What We’re Reading

  • Some people use the word impossible when they mean improbable. Like this anonymous intelligence source: “The big thing that changed is an increase in the number of incidents,” the source says. “It’s impossible that the opposition is faking the stuff in so many instances in so many locations.” More on the Syria decision here.
  • Large protests are currently underway in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and other Brazilian cities against rising prices in public transportation and overall dissatisfaction with poor public service delivery in large metropolises. Some are calling it “the Brazilian Spring” and many say that protesters are inspired by the mobilizations in Turkey. Police repression has been strong: more than 190 people arrested in São Paulo, including 7 journalists. And this song effectively depicts the feeling of many taking part in these protests.
  • For even more on the Brazil riots, check out this tumblr.
  • “The unmanned aerial vehicle—the “drone,” the very emblem of American high-tech weaponry—started out as a toy, the fusion of a model airplane and a lawn-mower engine.” Fred Kaplan on the history of the drone.
  • Economist Robert Frank compares Sweden’s health care to Obamacare in the New York Times. “The encouraging news is that the Affordable Care Act was intended to foster the evolution of a new system that can capture many of the gains currently enjoyed by countries like Sweden. For that to happen, however, Congressional critics must abandon their futile efforts to repeal Obamacare and focus instead on improving it. Their core premise — that greater government involvement in health care provision spells disaster — lacks support in the wealth of evidence from around the world that bears on it. The truth appears closer to the reverse: Because of pervasive market failures in private health care markets, this may be the sector that benefits most from collective action.”
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