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  • In a turbulent session late Wednesday Premier Matteo Renzi’s labor reform bill known as the “Jobs Act” was passed in the Senate. Accompanying that passage was a successful confidence vote, 165-111, for his harried government. Although Jobs Act ratification is yet to come in the Chamber of Deputies, EU leaders were already congratulating Renzi for the success of the bill, whose aim is to introduce flexibility into the Italian labor market.
  • Andy, the least lovable Cuomo is in deeper stuff than usual. The New Times reported recently that he “hobbled” investigations by the Commission he established when it got too close to home. There are two different ways to think about his current troubles. The first is that he is especially corrupt. The second is that Andy is a “normal” politician, making decisions based on how they will affect his more and (now) less rosy future.
  • Giorgio Napolitano has pitted the weight of his presidency and his prestige against the delaying tactics that currently tie the Senate into knots. The introduction of 7,800 amendments to the government’s proposals for constitutional reform is already causing “serious damage” to Italy, said Napolitano Wednesday. Meanwhile, former Premier Silvio Berlusconi once again became a major player after an appeals court overturned his seven- year conviction for alleged relations with a minor accused of prostitution.
  • Dominic M. Recchia is trying to fill the somewhat dirty shoes of incumbent Congressman Michael Grimm. However, I must warn him that strange things have happened to those elected to represent Staten Islanders (and South Brooklyner’s) in Congress ever since la famiglia Molinari abandoned it. It’s like someone has cast an evil eye (malocchio) on the most conservative seat in New York City.
  • Examining the personal qualities and ethnic ties of Westchester County Executive and Empire State Gubernatorial wannabe Robert Astorino, Empire State Governor and Presidential wannabe Andrew Cuomo, and Garden State Governor and Presidential wannabe Chris Christie. All of whom have recently garnered much good and, even more, bad press.
  • There is an excess of successful Italian American politicians in the New York Metropolitan Area and as I’ve spent too much time on NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, I shall turn my attention to the personal qualities and ethnic ties of Westchester County Executive and Empire State Gubernatorial wannabe, Robert Astorino, Empire State Governor and Presidential wannabe, Andrew Cuomo, and Garden State Governor and Presidential wannabe, Chris Christie.
  • Op-Eds
    Judith Harris(February 09, 2014)
    For the next two weeks Matteo Renzi, who heads the Partito Democratico, and Premier Enrico Letta, who heads the government in the name of that same party, are expected to remain at polite loggerheads. But behind their jittery quiet lurks the risk of new elections, which both say they do not want. Within this time vacuum, political outsiders, both Italian and foreign, offer suggestions.
  • Let's imagine political Italy as if a performance by a symphony orchestra playing less Mozart than modern atonal, by definition music lacking a tonal center or key. The conductor, the economist Premier Enrico Letta, faces such unruly musicians that he can barely keep hold of his baton. In the background on stage is the chorus, warning that another 2% of Italians have slipped below the poverty line.
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn began Ivan’s bitterly cold and dark day as a forced laborer in a Gulag camp, mine began a bit more leisurely on a brilliantly warm and sunny Tuesday morning in Super-gentrified Park Slope, and there the similarity almost ends. Spending even a little time to help my fellow half-Italian Park Slope neighbor become at least the fourth Mayor with Brooklyn roots was well worth the effort. This is the third in what will be a continuing series of more and less critical observations of how promised progressive policies will or will not remake The Big Apple.