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

Quotation

She is determined to build something elevated along the waterfront. What happens if this fails? Maybe she’ll propose an aqueduct.

— Seattle Transit blog commenter Barman, reacting humorously to the news that Elizabeth Campbell and her associates have managed to force a new public vote in Seattle on their pet fantasy: a monorail system linking Ballard and West Seattle.

Recommended Link

Want to save money, Republicans? Let’s reform military procurement

Businessweek reports on a problem that progressives have known about for a long time: the Pentagon pays way too much for pretty much everything, even prescription drugs. Defense contractors and megacorporations are making a killing overcharging taxpayers. What’s worse, the quality of the weapons, vehicles, and equipment they’re delivering is going down. Just look at the ballooning costs for the F-35 Lightning II.

Photo
Sunset over Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

The end of a sunset over Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, taken with a Sony A7 as part of a High ISO 6400 test. (Lens: LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f1.4 ASPH). Photo: Pasu Au Yeung/Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

Quotation

If Hamas were destroyed and gone, we would probably end up with something much worse. The region would end up with something much worse.

— Outgoing Pentagon intelligence chieftain General Michael Flynn, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. His remarks were reported by the Globe & Mail.

Recommended Link

Where is it safe for airlines to fly?

Businessweek’s Justin Bachman discusses what airlines are doing to protect their passengers and aircraft in the wake of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, which showed how dangerous it is for airlines to operate over areas consumed by conflict.

Recommended Link

Oil train derails in Interbay in Seattle, no spills

A train carrying crude oil loaded in Bakken, North Dakota has derailed underneath the Magnolia Bridge in Seattle, Burlington Northern Santa Fe has acknowledged. BSNF is the railroad that controls much of the track in the Pacific Northwest.

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Quotation

It has been twenty-one years since federal regulators identified problems with the [safety-plagued DOT-111] cars. How many deaths will it take before they genuinely regulate?

— Sightline Institute’s Eric de Place, imploring the federal government to at to forbid the use of old, unsafe tank cars used for transporting oil.

Video Clip

Mary Poppins (Kristen Bell) is working for minimum wage, and really needs a raise.

Quotation

Consider this, though: Using printed maps requires travelers to work together. You become a team. Driver and navigator. Your ability to get along and solve problems is tested in valuable, revealing ways. GPS removes that entire interpersonal dynamic. It encourages a passive form of journeying: sit back and drift, because the vaguely Australian-sounding computer lady will tell you to turn left in a quarter mile.

— Steven Kurutz: Real adventurers use maps (The New York Times)

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Quotation

We have proof that the terrorist attack was planned and carried out with the involvement of representatives of the Russian Federation… We know that Russia is trying to hide its terrorist activity and their direct involvement.

— Vitaly Nayda, the head of counterintelligence for the Ukrainian State Security Service, expressing his government’s conclusion that Russia was directly involved in the attack that brought down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

Recommended Link

Russian media generates wild conspiracy theories to explain MH17 downing

Businessweek’s Carol Matlack looks at some of the crazy conspiracy theories that supposedly mainstream Russian media outlets are trotting out in response to the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, which the United States government says was deliberately destroyed.

Aside

Follow the groups that are working to stop evictions and turn on the water in Detroit

As many of our readers may be aware, several months ago, the government of Detroit (which is under an emergency management regime) unconscionably decided to start shutting off tap water to low income residents who were behind on their water bills. Since we’ve begun our live coverage of Netroots Nation 2014 in Detroit, many NPI supporters have written to us to ask to report back on the water shutoffs that are affecting thousands of families throughout the city.

Netroots Nation and NPI have joined with the people of Detroit to protest this human rights violation and demand that the City of Detroit end the shutoffs. We participated in a protest yesterday to turn on the water and tax Wall Street, and we heard from a panel of people who are on the front lines this morning.

In a couple of days, after the convention concludes our board and staff members will be returning to the great Pacific Northwest, but the important work of fighting these shutoffs will go on, and we will continue to support the efforts of activists in the Motor City who are trying to end this manufactured crisis.

Here is a list of groups working to turn on the water in Detroit, as well as stop evictions, complete with links (to websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds):

All of these organizations were represented at Netroots Nation, either in the exhibition hall, on the Saturday morning panel that addressed the crisis.

We urge all NPI supporters to follow these organizations online and consider donating to help them help the people of Detroit.

Quotation

Your shutoff program has created a lot of anger in the city and a lot of hardship and bad publicity the city does not need.

— Judge Steven Rhodes, the judge handling Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy case, telling the city’s deputy utility director that the city’s unconscionable scheme to shut off water to city residents is doing a great deal of harm to the city.

Quotation

I know people have seen fires before. This is a different beast. This is a fire storm.

— Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, speaking at a news conference and urging Washingtonians to obey fire evacuation orders. (The sheriff in Okanogan County says up to 100 homes lost in wildfire).

Recommended Link

Cheers for Warren at Netroots Nation offer peek at Democrats’ mindset

The New York Times recaps Elizabeth Warren’s morning keynote address at Netroots Nation 2014 and discusses the 2016 presidential race, which Warren admirers want her to enter. Warren has emphasized she has no plans to run, while Hillary Clinton has hinted she is strongly considering getting in but is not ready to make any kind of official announcement.

Quotation

Mr. Putin and those who support him seem incapable of accepting that their model of government, with all its cronyism, corruption and bullying, is not the one many former Soviet subjects want.

— The New York Times, editorializing on the destruction of MH 17: Downing of Malaysia jet is a call for Russia to act to end the conflict in Ukraine.

Recommended Link

Leading AIDS researcher killed in Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash

A prominent scientist who has been investigating AIDS, the Auto Immune Defiency Syndrome, is among those killed in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, the New York Times reports. He and several colleagues were enroute to Melbourne, Australia, for an important conference.

Quotation

This is truly a grave situation… Nearly three hundred souls have been lost. The families need consolation and our prayers, and many questions need to be answered. And we’ll get those answers, and we’ll take action accordingly.

— Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to Netroots Nation 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Biden’s comments were incorporated into a New York Times story about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Quotation

The repeal of the carbon price, whilst a sad day for Australia’s history books, provides an opportunity for the people of Australia to stand up and take back the power to determine the future of our country.

— 350.org’s Blair Palese: A dark day for Australia is our rallying call

Recommended Link

Conservatives in Australia push through repeal of carbon tax

Tony Abbott’s Conservative-led government in Australia has voted to repeal the carbon tax that the country has had in place for around a decade, giving Australia the very unfortunate and sad distinction of becoming the first developed country to go backwards on climate action.

 

Quotation

With Chrome, you give up a lot of control over your own security.

— Blogger Chris Travers, who works on the LedgerSMB project, explaining that it’s problematic to trust Google (or any other large company) as the “middle man” in the flawed secure certificate system. (From is Is Firefox in a fix?)