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Manic Monday Markup 7/1/13…

…And the World:

We begin today in Russia, where the latest developments in the Edward Snowden case are, in a word, bizarre.  Snowden has a new statement out that attacks the US Government, President Obama specifically, for revoking his US passport, which, in Snowden’s estimate, leaves him stateless.   Of course, given the Julian Assange angle, it is also prompting some skepticism over whether these are Snowden’s words.

Meanwhile, Snowden apparently also filed an asylum request with Russia (as his request in Ecuador sits on the backburner or worse until he can actually get there), one of as many as fifteen Snowden has filed, the Los Angeles Times reports.  Russian President Putin’s shockingly self-aware response?  Snowden has to stop leaking because it is hurting our American allies!  And he even admitted the oddity of those words.

In Egypt, after massive and growing protests, the military has called upon President Mohammed Morsi and protesters to come to an agreement.  If they do not, the military will intervene.  The protests have grown over concerns that Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood have been spending too much time consolidating their power and molding the country permanently to their liking, while other issues go unaddressed.

NPR has a great report on how a new upstart in French journalism is shaking up French politics.  It appears that mainstream French media is usually too cozy with the powers that be.  Combined with a lack of a Freedom of Information Act, it makes for less public awareness.  Mediapart is changing that.

Australia has a new (old) Prime Minister after Julia Gillard fell to Kevin Rudd in a leadership battle nearly three years to day after she toppled him.  Rudd’s new government, notably has a record number of women.  Gillard’s government had been thought to be heading toward an electoral bloodbath come September leaving queasy Labor Party members eager for a change in leadership.  Recent polls show the switch may indeed help Labor on Election Day.  For her part, Gillard will leave Parliament, as part of her agreement to allow leadership elections, at the end of Parliament’s term.

The Feds:

As Texas Democrats and their new star State Senator Wendy Davis gird for Republicans’ latest, more incessant push to curtail abortion (although the Texas legislature quickly recessed after its special session began), Ohio Republicans have also been busy.  In a budget he signed over the weekend, Governor John Kasich signed into law a slew of abortion restrictions written into the budget, including several intended to shut down abortion clinics and wound Planned Parenthood.

Big news out of Kentucky.  Mitch McConnell finally has an opponent.  After some needling on social media by conservatives, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes announced she would challenge the 28-year incumbent.  While it may be a bit optimistic to call this a tossup, it was a recruiting coup for Dems and will force the GOP to spend big time reelecting their most unpopular incumbent running in 2014.

Marriage equality came to California over the weekend after the US Supreme Court turned back an appeal on procedural grounds that could have upheld that state’s ban, Proposition 8.  The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit removed a stay that kept the state issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  An emergency motion from Prop 8 backers to stop the nuptials until after the Supreme Court’s ruling became official, was denied.  Also, Immigration officials will now consider green cards for non-citizens married Americans in same-sex unions as a consequence of the case US v. Windsor in which the Court struck a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The State of Things:

Massachusetts Legislative leaders have passed the Fiscal Year 2014 budget…on the day it began.  The bill includes enough money to hold the line in public college tuition and has increases in local education and unrestricted aid.  One area of contention remains transportation financing, raised through new taxes, which Governor Deval Patrick says he might veto the financing because it does not actually fund what it promises.

Congressman Richard Neal will become the Dean of Massachusetts’s delegation to Washington upon Markey’s resignation to join the Senate.  The Republican and WAMC have the details.

Martha Coakley’s trial balloon (or grassroots’ queasiness about the current slate of candidates) has not been well-received by the blogosphere.  Both Blue Mass Group and Left in Lowell have given the idea pretty strong raspberries (although in BMG, the comments are more varied), while Dick Howe, also another Democratic Lowellite (and a Middlesex Registrar of Deeds), seems more open to the idea.

In local political notes, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and his new City Solicitor are taking heat because the latter’s determination that some of Morse’s potential mayoral rivals may not meet the city’s eligibility rules.  Meanwhile, in Longmeadow Select Board Member Marie Angelides takes the held as chair of the town’s executive body.  And in West Springfield The Reminder interviews Ed Sullivan who will challenge Mayor Gregory Neffinger.  And DA Mark Mastroianni might leave his job already?

City Slickers:

The legislature funded a contingent of Massachusetts State Police to patrol parts of Springfield.  The $100,000 will permit the State Police to augment Springfield Police operations during the summer when some say crime tends to spike.

At this point, what more can we really say?  Clearly we have pilloried at-large Councilor Jimmy Ferrera over his latest attempt to steal the spotlight ahead of a tough election season, this time with residency.  Now his antics, joined by other electroally fearful councilors, might actually lead to a policy…and then lawsuits.  The Reminder has the story too depressing to repeat.

The city’s latest budget wherein (we can’t resist) Ferrera was embarrassed again.  Sideshows, ahem, aside, the budget is not without controversy even though it sustains services for now as Paul Tuthill of Northeastern Public Radio reports.

Twitter Chatter:

With some pretty big political news in the works today, it is quite difficult to pick our tweet prize, but we think we got it.  The stories on Snowden, namely his statement, and Alison Grimes challenging Mitch McConnell may not be those with the most impact (but they could).  However, they were a steady source of Twitter activity today.  As a result we are splitting the Tweet prize this week starting with Elise Foley, a reporter at Huffington Post, who succinctly summarized the manifesto nature of Snowden’s statement by likening it to lines spoken in V for Vendetta.

We also award the tweet prize to Campaign Social Media luminary (and Elizabeth for MA vet) Lauren Miller.  In what will probably become a hash tag in short order, she cheered Alison Grimes’ entrance into the Kentucky Senate race with a rhyming refrain, “Ditch Mitch!”