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Manic Monday Markup 6/25/12…

…And the World:

After a week of dithering, Egypt finally has a new president and he is the man most had thought had won last week.  Mohamed Morsi was confirmed as the winner of last Sunday’s election.  His is also a victory for the Muslim Brotherhood under whose Law and Justice Party Morsi ran.  For the intellectuals and youth that started last year’s revolution that deposed Hosni Mubarak, the win by an Islamist candidate was a let down.  On the other hand, Morsi’s opponent was a former Mubarak official, making neither candidate particularly palatable.  Morsi, following his election, however, promises to be the president of all Egyptians.

Greece has a new government, but neither its Prime Minister nor Finance Minister will be at the first Euro summit to discuss the nation’s bailout package.  Both are hospitalized with the latter since resigning due to health.  That is actually the okay news.  Cyprus today became the fifth Eurozone country to seek a bailout.  The tiny nation’s economy is unlikely to be a burden on the bailout fund, but it certainly does not bode well for Europe generally.  Still, Cyprus’ economy is said to be better off than Greece’s

Italy is poised to reform its lumbering labor laws ahead of this week’s Euro summit.  The reforms have been criticized on all sides both as going too far and not far enough.  Indeed, lawmakers appear ready to revisit them immediately after passage.  Still, their enactment will be a major achievement for Mario Monti, Italy’s technocrat Prime Minister who has sought to rework the country’s impossible labor laws in a bid to spur growth.  Perhaps more importantly, however, these reforms lend Monti the credibility he needs to strong arm the Germans into accepting more pro-growth policies for Europe.

The Feds:

No ruling on health care from the Supreme Court today.  That appears to be headed for a Thursday announcement.  Instead, the Court ruled on Arizona’s Immigration law, SB 1070.  The media has been saying that the Court upheld the heart of the law, its “Papers please” provision.  The rest of the law was largely struck down as an illegal impingement on federal government’s power over immigration.  President Barack Obama, while praising the decision for striking down much of the law remained troubled by the Court allowing certain people to remain under a “cloud of suspicion” due to the color of their skin.  That said, Justice Anthony Kennedy in writing for the majority upholding the “Papers Please” provision also said that the law could still fall on equal protection grounds in a future challenge.  The federal government only challenged the law as preempted by federal law.

Elsewhere, the Supreme Court also declined to revisit Citizens United and summarily reversed the Montana Supreme Court’s decision distinguishing their state from the ruling that allowed unlimited political spending by corporations, and consequently by billionaires.  The state’s junior senator Jon Tester, locked in a tight battle for reelection said the ruling “rolled Montana back 100 years.”

Yes, Republican Linda McMahon appeared before the Connecticut AFL-CIO seeking the state labor federations endorsement.  If Chris Murphy and Susan Bysiewicz, the two Democrats competing for their party’s nomination, were ghouls, like legit demonic ghosts, then the only Republican who would have even the remotest chance of getting labor’s endorsement would be Chris Shays, McMahon’s Republican primary opponent.  Of course neither are and more importantly, Murphy has been cleaning up with the union endorsements.  He will probably get the AFL-CIO’s blessing in the end.

An interesting piece from Malibu.  Yes, Malibu!  Twenty-eight year-old Skylar Peak is the youngest city councilors in the beach side community’s history.  The story and accompanying video provide an interesting look at youth in politics.  Peak got into politics to protect his city’s more rural, outdoorsy flavor in the face of rampant development.  However, Peak is also a big time surfer and his demand that the community acknowledge and celebrate this critical aspect of its history has caused some conflict with the stodgier elements of the political establishment.  Peak is unrepentant, though and has refused to cast aside his own right to have fun and be himself despite entering politics.

The State of Things:

Haaretz, one of Israel’s main newspapers, has a interesting look at Mitt Romney’s relationship with the Jewish community when he was governor.  In short, the state’s Jewish community, which is overwhelmingly Democratic, was thrilled with health care reform.  However, they found Romney aloof and detached in his interactions with the state’s Jewish groups in contrast to Governor Deval Patrick who has engaged them much more directly.

President Barack Obama’s getting the red carpet rolled out for him today as he attends fundraisers throughout Boston.  Elizabeth Warren is scheduled to introduce the President at an event at Symphony Hall in the city’s Fenway neighborhood.

Meanwhile in her own election, Elizabeth Warren appears to be seizing the upper hand in the debate over debates as Brown has declined to take any more debates.  Warren has agreed to debates in Worcester and New Bedford to broaden the regional accessibility of the debates.  Brown has only accepted debates in Springfield and Boston.  Today, it was also reported that Warren declined a radio debate moderated by Dan Rea, a conservative talk show host.  This comes after Brown refused a debate held at the Edward Kennedy Institute after the late senator’s widow, Victoria Reggie, refused to remain neutral in the senate election.  Worth noting, however, the proposed moderator, Tom Brokaw, has not picked a side as Rea has.

City Slickers:

With Springfield Union Station’s grant money in place, officials toured the 86 year-old facility.  On Masslive, be sure to check out some of the funky photos from inside.  For more, check out these photos from a 2007 tour taken by Urban Compass’s Heather Brandon.

The Springfield School Committee selected current assistant superintendent Daniel Warwick as the new School Superintendent.  Although runner-up Jesus Jara had local ties, after several out-of-towners in the top schools posts, the Committee was under intense pressure to pick a local person and Warwick’s ties ran the deepest, it seems.  Meanwhile, his predecessor Alan Ingram is all set with a state job now

The Republican also has an editorial criticizing Mayor Domenic Sarno for including library closures in the budget and reminds the mayor about the city’s great history of branch libraries and their importance, especially in the current economy.

Shameless self promotion time!!!  Our new political guide for Springfield City Councilors is up!  You can browse by Councilor on this page.  In due time we will have the mayor and school committee as well as other elected officials on the County & State level!  Stay tuned.

Twitter Chatter:


The Citizen’s United Decision may one day be remembered by legal historians and Constitutional experts as one of those terrible Supreme Court decisions.  It may join wretched rulings like Dred Scott (slaves cannot be citizens), Plessy v. Ferguson (thumbs up to segregation), and Lochner v. New York (government cannot interfere with the right to contract or do anything to help citizen’s economic circumstances).  For now, however, we have to live with it and the right of billionaires to spend billions without any accountability.  However, as Attorney General Martha Coakley, reminds us in her tweet quoting her statement on Court’s action today, that we cannot rely on the courts to solve this onslaught of money that drowns out the voices of the people.  This unrestricted flow of money must be stopped, but it will take legislation and maybe an amendment to the Constitution to do it.  For stating what now is undeniable about what we must to reclaim our democracy, Martha Coakley wins this week’s tweet prize.