Manic Monday Markup 5/11/15…

…And the World:

We begin today in Great Britain, where the Labour party is undergoing soul-searching as Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron unveils the first all-Tory cabinet in 18 years. Cameron’s party won a surprising majority in last week’s election and the heads rolled in Labour and the Tories one-time coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats. The xenophobic Ukip party leader, Nigel Farage, also signaled he would leave leadership, but has since withdrawn his resignation. Meanwhile, as Labour begins the process of picking a new leader, the campaign its former leader, Ed Miliband, received a thrashing from the man Ed defeated in the 2010 leadership contest: brother David Miliband.

In Israel, forming a coalition is hard to do. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly met last week’s deadline to form a coalition (supported by 61 of 120 Knesset members) but getting his new government through parliament is proving difficult. Members of the Opposition are opposed to Bibi’s plans to expand the size of the cabinet, although the courts have stepped back from freezing the bill to expand the cabinet itself. Netanyahu insists he wants to expand his government to include some opposition parties, but so far the biggest one, the Zionist Union, is not biting. Though Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev warns the left that Israelis may not blame Bibi for his government’s failures.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott appears to be rolling back a parental leave bill that actually expanded women’s participation in the workforce.

The Saudi king is skipping President Barack Obama’s Camp David security summit with Middle Eastern countries.

Poland’s presidential election is going to a runoff after the opposition party wins the most votes in the first round.

The resignation of Guatemala’s Vice-President is a window into the country’s politics.

Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to talk about Syria.

The Feds:

As the battle over the Trans-Pacific Partnership rolls on, so does the rift between President Barack Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren over the issue.

The GOP’s hopes to snag Nevada’s open Senate seat appear to be shifting toward moderate GOP Congressman Joe Heck.

After much jousting, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and legislative Democrats begin talks on the budget.

The New York Times writes about how New York Senate leader Dean Skelos has lost his hold on the chamber in Albany, as well as a profile of his son, Adam. Both are accused of corruption in federal court. The Daily News rummages through the skeletons in the Senate’s closet. Elsewhere, Governor Andrew Cuomo orders new protections for nail salon workers after two-part series in the paper.

Hillary Clinton is watching her back during the Democratic primary.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, with stops in Iowa and pieces in Rolling Stone may have or stands accused of wanderlust.

The State of Things:

Gov. Charlie Baker put on a full-court press to push his control board for the MBTA during a legislative hearing on a bill to address the transit agency’s problems, even as the Carmen’s Union rallied against Baker’s proposal.

The defense rests in the penalty phase of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial.

“Mahty” has a vision, or more accurately he wants to hear from residents about one for Boston and develop a master plan, the city’s first in 50 years. The website for the survey is here.

Worcester’s city budget set to be released tomorrow.

Proposed changes to Holyoke’s financial departments make for confusion over whether and who would fill the Treasurer’s post on a permanent basis.

In the Longmeadows: Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane received mixed reviews, while East Longmeadow’s Select Board begins the process of looking for an interim administrator after their last one took a position with Wilbraham.

The Fourth Estatements:

The parent company of The Los Angeles Times, Tribune Publishing, is purchasing the U-T San Diego, formerly the Union-Tribune and expanding further into Southern California. San Diego civic leaders are cautiously hopeful about the acquisition, which appears to follow attempts to blaze a large path into the digital realm.

City Slickers:

Mayor Domenic Sarno released his budget last week. While maintaining popular services, the mayor’s PR around the budget seemed to focus on the bond rating.

Not everyone is pleased with Sarno’s budget, however.

Stephanie Barry at The Republican profiles mayoral candidate Sal Circosta, namely the confluence of his personal and religious lives. For discerning readers it is worth a read—both on the substance and for the language used.

The schools receive a state senatorial visit.

Twitter Chatter:

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s new effort to assemble a citywide planning document is remarkable, in part, because the city has gone without one for so long. However, Walsh’s administration is also actively reaching out to the public in a broad, tech-savvy way. This is in stark contrast to the clubby practices of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Success requires buy-in from residents. It also stands, by implication, as a damning indictment of those in Massachusetts cities who remains in the dark ages of civic engagement. Today we award the tweet prize to “Mahty” for not only inviting the public to participate (this is often required by law), but for utilizing an interactive digital approach to reach as many Bostonian as possible.


Manic Monday Markup 5/4/15…

…And the World:

We begin today in Israel, where the announcement that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman would not join Prime Minister Benjanmin Netanyahu’s government has potentially epic consequences for the Middle Eastern democracy. Leiberman said the decision came amid the other deals Bibi has cut to form a coalition following the March 17 elections. Although Netanyahu is expected to (barely) have enough support to maintain a majority in the Knesset (61 seats), it would make governing all but impossible.

