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

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Rethinking and reframing: Let’s aim for physical rather than social distancing

“Isolation can be toxic. Let’s increase physical distance, but stay connected,: writes Dr. Kenneth E. Miller.

Quotation

Refusing to go with live coverage. Suspending normal relations with his White House. Always asking: is this something we should amplify? A focus on what he’s doing, not on what he’s saying. The truth sandwich when we feel we have to highlight his false claims. This is what you can expect now that our coverage has been switched to an emergency setting.

— Excerpt from suggested editor’s note crafted by Jay Rosen of PressThink as a guide to how media outlets should cover Trump during the coronavirus pandemic (Today we are switching our coverage of Donald Trump to an emergency setting)

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Cyrus Habib: Why I am giving up elected office and joining the Jesuits

“Many will be wondering why someone who has spent the last eight years climbing the political ladder and who has a not insignificant chance of acceding to the governorship next year, would trade a life of authority for one of obedience. I want to take a moment to discuss this decision as well as to express my profound gratitude to all those who have helped make these eight years in elected office so successful and rewarding.”

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Trump’s incompetence results in federal agencies waiting for orders as pandemic rapidly worsens

Unlike several years ago, when President Barack Obama ordered the Department of Defense to mobilize to respond to the ebola outbreak, Donald Trump has failed to involve the military in the United States’ response to the rapidly worsening coronavirus pandemic.

Quotation

Even if they lacked any moral compass beyond their own political survival, one might imagine that Republican politicians and conservative media figures would want to tell their voters and audiences the truth just to make sure they survive to vote in November and buy into reverse mortgage scams advertised on Fox News. But the Pavlovian urge to win the short-term news cycle, own the libs and defend the economic interests of corporate America and Trump’s re-election are combining with the predilection for conspiracy-minded thinking on the right.

— David Atkins, writing for The Washington Monthly: Republican America isn’t prepared for the coronavirus crisis

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“It will go away”: A timeline of Trump playing down the coronavirus threat

“Trump gambled very early and very often on the idea that the coronavirus wouldn’t turn out to be nearly as severe as some health officials have warned it could get,” Aaron Blake writes.

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Via the Catholic News Agency:

“I want to acknowledge the best science that is out there, that basically says despite our best efforts, this epidemic is going to continue to spread, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be doing everything we possibly can to restrict the spread of this virus and of this epidemic,” Archbishop Paul Etienne said in a video released Wednesday afternoon.

“So I am going to ask that all of our parishes in western Washington, in the Archdiocese of Seattle, effective today, suspend the celebration publicly of the Eucharist.”

“As we all know, this is out of an extreme measure of caution,” he added. “Out of an extreme caution, we want to do our part to prevent the spread of this virus.”​

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Following his wins in Michigan, Missouri, and Mississippi, former Vice President Joe Biden delivered remarks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Less than twenty-four hours remain to participate in Washington’s 2020 presidential primary! Have you voted? Have you checked in on your friends and family?

Less than twenty-four hours remain to participate in Washington’s 2020 presidential primary! Have you voted? Have you checked in on your friends and family?

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For Trump, coronavirus proves to be an enemy he can’t tweet away

“A president who is at his strongest politically when he has a human target to attack has found it harder to confront a growing outbreak that has rattled the country,” The New York Times assesses.

Chat Transcript

Governor Jay Inslee appears on CBS’ Face the Nation to talk about coronavirus response with Margaret Brennan

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about–

GOVERNOR INSLEE: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: — the Vice President’s visit because he praised your action. You were very complimentary just now to him. But then the President of the United States had this to say on Friday.

[BEGIN CLIP]

DONALD TRUMP: So I told Mike not to be complimentary of the governor because that governor is a snake. Okay, Inslee. Let me just tell you, we have a lot of problems with the governor.

[END CLIP]

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are politics complicating any part of this?

