Manic Monday Markup 5/21/12…
…And the World:
World leaders have descended upon the United States for talks, first at Camp David, and now in Chicago. G8 leaders met at the Presidential Retreat in Maryland, sans newly re-inaugurated Russian President Vladimir Putin. The G8 summit focused on Syria, Iran and of course Greece and its ever-growing woes. In Chicago, NATO leaders met and formalized a plan to hand over security to Afghan forces as planned in 2014. However, the rift between the United States and Pakistan remained, complicating supply lines between landlocked Afghanistan and the NATO countries that need to resupply their troops.
Alexis Tsipiras, the leader of Syriza, the Left-wing partly likely to win elections in June and largely seen as the reason Greece failed to form a government, was in Paris warning the continent of the risks everyone faces if austerity is not rejected everywhere. However, there are efforts to form a new alliance in Greece to counter Tsipiras rise, which is widely seen as a harbinger of Greece’s exit from the Euro, despite his stated desire for Greece to remain in the single currency.
A new debate on how far anti-Bain Capital ads go in attacks on Mitt Romney. Newark, N.J. Mayor and Obama supporter Cory Booker criticized “personal” attacks which appeared to be a reference to such ads as well as the aborted effort to re-tie Obama to the controversial pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Still, the broader debate has led the Obama campaign to recast its attacks on Romney as an effort to undermine his claims as a jobs creator. Romney’s claims to be a jobs creator, at least on the scale he purports, have been shot down by fact checkers (as have jobs charges Romney’s hurled at the President). Still, as the Plum Line notes, it risk alienating Democrats with ties to the investor class, with whom, incidentally Booker is quite close. Booker appears to be backtracking on his comments, but Ezra Klein at the Washington Post also sets straight that Romney’s problem at Bain is not what he did, but what he should have learned…and didn’t. Also check out the President’s superb rebuttal to Romney’s key qualification.
Rare for the Republican, but their story on the National Review’s eagerness to paint Elizabeth Warren as a plagiarist, gets them a spot in “The Feds.” Last week as the right-wing tried desperately, albeit successfully, to keep the heat on Warren for trivial issue, the standard bearer of Conservative thought overshot the bow and accused Warren of plagiarizing another book on financial planning. Except, they used the paperback publishing date, not its hardcover debut when comparing it to another work. Indeed, Warren appears to be the victim, rather than the culprit of a plagiarism scandal. The Review’s shame here.
And bizarreness in Minnesota. After Rick Santorum won its caucuses, Ron Paul supporters have hijacked its delegates from the Land of 10,000 lakes and depressed many longtime party activists. While not viewed as endangered generally, the event also had the effect of benefiting Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, who faces reelection this year. The Republicans’ choice is a not-very-well-known high school teacher who also bows at Ron Paul’s altar.
The State of Things:
A note of political interest in Westfield, for once, where the City Council recently selected a replacement for Peter Miller of Ward 3, who resigned last month. Councilors selected Ann Callahan, a former aide to former Westfield Mayor Kevin Sullivan, now the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Under Westfield’s charter, the council must select the next highest vote-getter, which could have resulted in the bizarre situation where the loser of the one-on-one for the ward race could have been selected. However, Miller had no opponent in 2011, meaning that the Council had a free hand to pick whomever it wanted. It took four ballots, though.
AMEN! A Boston Herald reader speaks!
The Supreme Judicial Court threw out the statements made by a Northampton Arson suspect in a case that, before the suspect Anthony Baye was caught, had left Noho gripped with fear. The court said State Troopers “employed multiple problematic tactics” that required the charges to be thrown out. Hampshire County prosecutors will continue to pursue the case, however.
In the middle of the Valley Press Club Roast, City Councilors received a terse response from Mayor Domenic Sarno after they demanded better from the mayor with regard to the City’s finances. Councilors had complained earlier in the week that the mayor was slow to inform them of the state of the city’s finances and suggested he was trying to box them into passing his revenue measures lest the council be blamed for city layoffs. On the link to the mayor’s response, Bill Dusty has included links to both the Council and the Mayor’s letters.
City Council Planning and Economic Development Committee looks at the Mayor’s nominees for the Historical Commission while the full body looks at a few home rule petitions and the planned revision of the city’s ordinances that take place every quarter century or so.
Springfield’s City Council receives an odd, but well-earned award for holding the most fascinating public meetings. Pete Goonan, who like your editor-in-chief has the distinct honor of watching almost every meeting is quoted as calling them “entertaining,” which they most often are, despite otherwise soporific topics.
— ProgressMass (@ProgressMass) May 21, 2012
Today’s tweet prize winner is Progress Mass, who turned us onto the Herald letter linked above. For pointing out a notable failure of the media to actual get a clue from its own readers, Progress Mass wins the tweet prize. However, in true form of a tweet prize winner, Progress Mass also brought us to contemplate ourselves. Do we do the same thing? Well, yes and no. We are not a frontline media company like the Herald (sorta) is. We do not deny the fact they we engage in advocacy journalism in both reporting and opinion. The Herald makes no such declaration. Moreover, the response we get from readers is mostly positive. Certainly if we are guilty of the same thing as the Herald is, then our response is (a) we are not the Herald or anything like what they purport to be, but also (b) the only negative feedback we get is the errant, terse and wholly uncreative missive that neither illuminates nor offers any intellectually credible advice. There are left-wing publications guilty of far worse than the Herald as there are right-wing rags guilty of far worse than the Herald. We feel we do not belong in either extreme. In the end the comparison is apples and oranges. Introspection is always welcome and for also spurring it in us, even if we and Progress Mass agree on most things, the fine people over there win this week’s tweet prize.