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


Dear Judy,

No one is crediting you with starting the Iraq war. We know you were not actually on the team that took us into the biggest, most tragic US foreign policy debacle ever. You were just cheering from the sidelines. Your attempt to re-write history is both pathetic and self-serving.


Valerie Plame

Former CIA covert operative Valerie Plame Wilson, responding to this column by disgraced New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

Recommended Link

Washington State’s road to legal marijuana strewn with potholes

Canada’s newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail, examines Washington’s experience with legalizing marijuana since the passage of Initiative 502 in November 2012.



Bad things will happen to good ideas, and vice versa. So be it. Elections determine who has the power, not who has the truth.

— Paul Krugman: Economics and elections


You asked about an Obama doctrine. The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.

— President Barack Obama, speaking to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman about his approach to foreign policy (Iran and the Obama Doctrine).

Recommended Link

Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia School of Journalism report

After receiving the final report it commissioned from The Columbia School of Journalism into its problematic cover story “A Rape on Campus”, Rolling Stone has fully retracted its article and apologized for not following its own rigorous process for checking facts and vetting sources.



The world proposes that we put ourselves forward at all costs, that we compete, that we prevail… But Christians, by the grace of Christ, dead and risen, are the seeds of another humanity, in which we seek to live in service to one another, not to be arrogant, but rather respectful and ready to help. This is not weakness, but true strength!

— Excerpt from Pope Francis’ 2015 Urbi et Orbi Message to the City and the World (Transcript courtesy of The Vatican).


First Family Easter Portrait

From the Obama family to yours, Happy Easter! (Photo courtesy of The White House)



Our experience is not unlike the experience of the disciples. Easter came to them only after the most profound disillusionment. But in the midst of all their loss, Jesus came to them.

— Excerpt from Father Michael G. Ryan’s Easter homily, delivered at St. James Cathedral at midday Mass.



You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.
But go and tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.”

— The Gospel of Mark, 16:6-7, in which an angel of the Lord proclaims the Resurrection of Jesus (reading for Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday).


Recommended Link

After Kentucky’s loss, fires, fights and arrests on State Street

Some University of Kentucky fans are taking the team’s Final Four loss to Wisconsin pretty hard. Police have already arrested twenty-two individuals for violence and lawbreaking.

Recommended Link

ESPN commentators pick Mariners and Dodgers for 2015 World Series

ESPN’s Adnan Virk and Doug Glanville explain why they believe we may see a World Series matchup between the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers.



Mother Nature didn’t intend for forty million people to live here… This is literally a culture that since the 1880s has progressively invented, invented and reinvented itself. At what point does this invention begin to hit limits?

— Kevin Starr, a historian at the University of Southern California who is intimately familiar with the Golden State’s history, via The New York Times (California drought tests history of endless growth).


This is the night of the new commandment. This is the night we become what we receive. This is the night when the impossible becomes possible.

— Excerpt from Father Michael G. Ryan’s Holy Thursday homily, delivered at evening mass at St. James Cathedral.

Recommended Link

Tests are useless for measuring teacher effectiveness

The Washington Education Association’s Kim Mead explains why linking teacher performance to student test scores makes absolutely no sense.

Video Clip

President Obama comments on the international nuclear framework with Iran

From the White House: “Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Obama lays out the details of a historic framework with Iran that will prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Recommended Link

April Fools’ Day: Ten stories that look like pranks but aren’t

The BBC offers a rundown of ten news stories that may sound like April Fools’ Day pranks, but are in fact no joke at all.

Recommended Link

Meet the conservative group that Scott Walker takes his cues from

Bloomberg Politics profiles The Bradley Foundation, which has been helping Wisconsin Republican Scott Walker launch attack after attack on the Badger State’s unions.


Our city thrives because we have welcomed and embraced diversity. And RFRA threatens what thousands of people have spent decades building. Discrimination is wrong. And I hope that message is being heard loud and clear at our Statehouse.

— Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, calling on Indiana’s legislature to repeal or amend the recently passed law allowing discrimination against LGBT individuals.


Large earthquake strikes near Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands

A large earthquake has just shaken eastern Papua New Guinea and nearby islands, the U.S. Geological Survey is reporting.

The magnitude 7.5 quake – which is pretty severe as far as earthquakes go – struck around 4:48 PM Pacific Time (2015-03-29 23:48:31).

Not many details are known as this time.

The closet major human settlement is Kokopo. Here’s a list of major cities and their distances from the quake epicenter:

  1. 55km (34mi) SE of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
  2. 281km (175mi) ENE of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
  3. 310km (193mi) SE of Kavieng, Papua New Guinea
  4. 367km (228mi) WNW of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
  5. 787km (489mi) NE of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning for Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Chat Transcript

George Stephanopoulos challenges Indiana’s Mike Pence: Isn’t your new law really about enabling discrimination?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And so yes or no, if a florist in Indiana refuses to serve a gay couple at their wedding, is that legal now in Indiana?

MIKE PENCE: George, this is — this is where this debate has gone, with — with misinformation and frankly…

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s just a question, sir. Yes or no?

MIKE PENCE: Well — well, this — there’s been shameless rhetoric about my state and about this law and about its intention all over the Internet. People are trying to make it about one particular issue. And now you’re doing that, as well. The issue here — The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been on the books for more than 20 years. It does not apply, George, to disputes between individuals unless government action is involved. And in point of fact, in more than two decades, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never been used to undermine anti-discrimination laws in this country.



MIKE PENCE: Look, the…

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: — I’m just bringing up a…

MIKE PENCE:  — the question…

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: — (INAUDIBLE) from one of your supporters.

MIKE PENCE:  — I think the real question here…

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That was one of our supporters who was talking about the bill right there. It said it would protect a Christian florist who — against any kind of punishment. Is that true or not?

Excerpt from George Stephanopoulos’ conversation with Indiana Governor Mike Pence (Transcript courtesy of This Week/ABC News).

Recommended Link

Future Shop shutters Canadian stores, will re-brand as Best Buy

Canada’s Future Shop electronics chain is no more, owner Best Buy has announced. The company plans to phase out the Future Shop brand in favor of its own identity.