The Briefing: Dead Captives, Dead Ideas, and Boring Speeches

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Business Insider: Algeria Under Fire For Reckless Mission To Free Hostages

“The kidnappers said 34 captives had died in the assault, but this was impossible to confirm. They told Mauritanian news agency ANI they would “kill all the hostages if the Algerian forces succeed in entering the complex.”

The Economist: Has the Ideas Machine Broken Down?

“To those fortunate enough to benefit from the best that the world has to offer, the fact that it offers no more can disappoint. As Mr Thiel and his colleagues at the Founders Fund, a venture-capital company, put it: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” A world where all can use Twitter but hardly any can commute by air is less impressive than the futures dreamed of in the past.”

The Chronicle: The Delights of Disgust

“The same things that excite our desire most—the naked bodies of other humans, the bright red shell of a boiled lobster, a cigarette glowing in an ashtray—are the things that always, simultaneously, threaten to excite our revulsion.”

The New Republic: A Short History of Meaningless Inauguration Speeches

“Nearly every President declares that God shares those principles and is rooting for us to apply them, from now to perpetuity. “His divine blessing,” claimed Washington, was “conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.” You can’t really go wrong with a bland pronouncement like that.”

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