The sudden shift comes amid violent unrest in the country over discrimination against Ethiopian Jews, which both President Reuven Rivlin and the prime minister condemned in a speech to parliament. Netanyahu has until Wednesday to form his government or he loses his right to form one. The intrigue suggests Netanyahu may seek or be forced to seek a unity government with the center-left Zionist Union lest another election happen soon.

In a related item, The Times of Israel has a fascinating interview with Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List about civil and national rights in Israel.

Nepalese officials’ incompetence following last week’s earthquake is blamed for foreign aid piling up in warehouses.

The United Kingdom goes to the polls this week and the election is as tight as ever. Labour’s Ed Miliband has won the Russell Brand election, but it seems unlikely to carry him into a majority in the House of Commons. However, because anti-Tory parties will likely equal a majority, Miliband still has a chance to be PM. David Cameron, the incumbent premier and leader of the Conservative party, has to hope he cuts down on Labour’s lead in England in order to secure a second term. Still, it could lead to a very big constitutional mess.

Game changer in the British elections? Welcome Princess Charlotte!

The Feds:

The Republican Presidential race grew by 3 over the weekend with the launch of bids by neurosurgeon Ben Carson, formerly Hewlett-Packard head and known for demon sheep (really!) Carly Fiorina and ex-Fox News personality and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The Guardian reports on the number of malpractice suits against Carson, although these are not uncommon in Carson’s field. Greg Sargent notes the “diverse” field does not equal a diversity of opinions. The Guardian captures Scott Walker’s odd self-casting of himself as Princess Leia (well technically his wife cast him that way) on “May the Forth be with You” Day. Politico discusses the fringe’s entry into the Republican contest.

Last week’s indictments in the George Washington Bridge scandal—which The New York Times relates in detail—casts the freshest doubts on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s presidential hopes. His stature has fallen nationally and in his own state even as his aides insist he has a path. The indicted aides, Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, pleaded not guilty today.

Now it’s a party! The leader of the New York Senate, Republican Dean Skelos, was arrested alongside his son. Not too long the Democratic Speaker of the New York Assembly was charged, too.

The plainclothes NYPD officer shot in the head over the weekend, Brian Moore, has died. A suspect was already in custody.

While Connecticut legislators hunt for the votes to expand gaming to compete with MGM Springfield, tribal authorities are confident of the support they need outside the Capitol.

Philadelphia votes in its Democratic primary on May 19, which is tantamount to the election in this arch-Democratic city. PoliticsPA notes the reluctant endorsements for mayor from some of the city’s leading publications.

The curfew lifted, The New York Times and NPR look at the neighborhoods at the center of the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore.

The State of Things:

Former Congressman Marty Meehan, the Chancellor of UMass-Lowell, has been named President of the University of Massachusetts system.

The Boston Globe flags the dealings of Democratic State Senator Brian Joyce.

David Bernstein in this month’s Boston magazine writes about the apparent decline of black political power in Boston.

Boston and Harvard Law School are near a deal to revamp the police complaint process.

The House and Senate compromise on an early retirement bill for state workers.

In Holyoke potpourri: The City Council (finally) files its rather anodyne request for the Massachusetts Attorney General review Mayor Alex Morse’s separation agreement with former City Solicitor Heather Egan. School Superintendent Sergio Paez will stay on for now working under Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester following the state takeover of city schools. And another challenger in Morse’s reelection race emerges.

The Fourth Estatements:

The Reminder’s Mike Dobbs comments on media consolidation in the Pioneer Valley in light of CBS3 Springfield (WSHM) and WGGB’s merger into Western Mass News.

City Slickers:

ICYMI: Our analysis of Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri’s task to strengthen community-relations nearly a year after taking office, but especially in the context of Baltimore and the department’s own history.

Elsewhere in the Police Department, the patrolmen’s union reelected Joseph Gentile as its President.

Winter may be over, but the snow battle between the city and the PVTA is not. Talks are said to be progressing between the PVTA and the city’s Disability Commission.

Twitter Chatter:

With all the would-be president-ing going on, it is important to remember we are on the cusp of the darkest “dark money” election ever. With Congress unwilling to make changes to law, the only other hope would appear to be the Federal Election Commission, but the body’s Republican members have all but said “no,” too. Today we award the tweet prize to Greg Sargent of the Washington Post for conveying so well, the resign, many feel in the battle to control the outsize influence the rich have on our elections.


