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

Recommended Link

Why Mexico is at the epicenter of the month’s most prominent natural disasters

“September has, in one sense, been an unlucky month for Mexico. But there are few places on the planet besides Mexico where the bad luck of a severe earthquake and a hurricane might actually converge,” The Washington Post’s Philip Bump explains.

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Jimmy shares his thoughts on Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham’s new health “care” bill including why it doesn’t pass Cassidy’s “Jimmy Kimmel Test.”

Call Senator Cassidy’s office and tell his staff you’re tired of the lying.

(202) 224-5824 or (225) 929-7711

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Attorney General Bob Ferguson addresses supporters at his annual Shrimp Feed

Attorney General Bob Ferguson addresses supporters at his annual Shrimp Feed

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Democratic Senate candidate Manka Dhingra thanks one of the DACA recipients Washington State is suing the Trump regime to defend

Democratic Senate candidate Manka Dhingra thanks one of the DACA recipients Washington State is suing the Trump regime to defend

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Volunteers ready to canvass to flip the 45th District blue

Volunteers ready to canvass to flip the 45th District blue

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Manka Dhingra with DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake, U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene, Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski, and Sammamish City Council candidate Rituja Indapure

Manka Dhingra with DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake, U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene, Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski, and Sammamish City Council candidate Rituja Indapure

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DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake expresses his appreciation to Manka Dhingra's volunteers for their dedication

DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake expresses his appreciation to Manka Dhingra's volunteers for their dedication

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U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene kicks off a canvassing event for Manka Dhingra

U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene kicks off a canvassing event for Manka Dhingra

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Amtrak, America’s passenger railroad, has been facing the prospect of deep service cuts ever since Donald Trump and his minions rolled out their first budget proposal. But, buoyed by Congress’ refusal to (so far) implement the proposed evisceration of its long distance routes, Amtrak this week rolled out a brand new ad campaign that brilliantly showcases the advantages of rail travel, called Break the Travel Quo.

The first spot touts the fact that you can bring up to four bags on Amtrak… for free!

The second spot explains that there’s an alternative to driving on increasingly congested roads: rail travel. Highway traffic jams can be bypassed with Amtrak.

The third spot offers a reminder that most Amtrak trains have a dining car that serves food that doesn’t suck. You can eat three hearty meals, three times a day!

And the fourth spot reminds travelers you don’t have to use your devices in “Airplane Mode” while going by train.

Well done, Amtrak! Well done, indeed.

None of these spots are as good as “Kids Repeat” from 2009, but it would be extremely hard for Amtrak to top that commercial, which is probably its all time greatest ad. Watch Kids Repeat yourself below, either again or for the first time:

Quotation

Mass marketed hate speech is not “mere speech” by an individual. It is actually physical in nature because all ideas are physically constituted by neural circuitry in our brains. When you are repeatedly told by those protected by the President and his government that you are a lesser being and are hated, it can have a crippling effect, physically, on your brain, mind, and heart.

— George Lakoff: What is hate speech?

Recommended Link

Trump, top Democrats agree to work on deal to save DACA

“Trump and top Democratic leaders late Wednesday agreed to work out an agreement that would protect the nation’s DREAMers from deportation and enact border security measures that don’t include building a physical wall, according to people familiar with the meeting,” The Washington Post reports.

Recommended Link

This fourteen year old’s $2 million custom printing business is leaving competitors in the dust

Fast Magazine has just published a must-read profile of Buttonsmith, Inc., a Carnation-based union print shop and trusted NPI vendor founded by Henry Burner when he was ten years old. As author Glenn Fleishman explains, the business has grown rapidly and now does millions of dollars in business thanks to the Burner family’s technological prowess and smart business sense. Henry’s mother Darcy serves as CEO, while his father Mike Burner serves as the lead software developer.

Recommended Link

B.C. government raising taxes for high earners and corporations to help pay for $51.9B balanced budget

“B.C.’s new. government will spend $51.9 billion for this fiscal year to support the NDP’S stated goal of making the province more affordable for residents,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports. The budget will be balanced through increases in the corporate income tax, personal income tax (for wealthy families), and pollution tax.

Aside

Good news: Virginia is getting rid of its easily hacked black box voting machines

This is a very positive development for fair elections:

Remember Virginia’s easily hacked voting machines that we wrote about more than two years ago? It seems that the state has learned its lesson about the potential vulnerability of voting machines and has decided to ditch all of its direct-voting machines and replace them with ones “that leave a paper trail”.

