Monday, June 06, 2011

Manic Monday Markup 6/6/11...

Another Monday, another markup.  Monday markups may come later in the day for the duration of the summer.  Other obligations preclude a markup to go with your coffee.  Apologies, all.

The Feds:

Typically, we would eschew news of this kind, but it has turned into something of needless phenomenon.  A little over two weeks ago, Cong. Anthony Weiner of Queens, N.Y. was caught up in a scandal of sorts when a, we'll keep it at lewd photograph, was discovered to have been sent to a college student.  At first he claimed to have been hacked.  Today at a bizarre press conference that included an appearance by Andrew Breitbart, who stoked the flames early, Weiner admitted he had corresponded with as many as six different women via social media and had indeed sent the photograph in question.

Weiner said he would not resign and would not be ending his marriage.  Although some questions remain as to whether to age of the other women and whether he used government resources (to the best of his knowledge, neither were the case), some controversy will inevitably be brewed up in light of the resignation of Chris Lee earlier this year.  Lee, whose district was recently won by Kathy Hochul, had taken shirtless photographs of himself and upon their revelation, promptly resigned.  On spec, the photos hardly seemed like cause for resignation (they were a matter for Lee and wife) and the same standard applies here.  However, expect pressure to mount against Weiner until either he cracks or the media stops paying attention.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation and that is probably inevitable.  Lee may have feared the backlash in his conservative and heavily rural district.  Weiner's district is entirely within the decidedly urban Brooklyn & Queens.

Oddly, the early evidence of his account being hacked (there were discrepancies in the IP addresses or something) may vindicate his statement that his communications with these women was NOT done with government resources.  The most disturbing part of this story?  It lends Andrew Breitbart whom the New York Times says "has a checkered history with facts"a air of legitimacy.  Breitbart is conservative blogger who had a role in the Shirley Sherrod and ACORN frabicated scandals (the New York times , an air of credibility.  Also frightening, we are going to have time wasted on the morals questions of Weiner corresponding with women young enough to be his daughter.  If it was not a crime for Strom Thurmond...

Less depressingly, Democrats have stepped up their insistence that Paul Ryan Medicare-busting love song to Ayn Rand be off the table in budget negotiations.  This comes in the form of repeated assurances from South Carolina Democrat Jim Clyburn and now new demands from moderate Senate Democrats (both stories via Greg Sargent at the Washington Post.  This statement from the latter group seems to be a sign that Democrats are making use a backbone to see to it that whatever budget compromise is achieved is not ideologically driven.

The State of Things:

Governor Deval Patrick has announced that the state will not participate in the federal Secure Communities program after finding that it had led to the deportation of largely non-violent illegal immigrants.  The primary purpose of the program is to remove illegal immigrants known to engage in violence or criminality in general from the United States.  Having not done that, Patrick is pulling the plug on statewide involvement.  Although it may be forced into in 2013.  In a statement, Senate President Therese Murray appeared to agree with the Governor's decision, but highlighted other colorblind efforts in the Senate's budget

Defense begins its case in the DiMasi trial.

City Slickers:

State officials have begun their damage assessment to prepare their request for federal aid in light of last week's tornadoes.  A report from the Boston Globe noted that the powerful storms that left a path of destruction from Westfield to Charlton noted that disaster relief had been likewise requested earlier this year because of the season's heavy snowfall.  Federal disaster relief is essentially an entitlement program in that eligibility of money is based on meeting criteria laid down by Congress.  It is not limited by a specific and limited Congressional appropriation.

Before the city council tonight...largely a lot of money transfers.  Unclear if they relate to the tornado or not.  Normally official items must be submitted by the Wednesday before a meeting (the day of the storm).  However, a special meeting is not listed on the council's agenda either (which could fall outside the normal notice process).  Also a of note, possibly a moot item, but a resolve to opt out of the Secure Communities program.

Back to You...(But stay tuned for Take My Council Please, either later today or tomorrow!)

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