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Manic Monday Markup 11/24/14…

…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.

Tunisia, one of the few bright spots coming out of the Arab Spring, holds its first Presidential election since overthrowing its dictatorship in 2011. The race appears poised for a runoff.

Staying in the neighborhood, a Republican-led panel in the House of Representatives largely clears the administration of wrong-doing in Benghazi.

UK potpourri: Britain plans stronger anti-terror legislation. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said to not stand for reelection to Parliament in May’s elections.

The Feds:

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 Slickers:

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.

Cathedral High School remains top on the agenda among many in the city as supporters rallied last week. Our analysis of the situation.

Twitter Chatter:

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?

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Manic Monday Markup 11/17/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in Israel, where between the rioting in Jerusalem and political maneuverings in the government, events appear to be hurtling the tiny nation to new elections. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition appears close to toppling. Netanyahu, the leader of Likud approached the religious parties, currently in the Opposition, about swapping out Yesh Atid led by Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Hatnuah, led by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Meanwhile, business leaders and allies of Yesh Atid asked the same leaders if they would join a coalition with Labor and Yesh Atid in charge and give Likud and Netanyahu the boot. Neither appear to be happening so elections appear nigh, despite the rhetoric. Eyes are also on Naftali Bennett, the head of Jewish Home, who could ultimately make or break Netanyahu’s coalition and usher in new elections early next year.

Meanwhile, Livni has engaged her own war with Netanyahu over legislation that would define Israel as a Jewish state, linking it with its democratic status, which many see as an election season ploy by Netanyahu. Livni says the law would be duplicative (the nation’s identity is enshrined in its declaration of independence) and would harm Israel’s minorities. She has her own bill, which, ostensibly, the Knesset will consider. Haaretz condemned the Netanyahu’s bill in an editorial, calling it “democracy for Jews only.” Meanwhile, Israel’s economy is contracting.

In international leadership potpourri: Burkina Fasco names a new interim leader. Okinawa voters elect a governor opposed the US base there. Romania’s Prime Minister concedes the runoff election for the country’s presidency.

With the uproar about Ed Miliband’s leadership seemingly calmed after an effective speech he gave, Labour now turns to keeping it that way by reminding its members that if they split, they will lose. Labour has gone on the attack against the UK Independence Party, a nationalist political movement that generally poses more of a threat to the Conservatives rather than Labour, but generally has been sapping votes from traditional Westminster Parties. Miliband also went on offense urging Green party voters to go with Labour instead since they share much in common…including distance from Tony Blair. Lurking the background. The Scottish National Party may hold the balance of power after next year’s election.

A schism in South African labor could imperil the African National Congress in next round of municipal elections.

The Psychology of Vladimir Putin’s international actions, which make sense to Russians. Putin bailed on the G20 conference in Brisbane, Australia early. In better news, President Obama got climate change into the G20 statement despite host Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s opposition to action on greenhouse gas emissions.

Pope Francis to visit the US next Fall.

The Feds:

Senate Democrats back President Barack Obama’s plan for executive action on Immigration, something that is with plenty of precedent. But there may be dissent from the caucus.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says that progress is being made (re)training Iraq forces to take on ISIS.

Incoming leader of the Wyoming Senate, Republican Phil Nicholas, says the state’s reliance on mineral production means the state needs to confront what impact it is having on climate change…wait what!?

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy doubts the public has much appetite to expand gambling, but will let the legislature take the lead on whether it will consider a new gaming outlet to staunch any losses from new Massachusetts casinos.

Maine Democrats consider their losses.

CNN considers whether the GOP ran afoul of coordination laws using Twitter.

The State of Things:

In transition watch: Baker picks his chief of staff and his Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary. The EEA Secretary, Mathew Beaton, is a Shrewsbury State Rep, whose resignation will prompt [sigh] another election. Local Super-Democrat Jason Palitsch seems primed to run in the special, however. Republican Hannah Kane is in the race already. In a related item, a Baker transition member resigned last week.

Where all the Teddy staffers have gone as reported by The Boston Globe.

Also in The Globe, after essentially five years of elections, the Bay State appears to be settling down and refocusing on Beacon Hill. That does not mean Democrats are not already eyeing 2018. Masslive also has a list of Dems to watch.

A Holyoke Police officer was canned for pointing his weapon at a fellow officer. The police union is none too happy about the termination.

Our post on Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee Chair Candy Glazer and her committee’s impact on giving Longmeadow its blue tint.

City Slickers:

ICYMI: Michael Fenton to stay on as Council President in 2015.

Mayor Domenic Sarno requesting $5 million in blight and roadwork funds.

