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Manic Monday Markup 4/21/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in the Ukraine, where violence in the East has flared up again. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Ukraine is failing to hold up its end of a bargain made in Geneva among the US, EU, Russia and Ukraine. Meanwhile, The New York Times says the Ukrainian government has photos ties the armed militiamen in Eastern Ukraine to Russia. It comes as President Obama begins to see a better relationship with Vladimir Putin is a lost cause. Vice-President Joe Biden visits Ukraine.

The latest numbers say Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s lead in the Afghan presidential poll is growing, but still not enough to avoid a runoff.

Prosecutors have charged the South Korean ferry captain whose ship sank possibly killing hundred.  South Korea’s president has condemned the crew called their actions “tantamount to murder.”

Syria will hold a presidential election in June despite being in the midst of civil war.

Opposition leaders and the government of Venezuela reopen talks to end the months of protests.

A row between England and France’s right-wing parties?

The African National Congress in South Africa is pondering a post-Jacob Zuma world while on the provincial level, the party’s opponents are thinking about the prospect of coalition governments depending on how the May 7 elections go.

The Feds:

Still in the international realm, but more about a US shift generally, Obama will be going on a multi-nation tour of Asia to restart his pivot to the East.

NPR looks at a race brewing in a California Asia-majority congressional district between a longtime stalwart and a young upstart.

Former US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has trashed the McCutcheon decision. Stevens was on the bench when McCutcheon’s precedential father of the opinion, Citizens United, was decided and famously read his whole dissent from the bench.

More California Political Potpourri: The state League of Conservation voters have endorsed both State Sen. Ted Lieu and former LA Controller Wendy Gruel for Rep. Henry Waxman’s seat. Waxman announced his retirement earlier this year. Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, having returned to politics, is a no-show at a forum for LA County Supervisor candidates. Finally the City of Angels is urged to be more judicious in its tax break policy for hotels.

Baltimore’s top prosecutor goes door to door to talk to voters as he gears up for a reelection bid against feisty challengers.

The State of Things:

So far the Boston Marathon went off without a hitch, if under tight security. Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Meb Keflezighi of the US won the women’s and men’s divisions respectively. Keflezighi is the first American to win the men’s race since 1983. Ernst van Dyk of South Africa and Tatyana McFadden won the men’s and women’s wheelchair divisions. And “Mahty” talks with The Washington Post‘s Wesley Lowery, who in Boston working for The Globe this time last year. But he’s in Boston this weekend.

Former Rep. John Fresolo withdrew from the 16th Worcester Democratic primary last week, which at first seemed to give Dan Donahue, profiled last year, a free ride at renomination. Now it seems Donahue’s 2013 special primary competitor Josh Perro, may be gunning for a rematch.

The Boston Globe looks at the campaigns of Don Berwick, Juliette Kayyem and Joe Avellone who are struggling to get the same attention as Martha Coakley and Steve Grossman in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Governor Deval Patrick nominates a new Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Amherst and Leverett will consider regulation of drones at their town meetings.

Candidates to fill the remaining year on the School Committee’s vacant seat squared off last week at a forum hosted by Longmeadow Democrats. The office itself is nonpartisan

The Fourth Estatements:

Haaretz reports that even The New York Times struggles with gag orders from Israel. Although top editors at the US’s Paper of record seem unfamiliar with them.

City Slickers:

Opponents of casinos say MGM’s decision to request a delay in it likely award of a casino license  is a sign of diminishing public support and uncertainty around the repeal of the law. Springfield economic development officials disagree. Coincidentally, it comes as Boston mayor begins to show his teeth on the issue in his city.

A company has been hired to clean up the former Chestnut Street School site.

An update on Campanile restoration fundraising. Sorta.

Twitter Chatter:

There is little doubt in our minds that some of the commercialization and saturation of “Boston Strong” is not the best representation of the resolve that Boston and those that participate in its marathon. It is not in T-shirts or slogans, but in the human drama and perseverance in the fact of tragedy and horror. There are innumerable stories of pain, suffering, and recovery in the aftermath, and of course there is the deaths of Martin Richard, Lu Lingzi, Krystle Campbell, and a few days later Sean Collier. Among the stories is that of Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, who suffered oddly similar wounds, a lost left leg. Today we award the Tweet Prize to the Boston Globe itself for tweeting a photo of the married couple crossing the finish line. They crossed using hand-driven cycles, their arms locked as they finished. It may not be a popular opinion (we’re with Wes on this one), but survival and resolve is not personified in any few words. It lives in people.

