The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. GOP Would Welcome Immigrants, With Conditions

    Republicans announced they want to float a plan giving legal status to 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S., but the suggestion falls short of making them citizens. The backlash has already begun, as dissenters say an immigration fight could adversely impact the party instead of letting the GOP rise in the aftermath of the health care rollout troubles. Ultimately, though, desire to appeal to the Latino vote for upcoming midterm elections could prove decisive. 

    Sources: NYT, The Nation

  2. Ukraine’s PM Steps Down, But President Refuses to Relinquish

    Big changes are afoot in Kiev. Parliament is weighing rolling back rules against protest and considering freeing jailed dissidents. Prime Minister Mykola Azarav has tendered his resignation. But President Victor Yanukovich is still holding on, however tenuously, even as he appears to be increasingly losing control. At stake is nothing less than a balance of power in Eastern Europe, and the embrace of Putin politics, or the European Union’s. 

    Sources: Reuters, Quartz, Bloomberg

  3. Clinton Admits Benghazi Regret in Speech

    Hillary Clinton identified the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya as the greatest regret of her time as secretary of state in a speech to the National Auto Dealers Association Convention. In one of her clearest statements on the issue, which will be a campaign flashpoint if she runs for president, Clinton acknowledged the tragedy of losing four Americans based on “imperfect information.” Although she still refuses to confirm or deny her 2016 ambitions, Clinton’s decision to speak to the association smacks of campaign planning. Auto dealers donated $16 million to the 2012 campaigns, 85 percent of which went to Republicans.

    Sources: Washington Post, WSJ (sub)

  4. Despite Record Sales, Apple Fails to Meet Market Expectations

    Apple shares fell by 7 percent on Monday, following the company’s announcement of disappointing sales in the last quarter. Although a record number of iPads and iPhones were sold, the figures fell short of analysts’ and investors’ expectations. Apple has seen a relative decline as the smartphone market has expanded in recent years, particularly in emerging markets. CEO Tim Cook insisted that underlying growth is stronger than the top-line figures suggest. He also confirmed that, amid widespread consumer and investor demand, Apple will introduce new product categories in 2014, potentially including larger iPhones, smart watches and an Apple TV.

    Sources: WSJ (sub), USA Today

  5. Mexico Catches Cartel Leader and Strikes Deal with Vigilantes

    Mexican authorities have captured Dionisio Loya Plancarte, a leader of the Knights Templar cartel, according to the attorney general’s office. Known as “El Tio,” Plancarte is a powerful figure in the drug gang, which has lately progressed from narcotics trading to extortion, kidnapping and murder. Vigilante groups who have fought the narcotics gangs in Michoacan have agreed to join police efforts in ridding local towns of drug violence. The deal acknowledges that, though they are a volatile presence, the vigilantes play an important role in stabilizing the region.

    Sources: WSJ (sub), Al Jazeera

  6. Trillion-Dollar Agriculture Bill Heads to Congress

    House and Senate lawmakers have agreed to a $1 trillion farm bill after two years of tough negotiations. The bill includes an $8-9 billion reduction of the food stamps program, which may be the most controversial question in the House debate on the bill, scheduled for Wednesday. Urban Democrats will argue that the measure increases the vulnerability of poverty-stricken Americans, while House conservatives may reject the cuts for not going far enough. John Boehner and high-level Democrats have urged bipartisan support, but once again Congress has reached a compromise that, at the end of the day, pleases no one.

    Sources: NYT , Politico


  1. America Says Goodbye to ‘Father of Folk’ Pete Seeger

    Singer and songwriter Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94. The New York-based “father of American folk music” will long be remembered for penning Turn! Turn! Turn! and If I Had a Hammer, as well as popularizing songs like the civil rights anthem We Shall Overcome and This Land is Your Land. The banjo-wielding musician was admired for championing numerous causes in the belief that music could get everyone singing the same tune for social justice. He joined the labor and civil rights movements, anti-war rallies and environmental causes, and famously refused to testify about links to the Communist Party in the 1950s. Seeger’s legacy lives on through the many contemporary artists he inspired.

    Sources: NYT, USA Today, BBC

  2. U.S. Hospitals See 20 Young Victims of Firearms Every Day

    Disturbing statistics released by the journal Pediatrics reveal that nearly one child is hospitalized every hour due to gun violence in the United States. The study looked at 7,391 cases of hospitalization in 2009 to determine that about 20 children are injured seriously enough to require medical attention every day. Although fatalities receive the most media attention, many victims with non-fatal injuries require intensive follow-up support. With 89 percent of victims under 19 being male and almost 50 percent African American, these new findings paint a more nuanced picture of America’s firearms pandemic.

    Source: USA Today

  3. BitInstant CEO Arrested for Alleged Money Laundering

    The Bitcoin community is reeling from news that one-time poster boy, BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem, has been arrested for allegedly helping a man convert millions of dollars into Bitcoin for use on the online drug marketplace Silk Road. The Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame had invested in Shrem’s firm, which has been “temporarily shut down” since last July. The news comes as such a surprise because industry observers had pegged Shrem as an innovator eager to highlight Bitcoin’s potential as an alternate currency. His arrest suggests the online currency’s road to legitimacy may have just gotten longer.

    Source: Forbes

  4. Furious Tarantino Sues Gawker Over Script Leak

    Acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino has filed a copyright lawsuit against Gawker Media for allegedly disseminating the script for his planned western flick, The Hateful Eight. When news spread of the script’s leak last week, an incensed Tarantino vowed not to make the film. Gawker has come under scrutiny in the past for publishing Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and a book proposal by Girls creator Lena Dunham. Gawker, meanwhile, maintains that Tarantino not only embraces, but encourages, publicity like this. Maybe his next movie will be about the court system. 

    Sources: Hollywood Reporter, BBC, The Guardian

  5. Teens Are Committing to University Athletics Before High School

    Rather than spending their evenings gossiping, some American middle school athletes spend their cell phone minutes on late-night discussions with college athletic coaches. The trend is especially common in women’s athletics, partially as a result of Title IX requiring equal funding for men and women’s sports, which has expanded college budgets and coaches’ reach for talent. Technically, coaches can’t contact potential players until the July after their junior year, but there are loopholes in the regulation. It begs the question of where coaches will draw the line in the race to draw young, talented athletes. Pre-schools beware.

    Source: NYT