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Manic Monday Markup 6/16/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in Iraq, where Sunni militiamen and ISIS have taken another town and killed Shia Muslims there. Numerous reports suggest that airstrikes may very well happen. There is also talk of a special forces contingent. Perhaps more intriguingly, the US and Iran may work together to diffuse the crisis and help the Shia-led central government keep the Sunni and ISIS from making further advances.

Also in the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority has condemned the kidnapping of three Israeli teens. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has gone as far to say the unity government with Hamas will be void if the group was involved in the kidnapping, which it may well be. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke for the first time in weeks.

Scotland will vote in September on whether to secede from the United Kingdom. The first draft of a constitution to run the would-be country is underway.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he is open to a cease-fire with the militants in the country’s east, but first he seeks to secure the border with Russia. Meanwhile, the Russian gas company has shut off deliveries to Ukraine and Russians debate the impact of the whole crisis.

Afghanistan voted in the second round of its presidential election, but new allegations of fraud from the front runner in the race could jeopardize any hope for a smooth transition.

The Feds:

President Barack Obama has announced he will issue an executive order to prohibit federal contractors from discrimination against LGBT employees. The measure came as the House of Representatives refused to take up the Senate-passed Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have applied to all employers. House Republicans falsely claimed the law was unnecessary as federal law already protects LGBT employees. It does not. Only a handful of states protect such employees under their own laws. Unlike a similar action for federal employees under Bill Clinton, the GOP is silent on this.

The US Supreme Court affirms straw purchases of guns are illegal, if the ultimately owner of the gun is legally permitted to own a weapon.

Connecticut Labor politics as the Republican actually appears before the Nutmeg State’s AFLCIO convention and calls for a Wisconsin moment. But he didn’t mean gutting labor rights, just the end of one party rule…like Wisconsin? Where the GOP forced through union-busting legislation under one party rule? Anyway, elsewhere, despite their differences, the AFT endorsed incumbent Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy.

The State of Things:

David Bernstein has a summary of the events at the weekend’s Democratic convention in Worcester. Steve Grossman topped governor, but Don Berwick had a strong third behind Martha Coakley. Juliette Kayyem and Joe Avellone are out for governor. James Arena-DeRosa is out for lieutenant governor. Warren Tolman won a majority of delegate votes, but only a narrow win over newcomer Maura Healey. There is a whole lot of speculation and commentary and we will try to provide some of that in the weeks ahead. Blue Mass Group also has some winners and losers too.

The candidates are already on the trail!

The latest on the race to replace Senator Gale Candaras. Sprinfield City Councilor Tim Allen had good news back home, but not as much in Boston. Several of Allen’s colleagues endorsed his bid for Senate on Thursday. However, the next day at the State Ballot Law Commission hearing for his challenge to Eric Lesser’s eligibility in that race, Lesser’s attorney raked Allen over the coals.

In the OTHER Senate race that includes Agawam, Easthampton, Holyoke and Westfield, Democrats Patrick Leahy and Christopher Hopewell debate tonight.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse’s settlement with former City Solicitor Heather Egan continues to draw jeers from councilors.

Budget negotiators in the House and Senate on Beacon Hill are still working to reconcile differences between the two chambers’ budgets.

The Fourth Estatements:

Nearly a week later, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat is not quite fresh enough for the markup, but fortune smile as David Carr, The New York Times’ media reporter wrote about how the beltway journalism establishment blew the call on that race.

City Slickers:

In shocking, MGM got its license to build a casino in Springfield, but really it all lies in the Supreme Judicial Court’s hands now. Although casino opponents registered their objections.

Mike Dobbs chimes in with a column saying that people need to make up their minds about the casino one way or another because it appears to be overshadowing allegedly unrelated done-deal economic development projects. That could apply to the developers too who need to commit regardless of the casino’s ultimate fate.

Mayor Domenic Sarno’s budget passes unscathed on a 11-0 vote (although some of the transfers to fund it passed with a dissenting vote or two).

Twitter Chatter:

Between Iraq, the Mass Dems convention and Springfield own news on MGM and the budget, it can be hard to pick a winner. Today, we are going simple. Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, linked to above, notes how sixteen years ago Bill Clinton’s action in the fight for equality drew opposition from nearly all of the GOP caucus. Today? Almost nothing! The GOP still insists on being the party of the past and not expanding this protection to all employees, but their silence here shows that being against basic human rights for all people, regardless of their orientation, is now a liability. Today we award the tweet prize to Sargent for this pithy reminder of how we have advance for the better as a country.