GOVERNOR INSLEE: Well, we’re… I really don’t care too much what Donald Trump thinks of me. And we just kind of ignore that. It’s background noise, because we really need to work together, Republicans and Democrats. This is a national crisis. We are doing that effectively, as I’ve indicated. I’ve had good meetings with the agency directors.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

GOVERNOR INSLEE: I think that the Vice President has been helpful in this regard. So, look, we’re focusing on people’s health, not on political gamesmanship right now. And that’s what we need to do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

GOVERNOR INSLEE: And I feel good about those efforts.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Governor Inslee, good luck to you.

GOVERNOR INSLEE: You bet. Thank you.

— Excerpt from the full transcript of Jay Inslee on “Face the Nation,” March 8, 2020 (CBS News).

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Watch highlights from the fifteenth episode of SNL’s forty-fifth season, hosted by Daniel Craig, with The Weeknd as the musical guest.

A cold open for the ages: Fox News’ Laura Ingraham (Kate McKinnon) speaks with Jeanine Pirro (Cecily Strong), Donald Trump Jr. (Mikey Day) and Eric Trump (Alex Moffat), Chris Matthews (Darrell Hammond) to discuss the coronavirus panic before interviewing Elizabeth Warren.

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Quotation

A revolution of policy or a renaissance of humanity cannot happen without participation in and access to the process — and we all will lose that access if we do not move in concert right now. Of course, some people are opting out because they feel no party offers them hope, but our responsibility is to energize them and to secure the opportunity to fix what is broken together. We need to stop using false equivalencies — because there is nothing comparable to the malevolence of this presidency.

— John Pavlovitz: The privilege of saying you’re a “_______ or bust” progressive

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Looking at how diseases spread, canceling SXSW was the right call

“No doubt canceling SXSW was a tough call for the city,” data scientist Spencer Fox writes. “Austin’s flagship international event has huge name recognition and delivers significant economic impact — more than $355 million last year alone. Hundreds of Austinites work throughout the year to make it successful, and thousands more depend on the influx of money it brings. But public health concerns must take priority.”

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Inside China’s all-out war on the novel coronavirus

Via The New York Times: “Dr. Bruce Aylward, of the World Health Organization got a rare glimpse into Beijing’s campaign to stop the epidemic. Here’s what he saw.”

Quotation

Super Tuesday has given Biden a big advantage and momentum going forward. But the race is still far from over, with big questions on the horizon for both the Sanders and Biden camps.

— David Atkins’ commentary and analysis: Super Tuesday was all about coalitions and earned media (The Washington Monthly).

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Democratic recruiting coup: Steve Bullock is poised to run for U.S. Senate in Montana, officials say

Via The New York Times: “After months of insisting he would not challenge the Republican incumbent, Mr. Bullock, the governor and ex-Democratic presidential candidate, has until Monday to file to run in Montana.”

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Video Clip

As coronavirus spreads to the United States, John Oliver discusses what’s being done to fight the illness, what’s gone wrong, and how to stay safe.

Video Clip

Watch highlights from the fourteenth episode of SNL’s forty-fifth season, hosted by John Mulaney, with David Byrne as the musical guest.

The cold open: Mike Pence (Beck Bennett) holds a White House press conference to update the American public about the coronavirus and fields questions from Democratic presidential candidates Michael Bloomberg (Fred Armisen), Bernie Sanders (Larry David), Elizabeth Warren (Kate McKinnon), Joe Biden (John Mulaney), Pete Buttigieg (Colin Jost) and Amy Klobuchar (Rachel Dratch).

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Coronavirus may disrupt the 2020 presidential election — we need a plan

“Quarantines and fear could decimate voter turnout. Congress needs to fund mail-in ballots nationwide now,” Jon Stokes argues in an essay for WIRED.

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Comedians ‘honor’ white supremacist Steve King with his own Confederate statute

“We put up a confederate statue honoring confederate sympathizer Steve King. Hopefully he will honor his heritage and not take it down,” comedy duo The Good Liars announced on Twitter.

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