Douglas Elliott | Brookings | 26 February 2013
"Let me be blunt. The Italian election result is a triumph for fantasy and irresponsibility. It is quite bad news and no one knows what will happen next. Italians predominantly voted against pain and austerity, while ignoring the lack of reality, and sometimes outright irresponsibility, of the parties they supported"
Haley Barbour and Ed Rogers | Foreign Policy | 25 February 2013
Why it's impossible to spy on the US policy process: "Washington is a cacophonic symphony of gigantic plans, dueling facts, eager ideals, petty pursuits. To understand it, you have to be able to hear it all at the same time and also understand that the music never stops. Beijing will blow a circuit board trying to make sense of all this"
Sean Flynn | GQ | 26 February 2013
Background to Vatican leaks story, which may well have played a big part in forcing the Pope's resignation. It wasn't only the butler who did it. According to the main recipient of the leaked information, a syndicate of 20 or more people were responsible, all of them repelled by the church's inner workings. The butler is gone, the leaks continue
Seb Emina | Guardian | 22 February 2013
On breakfast as a literary motif. "Meticulous breakfast prep often signals violent tendencies, an ultra-domesticity to balance out the brutality to come. James Bond is a pedant at the morning meal: Foodwise it is a speckled brown egg from a French Marans hen, boiled for exact three and a third minutes"
Michael Specter | New Yorker | 26 February 2013
Obituary for former American surgeon-general. A conservative whom liberals could admire. "Everett Koop, the grumpy man who dressed like a nineteenth-century preacher and wore a beard that made him look like Lincoln, was the most utterly consistent public servant I have ever seen. He simply required scientific decisions to be governed by science"
Thought for the day:
"When someone tells you something is too complex for you to understand, the usual reason is that they do not really understand it themselves" — John Kay