Tardy Tuesday Takedown 10/30/12

Storm Stories:

The unfortunate return of a section from last year.

The damage from Hurricane Sandy, which became a so-called Frankenstorm are severe and far-reaching.  Although many coastal communities were affected and inland locales suffered wind damage, by far the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area appears to have taken the brunt of the damage.

The New York City Subway and its companion PATH system have flooded and reactivation could take days or longer.  New Jersey Transit’s system has been crippled, in effect, and called simply “destruction.”

President Barack Obama has all, but suspended his direct involvement in the campaign to monitor the situation.  Governor Mitt Romney appeared to do the same, but weathered criticism from the media when it appeared his campaign was blending politics and the storm too much.  This comes after the campaign had to walk back Romney’s earlier condemnation of federal disaster relief.

It has also impacted the Massachusetts Senate race.  The last debate, scheduled for tomorrow was cancelled after Scott Brown pulled out, followed by Elizabeth Warren.  However, Brown appears disinclined to reschedule unlike Warren.  Instead Brown may be pushing the line between official & campaign duties.  This is the Globe’s implication, not just ours.  Rescheduling remains in limbo for now.

Connecticut, although heavily damaged, did not suffer quite on the same scale as New Jersey.  However, Sandy did deal Connecticut its third major blow in two years after Hurricane Irene and last year’s October Nor’easter.  A firefighter in Easton was among the dead in the state.

…And the World:

With the Israeli election now in full swing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Foreign Minister Avgidor Lieberman plan to run on one party-line.  However, that may not get them any more seats.  Also in the mix are the possible returns of past contenders like Tzipi Livni who led the opposition in the Knesset until this year.

In Greece, an editor that published a list of potential tax scofflaws is facing trial.

Suspicion resurface in Poland after a now partially retracted report says that explosives were on the plane that crashed in 2010 and killed the President and several other high ranking Polish officials.  There were claims that a Russian conspiracy was responsible at the time.

The Feds:

We cannot help, but view Hurricane Sandy’s impact in any other vein, but the one in climate change.  We cannot ascribe any one storm to climate change, but we can connect it to rising sea levels.  This New York Times report tweeted by Chris Hayes, who also noted, at the time, Romney mocked fighting climate change at the Republican National Convention.  To his credit, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York called out Global climate change and its impact, as well as the need to prepare better for despite the cost.

Plus Not all government is bad.

Elsewhere in the campaign, Romney is out with a new attack saying that Chrysler plans to outsource Jeep manufacturing jobs to China.  The claim has been debunked and the Cleveland Plain Dealer went so far as to say the ploy was a sign of a desperate campaign, flailing to find a path to 270 electoral votes.  The Toledo Blade whose service area includes Jeep production facilities has had extensive coverage of this, including reminders of Romney’s “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” Op-Ed and assertions that Romney is not telling the truth.

And the myth of voter fraud.

Bay State of the Race:

Elizabeth Warren won some endorsements over the weekend from the Boston Globe, the Metrowest Daily News, the Attleboro Sun Chronicle and the Springfield Republican.  Not all are accessible without going through the pay wall, but each hits Brown in different ways while boosting Warren.  Brown has been endorsed by the Lowell Sun and the Worcester Telegram, the latter of the two displaying quite a bit of naivete (link available).

The Globe hits Brown for viewing the job as an exercise in political positioning and neglecting medical research.  The Daily News knocks Brown on obstructionism and the Sun Chronicle, whose area covers Brown’s Wrentham, says they cannot tell whether the real is the one that voted for Wall Street reform or that one that gut it.  Finally, in one of the best pieces from the Republican in some time, the Springfield paper of record endorses Warren for her credentials and her “spunk,” among other attributes during this campaign.

Warren also picked up the endorsement of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno who decried the negative tone of the race.  Although we have not always agreed with Sarno, we have never denied he does want what is best for the city and here he saw Warren as the best person to represent the city (and other urban places) in the Senate.  This means Warren has swept the endorsement of the mayors of the commonwealth’s four largest cities.  And don’t forget our endorsement!

Finally, Republicans are now fretting about Brown’s chances as more and more polling turns against him.

