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


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.


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.


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.

—’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.



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?)

Recommended Link

Not a joke: Rupert Murdoch tried to buy Time Warner last month

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox broadcasting and media conglomerate made an offer for Time Warner last month which was almost immediately rebuffed, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal (which Murdoch also controls and mostly owns). Despite his advanced age and recent troubles like the News of the World phone hacking scandal, Murdoch’s dangerous empire-building ambitions remain as grand as ever.

Recommended Link

BlackBerry says interest is high in its new Passport handheld

Smartphone maker BlackBerry says that it is seeing high interest in the media and from technology enthusiasts in its forthcoming Passport handheld, which has the same dimensions as an actual passport. The BlackBerry Passport has a keyboard that can also function as a trackpad, and a large screen for viewing documents, playing games, and surfing the web.


Fracking, I once thought, was something that happened to other people, not mine. Hydraulic fracturing may be confined to the shale regions of the country, but the wider effects of the natural gas boom, and the pipelines being built to support it, include the feverish development of wilderness and private property.

— Ann Neumann: A pipeline threatens our family land (The New York Times)


We’re playing really good baseball. That’s what I want. I want a playoff here in Seattle. That will be awesome. That will be great… I’ll probably throw ninety-seven again because of the adrenaline.

— Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, speaking to Seattle Times sports writer Larry Stone (‘King Felix’ as loyal as his subjects over past ten years).


Recommended Link

Fight in Gaza has no clear winners, but one big loser

The Washington Post’s London and Jerusalem bureau chiefs explain how the reignited conflict between Hamas and Israel is sidelining the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Chat Transcript

Ars Technica commenter explains why firms like Lyft and Uber shouldn’t be above the law

PENGIN9: I don’t get why we need to have laws for who can drive a taxi. In my humble opinion, if you’re brave enough to have a stranger pick you up; it’s all on you. [A] registered taxi will be more expensive, but presumably safer.

BIG WANG: Because having unsafe taxi drivers and cars on the road is a danger to the greater public, not just the rider? Because having unlicensed and unregulated taxis prey on tourists and foreigners gives off a bad image for the country and the city? Because having too many taxis around tourist and rider hotspots increase overall congestion? Because allowing a company to reap the revenue for a taxi business without complying with regulations sets a bad precedence? People who are dead set against taxi regulations have been living in (highly regulated) first-world for too long.

— from the comment thread on the Ars Technica story Lyft reverses under legal pressure, cancels Friday night New York launch.

Recommended Link

Who can make peace between bicyclists and the rest of D.C.?

The Washington Post’s Sarah Kaplan profiles Nelle Pierson of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and her team of smiling, sign-toting “bike ambassadors”, who are trying to get motorists and pedestrians to be polite and respectful towards bicyclists, and vice versa.


The best thing you can say about this Congress — the Republicans in Congress, and particularly the House of Representatives — the best you can say for them this year is that so far they have not shut down the government — or threatened to have America welch on our obligations and ruin our credit rating. That’s the best you can say. But of course, it’s only July.

— President Barack Obama, delivering remarks on the economy at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, prior to returning to the District of Columbia.

Recommended Link

Thoughtful, caring Frontier pilot buys pizza for his stranded passengers

The hungry passengers of a Frontier flight that was diverted to Cheyenne, Wyoming due to severe weather were treated to free pizza by the plane’s pilot, who placed a call to Domino’s and ordered several dozen boxes of pizza to feed everyone on board. Asked why he treated everyone to pizza out of his own pocket, the pilot said, “If the need arises you need to take care of your family; you need to take care of your passengers. They are my responsibility the moment they step on the aircraft until they get off the aircraft.”


The Germans were merciless, playing with grace and unity and a raw power that saw them rip open the Brazilian defense as if it were a can of soup.

— Excerpt from the New York Times’ recap of the 2014 World Cup semifinal game between Germany and Brazil, which was a rout for Deutschland.

Recommended Link

Amazon quietly rolls out Sunday delivery in Seattle and Portland

In partnership with the United States Postal Service, Amazon has inaugurated Sunday parcel delivery to homes in the greater Seattle and Portland metro areas. The agreement, announced earlier this year, gives Amazon a competitive advantage and USPS much-needed business.

Chat Transcript

Jay Carney talks with the New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg about being a press secretary

JIM RUTENBERG: You came to the administration from TIME Magazine, where, for a while, you covered the White House. How did your view of journalists change when you switched sides?

JAY CARNEY: I’m proud of a lot of my work. But if I had known then what I know now, I would have succumbed less often to chasing the same soccer ball down the field that everybody else was.

JIM RUTENBERG: Are you saying they’re shallow?

JAY CARNEY: I think the format reinforces a shallow approach.

JIM RUTENBERG: Were you surprised at times how tense things could get with your former colleagues?

JAY CARNEY: Sure. It can be surreal at the podium when you go down that front row and you have an exchange with one of the reporters in which there’s very emotional — maybe even theatrical — presentation and back and forth, and then you go to the next reporter and you have the same thing, as if the first one didn’t happen at all. You begin to wonder how valuable a service to the nation that is in the end.

JIM RUTENBERG: Do people in the first row like to showboat?

JAY CARNEY: If you look at the difference in tenor between the on-camera briefings and the on-the-record-but-off-camera gaggles, it’s night and day.

Excerpt from the interview: Jay Carney: ‘A Little Perspective Is Useful’

Fireworks explode over the Kirkland waterfront

A glimpse of the Fourth of July fireworks show in Kirkland, Washington, over the city’s central waterfront. (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Roger Goodman waves to onlookers at Kirkland's Fourth of July celebration

State Representative Roger Goodman (D-45th District: Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville, Sammamish) waves to onlookers as he marches in the annual parade that takes place along the waterfront as part of Kirkland’s Fourth of July celebration (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)


Our success is only possible because we have never treated those self-evident truths as self-executing. Generations of Americans have marched, organized, petitioned, fought and even died to extend those rights to others; to widen the circle of opportunity for others; and to perfect this union we love so much.

— Excerpt from President Obama’s weekly address celebrating Independence Day.