Manic Monday Markup 6/17/13…
…And the World:
We begin today in Iran. Elections over the weekend gave victory to Hassan Rowhani, whom many viewed as a moderate. He secured the necessary 50% of the vote to escape a runoff and in contrast to 2009, the results were accepted by the Iranian public. His election is raising fresh, if cautious hopes that a deal on nuclear weapons can be reached. This even has Haaretz‘s Chemi Shalev, a stateside columnist for the Israeli paper, saying there is chance for a deal.
Turkey’s crackdown on the protests in Taksim Square have turned violent as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stages pro-government rallies across the country. Labor unions are striking today in solidarity with the protests.
Speaking of Turkey, Edward Snowden is still blabbing saying both it and South Africa were the targets of British spying. Instead of merely alerting the American public of its government’s overreaching, he now seems to be just vomiting up state secrets he has collected. The former could fairly have been called a public service. Now he just looks like a loose cannon pushing the discussion away from civil liberties v. privacy and toward how this junior intelligence doofus got a hold of so much data. Thanks, Ed.
Still nothing earth-shattering out of the US Supreme Court. But an opinion of note. Arizona’s added burdens on voter registration conflict with the Motor Voter Act and therefore cannot stand. The state can request changes from the Feds and then maybe go back to court, but it cannot unilaterally add burdens on voter registration.
On the domestic front of Snowden-gate, Steve Benen at the Maddow Blog has a good rundown on some of the latest news.
The New York City Mayor’s race is increasingly looking like a contest between flagging frontrunner Christine Quinn and former Congressman Anthony Weiner. Quinn is in The Times shifting gears to shore up her one-time inevitability. Meanwhile, due to “scheduling” Weiner brought along his 17 month old son to a Brooklyn street fair while campaigning in tony Park Slope. In order to win the nomination, the winner of the Democratic primary must get 40% of the vote or there will be a runoff.
An item from last week, but worth a mention. Connecticut’s junior Senator, Chris Murphy, is speaking out about how much time Congressman and Senators spend fundraising in Washington, distracting them from building relationships and legislative business. Murphy also penned an Op-Ed in 2008 on the subject in The Hartford Courant.
The State of Things:
The latest bit from the special Senate race. The Republican’s fouls off the reality of the race with the premise of this article. While anything could happen, the race is not, in fact tightening. Indeed, as David Bernstein notes, now is when Gabriel Gomez needs to start gaining on Bernstein in order to have a prayer. Indeed, Gomez would need the hand of God to beat Cong. Ed Markey at this point. Another factor disfavoring Gomez? Lots of Dems who want to be Boston’s mayor or replace Markey in Congress get to use the special to test their own ground games. Rep. Marty Walsh, a Boston mayoral aspirant, is doing just that.
Elsewhere, Masslive reports on the new welfare bill that Senate President Therese Murray has introduced. Progressives are not fans, but it probably has a good chance of passage. But enough to override a veto? Patrick seems noncommittal so far, if approving of the overall effort to reduce fraud.
Former Obama Official, Don Berwick, who served as Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under a recess appointment, has thrown his hat into the ring for Governor. Berwick had been touring the state for several months. He is probably to closest thing to a high-profile entrant in the race. Meanwhile, the State House News Service reports that Therese Murray, who must relinquish her Senate Presidency in 2015, may be interested in the job, too.
Time is running out to register to vote for the casino referendum Springfield will hold July 15.
Whatever the wisdom one way or the other on this particular issue, you know it is election season when suddenly every issue they can squeeze into their jurisdiction is causing councilors to seek press attention. While the Pine Point library is in Ward 5 Councilor Clodo Concepcion’s ward, Pine Point is an area that the the 16 Acres-based councilor has not tended to concentrate on as much. But voters are voters, after all.
What is the City Council working on tonight?
One issue is not getting enough attention is the proposed cuts to SNAP benefits, better known as food stamps. Both the House and Senate have passed not unsubstantial cuts to the nutritional program. Indeed, a protest was held outside Rep. Richard Neal’s office today to urge him to oppose the cuts (which he does). His colleague, Rep. James McGovern has been going further, taking the food stamp challenge (eats for one week what the average weekly food stamp benefit provides) and has taken his case to social media. Today we award Rep. McGovern this week’s tweet prize for not letting this issue go. Why should citizens of the wealthiest nation in the world ever have to go hungry?
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) June 17, 2013