Manic Monday Markup 5/19/14…
…And the World:
We begin today in Iraq, where Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s party won enough votes to again form a coalition government and maintain its hold on the oil-rich nation. Maliki will need to bring in other parties to get a majority in parliament, but the margin of his victory nevertheless surprised observers.
Narendra Modi will formally become the head of his party and electoral coalition partners and will meet with the Indian President, all formal steps his path to be the Prime Minister of the World’s Largest Democracy. Modi’s party and electoral parties won a commanding victory last week after a month of voting. Meanwhile, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, the mother-son team leading the Congress Party, have offered to resign over their party’s electoral drubbing. The party rejected their offer.
The Washington Post writes that far-right nationalist party victories in upcoming European Parliament elections could be a boon for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although the leader of one such party in Britain is not having a good day.
Justice Minister and chief Israeli peace envoy Tzipi Livni is defending her meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the highest-level meeting between the two sides since talks collapsed.
One of Barack Obama’s nomination for a federal appeals court has attracted increasingly negative attention from Democrats. Michael Boggs, currently a judge in Georgia has a record that is bill as anti-minority and anti-gay and then some. The latest to come out against is Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.
West Virginia Democrats got a boost when a local paper analyzed upcoming legislative races and determined the party may be favored to retain control of the legislatures despite an increasing slide toward Republicans in the former Democratic stronghold.
Scott Brown polls more poorly than a fellow GOP transplant who represented another state once .
Republicans will decide who their senate nominee is tomorrow. Maybe. Pennsylvania Democrats vote for their gubernatorial nominee tomorrow as well. Businessman Tom Wolf leads in polls.
To the south Connecticut Democrats formally renominated their full slate of incumbents for statewide office over the weekend. Governor Dannel Malloy offered an opening salvo in defense of his administration. Meanwhile Republicans formally endorsed 2010 nominee Tom Foley, but State Senator John McKinney and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton both got on the ballot. A fourth is expected to petition his way on. As in Massachusetts, 15% of the convention delegate vote is needed to get on the ballot, but unlike in Massachusetts, those who fail at the convention can petition their way on.
The State of Things:
Massachusetts legislators pledge to review and possible abolish a lot of dead weight in the commonwealth’s boards and commissions. Look to see outdated entities join the Dodo.
Checking up on the goings-on among Worcester Democrats.
Eric Lesser, candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Hampden & Hampshire Senate race, proposed high-speed rail between Springfield and Boston. While this idea is not entirely new, in an Op-Ed Lesser refreshingly talks about it in practical terms, noting that if the existing line were brought up to a doable 70 mph, travel time would equal that of a car ride. A semantic point to be sure, 70 mph is not an internationally recognized definition of high speed rail. A constant stumbling block to progress here has been pie-in-the-sky proposals, which Lesser, wisely, eschewed. Sometimes the better ideas are the sensible ones.
Tim Allen called for a raise for early education workers in line with that proposed by the House in its budget.
A coup could be in the works for the GOP caucus in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, which could relieve Minority Leader Brad Jones of his position in the House and possibly make the House GOP less relevant.
The Fourth Estatements:
The New York Times has endured a painful and public airing of its dirty laundry as Publisher Arthur Sulzberger fired Executive Editor Jill Abramson. Questions about whether pay equity played a role perhaps prompted Sulzberger to release another statement disputing those claims publicly. Some in the newsroom concurred. Of course, it is more complicated than that and it appears a management issue, one concerning now-Executive Editor Dean Baquet, was at the heart of it. Abramson offered her first public words after her termination at Wake Forest University’s commencement today. Read David Carr’s column on the matter as well. Yes, some of the best perspective has come from within The Times itself.
Our first look at the release of the Springfield municipal budget today. So far it is rosy. Now the scrutiny.
To be included in a later update of our story, but for now, Masslive notes City Council President Mike Fenton’s budget hearing schedule.
If you have been following the Times transition saga (obviously our copious amounts of links shows we have) you probably have seen that practically every media entity with a pulse has covered it from the NPR to Politico to the New York City tabloids. As noted above, The Times itself has covered its leadership gyrations quite well. That is not easy and it appear to have fallen largely on the shoulders of Ravi Somaiya, who covers the newspaper beat for The Times’ media desk. Less than a month ago, the Times Co.’s earnings report were the most common internal doings he wrote about, but has taken to this story quite well. It is extremely difficult to cover one’s employer and indeed, his interaction with Abramson at Wake Forest illustrates (if in a positive way) how complicated it can be. Many of his tweets could have won the tweet prize, but this week we award it to Somaiya for a tweet that sums one perspective, perhaps the dominant one in the newsroom. Earlier in his feed, he says there is more to come. We will be reading.