Manic Monday Markup 3/2/15…
UPDATED 3/4/15 3:26PM: For a correction. Slain Russian opposition leader’s name is Nemtsov, not Nemstov.
…And the World:
We begin today in Russia, where thousands marched in memory of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Although no longer the pivotal figure he once was among opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nemtsov’s brutal murder in the shadow of the Kremlin has sent ripples throughout the world and within Russia itself throughout the political spectrum. The US and WEstern leaders have called for a full and transparent investigation, and the Kremlin has suggested a host of potential theories.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, previewing his speech to Congress about Iran at AIPAC’s annual conference, claims his efforts to evade normal diplomatic procedures amid his own election were not a sign of disrespect for President Obama and jeopardized Israel’s bipartisan support. The fracas of the speech has not always yielded positive responses in Israel amid the election slated for March 17, although both the US and Israeli leaders have sought to calm tensions ahead of Bibi’s trip here. However, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, panned Netanyahu’s seeming framing of himself as speaking for all Jews, reflecting the bind in which the Prime Minister has put Jewish Democratic groups broadly.
Meanwhile in the elections itself, Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid is backtracking on a promise to recommend the winner of the largest bloc of votes, while a Haaretz columnist opines that whoever the largest party is, likely winning less than a quarter of the Knesset’s 120 seats cannot seriously argue they have a mandate of any kind from voters. Meanwhile, the paper itself accuses the Israeli Attorney General of playing politics by putting off an investigation of Netanyahu until after the election.
Bangladeshi authorities make an arrest in the murder of an atheist blogger.
Iraq’s offensive to retake Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birthplace, begins.
Spanish officials claim a third bailout for Greece is in the offing. Both Greek and European officials deny the claim.
The longest serving woman in Congress, Barbara Mikulski, US Senator of Maryland, has announced she will not seek a sixth term. A former social worker and fierce advocate for liberal and women’s causes, Mikulski said she was retiring so she could spend the next two years “raising hell” rather than fundraising 24/7. The Baltimore Sun praised Mikulski as Maryland’s “Happy Warrior.” NBC put together a flashback to her 1986 election.
Democrats have a distinct edge in this state, which Obama won by 26 points in 2012 and potential Democratic candidates could include US Reps Elijah Cummings, Donna Edwards , Jon Sarbanes and Chris Van Hollen, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and former governor Martin O’Malley. Potential Republicans include the state’s only Republican congressman and its twice-defeated former governor, Bob Ehrlich.
The death of a homeless man at the hands of police in Los Angeles has gotten international press attention.
The Supreme Court heard arguments today about whether voters can place redistricting power into the hands of an independent commission. Early assessments suggest it could go either way with the slightest of leans toward Justice Anthony Kennedy being the fifth vote to uphold the will of the voters in states like Arizona and others.
After last week’s epic fail by Speaker John Boehner to keep the Department of Homeland Security open as the GOP tries to quash Obama’s immigration order (a bill keeping the department open for a week, instead of three, passed), House Republican leadership tries to regroup.
The California GOP blesses the creation of a gay Republican group.
The State of Things:
Northampton is looking to make more affordable housing available in the city. Rents have leapt in recent years often making housing too costly from poorer individuals who could benefit most from the city’s walkability.
Boston is poised to pick a new School Superintendent.
Holyoke Police Chief James Neiswanger issued four promotions last week, including last year’s Democratic nominee for the 2nd Hampden & Hampshire Senate district, James Leahy. In his remarks, Neiswanger also noted the issues surrounding the use of force by police officers, which have gripped the nation of late.
Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos gave his state of the city address last week.
The Boston Globe profiles the race for state rep in the 11th Worcester, covering Shrewsbury and part of Westborough. Neither Republican Hannah Kane nor Democrat Jason Palitsch are opposed in their primaries tomorrow, but East Boston’s state rep primary is very contested. In this arch-Democratic seat, securing the primary is tantamount to election.
The Wisconsin legislature is expected to pass and Gov. Scott Walker expected to sign a bill this week legalizing so-called “right-to-work” in the Badger State. Just to be clear, it is already illegal to force someone—in any state—to join a union. This law simply allow workers to enjoy the benefits of union membership, such as negotiated benefits and representation during conflicts such as grievances, without paying for them.
The Fourth Estatements:
Things continue to get messier for Bill O’Reilly. Fox News has backed off of some of O’Reilly’s claims such as his witnessing bombings in Northern Ireland. It’s not the first time he or Fox have backpedaled. Meanwhile, Mother Jones, the pesky organization that began reporting inconsistencies in O’Reilly’s reporting in the first place, namely during the Falkland War, has obtained one of the Fox News anchor’s reports for his then-employer CBS News. O’Reilly’s report in 1982 sound a much milder note than his recollections more recently.
Elsewhere in the Murdoch empire, Rebekah Brooks, the executive at the shuttered News of the World who was acquitted of wrongdoing during Britain’s phone-hacking scandal is getting a job. Rupert Murdoch has hired her back.
The Globe’s much-vaunted Capital section seemingly retreats the Metro Section.
The Springfield City Council is expected to give final approval to an ordinance establishing casino ethics rules, namely a freeze on how long city bureaucrats and elected officials must wait before getting a job at MGM. Mayor Domenic Sarno’s intentions remain cryptic and undefined.
Parkmageddeon begins in Springfield.
Stephanie Barry lays out the latest settlements Springfield is paying out this fiscal year, which appears to be one of the city’s most expensive in recent years.
Usually we would eschew tweets directly from the major parties as winners of the tweet prize (although it is possible we have done it before). In light of Senator Barbara Mikulski’s retirement announcement, however, the winner this week fits, plain & simple. It would be easy to overlook the historic nature of Mikulski’s tenure. She not only is the longest serving woman, she is the first Democratic women elected in her own right and has mentored women in politics—of both parties—since. It is not an overstatement to say her presence will be missed. To that end we award the Tweet prize to The Democratic Party’s official twitter account, primarily for their image that included a quote from her, which reflected her desire to see that other could be elected on their own. And they were, many times over.
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) March 2, 2015