Manic Monday Markup 10/6/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in Brazil, where President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party secured first place in her country’s presidential election, but now faces a runoff with Aécio Neves, the center-right candidate in the race. Marina Silva of the Socialist party, came in third place after taking the place of Eduardo Campos at the top of the ticket. Campos died in an August plane crash roiling the election and upending its conventional wisdom. So far Rousseff, who emphasized income redistribution in her campaign, is the favorite to win the general, but momentum may be on Neves’ side, who was third at one point. Silva remains a wildcard too.

After clashes at the end of last week, a stalemate may be settling in between the government of Hong Kong and pro-Democracy activists. Others see the protests dwindling.

Israeli is fuming over Sweden’s decision to begin recognition talks with the Palestinian Authority, outside the traditional conduit for peace talks. However, Sweden is anything, but clear about what its decision means in the short term, although Israel fears other European countries may follow.

Pope Francis calls synod, primarily it seems, to discuss allowing divorcees to receive communion.

Haiti’s brutal one-time leader dies.

Canada’s Parliament will vote this week on whether to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. A divide in the Liberal Party over the issue may have erupted on the issue, possibly coloring that party’s fortunes in next year’s elections, a conservative Canadian publication argues.

The Feds:

The US Supreme Court has rejected petitions from five states facing rulings against their bans on same-sex marriage, effectively bringing marriage equality to five more states: Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. However, rulings from the 4th, 7th and 10th Circuits upholding decisions that quashed the bans, in effect, ripples those rulings out to all of the states in those circuits or create legal chaos. The Guardian has a live blog of states’ reaction to the rejection of the petition for review.

Greater Washington potpourri. The Post looks at the race for a swingy Northern Virginia Congressional seat and President Obama endorses Muriel Bowser in the DC Mayoral race. A Maryland legislator proposes a way around (part of) Citizens United that does not offend the constitution.

Really Wisconsin is just a mess.

Isn’t that cute? Republicans have a candidate against Rosa DeLauro in Connecticut’s arch-Democratic New Haven-based Congressional seat. Elsewhere in the Nutmeg State, Obama will be fundraising in Greenwich, while the gubernatorial candidates talked taxes at a West Hartford synagogue. And a new poll shows Democratic Governor Dan Malloy up by…8!?!?

In Colorado, Senator Mark Udall and Rep. Cory Gardner spar in a debate. Gardner goes uber aggressive, but tears the truth asunder (yes we know this is a partisan link, but it is also true) on personhood and the government shutdown.

The State of Things:

Holyoke Treasurer Jon Lumbra announced he would be leaving that position soon to take a job at Treasurer-Collector in Lowell. Masslive reported that he intends to do both jobs during a transition period. The City Council will be able to fill the post, an elected position, after he formally resigns. Lumbra posted his decision to take the job to Facebook on Friday.

Our report on the First Lady’s visit to Boston to stump for Martha Coakley.

Suffolk Downs, which had hoped the casino gods would save it, shut down on Saturday.

Paul McMorrow considers whether Tom Menino’s mighty political machine was really almighty at all.

Republican Don Humason and Democrat Pat Leahy, competing for the 2nd Hampden & Hampshire Senate seat, trade barbs on marriage equality, minimum wage and literacy.

The Fourth Estatements:

Afghanistan’s new president is allowing a New York Times reporter the country expelled to return.

City Slickers:

Jim Kinney at Masslive says the new owners of Five Town Plaza have plans for renovations and new retailers, but so far are mum on what that will mean.

The Reminder writes about the restoration of tornado damaged housing the South End and Six Corners neighborhoods.

Twitter Chatter:

The Supreme Court’s decision not to review the circuit cases overturning bans on same sex marriage probably foretells the inevitable. Marriage equality will come to the United States soon. Either the circuit courts will continue on the path they have taken or a conflicting circuit will rule differently forcing the Court’s hand. Either way it seems unimaginable that the march can go any other way. Today we award the tweet prize to two individuals. The first is Marissa Lang, a reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune, who noted that today is the anniversary of the plaintiffs in the Utah case.

