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Manic Monday Markup 5/16/16…

…And the World:

We begin today in Israel where polls show the public unenthused by the prospect of a unity government that would bring the Opposition Zioinist Union into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-led administration. Haaretz report that polls show the Zionist Union, itself a coalition between the Isaac Herzog-led Labor Party and Hatnuah, a party led by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, would lose several seats were elections held now. Centrist(ish) Yesh Atid, led by former television personality Yair Lapid could double in size while Likud would lose a few seats, but remain the largest party in the Knesset. A poll from the Knessett Channel, Israel’s answer to C-SPAN, showed few Israelis were wild about Herzog being in Netanyahu’s government.

Elsewhere in Israel, NPR reports that there has been a drop in knifings perpetrated by frustrated Palestinians.

Venezuela inches closer and closer to chaos as President Nicolas Maduro employs more and more controversial tactics to revive the economy amid plummeting approval ratings and growing opposition.

Following the May 5 elections, the leaders of the Labour Party and Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cynru,the first and third largest in the Assembly for Wales respectively, are near a deal to elect a First Minister for the devolved government based in Cardiff, Wales. Prior attempts to elect a first minister ended in deadlock. The deal with now be presented to members of the Assembly.

World powers are prepared to back the new unity-government in Libya with arms to help it defeat the franchise of Daesh, also called ISIS/ISIL, that has been operating in the country.

The presumptive president-elect of the Philippines has announced policy, specifically with regard to the death penalty and fighting communist rebels, that appears outside the mainstream.

The Feds:

Power Post, The Washington Post’s daily newsletter all but declares the presidential election former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s to lose. However, it also lays out how she could lose it.

Discord from the Berniecrats could be another problem. This weekend’s state Democratic convention in Nevada could provide a preview to potential angst when the Philadelphia convention rolls around. In short, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders lost the state’s caucus earlier this year to Clinton, but then out-organized Clinton in the subsequent county conventions. That left Sanders with more elected state convention delegates than Clinton. However, Clinton, in turn, out-organized Sanders at the State convention. Per the state party (and confirmed by other journalists’ analyses), her camp was able to keep in place state party rules that kept the delegate allocations—20 to Clinton, 15 for Sanders—in place. The net result had Sanders supporters succeeded would have been a 2 delegate swing in his favor. Clinton leads Sanders by 282 pledged delegates (i.e. without superdelegates). Nevertheless, Sanders supporters are accused of defacing the State Democratic Party’s headquarters.

On the Republican side, GOP Chairman Reince Priebus does not seem too concerned about real estate tycoon and provocateur Donald Trump’s woman problem. Meanwhile, a Clinton SuperPAC will begin airing anti-Trump ads this Wednesday.

President Barack Obama rebukes Trump by implication in a commencement address.

In Connecticut, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey has announced his retirement. The Hamden Democrat will decline reelection and thus another term as head of the lower house of the state legislature. Should Democrats retain control of the House, which they’ve held since 1986, Democratic Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz of Berlin seems likely to become speaker. House Appropriation chair and 15-year legislative vet Toni Walker of New Haven and Hartford Rep Matt Ritter, son of a former speaker and former city councilor in the world’s insurance capital are vying for Aresimowicz’s post.

The US Supreme Court has sent the latest Obamacare contraception mandate back to the lower courts on hopes that the administration and organizations that oppose rules requiring contraception be covered can reach a settlement.

A Benghazi Committee lawyer has stated that nothing could have prevented American deaths at the consulate in the Libyan city during a raid conducted by terrorists in 2012.

The Times profiles US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican and prominent GOP supporter of LGBT rights, has broken with her party on transgender rights for a simple reason: her son.

The State of Things:

The State Senate passed the Transgender Accommodations Bill last week. The House is expected to follow with its own version this week. Read our editorial in support of the issue.

Two Lowell city councilors, Rodney Elliot and Rita Mercier,  filed a resolution opposing the transgender bill. Following ostensible public opposition, Mercier has withdrawn her support. Other coucilors and Lowell pols expressed either support for transgender rights or no interest in the resolution.

In environmental potpourri: The Globe reports on rising carbon emissions in New England since Vermont Yankee closed. Pilgrim nuclear power station will only ratchet up emissions further. Elsewhere, WGBH writes about how cuts to state programs have weakened environmental protections.

Agawam City Councilor Richard Theroux blames his stillborn state rep race on Howie Carr.

Trump previews how he plans to attack progressive icon, Massachusetts US Senator Elizabeth Warren: Pocahontas, a reference to the (non)controversy during the 2012 senate campaign over Warren’s Native American ancestry.

ICYMI: Efforts to give Longmeadow its own gun laws failed at last week’s town meeting.

It’s Working:

Following the intervention of US Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Verizon and the unions representing the telecom giant’s landline workers are heading back to the negotiating table tomorrow. Verizon workers have been on strike since April 13.

The Fourth Estatements:

The owners of WHYN, iHeartRadio, have cancelled the Adam Wright Show, an AM radio talk show that often featured local politics and news. It will be replaced by a syndicated airing of Jim Polito’s show based out of WTAG in Worcester.

The New York Times’s plans to take on the world are detailed in Politico.

Meanwhile the lead interviewee of The Times‘s big story on Trump’s behavior toward with women contested the characterization of her comments. The Times stands by its reporting.

Twitter will stop counting pictures and links against the 140 character limit of individual tweets.

City Slickers:

Regulations for Uber and Lyft are on the Springfield City Council’s radar tonight.

City Council President Michael Fenton has decried the city’s massive school busing costs. Borne entirely by the non-school side of the budget, Fenton found agreement from the administration and Superintendent Daniel Warwick.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission approves changes to MGM’s design for its Springfield casino.

Twitter Chatter:

Rowanne Brewer Lane’s denunciation of The New York Times’s portrayal of a swimsuit incident with Trump deserves an audience. However, one cannot help but wonder if her disagreement with the paper about an unflattering, but not wholly condemnatory article about the Donald and women, is suspicious. The reason may be the broader public relations war Trump is trying to wage against all critical media and, in this case, The Times. Today we award the tweet prize to Times reporter Michael Barbaro, who co-wrote the piece in question, for challenging this would-be Trump narrative. Citing Trump’s tweet that kvetched The Times quoted no women recommended by his office, Barbaro comments that, in fact, the Times did (ostensibly, they are the women who spoke well of Trump in the piece). The tweet underscores Trump’s pathological tendencies from lying to playing the victim. Barbaro’s tweet notwithstanding, Trump’s tirades seem more geared toward the segment of society that deems Fox News and conservative radio the only political soothsayers.