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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.

After Storms, a Widespread Path of Death and Damage
Kim Severson, The New York Times | After Storms, a Widespread Path of Death and Damage | April 18, 2011

The terrified look in one of her employee’s eyes was the first clue Terri Rodriguez had that something was terribly wrong Saturday afternoon...

Christa McAuliffe: How Her Legacy Lives On
Nancy Atkinson, The Christian Science Monitor | Christa McAuliffe: How Her Legacy Lives On | April 17, 2011

Christa McAuliffe never had the chance to fulfill her dream of teaching from space and in the aftermath of the accident, her lesson plans were filed away by NASA with sadness and grief...

Smithsonian's 'Made in America' Mandate Not Easy To Achieve
Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post | Smithsonians's 'Made in America' Mandate Not Easy To Achieve | April 17, 2011

Virginia craftsman Byron Whitehurst designs the polystone busts of American presidents that line the shelves of a gift shop at the National Museum of American History. Priced at $20 each, the trinkets are a favorite among tourists, who buy about 1,200 a year. But that was before a visiting senator picked up one of Whitehurst’s busts and noticed a small tag proclaiming “Made in China.” His angry reaction touched off a firestorm that has forced the Smithsonian to clear its shelves of many souvenirs and rethink how it stocks its popular gift shops...

Ten Die In Afghanistan Army Base Bombing

A Taliban suicide bomber wearing a military uniform hit an Afghan army base near the city of Jalalabad, the Afghan defence ministry said...

David Foster Wallace: The Last Audit
Tom McCarthy, The New York Times Book Review | David Foster Wallace: The Last Audit | April 15, 2011

It seems to me there are two ways of understanding the document assembled from a jumble of boxes, disks and printed or handwritten papers that, at the time of David Foster Wallace’s suicide in 2008, ran into the high hundreds of pages — a document that, conscientiously and intelligently whittled down by Wallace’s editor Michael Pietsch to 500-odd pages, is now being published under the title “The Pale King,” and, just as significantly, the subtitle “An Unfinished Novel.”...

Fukushima's Hidden Fallout
Foreign Policy | Fukushima's Hidden Fallout | April 15, 2011

The Japanese government estimates that the damage from the March 11 earthquake alone will top $300 billion, already making it the costliest natural disaster in history. But its broader impact on the global economy may prove even more profound...

How Did Dinosaurs Have Sex?
Brian Palmer, Slate | How Did Dinosaurs Have Sex? | April 15, 2011

The American Museum of Natural History in New York will unveil an exhibition of the world's largest dinosaurs this Saturday. Some visitors may wonder how the creatures could ever eat enough to sustain their size, but the Explainer's mind is in the Jurassic gutter. How did those monsters manage to have sex?...

Notes Of A Military Son
Mark Alexander, Black Voices | Notes Of A Military Son | April 14, 2011

During this week -- Military Families Week -- I am reminded of the valuable lessons I learned from my father about the humanity and importance of those who defend our freedom...

North Korea Identifies Detained American
CNN Wire Staff | North Korea Identifies Detained American | April 14, 2011

North Korea has identified a detained American man, who was arrested last year for "committing a crime" against the reclusive nation, according to state-run media. "U.S. citizen Jun Young Su was arrested in November 2010."...

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes
David Cay Johnston, Willamette Week | 9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes | April 14, 2011

For three decades we have conducted a massive economic experiment, testing a theory known as supply-side economics. The theory goes like this: Lower tax rates will encourage more investment, which in turn will mean more jobs and greater prosperity—so much so that tax revenues will go up, despite lower rates. The late Milton Friedman, the libertarian economist who wanted to shut down public parks because he considered them socialism, promoted this strategy. Ronald Reagan embraced Friedman’s ideas and made them into policy when he was elected president in 1980. For the past decade, we have doubled down on this theory of supply-side economics with the tax cuts sponsored by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003, which President Obama has agreed to continue for two years.

You would think that whether this grand experiment worked would be settled after three decades...