However, special mention today must also go to an opponent of same-sex marriage. Utah Governor Gary Herbert. While disappointed, his call to all Utahns to accept the decision and, more importantly, treat all citizens of respect is precisely the right attitude and entirely civil. It is in stark contrast to the hysterical reaction of Oklahoma’s governor, and worthy of recognition.  


Manic Monday Markup 9/29/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in Hong Kong, where pro-Democracy activists are resisting Beijing’s call to end the protests. Earlier the protesters were evoking the Ferguson, Mo. “hands up, don’t shoot” poses as police attempted to break up the demonstrations.

In Britain, the Conservative Party conference got off to a rough start as a top minister, Brooks Newmark, resigned in disgrace and another bailed to join Ukip, the United Kingdom Independence Party. Mark Reckless the Tory-turned Ukipper say British Prime Minister David Cameron broke too many election promises. George Osbourne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer tried to calm the masses with some new tax proposals, but the events rocked the Tories, who had hoped to capitalize on Labour’s lackluster conference the week before. Others say these events are a sign of the Conservative Party’s decline. For what it is worth, the publication that caught the Tory official in a scandal will get its actions reviewed by Britain’s press regulator.

Last week at the United Nations, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the Israeli operation in Gaza a “genocide” among other exaggerated flourishes. Not to be outdone in the rhetoric department of his UN speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared Hamas to ISIS and pushed back against Abbas and proposed deal with Iran over nuclear enrichment. But maybe there is hope for peace? Members of the Israeli press are not impressed, one calling the speech “Bib’s greatest hits.”

Ashraf Ghani is sworn in as Afghanistan’s new president and urges Afghans to hold him accountable. Details about US plans to keep troops in the country were also released today.

Indian political potpourri. The once ostracized Narendra Modi is due to be a guest of the President at a White House dinner tonight. Meanwhile, a conviction for corruption sends ripples through the political classes of India.

The Feds:

Democrats need to hang on to Iowa to hang on to the Senate and it has been getting away from them. However, Bruce Braley, the Democrat appeared to have a substantively strong night in Sunday’s debate whereas Joni Ernst, stuck to personality and vapidity. Those have served Ernst well and built up a strong lead in polling.

In Alaska, a judge rejected a Republican attempt to undo a fusion ticket a Democratic candidate and an Independent candidate formed for the gubernatorial race.

Political potpourri from south of the border: A Bridgeport state rep, who lost her re-nomination bid, was arrested for fraudulently voting. The Connecticut Education Association, a teachers union, endorsed Gov. Dan Malloy for reelection despite reservations they have had about his education policy. The CT Mirror begins an in-depth look at the Nutmeg State’s infrastructure repair deficit.

The State of Things:

Polls show a tossup in the race for governor in Massachusetts. Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Attorney General are statistically tied in several polls (except one that shows Coakley ahead). The two, along with the three third party candidates face off tonight in Springfield.

The Boston City Council is debating a pay raise for itself. However, they appear stumped by an ethics law that prohibits them from enriching themselves. Well, there is a very simple answer: have it take place after next year’s election. But apparently, that doesn’t work either for some strange reason.

Now the party’s nominee, Senator Elizabeth Warren rallied with Seth Moulton, who defeated Congressman John Tierney in the Democratic primary earlier this month. So far, Moulton is leading Republican nominee Richard Tisei.

And there is a US Senate race this year in Massachusetts. No, really!

A profile of Barbara Lee, who strives to get more women involved in politics i.e. get more women elected.

It’s Working:

Today we premier our new subheading (maybe one day it will be a stand alone series), highlighting employment and labor issues nationally and locally.

Just a couple of quick hits today. CNN is appealing a decision from the National Labor Relations Board to rehire dismissed contract workers. Ambulance company AMR received a similar ruling after it dismissed a union steward, although there is no word yet on whether they will appeal.

City Slickers:

The RMV’s planned relocation is getting a cold reception from outgoing State Rep. Sean Curran.

At-large City Councilor Tim Rooke is seeking an expansion of the city’s Shot Spotter system, that narrows down where firearm discharges are believed to occur.

Twitter Chatter:

In Iowa as the contest between Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst marches toward conclusion in about five weeks, it has been frustrating to see personality take the place of policy, clearly boosting Ernst. There really is no way to define her platform as much more than platitudes and, where specific, cold and detached from the needs of real people.  Today we award the tweet prize to Representative Bruce Braley, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Iowa. His tweet emphasizes not only the disconnect of his opponent, but also the stakes for ordinary people in Iowa and across the country.


