Manic Monday Markup 6/22/15…
…And the World:
We begin today in Greece, which teeters again on the edge of default although signs of progress have materialized. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has made a new offer to his country’s creditors, although other European nations want more time to study the document, which calls for a higher value added tax and hikes in the retirement age for future retirees. The spotlight is on Tsipras, who was swept to power on a platform of standing up to Europe and now the drama may be coming to a close.
Both Israel and Hamas may have committed war crimes during last summer’s war in a new UN report released today. The UN report cited bombing of home and other buildings as potential war crimes on Israel’s part, while also condemning Hamas’ use of rockets against civilian populations in Israel. Israel called it politically motivated. Hamas condemned being condemned but praised Israel being condemned.
Staying in Israel, former Israeli ambassador and current MK Michael Oren released a series of scathing and increasingly personal editorials about President Barack Obama over the last few weeks. Already the head of Oren’s party, Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has distanced himself from the statements, but now Anti-Defamation League head Abraham Foxman has spoken out, condemning Oren’s “unjustified and insensitive” writings about the president.
NPR talks to a Vice News reporter who found social media and young Russian soldiers’ proclivity for taking pictures may provide some of the latest evidence of Russia’s on-the-ground meddling in Ukraine.
Australian PM Tony Abbott, a notorious for favoring inertia on climate change action, may propose steeper reductions in his country’s emissions, following the lead taken by the United State and Canada, Fairfax media reports. Electoral considerations may be playing into the Abbott government’s decision.
The New York Times profiles South Africa’s, Thulisile Mandonsela, the nation’s first female public protector, as she faces the task of beating back rampant corruption.
ICYMI: Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change is making waves. Named after a prayer written by Francis’ namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, the document make a powerful case for action to arrest the effects of global climate change. Relatedly, The Washington Post writes about how climate-deniers lost the Vatican.
At first it was just about the Confederate flag, but now the heinous murder of 9 congregants in a historic Charleston, South Carolina church has bled much deeper into the presidential election. South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, is said to call for the Confederate flag’s removal from State House grounds today. However, the bigger intrigue have been donations to GOP presidential candidate from a conservative blogger, whose name came up on a website believed to be linked to accused shooter Dylann Roof. Recipients like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have returned or donated them to charity. Now Scott Walker is caught up in it, too. GOP Presidential hopeful were already treading softly.
Democrats have been much freer to respond to the underlying issues surrounding the shooting. Hillary Clinton has called for action on guns and acknowledged the nation’s fault lines along race. President Obama has also been more candid about the state of race relations in America, a sign, perhaps of his growing willingness to show emotion in office.
As for the shooting itself both The New York Times and The Washington Post have tick-tocks of last Wednesday’s events leading up to when Roof allegedly began firing. The Post & Courier writes about peace events following the shooting.
Sheldon Silver may have lost the speakership of the New York State Assembly after the feds charged him with corruption, but he has not vanished from Albany and the assembly.
Connecticut Republicans seek a new party chair.
As Rhode Island’s legislative session winds down, The Boston Globe considers recession-battered Providence’s tech boomlet.
In the wake of Beau Biden’s death, Democrats in Delaware are consider their options for governor and so far Congressman John Carney, who ran for the post in 2008, seems the frontrunner, but will likely not have the nomination without a fight.
The State of Things:
The opening of Plainridge’s slot parlor dawns the era of casino gaming in Massachusetts.
WMassP&I Editor-in-chief Matt Szafranski and El Sol Latino contributor Natalia Munoz joined Susan Kaplan on NEPR last week. Among the issues discussed was rising tuition at UMass, which the Daily Hampshire Gazette panned in an editorial.
Also at NEPR, Henry Epp looks at the week ahead on Beacon Hill with State House News Service reporter Matt Murphy. Casinos and the still unfinished budget dominate the political whirl in Boston this week.
Governor Charlie Baker was anything but chuckling after his mishandling of the Confederate flag issue, which required cleaning up afterward.
Joined by Senator Jim Welch, Mayor Domenic Sarno and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Assistant state Housing & Economic Development Secretary Katie Stebbins, and city councilors US Rep Richard Neal praised the final disbursement of money to complete the renovation of Union Station. A longtime project of Neal’s, the building has been intimately linked to his history for decades. He announced his first run for city council on the concourse and has been instrumental to keeping the federal government on board amid starts and stops on the project.
— Matt Szafranski (@MSzafranski413) June 22, 2015
Worth noting: historic photos of Union Station and its predecessor facilities in Springfield.
Our report on the Ward 6 Council race that features incumbent Ken Shea facing off against political activist Kim Rivera, mother of Shea’s predecessor Amaad Rivera.
The battle over the Confederate flag in the Old South is one that really should have ended long ago. Numerous sources argue that the never formally adopted banner only came into vogue in the early to mid-20th Century due to the KKK’s interest. While a bipartisan group of South Carolina legislators and now Gov. Haley and Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott are opposed to its continued flying, inertia may still stand in the way. Today we award the tweet prize to CNN reporter Jake Tapper who encapsulated the mealy-mouthed position of flag supporters so succinctly. How can a body continue to back something so offensive to so many and yet not have the guts to defend it on camera?
once again a majority of the SC General Assembly supports the flag and we cant get one willing to defend it on TV
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 22, 2015