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Manic Monday Markup 10/7/13…

The Feds:

We begin today, again in Washington, where the standoff over government funding continues.  Speaker Boehner seemed resolute, if contrarian, in an interview with ABC News over the weekend refusing to negotiate with the president under any terms except under the threat of material harm to Americans.  Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that the GOP’s strategy is even more tattered than before, with even their wish list withered on the vine.  Instead they are looking at a six week extension of funding & the debt ceiling.  And if to add insult to injury, new polls show the GOP flailing in key House districts.  Some House GOP members are getting sick and tired of the standoff.

…And the World:

News has broken that the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile has actually begun already.  The deal brokered between the US and Russia that calls for Syria to give up its chemical weapons was struck after an August chemical attack was tied to the Assad regime.  The speed of the process has earned plaudits from Secretary of State John Kerry.

Labor disputes around the world.  Strife in South Africa is nothing new, but not BMW says it will shelf expansion plans after a four week strike recently ended.  Meanwhile, a worker uprising in Venezuela is being blamed on American interference, but some say it is a sign of a post-Chavez nation.

Irish voters rejected a proposal to eliminate the nation’s upper chamber, a key part of Prime Minister Enda Kenney’s platform, in what is seen as a blow the premier.  The Senate of Ireland is not elected and is much weaker than the Dail, or Nation Assembly, which is elected.  The outcome was a surprise as polls showed success for abolition, but turnout of 38% may have affected the result.

A longtime leader of Sephardic Jews in Israel, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, died at the age of 93.  Yosef was also the founder of the ultra-Orthodox political party Shas.  Haaretz has this analysis of his legacy.

The Feds (cont’d)

Despite opposition from US Senators, the Federal Bureau of Prisons will begin depopulating a women’s prison facility in Danbury to make room for more male inmates.  The inmates will be moved to facilities from Philadelphia to Alabama.  The senators, activists and writers, including Piper Kerman, whose memoir is the basis of the Netflix Show Orange is the New Black, have criticized the move as isolating inmates from family.

Democratic US Senate candidate Cory Booker has friends in high places, including his east of the Hudson counterpart, Mike Bloomberg, who has spent $1 million to help the Newark mayor.  Booker has earned the endorsement of The Star-Ledger, his hometown paper and The Philadelphia Inquirer, which serves South Jersey, among other papers.

Politico writes about Harry Reid, the man holding the Democratic Senate together and his plans to seek reelection in 2016.

The State of Things:

In Boston, at-large Councilor John Connolly is leading State Representative Marty Walsh by seven points in a new poll of the city’s mayoral contest.  Although Connolly is leading, voters seem to think both candidates are pretty darn swell.  Last week was centered on a police arbitration award.  Now Walsh is trying to steal some of Connolly’s thunder by releasing a comprehensive education plan.  Education has long been Connolly’s key issue.

Nearby in Senator Ed Markey’s old House district, fundraising has been tough for the five main Democrats running, where most of the action will be for this race.  Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian has the fundraising lead, but Senator Katherine Clark leads in polling (her own).  Meanwhile, Senator Karen Spilka, who hails from the Metro West region of suburban Boston and the district, got, appropriately the Framingham-based MetroWest Daily News endorsement.

Closer to home in election land, voters will go to the polls tomorrow to pick nominees to fill the vacancy left by Senator Mike Knapik, who resigned in August to take a job at Westfield State.  Holyoke Ward 3 Councilor David Bartley and Easthampton Mayor Mike Tautznik are vying for the Democratic nod, while Westfield Rep. Don Humason and Holyoke Veterans Department employee Mike Franco look to be the GOP’s standard bearer.  Our profile of Tautznik is here.  We hope to put up a briefing for Bartley.  Our apologies to our GOP readers.  Lots of elections going on this cycle.

In light of Springfield’s own turnout woes, an interesting piece arguing that negativity coming out of The Lowell Sun and an area radio station is suppressing turnout.

City Slickers:

A bit off-political, but Mike Dobbs at The Reminder writes about a new row opening up at Immaculate Conception Church in Indian Orchard.  The church is protected in its own historical district just like Our Lady of Hope, which closed a few years ago.  It was spared closure after Bishop Timothy McDonnell reversed himself in light of a new financial plan.  Now some parishioners are saying the current priest is spending the parish into financial ruin and closure.

Maureen Turner writes about a protest that No One Leaves had planned as the Council prepared to deliberate a mayoral pay increase.  Two years after it was enacted, Springfield’s foreclosure ordinance remains unimplemented, but Sarno released a statement saying that the ordinances’ start up will happen soon.

A Springfield task force on the number of refugees settled in the city is prepared to meet soon.  Mayor Domenic Sarno created a stir when he pled with the State Department to stop placing refugees in the city, which produced intense pushback from immigrant and social service groups.  One refugee shared his view The Sunday Republican yesterday.

The Spirit of Springfield will throw the The Municipal Group, which consists of City Hall, Symphony Hall and the Campanile, a celebration for its upcoming centennial in December.  There are plans to launch a fundraiser to get the money needed to repair the stone and steel structure that holds up the iconic clock tower.

Twitter Chatter:

Tweets about the shutdown are extremely tempting, but instead we will go in a different direction off of our labor story above.  Labor strife is nothing new, but as the middle and bottom get squeezed and the top grows bigger, there are serious questions about what labor’s role should be in the economic world?  But some of that requires us to have rational discussions about what is at stake and what is the truth.  Today we award the tweet prize to The New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse.  In his tweet, Greenhouse related a question he got during an interview as to whether or not a successful unionization push at a Nissan auto plant in Mississippi would close the plant.  Succinctly, Greenhouse noted that assuming that would be the outcome is silly.  After all, most other foreign automakers plants are already unionized.