Why is Charles Krauthammer dissing Brazil?

I'm not surprised by conservative Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer's negative comments about President Obama in an interview with Der Spiegel, but what's his problem with Brazil?

Krauthammer: He is a man of perpetual promise. There used to be a cruel joke that said Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be; Obama is the Brazil of today's politicians. He has obviously achieved nothing. And in the American context, to be the hero of five Norwegian leftists, is not exactly politically positive.

Brazil has "obviously achieved nothing"? The country has pulled off a veritable economic miracle in recent years, maintaining impressive growth rates and accumulating enough cash reserves to become a net creditor, all while expanding social programs. It's weathered the global economic downturn surprisingly well and along with East Asia, seems to be leading the pack in recovery. It's a global leader in investment in alternative energy. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his foreign minsiter Ceslo Amorim have become ubiquitous and influential participants at global summits -- and as my boss recently argued, have shown the Latin American left an alternative to Hugo Chavez's confrontational populism. Brazil recently beat the U.S. for the right to host the 2016 Olympics. (Krauthammer may remember that one.)

I'd say calling someone the "Brazil of politicians" should be a compliment.


U.N. to deliver food aid by text message

We've reached a very strange point in human history when it is assumed that people who don't have access to food will have working cell phones:

In a test project targeting 1,000 Iraqi refugee families, the United Nations agency will send a 22-dollar (15-euro) voucher every two months by SMS to each family, who will be provided with a special SIM card.

The beneficiary can then exchange the electronic voucher for rice, wheat flour, lentils, chickpeas, oil, canned fish, cheese and eggs at selected shops.

Addressing concerns about mobile phone ownership among the refugee population, WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella said all the 130,000 Iraqi refugees currently receiving food aid from the agency in Syria have mobile phones.

Update: UN Dispatch's Matthew Cordell has more.