Manic Monday Markup 2/4/2013…
…And the World:
We begin today in Britainn, albeit with global aspirations. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girls education activist who was shot in the head by the Taliban has released her first statement since the shooting. Yousafzai, 15, who received medical treatment at a British hospital, thanked supporters for their prayers and support which gave her “a second life” following her attack.
Staying in Britain, a former Energy Minister and onetime contender to lead the Liberal Democratic Party, the junior partner in Britain’s coalition government, may face jail time under a new plea agreement. Chirs Huhne, who lost a leadership fight with Nick Clegg in 2007, will resign from Parliament as a result of the deal. He left the head of the ministry last February.
You thought the Israeli election was over with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu staying on, albeit diminished? Well, you’re right, he has been offered the task of forming a government and become Prime Minister again. But now he needs to negotiate with the other parties in order to form a majority in 120 seat Knesset, including Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, who is already claiming he will be the next PM. Lapid won the second most seats in Israel’s general election and it is assumed he will be in any government. But has all the press gone to his head?
Finally, French President François Hollande took a victory lap through Timbuktu after his country helped Malian forces rout Islamists extremists. Now the focus moves to how do the French exit and African troops secure the country. On the plus side, precious artifacts feared lost in the historic city may have been saved.
Continuing an unprecedented attack on legislation they failed to stop and following an election they lost, Senate Republicans are refusing to confirm ANYBODY to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless the agency is radically changed and weakened. The effect is to functionally shut the agency down.
Elsewhere, Republicans are debating amongst themselves whether to formally filibuster Chuck Hagel’s confirmation to lead the Department of Defense. Hagel has at least two Republican supporters and so only another three are necessary to hold up the nomination. At the same time, Roy Blunt, the junior senator from Missouri is on the record saying that while he intends to vote no, the nomination should not be subject to a 60 vote threshold. Incidentally, for all the Republican ballyhoo about Hagel on Israel, more Jews and Jewish leaders seem to be coming out for Hagel.
The State of Things:
After several weeks of conflicting narrative, former Republican Senator Scott Brown is not running to replace John Kerry, who joined the State Department Friday. However, Republicans in Massachusetts are coming up short on candidates. Losing Republican Congressional candidate Richard Tisei has said no. Bill Weld demurred. Charlie Baker has his eye on the State House in 2014. Tagg Romney seems cool to the idea, but the Mass GOP would like either him or his mother to run (why?). Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelides takes a pass. Then there is State Rep Dan Winslow, the only currently elected Republican that seems poised to run…for real. What will the Mass GOP do and what do the Republican rank and file think? Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey are the only declared Democratic candidates so far, but more may be coming.
Meanwhile a scramble in Boston has also been making waves. Senator Jack Hart and Representative Martha Walz are both resigning their seats to pursue other opportunities. Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, a Dorchester Democrat declared her candidacy today for the South Boston/Dorchester-based seat. Were Forry, who is black, to claim the seat it would represent a huge shift in Boston forty years after the busing riots. Fellow Democrat Nick Collins of South Boston is also expected to jump in. A candidate for Walz’s seat, based in Boston’s Back Bay and Beacon Hill has also emerged.
West Springfield Town Councilors are wrestling with Mayor Gregory Neffinger over the meaning of the Town Charter and it could end up in Court. The Reminder reports the Mayor is refusing to release budget information to councilors who request it individually. He says he will only respond to requests made by the Council as a whole.
On the heels of national efforts following Newtown, Springfield and Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni are planning a gun buyback to remove guns from city streets. While hardly a silver bullet, such programs have enjoyed success elsewhere in the country.
Also, Bill Dusty tries to break down what a casino would mean to areas casinos in Springfield, namely the South End.
While Massachusetts will be transfixed on the Massachusetts Senate race this spring, the Boston State Senate race is a critical touchstone. The dark history of the 1970’s riots will cast a shadow over the race. Now this is not judgment on either Linda Forry’s fitness to serve or Nick Collins’s lack thereof. However, were Forry to win it would be a huge change. Today we award the Tweet prize to Adam Reilly, a previous winner, for his tweet about this race. While caked in self-deprecation for stating the “obvious” he rightly points out that this is largely made possible by how much Boston as a city has moved away from its past. Reilly is, in effect, pointing out that Boston’s neighborhoods are no longer subject to ethic sectionalism, but are more diverse than ever, with more transient populations of professionals, young people and immigrants.
— Adam Reilly (@reillyadam) February 4, 2013