Manic Monday Markup 8/24/15…

…And the World:

We begin today in China, where a market selloff has prompted a global retreat in stocks. Fear indices are up and yields for the safety currencies as down as weak growth in China’s economy has prompted panic. While there is plenty of good news in the developed world, the developing world has been beset by China’s instability falling oil prices.

The Islamic State has apparently detonated a 2000 year-old temple in the ancient city of Palmyra.

Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan calls new elections after his party was unable to form a government after those held this past spring.

While three Americans and a Brit stopped a terrorist attack on an Amsterdam to Paris train, now Europe must confront how it can protect its soft targets, especially amid such a surge in radicalism. Meanwhile, French officials bestowed the Legion d’honneur on the individuals who subdued the attacker.

The Economist argues that the election of Jeremy Corbyn as head of the Labour party is also bad for the Tories, who currently control the government. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown comes out in support of Yvette Cooper.

Leaks of recordings of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak have roiled the Israeli political establishment. The one-time Labor Prime Minister and later Defense Minister under Benjamin Netanyahu has slammed Bibi’s behavior while the country pondered attacks on Iran and before and after the deal that released captured solider Gilad Shalit. The situation is also fueling speculation about Barak’s return to politics. He may also sue the media over the recordings.

In what has become dog bites man in Brazil, another powerful lawmaker is caught up in a corruption scandal.

The Feds:

With a Biden run possibly in the air, Politico writes it is dividing those within the Vice-president’s circle. This comes after a clandestine meeting with Senator Elizabeth Warren. Meanwhile Massachusetts Rep Seth Moulton seems keen on a Biden bid. But Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair isn’t worried about Biden.

In a solid score for President Obama, Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid says he will vote to sustain the deal during anticipated congressional votes disapproving the deal.

The New York Times profiles the Clintons’ lawyer, David Kendall.

Letitia James, the New York City Public Advocate (the position Mayor Bill de Blasio held before his current post) has filed more actions against the city on behalf of city residents than her predecessors did in the previous 20 years.

After some speculation last week, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy confirms it has met with GE officials who have made increasing noises about fleeing the state it has called home since the 1970’s.

The State of Things:

A major project to extend the MBTA’s Green Line could cost as much as $1 billion more than previously expected. The project would bring the line to an area of Cambridge and Somerville that are currently underserved and in need of transit. Thus, The Boston Globe reports, shelving the project is not a preferred option, though downscaling several elements of it is.

Senator Elizabeth Warren does not commit to reelection in 2018.

Last week our Editor-in-Chief Matt Szafranski joined Lioness Magazine’s Natasha Clark and NEPR’s Carrie Healy to discuss a ballot question on caged-chickens, the Department of Children & Families and Gov. Charlie Baker.

Agawam’s Clerk Richard Theroux is leaving his post to seek a Council seat.

NEPR writes about the impending first day of school in Holyoke—which is the also the first day schools will open under state control.

Worcester Magazine considers its home town’s Main Street and finds it rather quiet.

In Longmeadow potpourri: the School Committee established a subcommittee to select a consultant to help in the search for a new superintendent following Marie Doyle’s retirement. In news of particular note to Springfield, Longmeadow hires the city’s deputy DPW director, Mario Mazza to be the town’s new DPW director.

The Fourth Estatements:

Politico Massachusetts launches with its first Playbook produced by former Dorchester Reporter scribe Lauren Dezenski. Though it had a few dry runs last week…

Rolling Stone tries to move on after the UVA Rape story and changes at the top of its leadership.

An influential professor of journalism, particularly the evolving state of college media, at St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia died suddenly.

City Slickers:

ICYMI: Our report from last week’s Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association mayoral forum (sans the incumbent).

Elevator problems had bedeviled its smaller sibling down Chestnut Street. Now Chestnut Towers, the city’s tallest residential building, is having problems with the lifts. Except that building, at the corner of State and Chestnut, has 30 floor to service instead of 17 at Chestnut Park Tower at the corner of Chestnut and Harrison.

