Manic Monday Markup 11/26/12…
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story identified “George Pappas” as the developer questioning stalled activity at the old visitors center in Springfield. Peter Pappas is the developer, not George Pappas, who is a member of Springfield Forward.
…And the World:
Hourly after brokering a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, Egypt’s new president Mohammed Morsi touched nerve with a new “temporary” presidential decree that would have given him unprecedented power. It particularly inflamed the judiciary, whose jurisdiction the decree said did not include Morsi himself. Now, the New York Times reports Morsi and the judiciary have come to a compromise. The Guardian says Morsi accepted terms put forth by the judiciary which said that his decree would only apply to sovereign matters.
Across the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, with the ceasefire in place, Israel returns to politicking. Defense Minister and former Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barak announced his retirement from politics. However, one commentator on Haaretz, wading through Israel’s political muck, says Barak’s decision may have been premature. Also according to that paper, Likud, the party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, filled its Knesset slots with hardliners in a poorly executed primary over the weekend, ousting even the son of the late former PM Menachem Begin. Former Foreign Minister and Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni is expected to join elections, too, running in her own party despite overtures from among others, Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich.
Separatist parties in Spain’s Catalan region scored a victory in elections over the weekend, taking a sizeable chunk of the seats in the regional parliament. The governing party, itself a pro-independence party lost seats, but a left-wing separatist party won big. This outcome is another headache for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who is struggling to fix the nation’s economy and dealing with regional resistance to central government authority.
And another deal is reached on Greece. Whatever that means anymore.
The New York Times has a look at an effort by the Obama administration to effectively codify the rules the government uses in executing its drone program. Precipitated by the possibility of a Romney win and have free reign over this controversial area of national security law, the administration began writing rule book essentially. With Obama reelected, it is still a priority, just not a time sensitive one.
A bit old, but the Washington Post has an excellent profile of Patty Murray, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that defended and grew the Democrats’ majority in a year that was supposed to be catastrophic for Senate Dems.
The next Congress has not even been sworn in yet, and the elections have already begun. One is for Illinois 2nd Congressional district open after Jesse Jackson, Jr resigned over the holiday weekend. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has set the special election date. Also West Virginia Shelly Moore Capito, has announced she’s running for Democrat Jay Rockefeller’s Senate seat. Daily Kos has a good rundown, too, including questions of whether Rockefeller, the great-grandson of J.D. Rockefeller, Sr, is running. The early announcement by Capito may be an effort to encourage Rockefeller to retire, but also a means to build a bulwark against a challenge from the right, which already finds the arguably moderate Republican Capito objectionable.
Finally in the nation, Greg Sargent at the Washington Post discusses how serious Harry Reid is about filibuster, provisos and all, reform while Steve Benen at the Maddowblog notes that the death of compromise, which Republican claim reform will usher in, is really the GOP’s fault. Also on this, the New York Times history of the filibuster.
The State of Things:
Massachusetts’ revenue is coming in below projections and that is forcing the Patrick Administration to tighten the loose ends of the budget to keep everything in balance. One confirmed casualty, a 0.05% cut in the Income tax.
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse effectively reversed himself on the idea of putting a casino in the Paper City and entertain a proposal at Mountain Park. The new position elicited a media storm over the weekend until Monday when Morse explained himself at a “contentious” press conference, which featured a gaffe about a conversation with Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz. Morse ran on an anti-casino platform last year and defeated pro-casino mayor Elaine Pluta in 2012. Morse, speaking over hecklers, justified the change as a reaction to casino proposals in Springfield and their impact on the city. The reversal has already drawn one challenger and based on the Republican’s reporting, City Council President Kevin Jourdain, who has often tussled with Morse, may not be far behind.
Columbia Gas has opened a claims center and cleanup continues after last week’s gas explosion, attributed to human error, that leveled a downtown strip club and damaged other buildings. The investigation is ongoing, but the focus is turning on incorrect markings on the pavement for the location of a gas main that was punctured. While the damage has included several residential units, it was on the far end of downtown, and several areas closed initially have reopened. Still, as Maureen Turner points out, it is only the latest in a series of disasters to befall the beleaguered city.
The Springfield Intruder looks into the stalled redevelopment of the former William C. Sullivan Center building next to the Old Hall of Fame. Developer Peter Pappas has been prodding the city to either demand that Lustra, the selected developer led by Raipher Pellegrino, get to work or put the project out to bid again.
— Rebecca Lisi (@rlisi269) November 26, 2012
When news broke that Mayor Alex Morse was supporting a casino it raced through social media, in small part, because Holyoke actually has a growing community of users tuned into the city’s politics. While both important and mundane matters bounce around among a few pundits [raises hand], reporters, and media outlets (like us, too), that universe often seems very small. We are hopeful that Springfield Ward 3 Councilor Melvin Edwards, who recently resuscitated his twitter handle will remain in the conversation. However, today we recognize Holyoke at-large Councilor Rebecca Lisi for her contribution to the Twitterverse on this issue. Lisi, while expressing her continued opposition to casinos peppered out an even handed account of the events of the day as Morse tried to explain himself. The particular tweet we point out defines her position (in answer to a question). However it also notes the city’s difficult position and the power casinos had in the last election. For these reasons we award Councilor Lisi this week’s tweet prize.