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Manic Monday Markup 4/14/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in the Ukraine, where militants in the country’s east have ignored a deadline to evacuate occupied government buildings, although Ukrainian forces have begun to push back. The pro-Russian militants, who represent a distinct minority compared to the situation Crimea have seized offices in several buildings. Amid escalating conditions, Ukraine is calling for UN peacekeepers.

The Washington Post interviews France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whose party did well in local elections earlier this year.

The international panel looking at climate change says taking the steps to avert the catastrophic effects of Global Warming would have only a marginal impact on economies. Africa potpourri: A bus explosion in Nigeria, attributed to the Islamist group Boko Haram kills at least 71. Algeria’s President announces his controversial decision to run for a 4th term. Finally, The New York Times looks at the Oscar Pistorius trial in South Africa. The former Johannesburg bureau chief Lydia Polgreen explains why the trial has captivated the world while Alan Cowell profiles the prosecutor who has set his sights on the famous Paralympian.

Bill Shorten, who took over for the Australian Labor Party after its rout last year’s elections, is pushing some big reforms to improve the party’s standing and empower its membership.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah appears to have taken the lead in the Afghan presidential vote according to early returns, but almost certainly will not clear 50% and avoid a runoff.

The Feds:

It has not taken long for the Affordable Care Act to come back from the media feeding frenzy over Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation. Republican are practically rapturous about the chance to rake over the coals Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Obama’s pick to replace Sebelius at HHS. But then this happened. Apparently, Obamacare is actually coming in…cheaper! Meanwhile, we also breakdown and link to Ezra Klein’s new venture Vox, with a story about Obamacare derangement syndrome.

Hey look it’s Scott Brown…outside of “The State of Things.” The Boston Globe rounds up how Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen is approaching the campaign of the Granite State’s newest politician (and resident).

In a bizarrely scheduled Friday election, Connecticut Dems lost a seat to the GOP, after the prior holder died of brain cancer in Februrary.

The wife of the late Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell and grandmother to current Ocean State gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell, Nuala Pell has died.

The candidates looking to succeed retiring longtime Congressman Henry Waxman duke it out on stage.

And why isn’t filing taxes easier? Lobbying, it seems.

The State of Things:

The 1st Hampden & Hampshire gets put under the The Times’ microscope…well one of its candidates does. The story’s premise is about how President Obama has not seemingly inspired a generation of younger aspiring electeds, but much of the article is about the one who was. Eric Lesser, whose campaign has churned out news and updates at such a clip that even our aversion to blow by blow news has compelled our attention, scored a front page story in the nation’s paper of record. Indeed, we will have more on this later.

The compendium of marathon coverage and reflections is long and broad a year after the Tsarnaev brothers allegedly tore a gash in the annual tradition. From the story of the Richard family to the impact on UMass Dartmouth, some stories beyond “Boston strong” iconography (plus Chris Faraone smacking Scott Brown around).

It looks like Springfield is not alone in the struggle to remake its downtown. Worcester business leaders call for the city’s many colleges and universities to make a commitment to the downtown of the Hearth of the Commonwealth.

Shawn Allyn, a candidate for District Attorney, noted that he was gay at a forum last week. More on this later this week.

William Gorman prevailed over Peter Punderson in the East Longmeadow Select Board race last week.

The Fourth Estatements:

It’s Pulitzer DAY!!! The Washington Post and The Guardian shared the coveted Public Service prize for the Edward Snowden NSA stories. The Post also nabbed the explanatory reporting award for a great series on food stamps. The Boston Globe, observing a moment of silence for Marathon victims, receives Pulitzer for breaking news. The New York Times bags two prizes for photographs, including a feature on Marathon Bombing victim Jeff Bauman.

City Slickers:

The Springfield Preservation Trust worries that if MGM does, in fact, come to Springfield, several historic properties could be demolished lacking the protection of historic districts or the city’s new demolition delay ordinance (the casino zone was explicitly exempted). MGM has included some plans to incorporate facades into its plans.

A noteworthy piece on proposed redevelopments of a Springfield apartment building the city has put out to bid.

Maureen Turner updates the schedule for the budget meetings for city departments.

Twitter Chatter:

It turned out that waiting to finish the Markup today was worth it. Today is Pulitzer Day, when Columbia University announces the prizes for print journalism. There were many of the prizes, some referenced above, but the honor the Boston Globe received today, appropriately happened ahead of Marathon Monday next week. Boston Globe editor, in addressing the newsroom after the award was announced said it was the story “none of us wanted to cover.” Today we award the tweet prize to Globe Political Editor Cynthina Needham for capturing this moment both McGrory’s statement, but also the image. Congrats Globe staff.