Twitter Chatter:

The MBTA’s new costs estimates for the Green Line extension are eye-popping and if its gets shut down due to cost, the results will be devastating. It is easy from Western Mass and declare this project will do no good, but it should not be hard to understand the impact. Sure Union Station’s renovation is far-cheaper, but what if its once-escalating projects killed it off for another generation? All that growth & opportunity Springfield is now counting there woudl be gone. Now imagine the impact of losing a line to clear up congestion of an area choking on the demand for better transit access. Today we award the tweet prize for former Deval Patrick staffer and Alliance for Business Leadership Executive Director Jesse Mermell for underscoring the impact of losing the Green Line extension. A failure to invest in our infrastructure is already killing us and smothering growth. We should not allow stick shock to hold us even further back.


Manic Monday Markup 8/17/15…

…And the World:

We begin today in Thailand, where a bomb went off a shrine in Bangkok. Some unconfirmed reports indicate that as many as 27 are dead, including foreigners. Two additional unexploded bombs have been found as well. The blast, at a site popular with tourists, has also reportedly injured 67.

President Barack Obama’s administration has warned China to curb the number of operatives it has in the United States. However, the Chinese government waved off the warning.

In Israel, despite his razor thin major in the Knesset, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could get by for up to two years—if he can pass a budget. The Times of Israel reviews the carefully choreographed dance Bibi must do to keep himself in power and his government from toppling for lack of a budget.

In the UK Labour party’s leadership contest, former Foreign Secretary David Miliband (who lost to his brother in 2010’s leadership election) has come out in favor of Liz Kendall, who by now seems like a longshot. Given Jeremy Corbyn’s surge, some candidates are facing pressure to drop out. But Corbyn may be facing some last minute problems as questions arise about his ties to anti-Semitic organizations.

ICYMI: Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry raised the American flag over the once and again US Embassy in Havana.

While Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faces rebellion over the new Greek bailout deal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel maneuvers to avoid dissent within her own Haus.

The Feds:

Hawkeye Hope? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turned in a widely praised performance at the Wing Ding dinner Democrats in northern Iowa hold. The next day she fired back at Jeb Bush for his laying blame for Iraq’s mess at Clinton and Obama’s feet (aparently Jeb doesn’t know he has an older brother).

The reality of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s surge is subjective (the only poll showing him ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire deserves suspicion until confirmed by another poll), but so may be Clinton’s resurgence in Iowa, a state wherein she placed 3rd in 2008. Moreover, her attempts at outreach are complicated by celebrity she cannot escape. Meanwhile, Clinton campaign chair Robby Mook wrote a memo to reassure nail-biting “Acela Corridor allies” that things are just fine.

Donald Trump released his immigration plan and Chris Christie slams it.

Under pressure since a series of #blacklivesmatter disruptions at his events, Sanders insists he will fight racism in the US.

Power Post today debates the life, death, resurgence or none of the above of libertarianism in America.

As New Jersey and New York governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo harrumph about building the desperately needed new rail tunnel under the Hudson River (actually Cuomo is being more petulant), NY Senator Charles Schumer steps forward with an idea.  A new entity that could marry the various resources all the stakeholders can access. Second Avenue Sagas sounds a rare note of hope in light of Schumer’s proposal.

Democratic Connecticut congressman John Larson of East Hartford is backing the Iran deal, but he has sponsored legislation authorizing the president to attack Iran if the deal doesn’t work.

The State of Things:

Reminder Editor-in-Chief Mike Dobbs opines that the sudden plethora of local races are proving more interesting the ever-burgeoning national contest playing out in the early primary states.

Also in The Reminder, the hit both MGM and the state will take by delaying the opening of MGM Springfield for a year.

Get up to speed on Beacon Hill with NEPR’s Henry Epp and State House News Service’s Matt Murphy.

Holyoke Mayoral candidate Fran O’Connell has laid out his economic agenda, but remains mum about revelations by a former campaign staffer about crude remarks about women and his intention to all, but cede mayoral responsibilities to focus on the economic issues.

A battle in Beverly for that city’s mayoralty.

We weigh in Hampden Sheriff Michael Ashe’s decision to put on hold plans to relocate the Western Mass Alcohol Correctional Center to the North End of Springfield.

