No Monday Markup Today 7/28/14…

We’re taking this Monday off. However, let us provide you with a few important links:

…And the World:

The situation in Gaza remains fraught as ever. According to Israeli media is the US’s fault (or John Kerry’s). According to US media Israeli officials are misrepresenting Kerry’s work. Even as it drags Israel through the mud, Hamas seems to be fighting for its survival.

Fighting draws investigators back from MH17 crash site and British PM David Cameron suggests more Russian-directed sanctions.

The Feds:

Sure the House and the Senate look depressing for Democrats, but governor’s mansions? It’s practically coming up roses.

Greg Sargent, as usual, gets your Monday started right.

The State of Things:

Read our profile of Brett Vottero, candidate for District Attorney. We are slowly working through the races. Expect more soon!

Wilbraham Selectman Robert Russell, running against Angelo Puppolo for State Rep wiped out $500K of debt in bankruptcy.

Warren Tolman changing his story on smart guns? Honestly we don’t know but the Lowell Sun seems to think so.

More State headlines from our friends at Massterlist.

City Slickers:

When the pols on the chessboard/ Get up and tell you what to think/ And you’ve just seen dumb campaign ads/ But you know it’s time to vote/ Go Ask Gladys/ I think she’ll know!

Twitter Chatter:

Not this week. We’ll be back next week!


Manic Monday Markup 7/21/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in the Ukraine, where Dutch investigators have arrived to take over the investigation of the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, shot down last week, likely by pro-Russian rebels. A train with the remains of the victims has apparently left a rebel-controlled town and Malaysia says the rebels have agreed to hand over the black boxes from the plane.

Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be urging both sides to let investigators do their work, after a series of tense conversations with the British & Australian Prime Ministers, both nations that lost citizens. Obama has urged Putin to keep his word. It occurs as European leaders feel more open to the harder line of the US. The BBC reports that the Ukrainian Government based in Kiev has ordered its forces to keep clear of the crash site. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, which is the home country of the overwhelming majority of the 298 dead, has been hit hard and one town in particular.

Russia is said to support Australia’s resolution about the downed airliner at the UN, if Russia is not blamed, however.

In Gaza, the Israeli offensive to root out Hamas militants that are firing rockets into Israel continues. However, the death toll is rising considerably among Palestinians and maneuvers over the weekend and today have been particularly deadly for both sides. Haaretz writes that it is clear that Benjamin Netayahu knew of the risks in launching a ground offensive (25 soldiers dead), and would probably like nothing more than an exit strategy. Despite calls from some members of the Israeli cabinet, there is no policy to reoccupy Gaza. Efforts continue for a cease-fire and President Obama has ordered Secretary of State John Kerry to find one quickly. And an Israeli voice against the move into Gaza.

And in “Not helping,” we have this little gem from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman.

Honduran bus operators and American Border guards are finding less children are trying to make their way north to the United States.

The Feds:

President Barack Obama signed an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT employees who work for companies with federal contracts. Local connection to the event under “City Slickers.” The order did not carry any significant religious exemption following fears that courts could use the Hobby Lobby decision to discriminate against LGBT employees.

Don’t miss our briefing from the Motor City on  the Warren-Clinton divide.

The Providence Mayoral contest remains as scrambled as ever according to Rhode Island Public Radio.

Chris Christie to resign in January in order to concentrate on presidential run? Don’t hold your breath.

In Georgia, Republicans Jack Kingston and David Perdue are making their final pitches to voters ahead of this week’s runoff. The winner will face off against Democrat Michelle Nunn.

The City of Detroit is suspending its shutoff of water to residents with unpaid bills for 15 days.

Montana is widely seen as a race that Democrats will lose come November, but a new poll finds the race tightening.

The State of Things:

It just is not a day in Holyoke without somebody trying to beat the crap out Mayor Alex Morse (figuratively, mind you). On the one hand, some cannot agree economic development projects are happening in the city. On the other, Morse continues to face what will likely be an adverse ruling about suppressing the terms of former City Solicitor Heather Egan’s exit. However, the Masslive article here seems more about advertising their appeal to the Supervisor of Records than providing any new information. The Supervisor does not, as a rule, lay out a timetable for review. Of course, such an article would not be complete without blind speculation by Morse’s opponents. Bottom line, Morse appears in the wrong on non-disclosure, but turning it into a sideshow as his opponents have is irresponsible.

