Manic Monday Markup 8/25/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in France, where the government has just resigned after a row opens up between the Economy Minister and the rest of the government run by Prime Minister Manuel Valls and President Francois Hollande. Arnoud Montebourg, the economy minister, criticized the nation’s austerity plan and neighboring Germany, which he sees as behind the effort. The dissolution of the cabinet will allow for a new government to be organized.

Libyan Islamist militias have apparently taken Tripoli’s airport and thus the capital as well. While the loss is a blow to hopes that the Libya can hold itself together, the Parliament elected this year retains international recognition and access to the nation’s oil reserves.

In ISIS today, the radical Islamist militant group has taken an airbase in Syria, not far from their regional headquarters. Meanwhile, British officials say they are close to identifying the man who appeared to kill journalist James Foley in a video released last week.

The New York Times writes about how apparent systemic fraud in Afghanistan’s presidential runoff may make a full, peaceful, democratic transition with legitimacy in the eyes of all nearly impossible.

Russia will send another convoy of aid to Eastern Ukraine despite Kiev’s doubts about its neighbor’s intentions. Meanwhile, Ukraine marks 23 years of independence from the Soviet Union.

Another Cairo-brokered Israeli-Hamas ceasefire on the way?

The Feds:

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the transfer of military grade equipment to civilian police departments.

The investigation into the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. continues at a snail’s pace. Meanwhile, The New York Times and The Washington Post both attempt to write about the background of the 28 year-old police officer who fired the shots that killed Brown, Darren Wilson.

E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post writes about how when Republicans run against Obamacare, they  are really only running against the word. Pollsters are telling Democratic candidates that once voters realize what is actually in the law, many find it ain’t so bad.

Speaking of running, a columnist for The Concord Monitor skewers Scott Brown’s campaign for US Senate in New Hampshire.

One of the contestants for the mayor of Providence, Brett Smiley, has dropped out of the Democratic primary in a bid to swing the nomination to another, Jorge Elorza. Elorza, in turn, may be in a better position to keep two-time mayor Buddy Cianci out of City Hall again.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy may get an early Christmas present if independent Johanthan Pelto cannot get on the ballot. So far the signatures Pelto collected are coming up short, but the final count has not been certified.

Amidst a scramble of last minute information, California strips away the last vestiges of the anti-immigrant Proposition 187, stricken by federal courts years ago.

The State of Things:

State officials and Pan Am railways have agreed in principle to transfer the rail line from the Vermont border to Springfield over to the commonwealth. The deal, which would permit additional upgrades along the nearly 50 mile route, is part of efforts to reintroduce regular rail service along the line.

The Mayor of Everett has been accused of sexual harassment.

A new transit station along the Orange Line will open this summer in Somerville, the first of many in fact. But will the city to Boston’s north be able to cope with the resulting growing pains?

Worcester State Rep. Mary Keefe defends her vote to censure former rep Carlos Henriquez earlier this year shortly before she voted to expel him. One of Keefe’s opponents in the Democratic primary, Phil Palmieri, has tried to use this vote against Keefe. For her part, Keefe says she supported censure because she felt voters, not legislators should decide Henriquez’s fate. When the censure vote failed, she joined the vote to expel.

The Fourth Estatements:  

A profile of the new head of NBC news.

City Slickers:

Repeal the Casino Deal advocates are not amused by talk among politicians to pass legislation that would enable MGM Springfield to be built if voters statewide strike the law.

The Reminder writes about the proposed Worthington Street redevelopment plan.

Our take on last week’s 10th Hampden State Rep debate hosted by the Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association. Also read Elizabeth Roman’s piece on Masslive.

Twitter Chatter:

Demographics, midterm turnout and a bad election cycle may well conspire to wrest the US Senate from Democratic control after eight years. However, despite that, Democrats have started to come out from under the bed on the Affordable Care Act. True, Republicans are still railing about “Obamacare,” but it has all, but faded into a rhetorical issue. The law is only worth ginning up the base and not so much stirring up moderates against Democrats. Still, that does not stop some GOP candidates from resorting to same pool of lies, primarily in that effort to keep the base riled up. Today we award the Tweet prize to “LOLGOP” a satirical handle based in Michigan that often makes light of and calls attention to Republican antics. There irony-laden tweet today brings together both the reality of the law and its opponents need to still deceive about what it does.


Manic Monday Markup 8/18/14…

The Feds:

We begin today in Missouri, where the unrest in Ferguson over the fatal shooting of an 18 year-old black teen by police has prompted Gov. Jay Nixon to call in the National Guard. While demonstrations were largely peaceful, a few instigators apparently moved on the police command center last night. The New York Times reported last night on a second autopsy conducted on the slain teen, Michael Brown, showing he was hit six times, although there is still not enough information to assign blame. The federal government will conduct a third autopsy. The results of the first by St. Louis County officials have not been released and locals and some officials have grown frustrated with the pace of St. Louis prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch’s pace of investigation, namely the arrest of the officer involved Darren Wilson.

