Browse By

Tardy Tuesday Takedown 5/27/14…

We hope you all had a safe & happy Memorial Day Weekend!

…And the World:

We begin today in the Ukraine, where Petro Poroshenko, a pro-European businessman, won the nation’s presidency with a majority thus avoiding a runoff. As Ukrainian forces seemingly ousted separatists from the airport of Donetsk, a majority city in Eastern Ukraine, Poroshenko called for efforts to mend ties with Moscow, something prompting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to concur. The Kremlin has been seen as largely responsible for the unrest in Ukraine after protests in Kiev led former President Viktor Yanokovych to flee the country. Poroshenko has talked tough, promising to end the separatists grip on the East of the country.

Elections for the European Parliament rattled political elites across the continent as far-right populist groups won big in France, the UK and elsewhere. While in countries like Greece, it was left-wing, anti-establishment populist groups that won, neo-Nazi groups also gained seats there. Marine Le Pen’s National Front in particular won the most votes in France, upending the traditional right-leaning party there and further undermining the hold President Francois Hollande and his Socialist Party has. Le Pen, has however, ruled out working with some far-right parties like Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party. However, it was not all bad news for mainstream parties. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s party gained seats in the European Parliament, widely viewed as an endorsement of the reforms Renzi’s has pushed since becoming premier in February.

In Britain, the far-right Ukip did well, but the party that may be the biggest loser is the Conservatives from whom Ukip siphons most of its votes. Rather the Tories’ junior coalition party, the Liberal Democrats, could face annihilation in national elections next year, but Lib Dem leader and Deputy PM Nick Clegg says he’s not leaving yet. Meanwhile, the Conservative leader David Cameron hopes to stare down the Euroskeptics. Labour Leader Ed Miliband needs to retool, after so-so results in the European elections and reengage the electorate.

The former general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely favored to win the country’s presidential election that is underway.

Narendra Modi was sworn in as India’s new Prime Minister. The ceremony itself carried some historical significance for oft-feuding nations as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended. It was the first time the leader of either country attended the swearing in of the other.

As a military coup takes hold in Thailand for the second time in ten years, the head of the armed forces claims to have the support of the king of the Southeast Asian Constitutional Monarchy.

Pope Francis concludes his historic trip to the Middle East, after which he invited the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to a prayer summit in Rome. Both accepted.

The Feds:

Paul Waldman filling in at the Plum Line says the recent shootings at the University of California, Santa Barbara are unlikely to move or change gun politics, despite reformers efforts. In a related item, does the Internet’s “Pick Up Artists” community have a role in this carnage?

President Obama’s new carbon rules are approaching. The Wall Street Journal has some details, while the rest of the world is watching. Elsewhere in the Executive Branch, Obama will announced today plans to draw down American forces in Afghanistan to 9800, before reducing them to a normal embassy security force with a year or two after that.

Former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci, who did a stint in federal prison for corruption, is considering another run to lead Rhode Island’s capital city.

As the latest iteration of the Veterans Affairs Department’s failure to properly serve vets festers, one of President Obama’s political opponents are now attacking vets groups for not joining in on the feeding frenzy. The Vets’ groups are not amused.

Yes, Los Angeles has a river that over seventy years has essentially become a massive storm drain. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti wants the Army Corp of Engineers to approve a more expensive rehab of the river to restore some of its more natural character and he’s will to pay for some of it.

The State of Things:

The Boston Globe looks at the efforts of newly elected Lawrence mayor Daniel Rivera to revive his struggling city in Northeastern Massachusetts.

David Bernstein’s verdict on the new election reform bill that Governor Deval Patrick signed last week.

Holyoke Ward 3 Councilor David Bartley is urging legislators to file a bill to get the state to start paying, once again, its share of the Quinn Bill. Many municipalities have been left holding the bag for the half of the police educational incentive Beacon Hill is supposed to pay.

Speaker Robert DeLeo is set to unveil sweeping new gun laws with the hope of having it voted on before the end of the session in July.

City Slickers:

Councilor Thomas Ashe, Council President Michael Fenton and the police did a victory lap of sorts last week, touting the tougher pawn shop rules that has led some establishments to lose their licenses for failing to comply.

The city will hold a send off for Police Commissioner William Fitchet Thursday.

Ten years after the tent “sanctuary city” and events this month to remember it, Springfield Director of  Housing Geraldine McCafferty defends the city’s homeless programs.

Twitter Chatter:

In a world filled with tumult, the historic nature of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s attendance at Indian PM Narendra Modi’s swearing in is itself a positive sign. Is it a bit of spin? Sure, but it seems genuine given the seemingly everlasting rivalry between the two countries and the displeasure Pakistani hardliners may express. Still, it seemed that as Thailand returns to a coup, Ukraine remains uncertain, possible xenophobes gain in Europe and the military reasserts itself in Egypt, there is something reassuring about these two, nuclear armed, oft-enemies so visibly and publicly putting friendship on display. Today we award the tweet prize to Prime Minister Sharif. A prodigious tweeters (and RT’er), we chose a tweet with picture of the two meeting declaring an end to acrimony. Again this may be a heavy dose of rhetoric, but it is true both countries have more important issues than sticking fingers in each other’s eye. A special mention for Modi’s tweets describing his meeting with Sharif and their discussion about the Pakistani PM’s mother of all things. Pretty universal!