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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Puget Sound, say hello to your new ride: Wider center corridors are a distinguishing feature of the new light rail vehicles Siemens made for Sound Transit

Puget Sound, say hello to your new ride: Wider center corridors are a distinguishing feature of the new light rail vehicles Siemens made for Sound Transit

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Puget Sound, say hello to your new ride: Sound Transit's new light rail vehicles from Siemens offer more seating, more bicycle racks, and bigger windows

Puget Sound, say hello to your new ride: Sound Transit's new light rail vehicles from Siemens offer more seating, more bicycle racks, and bigger windows

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Puget Sound, say hello to your new ride: This is the first of the more than one hundred and fifty Siemens light rail vehicles that will soon provide Link service

Puget Sound, say hello to your new ride: This is the first of the more than one hundred and fifty Siemens light rail vehicles that will soon provide Link service

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Flag Day is a perfect opportunity to share and discuss flag improvement proposals

On this day in 1777, the Continental Congress of the United States of America adopted the flag that would ultimately evolve into the Stars and Stripes we know and see everywhere today. Since 1916, that event has been commemorated as Flag Day in a myriad of ways in communities across the country.

While Flag Day in the United States honors the adoption of the nation’s flag, it’s also presents an opportunity to celebrate flags of all kinds and discuss proposals to improve flags. Today, in honor of Flag Day, we will be sharing and commenting on two flag improvement proposals that intrigue us and merit consideration.

We’ll start with Daniel Quasar’s concept for a revamped Pride flag.

June happens to be Pride Month, when the Pride flag is most commonly flown, so this is an ideal time to talk about the Pride flag and the symbolism behind it.

The original rainbow Pride flag looks like this:

Original rainbow Pride flag

It was designed by Gilbert Baker and dates back to 1978.

It’s a classic flag, to be sure, and not one that suffers from a design flaw.

(For a gallery of other Pride flags, see this Wikipedia page.)

However, graphic designer Daniel Quasar has nonetheless redesigned it to emphasize progress, diversity, and inclusion. Instead of adding more stripes of different colors, as others had done, Quasar’s design adds a chevron.

The black and brown stripes represent underrepresented and disadvantaged LGBTQ+ communities of color, along with the colors pink, light blue and white, which are seen on the transgender Pride flag.

Quasar rolled out his redesigned flag last year and it has aged very well.

Redesigned LGBTQ Pride flag

What we like about this redesign is that it honors the original while adding a tasteful, modern twist. The chevron speaks to where the movement for equal rights is today, and what challenges lie ahead in ensuring that everyone is free to live a happy and prosperous life no matter their sexual orientation.

Moving on, let’s talk about the flag of the City of Seattle, which has been criticized as ugly and violating the principles of good flag design.

The original Seattle flag dates back to 1990. David Wright created the flag for the Goodwill Games. It was never mass produced and is not widely used as a symbol of the city. (The flag does, however, incorporate the more widely used seal.)

Here’s the original Seattle flag:

Flag of the City of Seattle

Graphic designer Riley Raker decided to take a shot at redesigning the flag without starting over from scratch. Instead of going for something completely different, he chose to simplify and streamline. The result is excellent. Elegant.

Seattle flag redesign

“Separating the colors with rigid vertical lines didn’t feel appropriate so I referenced the seal with curved separations,” Raker explains. “Once I had the elements of the design, I looked at dozens of color variations, but the most obvious choice seemed best. I added green to complement the teal and white of our current flag.”

This tasteful redesign would serve the City of Seattle well were it to be adopted.

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Recommended Link

Most millionaires support tax on wealth above $50 million, CNBC survey finds

A poll of millionaires has found a robust majority in support of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposed tax on large wealth. “Fully 60% of millionaires support Warren’s plan for taxing the wealth of those who have more than $50 million in assets,” CNBC reports. That’s a lot of Patriotic Millionaires For Fiscal Strength!

Recommended Link

Trump smashed months of FBI work to thwart election interference

Via Politico: “Trump’s willingness to accept foreign assistance has essentially invited overseas spies to meddle with 2020 presidential campaigns, undoing months of work, said law enforcement veterans.”

Quotation

It’s become our new reality… I don’t like to say “normal,” because that sounds like a plateau, and we’re on a trajectory where we’ll get more and more fire.

— Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland science at the University of Alberta (Canada’s wildfire season is off to a ferocious start – The Washington Post)

Recommended Link

Aviation writer: Know the facts about private jets before you bash them
In this provocative article, aviation writer Doug Gollan challenges the notion that private jets are wasteful and elitist.

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Frontier Communications’ plan to sell off all its Pacific Northwest assets turns heads

Here’s a roundup of coverage pertaining to Frontier Communications’ plan to sell off all of its assets in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana:

If the sale goes through, Frontier will be out of the Pacific Northwest by early 2020.

Nine years ago, regulatory staff in Washington and Oregon concluded that Frontier’s proposed acquisitions of the assets they’re now trying to sell off amounted to a lot of risk with very little upside. That assessment turned out to be on the money.

