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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Monday, September 1st, 2014

Video Clip

Video above: President Obama delivers remarks at the 2014 Milwaukee Laborfest, saying that America deserves a raise. Excerpt:

All across the country right now, there’s a national movement going on made up of fast food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity.

There is no denying a simple truth:  America deserves a raise. Folks are doing very well on Wall Street, they’re doing very well in the corporate board rooms — give America a raise.

The full transcript of the speech is also available.

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Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Quotation
I feel like a pawn in a moneymaking game for hospital administrators. There are so many other ways I could have made my living and been more fulfilled. The sad part is we chose medicine because we thought it was worthwhile and noble, but from what I have seen in my short career, it is a charade.
— An unnamed doctor, writing on Sermo, an online community for physicians. (Via The Wall Street Journal: Why doctors are sick of their profession)

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Quotation
You participate and vote, and you can have some control over what happens to your child and your country.
— Representative John Lewis, urging black Americans to go to the polls and participate in the midterms (At risk in Senate, Democrats seek to rally blacks).

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Saturday, August 30th, 2014

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Quotation
In the centre of the room there was an actual mountain, a colossal jagged mountain as high as a five-storey building, and the whole thing was made of pale-brown, creamy, vanilla fudge. All the way up the sides of the mountain, hundreds of men were working away with picks and drills, hacking great hunks of fudge out of the mountainside; and some of them, those that were high up in dangerous places, were roped together for safety.
— Excerpt from a previously unpublished chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, released online and print in The Guardian Review.

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Thursday, August 28th, 2014

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Quotation
An effort to register the Ice Bucket Challenge strikes me as a bit akin to those who sought register Boston Strong after the marathon bombings in 2013. Even if it were permissible under the law to register the phrase (again, that is not clear here), it is in poor taste. If others want to use the phrase to raise money for their causes, why would ALS Association want to stop them?

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Quotation
He wasn’t unarmed… He was armed with his incredibly strong, scary self.
— Right wing pundit Ben Stein, contending for the title of year’s most absurdly stupid, ridiculously wrong, laughably inane comment.

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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

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Quotation
As a country, we can either invest in tax loopholes for billionaires or lower-cost student loans for young people who are trying to build a future. Billionaires or students: It’s a pretty stark choice.
— From Tim Dickinson’s interview with Senator Elizabeth Warrren in Rolling Stone (The student loan crusader: How Elizabeth Warren wants to reduce debt)

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Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Aside

Allstate: Seattle, Portland area drivers are among the least safe in the country as a group

A new report created by insurance giant Allstate has found that drivers in the Seattle and Portland metropolitan areas are among the least safest in the country, while drivers in the greater Boise area are among the safest.

The latest edition of the Allstate Best Drivers Report, which is now in its tenth year, places Boise in third, after Fort Collins, Colorado, and McAllen, Texas.

Boise ranked second place last year, so it only dropped one spot.

Seattle ranks 173rd, down from 160th last year. Portland, Oregon had an even more precipitous decline, dropping from 154th to 177th.

Other Northwest cities were ranked as follows:

  • Eugene, OR: 23rd (was 10th last year)
  • Spokane, WA: 71st (was 45th last year)
  • Tacoma, WA: 153rd (was 144th last year)
  • Salem, WA: 102nd (was 77th last year)
  • Vancouver, WA: 94th (was 82nd last year)

Given the decline in the rankings across Pacific Northwest cities, it would seem we had a more dangerous year than usual.

At the very bottom of the list are the District of Columbia, Boston, and Worchester, Massachusetts. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Miami, Atlanta, Baltimore, New Haven, and Providence also rank below the Northwest’s cities, but New York, Chicago, Honolulu, and many other major cities rank higher than Seattle/Portland.

The end notes to the report explain the methodology used:

The Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report® tabulates property damage collision frequency of Allstate insured drivers from 2011-2012.

The report analyzes the 200 largest cities from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places over 50,000, measured for 2012 as of July 1, 2013.

In prior years, neighboring cities that shared zip codes also shared rankings. This only impacted a minimal number of cities; however, in 2014, the report used geolocation to increase accuracy and there are no longer shared rankings.

The Allstate Best Drivers Report is produced solely to boost the country’s discussion about safe driving and to increase awareness of the importance of being safe and attentive behind the wheel.

The report is not used to determine auto insurance rates. U.S. Census Bureau data was used to obtain population and population density factors. For the precipitation factor, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data was utilized.

The report can be read in full on Allstate’s website.

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Monday, August 25th, 2014

Aside

South Napa earthquake leaves many buildings severely damaged

Earthquake-damaged building in Napa

The 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Napa Valley area on August 24th has left many buildings, including this one at the corner of Main & Clinton, in bad shape. (Photo: California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services)

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