Maura Healey has enchanted The Boston Globe’s Adrian Walker. A great summary of the race no matter where you stand.

Commonwealth Magazine offers some buzzkill to Martha Coakley’s aura of gubernatorial inevitability. Meanwhile, Democrats held a weekend of action to prep for the impending general that will follow September’s primary. Steve Grossman goes on the air.

Fiscally, Longmeadow is cool with Casino repeal or not.

City Slickers:

Detective Michael Carney of the Springfield Police Department was on hand for President Obama’s signing of the anti-discrimination executive order for federal contractors. Carney, who is openly gay and active in organizations that promote LGBT equality within law enforcement appears in shots of the president.

Springfield will sell some property to MGM ahead of the November referendum on casinos.

Ward 8 Councilor Orlando Ramos has an ordinance before the Council tonight that is designed to register the city’s apartment stock and thus regulate housing better against blight and unsafe conditions. It is based upon Boston’s ordinance.

Twitter Chatter:

Few mediums like Twitter have been able to capture both the scale of the tragedy in the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, but also the reverberation of outrage, disgust and struggle over getting answers. Appropriately, then the medium also conveys well progress, if one can call it that, on that front as well. Today we award the tweet prize to Maxim Erastavi, a reporter in Ukraine and Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak. Erastavi’s tweet noting the deal Razak hammered out with rebel leadership concisely describes the situation, but really, what forces Razak to share this week’s honors is Erastavi’s simple “Ok, wow,” which really underscores the surprise that something could cut through the posturing and tragedy and get something done.

However, the Prime Minister himself deserves plaudits, too. While we certainly agree the rebels did it and Russia is complicit if not directly responsible, one cannot fault Razak, only a few months after the other Malaysian Airliner disappeared, for taking a different path. His country withheld blame and now, it appears that at a minimum the dead will get the dignity they deserve. Honestly acknowledging the urge to react more stridently, for now it seems Razak has found a better outcome for now.


Briefings: Ready for Hillary, Pining for Warren…

Warren for President Swag (WMassP&I)

Warren for President Swag (WMassP&I)

DETROIT—On the second day of one of the left’s most prominent organizing and issues conferences, Massachusetts’ own US Senator Elizabeth Warren remained as hot a ticket as she did when the event was held in neighboring Rhode Island during her contested 2012 election. Prompting several standing ovations and a sea of “Warren for President” signs at Netroots Nation, the Cambridge Democrat laid out her vision of where progressive stand and the stakes involved.

Warren, who has by now grown accustomed to her rock-star status, seemed a bit surprised by the crush of signs and paraphernalia. Still, it took little for her to get past that point and what she wanted to discuss was in near total sync with the folks in the room.

Continue reading


Manic Monday Markup 7/14/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in Egypt, where the government there has proposed a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which has launched rockets at Israeli cities prompting retaliatory bombings of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli cabinet is set to meet to discuss the proposal. Doubts the cease-fire will work abound. Elsewhere, Israel shoots down a drone from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority calls for UN intervention in Gaza.

There is an effort in Afghanistan to reform its constitution and weaken the presidential powers, which have been near dictatorial, in favor of more power in Parliament. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend announced a deal between the two presidential contenders to audit all of the ballots from the highly contested presidential runoff.

In British political potpourri, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband wants to meet Barack Obama badly, but The Guardian says that alone is not going send him to Number 10 Downing Street in next year’s elections. It comes as a new poll shows Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party with a micro-lead, although it really is too far ahead in the future to read much into it. Cameron, meanwhile, is in the midst of a Cabinet reshuffle, which includes moving William Hague, the Foreign Minister, out of the cabinet. And the Church of England votes to allow women bishops.

South Africa’s antiapartheid Nobel Laureat, Nadine Gordimer, dies.

Skirmishes along the Ukraine-Russia border lead to flaring temperes.

