Members of the Italian metalworkers trade union Fiom-CGIL hold a placard reading "Enough now!" during a protest in Rome on March 9.
Credit Filippo Monteforte / AFP/Getty Images
Members of the Italian metalworkers trade union Fiom-CGIL march during a protest in Rome on March 9. Thousands of trade unionists protested on a day of strikes against auto giant Fiat and the government's plans to overhaul labor laws to make it easier to fire workers.
Credit Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, shown here during an EU summit in Brussels on March 2, is facing his biggest challenge yet over proposed changes to the country's labor laws.
Italy's technocrat prime minister, Mario Monti, came to office less than five months ago as the country's finances were in a tailspin. And now he could be facing his toughest challenge yet — pushing through changes to labor regulations.
Italian labor rules ensure job security for older workers but can condemn the younger generation to a series of insecure, temporary jobs.
Since taking office, Monti has pushed through a round of tough austerity measures, budget cuts, pension reform and some deregulation.
When 93-year-old Rachel Veitch picked up the newspaper on March 10 and realized that the macular degeneration in her eyes had developed to the point where she couldn't read the print, she knew it was time to stop driving.
But there's much more to the Orlando, Fla., woman's story.
The decision meant she would no longer be getting behind the wheel of her beloved 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente, a car she calls "The Chariot." Veitch has pampered her ride for nearly five decades and 567,000 miles.
Imagine you've scored hard-to-get tickets to the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. Now, imagine you're so excited that you make big a deal out of this: You buy plane tickets, you schedule some golfing of your own, you invite three buddies. And then, one day you get home to find only chewed pieces of the tickets attached to the strings that came with them.
Suddenly, it dawns on you: "The dog ate my tickets."
Incumbent presidents generally try to cast their re-election contest as a choice between the imperfect but well-meaning and effective occupant of the White House and the far worse alternative offered by the rival party.
Challengers, on the other hand, try to frame a presidential race as a referendum on the sitting president whose record nearly always contains missteps, or who can be blamed for trouble in the economy or elsewhere.
In short, whether it's the president or the challenger, the way the game is played requires each to define the opposition as well as himself.
Lauren Goss of Knoxville, Tennessee, uses a self check-in machine to issue her boarding pass in front of an Independence Air ticketing counter at Dulles International Airport May 2, 2005 in Centreville, Virgina. In our second hour, Marketplace special correspondent David Brancaccio talks about his series, Robots Ate My Job, and how technology is becoming a bigger part of our lives.