Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

An ordinary Sunday evening

May 6, 2012

It’s 6 pm on Sunday evening in Trieste. I am walking by the train station, almost at the end of the long (about 90 minutes) walk from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, of which I am a guest this Spring, to my downtown apartment. The end of my European stay is quickly approaching; I am about to spend my last month here frantically trying to finish all the projects that I started — that’s how things always go.
In a week, however, I shall be visiting a collaborator in Strasbourg. I am going there by train.
That reminds me, I do not have my train ticket yet… might as well get it now.

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Hi, I am Jack, and I am a recovering socialist

June 20, 2011

Canadian New Democratic Party (NDP) held in Vancouver its fiftieth national congress since its foundation. It is presently Canada’s official opposition in the House of Commons, and arguably one of strongest (nominally still) socialist political formations in the Western world. On the agenda, to be voted by delegates, was also a resolution that would change the language in the NDP’s statute, removing any reference to “socialism”. According to some of the Party’s éminences grises, “it is time for it to go”, to paraphrase a former US Vice President (although apparently it will stay for the time being).

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The face of a nation

May 21, 2011

This editorial cartoon, published on the Canadian National Post of May 18 2011, has prompted the Italian ambassador to Canada to write a letter to the newspaper, stating his displeasure over a satirical commentary that in his view is “gratuitously offensive to Italian government institutions and to the Italian citizens who select their leaders, as do Canadians, in democratic elections.”
I have to admit it, when I first saw that cartoon I also could not bring myself to laugh (well, not right away) — but not for the reasons expounded by the ambassador in his letter, with whose content I disagree.

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The mantra of flexibility

March 20, 2011

In the Italy where I grew up (in the 70s and 80s), most jobs were for life. Most workers, not just government or state ones but also those employed in the private sector, were hired permanently. They could not be let go without just cause, in turn almost always involving demonstrable unprofessional or unethical behaviour on their part. Both private and public sectors had to contend with strong unions, as well as with a legal system that made it very difficult in practice, if not downright impossible, to dismiss employees, even those individuals ostensibly not performing up to standards.

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The road to hell that goes through the center

February 18, 2009

Following another disastrous electoral result, the leader of the main Italian opposition party, known as the Democratic Party (what an original name, eh ? Wonder where they took inspiration from…), tendered his resignation. The future of the party is very much up in the air. A new secretary will take over, but it seems pretty clear that this relatively new political formation, in existence for barely 20 months, has largely failed in its stated purpose of becoming the hinge of a broad center-left coalition that could challenge what now appears the unassailable, virtually absolute power of … yeah, that guy — the “funny” one (TFO).

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Things that make me go “Oh, Canada…”

February 14, 2009

Yep, they are back at itagain… Unbelievable… let me just say, thank Gore for the internet… If I did not have a chance of reading news, commentary, and generally keeping abreast of what is happening back in my country of origin, mostly through unofficial media such as blogs, I may be considerably more prone to succumbing to the temptation one of these days, and do something stupid out of ignorance… like, go back.

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Blogging in Italy

November 16, 2008

“Every country has the government it deserves”
(Joseph Marie de Maistre)

Update (11/18/2008): The bill has been withdrawn, ostensibly following widespread complaints among bloggers and the general public. In fairness, however, while I remain wary of any governmental attempt at “regulating” blogs, on examining the bill more closely and on reading some of the most authoritative legal opinions, it seems to me that the bill has been seriously misrepresented and its likely consequences vastly overstated, in both the Italian and international press. As it turns out, it would not have affected the overwhelming majority of blogs.
I felt that I owed at least a clarification.

As an amusing follow-up to my latest post on the relationship between blogs and “official” scientific journals, I have found out that in my country of birth some legislators actually think that regulating blogs is not only possible, but actually opportune (the story, in Italian, here). Indeed, parliament is about to discuss a bill that would require all bloggers to register with the Ministry of Communication (no, not with the Ministry of Blogging, silly…), and be thereafter subjected to the same regulations and restrictions as newspapers, television and other ‘regular’ news media. Failure to do so would result in prosecution of the blogger (yes, all blogs would be affected; even cooking, personal or porn blogs will be required to report news — any news I suppose — accurately and unbiasedly).
Read more…


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