Recommended Link

Inspector General finds detainees ‘standing on toilets’ for room at packed border facility

The Trump regime’s un-American conduct continues to reach disgusting, horrific depths.

 

Quotation

If the electronics industry sneezes, few places will catch a cold as quickly as Portland. The industry employs close to 40,000 people in Oregon, including 20,000 at Intel, the state’s largest private employer. Oregon exported $2.7 billion in electronics goods to China last year, more than any state other than California — a total that doesn’t include companies, like ControlTek, that are just across the Columbia River in Washington State.

— The New York Times: Trade war starts changing manufacturers in hard-to-reverse ways 

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This morning, Robert Mueller announced his resignation from the Department of Justice and commented publicly on the investigation he led as Special Counsel. Mueller’s complete statement can be watched by clicking play above.

Recommended Link

Trump regime renews its attack on climate science

There is a real Republican war on science going on and it’s hurting the United States’ efforts to combat climate damage. This war started during the Bush years and is now being escalated by Donald “It’s freezing out, give me some of that global warming” Trump.

Recommended Link

How San Francisco broke America’s heart

“To many inhabitants, San Francisco has become unrecognizable in a decade, as though it had gone on a cosmetic surgery bender,” writes Karen Heller. “San Francisco has less of what makes a city dynamic. It has the lowest percentage of children, 13.4 percent, of any major American city, and is home to about as many dogs as humans under the age of 18.”

Recommended Link

Politico Magazine marvels at Seattle’s Link light rail powered mass transit boom

This is one of the better long reads published this year. In this piece, Erick Trickey takes a look at “how a fast-growing city has invested heavily in mass transit alternatives to keep a lid on gridlock,” in the words his editors chose to subtitle the article. Our team at NPI has fought for years to expand Link light rail by advocating for passage of Sound Transit Phases 2 and 3 and beating back Tim Eyman initiatives attempting to undo the will of the voters.

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Below are a collection of highlights from the twenty-first and final episode of Saturday Night Live’s forty-fourth season, hosted by Paul Rudd:

The cold open: Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) and members of his administration share their summer plans, namely golf and rage-tweeting.

Read More »

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As neocon John Bolton tries to instigate a conflict with Iran, here’s a reminder that MADtv saw this move coming back in 2007. Watch and laugh… if you can.

This sketch is from the sixteenth episode of MADtv’s twelfth season.

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We’re number one! U.S. News & World Report ranks Washington best state in the country

The State of Washington has been ranked the top state in the United States of America for 2019 by U.S. News & World Report, which looked at seventy different indicators to measure how well each state is delivering for its citizens.

“Cheap, climate-friendly electricity drives Washington’s economy, the nation’s fastest growing, according to the U.S. News’ Best States ranking of economic growth,” writes Levi Pulkkinen in a commentary explaining why Washington got the top spot.

“The tech-heavy state’s expectedly strong broadband network sits atop one of the nation’s best electrical systems, one well-positioned as the country shifts away from coal- and natural gas-generated electricity. The state expects to be coal-free by 2025, while still charging rates among the nation’s lowest.”

Governor Jay Inslee, a 2020 presidential candidate, is quoted in Pulkkinen’s piece as touting the value that clean energy projects have to a state’s economy.

“Renewable energy projects create significant new revenues for rural communities where most of these projects are sited,” Inslee told U.S. News & World Report. “New wind development projects in Washington generate millions of dollars in annual lease payments; much of it goes to small rural landowners.”

The other states in the top five were New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah, and Vermont. All but Utah are blue states that vote Democratic for President.

Meanwhile, four of the bottom five states are red states, most utterly dominated by Republicans. The bottom five states are New Mexico (which only just became a Democratic trifecta after electing a Democratic governor), West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Louisiana currently has a Democratic governor and Republican legislature; the other three states are under Republican rule.

California was ranked nineteenth out of fifty, while Oregon was ranked twenty-seventh and Idaho was ranked sixteenth. Alaska ranked forty-fourth, Hawaii ranked twenty-fourth, and Montana ranked twenty-ninth.

See the complete rankings here.

Recommended Link

What if “electability” is more about authenticity than moderation? (It is.)

“It may well be that the same candidates who appeal authentically to progressive emotional sensibilities will also appeal to the voters Democrats most need to persuade in the purple districts and states they need to win–as well as bring out people who otherwise just wouldn’t vote at all,” writes David Atkins. (He’s correct.)

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Below are a collection of highlights from the twentieth episode of Saturday Night Live’s forty-fourth season, hosted by Emma Thompson:

The not-to-be-missed cold open: Chuck Todd (Kyle Mooney) interviews Senators Lindsey Grahm (Kate Mckinnon), Susan Collins (Cecily Strong) and Mitch McConnell (Beck Bennett) about supporting President Trump.

Read More »

Quotation

The West Coast is crushing it against Trump. Using the law to fight a bully, the Constitution to challenge an authoritarian, and facts against Fox News-driven fantasy, California, Oregon and Washington have stalled some of the most despicable of Trump’s retrograde policies.

— New York Times opinion columnist Timothy Egan opines that the Left Coast is doing pretty darn well in its battle to keep the Trump regime in check.