The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. GOP debate

    Strong Wills Dominate First GOP Debate

    Ten men took to the stage, but Fox’s Megyn Kelly outshined them all. So says OZY co-founder Carlos Watson, who donned his political analyst hat last night for the first Republican debate. He predicts bumps for Gov. John Kasich, neurosurgeon Ben Carson — props for his brain dead Washington joke — and Rand Paul, but suspects that Clinton-hugging Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz will suffer. Scott Walker seemed tired; a noticeably thin Jeb Bush did well but faded; and outspoken real estate mogul, Donald Trump, remained surprisingly in check but may have sealed his doom by refusing to support the GOP nominee, no matter who it is. But Kelly, who “just generally shined,” was the night’s big winner.



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    Japan Marks 70th Anniversary of Atomic Bombing

    Let this be your cautionary tale. That was the message today from Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who marked a moment of silence at 8:15 a.m. — the moment the first nuclear bomb used in war destroyed much of Hiroshima and killed 140,000. Bells rang out as tens of thousands, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, gathered at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, where Matsui referred to nukes as an “absolute evil.” He and Abe encouraged world leaders to grasp the “inhumanity” of such weapons, and abolish them for good.

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    Obama: ‘No’ Vote for Iran Deal Would Lead to War

    He’s channeling his inner Tolstoy. The U.S. president addressed a crowd at American University yesterday, kicking off his public defense of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear agreement as a choice between war and peace, and noting that all nations favor the deal — apart from Israel. Israeli leaders scoffed at the rhetoric, saying a deal would make war more likely. But Obama, ahead of next month’s congressional vote, will continue urging lawmakers to consider it their most important foreign policy decision since the war in Iraq … and vote “Yes.”

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    Debris Raises Hope of MH370 Answers

    The 17-month mystery may soon be solved. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said investigators in France had “conclusively confirmed” a piece of debris found washed up on Réunion Island was from the missing flight, which set off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014. Since then, loved ones of the 239 on board have been desperate for any information about the aircraft’s fate. The experts want to conduct more tests, but searchers — who continue looking for debris — are confident they’re on the right track.

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    Activist Investor Takes $5.5 Billion Stake in Mondelez

    He wants to snack off the profits. Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, via Pershing Square Holdings, Ltd., has built up a 7.5 percent stake in Mondelez, the maker of Cadbury’s chocolate, Oreos and Ritz crackers, so that he can urge the food giant to cut costs — or submit to a takeover. Mondelez says it values Pershing Square’s investment and will strive to deliver “value for all [its] shareholders.” But speculation is rife — amid an era of industry consolidation — that there could soon be a buyout by Kraft Heinz. 

  6. Suicide Bomber Hits Saudi Mosque, Tennessee Cinema Attacker Shot Dead

    Suicide bomb attack kills 13 at Saudi mosque. (Al Jazeera)

    Suspected Tennessee theater attacker shot dead by police. (NBC)

    Eight die in NYC Legionnaires’ outbreak. (USA Today)

    Death toll in Mediterranean sinking may be as high as 200. (WSJ) sub

    Tube strike slows London commute. (BBC)

    Activists call on China to release ailing journalist Gao Yu. (DW)

    Sarcastic funnyman Jon Stewart set to sign off. (NYT)


  1. Carly Fiorina

    Fiorina Gets “Happy Hour” Debate Buzz

    She might get a seat at the big kids’ table. The former Hewlett Packard executive delivered a well-received performance during the Republican pre-debate forum this afternoon. Currently polling at less than 1 percent in most surveys, the only GOP woman in the 2016 field is getting a first look on social media for her efforts, even though she literally had to wing it after leaving her closing statement on a hotel printer. Still, she’ll need a bump in the polls to earn a seat at the CNN debate in her home state of California next month.

  2. Bush Jury

    George W. Bush Shows Up For Jury Duty

    He says only history can judge him, but he won’t be on the jury. The former president appeared at a Dallas courthouse yesterday, causing a stir among staff and other potential jurors. His spokesman confirmed that “43” spent about three hours at the George Allen Courts Building, mostly posing for photos and signing autographs. The ex-commander in chief was passed over — not for his notoriety but because he was far down the list of potential jurors — and Judge Eric Moye commended Bush for setting an “incredibly gracious” example just by showing up.

  3. Facebook Live

    Facebook Live Stream Is Only for the Famous

    Add a “V” to social media’s biggest IP. The networking giant has debuted a live video service, enabling verified celebrities to stream video to some 1.5 billion monthly users. Notables like The Rock and Serena Williams are among the first users of “Live,” which aims to compete with Meerkat and Periscope. Facebook has far greater audience reach, and its videos will be hosted permanently on the platform, as opposed to the disposable functionality of the others. But there’s no word yet on when the rest of us will enjoy the VIP treatment. 

  4. Prescription

    Healthcare Middlemen Meddle with Medications

    It’s a bitter pill to swallow. Pharmacy Benefit Managers, aka PBMs, are companies that place themselves between consumers and their medicines, forcing them to call and listen to ads or switch to unreliable prescription delivery services … or risk losing insured coverage for meds altogether. PBMs handle 95 percent of prescriptions in the U.S., so almost everyone is at risk of getting drawn into a sales pitch. They say they keep drug costs down, but some consumers are finding that the cure is worse than what ails them.

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    White, Straight Men Dominate in Hollywood

    Maybe Tinseltown’s battle for diversity could be the next blockbuster. A new report shows that a whopping 73.1 percent of actors in last year’s top 100 films were white, 12.5 percent were Black and 5.3 percent Asian — and no women over 45 had leading or co-leading roles. The stats on sexual orientation were worse: Of the 4,610 speaking roles in the same films, only 19 were lesbian, gay or bisexual, and none were transgender. Casting a hit film about diversity, it seems, might be a struggle … unless cinemagoers begin voting with their feet.

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    Search Ends for Legendary Free Diver

    The sport has lost a superstar. After spending more than two days looking for Natalia Molchanova, the holder of 41 world records who went missing during a recreational dive off the coast of Formentera, Spanish authorities have halted the underwater search. The 53-year-old Russian was reportedly diving 100-130 feet without fins on Sunday when she failed to resurface. Authorities will continue monitoring the surface, and her family has hired an underwater robot to continue looking for Molchanova, who’s being remembered as a gentle soul who dedicated her life to free-diving.