Our apologies for bringing the Weekly look a day late.
…And the World:
Greece appears poised for new elections. After each of the top three vote-getting parties failed to reach a deal on a coalition government and the President of Greece failed to broker one, the only solution left is fresh elections. If Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party wins the top slot as polls suggest, it could form an anti-austerity government that rejects the European bailout with it. That would likely plunge Greece into political and economic chaos if it get booted from the Euro as a result. Europe would then have to use all its strength to keep the rest of the Euro together and prevent an economic catastrophe. The Guardian has a view on what a “Grexit” would look like.
Notably, Ireland may face a similar choice that could expel it from the Eurozone depending on how the people vote.
Meanwhile, the other election from last week leads to a more stable result. Francois Hollande was sworn in as the President of France today. Wasting no time amid the Eurozone tempest, Hollande immediately went to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Last week, the Washington Post grabbed the attention of the media and political watchers with a story about Mitt Romney’s “vicious” attack on a schoolmate perceived to be gay when the ex-governor was 18. Now, such reach backs into history are of debatable value. However, if there is one analysis you should read on the subject to contemplate whether the ghosts of teenage Romney live on in adult Romney, it is this one by the Boston Phoenix’s David Bernstein.
Meanwhile, no, Mitt, the bulk of the nation’s debt is not President Obama’s fault as almost all of today’s deficit is due to policies passed under President Bush. Indeed, based on the Time’s The Caucus blog, Romney engaged in more lies saying the President bailed out the “public sector.” Yes, a reduction in public sector jobs of 500,000, a first for a recession, is bailing out the public sector. Tell that to the Springfield employees who are staring down the barrel of layoffs this fiscal year.
With the Wisconsin recall race heading into its final three weeks, Democrats face an uphill battle to unseat Scott Walker. Oddly, despite the poll herein linked, it seems unlikely that Mitt Romney will win Wisconsin in November. It almost makes you wonder if Wisconsin Democrats should have held off on their timing to try and force the recall to match up with the Presidential election. Either way, for Democrats to win this critical recall election, they’ll need to lean on turnout hard core. However, new video of Scott Walker showing he had/has plans to go further on union-busting could prove damaging to the embattled Republican governor.
The Massachusetts Senate race is back in the spotlight in a national, rather than State setting following JP Morgan’s revelation that it lost $2 billion in sketchy trades. Elizabeth Warren, the likely Democratic candidate to challenge Scott Brown, came out with a full-on media blitz pointing out more than ever Wall Street needs a cop on the beat. Warren was on Maddow, on CBS with Charlie Rose, in the Washington Post, etc…
The State of Things:
Questions are arising over the late-night move by Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty to move the Chelsea District Court into the oft-criticized Boston Municipal Court system. The action is being viewed as a play to help out an embattled ally of O’Flaherty’s, Kevin Murphy, the district court’s clerk magistrate. The move, which seemed to come without the knowledge of most member, would still require approval of the Senate and Gov. Deval Patrick.
In light of the Senate Race’s place in “The Feds” today, consider the bottom two paragraphs.
Cong. Richard Neal has aparently qualified for the ballot in his effort to run for reelection in his reconfigured district. As a result of a redistricting, Neal who was once Springfield’s mayor, has gone from the 2nd Massachusetts District to the 1st. He faces Andrea Nuciforo and Bill Shein who live in communities to the west added to the newly drawn district.
The Republican questions whether City Council President Jimmy Ferrera’s Casino Site Committee will have any real power or relevance as Western Massachusetts Communities compete for a casino license. The law squarely puts negotiating power in the mayor’s hands, although the City Council will have a role both under the gambling law and land use ordinances. It is hard not to wonder if Ferrera bumbled this one in another attempt to show off he can play with the big boys. Ferrera says he telegraphed his plans in January, but obviously not in any clear fashion. It is unfortunate because he is both right that the Council should be involved and he has assembled a pretty good group of people, but it may be for naught. If his impertinence only serves to further alienate the City Council from the casino process, we will all know who to blame.
Finally, Springfield’s LGBT community is ginning up enthusiasm for its second Pride celebration in as many years. Despite the city earning a designation for its gay-friendliness a few years ago, only in the past year has the city’s gay community begun to really capitalize on it. A full schedule of Pride events are available at the link, including a Flag-raising to be attended by Mayor Domenic Sarno.
Sen Chang-Diaz gives perfect response 2 opponents of studying #singlepayer healthcare – if we can go the moon, how can we not study this?
— Jamie Eldridge (@JamieEldridgeMA) May 15, 2012
Today the Massachusetts Senate is debating a bill to reduce Health Care Costs in Massachusetts. The bill is long overdue and had been expected to be worked on long before this point in the session. Still it is a necessary debate that the commonwealth needs to have in order to control health costs. It is the necessary second component of Health Care Reform. While this blog is agnostic about Single-Payer, it certainly must be investigated as an option. Indeed most English-speaking Western Countries like Canada and the UK use it to provide health care. However, the Massachusetts Senate voted down a proposal to merely “study” the issue. Buwuh? Studying is a bad thing? Senator Jamie Eldrige of Acton sums up the absurdity of that with a tweet quoting Boston Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, whose father is an astronaut (h/t David Bernstein). Really? We can’t even look at it? Eldridge has won our tweet prize before so although he is the technical winner of this week’s tweet prize, we hope he will tell Chang-Diaz for us that it really is a team win for the tweet prize today.