…And the World:
We begin today in South Africa, where The New York Times reports, leaders from countless countries will attend a service to honor Nelson Mandela, the nation’s former president, who died Thursday. President Barack Obama is en route with Presidents Clinton, Bush (W) and Carter. The Times of South Africa reports every living British Prime Minister and Prince Charles, representing his mother, will attend and The Guardian notes a few more in the contingent. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be there, citing costs. For a bit of process, Politico has a neat little story about the Secret Service’s hyper fast planning for Obama’s trip to South Africa.
The Mail and Guardian of South Africa has a tribute site to Madiba, a tribal name for Mandela, often used to show respect and affection. There are too many things to link to directly so we link to the site itself. The New York Times also has its own interactive site. Among its articles is this one about the “Beacon of Hope” Mandela continues to be in his country. Don’t miss their obituary written by former Executive Editor Bill Keller or some clear eyed analysis of South Africa’s lingering problems.
In Israel, Haaretz reports on Habayit Hayehudi, a party in Israel’s government led by Naftali Bennett, and the impact of its scuttling of a gay rights bill in the Knesset. Israelis are starting to take notice that Bennett and his crew are perhaps too conservative for comfort.
Protesters in Kiev knock down a statue of Lenin as President Viktor Yanukovich offers to open a dialogue with opponents. The protests began after the president withdrew support for a treaty that would form closer ties to the European Union. Meanwhile across the border in Russia, which is said to be the reason the EU deal was killed, President Vladimir Putin has scrapped his country’s official news agency in a sudden move and put in a controversial figure to lead the reconstituted entity.
Greg Sargent at The Washington Post opens his Morning Plum with word that a deal is at hand to do away with sequestration, while the news side of The Post calls the deal the equivalent of a cease-fire. However, it does not appear contingent upon renewal of extended Unemployment benefits despite high long-term unemployment figures in the country.
As HealthCare.gov is on the mend, The New York Times looks at some cases in which there may be reason to hope it will work out. That is not stopping absurd claims by members of Congress, however, who are discovering just how bad the old system was and why on balance Obamacare is at least a step in the right direction. They are not admitting it yet, though.
Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was sentenced today, but will face no jail time The Los Angeles Times reports. Filner resigned after winning election only last year after a mushrooming sexual assault scandal consumed him and his administration.
Northeastern governors are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to crack down on emissions from the Midwest that are blowing into the region and keeping air quality poor despite local crackdowns on polluters.
In January, Mike Duggan will become Detroit’s first white mayor in forty years. The Detroit Free Press talks to the last one, Roman Gribbs, who served one term in the early 70’s and took over from Jerome Cavanaugh. Gribbs talked about the dicey race relations in the city (during Cavanaugh’s term, the bloody riots of 1967 took place) and running a ship as big as the Motor City. Meanwhile, a profile of the man who effectively runs Detroit, Kevyn Orr.
The State of Things:
If there is a Tuesday in Massachusetts, odds are it is Election Day and tomorrow in the commonwealth’s very Democratic Fifth Congressional District it will be. Democrat Katherine Clark and Republican Frank Addivinola are competing to fill Ed Markey’s old House seat. The seat is sapphire blue and the real race was the Democratic primary earlier in the Fall, but Dems are taking no chances even against the very conservative Republican nominee. WGBH has a commentary that questions Clark’s avoidance of debates.
The Attorney General’s office has ruled that 10 of Worcester 11 city councilors did not violate the open meeting law when Mayor Joseph Petty, who is a voting member of the Council issued a press release related to short-lived efforts to get a slot parlor.
The Longmeadow Select Board remains wary, if not opposed to accepting a surrounding community agreement with MGM and has been displeased with its offers. However, the board is divided about the efforts some of its members are making to call out the gambling company. On a related note the Gaming Commission will rule this week on Suffolk Down’s plan to move its entire development into Revere after East Boston voters rejected a casino there.
Maura Healey, a Democratic nominee for Attorney General was endorsed by David Sullivan, the Nortwest District Attorney (covering Franklin and Hampshire counties).
The Fourth Estatements:
New highs and lows for some metropolitan dailies. The Denver Post became the brunt of jokes for appointing a marijuana editor as Colorado hurdles toward pot legalization in January. However, its efforts are no laughing matter at a paper that taking the beat seriously and is doing well compared to many of its peers. Closer to home in Rhode Island, The Providence Journal is up for sale. Rhode Island Public Radio has a remembrance of its better days.
David Carr, the New York Times media columnist (yes this edition of MMM is overwhelming Times-heavy), has a piece on the threats to freedom of the press both in China and, yes, Great Britain.
MGM has been recommended for suitability subject to conditions by investigators for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The reports notes some bad HR housekeeping on the company’s part. The final decision by Commission is due later this week.
Sean Curran is retiring next year from the 9th Hampden House district. The overwhelmingly Springfield based seat (one of Chicopee’s precincts is in the district), is due to attract a lot of attention, we have found.
Springfield celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Municipal Group. While the ailing Campanile is in need of repairs, the festivities highlighted the history of the complex including the destruction of its predecessor and its survival of an anarchist bombing.
The death of Nelson Mandela appears to be one of those rare moments in which the world and its leaders are brought together in a way they so rarely are. However, the honors and remembrances of Madiba is not just in larger than life events in a soccer stadium, where the service will be held. Some of it is in simpler moments. These moments that may be seem larger than life because of the players, but are universal. Today we award the tweet prize to the American Embassy in South Africa. Although the words are fitting for the players and the late Mandela, the simple act of signing of the condolence book could just as easily be that of a friend remember a friend of his. The Embassy tweeted a photo of the words the American ambassador left behind and called for the US “partner with your children to fulfill your vision.”
— US Embassy SA (@USEmbassySA) December 9, 2013