…And the World:
We begin today in Austria, where the world powers negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program have announced an extension of talks with the Persian nation until July. US Secretary of State John Kerry has said new ideas have arisen and the temporary agreement will be extended. Israel, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which long opposed a deal, appears relieved that no final pact has been reached, while Kerry promises more in the future to reassure Israel.
Meanwhile Israel’s government continues to be wracked with turmoil over its Nation State bill, which would codify the nation’s Jewish identity, namely its flag, anthem and right to citizenship. Netanyahu is said to delay movement of the bill for now, but remains determined to pass it even amid US calls for the country to maintain its commitment to democratic principles. Members of Bibi’s coalition including Hatnuah’s Tzipi Livni, the Justice Minister, and Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, the Finance Minister have balked at language adopted from far right-wingers, which has been criticized as anti-Democratic and would undermine equality for Arab Israelis. Both say they will not back the bill in its current form before the Knessett, possibly prompting their dismissals from government and forcing new elections in the process.
Turkey’s President Recip Tayyip Erdogan doubts gender equality.
A Sidney Morning Herald columnist questions Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s steering of the nation’s foreign affairs vis-à-vis China and the US.
Staying in the neighborhood, a Republican-led panel in the House of Representatives largely clears the administration of wrong-doing in Benghazi.
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced his resignation. Reports in The New York Times say she was pressured, that is forced out, after criticism of his steering the Pentagon amid global crises. Former Defense Undersecretary Michele Flournoy is a leading candidate, but Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed has taken himself out of contention. WPRI’s Ted Nesi tells us why. Vox discusses why replacing Hagel will not solve the administration’s foreign policy problems.
A grand jury in St. Louis County, Mo. is said to have reached decision as to whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson, the Ferguson copy who shot and killed Michael Brown last summer.
Marion Barry, the former Mayor of Washington, died over the weekend. The New York Times and Washington Post reflect on his life in obituaries. Here is a look at how Barry kept rising from the political dead.
Democrats have narrowed their host cities for the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Columbus, New York (that is Brooklyn) and Philadelphia. While on the subject, The Nation considers when/if/how the Democratic party lost its soul.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, under criticism from within his part on foreign affairs as he considers a presidential bid, proposes the US formally declare war on the Islamic State. But is actually plotting to end the War on Terror?
The State of Things:
Transition watch: Charlie names his Secretary of Administration & Finance: Kristen Lapore. Elsewhere in Baker news, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse says he will be meeting with the governor-elect on the homeless in hotels.
Operation of the Mass Health Connector website this year appears much smoother than last year’s.
Holyoke Ward 4 Councilor Jossie Valentin and Springfield Ward 8 Councilor Orlando Ramos attend a national conference for Latino lawmakers.
Gov. Deval Patrick releases $42 million for the South Coast rail project which would link Fall River and New Bedford to Boston.
The Fourth Estatements:
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette has been sold again.
Erik Wemple, The Washington Post’s media reporter/critic, delves into word that network news personalities have met with Officer Wilson, but are keeping that under wraps. That leads to some criticism as to whether or not the media might be coopted by Wilson so he can sell his story.
City Council Mike Fenton holds a hearing on the use of casino funds going forward in future city budget, getting some attention from the Associated Press. Paul Tuthill interviews Fenton for this at Northeastern Public Radio.
MGM’s permit has a comment period through Christmas Eve.
Today was a pretty packed news day, but before the result of the St. Louis County grand jury is released, we would prefer to look at other news. The news that Secretary Hagel is leaving the Pentagon certainly prompted a host of reaction as to who will succeed him and how will that person’s confirmation process before the Senate go. However, some of the interesting commentary is about who will not go. Today we award the tweet prize to Ted Nesi, a political and business reporter at WPRI in Providence Rhode Island. Nesi notes his state’s senior US Senator has taken himself out of contention and it is not surprise. He puts it as a choice between a cushy, powerful gig in the Senate or a temporary and impossibly tough role in the Pentgon. Which would you choose?
Think about it: would you rather be a senior US Senator for the rest of your life, or a lame-duck cabinet sec’y with a very tough portfolio?
— Ted Nesi (@tednesi) November 24, 2014