Browse By

Manic Monday Markup 12/1/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in Iraq, where new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has dismissed 24 senior officials as his government investigates claims of 50,000 ghost soldiers in the army.

Who is Moshe Kahlon? The former Likud minister left Israeli frontline politics and is prepared to run his own political party against his ex-party and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu. While a Haaretz poll indicates Kahlon’s impact may be minimal, he could be the gravest threat to Netanyahu’s path to another term as PM. Meanwhile, Bibi himself is threatening fresh elections and claims to have the votes to force one (as opposed to asking President Rivlin to order them) amid turmoil in his government, namely Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid and Hatnua’s Tzipi Livni. The rumble is, as it was, the Jewish nation-state bill, which has received criticism from Conservative Jews and Israeli political analysts.

Uruguayans return their former president to power after the incumbent threatened to scale back the country’s marijuana legalization process.

Fresh protests in Hong Kong have been broken up. One protest  leader goes on hunger strike.

After his party loses control of Victoria’s government, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott issues a mea culpa, including admission of breaking election promises. Abbott’s party, shorthanded as the Coalition, controlled traditionally Labor-friendly Victoria until the last election, but the Labor leader in Melbourne, Daniel Andrews, led his party to a romp over Denis Napthine, the Coalition premier of Victoria. It was the first time in decades a state government was voted out after only one term. The afterglow from Abbott’s mea culpa, though, does not appear to be going as well. The Guardian considers how Labor’s win will affect the PM.

Amid financial chaos, Russia tries to stabilize the plummeting ruble.

Asian political potpourri. Japan’s opposition is caught off guard by Shinzo Abe’s snap election. The ruling party is Taiwan is defeated, prompting the party’s leader to step down.

The Feds:

Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo. police officer at the center of the Michael Brown shooting there, has resigned. Ferguson officials says he will not be receiving any severance.

President Barack Obama announced last week he would veto a tax package that would extend tax breaks for the wealth and corporations, but not for the middle class and poor. This week, Harry Reid says a bill that does not include the middle class and poor will not pass during his dwindling days as majority leader.

Even after cutting the budget, Gov. Dannel Malloy still faces a deficit in Connecticut, according to the State Comptroller, Democrat Kevin Lembo. More budget trouble is ahead.

Efforts appear underway to move Florida’s gubernatorial cycle to coincide with the President one after moving it to the midterm year about 50 years ago. In Los Angeles, with municipal election coming next year without the benefit of a contested mayoral election (wherein turnout was still unimpressive), city officials look to get more voters to show up, perhaps by moving elections to even-numbered years.

A GOP staffer resigns after criticizing Sasha and Malia Obama.

The Mashantucket Pequot tribe faces the reality of declining gambling revenues.

The State of Things:

Governor Deval Patrick and Governor-elect Charlie Baker disagree on proposed pay raises. Meanwhile, The Boston Globe discovers Baker’s pick for Chief of Staff was not lured away from academia. He was on his way out from Northeastern anyway.

The Globe writes about Worcester’s efforts to be far more of a college town than it is. That is make it a place its 35,000 students want to live after graduation.

Holyoke Treasurer Jon Lumbra getting flack from the City Council for doing his job on nights & weekends while doing something else during the day. That criticism, while on its face fair, might be more meaningful if the Council, which would appoint Lumbra’s replacement were he to resign, could get around to appointing other officials it has a standing right to select. Lumbra seems likely to resign in January. Typical Holyoke political bellyaching. Nothing to see here, folks.

In less fraught Holyoke news, City Clerk Brenna McGee scores a grant to preserve city records.

Seth Moulton, the North Shore’s new congressman, prepares to enter Congress.

The Fourth Estatements:

Dave Weigel at Bloomberg writes about conservative efforts, particularly within the media to intimidate and silence members of the mainstream press with indirect threats and by publicizing personal information. Among the targeted are New York Times reporter Julie Bosman and Washington Post reporter (and [spoiler] current tweet prize champ) Wesley Lowery. The right’s stated reason for doing so? Revealing the location of Darren Wilson’s home, which the media did not actually do. Weigel himself has been targeted since publishing. The Times‘s public editor Margaret Sullivan also considers the right’s complaint and its response.

City Slickers:

Demolition of the former baggage building of Union Station has commenced. The renovated station and new accompanying bus wing will open in 2016.

Ward 8 Councilor Orlando Ramos says he has the votes to be Council Vice-President in 2015, marking the first time since ward representation both the President and Veep are ward councilors. Council President Michael Fenton already said he secured to votes to preside over the chamber for another year. Council veep entails no additional duties, but fills in for the president in his absence or desire to participate in debate.

Former Catholic Bishop Thomas Maguire laid to rest.

Twitter Chatter:

The media is not always right. They can be wrong both in factual terms and in how they approach and write about the news, the latter being more flawed judgment than an empirical error. With some notable exceptions, our government does not harass or intimidate journalists. Even large private companies or entities, to whom the 1st Amendment does not apply and against whom private causes of action are the only recourse, tend to avoid targeting the press. It was remarkable when Uber considered crossing this line. Even the public generally eschews targeting individuals within the media. Verbal criticism of their work is fine. The First Amendment works both ways. But targeting journalists with threats or revealing personal information that seemingly encourage the same is, in a word, reprehensible. It fosters a breakdown of civil society and could lead to somebody getting hurt. There is a far longer parade of horribles, which we shall save for another time.

Today we ward the tweet prize to Post reporter Wesley Lowery. Lowery, a former Globe scribe who is black, has been one of The Post’s point guys in Ferguson and that has unfortunately come with an unfortunate fusillade of racist tweets and emails. But that was not enough, apparently, as his critics felt the need to publish personal information about himself and his family. But this is not a sympathy award. Rather it is Lowery tweeting of Margaret Sullivan’s post, praising his colleague-competitors at the Times and condemning the targeting against them. Classy and spot-on, Wes!