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Posted at 09:41 AM ET, 11/08/2011

Read-this roundup: Italy’s economic yardstick: pasta; Congress’ smokers are safe

Let them eat risotto!

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is so out of touch that he has invented a yardstick for measuring his country’s economic success: As long as the trattorias are crowded, it’s all good. Our colleague Anthony Faiola reports that Berlusconi believes the “the nation could not truly be in crisis as long as its restaurants remained crowded with diners.”
Italy’s economy is fine, because fine pastas are still in demand, PM says. (Edward Schneider for The Washington Post)

Wonder if we could adopt the same metric. And would McDonalds count?

In other news, we’re so relieved to hear that Congress’ Smokers’ Caucus can safely continue their meetings on the Speaker’s Balcony off the House floor (that sound is John Boehner’s sigh of relief). Our colleague Ed O’Keefe reports that there’s a new effort underway to ban smoking from within 25 feet of all federal buildings -- but, of course, Congress is exempt.

So let the puffing resume.

And this line from our colleague Mike DeBonis’ story about mayor-for-life Marion Barry caught our eye:

“Barry, 75, has long been reluctant to acknowledge a District without himself in power.”

By  |  09:41 AM ET, 11/08/2011

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