Today we begin, yet another segment. A Monday roundup/prospectus of the area's political news and happenings. God willing, we may expand this beyond Monday.
The Senate is expected to vote for, no on, no for, no ON the Paul Ryan budget this week. Our Senator Scott Brown has successfully contradicted himself in only a week's time on the issue. About ten days ago, Brown told a business group in Newburyport that he would "for" the Ryan budget. Brown did qualify it in the context of Washington's political nonsense, but it jived with previous support for Ryan's budget. After his staff suggested Brown confuses his prepositions, the senator's position seemed mushy at best. In a new editorial in Politico, Brown attacks the Ryan plan with ideas that echo...The Affordable Care Act? Politico is an odd place for such an op-ed, since most Bay Staters will probably never read it unless linked from a Globe story...or us.
President Barack Obama kept a stiff upper lip as he addressed the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee and reiterated his earlier support for a peace solution based on the pre-1967 lines with "land swaps." The President said more clearly that he did expect the final map to look exactly like the old lines, undercutting any effort by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attack once more. Obama essentially took on Israel's procrastination on finding a stable peace. Haaertz, an Israeli English language newspaper put it more simply, he told AIPAC and Israel the truth about the peace process and that the United States could not tailor its policy to the "government of the hour" in Israel. All of this comes ahead of efforts by the US and Israel to hold off a declaration by the UN recognizing a Palestinian State.
For more Federal Whatnot, Check out Greg Sargent's Morning Roundup at the Washington Post and The New York Times's Caucus Blog's Early Word.
The State of Things
Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi's public corruption trial is scheduled to continue this week. The Boston Globe reported today that current Speaker Robert DeLeo, Sen. President Therese Murray and Governor Deval Patrick are all expected to testify at the former speaker's trial. The Globe article predicts much about how power is used on Beacon Hill will be revealed. Look for some hints about how the Speaker and Senate President essentially serve as premiers in their chambers.
Adding more fuel to the fire, on Saturday the Boston Globe reported that one witness suggested DiMasi had been grooming DeLeo to be his successor as early as two years before the former resigned under a cloud. Although nothing impugns DeLeo, it may nevertheless endanger the speaker especially after he pushed his chamber to pass a measure stripping some union rights on health care from public employees.
Biomass will be before the City Council again today. Tonight's meeting has a vote scheduled on the revocation of the permit for the proposed plant on Page Boulevard. Expect more nervous councilors (read: those who voted for the permit) to try to stall until the Air Permit from the state is issued. The Callahans are big political contributors and their lawyer Frank Fitzgerald is a big fundraiser.
What was once a snooze is now a yawn. The City Council is considering a new ward map to reflect the changes in the city's population. However, it appears that in addition to a stable population overall, the wards have not shifted dramatically in population. Ten years ago this process was of no interest to anybody because the council's gerrymandering would matter to nobody, but the state redistricting committee. At that, even State House districts are too big for large changes in precinct shapes to matter much. Now, councilors have incumbents to protect and it appears they have. However, they did so without many changes making it hard to hang gerrymander around their necks. No map available online, yet.
Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair John Walsh tweeted over the weekend about an event meant to drum up support to #beatscottbrown. Others began picking up on the twitter trend. However, Twitter handle @alexdpratt made note that focus should not be on defeating Scott Brown, but electing a Senator that will help the middle class, etc. He notes, in later tweets, that defeating Scott Brown would be good for Mass, but a more positive #electagoodsenator may be better. We agree. May need some tailoring to make it Massachusetts unique. #electagoodmasen? Check our twitter feed to see if anybody pays attention.
**Programming note** We will again be tweeting updates on biomass tonight. Hashtag #biomass again! You can also use Google to find the tweets, search "#biomass."