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Manic Monday Markup 8/27/12…

…And the World:

We begin today in France, where President François Hollande has called upon the Syrian opposition to form a government.  Although many countries have effectively withdrawn their recognition of Bashar al-Assad’s government, this move is a step much further.  It also rejects a notion, still supported by the US and UK, of Assad forming a provisional government to which he could hand over power.  Meanwhile, the refugee situation on Syria’s borders worsens.

In Australian, the man who would be Prime Minister, if he can lead his party to a majority, is facing some ghosts from the past.  Tony Abbott, the leader of the Liberal Coalition that opposes the Labor government, is face calls from the last Liberal Prime Minister John Howard to talk about WorkChoices again and not focus so heavily on the Carbon Tax.  Abbott often needles the government of Julia Gillard over the tax on carbon the country is to impose, but Howard argued that attacking the tax only hurt business by created uncertainly.  However, WorkChoices is fraught with its only political implications and held partly responsible for the fall of Howard‘s government in 2007.  The law, a reform of the nation’s collective bargaining laws for employees, remains hated by Australians as it gutted many employee rights.  Labor subsequently repealed it.

Meanwhile back in Europe, Germany and its chancellor Angela Merkel appear committed to keep Greece in the Euro, although they are not prepared to give into the debt-ridden countries pleas for more time yet.  Still this is a good sign for Greece, which also received praise from French leaders for the work it has undertaken and the pain it has suffered.

The Feds:

Hurricane Isaac has already postponed the GOP convention by a day and politics could actually cancel the convention if the storm reaches New Orleans or causes massive flooding elsewhere along the coast.  However, the storm is not the only surprise for the GOP in Florida.  The state’s former Republican governor, Charlie Christ, once a rising star in the party, but became a pariah when he insufficiently hated President Barack Obama is coming out for the president’s reelection.  Christ is also expected to speak in Charlotte next week at the Democratic convention.

Meanwhile, Canadians appear bemused as Republicans shift their stance on our neighbor to North from Socialist Hellhole to Economic Utopia.

A bizarre coalition in California.  Once and again Governor Jerry Brown is trying to hold his state’s precarious finances together with both hands.  Due to the state’s supermajority requirement for tax increases, Brown had to turn to a referendum to get a tax increase needed to preserve critical programs.  He is getting help from an unlikely place.  California’s businesses many of which are backing the taxes or not fighting against them in exchange for Brown dropping taxes on oil and alcohol.

Rhode Island Public Radio has a history of voting frauds in the Ocean State.  Looking into the past, the spurious claims of voter impersonation are nothing compared to the whoppers of the old days.

The State of Things:

Scott Brown is stumbling over his own supporters as he receives the endorsement of Massachusetts Citizens for Life while been-a-longtime-since-he-endorsed-a-Democrat Ray Flynn calls Brown “pro-life” at heart.  Despite Brown’s quick move to hit Todd Akin last week, the issue presents a serious problem for Brown who only has his wife’s biased assurance that he is pro-choice to back up Brown’s credentials among women.  Warren’s campaign is wasting no time capitalizing on both Akin and the implications of a Republican takeover of the US Senate.  Complicating matters further for Brown, after saying the GOP should have a big tent approach to abortion rights, the senator said he WOULD NOT argue for the inclusion of different language in the party platform.  That became even more ironic when the campaign trotted out former Governor Bill Weld and former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey to defend Brown.  Weld famously DID push for such language in 1992.  Abortion groups are not falling for it either.

This is not a storyThis is.  Listen carefully to Lowell Mayor Patrick Murphy’s words about where Brown is going.  They couldn’t be truer.  Transcript of Murphy’s remarks here.

On Thursday this week Young Professionals from throughout the valley will get together in Holyoke to encourage voter participation and fortify their position as a demographic in need of attention by state leaders.  A continuing problem in Massachusetts, particularly Western Massachusetts, is the failure to establish policies that encourage younger worker to stay and thrive in the Pioneer Valley.

City Slickers:

MGM rolled out a massive proposal to remake the city’s South End.  However, it comes at a time when the City Council is fighting with the mayor over control of the process.  Meanwhile, the Springfield Intruder casts doubts on MGM’s promises.  Our concerns were similar, especially on movie theaters, but we don’t think the existing ones are suffering that much.  Add another multiplex in the mix and maybe they would be.  Complicating matters further, other developers are crying foul on the process with the owners of the proposed Page Boulevard casino threatening to withhold their application fee until the city clears up its process.  Whether this was resolved by today’s meeting with casino officials and subsequent rollout of selection process remains unclear.

WWLP is reporting that a vote on a casino could come as early at spring.  This could suggest either a rushed process, but also would encourage an abysmally low turnout in either the city or the ward in which the casino is to be situated.

Twitter Chatter:

Today we look at more somber things in awarding the tweet prize.  For the first time in a while, we have tie winners.  The White House wins today’s tweet prize for recognizing the death of Neil Armstrong, who died this week.  He was of course, the first man on the moon and feet that, in many ways goes unequaled.  Their recognition, which is only one among countless others, links to photographs of the astronaut.

Elsewhere, we also award the tweet prize to the Boston Globe’s Matt Viser.  A reporter for the Globe’s Washington bureau, Viser is in Tampa for the Republican national convention.  His tweet, noting that President Obama has already made a disaster declaration for Louisiana, is packed not only with recognition of the political consequences of Hurricane Isaac.  It is also loaded with the more sober reality that real human lives are at stake and many were lost when a nation paid too little attention to its own people.  Of course this should all happen on the cusp of the seven year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall.  For these reasons, he also wins the tweet prize this week.