"E' vero, sei un cornuto" Weather, husbands, sons and chickens come as you take them. "Only In Italy!"
God, we sincerely hope tomorrow won't be an extension of today's crap. Mah...
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Rome - May 16, 2010 - The increasingly unruly relationship between Italian children and their parents has taken a turn for the worse after a man hired a private investigator to expose his nearly blind father as a perfectly sighted benefits fraudster.
The unnamed father, 70, was photographed by the investigator taking strolls near his home outside Padova without a stick or a guide dog and tending tomatoes in his allotment, reported a local newspaper.
"Papa can walk, he's not blind, he's only faking," said the bitter son as he delivered the compromising photos to a magistrate to push for prosecution.
The case represents an escalation of hostilities between generations in Italy, as parents bemoan the 59% of young Italians between the ages of 18 and 34 refusing to leave home. In January a judge in Bergamo ordered a father to pay living allowances to his 32-year-old student daughter.
One in 10 Italians who claim disability benefits are suspected of fraud. In December, police in Naples arrested 53 people involved in an alleged scam after filming allegedly blind claimants riding motorbikes and driving cars. Another claimant was spotted reading a newspaper as he waited to collect his disability check.
In the Padova case, the suspicious son decided to act when a civil court ordered him and his sister pay 600 Euros a month on top of their father's disability pension to hire a helper to guide him.
The woman they hired later confessed to the private investigator that her employer was in the habit of going for walks without her.
"It will be up to the judge to decide, but reading between the lines, this is the sad story of a family unit in shambles," said an Italian daily.
"Buon Giorno" and welcome to "Invalidopoli", the most remarkable scandal to erupt in this scandal-infested country. Before we begin your tour we would like to remind the son and daughter team who ratted out their harebrained father that June 20 is Father's Day. Wonder what gift they'll be getting him?
It has never been a secret that fake invalidity certificates were a dime a dozen in Italy. About one in two is false and to the surprise of no one, a whopping 80% of these so-called disabled reside in Puglia, Calabria, Campania and Sicily.
Mind you, the core of the problem, it appears, is not that the system is operated by the disabled; but that most of the disabled are fit enough to milk a goat with one and pick their nose with the other.
The scam (aka "la lotteria") dates back to the late 1980s, when the Post and Telecommunications Ministry was in the greasy hands of the small, now thankfully defunct, "Social Democrat" Party. According to the prosecution, the then post office minister, Carlo Vizzini, and his friends, handed out jobs to the sons and daughters of influential associates like fried "baccala" at a Naples Christmas party, using a quota on employment of the disabled as a way of sneaking them through the back door.
Whole families lived off the salaries and pensions from the scam, and returned the favor by supporting the Social Democrats' small share of the Italian vote.
So, now you understand why we have to express patience and understanding for our postal workers who take a week to carry a letter across our one-horse town, or several months to send them out of the country. Many should be in wheelchairs, and they carry out their jobs only out of a strong sense of civic duty and love for their country.
However, we do have growing doubts, particularly since we discovered that one of our "disabled" postal workers plays "bocce" on his afternoons off, and that another is an ambitious fashion model whose strenuous mobility problem disappears when the "handicapped whore" is on the catwalk.
Rome - May 14, 2010 - Italy's minister for administrative simplification, Roberto Calderoli, said on Friday he intends to propose that salaries for MPs and government ministers be cut by at least 5% "to set a good example".
Speaking by phone to the news agencies, he said he would make his proposal "during a government meeting" and suggested it be part of a budget adjustment being drawn up to deal with the effects of the international financial crisis.
"Spending cuts should involve sacrifices for everyone, first of all government ministers and MPs. A 5% cut like the one being proposed by other countries, such as Britain and Portugal, would be just for some sectors, while for others it should be even higher," Calderoli said.
Earlier this week a PdL MP, Giorgio Stacquadanio, suggested that MP salaries be increased, a proposal that was shot down not only by the opposition Democratic Party but also by other members of the PdL and Northern League
Last week a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) praised Calderoli for slashing a large number of unnecessary laws and making it easier to start up new businesses.
