Manic Monday Markup 2/23/15…
…And the World:
We begin today in Greece, which has agreed to a four month extension of its bailout terms from European officials. The interim agreement, while essentially the same as the old one and against which the governing party Syriza campaigned, does allow for some flexibility. However, the Greek government has to bring forward a series of alternative reforms in order to get the money it needs to keep operating past the end of the month. Greece was given an extension until tomorrow to present its proposals. Syriza and its leader Alexis Tsipras, meanwhile, faces backlash for perceived caving to European leaders, namely Germany.
As the Israeli election rages, leaked cables show that nation’s top spy agency contradicts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements on a nuclear deal with Iran. Meanwhile Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva as talks continue with Iran. Relatedly, The Washington Post assesses the Israeli election.
The situation in Ukraine remains as tenuous as ever. Over the weekend rebel commanders said they were withdrawing their weapons, though Kiev and the West remain suspicious especially as bombs go off in government controlled territory. The government, in turn, says it can’t fully withdraw its weapons due to violations during the ceasefire’s infancy.
A potential cash for access scandal has erupted in the UK involving two MPs. Both MP, Malcolm Rifkind, a Tory, and Jack Straw from Labour were suspended. Opposition and Labour leader Ed Miliband called on Prime Minister David Cameron to limit MP’s outside jobs and has put forward its own proposal.
The New York Times reports that Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and his ruling party have turned to harassing opponents as the economy falters.
Likewise, Hungary’s government is targeting NGO’s and, perhaps, democracy itself, reports The Post.
New US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says the US may consider a slower withdrawal from Afghanistan. He followed up the visit with a stop in Kuwait to discuss the fight against ISIS with regional partners.
President Barack Obama is promising to veto the Keystone Pipeline bill hurtling toward his desk, likely the first of many.
Wisconsin Governor and likely Presidential hopeful Scott Walker is fundraising off of the aftermath of Rudy Giuliani’s comments about Obama.
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt got a challenger last week in the form of Secretary of State Jason Kander, currently the youngest statewide elected official in the country. In his announcement, Kander invoked his time as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan and called for more cooperation in Washington. He has secured the support of most of Missouri’s top Democrats and has already named a campaign manager. Beating Blunt seems a Herculean challenge, but some Show Me State pundit explain why Kander might see an opening.
Maryland’s new governor is under scrutiny over a memo that appears to direct agencies under the governor to declare everything subject to executive privilege.
Tomorrow is Election Day in Chicago. A new poll shows that incumbent Rahm Emanuel won’t clear the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff and both he and his challengers are campaigning right up to the wire.
The State of Things:
The Boston Globe came west for Elizabeth Warren’s constituent visits in Springfield and Northampton and discovered what the local faithful think of a presidential run: a resounding no. But The Globe also spoke to the man in New Hampshire who would love to run Warren’s campaign—if it existed.
Holyoke mayor Alex Morse tells The Republican he thinks a question on switching the city to a manager-council form of government is not appropriate in light of the other changes voters will consider. Morse declined to say whether he would veto or not until after the Council acts.
In Worcester the mayor is an at-large city councilor who runs in a simultaneous election for the largely ceremonial post. Incumbent Joe Petty will face a challenge from freshman councilor Michael Gaffney.
The Fourth Estatements:
Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly’s record as a war correspondent has come under scrutiny after a Mother Jones article noted inconsistencies about his reporting during the Falkland Islands War. O’Reilly had come out aggressively against the accusations, but reporting about the story has continued to pile up complicated his defense.
Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield said a new regional Catholic high school will be built following the merger of Cathedral and Holyoke Catholic. However, it is far from certain that Cathedral’s Surrey Road location will house the new school.
Springfield’s snow deficit reaches $700,000. The DPW is allowed to spend beyond its budget following approval by the City Council to remove ice and snow.
Seven South End parking lots will close March 1st as MGM construction begins.
The Springfield Catholic Diocese’s announcement about Cathedral has left a great deal to be desire according to the area Twitterverse. Indeed, the point that concerned people the most was whether the school would be rebuilt on Surrey Road or not. In announcing the regional model, but not a site, the diocese essentially punted, kicking that decision down the road. Today we award the Tweet prize to Jennifer Murphy, a Western Mass resident who distilled well how much anticipation was built up before today only to let the decision fall flat with still more uncertainty for Catholic education within the city itself.
Leave it to the Catholic Diocese to build up an announcement & leave the biggest questions unanswered. #SaveCatHigh
— jemurph (@jemurph) February 23, 2015