Manic Monday Markup 6/29/15…
…And the World:
We begin today in Greece, where capital controls and bank closures have been imposed following the utter collapse of talks between the country and its creditors. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a referendum on the creditors’ terms for a renegotiation of its debt—terms, he has rejected calling them humiliating for the Greek people. European leaders are warning Greeks the vote is about staying within the Eurozone, which Greeks, though divided on the bailout program overall, largely wish to do. Tsipras’s gamble may be his undoing as some polls show Greek voters may approve the terms in the July 5 referendum. Meanwhile European leaders insist a deal is still possible.
US officials negotiating with Iran over its nuclear weapons program acknowledge the hard deadline for a deal is July 9, not June 30. Secretary of State John Kerry has flown to Vienna to help jumpstart the talks.
A terrorist attack against foreign tourists in Tunisia has locals worrying.
Greece’s poorer neighbors are unmoved by its complaints about the bailout terms.
Israel acknowledges it is helping Syrian rebels on the promise that the latter’s Druze population will be protected.
Some fear Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s brushing up against term limits may not really mean her exit from the political stage.
After a few pivotal if not shocking sessions last week, the US Supreme Court dispensed with the last of its business including dubiously upholding the questionable use of midazolam in executions, stymieing EPA mercury regulations and affirming voting-initiating independent redistricting commissions. The Court also stayed new abortion regulations in Texas that would have closed more clinics in the state.
All were 5-4 decisions with Justice Anthony Kennedy, who also ruled in favor of same-sex marriage last week, as the deciding vote. However, the redistricting commission was perhaps the most impactful (and surprising) ruling today. Kennedy had seemed to be leaning toward quashing the commissions, but instead joined the majority opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who found the commissions as a reasonable means for the people to stop partisan redistricting and, more pertinently, not a violation of state legislature’s right to control federal elections. The case grew out of a lawsuit filed by the Arizona Legislature, which sought to strike down the Independent Arizona Redistricting Commission on the grounds that, under the Constitution, only “the legislature” absent Congressional approval could draw congressional districts.
Following Friday’s ruling establishing marriage equality as a national principle, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton advised county clerks they could continue to deny marriage licenses on the grounds of religious freedom. Jerk.
With one escapee dead and the other capture, New York State’s manhunt for two convicted murderers ends after three weeks.
Connecticut legislators begin rolling back some provisions of its budget that drew complaints from the state’s business community. Both the legislature and Gov. Dannel Malloy are expected to make concessions on signature causes like property tax relief and transportation funding.
Maine Governor Paul LePage’s famously tempestuous mien has alienated even his own party and his latest antics may even lead to impeachment proceedings.
In California potpourri: Los Angeles swears in its first Korean-American City Councilor. Top US Senate candidates are keeping a low profile. The Golden State, which also has an independent redistricting commission, had a lot at stake in today’s SCOTUS ruling.
The State of Things:
Brockton State Senator Thomas Kennedy has died. He was 63.
The Globe profiles the women in Gov. Charlie Baker’s Department of Administration & Finance.
Masslive writes that Holyoke mayoral candidate Fran O’Connell has slapped down at least $15,000 on the table for introduction broadcast television ads. That buys a lot in Springfield rather cheap ad market, but it also seems a bit much this early for a race that affects only a fraction of the Greater Springfield broadcast area.
Thought heavily Springfield-tilted, our report on regional LGBT response to SCOTUS’s ruling. Also, former Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, who wrote the groundbreaking opinion that started the marriage equality avalanche, reflects on Friday’s decision.
The Fourth Estatements:
Politico considered several media outlets’ decision to change their social media icons to include rainbow images following last Friday’s ruling. Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post were among those that did so, stating that the ruling reflected their values and was consistent with policies that in some areas “there are not two sides.” WMassP&I likewise changed its social media icons for largely the same reasons.
State Historic Preservation officials and MGM meet in Boston tomorrow to try and hammer out an agreement about preserving more of the armory and establishing a historic preservation fund.
More broadly, Paul Tuthill of Northeastern Public Radio reports on Mayor Domenic Sarno’s proposal to allow MGM to alter its timeline around the reconstruction of I-91. That proposal, if it deviates from the text of the host community agreement, may need Council approval.
Today in the breathlessly predictable: Ward 5 Councilor Clodo Concepcion reelected president of the 16 Acres Civic Association.
Mayoral candidate Johnnie Rae McKnight formally kicked off his bid Friday.
With the global economy on surer footing the idea of a “Grexit” from the Eurozone is less disconcerting, all the headless chickens running amok in stock exchanges notwithstanding. There are serious questions about the austerity policies Europe has put forward, but Greece’s grossly inefficient public sector also makes it a poor posterchild for those questions. But this is boiling down to a simple question, at least among European leaders, of whether Greece shall remain in the Euro. This message may particularly sting Greek PM Tsipras when coming from a friend like Italian premier Matteo Renzi. Today we award the tweet prize to Renzi who today noted that the referendum is not about Tsipras versus the EU. Rather, Greeks are choosing between the Euro and a return to the drachma, which would bring perhaps years more of uncertainty than even the bailout program has.
The point is: greek referendum won’t be a derby EU Commission vs Tsipras, but euro vs dracma. This is the choice.
— Matteo Renzi (@matteorenzi) June 29, 2015