Monday, October 24, 2011

Manic Monday Markup 10/24/11...

...And the World:

The first country that flung off its dictatorship in the Arab Spring became over the weekend, the first to hold free elections over the weekend.  While a moderate Islamist party is expected to take the most votes and, maybe even a slim majority, it is followed up by several liberal and secular parties.  Moreover, the party, Ennahda, pledged to form a unity government and would govern in the model of Turkey, whose government is also headed by an Islamist party, but the state remains secular.  Those elected in Sunday's election, the results of which will be made official tomorrow will also draft a Constitution for the Arab state made famous as the place where Star Wars' Tatooine shots were filmed.  Turnout exceeded expectation, but was apparently orderly, like American Elections.  Tunisia emerged from decades of dictatorship after crowds took the streets and its leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, fled to Saudi Arabia.  The Arab Spring then spread to Egypt, where its dictator stepped down and to Libya, which recently liberated itself from the late Col. Muammar Qaddafi.

Meanwhile in Libya, the head of the transitional council announced that an inquiry would look into the death of Qaddafi who was captured alive, but was later killed by a gunshot wound.

The Feds:

Normally dissecting the biographies of elected officials for the sheer purpose of gotcha exposes is little more than catching people for being human.  Sometimes the variance between the truth and the myth is blurry and lost in other bickering (think Scott Brown's characterization of his modeling career as "needed" to pay for law school even though his sister entered him as a lark).  However, the yarn spun by Marco Rubio FL-R about his parents fleeing Cuba hits a nerve and here's why.  Rubio said in his official biography that his parents came to the country after Castro took over, but immigration papers show that, to the contrary, they came three years before the coming of Communism.  This image as the son of immigrants fleeing the Castro takeover was a key element of Rubio's Senate campaign last year.  The Cuban-American experience is directly tied Castro and plays a huge role in Florida politics.  Phonying up a piece of biography, which Rubio now describes as "oral history," could offend many in the intensely proud Cuban-American community.  The fallout could sideline him from the Vice-Presidential nomination in next year's election.  Rubio nevertheless is insistent that he is the son of Cuban "exiles", a badge of honor among Cubans and the children of Cuban born in the United States.  NPR also notes additional inconsistencies in Rubio's biography.

Occupy Wall Street continues to be accepted if not outright embraced by the mainstream writes Greg Sargent at the Washington Post.  Unlike in the 1970's when hardhat blue collars attacked hippies and the left as lazy radicals (contradiction?), the Occupy movement and the criticisms it has leveled against Wall Street have been incredibly popular...more popular than even the tea party was at its peak.  Bill Maher has a good rundown of the ridiculousness of conservative attempts to take down the movement by, yes, dividing Americans as they claim the Occupy movement is doing.

The State of Things:

Congressional maps for Massachusetts are due out this week. Nevermind.

Speaking of redistricting, the impact in Greater Springfield for the state maps are also out and available for view here.

Massachusetts GOP jumps the gun on a negative press release on Elizabeth Warren and instead only embarrasses themselves.  Northampton, like all communities on the Connecticut River is not landlocked.

City Slickers:

The Republican and Masslive have an interesting retrospect on the 40th Anniversary of Towersquare, originally built as Bay State West.  Although not a terribly comprehensive history of the complex, it never the less noted some key points in its history and had plenty of interesting photographs.

Council Meeting tonight on hearings.  Not expecting anything groundbreaking.  Hopefully, as we will not be there.

Twitter Chatter:

In point of fact today's tweet winners should really be Occupy Albany and the police department in the New York Capital Region.  However, this tweet is also a key reminder of the growth and strength of the Occupy Movement.  It seems that almost every city imaginable that has a full-force occupy movement has a Twitter handle and Facebook Account, not to mention various iterations of Twitter #hashtags.  Moreover, these social media tools have bound the movement together, a crucial strength given how massive and diverse our country is compared to other national protest movements in the Arab World, Israel or Spain.  Occupy movements can keep in touch, inform supporters of events in other cities or even rally people to defend one Occupy Movement another.  They can do this even if the particular Occupy Movement under threat is thousands of miles away from the one that is dispatching (or re-tweeting) the calls.

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