The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Police Seek Gunman in Washington State Macy’s Killings

    He’s still out there. Authorities continue to search for a gunman who shot four women dead in the cosmetics department of the Macy’s store in a Burlington, Wash., shopping mall 60 miles north of Seattle. Reportedly acting alone, the man, described as Hispanic and looking youthful in grainy security images, also shot a man at the mall who later died of his injuries. Authorities said they don’t know the motive for the killings, but reports indicate the assailant left the mall on foot, heading for nearby Interstate 5 and armed with an apparent hunting rifle.

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    Perceptions Make it Clinton’s Debate to Lose

    Much is expected. With debating experience and a polling edge, Hillary Clinton is projected to win against Donald Trump at New York’s Hofstra University on Monday night. Elevated expectations are a curse — but so is being female and getting pinged for aggressiveness, while her male opponent will likely earn points for his tough-guy act. Plus, Clinton doesn’t know if she’ll face the scornful mogul who crudely belittled his GOP rivals or the statesman-like Trump who took down Ted Cruz by waxing poetic about the grit New Yorkers showed on 9/11.

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    Police Gunfire Spotlights Racial Schism … Again

    Do the videos prove anything? Protesters in Charlotte continued marching Friday while police investigated Tuesday’s fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, who police insist was holding a gun. Demonstrators demanded unreleased police footage, but authorities say it doesn’t show Scott’s hands, just as a now-viral video taken by Scott’s wife doesn’t. The officer who shot him is on leave, while an officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was booked on manslaughter charges in the Sept. 16 shooting of an unarmed Black man, putting the police violence issue back in the firing line.

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    Understanding the Philippines’ Vigilante President

    Do they feel lucky? The man known as “Duterte Harry” is crass and violent, ushered into office this year as the antithesis of his urbane predecessors. The former prosecutor made his mark with a vicious crackdown on drug dealers in his sprawling hometown of Davao City — reportedly with the aid of a municipal death squad — that helped turn a haven for criminals into a thriving metropolitan safe space. But Rodrigo Duterte faces resistance to taking his iron-fisted style national, as 100 million Filipinos learn more about how the president “saved” his city.

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    Why Trust Another Russian Cease-Fire?

    They might get fooled again. Syria’s cease-fire ended — abruptly — in deadly violence on Monday, and critics are once again questioning American strategy. The problem, posits Middle East security expert Charles Lister, is that the U.S. can’t trust Russia, its biggest partner in fighting ISIS, and negotiations between the two world powers are aggravating the situation for Syrians and others on the ground. Russia’s alleged bombing of an aid convoy is seen as a cynical dismissal of peace efforts, and now American pleas to stop the fighting are falling on deaf ears.

  6. Syrian Regime Presses Deadly Aleppo Advance, Election Gambling and He’s Having Her Baby

    Know This: A monitor reports 72 deaths since Friday as the Syrian government mounts an offensive on Aleppo. Barack Obama vetoed a bill to allow 9/11 survivors to sue Saudi Arabia, likely prompting Congress’ first veto override since this president took office. And Ted Cruz, putting multiple insults behind him, finally endorsed Donald Trump.

    Listen to This: She dropped off the radar for nearly a year, but now epic podcaster Starlee Kine is back with Election Profit Makers, about gambling on poll results.

    Read This: It’s not easy being transgender anywhere, but Diane Rodriguez and her partner Fernando live public lives in conservative Ecuador, marching on Pride Day and announcing that Fernando had given birth.


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    Why You’d Better Not Get Sick in Alabama

    Turns out the state of your health may depend on your state in the union. After Obamacare was ruled legal in 2012, 19 states, including Alabama, declined the plan’s Medicaid expansion — and billions in federal aid. Some argued that eventual cost-sharing would bankrupt them, but the effect was denying coverage to 3 million Americans who aren’t poor enough for Medicaid and too poor for private insurance. Now policy experts are prescribing a 50-state solution that would expand Medicaid everywhere and unite the states in saving money and curing the coverage gap.

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    Wealth Managers Know Where the Money’s Hidden

    Meet the gatekeepers of the 1 percent. The world’s billionaires have people to advise them on everything from disowning loved ones to confounding tax collectors. These financial wizards are long-term investments themselves, privy to their client’s darkest secrets. There are now more wealth managers than ever — but following scandals like the Panama Papers, they’re coming under fire. In the era of “mego” (my eyes glaze over) financial schemes, these professionals may be the only ones who know where the money went — and regulators are keen to bring them to heel.

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    Surgery Boom Takes the Morality Out of Weight Loss

    Scrub in. In the war on obesity, the scalpel has become a valuable weapon. Each year, about 200,000 people have stomach-constricting bariatric surgery. It’s low-risk — knee replacements are deadlier — and results are impressive: 85 percent of patients keep the weight off, a far better outcome than diet and exercise. Insurers often cover the up-to-$30,000 procedures, which can save even more by preventing serious illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. All this, advocates argue, show obesity should be treated as a medical condition and not a personality defect.

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    After Brangelina, Who’s the Dominant Power Couple?

    It beats a meltdown. Madame Tussauds separated the wax replicas of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie after she filed for divorce — and some have moved on to anointing the new most clickable celebrity power duo. Some argue for Drake and Rihanna (Drihanna? Rake?), or even Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. But the top contenders are easily Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, or Jay Z and Beyoncé, whose recent album, Lemonade, blended the irreconcilable themes of female empowerment and relationship affirmation — signaling they can take the heat from a few more news cycles.

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    NBA Prodigy-Turned-Junkie Wants Back In

    He was chewed up and spit out. Nevertheless, Robert Swift believes his salvation depends on returning to the NBA. A first-round Seattle SuperSonics draft pick straight out of high school, he suffered enough injuries to stunt his development as a player and end his pro career in 2009. Generosity, extravagance and divorce dissolved the $18 million he’d earned, leaving him broke and heroin-addicted at age 27. But he kept playing in lesser leagues, got fit, swore off drugs and has been training as if his life depended on it.