Italy's Misruling Class

Illustration for TIME by Jonathan Burton

Senator Gustavo Selva was running late. With downtown Rome blocked off for President Bush's one-day visit in June, the veteran Italian lawmaker had to cross the capital to get to a live television appearance. Selva confronted the challenge with all the brio — and arrogance — of a man of his station: he phoned for an ambulance and had it dispatch him to the address of his "cardiologist," which, of course, was that of the TV studio. Once on air, Selva, a former radio news executive, proudly dished out the tale of his own resourcefulness, hailing his ruse as "an...

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