Manic Monday Markup 4/27/15…

…And the World:

We begin today in Nepal, where the earthquake that struck Katmandu has now believed to have killed 3,800 and some estimates peg the death toll at over 4,000. The city is in chaos, but one common denominator unites many of the victims: poverty. The quake also struck and trapped climbers ascending Mount Everest, amid avalanches. The Times reports on how the quake only added to the political and economic tremors that have rocked the country in recent years.

A list of places to donate to help with relief.

The general election in the United Kingdom is shaping up to be more intense than previously assumed. Tight polls and the Scottish Nationalists domination in their home court likely means no party will win a majority. The strength of the SNP comes at Labour’s expense to the north, but the polls still would suggest Opposition Leader Ed Miliband will have more options to form a government than incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron.

Australia’s foreign minister declares ISIS a bigger threat to Australia than Communism.

The board looks set for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new, narrow right-wing government. Jewish Home Party Leader, Naftali Bennett, perhaps cowed by his party’s losses in the March election, seems set to accept the Education Ministry after demanding his party (and likely he) lead the Defense or Foreign Ministries. If Bennett has backed down, Netanyahu will be able to form a government before the May 7 deadline. If he does not succeed, somebody else will be selected to form a government, but more than likely new elections would be held.

Matteo Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister, has called for action to process asylum claims in Africa following last week’s capsizing of a boat carrying refugees that killed hundreds ahead of a meeting of European foreign ministers on the matter.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes for a boost during his trip to Washington.

As Ukraine struggles to fill its army ranks amid draft-dodging, Russian President Vladimir Putin defends his annexation of Crimea.

The Feds:

The Baltimore Sun writes a compelling editorial about the events surrounding the death of Freddies Gray, the black man who died in Baltimore police custody last week. The New York Times ed board chimes in with some equally important thoughts about the problems the inner-city poor face, particularly its male population.

The Guardian notes that whatever the jury decides in terms of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s fate, the odds are actually fairly low that he would be executed. Since reinstating the death penalty, the US government has only killed three death row inmates.

Via The Plum Line, Senate Republicans prepare for war against President Barack Obama’s efforts to address climate change by trying to undermine the president’s foreign policy powers, just as they have done with Iran. Though Americans seems to back the Iran efforts so far.

Loretta Lynch is sworn in as Attorney General.

Connecticut’s Democratic-led budget-writing panel released its proposed budget, which evades the state’s constitutional spending cap. Republicans, who are in the minority of both legislative chambers, released their own plan, which relies heavily on wage freezes or, failing that, layoffs.

Elsewhere in Connecticut politics, Tony Ravosa, a former Springfield City Councilor and, is proposing to use the site of a closed movie theater in East Hartford to house a casino to compete with MGM Springfield.

The State of Things:

Activists are gearing up to put a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot (the earliest date possible) that would enable Massachusetts to enact a graduated income tax rate (the rich would pay a higher rate).

Gov. Charlie Baker’s MBTA reforms are getting a frosty reception from Beacon Hill so says the Boston Herald. This weekend, we assessed what to make of Charlie’s recent surge in approval rating, partly thanks to the MBTA’s meltdown. The Globe checks in on the relationship among the powers that be: Baker, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, and House Speaker Bob DeLeo.

The Defense begins its case in the penalty phase of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid tribute to the victims at the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston during his American tour.

In light of Cathedral High School’s troubles and Catholic education in Greater Springfield generally, the tale of St. Columbkille’s in Brighton seems worth sharing.

Holyoke news galore during the Friday news dump. Ward 2 Councilor Anthony Soto confirmed his plans to run for mayor and Mayor Alex Morse announced he and his partner Edwin Vargas are to be wed.

Elsewhere in Holyoke, the state board of education will hold a hearing on taking over the schools this evening.

In local election potpourri: Longmeadow School Committee member Katie Girard kicked off her reelection bid. The town election is June. Easthampton City Council Jennifer Hayes also announced her bid to win reelection in November.

City Slickers:

Former MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott will kick off an event sponsored by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission on transit equity.

More on Ravosa in East Hartford from Pete Goonan at The Republican: Nothing wrong with competition.

Twitter Chatter:

In times like these, there really is no one place to properly send people to provide assistance and by no means are the efforts of the UN’s World Food Program the only game in town. In light of the devastation and the pressing need in Nepal, the choice for Tweet prize must be one of those providing relief. We are featuring the World Program as no specific endorsement of them above anybody else. But help is gravely needed! Please consider donating to the WFP or one of the other charities linked to via the New York Times website.