The Fourth Estatements:

With the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching, The Times-Picayune, whose valiant coverage in the face of the storm received wide praise (and a Pulitzer), faces even more cuts, according to The Huffington Post. The parent company of The Times-Picayune also owns The Republican/Masslive.

In a mix of the above and below headings, Mike Elk, Politico’s labor reporter who also sought to organize the publication’s workers, is apparently out.

It’s Working:

The push for a $15 minimum wage could have an unintended consequence at restaurants, which may rely more heavily on automation instead of paying workers that rate.

City Slickers:

Ward 3 Councilor Melvin Edwards’s attorney in his lawsuit against the Dunbar Community Center is entirely about recouping medical costs. More to the point, lawyer Thomas Rooke tells The Reminder this is primarily a dispute between Edwards’s insurance company and Dunbar’s.

Masslive’s Dan Glaun writes about Springfield Finest’s attempts to build trust with the Forest Park neighborhood.

The Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association holds a mayoral forum this Thursday.

Twitter Chatter:

With still six months until any voting begins, the presidential contests can only get stranger from here. You can tell when the media themselves are getting jumpy when they start observing the Inception-like oddities of the race rather they just ignoring them like good Washington-beltway denizens. Today we award the Tweet prize to NBC producer Frank Thorp V. Tweeting from the Iowa state fair he observed the strange convergence of events. Hillary Clinton’s walk around the fair and Donald Trumps circling of it—from a helicopter. It’s going to be a long fifteen months…


Manic Monday Markup 8/10/15…

…And the World:

We begin today in Turkey, where a series of attacks have occurred. Among the places targeted is the US Consulate in Istanbul. Shortly before the shooting at the consulate a bomb went off at a police station on the other side of the city. But the added chaos of the attack and recent government assaults on militant Kurds suggest President Recip Tayyop Erdogan is preparing to order new elections. The deadline for a government to be formed is August 23.

Israel, still roiled by an arson attack on a Palestinian home that killed an infant and his father, continues its crackdown on Jewish extremists, believed to be responsible for the murders. Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did condemn the attacks forcefully, a Haaretz columnist notes that Netanyahu has all but disappeared from the round of condemnation, and failed to back up Reuvin Rivlin, following death threats made against the latter for his emotional condemnation of recent attacks. Peter Beinart, also in Haaretz, notes that Netanyahu’s attempt at moral superiority in terms of terrorism is factually wrong.

Meanwhile, the Israeli far-right, whom many blame for stoking the flames of violent Jewish extremism, has resorted to—ahem—overkill to show a terrorist is a terrorist. Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett has called for the death penalty for Jewish terrorists. Before the arson, most supporters of the death penalty implied it was meant for Palestinian terrorists. Israeli technically has capital punishment, but it has only been used to kill Adolf Eichman.

South American potpourri: Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez is term-limited, but her party seeks to hang onto power. This week’s primary is widely seen as a referendum on her legacy. Meanwhile corruption allegations and calls for impeachment continue to dog President Dilma Rousseff whose Vice-President is gaining stature amid her fall.

IN the UK Labour party’s leadership election, alarm appears to be growing over the rise of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn. The Guardian interviews Liz Kendall, who appears the least likely to win. They also speak to Harriet Harman about her interim leadership.

The BBC assess the state of the West and Russia’s relationship with a former Russian official.

NPR remembers the bombing of the atomic bombs on Japan.

The Feds:

Despite last week’s humdinger of a debate and Donald Trump’s untoward remarks about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, there is little evidence Trump’s surge in the Republican party’s presidential primary has abated. Indeed, party elders fear Trump’s continued presence could damage the GOP’s chances to win back the White House next year.

Hillary Clinton will unveil her plans to make college affordable including some free tuition programs for community college, although after her Democratic rivals already have.

ICYMI last week. Masslive reviews the legal case behind MGM’s suit against the State of Connecticut.

A protester was shot over the weekend in Ferguson, Missouri during protests markings the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. A state of emergency has been declared in St. Louis County amid the unrest. If you missed it from last week, read The New Yorker’s write up on Darren Wilson, the cop who fatally shot Brown.

DC’s new mayor gives herself a pat on the back.

