Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.


I don’t know what story y’all trying to get out of me. I don’t know what image y’all trying to portray of me. But it don’t matter what y’all think, what y’all say about me.

— Running back Marshawn Lynch of Seattle Seahawks, who spoke to the media yesterday, but refused to answer any questions (ESPN).


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FCC chairman mocks industry claims that customers don’t need faster Internet

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler had some fun with America’s major telecommunications firms this week, pointing out that companies like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T are constantly trying to convince their customers to upgrade to faster Internet speeds while at the same time telling the FCC not to change the definition of broadband from four megabytes per second down and one up to twenty-five down and three up.


He’s a political operative, he’s not really an ambassador… What he did was totally unacceptable from a standpoint of diplomacy. To think about going behind the back of a friendly country’s administration and working out this kind of arrangement with the parliament or the Congress — it’s unheard-of.

— Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former United States ambassador to Israel, criticizing Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer for ignoring diplomatic protocol when he made arrangements with John Boehner to allow his boss, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address a joint session in Congress.

A vintage robot

Yaco Roca: “This week’s entry for Illustration Friday’s theme Toy. A vintage robot, done in 30 minutes as I am in a hurry today!


The Bush administration’s botched response to the costliest natural disaster in American history blew the president’s second term off course. He never recovered. Better to be remembered as the leader who occasionally cried wolf than pilloried for getting it hopelessly wrong.

Snowperbole: New Yorkers ask, “Is that it?” (BBC News)

January 2015 Nor'easter Total Snow Range

This image from NOAA’s National Weather Service shows anticipated snowfall throughout Massachusetts for Tuesday, January 27th. Boston and its suburbs have seen a huge amount of snow over the past twenty-four hours.



The statement that there is a NATO legion in Ukraine is nonsense… There is no NATO legion, the foreign forces in Ukraine are Russian.

— NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, responding to Vladimir Putin’s ridiculous statement that the Ukranian Army is operating like a “foreign legion” for the twenty-eight nation alliance.

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Sarah Palin bemuses Republicans with rambling speech and talk of 2016 run

Fox Noise pundit and gubernatorial washout Sarah Palin provided of plenty entertainment for progressives over the weekend, with a rambling, incoherent speech that showcased that she isn’t qualified to be a dogcatcher, let alone President of the United States.


Video Clip

Great news from the White House: President Obama has announced that the Department of Interior has finished working on revised Comprehensive Conservation plan to better sustain and manage Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This far northern part of Alaska is known to Alaska Native communities as “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins”.


That the GOP is now tilting at the one percent is one of the more remarkable messaging flip-flops of all time. Not long ago, someone saying what Ted Cruz is now saying would have been accused by Ted Cruz of engaging in class warfare.

— Columnist Danny Westneat: Guess who’s discovered income inequality


Barack Obama: “I might not be President if it weren’t for the good people of Idaho”

What I do know about Boise is that it’s beautiful. I know that because I’ve been here before. I campaigned here in 2008. It was really fun. And the truth is, because of the incredible work that was done here in Idaho, it helped us win the primary. And I might not be President if it weren’t for the good people of Idaho.

— President Obama, speaking to students at Boise State University earlier today. The speech and the visit to Idaho’s capital was Obama’s first as President.

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City of Paris to sue Fox Noise Channel for Muslim ‘insults’

The City of Paris, France is preparing to commence litigation against Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Noise Channel for sullying its image through false reporting, the city’s mayor said yesterday. It is not clear where the lawsuit would be filed. Fox is broadcasted and controlled from the United States, where defamation cases are hard to win. The city would have to prove that Fox’s reporting was false, caused it harm, and was made without proper research.


Bottom line: You can hardly tell from our NBC/WSJ poll that the Republican Party was the big winner from the midterm elections just two months ago. Somehow, Obama and the Democrats stole the Republicans’ post-election honeymoon. Or the Republicans somehow lost it.

— Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann: A rising economy lifts Obama going into State of the Union night (NBC News)


Dr. King’s legacy is central not only to the culture of my district, but also to my own life and work. His work helped make possible the path I myself have taken, from being a sixteen year old girl who came to this country by herself for a college education to an advocate for human rights to becoming the first Indian-American legislator in the Washington state Legislature.

— Pramila Jayapal, the newly sworn in senator from the 37th Legislative District, speaking in favor of a resolution honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


There was only one way that was appropriate for this group to win the game in overtime, only one set of circumstances that could capture the true ethos of this Seahawks team: The determining score was a deep pass to Kearse, a 35-yard route to sweet redemption.

— The News Tribune’s Dave Boling: Seahawks rally shows historic competitiveness


Forty-ninth Super Bowl will pit an NFL dynasty against league’s defending champs

When the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers in an overtime thriller to punch their ticket to Super Bowl XLIX, they knew they would be playing to defend the title that they won last year, but they didn’t know who their opponent would be, as the AFC Championship game had not yet been played. Unlike the game played at CenturyLink Field earlier today, the AFC Championship was a rout.

Facing the number-one seeded New England Patriots at home, the Indianapolis Colts only managed seven points, while New England put forty-five on the board to earn a trip to Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots have been to the Super Bowl many times, most recently in 2012, when they lost to the New York Giants. The Seahawks, however, are only making their third trip, having failed to make an appearance in the NFL’s championship game for most of their history.

Here’s some interesting trivia regarding the postseason appearances of the Seahawks and their opponents, both this year and in past years.

(Please note that years refer to the postseason that was attached to the regular season of the preceding calendar year.)

  • Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is 10-0 in games against quarterbacks who have started in the Super Bowl.
  • To get to Super Bowl XLIX, the Seahawks had to defeat the Green Bay Packers. The Packers’ previous success in the postseason has earned their home city of Green Bay the moniker Titletown. The Packers have won thirteen league championships and four Super Bowls in their history, and were the team that ended Seattle’s playoff runs in 2003 and 2007.
  • No team in the NFL – the Packers included – has gone on to win it all after knocking the Seahawks out of the playoffs. In fact, with the exception of the Chicago Bears, none of the teams the Seahawks have lost to in past postseasons have even reached the Super Bowl. The history:
    • 1983: Raiders eliminated Seahawks, but didn’t reach Super Bowl
    • 1984: Dolphins eliminated Seahawks, but didn’t reach Super Bowl
    • 1987: Oilers eliminated Seahawks, but didn’t reach Super Bowl
    • 1999: Dolphins eliminated Seahawks, but didn’t reach Super Bowl
    • 2003: Packers eliminated Seahawks, but didn’t reach Super Bowl
    • 2004: Rams eliminated Seahawks, but didn’t reach Super Bowl
    • 2005: The Seahawks were in the Super Bowl (and lost)
    • 2006: Bears eliminated Seahawks, made it to Super Bowl, and lost
    • 2007: Packers eliminated Seahawks, but didn’t reach Super Bowl
    • 2010: Bears eliminated Seahawks, but didn’t reach Super Bowl
    • 2012: Falcons eliminated Seahawks, but didn’t reach Super Bowl
    • 2013: The Seahawks were in the Super Bowl (and won)
  • The last time the Packers were in the Super Bowl was 2011. In that game, they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. The Steelers, coincidentally, were the team the Seahawks lost to in their Super Bowl appearance in 2006.
  • Prior to 2011, the Packers’ most recent Super Bowl opponents were…. wait for it…. the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos! The Seahawks beat the Broncos last year in their second Super Bowl appearance, and will face the Patriots in two weeks, as mentioned.
  • The Patriots are the last NFL team to have won back-to-back Super Bowls, in 2004 and 2005. The Seahawks are now attempting to replicate their feat, and will ironically have to defeat the Patriots in order to do it.
  • Current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll used to be the head coach for the Patriots, preceding current head coach Bill Belichick, who was hired in 2000 following Carroll’s dismissal. In his three seasons with them, he took them to the playoffs twice, but that wasn’t good enough for the Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft. Carroll ended up at USC after being fired.
  • The Patriots’ victories in 2004 and 2005 came against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Carolina Panthers. The Seahawks would not have earned the number one seed in the conference had they not defeated each of those teams on the road this year. The Seahawks also had to face Carolina again last week in the divisional round of the playoffs, which they won. (Not to mention that nine years ago, Seattle topped Carolina to win its first NFC Championship.)
  • The Seahawks belonged to the American Football Conference (AFC) from 1977 until 2001, when they moved to the National Football Conference (NFC). The Seahawks went to the playoffs five times while in the AFC, but only once contended for the AFC championship (which they lost). However, since moving to the NFC, they have been in the playoffs nine times. They’ve been in three NFC championship games – and they have won them all.

That’s all the sports trivia for now. Congratulations Seahawks!


I was only thinking about finding a way to get back.

— Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, speaking after his team defeated the Green Bay Packers, 28-22, in the overtime of the NFC championship game.


Boeing’s marketing versus Boeing’s actions

Boeing’s marketing department is at it again.

We couldn’t help but notice that this week’s edition of the Redmond Reporter contains a full-page color ad, taken out by the aerospace giant, proclaiming its loyalty to Washington and declaring itself “proud to be here”:

Boeing's love letter (or postcard) to Washington

The ad’s text reads: Greetings from Washington, “The Evergreen State”… Proud to be here building something better. Washington State is home to nearly half of all Boeing employees worldwide. Boeing has added nearly 30,000 employees in the past decade, including more than 3,700 new hires in 2014. Boeing is proud to be the state’s largest private employer, and has invested billions of dollars in Washington since 2003. At Boeing, we’re proud of our State of Washington heritage and Washington workforce, now over 81,000 strong. Add that to more than 2,000 partners and suppliers across the state. Facts that underscore our continued growth, investment and commitment to this very special place.

When we saw this ad, we couldn’t help but think of all these headlines from last year, which summarize recent actions taken by Boeing that affect our state:

Those headlines are just from last year. Remember when Boeing moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago after the turn of the century? Or when Boeing threatened to build the 787 somewhere other than Washington? Or when it went ahead and opened a second assembly line for the 787 in South Carolina, after having received enormous tax breaks to build the 787 here?

There’s a disparity in this relationship. Washington has unquestionably been very generous to Boeing, but Boeing has hardly been generous to Washington.

Boeing is not showing us much loyalty in return for the billions in tax breaks we’ve doled out to them – but they’d certainly like us all to think that we are.

Recommended Link

2014 was the warmest year ever recorded on Earth

The evidence just keeps on mounting that the climate crisis is getting worse, but humanity seems unwilling to do anything substantive about it. In some quarters, there is plenty of talk, but not very much action.


That we can identify government officials, journalists and politicians with the help of a wireless network and their less thoughtful use of online services demonstrates the tremendous power available in controlling the Internet.

— Swedish Pirate Party youth wing chairman Gustav Nipe (Activist pulls off clever Wi-Fi honeypot to protest surveillance state)

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Can worker cooperatives alleviate income inequality?

Al Jazeera America takes a look at businesses that are owned by their workers, and thus predisposed to treat their workers fairly.