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Manic Monday Markup 6/4/12…

City Slickers:

Springfield tops the ticket today following the death of Police Officer Kevin Ambrose.  Ambrose was killed responding to a domestic disturbance call on Lawton Street.  The shooter, Shawn Bryan, took his own life after shooting Ambrose twice as well as his girlfriend.  A restraining order had been issued by Springfield District Court only hours before the confrontation.  Twenty-seven years ago, Officers Alain Beauregard and Michael Schiavina were killed while responding to a traffic stop.  They were the last Springfield police officers to be killed in the line of duty.  Their killer took his own life, too, after being surrounded by police.  An accessory to the murder remains in prison having been denied parole several times since the murders.

Our deepest condolences to Ambrose family in light of this terrible tragedy.  We reproduce, in full, Mayor Domenic Sarno’s statement on the death of Officer Ambrose:

June 4, 2012 – On behalf of the City of Springfield and our residents I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose who wore his badge with honor and integrity and served our City with a tremendous amount of pride and passion. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Springfield City Hall are with Kevin’s loving family at this very difficult and emotional time.

The men and women in blue at the Springfield Police Department, like police departments throughout the country, are faced with very challenging, difficult and dangerous situations on a daily basis. For this, we owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to our police officers and their families.  Today, Officer Ambrose paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving the residents of our City. He will be sadly missed by his fellow officers and the community at-large.

After receiving news of the fatal shooting Monday afternoon, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno went to Baystate Medical Center to visit with Officer Ambrose’s family and members of the Springfield Police Department.

Flags at Springfield City Hall and all municipal buildings will be lowered in honor of Officer Kevin Ambrose.

…And the World:

In Japan, where Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has engaged in a cabinet reshuffling ahead of planned votes to raise taxes in the island country.  The reshuffling occurs as Noda is courting the opposition party to secure passage of a tax increase needed to pay for rising social program costs weighed against an aging an declining population.  However, the efforts carries great risk for Noda and his Democratic party, whose differences with the opposition Liberal Democrats are becoming increasingly muddled.  Prior to Noda’s party’s win in 2009 the Liberal Democrats had essentially ruled Japna for half a century.  Japan’s political system has never particularly stable, but since popular Prime Minister Junico Koizumi left office in 2006, Japan has had 5 Prime Ministers.  Further blurring of political lines could cost both parties and scramble Japanese politics further.

Meanwhile in Europe, politicians and central bankers are scrambling to contain the latest deluge overtaking the Eurozone.  At the moment, the most pressing problem is not Greece, whose possible, if not probable exit from the Eurozone, is only a problem insofar as the precedent it sets.  Rather, the biggest concern right now are Spanish banks, which are hemorrhaging deposits and losses on mortgages.  The latest proposal calls for a banking union which would essentially federalize the system that supports the single currencies’ banks.  France and the EU’s leadership are behind the effort, but Germany, whose approval is necessary (especially as most steps to save the Euro have come at some risk to German taxpayers) remains uncommitted.  However, Germany, which has sought tighter fiscal control of national budget as part of the new fiscal compact, may bite if countries fully agree to cede a great degree of fiscal sovereignty.  Meanwhile, Ireland, whose constitution require a referendum on most treaties approved those new measures in a vote this weekend amid low turnout of barely 50%.

On a considerably lighter note, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her diamond jubilee this weekend.  The sovereign of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand the Bahamas and several other countries, she has reigned for 60 years now.  Jubilee celebrations were held this weekend and today, across the commonwealth, including a bit of political unity in Australia.  She is the second longest reigning monarch after Queen Victoria who was on the throne for three years and seven months longer than Elizabeth.  The Boston Globe has links to photographs of the Queen throughout the years.  Of course the celebrations were a bit darkened by Prince Phillip’s hospitalization for a bladder infection.

The Feds:

Paul Krugman outlines how government spending has fallen…wait fallen?  But…but…Democrats…big spenders…myth…  No.  Governments on all levels have shrunk under President Obama.  Sadly, this shrinking has come with tangible costs to the overall economy.  More than 600,000 government jobs have been lost.  Does anybody think the economy would be worse off if 600,000 Americans were still employed?  Indeed, the unavoidable austerity the states have had to impose reflects the austerity that has ravaged Europe and Republicans only want more.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney continues to play duck and cover on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would offer women more tools to ensure that they receive equal pay for equal work.  The bill is up for a procedural vote tomorrow.  For the record, Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts has announced he opposes the bill because he says it would hurt businessmen small businesses.  Right, that must be it.

And tomorrow is make or break for Wisconsin Democrats.  The polls favor union-busting Governor Scott Walker, despite a criminal investigation, but turnout will ultimate decide the outcome.  Also on the ballot are recalls for three State Senators, but only two at best are competitive.

The State of Things:

How bipartisan?  Senator Scott Brown likes to tout that he was the tie-breaking vote to pass Wall Street reform (an inaccurate statement as there were 60 votes, but only 59 were necessary due to Senator Robert Byrd’s recent death and 60 is not tie-breaking in a 100 member body).  However, the Boston Globe has uncovered emails between Brown’s office and the Treasury department showing his office working to WEAKEN the regulations that will be developed under the law.  That lobbying by Brown’s legislative director came after Brown had already personally weakened the law as a condition for the senator’s vote.  Apparently, that $2.5 million Brown got included more than just a weaker Financial Reform bill.  It included persistently lobbying by a US Senator to smothers the reforms passed in the wake of the worst economic crisis in generations.  Thanks, Senator!

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren won a commanding 95% of the delegates at this Saturday’s Democratic convention.  Marissa DeFranco launched a noble, but futile challenge to get onto the ballot.  She needed 15% and got less than 5%.  Political observers say Warren muscled DeFranco out and it is true that her campaign was working the floor.  However, it was clear from the cheering during Warren’s powerful speech to the polite golf game clapping during DeFranco‘s (not an original thought) that delegates were never that into DeFranco.  For what it’s worth, Republicans did the same thing to Christy Mihos in 2010 to ensure Charlie Baker had not opposition.  DeFranco never had the money or the organization to even visit vast sections of the state more than once if at all.  At best, the drama on Saturday was at worst ginned up by Warren’s own people (a job well done, Bernstein writes).  Warren won this fair and square and she and Brown have already begun haggling over debates.

City Slickers (cont’d):

One more convention related note.  Springfield area Democrats put together a video about post-tornado rebuilding over the last year.  We link it for you below.

Twitter Chatter:

The outpouring of support for Officer Kevin Ambrose and his family is palpable on many levels, but few are as easily perceived as it is via Twitter.  His funeral will include representatives from police departments across the Commonwealth and, indeed, likely across the Country.  Today, on behalf of those departments who recognize Officer Ambrose as one of their own, we award today’s tweet prize to the Miami-Dade and Bedford, Mass Police Departments.  They are not the only departments sending their condolences over Twitter or other means (Billerica, Canton and Tyngsborough to mention only a few), but their tweets are representative of how far and deep the death of an officer in the line of duty is for police officers everywhere.