Twitter Chatter:

For all of the fun about Massachusetts politics finally settling down, the fact is we may yet see a spat of local elections between now and the next likely contest (2018). These elections are important and should not be underplayed. Today we award the Tweet Prize to Lance Harris, a Central Mass blogger about politics, who put together the field for Matt Beaton’s seat almost as soon as the first entrants declared from the competing tweets of David Bernstein and Palitsch himself. Certainly more may do so. Will Palitsch have a primary opponent? Is Kane who Baker’s people want? (she was one part of one those women love Chas groups). For that quickness amid the light-speed blasts of Massachusetts politics news, Harris scores the win.

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Manic Monday Markup 11/10/14…

Welcome back after our absence last week due to Election Day!

…And the World:

We begin today in Britain, where the Labour party has been riled by anonymous criticism of its leader, Ed Miliband in the press, forcing frontbenchers to come to the party leader’s defense. Taking the form of a promise to back new leadership if, and only if, former Home Secretary Alan Johnson agrees to take the helm, the criticism has complicated Labour’s tenuous hopes of winning next year’s Parliamentary elections. Miliband’s top aides and party elders have defended the would-be Prime Minister, while Johnson himself disclaims any interest in becoming leader and also backs Miliband. But the damage may already be done, not that Brits are thrilled with either of the major parties.

Following Jewish demonstrations on the Temple Mount in violation of longstanding agreements about how holiest sites in Jerusalem are managed, riots, shootings and terrorism have gripped Israel. Some extreme ideas have bubbled up from the government and Knesset, even as the government tries to keep order. An interagency row over the summer war in Gaza has erupted within Israel and could the right-wing Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman be the what the doctor ordered for the wounded region?

Twenty-five years have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Catalonia region of Spain votes for independence, but Madrid does not recognize the results.

President Obama’s agenda in China is to improve relations with leadership.

Has the Islamic State’s ruler been wounded?

The Feds:

After Republican trounce Democrats in Senate and Governor’s races, Canadians are confused by Americans’ electoral choices.

Amid the wreckage of Democratic campaigns last week, a few surprises. Democrat Scott Peters prevailed over Carl DeMaio, who, had he been successful, would have been the GOP’s sole gay Republican congressman.

California Democrats are already looking past the midterms to potentially open US Senate seats in 2016 and 2018 as well as when re-reelected Governor Jerry Brown will be hemmed in by term limits. A rundown on the likeliest names to emerge. On a more local level, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee says he will seek a second term.

President Barack Obama strikes an important blow in favor of net neutrality.

New York doctor who was diagnosed with Ebola is expected to be released tomorrow.

Connecticut potpourri: The state budget shows some cracks. Amid leadership elections, the Republican House caucus elects its first woman leader. Jim Himes of southwestern Connecticut’s congressional district wants to lead House Democrats’ election arm.

election arm.

The State of Things:

Governor-elect Charlie Baker met with Democratic legislative leaders, all of whom promised cooperation with the new governor and vice-versa. Of course, Dems retain supermajorities limiting Baker’s movement.

Eric Lesser, who prevailed last week in his race, may be the youngest member of the Massachusetts Senate, but Ryan Fattman, a Republican alter-ego of sorts to Lesser, is not much older. Until unseating Richard Moore last week, Fattman was mostly known for remarks interpreted as insensitive and anti-immigrant—and licking his wife in a mailer.

WWLP’s In-focus talked to the incoming electeds, including Lesser, over the weekend.

City Slickers:

Stakeholders in the Forest Park areas of the city discuss improvements to the X intersection of Belmont Avenue, Dickinson Street and Sumner Avenue.

Springfield names its new Community Television studios after the late Theodore DiMauro, who served as mayor in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Masslive rounds up the imbroglio brewing over Roman Catholic Bishop Mitchell Rozanski’s perceived wavering on the rebuilding of Cathedral High School.

Twitter Chatter:

We mostly backed the Democratic ticket last week, but in the spirit of moving on, we were looking to award the tweet prize to a certain successful Republican…but his tweets since last week have proven insufficient to judge. Maybe next time. Instead, we will recognize another transition. Massachusetts political scribe David Bernstein is leaving the Bay State to join his wife in Virginia. For now, we recognize a tweet that links to one of his last in-person appearances on WGBH’s the Scrum. The tweet even offer a bit of hope that he will appear in the studios again. Adam Reilly of WGBH is this week’s tweet prize winner for noting Bernstein’s departure and linking to the Scrum’s podcast, which, we hope, will not be Bernstein’s last.