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.

Washington; The 'Blackest Name' In America
Jesse Washington, The Huffington Post | Washington: The 'Blackest Name' In America | February 21, 2011

George Washington's name is inseparable from America, and not only from the nation's history. It identifies countless streets, buildings, mountains, bridges, monuments, cities – and people. In a puzzling twist, most of these people are black. The 2000 U.S. Census counted 163,036 people with the surname Washington. Ninety percent of them were African-American, a far higher black percentage than for any other common name. The story of how Washington became the "blackest name" begins with slavery and takes a sharp turn after the Civil War, when all blacks were allowed the dignity of a surname...

American Held in Pakistan Shootings Worked With the C.I.A.
Mark Mazzetti, Ashley parker, Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times | American Held in Pakistan Shootings Worked With the C.I.A. | February 21, 2011

The American arrested in Pakistan after shooting two men at a crowded traffic stop was part of a covert, C.I.A.-led team of operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups deep inside the country, according to American government officials...

Where Have The good Men Gone?
Kay S. Hymowitz, in the Wall Street Journal | Where Have The Good Men Gone? | February 21, 2011

Not so long ago, the average American man in his 20s had achieved most of the milestones of adulthood: a high-school diploma, financial independence, marriage and children. Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance. This "pre-adulthood" has much to recommend it, especially for the college-educated. But it's time to state what has become obvious to legions of frustrated young women: It doesn't bring out the best in men...

Gadhafi's Forces Kill Hundreds During Libyan Protests Sunday
Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press | Gadhafi's Forces Kill Hundreds During Libyan Protests Sunday | February 21, 2011

Security forces loyal to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi unleashed heavy gunfire Sunday on thousands marching in a rebellious eastern city, cutting down mourners trying to bury victims in a bloody cycle of violence that has killed more than 200 people in the fiercest crackdown on the uprisings in the Arab world...

Libyan Forces Again Fire On Residents At Funerals
David D. Kirkpatrick, Anthony Shadid and Mona El-Naggar, The New York Times | Libyan Forces Again Fire On Residents At Funerals | February 20, 2011

Libyan security forces opened fire again Sunday on residents of Benghazi as they attended a funeral procession for the dozens of protesters killed there the day before, and quickly crushed three smaller uprisings in working-class suburbs of the capital, Tripoli. It was the fifth day of protests and violence in what has become the most serious challenge to four decades of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule...

Christopher Somerville, Financial Times | Fox-Watching | February 20, 2011

In our basement kitchen on a winter morning, not long after we’d moved to Bristol, I looked up and saw a fox lying on the skylight, right above me. It was curled in a tight circle, muzzle on brush, fast asleep on the warm glass – one of those magical images that stay with you for life. That was the first of many encounters with foxes around the city, spotted in car headlights, under street lamps, by moonlight and window glow, hurrying along pavements and through gardens...

Internet Firms' Valuations Reminiscent Of Bubbles
James Temple, SF Chronicle with Bloomberg | Internet Firms' Valuations Reminiscent Of Bubbles | February 20, 2011

I had the misfortune of standing on the front lines while two Bay Area economic bubbles burst during the last decade, as a reporter covering both the dot-com crash and the real estate meltdown. In the painful and prolonged aftermath of each, the industry, press and observers engaged in a sort of collective confessional, publicly analyzing the mistakes that were made and the lessons learned. And so, when I read about the planned initial public offerings of unprofitable Internet darlings and the 11-figure valuations of companies with, let's say, ill-defined business models, I get a familiar and unsettling feeling...

Clashes in Libya Worsen as Army Crushes Dissent
Anthony Shadid | Clashes in Libya Worsen as Army Crushes Dissent | February 19, 2011

Thousands gathered Friday for a third day of violent demonstrations in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, in an unprecedented challenge to the mercurial 41-year reign of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Human rights groups said 24 people had been killed across the North African country, though activists say the count may be far higher...

The Education of John Boehner
John Bresnahan & Jonathan Allen, Politico | The Education of John Boehnr | February 19, 2011

It may have looked like chaos at times, but House Speaker John Boehner got what he wanted from a five-day debate on a bill that would cut $61 billion from this year’s budget and set up a showdown with President Barack Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid in the two weeks before the government runs out of money March 4...

Long Arms Reach for the Rim
Josh Kron, The New York Times | Long Arms Reach for the Rim | February 19, 2011

After decades of civil war, peace has finally settled in southern Sudan. The south will soon declare independence from the north, and with this newfound freedom, the southern Sudanese are beginning to rediscover themselves, reacquaint themselves with all that has been stunted or twisted or buried under the weight of war.Crazy for basketball is part of who they are, or were...