Tardy Tuesday Takedown 9/2/13…
Happy Belated Labor Day (see The Feds for more)
…And the World:
We begin today in Syria, or really Washington, DC where Congress has been drawn into the debate over whether the US should strike the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after concluding it had used chemical weapons against its own people. With Britain sidelining itself after an embarrassing vote for Prime Minister David Cameron, the US will likely find France as its most significant ally. The Guardian reports that France’s latest dossier on Syria may ratchet up pressure on Syria’s greatest ally, Russia, to accept that Assad must go. Regional leaders are confused about Obama’s decision to get Congressional feedback according to NPR, but Israeli president Shimon Peres told Israeli Army Radio he’s comfortable with it. Meanwhile, Haaretz, asks if Israelis should look to their own leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, for action, before heaping blame on foreign leaders.
That decision came as a surprise even to White House aides. Support at home is tepid, but growing as Senator John McCain, Speaker John Boehner and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi signed on. Matt Viser at The Boston Globe tweets that the growing leadership support in Congress bodes well for the authorization. Closer to home, US Rep John Larson, who represents the Hartford area in Congress held a forum for his constituents to express their views. Springfield’s Richard Neal praised Obama’s decision to get Congress’s approval
LGBT rights command some of the world spotlight as Obama announced he would meet with gay rights activists when he visits Russia for the G20 in St. Petersburg. This is Obama’s first visit to Russia after the nation passed its controversial laws that essentially outlaw homosexuality or any outward support for the movement. Meanwhile in Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, facing a steep reelection challenge in only a few days, electrified social media with his unequivocal answer to a Christian minister on same-sex marriage. Rudd recently reversed himself and proclaimed his support for marriage equality in the Land Down Under and his answer may give the Labor party the shot of adrenaline it needs to hang onto power.
In Germany, a lackluster debate performance that ended in draw may have revival Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rival.
Courtesy of Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post’s Plum Line, some links about Labor Day. Paul Krugman looks at changes in labor since the first Labor Days in the last nineteenth century. An overview of Labor Day today from Jonathan Cohn and the success of unions in Los Angeles. Not via Bernstein, but just as important, the fast food workers strikes, recently lauded by Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. Could they revive labor unions? Also, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s gets it right in her Labor Day message.
On a more somber note, a community and a political mainstay, Newtown’s first Labor Day parade since the slaughter of 20 children at Sandy Hook.
The Associated Press notes Rudy Giuliani’s absence from New York’s mayoral race.
More on Syria: E.J. Dionne’s must-read take about why this Congressional vote on Syria is necessary for democracy.
The State of Things:
Candidates for mayor of Holyoke withdrew from a debate scheduled for this Wednesday in a rare joint statement. Candidates objected to the choice of moderate. Organizers agreed to swap in our Editor, Matt Szafranski, who is unaffiliated with any campaign or candidates in Holyoke. As of posting time, no word on whether any of the candidates have reconsidered.
In Boston’s mayoral race, State Representative Marty Walsh, who leads the money chase, is the first to be profiled by The Boston Globe in a 12 (yes 12) part series that will look at all mayoral aspirants. Crosstown rival The Boston Herald says the gloves are coming off. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal writes on the campaign’s most obvious element, Tom Menino is a tough act to follow. And David Bernstein notes that with Labor Day come and gone, the sprint to preliminary day begins with, what else, candidates’ jobs plans.
It was in The Hartford Courant, but this editorial cites a study that questions the utility of mega-developments like stadiums and casinos as a way to save cities. Hartford, Springfield’s Twin City, has its own lengthy history with promised salvations that the Hartford Civic Center and new developments near the highway were to bring.
The Fourth Estatements:
A note on the death of British journalist David Frost, whose legendary interviews with figures like Richard Nixon made history on their own.
Mike Dobbs at The Reminder writes about MGM’s recently reported loss in its second quarter. MGM officials say the loss will not affect the proposed development in Springfield and that the company is in sound financial condition.
With the holiday weekend, it was an especially low-key weekend politically so we’ll just link to our profile of Orlando Ramos, running for the Ward 8 Council seat. Also in the shameless self-promotion department, our Voter Guide for the Springfield City Council. The School Committee and the Special 2nd Hampden and Hampshire Senate race will be posted soon!
President Obama’s call to put action on Syria to a Congressional vote put a lot of people on the left in a quandary as Alex Seitz-Wald said yesterday at The Plum Line. That divide is built on the fact that many on the left wanted the President to seek Congressional authorization for a host of reasons, including restoring some balance between the legislative and executive branches over war. However, that does not fully salve the left’s uneasiness with any military adventure at all. Today we award the Tweet Prize to Daily Beast columnist Peter Beinart whose tweet aptly expresses this predicament for liberals who are glad the president took this path, but now wish the reason for authorization were a bit better.
Glad Obama is asking Congress to vote on Syria. If only he had a better argument for voting his way http://t.co/L4nmfjiwAa
— Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart) September 3, 2013