Tardy Tuesday Takedown 10/13/15…
…And the World:
We begin today in the Netherlands where the Dutch Safety Board has released its findings about the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash in Ukraine that killed all 298 aboard. The report says that based on wreckage patterns and sound analysis of the cockpit voice records, the missile, identified as one fired from a Russian-made Buk launcher, exploded to the aircraft’s left above the cockpit. The pilots were killed instantly and the subsequent structural damage caused the aircraft to break up.
The lone Russian investigator that was part of the international analysis team dissented from the identification of a Buk missile launcher and Russian media has argued, since the reports release, that the missile came from territory controlled by Kiev, not separatists in Eastern Ukraine. The Dutch report, while not assigning blame, does appear to focus on an origination site within separatist territory. Notably, the report does criticize Ukrainian and international air traffic control for allowing commercial flights to continue over an active conflict zone that had downed several military aircraft already.
Turkey blames ISIS for the bombing in Ankara that targeted a peace rally there and killed more than 90. Unfortunately, the attack has not done much to heal the yawning divisions within Turkish society.
Israel remains mired in a wave of terror attacks that has targeted both Jews and Arabs as it government gropes for a solution to the problem. Lone wolf stabbings have become the common form for the attacks on both sides. Palestinians have carried out the attacks in numerous public places including on a bus, and Israeli forces have been granted latitude to open fire on such suspects. Meanwhile, there are reports of Jewish attackers as well, including one on another Jew that the assailant mistook for an Arab. Complicating the situation is that there may be very little Israelis—and for that matter Palestinians—can do to guard against the attack as Haaretz’s Yossi Verter darkly notes.
Despite earlier suggestions of delay, elections in Burma, now called Myanmar, are expected to proceed as scheduled.
As the Iranian parliament approved the Iran deal, The Washington Post says its reporter Jason Rezaian has been convicted by an Iranian court for espionage.
Now it’s the Democrats’ turn. It’s debate night in Las Vegas where former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders—and three other guys—will duke it out over who should be the party’s nominee for president. Although more debates—if not enough—are to follow, this could be pivotal for Clinton. She is widely acclaimed of doing well in these kind of debates and Sanders is doing little prep it seems, relying mostly on consistency and style. Still some seem to believe Clinton needs something to brush off the impression she is vulnerable to Sanders’s surge and Biden’s potential entry.
Meanwhile, the clock ticks on Biden getting in.
While the House Benghazi Committee drowns in criticism, including accusations its focus shifted almost entirely to Clinton’s email, the other big question is whether House Ways & Means Chairman Paul Ryan will heed the pleas for him to run for Speaker. But if Ryan’s fear was not getting enough support within the GOP caucus, The New York Times review of right-wing media attacks on him is not a good sign.
President Barack Obama remembers a former staffer, Brandon Lepow, who died of cancer over the weekend.
California Jerry Brown is reviewing the remaining bills passed this session in Sacramento as begins to look forward to what’s next on his agenda.
As Attorney General of Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal was a big consumer advocate. Now the Volkswagen emissions scandal has given him an opportunity to play that role as US Senator on an even bigger stage.
The State of Things:
Politico Massachusetts reviews the Bay State preparation for tonight’s debate.
Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to offer his own opioid legislation.
The first segment of our two part series is up on Senate President Stanley Rosenberg. Part two coming soon.
WMassP&I editor-in-chief Matt Szafranski and Republican columnist Ron Chimelis joined Susan Kaplan for NEPR’s Short List this past Friday.
A question of sewer billing is congealing in Holyoke. City councilors are demanding the legislature pass its home rule petition that would allow for water shutoff when sewer bills are unpaid. Rep. Aaron Vega says lawyers for the House of Representatives are reluctant to do that, especially when an option exists for the city under the general laws to combine the water and sewer departments. City Council President Kevin Jourdain dismisses that as “cookie-cutter” that diminishes the Council oversight. In other words, he and other councilors oppose giving up power and are trying to turn it to their political advantage.
The Reminder profiles longtime activist Corinne Wingard’s run for Town Council in Agawam.
The regional and city chambers of commerce have formally merged.
Hillary Clinton joins a union protest outside of a Trump-branded resort in Las Vegas.
At 28 Canon Circle tonight, WMassP&I Editor-in-chief Matt Szafranski will moderate the Ward 7 Council debate at the Springwood Community Room at 28 Canon Circle.
Speaking of debates, our review of the at-large Council debate at AIC.
City Council President Michael Fenton talks to Masslive about what happened to the nonbinding referendum he had wanted to put on the ballot about MGM’s design change.
Biomass opponents are looking to the Public Health Council’s Site Review process as a means to stop the project or at least mitigate the impact of the plant on air quality.
Mayor Domenic Sarno has been pilloried over the last week for refusing to debate his challenger, Salvatore Circosta. Rare are the days when this blog and The Republican are so totally on the same page.
Ridiculous to the sublime today in the Tweet prize, although neither may be a fair depiction of the tweet prizes awarded this week. First we recognized Brendan Buck the communications director for the Republican side of the House Ways & Means Committee, which means he also does double duty for Paul Ryan. Amid the furious speculation about his boss, Buck decided to preempt the wave of requests for updates with a simple tweet assuring the status quo remain and would for the foreseeable future. That’s good staff work. No, seriously!
Before you ask, nothing has changed and I don't anticipate any news this week.
— Brendan Buck (@BrendanBuck) October 12, 2015
At the same time, in light of Obama staffer Brandon Lepow’s death from cancer, it seems fitting to offer a tweet prize on that occasion. The White House tweeted the president’s statement on Lepow’s death. Macabre as it may seem, his death also harkens back to the wave of young people that flocked to Obama in the primary eight years ago. Many presidents, including this one, have acknowledged the passing of current and former staff, but the warmth of Obama’s statement also conveys the impact those young volunteers and staffers left on him. Brandon Lepow was 32.
"He made his 32 years count, & those of us who knew him are better for it" —@POTUS on the passing of Brandon Lepow pic.twitter.com/JuStIi45Pg
— White House Archived (@ObamaWhiteHouse) October 13, 2015