Manic Monday Markup 4/29/13…
…And the World:
We begin today, in Italy, where over the weekend, the nation swore in a new government after an inconclusive election and two months of chaos. The government, led by the Center-Left Democratic Party’s Enrico Letta, is a compromise across parties in an effort to finally govern Italy through an exceptionally difficult time. The New York Times profiles Letta and the challenges he faces as the new Italian PM. Letta will have to balance the need for reforms in Italy with the need (and his goal) of growth in the Italian economy, which has been effectively stagnant for years.
The Washington Post has a big piece on the depth of Mexican-American cooperation fighting Mexican drug cartels. Apparently, the amount of control Mexican officials have ceded North has left some in Mexico City to consider pulling back a bit in the arrangement. Check out writer’s interview on NPR, too.
If deficit hysteria in American and Europe were not enough for you, apparently Australia has the same issue and it comes on the eve of fresh elections, which Prime Minister Julia Gillard will face, later this year.
Steve Benen at the Maddow Blog takes note of Republicans’ latest threat to tank the economy. Republicans insist, despite already tumbling deficits and far-from out of control government spending, that budget cuts before Congress agrees to pay for the obligations it has already incurred. The latest demand? Tax reform. Quite a hostage when it is something both sides want anyway.
President Obama is preparing to nominate Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, who recently announced he would not run for reelection, to be Transportation Secretary. The Charlotte Observer looks at how Foxx might help his home state and how his replacement will be chosen, assuming he is confirmed. A regularly scheduled election for the position will be held this year.
Last week in Rhode Island, the State Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill for marriage equality. It differs from the House bill, so must return there before it can go to Gov. Lincoln Chaffee and become law. Delaware, too, is close to passing marriage equality. Once passed, Rhode Island and Delaware will be 10th and 11th states to allow gay couples to wed.
The Hartford Courant has a good read on how the outcome of this biannual budget process in Connecticut could shape next year’s governor’s race. State finances have not improved as quickly as Governor Dannel Malloy would have liked, but two of his potential Republican challengers, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, face long odds to make the leap into the executive branch.
The State of Things:
The final push in the special Senate primary is today with the election tomorrow. However, Rep. Stephen Lynch had to cancel a number of his events today due to illness. Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin and the Lynch camp are making predictions for low turnout. WBUR contemplates whether or not Gabriel Gomez is really surging and Professor Duquette at Mass Politics Profs urges Democrats not to freak out if Gomez gets the nod. Plus Gomez has some defections to deal with.
Meanwhile, there is an epic election concluding in South Boston and Dorchester which pits the new and old of the 1st Suffolk District vacated by Jack Hart earlier this year. The same day as the special US Senate primary, voters in Southie and Dot will decide who the Democratic nominee (read the eventually senator) for their state senator will be.
Westfield finally settled an issue that had haunted its government since the August resignation of Ward 2 City Councilor, James Brown, Jr. Brown had been elected in 2011 unopposed, and normally his successor would be the “defeated” candidate. The only other candidate was Brian Winters who got only one write-in vote. Mayor Dan Knapik had sought declaratory judgment in court to clear up the matter, which ruled that Winters may take Brown’s old seat.
Longmeadow Democrats held their annual breakfast yesterday. Their Achievement award went to the town’s School Committee Chair Michael Clark, who is facing a showdown at Town Meeting next week over school funding. We profiled Clark Saturday.
At large Councilor Tim Rooke has agreed to pay the Office of Campaign and Political Finance has agreed to pay $5,000 in fines for campaign finance violations. The Republican has the early details.
The Republican reported Friday that Springfield Education Association President Tim Collins is facing a challenge from a Putnam Vocational Teacher for the union’s top post. Sharon Nieves will face off with Collins, a Kennedy Middle School math teacher, in a member vote to be held May 6 and 7.
Maple Street has been targeted again in an effort to restore its historic properties. Develop Springfield has began an effort to restore a home on the corner of Union and Maple. The 1841 had fallen into disrepair since being vacated. It is next to a property the Springfield Preservation Trust is restoring.
Last week, facing pressure over flight delays, Congress tweaked the Sequester’s impact on the Federal Aviation Administration with the hope of limiting delays. The move was swift, unanimous in the Senate and with only a handful of votes in the House. Meanwhile, the impacts of the sequester on infant nutrition, Head Start, education and a host of other programs go on unfixed and without any cuts to tax loopholes for the rich. Today we award the tweet prize to one of the members of the House that voted no. Rep. James McGovern, whose Massachusetts district includes Amherst, Greenfield and Northampton, did not win today’s prize because of vote, because the underlying policy on its face is not itself bad. Rather his tweet notes Congress only seemed motivated to act only when the impact was on people with influence, access, and power who were inconvenienced, not when it harmed the vulnerable.
The senseless sequester cuts are doing real harm to vulnerable people. To instead focus on inconvenienced travelers is the wrong way to go.
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) April 26, 2013