The State of Things:

Longmeadow, which has seen a jump in restaurants in recent months, adopted the meals tax of 0.75% at a special town meeting.  Still it raised complaints from some who called it an end-run around Proposition 2 ½.  For those interested, it is not.  This is exactly what it was intended to be, additional revenue for communities.

Wicked Local, a consortium of Metro Boston papers, details the possibility of a run for governor by Treasurer Steve Grossman in 2014.  The story says Grossman will begin to think about it after this year’s election, but political handicappers think a run by the Newton resident is very likely.

The Harvard Crimson looks at the relationship between Gay Politics and Republicans as Richard Tisei hopes to become the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress.

City Slickers:

Among many races, the Springfield Republican reports on races in the Ninth and Twelfth Hampden Districts.  In the Ninth, Democratic incumbent Sean Curran and Bob Underwood are both Springfield residents.  In the Twelfth, Democratic incumbent and city resident Angelo Puppolo faces Wilbraham resident D. John McCarthy.

Twitter Chatter:

Hurricane Sandy may have pummeled the Northeast, but it could not tame the Presidential election.  Perhaps for this reason, it makes compliments, effusive ones at that, of the President all the more notable.  Today we award the tweet prize to Romney surrogate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  Earlier this month, Christie was bashing Obama for lacking leadership, but today he was praising the President’s work after the storm.  In fact, he was praising it so much that he was getting rebukes from Republicans.  We have generally like Christie’s approach or his policies, but he does have a tendency, when the chips are down and lives are on the line, the drop the partisan venom.  His tweet today is only further proof of that and for these reasons, he wins


Sandy Monday…No Markup…

No Markup today in observance of Hurricane Sandy.  We urge caution and common sense and ask that all readers heed the warnings of elected officials.   We hope to post a Tardy Tuesday Takedown tomorrow instead.



Manic Monday Markup 10/22/12…

…And the World:

We begin in South Africa, where criticism of President Jacob Zuma is rising after months of labor unrest and complaints of corruption.  Zuma, in an effort to shore up support after the recent mine workers violence, has announced a jobs program.  However, he is now facing (indirect) criticism from his predecessor Thabo Mbeki, whom Zuma shunted out of the way in order to become president.  Some government ministers have also spoken out, but are now denying they made such comments.

Spain’s Government is breathing a sigh of relief after regional elections did not result in the governing party losing seats and subsequently influence as the country attempts to balance its books and tackle its debt.

Israeli politics in the spotlight once again, except this time a scandal has engulfed the two main governing parties.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman’s Yisraeli Beiteniu Members of the Knesset are subject to criticism for using state funds for expensive trips.

The Feds:

The death of former South Dakota Senator George McGovern, who also won only Massachusetts (and DC)  in the 1972 Presidential Election has prompted an outpouring of fond remembrances from across the country, like this one from former Republican Senator Bob Dole..

The polls are incredibly close as President Barack Obama and our former Governor Mitt Romney head into their last debate, which will focus on foreign policy.  The New York Times reports that George W. Bush and his foreign and economic policies, nevertheless, loom large tonight and in the race.

A cascade of endorsements from Newspapers have come in.  However, one of the most comprehensive, from the New Yorker, supports Obama.  Another interesting endorsement is from the Salt Lake Tribune, which did not back adopted home stater, Mitt Romney, deriding his multiple stands on multiple issues with the headline “Too Many Mitts“.  The Tribune’s money quote? “The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.”

Elsewhere in the endorsement cascade nationwide, south of the border in Connecticut, Congressman Chris Murphy has yielded the support of the Connecticut Post, The Day of New London, and the Norwich Bulletin as well as the New York Times.  The Bulletin’s condemnation of Murphy’s opponent, Linda McMahon is particularly damning saying her campaign is “void of substance.”

Bay State of the Race:

A new section for the last three Manic Mondays before Election Day!

Dueling rallies this past week as big names came out for both Scott Brown and Warren.  However, it appears that Warren got the lion’s share.  Al Franken kicked off a canvass in Springfield and former Georgia Senator Max Cleland did the same in Beverly and elsewhere in the east.  Warren rallied in Northampton yesterday, while Brown did the same in Lowell with New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte and Senator John McCain.