The State Board of Elections decided in a meeting on Friday that it would replace all of its current generation of voting machines that are vulnerable and plans to replace them all in time for its gubernatorial elections in November.

Here’s the recommendation from the Department of Elections. It declares:

The Department of Elections officially recommends that the State Board of Elections decertify all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE or touchscreen) voting equipment.

This recommendation is being made for multiple reasons, including the current security environment surrounding election administration, recently released public reports with confidential information related to unauthorized access to DREs at DefCon’s “Voting Machine Hacking Village,” the fact that no DREs in use in Virginia have a voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT), and the initial security assessment review of various DRE equipment conducted by the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA).

In sum, the Department of Elections believes that the risks presented by using this equipment in the November General Election are sufficiently significant to warrant immediate decertification to ensure the continued integrity of Virginia elections.

Way to go, Virginia! It’s about time more states took steps to end black box voting. The sanctity of our elections is extremely important. All states need elections systems that have a verifiable voter paper trail. The existence of paper ballots and paper records allows for a manual hand recount in the event of an extremely close election, like the one Washington State had in 2004 for Governor.

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Hurricane Irma roars through Florida

This National Weather Service radar mosaic shows Hurricane Irma’s movement through Florida and into Georgia. Irma first made landfall in the Keys before moving up Florida’s west coast. The storm is now a Category 1 hurricane, but still very dangerous. (NOAA/NWS animation)

Recommended Link

I-84 closure an important reminder that the private depends on the public

Interstate 84, Oregon’s main east-west link, is closed indefinitely in stretches between Hood River and The Dalles due to the Eagle Creek Fire and unstable slopes produced by the fire. That’s hurting truckers like David Cassidy, whose livelihood is made possible by the availability of public infrastructure paid for by taxpayers.

Recommended Link

Facebook sold ads to Russian firm tied to pro-Kremlin propaganda during election

Via The Washington Post: “Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that the social network has discovered that it sold ads during the U.S. presidential campaign to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters, according to several people familiar with the company’s findings.”

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Via PTZtv: Live footage of Hurricane Irma destroying the MahoBeachCam.com camera located at AAA Rent-A-Car in St Maarten. We will rebuild!

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Four views of a sun obscured by smoke; three with filters applied and one without

Four views of a sun obscured by smoke; three with filters applied and one without

Aside

Irritated by his own party, Trump makes deal with Democrats to keep government open

This is arguably the first real “deal” Donald Trump has made as President. It comes more than seven months after his regime came into power.

Donald Trump struck a deal with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday to increase the debt limit and finance the government until mid-December, undercutting his own Republican allies as he reached across the aisle to resolve a major dispute for the first time since taking office.

The agreement would avert a fiscal showdown later this month without the bloody, partisan battle that many had anticipated by combining a debt ceiling increase and stopgap spending measure with relief aid to Texas and other areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. But without addressing the fundamental underlying issues, it set up the prospect for an even bigger clash at the end of the year.

Since assuming power, Trump has continuously assailed congressional Democrats as villainous and obstructionist. But his bloviating hasn’t gotten him any victories, partly because of deep fissures in the House and Senate Republican caucus.

Having spent more than half a year fruitlessly demanding that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell ram through destructive legislation, only to watch them squander time with important fiscal deadlines looming, Trump and his inner circle have apparently decided to try something new: doing a deal with the opposition.

During a Four Corners meeting, Trump surprised Ryan and McConnell by backing the Democratic proposal for keeping the federal government open.

Congressional aides said privately that Republicans went into the meeting at the White House proposing an eighteen-month deal on government spending and the debt limit, only to run into resistance from the Democrats.

They then proposed a six-month deal as a compromise, but Democrats insisted on a three-month agreement. Mr. Trump then surprised the Republicans by agreeing to the Democratic formulation.

News of the deal is not likely to be received favorably in right wing circles.

But with wildfires burning in the West, the Texas and Louisiana coast grappling with extremely severe floods, and the biggest hurricane in recorded history headed for Florida, the griping among congressional Republicans could be minimal.

Republicans in Congress would be tying anvils around their collective ankles if they shut down the federal government this autumn on any pretext whatsoever. This deal ensures there won’t be a big showdown over fiscal matters until the holidays. Punting is what Congress usually does to postpone or defer a manufactured fiscal crisis, and so this formulation is par for the course.

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Astonishing overnight time lapse video shows the devastating Eagle Creek fire wreaking havoc on the scenic Columbia River Gorge

Plus, here’s a summary of today’s fire developments with pictures.