The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. U.S. Gears Up to Break Out the Green 

    As the Irish in America celebrate their heritage and President Obama welcomes the Irish prime minister to the White House on Tuesday, troubled ghosts still haunt the homeland. A group of LGBT veterans will march in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, ending their decades-long fight for the right to join Beantown’s procession. But back in Ireland, a new look at old IRA murders is raising questions about what Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams knew — and when. 

    Boston Globe, The Guardian, New Yorker

  2. American Racism Comes Back Into Focus 

    From coast to coast, America has been consumed by racial tensions past and present. The week began with a 50th-anniversary tribute to voting rights marchers in Selma, where the president praised blacks’ progress but noted the struggle isn’t over. Timely reminders cropped up, including an Oklahoma frat house’s shutdown over a racist song and a packed Wisconsin funeral for a young man shot by police. In Ferguson, where authorities seek suspects in Wednesday’s shooting of two policemen, the city — like the nation — remains on edge.



  3. Did Netanyahu’s U.S. Gambit Backfire?

    Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu shook U.S. politics — and his nation’s strongest alliance — when he addressed Congress without President Obama’s consent on March 3. But the ripples from his efforts to derail a nuclear deal with Iran appear to have invigorated  political rivals at home. Polls show the left-leaning Zionist Union, including former peace negotiator Tzipi Livni, possibly winning four more seats than Netanyahu’s Likud Party in Tuesday’s elections, which could offer a rare ray of hope for an Israeli-Palestinian détente. 

    WSJ (sub), Reuters

  4. Syrians Offer Kids of War Smiles and Hope

    Thousands of displaced children only know the brutality of war, parental desperation and slogans of destruction. But a group of young Syrian and international volunteers wants to change that by pushing back … with love. In refugee camps and host communities in Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, instructors are teaching these youths a language of peace and tolerance, and gearing them up to one day rebuild their embattled neighborhoods. Through art, music and sports, kids are learning to believe in Syria’s future.

    BBC Magazine 


  1. Could Pollution Be Causing Autism?

    As if lung cancer and asthma weren’t bad enough: Scientists now believe there may be link between the air we breathe and autism. Studies show that women exposed to high pollution levels while pregnant have an increased risk of giving birth to children with autism. But since pollution tends to be worse in high-poverty areas, there may be other contributing factors, such as poor nutrition. But even if pollutants play just a minor role, these findings underscore the need to clear the air and lower the risk.



  2. Rhino Investigation Leads to Kidnapping

    Poachers killed more than 1,200 rhinoceroses in 2014, reducing their numbers to just 28,500 worldwide. Rising Asian demand for rhino horns — prized as a miracle cure-all — is driving this slaughter. So two journalists went to Mozambique to investigate and got a much closer look than they anticipated: They were kidnapped by a poaching ringleader and threatened with death. During their captivity, they learned that poverty feeds the deadly trade, and while the reporters were eventually released, the remaining rhinos may not be so lucky.

    Der Spiegel

  3. It’s a Small Digital World After … $1 Billion

    At Florida’s Disney World, they see you coming. Guests wear cheerful MagicBand bracelets, enabling wrist swipes to secure airport shuttles, park admissions and hotel check-ins. Sit wherever you like inside Be Our Guest, the park’s sprawling restaurant, because Big Mickey already knows what you want to eat and where to find you. It may be Silicon Valley’s dream to create a frictionless world that anticipates your needs, but after spending a cool $1 billion on the project, the Magic Kingdom has already got you covered.


  4. ‘Mad Men’ Creators: We Couldn’t Sell It

    You can’t keep Don Draper down. Yet for years, he and his fellow ad execs — chain-smoking office workers in a slow-moving period story — seemed destined for TV’s dustbin. When creator Matthew Weiner finally convinced neophyte network AMC to finance a pilot, its star, Jon Hamm, was “on the bottom of everyone’s list.” Come April 5, the show will begin the last half of its seventh and final season as a cultural phenomenon, with Draper where he always ends up: on top.

    Hollywood Reporter

  5. Time for March Movie Madness

    Even if they couldn’t jump, they made basketball history. As armchair coaches anticipate Sunday’s final team selection for the NCAA tournament, it’s time to pick Hollywood’s all-star team. Who could forget the hairy howlin’ hoopster in Teen Wolf? Or Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes as dodgy ballers in White Men Can’t Jump? And then there was Denzel Washington, scoring unscripted buckets against a real-life NBA player in Hoop Dreams. The contest: Name the Michael Jordan of the celluloid court, and please don’t say Shaquille O’Neal.