Monday, August 22, 2011

Manic Monday Markup 8/22/11...

...And the World:

While fighting is ongoing in Tripoli, especially in areas near and around Col. Qaddafi's compound, it does appear that the rebels, who are technically the US-recognized government of Libya, have all, but defeated the dictator of 42 years.  Meanwhile, three of Qaddafi's sons have been reportedly captured by the rebels.  The push into Tripoli happened swiftly and occurred only days after the rebels captured a key oil refinery and a few weeks after many questioned whether the rebels could withstand the assassination of their top general.

In Canada, the leader of the Opposition and the New Democrat Party Jack Layton has died due to cancer.  Layton's party secured 103 (of 308) seats in an election earlier this year by creaming the Bloc Quebecois in their eponymous province and pushed longtime political powerhouse the Liberal Party aside to become the official opposition.  However, as the New York Times writes, the future of  Layton's party is uncertain without him.  As the prime minister, Stephen Harper and his party, the Conservatives, hold a majority of seats no new elections are likely to scramble Parliament again for several years.

The Feds:

President Obama is vacationing in Martha's Vineyard.  However, he made a statement on Libya today.

Meanwhile the GOP is shutting down not only talk of job creation within the Super Committee, but extending the payroll tax cut as well.  After all extending a tax cut for the middle class does not help the economy.  However extending a tax cut for the uber-wealthy creates jobs.  That's why we cannot let the rates rise on the wealthy or even the Super Rich in this country.  However, it is economically inefficient to give actual consumers more money in their pocket.  Point of reference, tax cuts for wealthy have existed for over ten years now.  We're awash in jobs.  Right?  RIGHT?

The State of Things:

Elizabeth Warren's listening tour has continued through the commonwealth.  We can confirm she met with activists in Agawam this week and her visit to Pittsfield was reported in the Berkshire Eagle.  There has been some flack about Warren not meeting with the press, but it is largely noise.  It is foolish to think Warren won't talk to the press when she is actually a candidate.  Right now, she's laying to groundwork to have a grassroots campaign.  She need not brief the press before she briefs the voters.  Meanwhile, Scott Brown is hawking Bobble Heads again, perhaps unethically (see link), but liberal groups are hitting back.  Lucky for him the resemblance is terrible.  Still, the idea of the Bobble Head Brown in his truck is only more evidence of Scott Brown construction.

The Verizon strike is over pending further negotiations on the contract.  The upside is that workers are going back to work, the down side is that there is still no contract.  Union leaders called off the work stoppage after Verizon faced two weeks of complaints from customers and inadequate response from replacement workers.  Many have worried that it took a strike just to get Verizon to negotiate and not demand, but working is better than interim.

City Slickers:

Amaad Rivera's campaign finance disclosure forms are in.  Read up.  They're pretty boring, if however unfashionably late.  Our story on municipal campaign finance law generally, here.

Eyes are turning to Stephen Lisauskas the Executive Director of the Control Board when Alan Ingram's side deal was signed.  Meanwhile, some remain uneasy about City Solicitor Ed Pikula judging what public documents from the Control Board are public records and which can be legally withheld.  The preferred choice would be City Clerk Wayman Lee, largely seen as a disinterested third party (and one whose fate lies in the City Council and not the mayor's office).  The requests have been filed in response to Ingram's side deals.

Next steps on foreclosure ordinance today at Special City Council Meeting.  Kateri Walsh and John Lysak have resolve urging Governor not the raise gas tax.  (But what about Republicans in Washington threatening to eliminate it and highway funding altogether?)  Formal warrants for elections on agenda as is more special permit for, ostensibly slot parlors.  Our meeting write-up tomorrow.

Twitter Chatter: 

In addition to Libya, Paul Ryan made news by not making news.  The "Punk Who Tried to Take Your Medicare and Turn You Against Your Children" (our quote), has said he will not run for president in 2012.  Republicans not adding another candidate with significant shortcomings to the pile.  Greg Sargent sums it up, pretty well.

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