Opening Act: Forza Italia

A man exitsa voting booth at a polling station in Rome on February 25, 2013 during Italy’s general elections. Italians fed up with austerity voted in the country’s most important election in a generation, as Europe held its breath for signs of fresh instability in the eurozone’s third economy.


The most important political developments of the day will happen in Italy, where ballots are being counted in an election expected to go to the center-left Democrats and their allies.

The second most important, from the Senate calendar:

On either Monday, February 25, 2013, or Tuesday, February 26, 2013, it will be in order for the Majority Leader and the Republican Leader to introduce their respective bills replacing the sequester required under the Budget Control Act, which will both be placed directly on the Legislative Calendar.

I’m enjoying my Slate colleagues’ wise takes on the Oscars. There’s more to this stuff than listicles and GIFs.

House Republicans triple-down on blaming Democrats for sequestration, a campaign that has won them bupkis so far.

Daniel Foster wants GOProud back at CPAC:

Watch them operate and you realize that, unlike many social-issue activist groups on both the left and the right, GOProud understands that speed kills in the culture wars. A D.C. journo-acquaintance once complained to me, “What does GOProud actually do besides put out press releases?” Said journo is exaggerating, but it’s true that GOProud picks its spots. They’re playing the long game of acclimating gays to conservatism and conservatism to gays, and a large piece of that, frankly, is just sitting around quietly and behaving themselves.

Rick Perry manages to get a Harvard joke into a dismissal of Texas Democratic power.

John Stokes profiles the AR-15 as a gadget.

And Garance Franke-Ruta writes a powerful reminiscence of her days with Act UP, the activists commemorated in the Oscar-nominated How to Survive a Plague, which lost—unfairly—to the mawkish Searching for Sugar Man.