Manic Monday Markup 12/29/14…
…And the World:
We begin today in Greece, where a failure to secure the supermajority needed to fill the largely ceremonial presidential office has prompted new elections. The added uncertainty could derail the country’s painful progress since the last elections in 2012, a condition of the bailout the country received from international lenders. Polls show anti-bailout (or more aptly anti-austerity) left-wing politician Alexis Tsipiras is primed to win the most votes. He has demanded a renegotiation of Greece’s bailout and if he insists on it and Europe does not agree, once again the nation could face expulsion from the Eurozone. Tsipras and his party would like to spur a broader Euro revolution. Incumbent Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, leader of the center-right New Democracy party, has called for elections on January 25.
Indonesian rescuers say that the AirAsia flight that disappeared en route to Singapore from Surabaya is probably at the bottom of the ocean. But the country has asked for help with a deep sea search. The crash is another black eye for Malaysian aviation, which has suffered mightily after the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines 370 and flight 17, which was likely downed by rebels in Ukraine. The cause of AirAsia’s disappearance remains a mystery, but the comparisons to Flight 370 are inapt for now, especially because until this crash AirAsia had a great safety record.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has submitted a proposed statehood resolution to the United Nations Security Council. While a US veto seems probable, it comes in the context of an Israeli election and reports from Palestinian authorities that Arabs may outnumber Jews within Israel, the West Bank and Gaza by 2016.
Croatia’s presidential candidates advance to a runoff after neither secure 50% of the vote.
In a surprise move, Russia prosecutors say they will move forward the announcement of the decision in Alexei Navalny’s trial by more than two weeks in an apparent attempt to thwart plans for protests ahead of a likely guilty verdict.
President Barack Obama struck a defiant tone in an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep saying he will use his veto pen to halt rollbacks of health care reform and environmental protection.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo disappointed advocates of reform of the Port Authority after he vetoed a major piece of legislation that would transform power and oversight in the beleaguered agency. After the scandal involving the George Washington bridge and embarrassing overruns at the new World Trade Center train station, reformers hoped to improve accountability and minimize the political influence from the governors of New York and New Jersey. Supporters are undeterred, however.
Cuomo and his Garden State counterpart, Chris Christie who was bruised by the Bridge scandal and faces sinking approval at home, have endorsed other reforms, including potential cuts to PATH service which links New Jersey cities with Manhattan, much to the consternation of mayors along the Hudson River including Jersey City’s Steven Fulop, a rising star in Jersey politics.
Moving on to policing after the death of two NYPD officers, many cops turned their back on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio during Officer Rafael Ramos’ funeral. Police Commission William Bratton, while expressing understanding for cops’ concerns, criticized the action as disrespectful and out of place for a funeral. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani echoed those sentiments. De Blasio also faced boos at a police academy ceremony.
In a similar vein, Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson made public an exchange of letters with one citizen who could not understand why the chief and his police force tolerated protesters who favor of reforms following the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
The Courant profiles incoming Connecticut House of Representatives Minority Leader Themis Klarides.
Vermont Yankee just over the border in Vernon has shut down.
The State of Things:
The Globe also has an Editorial calling for the legislature to close the lobbying loophole for municipal governments. We concur.
While other pay raises determined by statute are on ice for now, those required under the state constitution are still in play and the outgoing Patrick must make a recommendation by his last day in office.
WBUR looks back at Boston’s first year with “Mahty.”
Boston won’t have a mayoral race next year, but City Council elections are already heating up.
As of today, the Vermonter has been rerouted up the Connecticut River line through Northampton and Greenfield. It will no longer stop in Amherst.
The Fourth Estatements:
Paul Tuthill at Northeastern Public Radio describes how it was that the new railcar facility came to Springfield.
Meanwhile, The Republican considers how fading jobs drained the middle class in the Pioneer Valley and Springfield in particular.
Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri led a contingent of the city’s finest to the funeral of slain NYPD officer Rafael Ramos in Queens.
This is the last Twitter Chatter of 2014 and so we will end on the high and low notes of today.
The first is from our top story. If polls hold steady, it seem possible that Alexis Tsipras could become Greece’s next Prime Minister, potentially upending the austerity that his country has endured. It remains to be seen whether his promises are deliverable or his ideals practical, but amid a long list of somewhat confrontational tweets (albeit translated via Google), there is one that stands out about the aspirations of his political movement to change more than just the bailout terms. The hope appears to be to change the political system itself.
— a.tsipras (@atsipras) December 29, 2014
As translated by Google, it reads “We are not the continuation of what has ruled the country for decades. We are the refusal. #syriza.” If using Chrome, right click and select translate.
The other tweet is more lighthearted, obviously, than the fate of Greece and the Eurozone, but it is potentially a transformational event as well. Sharing the tweet prize today is Mayor David Narkewicz of Northampton, who tweeted from the new station in his city. The photo included is of the building crowd, waiting the historic return of passenger service, and the station’s Amtrak code, which seems primed to get plenty of use in the days and weeks ahead.
— David Narkewicz (@DavidNarkewicz) December 29, 2014