worth all the trouble.

    NYT, The Economist, WSJ sub

  3. Will Sharing Overtake Capitalism?

    A third Industrial Revolution is under way, and it will end capitalism as we know it. That’s according to outspoken American economist and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin, whose new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society, predicts that web-enabled automation will birth a utopian economic order that values social skills like child rearing over traditional work skills. Consumers will be free to become entrepreneurs in the sharing economy, exchanging services that machines can’t provide. The challenge will be surviving the transition from one paradigm to the next.

    The European Magazine

  4. Danish Cop, Salafi Team Up to Tame Jihadis

    Denmark is reeling after a self-styled terrorist killed two people in Copenhagen two weeks ago. While many are demanding tough treatment for would-be radicals, a police commissioner from Aarhus, the country’s second-largest city, is being applauded for his anti-radicalization outreach. He and a local Salafi cleric, and hundreds of scouts, screen troubled youths to intervene before extremists can recruit them. The number of local men running to Syria has plummeted, making the program seem a softer — yet proven — way forward.

    Der Spiegel 


  1. Slavery Gets Its First Museum, a Bit Late

    In 13 years, 9/11 had a museum. But six generations after emancipation, America’s “peculiar institution” had none. Enter John Cummings, a “rich white boy” and New Orleans real estate magnate. In December, he opened Louisiana’s Whitney Plantation, a museum solely about slavery. He won’t explain why he did it, but he’s won praise from experts and gasps from neighboring estates offering plantation picnics. Cummings is unapologetic about his provocative exhibits, including 60 ceramic heads of rebellious slaves on spikes. Maybe that’s why it’s taken so long.

    NYT Magazine 

  2. Classic Hip-Hop Makes Radio Go Boom

    It’s back to the ’90s. If you miss Lil’ Kim and Notorious B.I.G., the airwaves have revived a reason to tune in. The first major classic hip-hop station, Houston’s Boom 92, launched last fall, and nearly 20 others have followed suit. Those who came of age listening to Tupac can travel back to a time when the future of music seemed to be all about rap. And while broadcasters are primarily targeting 30-something black and Latino listeners, they hope to bridge the generational gap.


  3. Sex Workers Lament Website Shutdown

    To authorities, it’s not the Internet of Everything. Last year the FBI shut down, a bare-bones, Bay Area website where hookers were contacted by customers, both could rate each other, and everyone could discuss the business. Professionals say the site helped them vet clients, stand up for themselves and set rates — all from a safe distance. While the feds have pulled the plug, members of the world’s oldest profession say they hope techies will develop a proper replacement, providing an alternative to working the mean streets.


  4. Spaniards Chew on Hungry Bear Issue

    Has “don’t feed the bears” become outdated? Like their lupine counterparts in America’s open spaces, bears are being allowed to roam the busy hillsides of Spain. But human inhabitants are annoyed with their ursine neighbors, introduced to restore the food chain and attract tourists. They loot orchards and beehives and, with them, local livelihoods. What to do? Spain’s bear project aims to plant fruit trees to feed their charges, while electric fences protect private crops. That way, they don’t see — or bite — the hands that feed them.


  5. Did Ted Williams Want to Be ‘An Immortal Man’?

    Hitting .400 made him a sports legend. But that didn’t satisfy the son of Ted Williams, who froze the head of the Red Sox hitter in hopes of one day reanimating it. Exposés have alleged that the head was mutilated, and now a new documentary re-examines the left fielder’s 2002 deep freeze. Currently in a steel tank with his son — who died in 2004 from leukemia — Williams may not have even agreed to be preserved, unless you believe a signed, oil-stained scrap of paper.