In perpetually restive Italy, even the grand city of Rome has succumbed to "degrado."
The grass in some public parks sways knee high. Disgruntled subway workers have slowed service to a crawl. Fire has rendered the city's largest airport crammed and chaotic. The arrests of public officials pile up, revealing mob infiltration of the city government.
It all adds up to what Romans call "degrado" - the degradation of services, buildings and their standard of living - and the general sense that their ancient city is falling apart. Even more than usual.
Italy's Forconi (pitchforks) movement in December, 2013, saw masses of Italians of all political persuasions rise up in opposition to their government's austerity policies. The protesters blocked streets and auto routes, stopped trains, battled with police and almost brought Italy to a standstill.
Italy was carrying the highest debt burden in the E.U. after Greece.
Meanwhile Spanish voters will be going to the polls sometime before December 20th. The election date is expected to fall in late November. Spain has it's own Syriza called Podemos that some believe/hope will emerge at least holding the balance of power in a multi-party parliament not given to coalition governments.
It would be nice to think that at least the Greek problem is settled but it's far from over. No one has any real idea of where Greece will be headed over the next year or two. Will Greece remain in NATO? Might Putin offer a better deal? No one's sure but no one seems to be ruling anything out either.