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Manic Monday Markup 8/20/12…

…And the World:

We begin today in Burma, where the nation’s censorship laws are about to fall away almost completely.  Burma, now often known as Myanmar, has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last couple of years.  Although problems remain, the country has released some political prisoners, reduced press controls and held elections that brought activist Aung Sun Suu Kyi into Parliament.  These changes have been hailed as another sign that the changes are legitimate although the nation still has a long way to go before becoming fully open society.

War-torn Somalia took a major step this weekend when its Parliament met for the first time in ages.  Amid tight security at the Mogadishu airport, the caretaker, albeit unelected government came together in an attempt to steer the country toward civil governance and stability.

Striking mine workers in South Africa continue to defy the facility’s owner, Lonmin, and have refused to return to work.  The strike over wages and other benefits has already resulted in deaths.  Last week 34 were killed when the strikers tried to overcome a police line.  Ten others died a week earlier.  The violence is said to be highest perpetrated by the state since the end of Apartheid.  Miner were warned that they return to work immediately or face termination, but miners have been defiant and have said that they’d rather die than back down.  The violence during the strike, although said to be illegal, has also led some to point fingers at the African National Congress-led South African government.  Some have gone as far to say President Jacob Zuma and his party have blood on their hands.

The Feds:

The Political story opening this week is not on the Presidential election, but rather in the Show Me State’s Senate race, which went full boil.  This weekend when Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee to challenge incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, said that in cases of “legitimate rape” a women’s body would not allow itself to get pregnant.  The biological lunacy of such a statement notwithstanding, it has created a torrent of criticism aimed at Akin from several Republicans.  The story has gone around the world getting airplay on BBC’s world service and appearing on news sites elsewhere in the world.  Even Senators Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn, the Republican Senate Leader and Campaign Chair, are calling on Akin to drop out.

However, Akin remains defiant and has thus far brushed aside calls to end his bid even as Karl Rove‘s outfit Crossroads, which often bombards the airwaves on behalf of candidates, is apparently pulling its ads.  Should Akin drop out, the Missouri Republican party would pick a replacement…pending some paperwork.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is not letting up on Paul Ryan (GOOD!).  Aside from tying Ryan to Todd Akin via the bizarre personhood law the Vice-Presidential nominee sponsored with Akin, they using the Ryan budget and hitting the airwaves with different messages in different swing states.  The Akin comments also allow the Obama campaign more ammunition to paint the Republicans as out of control radicals on women’s health.

Last week’s brutal campaign in Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District has led to some soul searching for Democrats and labor.  Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan lost his bid to be the Democrats nominee to replace Chris Murphy who is running for Senate (he won the nomination).  Instead, Democrats chose Elizabeth Esty to take on Republican nominee Andrew Roraback.  However, Donovan has yet to formally endorse Esty and he could still appear on the ballot under the Working Families Party line.  That would all, but hand the contest to Roraback.  Esty and labor, by far the largest of Donovan’s supporters, are now in a process of conciliation, although one that will necessarily need Donovan’s blessing.  Donovan’s bid fell apart after members of his campaign were arrested for influence peddling for donations.  After the indictments, Esty had engaged in a behind the scenes efforts to woo labor as its second choice for the seat with hopes of a reconciliation should she win.

The State of Things:

The Boston Globe has a look at Elizabeth Warren’s rise in academia.  It includes interviews with people who saw her rise from the University of Houston all the way up to Harvard.

Meanwhile the chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party is getting sued!

Representative Richard Neal sparred with Middle Berkshire Registrar of Deeds Andrea Nuciforo and Activist/Humorist Bill Shein in a debate.  All three men are vying for the nomination for the new 1st Congressional District.  The debate itself took on campaign finance and job creation.

And the Republican looks at the candidates for the Governors Council seat left open by Thomas Merrigan.  The paper looks at both the Democratic and the Republican races.

City Slickers:

Domenic Sarno is meeting with casino developers soon according to the Republican.

And Springfield makes moves to alert parents about its new condom policy.  The Springfield School Committee instituted the controversial policy on a 4-3 vote several months ago.  Now with the school year beginning soon the city is working to implement it.

Twitter Chatter:

We have long recognized parody Twitter accounts in this space and a recently established one gets to the heart of the problems of Congressman Paul Ryan and his positions create.  Actor Ryan Gosling got caught up in the “hey, girl” meme after a tumblr blog and an MTV were connected with Gosling speaking the phrase.  A meme was born and all kinds of blogs about it were created.  A new one surfaced after Rep. Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate, “Paul Ryan Gosling”.  The tweets consist largely of recognition of Paul Ryan’s anti-woman record in Congress.  This week we award the tweet prize to Paul Ryan Gosling who tweeted about the Todd Akin flap.  The parody account noted not only the connection between the actual Paul Ryan and Todd Akin on abortion, but the fact that although Akin went too far by articulating his belief, that Ryan’s records speaks for itself as to where the Wisconsin Republican stands.  He wouldn’t say it.  He’d just legislate it!