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.

Cablegate Roulette
The Daily Dish | Cablegate Roulette | December 6, 2010

This is an installment from our on-going series on the adventures of American diplomats and the people they monitor. The red button below will take you to another random episode...

Bush V. Gore's Disgrace Deepens
Eric Alterman, The Daily Beast | Bush V. Gore's Disgrace Deepens | December 6, 2010

Passions are supposed to recede with time as wisdom and maturity, but the Supreme Court’s willingness to hand the presidency to George W. Bush looks even worse than it did 10 years ago, when passions flared and pundits feared for the future of the republic. The obvious problem with making Bush president was the fact of the Bush presidency, a catastrophe in so many directions at once that presidential historians argue today about whether Bush was the worst president in American history or merely the worst since Grant, Buchanan, or Johnson (Andrew, not Lyndon)...

WikiLeaks Founder Threatens To Release Entire Cache Of Unfiltered Files
Doug Sanders, The Globe and Mail | WikiLeaks Founder Threatens Release | December 6, 2010

At the centre of a tightening web of death threats, sex-crime accusations and high-level demands for a treason trial, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange threatened to unleash a “thermonuclear device” of completely unexpurgated government files if he is forced to appear before authorities...

Why We Can't Stop Playing: Mixing Psychology With Physics, Cute Characters, And Lots of Cheering
Nick Wingfield, Wall Street Journal | Why We Can't Stop Playing | December 6, 2010

Not since the invention of bacon and eggs has the collision of fowl and swine tasted so good. A game called Angry Birds is dominating the best-selling-applications charts for Apple's iPhone with a simple, whimsical premise: Players turn different species of scowling birds into projectiles with which to crush a collection of grunting pigs scattered around various ramshackle structures. More than 12 million copies of Angry Birds have been sold since it went on sale late last year, most of them 99-cent downloads for iPhones and iPod touches, according to Rovio Mobile Ltd., the Finnish company that created the game...

The GOP's Fiscal Time Bomb
Howard Kurtz, The Daily Beast | The GOP's Fiscal Time bomb | December 3, 2010

Call it the revenge of George W. Bush: The GOP temporary tax cut has exploded nine years later, forcing Democrats to duck and cover. Howard Kurtz talks to the Bush aides behind the plot. George W. Bush set the trap just over nine years ago, and the Democrats are still trying to extricate themselves..

Once An Editor, Now The Subject
Celia McGee, The New York Times | Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis As Book Editor | December 3, 2010

IT doesn’t really matter whether Serendipity, the restaurant on East 60th Street in Manhattan, was already serving footlong hot dogs in 1975, or its frozen hot chocolate. Neither Nan Talese nor Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis would have ordered them anyway. “I don’t think I noticed what either of us had,” Ms. Talese, the longtime editor, said there recently — the first time she had returned since that long-ago meeting. “We were there to talk about books.”...

NASA Discovers New Life
Nicholas Graham, The Huffington Post | NASA Discovers New Life | December 2, 2010

NASA is holding a press conference today at 2pm to announce a major finding in their research in astrobiology, and speculation is high the agency said the finding "will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life." The news has leaked now, and while the discovery is not extraterrestrial life, NASA has indeed uncovered an entirely new form of life that "doesn't share the biological building blocks of anything currently living" on Earth...

Loss of Jobless Benefits Could Be Serious Blow to U.S. Economy
Don Lee, Los Angeles Times | Loss of Jobless Benefits | December 1, 2010

With 2 million jobless workers set to lose unemployment benefits this month, the kind of extension that Congress routinely approved in the past has fallen victim to partisan deadlock — and the consequences could be serious for the U.S. economy...

WikiLeaks US Embassy Cables: Live Updates
Hanukkah, Rekindled
Howard Jacobson, NYT Op Ed | Hanukkah, Rekindled | December 1, 2010

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Tonight, Hanukah begins. The word – Hanukkah – is lovely, but what’s the festival itself for? What does it do?