Supporters of Wilson, all but one of whom were white, many family of police, held a rally in St. Louis proper yesterday. Meanwhile, the story has been capturing an increasing amount of international attention, at one point leading the bulletins for the BBC World Service. Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson on Wednesday. President Obama also spoke today decrying looting and violence while saying excessive force and infringements on free speech by police are unacceptable.

…And the World:

Kurdish and the Baghdad-based Iraqi government claim that they have taken back the Mosul dam (or are close to taking), which provides water and electricity for huge swaths of the country. President Barack Obama today praised the retaking of the dam and the new government formed in Baghdad. Under the control of ISIS, the radical Islamic group, there were fears the dam might be breached and pose a danger to hundreds of thousands, including US embassy staff in Baghdad. The US provided critical air cover to degrade ISIS equipment. Yet Britain, which is now involved in more than humanitarian assistance, says the overall operation could take “weeks and months.”

Rebels in Ukraine are accused of attacking fleeing refugees, but the pro-Russian separatists deny any attack happened. Meanwhile, amidst heavy fighting in Luhansk, Ukrainian forces have claimed to raise their flag over a police station. Luhansk had been a rebel stronghold.

A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas has expired, although no new attacks on either side have happened yet, although word of a new deal has hit the Internet. Israel has said it will hold its fire unless attacked. The government is also claiming it uncovered a Hamas plot to instigate a third intifada and overtake the Palestinian Authority in Gaza. I a related vein, the man who killed an Arab teen in retaliation for the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teens, the Washington Post reports, is the son of a rabbi.

Pope Francis in South Korea urges peace and dialogue with the North.

The death of a Brazilian presidential candidate in a plane crash roils an election, but his popularity soars. In other South American news, Julian Assange has said he will leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London soon and submit himself to British authorities.

The Feds (cont’d):

In non-Ferguson news, Rhode Island’s primary is just as close as Massachusetts’ and in Providence that will primary will all, but decide the mayoral contest. A briefing on that race from Rhode Island Public Radio.

A profile of Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan, most prominently) and the battles he’s waged so far. Next on the list, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Los Angeles may turn to prizes to encourage voters to show up and participate in the city’s elections.

The legal wrangling has flared up before Detroit’s historic bankruptcy trial commences late this month. The beginning of the trial has already been pushed back twice.

Vermont’s former Senator Jim Jeffords, who swung control of the US Senate briefly to the Democrats thirteen years ago, has died.

The State of Things:

The Boston Globe compares “Mahty” to de Blasio. A study in contrasts between the first few months of both Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tenures.

Also, the Globe‘s take on the Treasurer’s race. Oh, you didn’t know? We have that on the ballot, too. Elsewhere in statewide races, the Green Party has candidate, but not for governor this year.

West Springfield mayor Edward Sullivan has announced a golf tournament to fight hunger.

The campaign to preserve or repeal the state’s expanded gaming law has begun per the Associate Press.

Candidates for everything under the sun face off…well sorta…in 16 Acres at the Fortress of Clodotude. Ward 5 Councilor Clodo Concepcion and emperor president of the 16 Acres Civic Association moderated. Not stated in the article, but it was about what you would expect from our buddy Clo.

City Slickers:

Springfield’s two legislative contests in the House have events and articles! Masslive has details from the interview a couple of weeks back for the 9th Hampden Candidates (East Springfield, Pine Point and 16 Acres). Meanwhile, this Thursday, the Amoury-Quadrangle Civic Association will host the 10th Hampden candidates (North End, Downtown, South End and Forest Park) candidates.

Per a release from City Hall, Mayor Sarno has a new aide, Minnie Marrero. She replaced Jose Delgado, who we reported a couple of weeks ago, left the mayor’s office for a job at UMass’s Springfield center.

Okay, we’ll bite. At-large Councilor Tim Rooke is looking at the new raises that Domenic Sarno approved for city workers.

Twitter Chatter:

Today in obvious, Ferguson is the focus of this week’s Twitter Chatter and the well of candidates is quite deep. There are so many dimensions to this story and indeed Twitter may be part of the reason why it is a story (and one that must be covered). But we will focus on sentiment and contrast this week. Dozens of reporters from news agencies from around the world have descended on the St. Louis suburb, but one tweet from Matt Pearce of the Los Angeles Times caught our eye, showing the Florissant Avenue, the epicenter of the unrest.

The other tweet is the sentiment of Antonio French, the St. Louis alderman, who has been integral to trying to keep the peace. Quoting President Obama, he agreed that both sides must work to heal, rather than wound each other. For hitting such poignant notes, we award the tweet prize to Pearce and French. Both and the many handles they retweet are worth a read beyond what we’ve highlighted.