Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015



Lately, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has been in the news. Some say his immigration policies are horrendous. Others applaud his anti-corruption efforts. Mafia bosses want him dead. With so much controversy swirling around Senor Renzi, we here at the DUNER BLOG thought we'd provide some much needed answers for frequently asked questions...

Where is Matteo from? Like the Renaissance painter Botticelli, Renzi was born in Florence. He too had a cultured upbringing, studying at the renowned Dante Lyceum. Here, he scored a perfect 60/60 on his final exam. Likewise, he flew through classes at the University of Florence, where he obtained his law degree by age 20. However, our favorite early accomplishment was winning 48 million Lire on La Ruota Della Fortuna. (Wheel of Fortune).

Why the comparisons to Benito Mussolini? Although not similar politically, the two Italian Prime Ministers share one important quality: Youth. When Mussolini assumed the position in 1922, he was the youngest prime minister ever at age 40. This record held until last year, when Matteo Renzi became Prime Minister. He was 39 years old!

Is such a young man qualified to be Prime Minister?. Renzi is seasoned politician, with a dozen years of high-level service. At age 34, he was elected Mayor of Florence. His progressive policies rejuvenated the city. Enrollment at public schools is up and the number of homeless people is down. But...most importantly...the entire city of Florence has FREE WI-FI!

Why does the Mafia want Renzi dead? As Mayor of Florence, Matteo earned the nickname Il Rottamatore (The Scrapper). He has called upon the nation to scarp the entire political establishment, which is "discredited, tainted by corruption and failed the nation decade after decade." Whoa! Most Italian leaders don't take such a harsh position. As a result, death threats have come piling into the Palazzo Chigi.

What is Merkenzi? A current fad is to mash two people's names together. (Kim Kardashian + Kanye West = Kimye.) Using this formula: Angela Merkel + Matteo Renzi = Merkenzi. Germany has constantly complained about the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece & Spain), where corruption impairs growth. Hence, Merkel is ecstatic about a progressive minded leader who demands transparency in government.

Why the sudden loss of confidence? Having lasted nearly two years in office, Renzi has beat the odds. (Of the 62 Prime Ministers to hold the office, most are voted out by Parliament at this point.) Yet...just as things were starting to change...tens of thousands of refugees began landing on Italy's Southern coastline. Unfortunately, the media has blamed Matteo and his popularity has fallen to 25%.

Does Renzi have a gorgeous wife? Surprisingly, no! Agnese Landini is a Plain-Jane First Lady. She remains a schoolteacher at a Private School in Florence. There, she raises their two young children while Matteo tries to save the country. Her interests are Opera, Classical Music. She speaks Latin fluently. She never misses Mass.

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