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Manic Monday Markup 12/24/12…

…And the World:

Merry Christmas, Feliz Natal, Boze Narodzenie, Shub Naya Baras, Sung Tan Chuk Ha

We begin today with Christmas in Australia.  Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in her holiday message, urged her countrymen and women to reach out to the alone and isolated this season.  Both she and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also praised Australian service members.

Christmas in Hong Kong is a festival of lights on the province’s many skyscrapers.  And a Senegalese mosque gets into the spirit, too.

Egypt has passed its new constitution, which opposition members feared could lead to repression of religious minorities and an Islamist state.  The opposition, however, is gearing up for the coming weeks and months.  Meanwhile the Washington Post looks at how the trials and tribulations in the country has wreaked havoc on its once lucrative tourism industry.

Israel votes in less than a month and while the left and center-left remains disorganized, the right block of Likud-Beiteinu has its own problems.  In particular, the joint-party effectively led of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing a crisis because before becoming PM, Netanyahu endorsed a two-state solution.  Many inside the coalition do not want that as part of the platform anymore.

The Feds:

The Hartford Courant has a somber note for this Christmas in light of the shooting in Newtown.  Some Newtown residents try to see the brighter side while the clergy have “struggled” with a holiday message.  On another Newtown note, the CT Mirror looks at the reporting of the Newtown Bee, which covered a story that struck at the heart of the community served and of which it was a large part.  Here is another perspective focusing on the New Haven Register.

The Boston Globe does an excellent breakdown of the Mitt Romney campaign from the campaign’s perspective.  However, Jamelle Bouie, writing at the Plum Line says the Republicans and Mitt campaign vets seem devoid of any recognition that Romney’s solutions were a part of his defeat.

It seems likely that Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race will, one way or another, be one of the more hotly contested in 2014.  This story from the Philadelphia Inquirer about fairly naked influence peddling complete with retreats with the governor and lobbyists, is just one reason why.

John Kerry to State.

We’re being grinches!  No Fiscal Cliffmas for us!

The State of Things:

With John Kerry’s impending departure from the US Senate to the Department of State now a certainty, there is now an opportunity for US Senate seat, one that does not require anybody to decline to run for their current post.  Ted Kennedy, Jr. is out and so is Ben Affleck and Martha CoakleyCongressmen Mike Capuano, Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey are all possibilities.  State Senator Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield released a statement after the Kerry announcement.  With his apparent hiring of Scott Ferson, a well-known Boston political consultant, his run seems quite likely, especially with Ted Jr. bowing out.

Meanwhile, David Bernstein seems legitimately unsure of what will happen in a special, although with Ted Jr out, he leans toward Scott Brown, who is poised to run.  Mass Politics Prof Peter Ubertaccio looks at Brown’s chances in light of a favorable WBUR poll.

An Everett State Rep is resigning his seat amidst a voter fraud probe.  He allegedly obtained absentee ballots for voters illegally.  The resignation comes with a plea agreement.  It will be up to the Legislature to set a date for a special election to replace him.

City Slickers:

Northeaster Public Radio’s Paul Tuthill reports on the Attorney General’s indictment of two school department employees for stealing funds from Putnam High School.

On a more positive note, the Republican’s Jim Kinney looks at the city’s recent approval of tax incremental financing for city businesses.  While the use of the program has not been always used judiciously, the two businesses highlighted here are decent examples of its success in the city.

Twitter Chatter:

Newtown is still very raw in the American, and obviously, the Connecticut psyche.  However, with the victims buried, life must begin to go on. That will take the form of the debate about guns, mental health and more.  However, part of the process of grief and moving forward can be more subtle than that, but no less important.  Today we award the tweet prize to the Newtown Bee.  Their tweet, in noting that the flag on their town’s Main Street, will be flown at full-staff after a week at half-staff.  In a simple tweet, the Bee has reported on a simple step, in a long fitful journey to normality, set against the backdrop of the Christmas season.