Manic Monday Markup 4/1/13…
UPDATED 5:23PM: New CT Political News on Guns. See Below
…And the World:
We begin today in Korea, it really does not matter which one as tensions continue to rise on the peninsula. Today The New York Times is reporting that the South is promising military action if provoked. Last week, the North declared that a state of war existed between the two Koreas, although the statement had little meaning since the two nations have been at war, technically for six years. As a side note, Steve Benen as the Maddow Blog has some interesting thoughts about how we got here.
Kenya’s Supreme Court has upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as president, who faces trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity. Since then some violence has broken out, but clam remains in comparison to 2007. That violence has been linked to Kenyatta is the reason for his indictment.
The Guardian today has a special on the massive reforms that the British Government is instituting in health, welfare, justice and taxes. The Guardian has been aligned with the Labour party, which opposes the changes, but it is hard not to wonder if the sheer scope of these changes will not harm the least of Britain.
Movement on immigration may be afoot. However, the GOP may need to rethink its strategy more broadly in order to appeal to Latinos. The Los Angeles Times reports that Obamacare, whose destruction Republicans remain committed, is very popular among Hispanics. Add to that Republicans’ great Hispanic Hopes like New Mexico Gov. Susanna Martinez, who vetoed a minimum wage increase and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who’s getting squishy on immigration, seem not to get that policy matters. Meanwhile, The New York Times take a new look at Hazelton, Pa. Before, there was Arizona, Hazelton was the epicenter of nativist hysteria over Latinos. The comments by some townsfolk are truly stunning in light of actual immigration history. Case in point, a newspaper wrote of southern and eastern European immigrants: “Europe is vomiting.”
New appointments out of the Administration. Caroline Kennedy, an early supporter of President Obama, is said to be named Ambassador to Japan. Meanwhile, with FBI Director Frank Mueller approaching the end of his two year extension on the job, the White House is looking at replacements. The Washington Post reports among them could be the Bureau’s first female director.
North Carolina is a state divided. Republicans in firm control of state government seem convinced they have a mandate to roll back civil and voting rights and pursue a broadly conservative agenda. Meanwhile, US Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat, is looking ahead to reelection next year having just endorsed marriage equality. Which are the real Tarheels?
After what had been criticized as months of delay, Connecticut legislators have agreed to a compromise to revise the state’s gun laws in the aftermath of shooting in Newtown last December that took 27 lives, including 20 children. The agreement is to be presented to the legislature’s caucuses today. However, one detail that has leaked out is grandfathering in existing high-capacity magazines like the kind Adam Lanza used during his rampage. Parents have already begun to speak out against that exclusion. A vote is planned for Wednesday.
The State of Things:
Massachusetts is busy working on the new regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries scheduled to open next year sometime. The Department of Public Health released draft guidelines last week which are now in the comment phase, and should be in for an earful. The law has already drawn some legal debate as some communities have passed outright bans on the placement of dispensaries in their borders. Wakefield’s by-law was disallowed by Attorney General Martha Coakley, but the town says it will appeal. A similar ban was passed in Melrose, but as a city, it does not need AG approval before its ordinance goes into effect.
Last week, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino blotted out Massachusetts political sun with his announcement that he would not run for reelection this fall. The media widely reported the decision, first broken by ex-Phoenix staffer David Bernstein, and Menino’s difficulty in reaching it. However, Andrew Ryan, The Boston Globe’s City Hall reporter, asks a salient question. Who inherits Menino’s powerful political machine? And some history and political analysis from Mass Politics Profs’s Peter Ubertaccio.
The Reminder follows up on an item we discussed last month on Longmeadow’s budget situation. Select Board members have accused School Committee Chair Michael Clark of breaking decorum by including members of the media in an email discussing the Board’s decision to reduce the recommend amount of money going to schools. The Committee says the $726,000 reduction will affect staffing levels and programs. For little ol’ Longmeadow, this one’s is heating up fast.
Springfield’s elevated section of the Interstate 91 is up for an overhaul, but the project exists within a universe in which casinos are a very real possibility. Because it is closer to the elevated section, Penn National’s plan may be more affected by a long-term overhaul of the aging structure.
Meanwhile, during the first week in which nomination papers were available for City Council, several candidates, newcomers, incumbents and gadflies alike, have pulled papers. On Facebook today, Ward 8 Councilor John Lysak said he has already returned sufficient signatures to appear on the ballot.
Today is a tough day to award the tweet prize, because of the many April Fools’ Day tweets, like our own. However, those fooling tweets are often an exercise in sarcasm. Those watching are then free to turn around and call out the point made in the sarcasm. Today, we award the tweet prize to a previous winner The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent with an assist from Rep. Paul Ryan’s PAC. Ryan originally tweeted an April Fool’s claim that President Obama would submit a balanced budget. In reply, Sargent called on Ryan to name his cuts. Ryan’s “balanced budget” is largely a statement of principles, like channeling wealth upward to the wealthiest. Were Ryan to actually name the programs he wanted to cut with any specificity he could be more easily pilloried as heartless. Democrats have responded by doing so anyway, in part by noting Ryan is too cowardly to explain how his own budget will harm real people.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) April 1, 2013