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Manic Monday Markup 12/30/13…

…And the World:

We begin today in Russia, where a double bombing outside the Volgograd train station has thus far left 17 dead.  A columnist for The Guardian called the attacks, linked to the nation’s struggle to contain terrorism in the North Caucasus, President Vladimir Putin’s worst nightmare ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.  Can Russia secure the games?

The New York Times has released a comprehensive report about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.  The report more or less confirms the paper’s initial reporting at the time of the September 2012 attack that left four American embassy personnel dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.  Essentially, a video said to insult the prophet Mohammed did have a role in setting off the attacks, but it was unlike protests that happened in Cairo and elsewhere.  Additionally, The Times found no international terrorist connection.  The attack was homegrown.  Republicans say its an example of the liberal media bolstering Hillary Clinton for 2016.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan says the recent scandal in which a public prosecutor’s widening investigation government corruption was fired, will not topple his government.  However, in light of Erdogan’s past year, the news could not come at a worse time.  News of the  prosecutor firing has provoked street protests and caused the country’s major stock index to fall.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cautioned against approval of a bill that would annex part of the Jordan Valley as it would harm peace talks.  The bill has been panned by Palestinians (obviously) and more than a few Israelis.  That’s not all that’s roiling Israel.  A deputy leader of one of the government’s more extreme parties, Habayit Hayehudim, has some interesting thoughts about gays and gentile’s place in the social strata and abortions will be covered by the nation’s health care system regardless of circumstance next year, although the abortion must still be approved.

In the United Kingdom, Ed Miliband the Leader of the Opposition and of the Labour Party promises universal free childcare if voters make him Prime Minister when elections are scheduled in 2015.  It comes amid promises for changes in the New Year.

The Feds:

It was bound to happen eventually. posted a surge in private health insurance enrollments last month with a total enrollment including of the state of more than 2 million.  That does not mean everything is hunky-dory, but it is a good sign for the troubled site and its enacting legislation.  The Washington Post notes that this means it is possible, but far from certain, that the government could reach its goal of 7 million enrollees.  Right now Connecticut is leading the pack in terms of the meeting expectations game.  However, the number 2 at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which runs, is retiring.

The New York Times discusses the plans of Democrats to use the minimum wage to aid their quest to keep control of the US Senate and make gains among governors’ mansions, which also leads into broader efforts by Democrats and President Obama could do on the minimum wage.

Do you remember Marco Rubio?  No, neither do we.

New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio names his schools chief, a veteran educator, principal and administrator.  Also in de Blasio news, former President Bill Clinton will swear in the new mayor, who once worked for Clinton and ran Hillary Clinton’s 2000 New York Senate bid.

The State of Things:

Shira Schoenberg of The Republican was on fire this weekend with Registrar of Probate news with a great story about the potential windfall in the pensions of any of the three individuals likeliest to make a bid for the office.  Then this morning Schoenberg reported that Suzanne Seguin, who had been mentioned as a candidate, has the decision to jump in official.  Seguin has been the acting registrar since her predecessor Thomas Moriarty retired last year.  Senator Gale Candaras and outgoing Chicopee Mayor Mike Bissonnettee are looking at the race, too.

ELECTIONS!!! The dates are set for Westfield’s special election to replace Don Humason.  Also announced were the dates (they are the same) for Marty Walsh’s seat.  US Rep Katherine Clark’s seat already had dates picked.   All three will have a primary on March 4th with a general election on April 1st.  No fooling!

The T in Boston is for sale!  Well, the station and line naming rights are anyway.  Ugh!

Before the transition happens, one more look at the Boston Tom Menino bequeaths to Marty Walsh and what the latter hopes to do with it.

In municipal potpourri, Agawam has a new police chief and Worcester bids good-bye to the Higgins Armory.  Also, Middlesex North Registrar of Deeds Richard Howe’s personal blog has a political retrospect on 2013 in Lowell.  Don’t miss the bottom paragraph about the struggle for the old mill city’s soul.

Maureen Turner has a rundown of the latest controversies about the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and do not miss The Valley Advocate‘s Halos & Horns, THE list of the Valley’s political sinners and saints.

City Slickers:

Mike Dobbs at The Reminder has a piece on the final School Committee meeting of Antonette Pepe and Norman Roldan, who lost their bids for reelection last month.

Next Monday is inauguration for the City Council and School Committee.

MGM’s proposal has been formally filed with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Twitter Chatter:

For the last tweet prize of 2013 it seems only fitting that we give it to a retrospective tweet.  Twitter is an immensely powerful tool, but it can become addictive and a bit too much.  However, different communities have a different relationship with the social media service.  Springfield is only now just traipsing into service, politically at least.  Boston has been using it for some time.  That means a lot of obligation falls on reporters to get the news out via Twitter.  We love it because we’re usually the only ones doing it.  Anyway, today we award the tweet prize to Wesley Lowery a reporter for The Boston Globe who was criticized for his tweets (the critics were wrong BTW), but he stood by them and has a sense of humor about it.  His tweet today, about the voluminous live-tweeting he did on the mayoral race closes out our 2013 in Twitter with a bit of humor and self-deprecation.