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

Tag Archives: Safe Neighborhoods

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Florida school shooting: Students to march on Washington, D.C.

Survivors of the horrific attack on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student body have announced plans to march on the nation’s capital next month to demand stronger gun safety laws.

Quotation

The whole mess is like a metaphor for how the entire federal government is run today. There is talk about big needs, even as they cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy, making it harder to address those needs. We the people are distracted by our borrowed bonuses. The crippling disconnect from reality isn’t even acknowledged.

— Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat (Sorry, Hanford: Your radiation leaks aren’t as important as tax cuts)

Quotation

Honestly, I think the real number of fatalities tied to cell phones is at least three times the federal figure… We’re all addicted and the scale of this is unheard of.

— Jennifer Smith, founder of stopdistractions.org, “a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating the lifelong devastation that results when a loved one is killed or injured in a distracted driving crash” (via Bloomberg).

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Texas Republicans lobbied against imposition of safety rules on chemical plant that exploded

“The French company that says its Houston-area chemical plant is spewing ‘noxious’ smoke — and may explode — successfully pressed federal regulators to delay new regulations designed to improve safety procedures at chemical plants, according to federal records reviewed by International Business Times.”

Quotation

Shell-and-mortar fireworks are legal in Washington state, but the injuries they cause are more similar to those inflicted by illegal fireworks, the study found. In fact, they were even more damaging than homemade fireworks.

— This type of firework disfigures people more than any other, UW study shows (Scott Greenstone, The Seattle Times)

Aside

5.0 magnitude quake rumbles Oklahoma oil town of Cushing, nearby region

A strong earthquake has caused serious damage in the central Oklahoma oil town of Cushing, which is home to the United States’ largest commercial oil storage hub.

The Oklahoman has an extensive report on the quake which fails to mention that there is research linking quakes in the state to fracking.

The BBC, however, circled back to its earlier reporting on the subject when it carried the news of the Cushing tremblor:

There have been 19 earthquakes in Oklahoma in the past week, according to data provided by the US Geological Survey.

In September, a magnitude 5.6 quake in the state fuelled concerns that seismic activity in the area was connected to energy production.

In 2013, scientists linked the underground injection of oil drilling wastewater to a magnitude-5.7 earthquake that struck Oklahoma in 2011.

An immediate moratorium on fracking ought to be imposed in Oklahoma — and everywhere else — for safety and environmental reasons.

Sadly, in many areas, the right wing controls the government and has no interest in putting people or the planet ahead of oil industry profits.

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Maricopa County’s Joe Arpaio officially charged with criminal contempt

“Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was officially charged Tuesday with criminal contempt of court when a federal judge affixed her signature, a formality that throws the lawman’s political and personal future into a level of crisis never before seen in his twenty-three years in office,” reports the Arizona Republic’s Megan Cassidy.

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Arrest Arpaio, not the people! Racist Trump-supporting sheriff, accused of targeting Latinos, is charged with criminal contempt

“Federal prosecutors on Monday charged Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County with criminal contempt of court, saying he willfully defied a judge’s orders to stop targeting Latinos — including citizens and legal immigrants — in traffic stops and other law enforcement efforts, behavior the judge said showed a pattern of discriminatory policing,” The New York Times reports.

Aside

Arrest Arpaio, not the people! Racist Trump-supporting sheriff, accused of targeting Latinos, is charged with criminal contempt

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‘We should be screaming’ with outrage: Washington State doing little to protect schoolkids from earthquakes, tsunamis

The Seattle Times reports on Washington’s failure to seismically retrofit public schools and ensure schoolchildren in tsunami hazard zones have a way to get to higher ground.

 

Quotation

I saw a young man, shot, helpless — shot for no apparent reason. I saw my nephew shot by a man, clinging to his life with no help. It was the most horrific thing I have ever seen in my life.

— Clarence Castile, uncle of Philando Castile, who was killed by police in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, during a traffic stop near St. Paul.

The slaughter of Castile by police was captured on video and it has led Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to call for a federal investigation.

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‘He’s got a gun! Gun’: Video shows fatal confrontation between Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge police officer

Two reporters for The Advocate of Baton Rouge explain what is known so far about the killing of Alton Sterling, a thirty-seven year old black man who was killed by police in Baton Rouge without justification.