By cutting red tape, the report said, Italy had created annual cost-savings of over four billion euros for businesses, especially small and medium-size enterprises.
Oh, "porca di quella vacca troja!" What a tragedy!
Here are a few interesting calculations regarding the cuddly members of our incredibly efficient and cost effective Italian State:
- The Palazzo del Quirinale where our 'symbolic' President of the Republic, Napolitano, resides costs 235 million Euros ($285 million) a year to run. That's twice as much as the White House and four times as much as Buckingham Palace. They are mainly for salaries for more than 2,000 'symbolic' civilian and security employees who keep the 'symbol' running.
- An Italian deputy's basic salary, before tax, health insurance and pension, is 11,703 Euros ($14,220) per month. A British MP earns 7,450 Euros, German 7,009 Euros, France 6,953 Euros.
- Italian senators receive an additional 10,000 Euros per month for a total of 21,703 Euros ($26,370). After only 30 months of service, they receive a lifelong pension from the age of 60 or 65, depending on seniority.
Here's the bad news:
Minister Calderoli's 5% salary cut is an unfortunate sacrifice meant for...two Ministers and seven non-Parliamentary Undersecretaries for a total of 9 so-called unlucky sons-of-bitches.
The "setting of a good example", which will not begin until January 2011, will save the country a mind staggering...72,165 Euros a year. But we're sure these savings will be wisely spent improving the Parliament's 'escort' service.
Rome - May 17, 2010 - Although it can match the capital in regard to political clout, romantic appeal and symbolic landmarks, it looks like Venice may lose out to Rome to be Italy's candidate to host the 2020 Olympic Games Venice, sources close to the national Olympic committee CONI said on Monday.
Venice's main attraction, its location, appears to be also its greatest handicap given the logistical difficulties of organizing the games by the lagoon, especially in consideration of post-9/11 security demands, the same sources added.
Rome and Venice officially presented their Olympic bids to CONI in March, after Bari and Palermo failed to make the committee's short list, after which the governing body for sports in Italy set up an ad hoc panel to examine the bids based on 11 key guidelines.
The parameters established by CONI in making its decision were: 1) government support, legal aspects and public opinion; 2) general infrastructures; 3) sports facilities; 4) location of an Olympic village; 5) environmental impact and conditions; 6) lodging; 7) transport system: 8) security; 9) experience in organizing previous sporting events; 10) finance; and 11) general evaluation of the project and what it will leave behind.
While members of the CONI panel are said to have greatly appreciated Venice's bid, which enjoyed the strong and open support of the Northern League, a junior member of the current national government, the logistical problems in organizing events in Venice appeared to be insurmountable.
For example, some of the events in the Venice dossier were located in areas which could only be reached by boat, creating problems for athletes, the public and the press.
CONI has promised that politics will not affect its decision, only technical and sports-related considerations.
No, "per favore", don't bring the Olympics to the lagoon.
FACT: We'll bet many of you did not know that the Romans, who conquered Greece, viewed the Olympics as a boring pagan festival. So, in 393 AD, Roman Emperor Theodosius I banned the ancient Olympics in part to enact Christianity as a state religion. The Olympics was shut down until it was revived 1,500 years later in 1896.
However, we seriously doubt the city will win the bid. But we wouldn't mind viewing a spiced-up "Modern Pentathlon" in Venice with the following events:
- "pistol shooting the fake 'Gucci' and 'Prada' purses sold by African vendors",
- "fencing with rat-bastard gondoliers who charge the expensive evening fare at 5:00 PM on a November afternoon...because, you see, it's dark out",
- "freestyle swimming in the filthy lagoon",
- "show jumping over the hundreds of empty tables and chairs in the main piazzas because tourists are not going to pay $26 for 2 glasses of wine plus a $40 cover charge",
- "running after bastardi waiters who advertise 6 Euro Lunch Pizzas and then present you with a check for 8 times the amount."