Manic Monday Markup 10/19/15…
…And the World:
We begin today in Canada, where polls opened and our neighbor to the north is prepared to vote in an historic election that could see the incumbent Conservative Party and its leader, Stephen Harper, turfed from office. The three month election, the longest in Canadian history (sounds nice compared to us), started with the New Democratic Party in position to come out on top, but its support has flagged amid the Liberals’ rise. The campaign’s length was supposed to favor the Conservatives, but that has not happened.
Riding a wave of discontent and desire for change, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau has surged to the lead in polls and seemingly overcome the split within the nation’s left. Trudeau, son of the late Pierre, a former premier, has taken his campaign to streets, even contesting ridings (Canadian parliamentary districts) in the West, long outside the Liberals’ hands. Polls show Trudeau’s strength, but the distribution of the vote and polling among ridings could still give Conservatives the most seats in his nail biter of an election.
Fresh violence has rocked Israel with an attack by a Bedouin Israeli on a bus in Beersheba that killed a solider, Omri Levi. At the same time in Beersheba, an Eritrean man, Habtom Zerhom was shot by a security guard after being mistaken for the bus attacker. Allegedly targeted due to his skin color, onlookers then attacked Zerhom, who later succumbed to his injuries. Police are investigating. The Times of Israel claims that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is facing pressure from hardliners within his Fatah movement.
Swiss anti-immigrant parties win big in elections. Meanwhile, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban sealed the border with Croatia to stem the tide of migrants, though also said it is not possible. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dangled speedier European Union integration in front of Turkey to step up its response to the migrant crisis, which is primarily fueled by Syrian refugees.
The Benghazi Committee and its chair, Trey Gowdy are facing fresh scrutiny after the Democratic Ranking Member, Elijah Cummings, revealed that a previous claim about Hillary Clinton’s emails had been debunked by the Central Intelligence Agency. The name of a CIA human source was among those going into Secretary Clinton’s inbox, but it came from a non-governmental individual. The CIA does not deem the information classified as the source has been known publicly for some time, leaving Gowdy with either egg on his face or his pants on fire.
As Cummings and Gowdy sparred on Sunday political shows yesterday, it was revealed that the source’s name, which was to redacted for personal privacy, not for security reasons, was disclosed by the Benghazi committee. Gowdy, under fire since Kevin McCarthy words about Clinton’s poll numbers torched the committee, unloads his ode to a partisan warrior (himself) to Politico. Also he urges other GOPers to clam up about the committee.
Connecticut confronts another budget crisis. Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy is calling for a bipartisan solution to close another yawning budget gap and, longer-term what government should be doing.
After a flattering/mocking impersonation by Larry David on Saturday Night Live, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will deliver a major speech about what democratic socialism is.
After an appearance at the Democratic Presidential debate last week, Lincoln Chafee assures Rhode Island Public Radio he’s staying in the presidential contest.
Air Force One, or more accurately the planes designated as AF1 when the president is aboard, face replacement.
The State of Things:
Arguably an out-of-state issue, The Boston Globe writes about the Connecticut gaming tribes’ efforts to blunt the impact of MGM Springfield on Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Meanwhile, slot revenue at Plainridge has come in under expectations again.
In Holyoke potpourri: the Holyoke City Council’s calls for an Ethics Commission to review former Solicitor Heather Egan’s separation agreement. What law the commission actually enforces that councilors want investigated is not clear. Acting Holyoke Auditor Bellamy Schmidt said he attended a Morse event about the sewer fee as a resident and an expert in financial matters. Finally, our editorial on that very sewer issue and the Council’s approach to it.
Also on Holyoke, WGBY hosted the Holyoke mayoral candidates for a debate.
West Springfield State Rep Mike Finn and Town Attorney William Reichelt jousted in another debate in the race for Westside’s mayoralty.
In their respective editorial board interviews with The Republican, mayoral candidates Domenic Sarno and Salvatore Circosta described two different cities.
Elsewhere Masslive checks in with the at-large and Ward 5 Council races.
The Springfield Historical Commission approves the changes to MGM Springfield’s plan. Although MGM will scale back the impact on the Union House’s Main Street façade, the United Electric Building, 73 State Street will still be demolished. The façade and interior dome will be retained.
By any measure the most pivotal event left before the 2016 presidential field solidifies is the decision of Vice-president Joe Biden to enter the race or not. Whether Biden speculation is a media pastime or a real thing, it would seem Hillary Clinton’s strong performance has not tamped down the concept entirely. Some believe Biden’s decision will come this week, but what will it be. Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry suggested Biden was getting in. But who really knows? Today we award the tweet prize to another White House correspondent, New York Times report Peter Baker, for making light of the apoplexy the Washington Beltway is going through right now. There are number of contenders, many of them good, but the succinctness and dryness of Baker’s tweeted observation of the Veep’s schedule fits very well.
Biden’s schedule for tomorrow has been released. “Announce for president,” oddly, not on it.
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) October 19, 2015