The State of Things:

Boston’s Police Commissioner Bill Evans would like to see legislation to restrict filming of police by civilians. Evans, in his defense, appears to be talking about just giving police distance to do their job without a camera right in their face, although that would probably be a tough pill for civil libertarians to swallow willingly.

The blogger who goes by the name Hester Prynne lays out the politics behind the upcoming sales tax holiday.

NEPR has a look ahead at Beacon Hill’s week, which appears to mostly be housekeeping while the legislature otherwise takes its summer break.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission approves MGM’s one year extension of its opening date.

The Fourth Estatements:

In governments behaving badly toward the press, the trial of a Washington Post reporter held is Iran nears its conclusion. Conversely, German federal prosecutors back off of a treason investigation of two bloggers. Prosecutors in Albany drop a charge seemingly connected to a former editor of the Albany Times-Union.

But don’t think that the press is doing better across the board in the West. Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, who was arrested last year in a McDonalds during the Ferguson protests, but later released, has been formally charged. Apparently this was in the works for some time.

It’s Working:

Vice is the latest in a long list of new media companies whose staff have voted to unionize.

City Slickers:

This Republican editorial on historic preservation doesn’t really make a point and it also paints Springfield preservation advocates with broad, unfair brush. The Springfield Historical Commission, after meeting with MGM, gave up the fight quite easily on structures that were old, but no longer really historic. It only fought on the ones that were, such as the YWCA.

The proposed North End location of the Western Mass Alcohol Center is becoming a mayoral campaign issue. Resident, Hampden Sheriff Michael Ashe and Mayor Domenic Sarno are to meet on the matter, soon, although the mayor’s office issued a press release today touting the center’s impact on the South End.

Perennial candidate Miguel Soto announces write-in mayoral campaign, joining the six individuals already on the preliminary ballot slated for next month. Sure, why not?

Twitter Chatter:

The late-breaking news that Post reporter Wesley Lowery has been ordered to appear before a St. Louis County court for…um…adjusting his backpack. No, maybe following orders. Well whatever, the formal charge is for trespassing and interfering with an officer, not that the evidence supports that. He was arrested alongside Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly. Readers may remember Lowery, who worked for the Boston Globe during the bombings, 2013 mayoral race and more. He has become one of the Post’s point men covering Ferguson and related unrest around fatal shootings at the hands of police.

Cold comfort, we know, but obviously Lowery wins the tweet prize. Following news he was charged, in a somewhat darkly humorous tweet, Lowery observes he and Reilly had bet whether they would be charged before the year-long statute of limitations expired. Reilly proved right. But perhaps what really earns Lowery the prize is this tweet, his first one not about the charges. He goes right back to the issue at hand, his beat, by tweeting a graphic about the number of people killed in police altercations this year. He’s making a point to move the story off himself and onto the issue. Washington could use more of those people in the press and in office.


Manic Monday Markup 8/3/15…

…And the World:

We begin today in Canada, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who leads the Conservative party, formally ordered the dissolution of parliament, which the country’s governor-general (the Queen’s formal representative) did, touching off what might be one of the nastiest and longest election campaigns ever for our neighbor to the North. Adding another touch of intrigue this is the first campaign for the leaders of the New Democratic and Liberal parties, respectively Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau (son of the former premier). Neither led their respective parties during the 2011 election.

Israel continues to reel following the arson in a Palestinian village in the West Bank that killed an infant and seriously wounded his brother and parents, which officials have deemed terrorism. Following a wave of international and domestic condemnation, including from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, more poignantly President Reuven Rivlin, the Israeli cabinet voted to use administrative detention against Jewish terrorists, who are believed responsible for the firebombing, in the same manner as Israel often does with Palestinian terrorists. For too long, many argue, a different standard and/or uneven justice has been applied to Jewish settlers who employ violence against Arabs.

The broader calls for tolerance came as one of the victims of a stabbing attack during Jerusalem’s gay pride parade succumbed to her injuries.

Meanwhile, even former Israeli defense brass are calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to drop what looks increasingly like an unsuccessful bid to block the Iran deal. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry appears to have won over some Arab Gulf states worried about the deal.

In the United Kingdom, many in the Labour Party appear determined to arrest the rise of leftist Jeremy Corbyn. Fears are high among many in the party that Corbyn’s views are out of touch and could doom the party to a permanent minority.

