Manic Monday Markup 3/17/14…
…And the World:
We begin today in Crimea, where voters there in an election result fitting a former Soviet region voted overwhelmingly to join Russia. Given the turnout and measures taken to ensure the proper result, this poll is simply no credible. Yes, it would seem that a majority really did want this result but mid-90’s? Please. Were a poll in the US held about whether or not for the country be annexed by England, the no vote would be less than 90%. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognizes Crimea’s independence.
Anyway, Crimean officials are working to effectuate the split from Ukraine quickly as reports surface of protests in other Eastern Ukraine cities urging a split from Kiev and unification with Russia. Ukraine called up reservists over the weekend. President Obama and the European Union imposed sanctions on Russian officials, with more possibly on the way. Over the weekend, the UN Security Council failed to pass a resolution condemning the Crimean vote due to Russia’s veto, but China, notably abstained and, while needling the West, condemned foreign intervention in national domestic affairs.
The search continues for the Malaysian Airlines flight that disappeared earlier this month with more starts, stops and U-Turns in progress. The latest includes a request for satellite data from upwards of 22 nations. Malaysia resists greater US involvement in the endeavor as potential terror links are probed.
In South Africa, Julius Malema, the one-time head of the African National Congress’s Youth division says he expects his movement, the Economic Freedom Fighters, to win all provincial elections in addition to the national one, which would see Malema become President.
As the Russian diplomatic crisis consumes the White House and the media is fixated on the Malaysian jet, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is meeting with President Obama to discuss peace in the Middle East. John Kerry has told Abbas peace will require tough decisions. The Los Angeles Times reports Palestinians rallied in the territories ahead of his visit.
The New York Times considers the progress (and what still needs to be done) on gender equality in Morocco.
Toronto’s Rob Ford has another challenger.
Democrats are sounding alarms about the November elections and among the reasons for panic (at least according to the Beltway, the most important is turnout issues in non-presidential years) is the entrance of Scott Brown in the New Hampshire US Senate race. Brown declared his exploratory committee to run against incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. He has to still win the GOP primary first and the candidates already in the race made their voices heard. Shaheen welcome Brown to the race by urging him to sign a people’s pledge much like the one he pressed Elizabeth Warren to sign in 2012. Brown is taking a pass on that and calling Shaheen a hypocrite because she raised money in the West Coast. Not exactly the same thing as undisclosed SuperPAC money, Scotto.
Charlie Pierce at Esquire has some advice for Brown and we remember our favorites from campaign 2012 including Brown opposing money for firefighters and putting the Springfield tornado and one, wealthier Springfield neighborhood in an ad, while taking little interest in residents of another.
The AP reports that efforts to improve the government’s response to Freedom of Information requests have not been up to snuff despite promises from Obama. The Week offers some ideas how the president could change that.
Is Texas king for job growth? Maybe not argues Washington Monthly.
Newtown experiences difficulty in keeping up with demand of mental health services 14 months after the Sandy Hook shooting.
The State of Things:
After a disastrous transition from the state to federal rules for its website, the Massachusetts Health Connector is dumping its contractor that it had hired to build its online exchange.
State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry kicked off the annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day breakfast yesterday, becoming the first woman of color to host the event. In the eyes of some, she actually made it better than it usually is. The breakfast has been traditionally hosted by the State Senator from Southie, but last year South Boston City Councilor Bill Linnehan tried to usurp that role because Forry while Forry’s district includes South Boston, she lives in its southern Dorchester regions. Linnehan backed off in the end. David Bernstein offers his reasons for why this event has overstayed its welcome.
Elsewhere in St. Patrick’s Day politicking, the South Boston parade went on without any LGBT marchers as hoped and without “Mahty,” the city’s mayor, something which Bernstein noted, it long has.
Speaker Robert DeLeo released the House’s minimum wage bill. Liberals are not thrilled with it, particularly the dollar and change increase in the tipped employee wage over three years.
Mary McNally, originally slated to run for District Attorney in Hampden County to succeed Mark Mastroianni, decided to drop out of race.
Mayor Domenic Sarno has, as expected, completed his interviews with the candidates for Police Commissioners. Pete Goonan reports that the interview locations were surreptitiously scheduled with only a day’s notice to the candidates as to the locations. Our profiles of the candidates will continue, but we profiled Deputy Chief Robert McFarlin, widely viewed as the favorite, last week. The Republican joins the chorus of criticism of Sarno’s entirely non-public selection process.
JUST IN: The heads of the Springfield NAACP, the Greater Springfield Council of Churches and Arise for Social Justice release a statement blasting Mayor Sarno’s selection process and laying out a series of grievances against McFarlin, some of which WMassP&I noted and others it did not including rather overt allegations about his career in the department. McFarlin has reacted to it as well.
Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera resigns from the legislature. There will be no special election to fill the seat, WWLP reports, leaving the seat open until next January.
The Pine Point express library branch opens in the former neighborhood library.
Springfield in the running to host a new factory to build MBTA cars on the former Westinghouse site in East Springfield.
The referendum in Crimea has been received so incredulously by much of the world that some European countries placed it in quotes to emphasize that it was called does not properly reflect what the vote taken at the end of a gun actually was. Countless figures have taken the opportunity to express their thoughts on the subject in their own. One senator did so with an appropriate and heavy dose of snark. Today we award the tweet prize to the junior senator to our south, Chris Murphy, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affair Affairs subcommittee on Europe. As much of the world condemned and/or disavowed Sunday’s vote, Murphy notes that two nations did recognize it. With Syria and North Korea’s recognition, Murphy tweeted he realized the error of his criticism of the vote These bastions of freedom and democracy showed him the way. Not really.
I take back all my criticism of the #Crimea vote. Just learned Syria & N Korea recognized it, so it must be legit.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) March 17, 2014