…And the World:
We begin today in Turkey where local elections appear to have favored Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK party despite weeks of protests and shutdowns of social media networks. Erdogan and Parliament were not on the ballot, but the mid-forties polling his party received by the prime minister to carry on and possibly retaliate against political enemies.
In France, local elections there tell a different story. While the Socialists kept Paris’s mayoralty (the City of Light elected its first female mayor), they lost across the country elsewhere prompting the resignation of the current government. President François Hollande and his party have suffered from flagging support in recent months. He will appoint a new government amid the shakeup. One of the biggest winners? The mainstream center right party, the UMP, won the most positions yesterday, but Marrinne Le Pen’s far right movement, which scored some of its highest vote totals ahead of European Parliamentary election later this year.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of taking bribes, likely ending any future speculation that he may return to electoral politics. Olmert became acting prime minister after the late Ariel Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke, and after elections took the title formally. However, he had to resign and handed leadership of the Kadima over to Tzipi Livni, who current serves as Justice Minister under the Likud-led government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Dipolomatic progress? Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Paris more hopeful than ever that a diplomatic solution may be found in the Ukraine. However, Kiev seems skeptical or outright hostile to proposals to give outlying regions more autonomy.
Polls suggests Indians will favor the Bharatiya Janata Party in elections next week, installing Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, defeating the incumbent Indian National Congress Party. Premier Manmohan Singh did not run for another term. The Congress Party’s leader is the scion of Jawaharlal Nehru’s family, Rahul Gandhi.
The Koreas exchange fire across a disputed sea border.
Abby Goodnough, a Health Care Reporter for The New York Times, has a good item today on the day to day impact the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky, perhaps a microcosm of the nation.
Also in The Times, questions about Latinos interest in politics as they grow disillusioned by the failure of Immigration Reform to advance.
Albany lawmakers have agreed to a budget, and it includes money for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Pre-K program, but it comes at the cost of his control over city schools and liberals hopes for robust campaign finance reform.
The arrest of California State Senator Leland Yee amid a broad corruption probe that included a longtime Chinatown underworld figure continues to surprise people in Sacramento, even as it draws national press attention.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy officially makes the plunge into a reelection campaign.
Two big retirements out of Michigan. House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers and House Ways & Means Chair David Camp both announce retirements between the end of last week and this beginning of this one. Both are Republicans and only Rogers seat is likely within Democrats’ reach this year.
The State of Things:
The closure of North Adams Regional Health Center has rippled into the Massachusetts governor’s race. Martha Coakley, as attorney general, got involved early in the crisis, trying to stop the emergency room’s closure, but acquiescing when it appeared unsafe to keep it open. Treasurer Steve Grossman also chimed in, saying the state has a “moral responsibility” to restore services to northern Berkshire County. Vermont health providers are preparing to pick up some of the slack in the meantime.
Tomorrow is election day across the commonwealth. Locally, there is the 4th Hampden Race in Westfield. It is John Velis vs. Dan Allie. We have endorsed Velis, but the GOP is all in for Allie. In the region north of Boston there is the special senate race between Rep. Jason Lewis, the Democrat and Melrose Alderman Monica Medeiros, the Republican. This seat opened when Katherine Clark vacated her Senate seat to take Ed Markey’s US House seat. Also of note is the 16th Suffolk House seat, formerly held by Kathi-Anne Reinstein, a race between Roselee Vincent and Todd Taylor, Democrat and Republican respectively. Two other Boston area specials, including Mayor Marty Walsh’s seat have their general election tomorrow, but the primaries were the important affairs in those races.
Over the weekend, the City of Boston stopped to honor the two firefighters who died in last week’s wind-whipped blaze in the Back Bay section of the city.
Longmeadow and MGM will head to arbitration after failing to reach a surrounding community agreement.
A welcome center in downtown Springfield center for UMASS opened today.
Incoming Police Commissioner John Barbieri plans a presentation for the community about his vision for the department when he takes over in June.
The last chance to voice your opinion on the casino slated for Springfield may be tomorrow when the gaming commission holds a hearing at the MassMutual Center at 4 pm.
Today we are going in a little bit of a different direction. Instead of political snark or heavy burdens, we are going more diversionary for today’s Tweet Prize. For those who know how to use Twitter well, it is a great way to share information of all kinds, including historical tidbits and whatnot, including pictures. Today is the opening of baseball season and although the Red Sox’s home opener is not until Friday, the season has begun. Today we award the Tweet Prize to Presidential historian Michael Beschloss for tweeting a bit of history on this start of the season. One hundred and two years ago, Fenway Park opened and it remains the oldest ballpark in use by the MLB. Its opening competed with the Titanic’s sinking for news coverage, but the photo today of Fenways’ 1912 opening is a great way to mark the opening of a new season.
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) March 31, 2014