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


A rule can never supersede or nullify the Constitution.

— Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen, explaining to Melissa Santos of The News Tribune that the Legislature’s rules must comply with the Constitution.

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Lacking all self-awareness, Fox now calling Obama obstructionist

The Fox Noise Channel does revionist history better than anyone else. Once an election is over, they can (and do) turn on a dime. If Republicans control an institution, they defend it; otherwise they attack it. The only branch of government now controlled at the federal level by Democrats is the presidency, so Fox is going all-out to make Obama the villain in every way possible.


I think all legislators are equal and their votes ought to be counted the same.

— Washington Governor Jay Inslee, explaining on TVW’s The Impact why he supports majority rule and opposes Doug Ericksen and Michael Baumgartner’s scheme to require a two-thirds procedural vote to move any bill that raises revenue. The scheme would transfer power from the many to the few, hence Inslee’s comments that every lawmaker’s vote should be equal.

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Millions rally for unity across France in unprecedented numbers

The BBC reports on the success of demonstrations for freedom of the press and freedom of expression across France. Millions of people turned out to show solidarity with the slain staff of Charlie Hebdo and the police who died trying to protect them, in what is being called the biggest rally in the history of France. The crowds are said to be bigger than those that greeted the liberators of Paris in 1944.


I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I’ll auto-excommunicate.

— Author J.K. Rowling, responding to another offensive, bigoted tweet by media mogul Rupert Murdoch (“Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.”) Rowling responded with the above, which has been retweeted thousands of times. Michael Monan also had an excellent response.


Congratulations, Seahawks!

The Seattle Seahawks have done it again, beating the Carolina Panthers 31-17 in convincing fashion to win their eighth straight playoff game and earn a trip to the NFC title game, which will be played right here in the Pacific Northwest in a week, against either the Green Bay Packers or the Dallas Cowboys.

The Seahawks took their time getting points on the board, but once they took the lead at the end of the first quarter, they never relinquished it. Carolina answered the touchdown, but after the Seahawks started adding on more points (in the form of a field goal and then more touchdowns), couldn’t catch up.

Quarterback Russell Wilson was once again very effective, connecting repeatedly with Jermaine Kearse and Luke Willson for big yards and touchdowns.

Seattle’s vaunted defense forced several turnovers, including two interceptions. The second interception, made by Kam Chancellor in the red zone, was returned ninety yards for a touchdown that rocked CenturyLink Field and served to put an exclamation mark on the Seahawks’ victory.

NPI congratulates the Seahawks and wishes them well in next week’s conference title game against the Packers or Cowboys. It should be a good matchup.

If it’s the Cowboys, the Seahawks will certainly be looking to avenge their rare loss at home earlier in the season.

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A pipeline and a pie in the sky

New York Times columnist Timothy Egan chastises the Republican-controlled Congress for doing the bidding of a foreign oil giant while praising California’s Jerry Brown for getting high speed rail and improvements to water infrastructure off the drawing board.

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It is sadly unclear whether this article will put lives at risk

The Onion, one of America’s best known satirical publications, responded to the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France with a sobering article that concludes, “At press time, although the consequences of this article are reportedly still unclear and actual human lives may hang in the balance, sources confirmed that the best thing to do—really the only thing to do—is to simply put it out there and just hope that it does some good.”


Satire must always accompany any free society. It is an absolute necessity. Even in the most repressive medieval kingdoms, they understood the need for the court jester, the one soul allowed to tell the truth through laughter. It is, in many ways, the most powerful form of free speech because it is aimed at those in power, or those whose ideas would spread hate.

— Joe Randazzo, the former editor of well known American satirical publication The Onion, writing for MSNBC (Freedom of speech cannot be killed).

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Most remaining fossil fuels need to stay in the ground to avoid dangerous pollution levels

New research by University College London, published in the journal Nature, concludes that humanity must keep most of the remaining known reserves of fossil fuels in the ground to avoid catastrophic pollution levels. Drilling in the Arctic will need to be outlawed, and coal burning phased out as much as possible.


We stand absolutely united with the French people against terrorism and against this threat to our values – free speech, the rule of law, democracy. It’s absolutely essential we defend those values today and every day.

— United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, responding to the attack on Charlie Hebdo in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Je suis Charlie! The people of France take a stand against terrorism

A man in Strasbourg, France shows solidarity with the staff of Charlie Hebdo, who were targeted by Islamic terrorists in a brutal attack in Paris earlier today. “Je suis” is French for “I am”. (Photo: Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons)

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Obama vows to veto Republicans’ Keystone XL grab as showdown looms

The Globe and Mail (our northern neighbor’s newspaper of record) offers a Canadian perspective on the latest developments in the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline, which NPI strongly opposes. Republicans in Congress are trying to move a bill that would give TransCanada the authority to build the pipeline. Native American tribes view it as an assault on their sovereignty; one tribe has called a previous incarnation of the legislation an act of war.


dagligabilder: [113] the brick (Model found here)


Show us the football. Show us that an existing NFL team will actually jump through all the flaming hoops to move here. Numerous teams have said they might do so, but none have actually been approved to pull out the pigskin. Show us that this is not about the sport of negotiation, but the actual sport of football.

— Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke: Newest NFL-in-L.A. story would be groundbreaking, if ground was broken

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ESPN remembers beloved anchor Stuart Scott (1965-2015)

Popular ESPN anchor Stuart Scott succumbed to cancer earlier today at the age of forty-nine. His colleagues at ESPN have posted an appreciation of his work on, filled with remembrances and stories.

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Shanghai stampede death toll rises to at least thirty-six; accounts differ on cause

The Wall Street Journal explains what we know so far about the stampede in Shanghai that killed thirty-six people and injured another forty-seven on New Year’s Eve, including twenty-five young women.

Bellevue beneath the Cascades

Photographed from Volunteer Park in Seattle, The City of Bellevue’s skyline looms above Lake Washington but beneath the mighty Cascade Mountains on a beautifully clear winter day. (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

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Six New Year’s resolutions Businessweek readers could actually keep

Bloomberg’s Natalie Kitroeff offers six humorous possibilities for New Year’s resolutions that the readership of the conglomerate’s Businessweek magazine might actually be able to keep.

Seattle skyline glows on New Year's Eve as sun sets

The Seattle skyline is seen from Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill at dusk, as 2014 draws to a close. (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

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Still more evidence that guns don’t make us safer: Toddler shoots, kills mom at Idaho Wal-Mart

A woman shopping at a Wal-Mart in Hayden, Idaho was killed today when one the children she had in tow with her (a two-year old) reached into her purse, pulled out her handgun, and fatally shot her. Other news reports indicate the woman had a concealed weapons permit for the firearm. Regardless, research has documented that gun ownership makes families less safe. The truth is, guns are more likely to be used against their owners than against some intruder or external threat.