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Fireworks “accidents” send at least eighteen people to Harborview’s emergency room

Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center has treated a number of people for injuries stemming from careless or improper use of fireworks, the hospital says.

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When you dial 911 and Wall Street answers

“Since the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms have increasingly taken over public services like emergency care and firefighting, often with dire effects,” The New York Times reports.

Aside

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy arrested by FBI in Portland; last four militant holdouts at Malheur to surrender tomorrow

The idiotic, dangerous right wing insurrection against the people and government of the United States in rural Oregon appears to be almost over.

The Oregonian reports that FBI agents have arrested Ammon Bundy’s father Cliven Bundy following his arrival at Portland International Airport. Bundy the elder had been planning to drive out to rural Oregon to join the small band of remaining militants who have been holed up in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge complex in Harney County. But instead, he found himself in federal custody.

Bundy is charged with crimes pertaining to his 2014 conflict with authorities in Nevada over grazing fees that he owes. Federal agents evidently figured that capturing Bundy while he was in transit was the safest way to nab him.

Meanwhile, the FBI successfully infiltrated the refuge complex and has the remaining militants surrounded. They are supposedly going to surrender tomorrow morning.

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One Oregon militant dead, several others taken into custody by police after traffic stop

Several of the ringleaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation were taken into custody and one was killed after they were stopped by police near Burns, Oregon, authorities have acknowledged. The deceased man is said to be Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who acted as a spokesman for the group and reportedly resisted arrest. Among those taken into custody were the Bundy brothers, Ammon and Ryan.

Quotation

We’re all in this together — that’s what it says to me. I’m more in love with Seattle than ever.

— Professional photographer Anthony Posey of New Orleans, speaking to The New York Times after his stolen camera was returned to him by Seattle police.

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Awful: People are getting shot by toddlers on a weekly basis this year

The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham has come to an incredibly disturbing conclusion after sifting through news reports about little kids getting their hands on guns. “The stories go on and on like this,” he writes. “Roughly once a week this year, on average, a small child has found a gun, pointed it at himself or someone else, and pulled the trigger.”

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Fire at Planned Parenthood’s Pullman health center determined to be arson

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest’s facility in Pullman, Washington (the home of Washington State University) was severely damaged by fire earlier today. Fire investigators have now concluded the blaze was deliberately set, no doubt by right wing militant extremists who want to destroy the organization. “This is an appalling act of violence towards Planned Parenthood, but unfortunately a predictable ripple effect from the false and incendiary attacks that fuel violence from extremists,” said Karl Eastlund, CEO of Planned Parenthood Washington and Northern Idaho.

Aside

King County Sheriff John Urquhart fires another dishonest deputy

The housecleaning of the King County Sheriff’s Department continues:

King County Sheriff John Urquhart has fired a sergeant who, according to an internal investigation, falsely accused a bus driver of using a profanity during an argument.

In a termination letter sent last week to Sgt. Lou Caballero, Urquhart cited video evidence captured on a personal body camera worn by the King County Metro Transit driver, which showed no profanity was used during the Nov. 14 argument.

Caballero’s firing was effective Aug. 20.

Since taking office in 2012, Sheriff Urquhart has earned high marks for his willingness to purge the ranks of the county’s police force of corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent officers. He ran on a platform of accountability in 2012, defeating incumbent Steve Strachan. After the election, he quickly got to work.

To date, he has now fired the following deputies:

Urquhart has also fired a weapons screener who used to work at the King County Courthouse for parking in the courthouse garage for free dozens of times without permission, and a deputy who had lied about writing tickets.

It’s pretty refreshing that we have a sheriff who is willing to get rid of bad cops. Discarding the rotten apples sends an important message: Lying, thieving, and slacking off on the job will not be tolerated. The above deputies were, in many cases, given second and even third chances earlier in their careers, and continued to exercise poor judgment. It’s for the best that they find a new line of work.

Aside

President Barack Obama signs emergency declaration for Washington State

President Barack Obama has responded to Governor Jay Inslee’s request for federal assistance and put his signature to an order authorizing federal resources to help state and local officials fight out-of-control wildfires raging on the Columbia Plateau.

From the White House:

The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Washington and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the areas affected by wildfires beginning on August 13, 2015, and continuing.

The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Asotin, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Klickitat, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, and Yakima and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.

W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Benigno Bern Ruiz as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

Thank you, Mr. President!