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Manic Monday Markup 12/8/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in Israel, where the Knesset, in a flurry of pre-election activity, has voted to formally dissolve itself ahead of an election planned for March 17, upending rumors Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seeking a new coalition. Last week, Bibi sacked Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, breaking up his coalition, prompting the new elections. Livni, the leader of Hatnua party, is said to be close to a deal with Labor leader Isaac Herzog to run with his party in the election. Polls indicate the joint list would outperform Netanyahu’s Likud. Who would become Prime Minister were the joint ticket to win is uncertain, but would likely be Herzog. Meanwhile, Netanyahu faces his own challenges with recently retired minister Gideon Sa’ar and MK Moshe Feiglin running against him to lead the Likud party. Meanwhile, Bibi loses a minister, too.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is feeling the heat after what has been considered a disastrous effort to play down global warming at the G20 conference in Brisbane this fall. Polls show the public is not at all satisfied with his extremely skeptical take on climate change. His own government seems to agree. After he vetoed a minister’s trip to Lima, Peru where leader will work on a major climate conference in 2015, the minister, Julie Bishop, brought the issue up at a cabinet meeting and got her trip approved over Abbott’s objection.

This week in Ebola: The Times reports on Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s ban on public rallies, which critics say is politics. Elsewhere, The Times interviews the American doctor who contracted the disease in West Africa and survived after treatment at Emory University.

Opposition members of South Africa’s parliament complain President Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress are subjugating the legislature to the president.

Former Scottish National Party Leader Alex Salmond may run for a seat in the UK parliament next year.

The Feds:

The New York Times writes a long piece on the coordination between Republican attorneys general and energy companies to undermine efforts at improving energy efficiency and combatting climate change.

Nancy Pelosi talks to The Washington Post about the path forward for her caucus in the House after the 2014 election. Bonus cameo from Sprinfield US Representative Richard Neal. But Democrats’ troubles in the House are complicated by geography. In the same vein, meditations on and an interview with Howard Dean on the 50 state strategy.

Protests have continued nationwide and in New York since a Staten Island grand jury did not indict the police officer who put Eric Garner into a chokehold. Garner subsequently died.

After Moreland Commission was shut down to investigate Albany corruption, New York lawmakers continue to shirk existing disclosure and ethics laws via loopholes.

Connecticut’s junior senator Chris Murphy is profiled in The Connecticut Post as he closed out his first two years in Congress’s upper chamber (and first time in his political career to not face election after only two years in office).

Elsewhere south of the border, leaders of the Nutmeg State’s House of Representatives line up their committee leaders for the 2015-2016 term.

The State of Things:

“Mahty” reverses himself. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh now says he is open to a pilot program for police body cameras.

Massachusetts much ballyhooed photo ID’s for EBT cards are getting a thumbs down from federal regulators who say the measure, allegedly intended to reduce fraud, is keeping qualified individuals from getting benefits.

Pay raises are unlikely to get a vote on Beacon Hill before the next session of the legislature begins.

Charlie Baker picks a former Weld official to be his top attorney in the governor’s office.

Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane’s performance review has been delayed.

Holyoke officials remember William Taupier, a former mayor, who died last week.

The Fourth Estatements:

New plans for The New Republic from its owner Chris Huges has prompted a stampede of resignations and raised questions about the future of the storied publication.

WBUR discusses the launch of The Boston Globe’s new standalone business section.

City Slickers:

Congressman Richard Neal led a delegation of Springfield officials to New Haven and back—via train. The trip highlighted the improvement of service between the two cities and renovation at Union Station, which Neal also discussed in an Op-Ed. Jim Kinney at The Republican considers whether New Haven’s Union Station is a model for Springfield.

The Springfield City Council will begin the process of setting the tax rate this week. Mayor Domenic Sarno released his recommendations last week.

PVTA ridership is up.

Twitter Chatter:

As protests continue following the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case, key differences between Staten Island and Ferguson are worth noting. Not the least of which is starkly different approaches between New York Mayor Bill deBlasio and Ferguson leaders, even as the former still has not formally condemned the grand jury decision. Today we award the tweet prize to MSNBC media personality Chris Hayes for noting another difference. Whereas St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch was pilloried for his almost clearly biased behavior, Richmond County (Staten Island) District Attorney Dan Donovan has not received nearly as much scrutiny, Hayes notes. Donovan’s approach has gotten much attention, nor have a lot of details been forthcoming. Although part of the answer may be that Donovan just put his head down and gathered evidence, rather than publicly appearing to pursue an indictment kicking and screaming. Either way, if the grand jury records are unsealed in Staten Island, we may learn more.