Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Short takes: In Italy the prime minister tries to hang on, while in Greece the banks foreclose on the government

Update: Reuters at 1:50 EST is reporting that Berlusconi will, indeed resign, but only after he wins a vote of confidence on the budget. That would mean he would step down in a couple of weeks. A lot can happen between now and then, including new deals that would shore up his government.

Frankly it's a boring day in media news today, but a fascinating one in international politics. While events in Europe might be considered outside the scope of TNM one of the great joys of publishing a website is throwing out the book and doing what you like.

In Italy, the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi has just won a budget vote. That's the good news for the PM; the bad news is that his absolute majority is now gone, and his coalition partner has asked him to resign.

But the wealthiest man in Italy may not do as he is told. For one thing, with so many accusations about his behavior losing power may be very dangerous, personally. Look for him to try and figure out how to cling to power.

In Greece, meanwhile, the Prime Minister George Papandreou is out. Having one a confidence vote on Friday, Papandreou lived up to his promise to exit. Who is taking over? It looks like it will be Lucas Papademos, an economist and the former Vice President of the European Central Bank.

In other words, the banks have foreclosed and are now in control in Greece. That should make the banks happy, but what happens out on the streets is anybody's guess.

Back in the U.S., where economic catastrophe is not something the general populace gets excited about, the news is all about Michael Jackson's doctor and a Big Ten football coach. One looks like they are going to jail for a while, the other may soon have plenty of time on their hands to go to the store to buy Depends.