Daily Briefing

Deep buzz for the content-deprived

Every weekday, while you get showered and dressed, we pluck these dewy- fresh, breaking stories from the info-clogged byways of the datasphere. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and stoke up on everything you need to know, or at least enough to fake it.

Unlikely Friendships
Monica Hesse, The Washington Post | Unlikely Friendships | June 30, 2011

For a period of time last weekend, the ninth-most-popular book on Amazon.com, out of all the thousands of books on Amazon.com, was the cutest widdle thing you ever saw, yes it was, because of all the itty-bitty facey-waces and the whisker-poos and especially the snuggle-muffin babies with their teeny feet.

The book is called “Unlikely Friendships.” It depicts 47 incidents of inter-species affection, such as the cover image, in which a wee little rhesus monkey gently rests his head on the back of a white dove...

In Rural Thailand, a Shift in the Social Contract
Thomas Fuller, The New York Times | In Rural Thailand, a Shift in the Social Contract | June 30, 2011

Smiling farmers knee deep in emerald rice paddies and shirtless children riding on the backs of mud-caked water buffalo — these are the romantic images of the Thai countryside. There is one problem with it, says Udom Thapsuri, a farmer here and a local sage. It does not exist anymore...

Landmark Kabul Hotel Attacked by Taliban Suicide Bombers
Pamela Constable, The Washington Post | Landmark Kabul Hotel Attacked by Taliban Suicide Bombers | June 29, 2011

A squad of up to eight Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen laid siege to a landmark hotel overlooking the Afghan capital late Tuesday, sparking an hours-long firefight that ended only when NATO helicopters shot dead several insurgents who had commandeered the building’s roof...

Michael Agger, Slate | 4chanomics | June 29, 2011

What the influential, hilarious, revolting message board teaches us about internet culture...

Timeline: Major Events in the Afghanistan War
The New York Times | Timeline: Major Events in the Afghanistan War | June 29, 2011

The United States has been militarily involved in Afghanistan since 2001, when it led an invasion after the Sept. 11 attacks by Al Qaeda. The group had been given safe haven in the country by the Taliban, the exgtremist Islamic gtoup that had seized control in 1996 after years of civil war...

Immigrants Gather at a Starbucks in Northern Virginia for a Taste of Home
Tara Bahrampour, The Washington Post | Immigrants Gather at a Starbucks in Northern Virginia for a Taste of Home | June 26, 2011

Before Abed Ellafdi emigrated from Rabat, Morocco, to Northern Virginia six years ago, a friend gave him a tip: When you get to America, go to the Starbucks at Skyline...

Atop TV Sets, a Power Crain That Runs Nonstop
Elisabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times | Atop TV Sets, a Power Drain That Runs Nonstop | June 26, 2011

Those little boxes that usher cable signals and digital recording capacity into televisions have become the single largest electricity drain in many American homes, with some typical home entertainment configurations eating more power than a new refrigerator and even some central air-conditioning systems...

Michele Bachmann's Holy War
Matt Taibi, Rolling Stone | Michele Bachmann's Holy War | June 25, 2011

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don't laugh...

Why So Angry, Dad?
Katie Riphe, Slate | Why So Angry, Dad? | June 23, 2011

Are our enlightened, engaged, sensitive parenting practices driving a certain segment of the population insane? Is the nice, liberal father who has just this Saturday carted his kids to soccer practice, play dates, piano lessons, made sunflower-butter sandwiches, and read Goodnight Moon three times seething with quiet desperation? The surprise ascendance of Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortés' Go the F**k to Sleep on all sorts of best-seller lists eloquently answers that question...

We Can't Make These Things Up
Andrew Halco, The Anchorage Press | We Can't Make These Things Up | June 23, 2011


On the morning of April 18, 2006, I sat in the Hotel Captain Cook coffee shop with Sarah Palin comparing campaign trail notes. Yes, there was a time when Palin and I could hold a civil conversation, long before she began calling me "dumbass" in her emails... but I digress. While talking about the trials and tribulations of the trail, she offered up a personal thought that still rings in my ears...