Manic Monday Markup 5/20/13…
…And the World:
We begin today in Israel, where one-time political superstar Yair Lapid is now facing questions after his austerity budget and now-pessimistic comments in The New York Times. In the Times interview, Lapid sloughed off his dimming star, but also offered less than hopeful words about the peace process with Palestinians. Lapid, who leads the party Yesh Atid, is the Finance Minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-led government.
In the United Kingdom Labour is trying to save a bill to allow same-sex marriage. Historically the Conservative party did not support the measure, but its leader Prime Minister David Cameron has supported it. His party, however, has been rebelling against him. To secure passage, Cameron may need to work with the opposition Labour party to get it done. Some experts think that Cameron’s move, if driven by politics, is not a winner for Tories, though.
President Barack Obama has kept the trust of the public so far, despite the recent scandal mania to hit Washington. CNN has released polling numbers that show his numbers buoyant amidst the controversy and Gallup seemingly confirms. Where is all the weight among those who do not believe Obama? Republicans.
The investigation continues into Friday’s train derailment outside Bridgeport. While traffic was heavy, apparently things went about as smoothly as they could have under the circumstances.
Republicans in Virginia made their picks for the fall races, including Lt. Governor. E.W. Jackson, a black minister and attorney, once compared Planned Parenthood to the KKK and called gays and lesbians “very sick people.” He will go on the ticket with Ken. Cuccinelli, the state’s right-wing Attorney General, who is running for governor. The Richmond Times-Dispatch called the ticket, which includes another winger running for Cuccinelli’s job, a takeover of the state GOP by the Tea Party.
The State of Things:
Republican Senate nominee Gabriel Gomez, trying to gain traction after a disastrous two weeks surrounding his taxes and debts to plumbers and appraisers, went on the attack today. He and Arizona Senator John McCain hit Markey for voting against two 9/11 commemorative resolutions (he had voted for countless others), after Markey objected to the politicization in those resolutions of the 2001 tragedy. Similar attacks were used against Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, in her bid for Senate last year. These claims were lambasted by fact checkers at the time.
The Reminder reports that Westfield is considering a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries. Permanent bans on the dispensaries by towns have been ruled illegal by the Attorney General, but no court has actually adjudicated the issue yet. Temporary moratoria are alright, according to the AG, however.
Worcester may skip its preliminary election, normally scheduled in September to slim down the number of candidates for the November general. Many potential candidates that took out papers have still not returned them and time is running short.
At-large Councilor Bud Williams will hold a hearing Tuesday on the results of a new study that showed the Greater Springfield area is one of the nation’s most segregated areas.
Meanwhile, at-large Councilor Tim Rooke is calling for casino revenue to be plowed into tax relief for property owners in the city.
And WWLP asks, will the succession of elections, in part caused by the special US Senate Election cause voter fatigue when the casino referendum rolls around in July? Add that on top of the fact that it will be a mid-summer election with already low turnout.
The decision by the Department of Justice to pull reporters records in order to prosecute leaks has been getting a lot of attention, if relatively little outrage from the public. The Washington Post recently detailed the lengths the DOJ went to prosecute a leaker, including tracing a reporters footsteps. The indictment against that leaker included a line that said the reporter engaged in flattery and played the leaker’s ego in order to get information. Matt Viser at the Globe asked rhetorically on Twitter if this was illegal? Today we award the tweet prize to a prior winner, David Bernstein for adding a bit of levity, if only half-jokingly to this serious matter. This is the first time he’s won since moving over to Boston Magazine. Replying to Viser, Bernstein laid out his own mea culpa if such things as in the indictment really were illegal.
.@mviser If that’s illegal, my career in journalism has been a major crime spree.
— David S. Bernstein (@dbernstein) May 20, 2013