Manic Monday Markup 9/22/14

…And the World:

We begin today in Afghanistan where Ashraf Ghani has been declared the winner of the country’s Presidential election. He and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah promised to form a coalition and begin the transition of power away from Hamid Kharzai, who has ruled the country for a decade.

The union may be saved, but for how long? We mean of course Britain’s union, which survived a Scottish independence vote last week. Now comes the hard work of figuring out how to properly grant more power to the constituent nations of the United Kingdom. Perhaps one side has already been outmaneuvered. The Labour party, which has a decent chance of winning next May’s elections, is holding its party conference in Manchester. While it might win in May, it must do much more to actually save the union and hold power, among the many challenges Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has.

Austrialian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is telling his countrymen they may need to accept a bit less freedom for security.

Al-Qaeda linked Syrian rebels have taken control of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border with Israel, flushing out the UN peacekeepers stationed there. Israel turns a wary eye to a border it has not worried about in 40 years.

Elsewhere in the Middle East potpourri: Syrian Kurds flood into Turkey as questions arise about how much good airstrikes are doing to ISIS in Iraq. In a related vein, have the US and Hezbollah united (sorta) against a common enemy. Israel’s High Court rejects the nation’s response to African asylum seekers.

Tomorrow world leaders will gather at the UN to discuss climate change and have been advised to bring bold ideas to combat it.

Russians opposed to the foreign policy of President Vladimir Putin filled the streets of Moscow in one of the largest demonstrations against his rule in months. Although it did not quite meet expectations.

The New York Times profiles the challenge and the opportunity the Ebola crisis presents UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The Feds:

In New York hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied in favor of action on climate change ahead of the UN meeting this week.

Staying in New York, indicted Congressman Michael Grimm is even with his Democratic opponent. Hard to know what part of that is most stunning.

Los Angeles is on the cusp of approving a big pay hike for hotel workers.

Up in Maine, Michelle Obama is slated to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike Michaud while incumbent Republican governor Paul Lepage says he might skip debates.

The Courant looks at the rise and fall of Connecticut’s own John Rowland who was convicted on federal charages…again.

More from Greg Sargent about the midterm dropoff conundrum for Democrats and how, maybe even losing in November might stir some necessary changes.

The State of Things:

The Star-Ledger of Newark editorializes about the deals between a fund tied to Massachusetts Republican Charlie Baker and his contributions to the political funds run by New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

Not surprisingly, women will be key to the gubernatorial election this year. Joan Vennochi hits Baker on how he’s reaching out to the ladies.

Meanwhile a profile of the woman trying to unseat Niki Tsongas.

The welding company linked to a fire that took the lives of two firefighters earlier this year has been fined.

Angela Thorpe, the Chair of the East Longmeadow Select Board has been ousted as head of that body amid a fusillade of allegations by one of her colleagues. William Gorman, who had nominated her to be chair of the three member board earlier this year, made a motion last week to restore Paul Federici as chair. The Reminder recounts a catty exchange of allegations primarily from Gorman about Thorpe.

The Fourth Estatements:

See the Twitter Chatter, but here is a formal story on David Bernstein’s impending departure from Massachusetts.

City Slickers:

While we are loath to give too much credence to the Pioneer Institute, general concern about funding Springfield’s obligations to its retirees is always appropriate and worthy of attention.

Police Commissioner John Barbieri says crime is down in the city and who your are friends are correlates more closely to your risk of being a victim of crime more than where you live.

Twitter Chatter:

First we lost Maureen Turner to the Yiddish Book Center. Now we are losing David Bernstein to Virginia. Last week the oft-irreverent, but always sharp political journo David Bernstein announced his wife had taken a job in Richmond and that they would be moving to the Old Dominion after this November’s elections. His current employers, WGBH and Boston Magazine want him to continue a role and we certainly hope he does, but at such a distance it will never be quite the same.

In any event, we award this week’s tweet prize to Berntein, a frequent winner, for his original tweet, but also for this playful one about state politics, a prime example of what he contributes to the political conversation in the Bay State.