However, Brown, clearly trying to get Bay Staters to squint and equate “women-on-stage” to broad support of women may have taken on a risk by having Ayotte on stage.  Ayotte is not pro-choice at all and is against marriage equality and same-sex couple adoption.  Ayotte even resigned as New Hampshire’s Attorney General shortly after same-sex marriage became legal and urged opponents to get the law overturned.  Point of information.  They failed.  This comes even as gay rights groups, excluding Republican outfits, have lined up behind Warren.

Senate race potpourri, Reason Magazine‘s Garrett Quinn, a libertarian publication, got Warren on the record on why libertarians should support her.  The answer? Contract Law.  See that professorship isn’t a vice, after all.  Meanwhile, the Republican fact checks a Mass GOP mailer on Warren’s role in TARP, calling it “strange.”

The State of Things:

It is easy for Holyoke Municipal politics to mix into a state rep race when the whole district is the city.  Holyoke City Councilors Aaron Vega and Linda Vacon are competing for the open State Rep seat.  Vega, the Democrat is likely to complete his council term.  Vacon says she would resign.  Holding both positions is legal in Massachusetts, but rare and generally held only to complete another term and the record in the area for politicians doing this is mixed.

The Reminder provides additional details of the East Longmeadow Election fraud probe that in all likelihood ended the career of former Selectman Enrico Jack Villaimaino.  The new information reveals evidence of a sophisticated effort to rig an election.  By the way voter ID would have done nothing to stop this.  See next.

As David Bernstein says, Senate President Terry Murray may be the only endangered Democrat in the State Senate this cycle and she and her opponent squared off in a debate.  Voter ID appeared to be a point of contention.  We must say however, that comparing voting to other facets of everyday life like boarding an airplane forgets voting is a fundamental constitutional right.  Flights on airplanes? Not so much.

City Slickers:

Joining the fight against a casino in Springfield appears to be the Episcopal Church.  The American branch of the Anglican Communion in Springfield resolved to oppose the measure at their annual conference.

Mayor Domenic Sarno is said to favor giving acting Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant the job permanently rather than engaging in a search to find a replacement of  Gary Cassanelli who left earlier this year.

Twitter Chatter:

Although Mitt Romney’s pitch about the economy is by far his biggest focus an oft-overlooked component of his agenda is a bellicose foreign policy.  Romney, who news reports say does not seem to care about foreign policy, nevertheless has taken very aggressive approaches and has a foreign affairs team teeming with Bush leftovers.  It leaves us gravely concerned about what Romney’s imprint on the globe would be.  Today we award the tweet prize to Vice President Joe Biden, himself a foreign policy maven.  Quoting former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and linking to an Obama web video on foreign policy, he succinctly points out the risk American faces in putting Romney out as our face to the world.  In another tweet, he notes that Romney’s language throughout this campaign threatens to put us back into a Cold War mentality. Together, these tweets earn Joe Biden the tweet prize.


Manic Monday Markup 10/15/12…

…And the World:

We begin today in Great Britain, Scotland to be precise, where Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond signed an agreement to hold a referendum on Scottish independence.  The two “nations” have been in union for over three hundred years and independence is favored by Salmond’s party, which controls the semi-independent Scottish government.  The vote will be held in 2014.  However, opinion polls in Scotland suggest skepticism among ordinary Scots, especially those whose true opinion on referendum day will be “none of the above”.

Returning to Israel this week, the Knesset has passed its dissolution legislation, which, when passed, will set elections in January.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is widely favored to win reelection as the center and left of the country remains scattered, disorganized and fractious.  However, the New York Times is reporting that Ehud Olmert, the former Prime Minister and Kadima leader may return to politics, despite a recent corruption trial, to unify Israel’s disparate political figures that are otherwise opposed to Netanyahu.  The Times also looks into how polling and Israel’s complex electoral system could also shape the outcome.  Meanwhile, Haaretz, a respected, but left-leaning paper rejected an Olmert resurgence in an editorial.

Tunisia, the country to set off the Arab Spring has set its date for Presidential elections.