The French Island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean is awash in intrigue after what may be part of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 came ashore. And they’re finding more debris

The Feds:

President Barack Obama announces his climate initiative today, calling for stricter standards that previously anticipated. The plan has been called the strongest ever, particularly where power plants are concerned. Although ambitious, includes reliability failsafes to ensure access to electricity is not affected and to clear legal hurdles.

Over the weekend, the Democratic primary for president received a jolt when The New York Times reported Vice-President Joe Biden is feeling out a presidential run. The Hillary Clinton campaign itself has been weighing the impact even as Clinton launches her first ad in the contest.

Nonsense on the Republican side from who will compete in the debate to the Koch Brothers’ new whitewashing effort to dress themselves up as champions of the poor and even the next Martin Luther Kings. Republican presidential candidates laid themselves out for the Koch’s donor network, giving the nation’s top bureaucrats a chance to kick the candidates’ tires and see who is available to buy and would serve their narrow interests best.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was indicted last week for state securities violations that occurred before he took office this year. The Dallas Morning News says his silence indicates he will engage an all-out battle for his political career.

Planned Parenthood, under new threat after a right-wing activist group began posting videos it surreptitiously recorded and often misleadingly edited, is pushing back. The sale of fetal tissue, at the center of the tapes–inconveniently for Planned Parenthood’s opponents–has had the support of Republicans in the past who are now leading the charge against the organization.

The State of Things:

Our report last week, on top of competitive mayoral and School Committee races, Holyoke’s City Council election includes 30 candidates among the 15 positions on the body.

State Senator Karen Spilka is pushing for more women to be appointed to the boards of directors of corporations.

More of a Connecticut story where the track work actually is, but major construction has begun on the Springfield-New Haven commuter rail line.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin has filed a ballot question to update the Public Records Act on the chance that the legislature does not act before the 2016 election. This follows Gov. Charlie Baker’s executive order, which only affects the agencies under his purview.

So far the Massachusetts delegation is lining up behind President Obama on the Iran deal.

The Fourth Estatements:

A writer for The Guardian considers its coverage of the Labour party leadership race, specifically that of Jeremy Corbyn.

The New York Times’s public editor devotes her bi-weekly printed column to the Hillary Clinton email inquiry story. Responding to readers upset about The Times’s false reporting, she said she received a commitment from Executive Editor Dean Baquet to do better on its coverage of Clinton. Not a free ride, but a fair shake.

Rolling Stone appoints a new managing editor in the wake of the UVA story imbroglio.

Politico makes its next move into Massachusetts.

It’s Working:

Verizon landline employees, including about 5000 in Massachusetts opted against going on strike when their pact with the telecom giant expired Sunday morning.

City Slickers:

Included without comment: Mayoral candidate Michael Jones’s interview with The Republican.

Ward 3 City Council Melvin Edwards alleges in court documents that the Dunbar Community center, the site of an accident where he Edwards sustained a fall and blew out both of his knees, was negligent in allowing water to accumulate. Edwards says he fell after slipping on the floor during a charity basketball game there. Edwards’s suit seeks for damages principally for medical expenses and little else.

Twitter Chatter:

Grab a hold of your innards because the only thing that may soften the blow is that the tweet prize is shared this week. Ready? Donald Trump wins the tweet prize this week. Yes! Why? Because even though the shameless, racist, absurd campaign of a man destined only to be the showman-in-chief has a point. Republican ultra-funders like the Koch Bros. are trying to stop Trump and thus he was not invited to the beauty contest they held for other Republican candidates. Trump called this out for what it is:, begging for money form the nation’s rich and powerful. Whether staged or not, the Donald has a point.

But to restore your faith in humanity, Trump is, ironically, sharing the tweet prize with President Barack Obama in the guise of his official POTUS account. Today’s new climate announcement could be infinitely important in the battle to keep our home, Earth, habitable and vibrant for future generations. The President, invoking children both alive and yet to be born in a tweet taken from his speech today, says the nation and the planet can meet this challenge and the capacity exists today to do it. For this we award Obama the tweet prize as well.