Manic Monday Markup 12/17/12…
…And the World:
We begin today…in Newtown, Conn. Were we a blog in any other country, our top international story would probably be here. The story has led the BBC’s news bulletins since Friday and as the slain children begin to be laid to rest, headlines from Newtown still dominate in Israel and Australia.
The investigation into Friday’s shooting that left twenty children and seven adults dead, not including the shooter that took his own life. Last night, President Barack Obama addressed a prayer vigil in Newtown for survivors saying that events like this cannot be allowed to become routine. NPR reports on a thaw, at least in the Democratic Senate caucus, of resistance to engage the issue of gun control. And the Hartford Courant reports on new details of the shooter, Adam Lanza, and his mother.
In Japan, the opposition Liberal Democratic Party returns to power, largely on the weakness of the current government run by the Democratic Party of Japan. Leader of the LDP and one-time Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will assume the office once more. Abe was a nationalistic figure whose tenure ended suddenly after a series of scandal. Many fear the return to his rule could presage a further deterioration between Japan and its neighbors, particularly China.
Hardline Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman resigned after being indicted on charges lesser than those the Israeli Attorney General were investigating. The impact on the January 22 election, however, is unknown.
In a few more Newtown notes, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy told reporters about having to tell the families about what happened Friday. The normally non-nonsense governor broke down during the Monday press conference. Earlier in the weekend, the Courant also published a report on how word spread at the State Capitol on a Friday that had, before the shooting, promised to be fairly humdrum.
Another sudden passing. News has broken that longtime Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye has died. He served in the state’s delegation since Hawaii became a state. Inouye’s seatmate, Daniel Akaka had already retired this year, his seat being taken up by Maize Hirono. A World War II veteran who lost his right arm in combat, he was the most senior Democrat in the US Senate. Governor Neil Abercrombie will appoint his replacement. The New York Times has a timeline of his life.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has appointed freshman Republican Congressman Tim Scott to fill resigning Senator Jim DeMint’s seat in the US Senate. Scott, an arch-conservative Republican, may not be quite as bad as DeMint in terms of conservative lunacy, but he is still pretty out there. Scott is also the first black Republican Senator from the South since reconstruction (and the first black Republican at all since Massachusetts own Edward Brooke was defeated for reelection in 1978). Still, his appointment is not a cure-all for the Republican brand’s toxicity with minority voters. Although Scott was rumored to be DeMint’s favorite, his appointment seems as much about helping Haley out with dismal poll numbers as appointing somebody she actually supports to the job.
The State of Things:
Local reaction to Newtown has included reviews of area schools’ security procedures. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and School Superintendent Daniel Warwick held a press conference to that effect today. Governor Deval Patrick is also calling on lawmakers in Boston to approve new restrictions as well.
With John Kerry’s appointment as Secretary of State largely seen as a sure thing, the question now turns to his successor. Governor Deval Patrick will probably pick a placeholder, possibly Michael Dukakis or Vicki Kennedy, and the legislature will probably not change the law again. While exiting senator Scott Brown tops the Republican list, the Democrats speculation machine includes South Boston Congressman Stephen Lynch, Malden Congressman Ed Markey and Somerville Congressman Mike Capuano, all of whom have shown an interest in the seat. Other possibilities include Treasurer Steve Grossman and Berkshire County’s own Ben Downing.
East Longmeadow goes to the polls tomorrow to select members of the Select Board to fill seats left empty by retiring member James Driscoll and disgraced former member Enrico “Jack” Villamaino.
Another week with a notable passing. Former School Committee Member Mike Rodgers died over the weekend after a brief illness, the Republican reported. Rodgers was remembered fondly by his colleagues on the Committee. In 2009, Rodgers also ran for the Ward 7 City Council seat, but was defeated by the presented Ward 7 Councilor, Tim Allen.
From the rhetoric to reality file, renovation of the former Holiday Inn off of 291 in Springfield to become a La Quinta is about complete. The renovation was made possible through a loan program managed by the city, but funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Block Development Grant Program. The City Council had to approve the loan and the debate included unsubstantiated claims about hotel rates by at-large Councilor Jimmy Ferrera, challenged by Ward 3 Councilor Melvin Edwards. At the time, it appeared Ferrera was trying to micromanage the hotel market in the city in his questions of the developer. The item, after a committee visit, itself later passed quietly.
Speaking of Ferrera, Springfield will find out today if he gets another term as Council President when the Council will pick its president during an informal caucus after tonight’s meeting. Formal selection occurs in January.
My mom would be SO proud to see President Obama holding her granddaughter. But not as proud as I am of her. twitter.com/Chass63/status…
— Cristina Hassinger (@Chass63) December 17, 2012
The White House released no photographs of President Obama meeting with families of the Newtown shooting. However, many families did on Twitter. One tweet, with a picture of the president holding the granddaughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung attached, also notes how proud she is of her mom. This is an allusion to the late Hochsprung’s noble effort to protect her charges. Today we award this weeks tweet prize to Cristina Hassinger, Hochsprung’s. However unintentionally, this photograph of Obama and Hassinger’s daughter illustrates not only myriad details about this tragedy, her mother‘s bravery; the loss of innocence; the national implications. It also displays what is at stake, something the president alluded to in his speech. What is at stake is the future, our future, their future…