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Manic Monday Markup 12/23/13…

…And the World:

We begin today in South Sudan, where politically fed ethnic violence has forced the evacuation of United States and other foreign personnel from the nation’s oil fields.  The violence follows a failed coup attempt last week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the actions of the NSA and its British counterpart regarding their efforts to spy on one of Bibi’s predecessors, Ehud Olmert.  Netanyahu called this type of behavior among friends is “unacceptable.”

Russia is releasing from high profile political prisoners (they are not jailed as such, but whatever) including members of the band Pussy Riot and the former head of Yukos oil, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.  Khodorkovsky, who left Russia for Berlin, is now turning his attention to getting more people freed from Russia’s prisons.

According to The Guardian, a row that could further divide the governing coalition of the United Kingdom has erupted after Vince Cable, the business secretary, a member of the Liberal Democrats, criticized his coalition partners, the Conservative Parties.  He made a reference that compared Tories attitude toward immigration to the inflammatory Rivers of Blood Speech delivered by Enoch Powell.  Tories are calling for Cable’s resignation.

The Feds:

Marriage Equality appears to be an early Christmas present in the unlikeliest of places.  Setting off a flurry of emotions, a federal judge in Utah struck down the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage in a ruling that systematically destroyed all arguments in opposition.  The 10th Circuit court of appeals has thus far refused emergency appeals for a stay the ruling (although it still could) and the judge himself, an appointee of President Obama’s with the blessing of both senators, has also refused to stay his own decision and warned county clerks’ refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates the ruling.  In Salt Lake City, the most liberal part of the state, gay nuptials have already taken place.

The Utah decision came on the heels of the New Mexico Supreme Court’s decision that same-sex marriage was required under the state constitution.  Today a federal judge has sided with marriage equality advocates in Ohio over an issue involving death certificates.

On the Plum Line today, Republicans could face a backlash back home in their districts over the failure to include an extension of unemployment benefits for countless unemployed Americans.

A profile of Michael Bennet, the Colorado Senator behind the party’s efforts to keep the chamber next year.

Enrollment in the health exchanges of Connecticut and Rhode Island appears to be surging ahead of the deadline to get insurance that starts January 1st.

The State of Things:

Former Republican US Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez stepped in it but bigtime today by equating many GOP activists like Red Mass Group chief Rob Eno with “the Klan.” After trying to suggest he didn’t mean that Klan, as in the KKK, he issued an apology later today.

A profile of Senator Elizabeth Warren as her first year in office comes to a close by The Boston Globe‘s Noah Bierman.

David Bernstein chimes in with his opinion of the imbroglio engulfing Boston at-large Councilor-elect Michelle Wu and her promise to vote for District 2 Councilor Bill Linnehan to be Council President.

In Holyoke, Council President Kevin Jourdain claims to have the votes for another go-around leading the body.  Speaking of the council, it appears sensitivity training is the offing after Twizzlergate and plans for the city inauguration are announced.

City Slickers:

MGM Springfield passes one of its biggest hurdles remaining to build its proposed facility in Springfield.  The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has found the company and its people suitable to proceed to the final phase of the selection process.  According to the Commission’s release, that phase will be a “site-specific” analysis of MGM’s plans and development.  Not surprisingly, Springfield officials are pleased, but MGM also needs to finish dealing with surrounding communities.

The Republican pulls back the curtain a bit on the role of Paul Picknelly in MGM’s casino proposal and his potential windfall. Picknelly is the son of the late Peter Picknelly.  Paul Picknelly’s brother heads head of Peter Pan and while Pauls is the head of family’s real estate and hotel operations.  Peter had his hand in the Penn National project which failed to advance earlier this year.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered Springfield to stop implementing its foreclosure ordinances while banks appeal the laws.  Part of the court’s reasoning centered on the fact that it has taken the city more than two years to begin implementation anyway.

Twitter Chatter:

Blue Mass Group has a pretty good post about Gomez’s faux pas today, noting Red Mass Group (BMG’s conservative counterpart) and its founder Rob Eno saying the then-Senate candidate was not ready for prime time.  Eno was one of the people targeted by Gomez’s “klan” remark.  While Gomez may have been right that a lot of the party activists are on the wrong side of history, the comparison was way off the charts and, in addition to exposing the state party’s dirty laundry once again, may have knocked Gomez out as a credible candidate for anything.  Today we award the tweet prize to Liberty Square Senior Veep for New Media and Public Affaris, Conor Yunits.  The swipe at the Mass GOP notwithstanding, the fact is that the new hopes for the party like Gomez may turn out to be less than advertised.  Then, as Yunits tweeted, attention refocuses again to the near empty bench of the party.