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Manic Monday Markup 5/6/13…

…And the World:

We begin today in Great Britain, where last week local elections were held in which the far-right UK Independence Party or Ukip, won a number of seats in county councils.  It also ran second in the race to fill former Foreign Minister David Miliband’s Parliamentary constituency.  The move has shaken the British political world, but was not a surprise to Ukip’s leader, Nigel Farange.

Less than encouraging news out of Egypt where a critic of the Morsi government has been jailed and the Prime Minister’s motorcade came under gun fire.

A longtime Italian politicians, whose career spanned from the end of World War II to the demise of the Christian Democratic Party, Giulio Andreotti died at the age of 94 today.

The Feds:

The battle for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional seat has come to a close with disgraced former Governor Mark Sanford effectively tied with Elizabeth Colbert-Busch.  This is a turnaround from earlier polls showing Colbert-Busch ahead after Sanford, apparently with success, tried to turn the race into a referendum on Nancy Pelosi and fears that she would turn everybody into gay tree-huggers.  Colbert-Busch did nab the endorsement of the district’s largest paper over the weekend, however.  The race could go either way.  The implications either way are hard to determine.

The Maddow Blog’s Steve Benen points out that Republicans, which demanded that the Senate follow the normal budget procedure after years of admittedly not doing so, have changed their minds.  After the Senate passed a budget earlier this year, the next step would be to appoint people from each house of Congress to work out the differences between the House and Senate budgets.  Except House Republicans refuse to do that, instead demanding concessions in the negotiations before negotiations begin.

New York’s troubled state government received another blow as yet another State Senator was arrested for corruption.  The charges against John L. Sampson, a former Democratic caucus leader, are for embezzlement and related crimes and appear to be part of a widening federal probe into the state‘s political classes.

The State of Things:

The special Massachusetts Senate race has launched its first battle after Ed Markey and Gabriel Gomez won the Democratic and Republican nominations respectively.  WBUR looks at dueling videos about the race.  Markey continues to call for Gomez to agree to the “People’s Pledge” originally proposed by Scott Brown in last year’s Senate race against Elizabeth Warren.

Out of Worcester, a developing story over the fate of Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body.  The elder of the two bombing brothers died in a shootout with police a few days after the bombing.  A funeral home in Worcester, apparently the only one who would take it, is holding the body as it is prepared for burial which has prompted protests outside.  The funeral home is being protected by city police and the funeral director has appealed to the governor for help as the City of Cambridge has made move to block Tsarnaev’s burial there.  The director has defended taking the body as doing what is done in America: burying the dead.

Masslive has some of the latest on the shaping up local races in Holyoke.  Candidates for the Ward 5 council seat and mayor have pulled papers ahead of the election, which will include the mayor and clerk’s office.  Incumbent mayor Alex Morse kicks off his reelection tomorrow.  Meanwhile, for those already in office, the City Council has forty-five days to chop up Morse’s budget if it so chooses.

City Slickers:

After seven years of debate, it appears that a citywide revision to Springfield’s zoning ordinance will finally happen.  Proponents did not get everything they wanted, but updates were painfully necessary.  Curiously, however, The Republican singles out Ward 6 Councilor Ken Shea’s role in an Editorial.  The only proof of this is Shea’s own pat on the back in the paper’s article written by Pete Goonan.  Shea could face a challenge this fall, possibly from his predecessor, Amaad Rivera, who opted for an unsuccessful at-large run in 2011.

Paul Tuthill of Northeastern Public Radio notes that tonight’s jam-packed City Council agenda includes approval of the casino agreement with MGM.  After last week’s meeting, it was quite clear that the Council is unlikely to dawdle on the subject, approving the agreement and setting a July referendum for voter approval.

Maureen Turner reports at the Valley Advocate that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield’s suit against the city will go to oral arguments before the First Circuit on Wednesday.  The article also goes into detail of the legal arguments.

And at-large Councilor Jimmy Ferrera is getting his name in the paper again, this time over the Ethics Commission.  He is correct that has not been complied with, but Ferrera’s timing is suspect and he is hardly a paradigm of ethical political behavior.

Twitter Chatter:

One issue we did not go into today is immigration reform.  The plan of the Gang of Eight appears to be on the move.  There will be a few bumps, but it is hard to see how it does not pass the Senate.  Still, the right is trying like hell to kill it.  The Heritage Foundation is out with a bogus report on its evils in an attempt to do just that.  That report is being sloughed off by Republican supporters and pilloried by liberals groups.  One such group is American Bridge.  Today we award their Bridge 21 account for today’s gem of pointing out that the same author of today’s immigration report also said that a sign of whether or not a family was impoverished is the presence of a stove in the home.  Truly it is hard to take seriously claims by anyone who says only those lacking any modern conveniences can be considered poor.