Browse By

Manic Monday Markup 4/2/2012…

…And the World:

We start off today in Burma.  In elections held this weekend to fill mid-term vacancies in the Burmese parliament, Democracy Activist Aung Sun Suu Kyi and her party appeared headed for a blowout scooping up as many as 43 of 45 contested seats.  Only two years ago Suu Kyi was in the midst of her endless house arrest after winning an election in 1990 that the military nullified, now she is on her way to Parliament.  There is concern, given the rather rapid pace of reform in the long-time military dictatorship, that these results could freak out the generals who remain the powers behind the throne.  However, for now this victory for Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy, if it follows through will give her a legitimacy in her own country after years of enjoying international support.  Of course, being a politician versus being an activist carries risk and reward.

Over the last week, a major upset turned Israeli politics upside down.  Tzipi Livni, the leader of Kadima, the opposition party in the Knesset was defeated in a primary in her bid to remain the head of the party.  Shaul Mofaz won the primary election in a near landslide beating Livni almost 2-1.  The result seemingly killed a career that had seemed bright even after she failed to form a government in 2009’s elections.  However, her stewardship as opposition leader had come under attack and Kadima has flagged ever since.  Some doubt whether or not Mofaz will be any better at reviving the party formed after Ariel Sharon shifted gears and left Likud.  The Israeli left appears to be returning to its natural home in Labour and other leftist parties.  However, the left remains bitterly fractured and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been more canny politically cautious than expected including veering left to deflect right-wing attacks on Israel’s democracy and judiciary.

The Feds:

The Paul Ryan budget is unlikely to go anywhere beyond the Chief House Punk’s fantasies.  However, that is not stopping Democrats from hammering it for being a grossly unfair giveaway to the wealthy.  Illinois Democratic Represenative Jan Schakowsky, mindful of the impending Passover holiday suggests that the Republican’s own budget violates the bible.  No, Ms. Schakowsky is not taking up the cause of the religious right, but rather is throwing in back in the faces of a party that has held up God as a sword for decades.  Indeed, it would seem Republicans who can quote chapter and verse tempered by a surreptitious interpretation have difficulty with the more unambiguous commands God offered in scripture.

As the Republican primary winds down and Mitt Romney tries to switch back to attacking Mitt Romney, recent polling news suggests some pretty hefty damage to our one-time governor.  In a poll of several swings states, Mitt Romney is losing to President Barack Obama.  The demographic turning most harshly against Romney?  Women!

As Democrats listened in horror to the skepticism from conservative justices on the Supreme Court, some states have begun looking at ways to keep the law going regardless of what SCOTUS does.  Indeed, insurers, who actually stand to lose the most if the mandate falls, are looking past the law, too.

The State of Things:

Former Treasurer and one-time Independent gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill has been charged for using state funds in an effort to boost visibility ahead of his race for governor.  Attorney General Martha Coakley announced the indictment making Cahill the first statewide official to face charges since the 1950’s.  Cahill is alleged to have used lottery funds for commercials that boosted his visibility around the time of the election.

More than a decade after the Internet became a way of life for much of Western Civilization, the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office is going digital.  More than a year after Mark Mastroianni came into office, the digital presence came online.  The Hampden County District Attorney’s office is the last in the state to open a website, which probably speaks more to the legacy of Mastroianni’s predecessor than himself.

City Slickers:

Ward 2 Councilor Mike Fenton and Ward 7 Councilor Tim Allen have proposed a big package of crime-fighting measures that were brought before the Springfield City Council tonight.  We will have a write-up, but here is the Republican’s preview from Sunday.

Former Springfield Police Officer Jeffrey Asher was sentenced to prison for the beating of Melvin Jones.  The case showed a spotlight on the less than marvelous relationship between the police and the city’s minority communities.  However, Jones’s troubled past provided ammunition for Asher supporters to paint the former cop as a victim.  The Retirement Board will vote this month to revoke Asher’s pension, an action they are believed to take given that body had postponed their decision pending Asher’s sentencing.

Twitter Chatter:

The entry of Joe Kennedy III to the race to succeed Barney Frank not only gave Frank’s 2010’s challenger, Sean Bielat, a new target to focus on.  Bielat was always thought to run again, but attacking a Kennedy was at least as good as attacking Frank.  Clearly, the media agrees and does whatever it can to further that agenda (and by extension implicitly crown Bielat the GOP nominee even though he has a primary opponent).  The Conservative media like the Boston Herald’s Holly Robichaud seem perfectly at ease bending reality to meet their own agenda.  It is true that Bielat until he decided to run again lived in Pennsylvania.  It is also true that Kennedy did not live in the 4th Congressional district before decidingn to run for Congress from there.  He did, however, at least live in Massachusetts consistently prior to announcing.  For pointing out another right-wing absurdity, we award Right Wing Watch Massachusetts the week’s tweet prize.