Skipper of the Costa Concordia, alleges that he slipped and fell into a lifeboat before going ashore for an espresso

It is hard to remember the last time two Italian sea captains made quite so much news. The sinking of the Andrea Doria comes to mind but the captain of the Stockholm wasn’t Italian so that doesn’t count. Francesco Schettino, skipper of the Costa Concordia, alleges that he slipped and fell into a lifeboat before going ashore for an espresso, while some of his passengers drowned off the coast of Tuscany. Coast Guard Captain Gregorio Maria De Falco, in charge of the rescue efforts, tried to cajole him back to his post by shouting “vadda abordo cazzo.” The timid American press translated “cazzo” as “damn it” but both Google Translate and Google Images know better. “Cazzo” is a very naughty word. Sales of the tee shirts might restore the Italian economy and save Europe from financial disaster and, each in his own way, both men provide metaphors for the day.

Nobody, not even Captain De Falco, is telling Texas Governor, Rick Perry to get back in the saddle after abandoning his run for President. If Intrade has a candidate’s odds of winning at 0.1%, a donor would need a cash return of $1 billion for his $1,000,000 campaign contribution. The Venn diagram of ego, stupidity and wealth becomes very small, indeed, at those odds. And, of course, the candidate would need many more than one to write the necessary checks to his Super Pac.

President Obama seems to have been inspired by the fine work of Captain Schettino when he abandoned the Keystone XL pipeline, whimpering that the nasty Republicans had given him too little time with their 60-day deadline for a decision. Take a careful look at the cutting room floor for the little factoid that the application process began in 2008. Surprisingly, the President lost the editorial board derby 2-1, with the Wall Street Journal predictably lambasting the decision and the New York Times predictably in favor. The swing vote went to The Washington Post, which was critical of the decision that it hoped “was a political call because on the substance, there should be no question.” A twist of lemon with your espresso, Mr. President?

Finally, Marianne Gingrich, Newtie’s second wife suggests, in a cleverly timed interview, that the recently surging candidate was making some extra-marital decisions with his “cazzo.” These have been forgiven in the past but conducting the activities in the nuptial bed and making loving evening phone calls to the current wife while in the presence of the “other woman” do take the activity to a new level. Even in politics. It will be interesting to see his share of the female vote on Saturday.

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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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