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Manic Monday Markup 4/7/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in Afghanistan, where amid relatively little violence, voters cast ballots for president. Hamid Karzai is not on the ballot this time and the vote could prove to be an event that lets the beleaguered and war-torn country’s move on as US troops begin to withdraw.  Turnout was high and promised violence by the Taliban failed to materialize and did not intimidate voters. Ethnic complications remain, however. Should no candidate get 50% +1 of the vote, a runoff will be held. Counting the final results is expected to take weeks.

Not too far away in India, the world’s largest democracy begins its multi-week voting process. Polls suggest the Congress Party, run for years by descendants of Jawaharlal Nehru will lose as India’s middle class considers its options. The New York Times looks at the controversial career of Narendra Modi, whose party could win the elections and make him Prime Minister.

Quebec, too, goes to the polls, amid  separatist undercurrents that have hurt the ruling Parti Quebecois. Costa Rica elects a center-left President. Indonesia votes Wednesday.  The world’s largest Muslim country, Islamist parties appear set to do poorly.

Pro-Russian protesters, although representing too sizable a minority of the city to be taken seriously (yet), declared the Ukrainian city Donetsk independent and urged Russian president Vladimir Putin to send troops as he did in Crimea. Donetsk is one of the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine’s east, but far less ethnic Russian than Crimea. The Washington Post reports that officials in Kiev are scrambling to contain the unrest, including sending top officials to the east.

Officials in Rwanda remember the genocide twenty years ago.  NPR has some good stories on how it began, the search for justice in France and where Rwanda goes from here.

While victory was probably unlikely this year, the main opposition party in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance, suffers another defection to the ruling African National Congress.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman seems to hold all the cards in Israel these days. The Russian-born head of the Yisrael Beinteinu party, also seems bullish on immigrants’ prospects in the Israeli politics saying there may be a Russian-speaking Premier soon. Watch out, Bibi!

The Feds:

Gallup says the uninsured rate in the United State is at its lowest level since 2008. That damn Obamacare strikes again!

Maryland follows Connecticut, raises the minimum wage to $10.1.

An awesome profile of US Ambassador to the United Nationa, Samantha Power,.

Edward Kennedy, Jr., the son of the late US senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, will announce for State Senate in Connecticut. He would be seeking the seat held by retiring State Senator Ed Meyer.

Candidates in Long Beach, Calif. are squaring off to fill the mayor’s office. Mayor Bob Foster is calling it quits as a crowded field competes to run the city in need of a turnaround.

On the one hand, Governor Chris Christie may have some good news. New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney says the legislative committee investigating the Bridgegate scandal may need to pause if its effort to subpoena documents fails (or nevermind). On the other hand, the Christie administration paid nearly half the value of a Sandy relief contract after the state fired the contractor—a third of the way through the job. And Christie’s spokesman appeared before a grand jury…looks more bad than good.

The State of Things:

Congressional and state leaders gathered in Boston to promote a drug take-back event. Meanwhile Boston may close its only public methadone clinic.

Congressional leaders are urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid to swiftly approve a plan to reopen North Adam’s emergency room.

In potpourri, Worcester’s quest for a permanent City Manager goes on. Interim manager Edward Augustus says he does not want the job permanently. Commonwealth Magazine asks if casino support is slipping.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives approved its own minimum wage bill.  Markedly different from the Senate’s, it sets up a confrontation on the issue that could force proponents to go to the ballot instead this Fall.

Westfield’s newly minted State Rep John Velis and three other Democrats elected last Tuesday are expected to be sworn in April 16 per The Boston Globe. State Senator-elect Jason Lewis has yet to have his swearing in scheduled.

City Slickers:

Police Commissioner-designate John Barbieri has a contract signed with the city and he will present his plans to residents tonight at a meeting at Van Sickle school. The Republican interviewed Barbieri at a meeting of the paper’s Editorial Board. Ron Chimelis (who we thought was a sports columnist) also chimes in.

Meanwhile, Mayor Domenic Sarno and club owners are trading insults and complaints after a shooting near a club downtown. Dog bites man.

Twitter Chatter:

Twenty years ago, a rising tide of ethnic violence led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans in one of the world’s worst failures to stop a genocide. As innocents were slaughtered the world did not do nearly enough to stop the bloodshed until it was too late. No one knows how much  earlier intervention could have stopped the death, but that kind of humanitarian intervention is fittingly also one of the things Ambassador Power subscribes to. Today we award Samantha power the Tweet prize for her tweets marking 20years since the massacre. Rightly, she notes in the tweet we have highlighted that the remembrance is not just about recounting the horror, but summoning the determination to move forward. Power is leading a US delegation to Kigali, Rwanda to mark the anniversary.