In today’s Morning Buzz we check in on the conditions and safety of Olympic athletes in Rio, preview tonight’s opening ceremony, and take an in depth look of what it’s like to be recruited by ISIS.  Today’s Morning Buzz is brought to you by some of our favorite moments from past Olympic Opening Ceremonies.


Right Now with Brian Southey (LinkedIn / Twitter)

What I’m Listening to – Conor Oberst

What I’m Reading –  I’m Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies: Inside the Game We All Love by Tim Kurkjian

What I’m Watching – Bloodline

What I Want to Know from You – Are you planning to watch the Olympics?



In Rio, Olympians feel safe, excited, despite doom-and-gloom reports  Faster. Higher. Scareder? That has been the takeaway from many stories leading into these Rio Olympics, what with the heavily covered potential risks of the Zika virus, bacteria in the water, terrorist threats, widespread city crime and lodging problems. There also has been thorough coverage about athletes doping, particularly the many banned Russians.

After A Rough Runup, Rio Aims For An ‘Awesome’ Opening Ceremony  Two of Brazil’s greatest strengths — its dazzling culture and its flair for spectacle — will power the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympics on Friday night. Organizers will unleash samba drums, singers and dancers in a show designed to thrill a global audience and silence the criticism surrounding the preparations.

He’s the son of Osama bin Laden’s bombmaker. Then ISIS wanted him as one of their own.  He was still a teenager when he wandered into one of the buildings at the dusty hilltop complex, looking for the cages where rabbits were kept. Inside, he found a crudely equipped laboratory, with test tubes, protective masks and rows of black jars.




Spice Girls


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50 Nifty

Protesters rally for police accountability at Austin City Hall  A small group gathered in front of city hall Thursday with hopes the Austin City Council would hear their message – more police accountability is needed. The rally spearheaded by the Austin Justice Coalition and several other groups is the …

Construction of big new Georgia gas pipeline about to begin  Construction of a big new Georgia natural gas pipeline is expected to begin soon. Alan S. Armstrong, CEO of Tulsa, Okla.-based The Williams Companies Inc. (NYSE: WMB), told analysts Aug. 2 that the company expects in the very near future to get approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to start work on what’s called the Dalton Lateral.

Trump Campaign Focused On Attracting Unlikely Voters, Memo Shows Most presidential campaigns spend their time and money appealing to people who vote regularly in elections. Not Donald Trump. According to a Trump campaign memo obtained by FiveThirtyEight, the campaign pursued a highly unorthodox strategy of courting unlikely voters during the primaries, focusing on people who rarely participate in GOP primary elections.

The Political Process Isn’t Rigged — It Has Much Bigger Problems  All right, I need to vent. For months, I’ve watched Donald Trump decry as “rigged” everything from the Democratic primaries, the Republican primary rules (that’s right, the same rules that helped him win the nomination) and the fall debate schedule.

Seattle prefers Portland for the one thing it’s supposed to be better at  Seattle just voted a Portland-based coffee company as Seattle’s best coffee. The one thing Seattle is supposed to be able to rub in Portland’s face is its superior coffee quality and culture.

Company selected for Detroit’s public bike share system  A company has been selected for Detroit’s public bike share system.

Can Cincinnati afford Cranley’s plan to raise city workers’ pay?  For Cincinnati City Council members considering whether to increase unionized city workers’ pay outside contract negotiations as Mayor John Cranley and labor groups want, a major question revolves around the financial impact on the city.

How to visit nearly every national park in one epic road trip  This month, the National Park Service marks its 100th anniversary. One of Wonkblog’s favorite data scientists, a guy named Randal Olson who’s a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, decided to mark the occasion by creating a map of the shortest possible road trip through all 47 national parks in the continental United States.

Ben Carson: The Khans Should Apologize to Donald Trump  Almost no one believes that Donald Trump acted wisely in attacking Khizr and Ghazala Khan, who denounced the Republican nominee at the Democratic National Convention. The couple’s Muslim American son died fighting for the U.S. in Iraq.

A Governor Ordered to Serve as a Public Defender  Missouri’s public-defender system is in crisis. Like many other systems throughout the U.S., it is underfunded, understaffed, and underappreciated.

Should It Be a Hate Crime to Assault Police?  Ronald Castorina, a New York State Assemblyman from Staten Island, has proposed a bill that would make it a hate crime to physically assault a police officer.

The Transit App Trying to Beat Google and Apple at Mobile Mapping  Over more than a decade, Google has hired thousands of developers and spent billions of dollars to essentially set the standard for navigation apps. Its biggest rival, Apple Maps, has also come a long way from the embarrassing glitches of its early days. Together, they dominate the mobile mapping market.

Room and Board: How Much Does Living Off-Campus Cost? Who Knows?  College estimates of cost-of-living expenses are often inaccurate, leading some students to borrow too much, or not enough.

Remembering A Thinker Who Thought About Thinking  Seymour Papert was a pioneer in artificial intelligence and learning with technology. He died this week at 88.

Low-Cost Budget Visualization Tool Gains Momentum  To decipher government finance for citizens, localities are turning to a new budget app that’s proving digital transparency doesn’t have to mean high costs.


Local Government Confidential

Former Speechwriter for Jeb Bush Joins Grayslake Village Board  A former speechwriter for Jeb Bush’s office will be joining the Grayslake Village Board . Adam Shores currently works as a senior manager for public affairs at Allstate Insurance but worked in Jeb Bush’s office in 2004 to 2005.

First Youth City Council aims to stop violence The concept is starting young to stop the violence. Thursday was the inauguration of the first ever Memphis Youth City Council that is made up of 13 members who advise the Memphis City Council and the Mayor.

Ending strange saga, Palm Springs finishes city manager review  In an end to a public, and somewhat awkward, political spat between the Palm Springs mayor and city manager, the city council announced Wednesday it had finished its annual review of City Manager David Ready’s job performance.

O’Fallon, Mo., council overrides mayoral veto of waste transfer deal  Officials must now negotiate contract details following the City Council’s rejection of Mayor Bill Hennessy’s veto of its selection of the highest-bidding company seeking to operate the city’s trash transfer station.