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Manic Monday Markup 10/1/12…

…And the World:

We begin today in Venezuela, which will holds its presidential election next Sunday.  Incumbent Hugo Chavez is facing Henrique Capriles, who is backed by more than 30 opposition parties.  Capriles rallied supporters this weekend in a huge event in Caracas.  The rally came after two opposition activists were shot dead in Venezuela.

Last week the Liberal Democrats of Great Britain held their party conference, now it is Labour’s turn.  Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition and Labour’s leader will outline in his speech to the conference a series of policy goals with a theme of helping the forgotten 50% in Britain.  The speech will come at a critical time as Labour leads the governing Conservative Party in polls, but those same polls suggest Britons do not view Miliband as Prime Minister material.  Miliband’s speech follows that of Ed Balls, Labour’s spokesman for financial matters (styled as the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer), who promised to “rebuild Britain.”

The former Soviet Republic of Georgia elects a new parliament.  Early exit polls say the challenger, Bidzina Ivanishvili is coming out strong against the party of the incumbent president, Mikheil Saakashvili.  The two men differ greatly with Russia, with which Georgia went to war not long ago.  Complicating matter further if Ivanishvili‘s party wins, Parliament is poised to take over more power from the presidency next year.

The son of the late former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin, is planning to run for leader of the Liberal Party.  The party has been in the woods since it came in third in last year’s general election after being one of major parties for much of Canada’s independent history.

The Feds:

President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney will square off for the first time this Wednesday.  While both camps are tamping down expectations, Romney supporter New Jersey Governor Chris Christie thinks the narrative of this election will change considerably come Thursday morning.  This comes on the heals of press reports that Romney’s campaign is frantically retooling its message.  The Romney camp assumed they could campaign on the economy alone, but that does not appear to be working. has a hint of one potential line of attack against the President in which Romney will argue Obama mishandled the Benghazi consulate attack.  Last week, after several days of denials, the White House acknowledged it was a terrorist and not a sudden popular uprising.

An interesting development on gay rights in California.  The state has banned licensed mental health providers from engaging in conversion therapy that allegedly makes gays become straight.  Governor Jerry Brown signed the law yesterday, but NPR’s report warns that court challenges are coming.

In Connecticut, Linda McMahon after a tough week got reinforcements from Senator John McCain.  Rob Simmons and Chris Shays, whom McMahon defeated in 2010 and this year respectively, were also on hand, but ostensibly came out of respect for McCain.  Based on this the CT Mirror’s report, both damned McMahon with faint praise or none at all.

The New York Times has a write-up of the North Dakota US Senate race where Democrat Heidi Heitkamp is fighting to hold on a senate seat for Democrats in the red state.  Her opponent is Rick Berg.

The State of Things:

New polls show Senator Scott Brown still down relative to his challenger Democrat Elizabeth Warren.  David Bernstein has a good breakdown of the Boston Globe poll, and here is WBUR’s polling data.  The polls may not have taken into account the video where Brown’s staff engaged in war whoops and the tomahawk chop, actions Brown still has not, contrary to our earlier tweet, has not apologized for despite condemnation from the Cherkoee nation and even doubled down on his attacks on Warren’s ethnicity.

The Boston Globe also takes a closer look at Brown’s fundraising appeals, which despite Brown’s claims of bipartisanship and praise from President Obama, cast a decidedly partisan tone in favor of Republicans.  The candidate debate tonight in Lowell.

Last week the Advocate reported on a study of how Alex Morse won the Holyoke mayoral election last year.

A bit of local color from North Adams and it fall foliage parade that attracted politicians from all over including Congressman Richard Neal who will in all likelihood represent the town come January.

City Slickers:

The Republican joins a chorus of condemnation, begun here, of the City Council for postponing again the revision of the city’s zoning ordinance.  Although the editorial casts blame on the whole body, it is important to note several city councilors actively support the ordinance.

Good catch from last week.  MGM plans to put offices into Union Station when renovations are complete.  Hmm…

Twitter Chatter:

With the Senate debate tonight, we have to a lot of tweets to digest, but on first instinct, we have to give it to Richard Howe, a Lowell blogger and Registrar of Deeds in the Middlesex North District.  In comparison to dynamic Jon Keller, David Gregory appeared to assert little control over debate and appeared to give Brown more time than Warren.  Putting that aside, as it may be a judgment call, Howe’s tweet also hit’s a bigger point.  Too much of the debate was taken up by “trivia” and that killed the debate.  For this we award this week’s tweet prize to Dick Howe.