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Manic Monday Markup 4/13/15…

The Feds:

We begin today in the United States where it finally happened after much anticipation and waiting. Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady, former senator, former Secretary of State announced her campaign for president. Announcing in a video that emphasizes the people Clinton wants “champion” first and foremost, the long-running invisible primary on the Democratic side finally broke out into the open. She faces little opposition in the primary, which some see as a problem and others as a good thing.

…And the World:

President Barack Obama’s historic meeting in Panama with Cuban President Raul Castro signaled a big shift in relations between the two countries. Long blackballed from the Summit of the Americas, Cuba’s president did condemn the US’ treatment of his country, but praised Obama. For his party, Obama said it was time to end conflicts—in this case the last vestiges of the Cold War—that began before he was born. The thaw between the two countries is also popular across Latin America.

In Great Britain, polls are showing bizarre fluctuation with the Conservatives ahead one day followed by Labour the next and vice versa. Opposition Leader Ed Miliband launched Labour’s election manifesto today, perhaps in such a way that it might roll back some of the skepticism Miliband has faced over the years. Among the goodies in the manifesto are controlling the deficit and raising the minimum wage. NPR observes that amidst the election, Britain is backing away from its role on the world stage.

Meanwhile, the Tories (Conservatives) have found their wheels spinning after last week when a mean, personal attack on Miliband appeared to backfire and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne struggled to explain how his party would pay for an £8 billion increase in funding for health care.

Across the channel in France, the former leader of France’s far-right National Front Jean-Marie Le Pen will not seek a seat in France’s regional elections after facing criticism for anti-Semitic remarks from, among others, his own daughter who now leads the National Front.

Russia lifts a ban on missiles to Iran, in part due to the framework agreement on the latter’s nuclear program, raising the alarm in the US and Iran. Russia updated Israel before the move and Israel’s major concern is that the missiles will end up in Syrian or Hezbollah’s hands.

Also from NPR: Should Pakistan assist Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen? Parliament says no. Meanwhile, the Saudis ignore Iran’s calls to withdraw from Yemen.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff returned from the Summit of the Americas to more scandals at home.

The Feds (cont’d):

Today Florida Senator Marco Rubio also jumped into the presidential race on the Republican side. He tried to cast himself as a younger alternative to older figures, like one-time mentor Jeb Bush.  The Miami Herald says he will try to bank on relationships he has made in early primary states. Politico’s top Florida report (formerly of The Miami Herald) explains why Rubio just could not say no to a bid despite the long odds.

More Hillary: She is road tripping to her first events in Iowa from her home in Chappaqua, N.Y. in a van nicknamed “Scooby,” on the heels of her journey to a decision on another run. Bill de Blasio, a longtime Clinton ally and former staffer, is reserving his endorsement for now to hear where Clinton will land on policy. The details of her campaign’s platform will begin to gel in the upcoming weeks and months. Clinton also got words of support from overseas. On announcement eve, campaign manager Robby Mook laid out a no-drama manifesto to staffers, a sign he is determined to avoid the gyrations that helped fell Clinton’s 2008 president bid.

Who’s the Mook? You don’t know Robby Mook? Mother Jones and The Guardian have profiles of the data geek at the helm of Clinton’s campaign and the challenge he faces.

California’s water restrictions have drawn ire because farmers are excluded. Farmers reply: they and city dwellers are in this together.

A federal appeals court upholds ban on gay conversation therapy.

Jeff Atwater, Florida’s state CFO and probably the best-known recruit for Rubio’s senate seat—which the incumbent is vacating to pursue the presidency—has taken a pass.

The State of Things:

The penalty phase for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzkokhar Tsarnaev will begin April 21. Our view: Send him to prison for life.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s extremely broad review of state regulations has unnerved environmental groups.

The State House News Service’s Matt Murphy and New England Public Radio’s Henry Epp lay out the week on Beacon Hill including the continuing committee standoff between the House and the Senate.

Holyoke police officer union held a vote of no confidence in Chief James Neiswanger. City officials call it a PR stunt and Neiswanger says he serves the public, not the union.

West Springfield names a new school superintendent.

The Springfield City Library will host the first of several presentations on elections and politics this Thursday. Organized alongside the Springfield Election Commission, Thursday’s event, Elections 101, is at 6:30PM at the Forest Park Branch Library.

City Slickers:

Diocesan officials will discuss proposed sites for a new regional Catholic High School. Although a source told WMassP&I that the site in West Springfield may be unsuitable due to soil conditions.

An update on Union Station from The Reminder.

Masslive looks at the potential of Pynchon Plaza, which still remains very much in the talk, rather than action phase of redevelopment.

ICYMI: Our review of the fracas over a job training program funded by disaster moneys.

Twitter Chatter:

The onset of the digital age of politics could not be any more apparent than with Hillary Clinton’s announcement yesterday. While Google was already very much a part of our lives in 2008, Twitter did not even exist and yet today both offer windows into people’s thoughts about major political happenings in a way that were simply impossible before. Today we award the tweet prize to Twitter Data and Google Politics, who together show how Clinton’s news sparked attention across social media and the Internet.

Twitter’s winning tweet (preceded by one saying Clinton’s announcement tweets were viewed 3 million times) showed the sudden spike in mentions for Clinton’s handle. Google, by contrast, featured the top questions people were asking about the former Secretary of State (and in turn, perhaps influence the search engine’s algorithm for autocomplete).