The Feds:

There appears to be an emerging compromise to replenish the Federal Highway Trust Fund before it runs out of money at the at the end of the month. The White House also will begin ratcheting up pressure to get the funds in place. Independent economists agree with the urgency the White House is placing on the matter.

Elizabeth Warren has hit the road again heading into Red territory. She campaigned for Democrats’ Senate nominee in Virginia Natalie Tenant, the state’s current Secretary of State.

The AP looks at what is all but assuring the GOP hold the House, but also notes the lawsuits that could upend the party’s redistricting in Florida and maybe North Carolina, too.

Ads have begun to hit the Connecticut gubernatorial race. See the ones from Dan Malloy and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, who must face 2010 nominee Tom Foley before the general election against Malloy.

In the NY Labor beat, talks between the Long Island Railroad and its union appear to falter. Meanwhile, a bookstore owner who had fired four employees after voting to establish a union in his store, rehires four of the employees (he gave a severance to the fifth) after public pressure led him to reconsider his actions.

The State of Things:

Legislation has been filed to establish new protections for women’s health clinics following the Supreme Court’s striking of the Massachusetts buffer zone law last month. Also on Beacon Hill, Gov. Patrick issues his vetoes for the state budget, but the legislature may overturn some of them.

The Probation trial in federal district court will go to the jury this week.

Agawam Town Councilor James Cichetti discusses the resolution of his campaign finance reports and getting onto the ballot. Cichetti was denied a spot on the Democratic ballot because he had not registered as a Democrat in enough time. He claimed he received conflicting information between the Agawam town clerk and the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office and appealed the ruling, but it appears unlikely he will run if he wins.

The 1st Hampden & Hampshire Senate race comes to Mass Politics Profs. Jerold Duquette, one of the professors of the poli sci blog, discusses the political implications of ambition. He isolates Ludlow School Committee member Chip Harrington and former White House aide Eric Lesser as the major contenders in the race.

Elsewhere in the legislature, Rep. Aaron Vega describes his opposition to raising the state’s charter school cap. Meanwhile, perhaps facing a tough fight for a full term as senator, Senator Don Humason is touting some projects in his district as part of a bonding bill. Left unclear if whether he had anything to do with the projects’ inclusion or not, but an obligatory quote from him is there.

City Slickers:

Springfield officials announced their intent to sue to reclaim 195 State Street, formally the School Department building, on the grounds that the developers breached their agreement with the city. Work, some of which has been done, was supposed to be completed by now. While WWLP had a report today on the property, initial credit goes to The Reminder’s Mike Dobbs who raised questions about the project’s sluggish project in a June column  on casinos.

Our profile of Chief Administrative & Financial Officer T.J. Plante is up. Be sure to check it out!

Police Commissioner John Barbieri will meet with the Public Safety Committee to discuss his anti-crime initiatives.

Twitter Chatter:

Economic Development has and will likely remain one of the most crucial and difficult challenges of the City of Springfield. While other factors including crime, livability and infrastructure, few issues like the economy feed off of and into those other matters as much. Too often, it seems like the almost desperate need to find something, anything has driven a lot of the city’s development policy, which in turn hampers long term growth and the other issues that face Springfield. This is why today’s action on 195 State Street, whether win or lose, is good. Today we award the tweet prize to none other than the City itself. This comes DESPITE our discovery that the Mayor’s Office has blocked our Twitter account from the municipal one. While a bit cluttered from a stylistic point of view, the tweet conveys (with an assist from the media, see City Slickers) something that we are thrilled to see: accountability. Developers walk all over Springfield all the time and too often the city quivers in their wake. Not today, it seems.


Please Support WMassP&I through Election Day!

Yesterday, Western Mass Politics & Insight launched its first crowd funding campaign. This effort is intended to raise funds needed to continue providing the news, commentary & analysis of this busy local election cycle, while staying up on the policy and politics in the cities and towns of the Pioneer Valley.

I know many of our readers visit WMassP&I to see what is happening in Pioneer Valley politics and policy. It is a point of pride that we are able to be that source and to offer it in detail for readers from Springfield to Boston and beyond. From our campaign website:

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Matt Szafranski, Editor-in-Chief.