Manic Monday Markup 8/5/13…
UPDATED 10:45PM: Under State of Things
…And the World:
We begin today in Mexico where The Los Angeles Times reports on President Pena Nieto’s latest gambit, reforming the national oil company Pemex and opening it to foreign investment. Accoring to the LA Times, few have ventured there with their political lives intact.
In global elections, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe won reelection, greatly weakening his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai. Across the continent, Malians go to polls to choose their next Prime Minister after several years of conflict and a coup. But, as The New York Times puts it, will he be pro-France or a former Finance Minister? Elsewhere Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has scheduled his countries elections for September. In Iran, the nation’s new president was sworn in.
From Reuters via Haaretz, although Egypt is effectively living under a coup, one positive development is repeal of a law that enables critics of the president to be jailed. A friend of The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart had been a target of the law. Meanwhile, the military, as an olive branch to the Muslim Brotherhood, appears to be offering positions to the ousted party.
Finally, Britain and Span are getting into it again over Gibraltar with no apparent compromise in the works according to David Cameron. As The Guardian notes, both countries have much bigger fish to fry than arguing over this Rock.
The battle for Kentucky has begun! At an annual church picnic/political event in Fancy Farm, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell traded barbs, lamely on his part, with his likely Democratic rival, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Holding her own against the 28 year-incumbent, Grimes focused on McConnell’s obstructionism. McConnell’s Republican primary challenger, Matt Bevin noted that the senator split after his speech, prompting Bevin to demand McConnell “man up.” At either end, Mitch is trouble.
Is there a woman problem in LA politics? In Los Angeles after all the recently elected officials were sworn, in the City of Angels is waking up to a political world with barely any women elected to city or county office.
Meanwhile, in the Granite State, a whole lot of fail as former US Rep and current State Senator Jeb Bradley confirmed the rumors were true about a US Senate run against Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. Turns out it was a joke…for now at least. Also in US Senate news, The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and Star-Ledger (or Newark) endorse Cory Booker in the special Democratic Senate primary in New Jersey as Democrats prepare to face off in a debate.
The State of Things:
Big news out of Westfield. Five plus term State Senator Michael Knapik has announced he will resign his seat to take a job at Westfield State University. Northeastern Public Radio’s Paul Tuthill has an interview with Knapik. The seat is one of only four held by Republicans in the State Senate, but Knapik has been touted in reports as among the most bipartisan. A spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin told WMassP&I that the decision to call an election is with the State Senate, something Senate President Therese Murray says will be called. State Rep Don Humason, Republican of Westfield, was the first announced candidate and retiring Easthampton mayor Michael Tautznik has also jumped in.
Could peace finally be on the horizon between the Longmeadow Select Board and School Committee?
In Boston, the mayor’s race rages on. Rep. Marty Walsh leads the money race and grabbed key union backing over Councilor Felix Arroyo, notes David Bernstein. The Boston Globe‘s Andrew Ryan contemplates whether Suffolk County D.A. Dan Conley and City Councilor John Connolly’s similar names could affect the election. WBUR’s David Scharfenbarg profiles John Barros and Rob Consalvo. Don’t miss Bernstein’s latest rankings of the mayoral and at-large Council preliminary races either.
The Fourth Estatements: (A new occasional category for MMM)
Two big legacy media sales. The Boston Globe has been sold by The New York Times company for $70 million to Red Sox owner John Henry. Since the Times acquired the paper in the early 1990’s for $1.1 billion, the sale represents a substantial loss the Grey Lady’s parent company. Some of Henry’s rivals, including Springfield-area media mogul John Gormally, say they offered NYT Co more.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post Company, soon to be renamed, announced it was selling its flagship paper Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon for $250 million. The sale does not involve Post Co’s Kaplan education business or properties like Slate.com. Bezos bought the paper in his individual capacity and has said, for now, he will take a hands off approach. Editor Marty Baron, formerly of the Globe, will remain as publisher as will Kathering Weymouth, the paper’s publisher and heir to the Graham family which owned the paper for decades. Awkwardly the news about the sale came shortly after this story in The Times about how Weymouth “takes charge.” Nevertheless Bezos’ move could bode well for The Post if he replicates his success from elsewhere.
UMass-Amherst officials begin the search for space in downtown Springfield. A great development, but shouldn’t officials also try to weave the existing four colleges more tightly into the fabric of the city?
Rob Rizzuto at The Republican muses about whether or not MGM can really bring big name stars to Springfield to perform. The verdict? A solid maybe, neither cynical nor Pollyannaish.
One of the Springfield City Council’s sleeper issues. Changes to the city’s pawn shop ordinance, headed by at-large Councilor Tom Ashe, remains as fraught as ever. In other Council tidbits, Maureen Turner outlines the city election.
Originally it seemed like we had a solid anti-Mitch McConnell tweet lined up for this week’s tweet prize, but then fate intervened (sorry Justin Barasky). The news of the Washington Post sale stunned. Full stop. It was unexpected and its buyer has filled the Twitterverse with intrigue and maybe more than a little hope for legacy media. But on the heels of the Globe’s sale (and for nearly four times as much), it certainly seemed like almost too convenient (technically Newsweek was sold too, to the interest of almost no one). As a result we award this week’s tweet prize to Globe reporter Martine Powers, whose tweet conveyed some of that half-serious eyebrow-raising from within the Globe newsroom on the same day John Henry was touring the place.
Overheard in the Globe newsroom: “There goes the Washington Post, one-upping us …”
— Martine Powers (@martinepowers) August 5, 2013