The Feds:

First up, condolences to the family of former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter.  Specter, a longtime moderate Republican, and then Democrat, died on Sunday due to complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  He was 82.  Specter switched parties in 2009 only to be defeated in a Democratic primary the following year.  Still, he left a huge impact on history and legislation during his thirty years in the US Senate.  Of Specter, Senator John Kerry said, “He was guts and grit personified, and he just didn’t want to stop working or let illness interrupt a life of public service. I mourn the loss of a great American and extend my deepest sympathy to his family.”

President Barack Obama has been hunkered down in Williamsburg, VA prepping for tomorrow’s debate, which could either make or break his reelection or mean the end of the universe.  We won’t really know until November 7th.  The article shows a far more rigorous effort, but one Washington Post Op-Ed warns Team Obama to be prepared for the unexpected or even the impossible from Mitt Romney.  Meanwhile, the Romney campaign is facing criticism over Paul Ryan’s recent stop at a soup kitchen…from the charity’s director.

A look at some Senate races across the country.  In Connecticut, which have focused on in this space many times before, both Chris Murphy and Linda McMahon sat down with the Hartford Courant editorial board.  McMahon reiterated her support for the Blunt Amendment and opposed, clearly, the requirement that hospitals regardless affiliation offer the morning after pill to rape victims.  In Ohio, Democrat Sherrod Brown faced off against Republican Josh Mandel, who is running for senate two years into a four year term as Treasurer.

The State of Things:


The Massachusetts US Senate race is officially the most expensive this cycle and both candidates have broken their own records once again.  However, Elizabeth Warren is by far the bigger winner hauling in over $12 million in donations between July and September alone.  Scott Brown had $7 million.  Warren has a $3 million cash-on-hand disadvantage to Brown, but the campaign attributed that to an early reservation of ad time to save money.  The Globe also has an article on the source of the candidates’ money written before the morning announcements.

The Globe does seem a bit slow in catching up on this one, however.

Meanwhile, Warren has bagged her first major newspaper endorsement from the New Bedford Standard-Times, which eloquently lays out a case for her election and dismisses Brown as having boilerplate Republican ideas.  For his part, Brown is touting a new study showing him to be bipartisan.  Key point missing, however.  The votes that Brown took with Republicans were likely on more important issues, while the Democratic votes were not or the issue had no hope of passage due to filibuster.  Also unmentioned, since the study goes back to 2011 is how bipartisan Brown was before Warren emerged as his challenger.

A study in contrasts.  Yesterday the Republican printed Op-Eds from Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse on the casino issue.  Sarno is for, Morse against.

City Slickers:

Van Jones, a former Obama aide and progressive speaker will be in Springfield for an event on Friday 6:30 at CityStage.  Former Springfield City Councilor Amaad Rivera is coordinating the event and can reached for tickets at

Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger is backing Springfield lawyer Michael Kogut effort to stop a casino in the city.  Kogut worked as an assistant attorney general for Harshbarger according to the article.

Meanwhile all of the bids are in from three potential casino developers in Springfield.

Finally, Maureen Turner provides an update on an aborted eviction of a family in Springfield made possible in part due to help from Senator Kerry and Ward 7 City Councilor Tim Allen.

Twitter Chatter:

Today’s lunchtime Ohio Senate vote was defined by two things.  Its rapid fire and minimal response time that begged for staccato answers and the boisterous crowd that made the Springfield’s Massachusetts Senate debate look mute by comparison.  However, a few themes emerged, many indicative of the race.  Although Republican challenger Josh Mandel finally made his position known on the auto bailout (against), he remained evasive on a host of issues including special interests groups and hiring unqualified friends in the Treasurer’s office.  Today we award today’s tweet prize to Sherrod Brown, namely his campaign Twitter handle.  In pointing out Mandel’s opposition to the auto bailout, a fairly toxic position in Ohio, and Mandel’s inability to explain his cronyism, he summed up two critical, but hardly the only themes in the debate.  Indeed, we highly recommend reading through his twitter feed from this afternoon, which include numerous quotes by the Senator, whose race has become possibly the second most important in the country…after Massachusetts.