The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Irma Begins to Lash Florida, Impeding Evacuation

    Time’s up. Gov. Rick Scott told remnants of the 6.3 million Floridians ordered to evacuate that “if you’re not on the road by noon, you need to get to shelter.” Hurricane Irma, forecast to be the state’s worst, slammed into Cuba as a Category 5 storm this morning after killing 25 across multiple Caribbean islands. Some, like St. Martin, are desperate for recovery that’s been halted as a second threat, Hurricane Jose, closes in. Irma’s been downgraded to a Category 3 storm, but is likely to strengthen as it sweeps toward Florida’s Gulf coast.

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    Mexico Mourns Earthquake Victims

    Survivors held funerals today after Friday’s 8.1 magnitude earthquake off of Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, which killed at least 65 people. In hard-hit Juchitán, residents slept on mattresses amid fallen bricks and clay roof tiles as aftershocks rattled the area. The temblor was the nation’s strongest in a century, panicking residents 650 miles away in Mexico City as it shook the metropolis and stirred memories of the 1985 quake that killed thousands. Meanwhile, the weakened remnant of Hurricane Katia hit Mexico’s Gulf Coast, causing a mudslide that killed two as three days of national mourning began.

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    Kim and Trump Play Thermonuclear Chicken

    Hopefully, they won’t run out of words. Last weekend’s test of a purported North Korean hydrogen bomb set off a new round of rhetorical salvos between the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump, heightening concern that Washington might start a pre-emptive shooting war. But experts warn that considering Pyongyang’s “black hole,” from which little intelligence escapes, the ability of American weaponry to disable all of Kim’s nukes is limited, allowing for a retaliatory strike. And even under conventional attack, there’s a strong North Korean “use ’em or lose ’em” incentive.

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    What Dreamers and Their Families Fear Now

    Welcome to their nightmare. When President Trump delayed repealing DACA, some saw the grace period as compassionate. But to many immigrant advocates, it pits children against the parents who brought them to the U.S. Under the DREAM Act, so-called “dreamers” had to tell the government where they lived, so they’re vulnerable and may accept tougher enforcement against other undocumented immigrants — often their parents — as the price of a reprieve. Advocates have pledged solidarity, but when a deal must be struck, the pressure for self-preservation may be too great to resist.

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    Did GOP Leaders Unleash a RINO?

    He’s an unpredictable beast. Being branded “Republican in Name Only” has increasingly plagued moderates as the party’s base has migrated rightward. But now GOP House and Senate leaders, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who were blindsided Wednesday by President Trump’s debt-ceiling deal with Democratic leaders, have paradoxically been branded as RINOs by right-wing stalwart Lou Dobbs. Dealing with the Dems, he argued, was necessitated by congressional obstructionism. The deal avoids a federal shutdown and pleases some investors, and it might just prod Republicans into uniting behind the president’s agenda.

  6. 9/11 Anniversary, Saturn Swan Song and Mediation, Interrupted

    The Week Ahead: Today Americans Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys will face off in the U.S. Open tennis final in New York, followed by the men’s final Sunday. The New York City Fire Department is expected to announce 32 more deaths from illnesses related to the 9/11 attacks, as Americans mark Monday’s 16th anniversary. And nearly two decades after its launch, NASA’s Cassini space probe will end its mission by plunging into Saturn’s upper atmosphere Friday.

    Know This: After U.S. President Donald Trump’s phone calls to mediate between feuding Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the nations’ leaders spoke to each other before ending the call abruptly amid angry finger-pointing. The U.S. dollar has hit a 33-month low amid hurricane and North Korea fears. And Israel’s attorney general has said he’s considering putting the country’s first lady on trial for lavish public spending on catering.

    Wanted: OZY is growing! We’re looking to hire a number of additional reporters, videographers, podcasters and editors including a top-tier technology reporter. Read more on our jobs page. And please forward to an outstanding friend who you think may be a great fit.


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    How a Houston Teacher Stumbled Into the Cajun Navy

    She just wanted to listen. But after downloading a walkie-talkie app, Texan Holly Hartman found herself drafted into the Cajun Navy. For 34 hours as Hurricane Harvey raged, she was an amateur emergency dispatcher, consoling and advising a stream of victims in dire situations: a family trapped in their attic, a woman seeking rescue for her elderly father, a mother whose son had been electrocuted. Armed with two minutes’ training, the exhausted teacher guided volunteer boaters to people desperate for help, earning a new appreciation for what first responders face every day. 

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    Spurned Partner’s Suit Targets Law Firms’ Gender Gap

    She wasn’t their girl. Women make up about half of the associates at big law firms, but only 18 percent are full partners — a needle that’s barely moved in a decade. One of those partners, Kerrie Campbell, is suing her former firm for allegedly trying to force her out after she complained about compensation. The firm denies being unfair, firing back with accusations of incompetence and drunkenness, but with statistics like women partners’ 44 percent pay handicap, the profession is watching this case like its culture depended on it.

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    How Scans Are Reaching Coma Patients’ Buried Minds

    They live on the border. Nonresponsive patients were long assumed to be unaware of anything, merely existing without brain function. But new techniques of communicating via brain scans show that 15 to 20 percent of seemingly vegetative patients are actually fully cognizant, even if they can’t react or speak. This new form of communication allows doctors to get answers from patients thought to be out of reach — and could give credence to loved ones who detect ever-so-subtle signs of consciousness in patients doctors have written off.

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    It’s Raining Ads, Hallelujah!

    The forecast? Overcast, with a chance of shopping. Researchers are increasingly seeing a connection between weather and how consumers respond to their sales pitches. Negative advertisements elicit more successful responses when it’s gloomy outside, but when the sun’s out, the target audience craves positive reinforcement. One study, which looked at mobile advertising responses among 6 million users in China, saw remarkably strong weather correlations. Campbell’s Soup, for example, has taken to using storm names in its online blurbs, while other global brands are flocking to the Weather Channel, auguring a highly mercurial marketing climate.

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    The Quiet Rise of Tennis’s Next Superstar

    Don’t expect him to shout about it. Dominic Thiem seems destined for greatness, thanks to a complete game that combines skill, speed, strength and grace. Yet the eighth-ranked 24-year-old Austrian does seem to be lacking in one area: interest. He may make shots that leave spectators breathless, but his quiet demeanor off the court has kept tennis fans focused elsewhere. Perhaps if he has a chance to beat Rafael Nadal on clay — again — or the reigning superstars age out, people might just start paying attention.