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Manic Monday Markup 3/18/13…

…And the World:

We begin today in the United Kingdom where a press regulation deal has been struck by the main parties in Parliament.  The Guardian reports on the deal which came about after the emergence of the phone-hacking scandal perpetrated by Britain’s tabloids and the subsequent Leveson Inquiry.  That inquiry ultimately backed a strong press law, but the governing Conservative Party and its leader David Cameron demurred.  This agreement, which the parties say is a Royal Charter, would give teeth to a regulator and keep it out of the hands of politicians.  Still the BBC says that some in the press have misgivings and The Guardian says newspaper groups are not endorsing the deal…so far.

The newly selected Pope Francis, formerly the Archbishop of Buenos Aires will have a one-time foe as his lunch guest today: Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.  Francis, then-Cardinal Bergoglio and Kirchner have clashed over the years over the socially liberal legislation she has pursued.

Israel’s new government, after seven weeks of marathon negotiations, is sworn in.  Staying in Asia, in Pakistan, its government and Parliament became the first since independence in 1947 to serve a full five year term.

Tensions are high in Cyprus, where the government, as a condition of receiving a Eurozone bailout, agreed to tax deposits in Cypriot banks.  The tax has been seen as a violation of depositors insurance and some fear it could encourage bank runs across the Eurozone.  The Cypriot Parliament has delayed for another day its debate on the subject.  Complicating matters further, most of the bank deposits are held by foreigners, especially Russians.

The Feds:

The top story out of the nation right now is President Obama’s nomination of Thomas Perez for Labor Secretary.  Perez is currently the head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, which has turned around under his stewardship and fought back several attempts to curtail Americans voting and civil rights.  The Huffington Post has published an interview with Perez on the eve of his nomination.  Meanwhile, the Republican party is ready to resist conflicting with their own outreach efforts.

Case in point, the GOP appears at war with itself.  They rolled out their explanation (Blame Mitt!) for what happened last year, which is woefully myopic, also inadequate.  We love Mitt-bashing, but the problem was bigger than just he.  Indeed, their solution is incredibly familiar (h/t American Bridge).  Jamelle Bouie has more on that, too.  Their fiscal position is no more tenable.  While some Senate Republicans seem open to compromising with the President, the House says no…more or less.  And yes, John Boehner is right.  There is no immediate debt crisis.  President Obama agrees.  And while we’re on spending, some critical points from The New York Times editorial board on tax expenditures which Republicans refuse to cut and put toward deficit reduction.

Steve Benen at the Maddowblog explains that while it took a long time for her to say so, Hillary Clinton’s support for marriage equality is not like Senator Rob Portman’s.  For the record, this blog has only supported marriage equality since late 2010/early 2011.  Meanwhile, support for marriage equality only continues to grow in the United States according to a new poll.

New York City have another mayoral candidate, its Comptroller John Liu.

The State of Things:

Given the out-of-state media cited, this might actually belong in “The Feds.“  The news last week that the Boston Phoenix is closing sent ripples throughout the world of journalism with incalculable tweets.  The Phoenix’s political scribe, David Bernstein, an oft-quoted and oft-linked to journalist on this blog, wrote his farewell here.  One of the more epic farewells can be found by a former Phoenix staffer writing on Gawker.  Notably, the Providence and Portland, Me. editions of the Phoenix will remain open and here is partly why from Rhode Island Public Radio.  Also on point, some interesting media stats reported by the Hartford Courant’s Captial Watch blog.

While several candidates for US Senate were happily marching in Holyoke’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, one candidate’s campaign was disintegrating.  Gabriel Gomez’s slick campaign landed in trouble after a letter to Deval Patrick was released and led many to question his political convictions.  The pile-on has not stopped with Blue Mass Group’s mocking and Jerrold Duquette at Mass Politics Profs saying this was inevitable since Gomez’s campaign was increasingly looking like Scott Brown’s campaign warmed over.  To be fair, Sullivan is not doing much better.  The Republican primary seems to only get attention when its bad news…hmm.

Worcester appears poised to consider its own Foreclosure ordinance reports Worcester Magazine.  It appears to have a fair amount of support on the Council.  Springfield has such an ordinance, but has yet to be implemented due to litigation.

East Longmeadow redux!  Angela Thorpe who was defeated in a special Select Board election last year will, along with the man who defeated her, Peter Punderson, go onto a general election contest on April 9.

City Slickers:

In case you missed it, there’s still time to read our preview of tonight’s City Council meeting.

Mike Dobbs reports on a pessimistic meeting at-large Councilor Thomas Ashe had with the heads of the city’s Fire and Police Departments.

Peter Pan Bus Lines Chair Peter Picknelly irked city officials when he announced his company’s move to Union Station would be in doubt if his preferred casino proposal, Penn National’s proposal does not get selected.  The move seemed like an odd move for Picknelly, especially since the conventional wisdom has been that the powers that be in the city are trying to favor Penn National over MGM, while public support has been most visible around the latter.

On that same note, Paul Tuthill reports on the casino developers’ promises to hire locally.  Penn National promised to get 90% of its hires from among Springfield residents.  Such a promise reeks of a desperate bid to swing more public support in its direction and it is hard to view this as little more than a shamelessly cynical ploy to do so.

Twitter Chatter:

The nomination of Thomas Perez to head the Labor Department has been taken as positive sign by the left, which fears that too many of Obama’s cabinet members will be centrists.  They’ll all be Commies to the Republicans, but it is likely that they will set their sights on Perez in particular.  To what extent we do not know.  Today we award the tweet prize to a couple tweets that speak to this upcoming surge.  The first, to NPR’s Carrie Johnson, the organization’s Justice correspondent pithily notes that Perez is likely to get flack from Republicans simply for doing his job to protect civil rights with full gusto, sadly, it seems unlike his colleagues and predecessors.


The other winner this week is a veteran of our award,’s Dave Weigel.  The prolifically tweeting Weigel pointed out the irony of the release Republican’s autopsy of the 2012 campaign against Perez’s formal nomination.  The GOP is seeking to broaden its appeal and in the meantime will start a battle over a Hispanic nominee (Perez’s parents were from the Dominican Republic) for not pursuing the “New Black party case.”