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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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

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Monday, August 18th, 2014

Quotation
The low-level drug crimes have incarcerated an entire generation of young people and mostly people of color. We cannot arrest our way out of society’s problems… We as police executive need to realize that.
— King County Sheriff John Urquhart, discussing the future of policing with newly hired chiefy deputy Jim Pugel, who was formerly the interim Seattle police chief.

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Saturday, August 16th, 2014

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Quotation
The second wild-card spot isn’t the sort of thing you necessarily mark with a banner, but would you want your team to face Felix in a one-game playoff?
— ESPN’s Jim Caple: A sea change for the Mariners (Don’t look now, but Seattle is suddenly a playoff contender in the American League!)

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Aside

Mariners extend winning streak, defeat Detroit Tigers to own second wild card spot

Right now, the Seattle Mariners are doing something they haven’t done in years: Win the games that count in August, the second to last month of the season. And not only are they winning, they’re contending for the playoffs.

After a homestand in which they only lost one game (a game that went into extra innings), the Mariners are now back on the road. (Prior to the homestand, they had been winning more games on the road than at home).

Fittingly, they’re in Detroit, the team that was – prior to today – tied with the Mariners for the second wild card spot.

Now that spot belongs to the M’s after a 7-2 victory over the Tigers. James Paxton made the start for the Mariners and did a decent job. The M’s offense continued to deliver, bringing in seven runs on eleven hits.

Tomorrow, King Felix of the Mariners will be squaring off against David Price of the Tigers. Television pundits are promoting it as a matchup for the ages. Maybe it won’t be that, but it does promise to be a great game, and also the pivotal, decisive game of the series. If the Mariners win, they’ll have taken the series from Detroit and bolstered their position in the standings. Detroit, of course, would like to avoid precisely that. Both teams have every reason to want to play hard and win.

Lookout Landing has a good preview of the Mariners/Tigers series.

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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Quotation
They’re not fake Web sites… These are real attack Web sites.
— A National Republican Congressional Committee operative, laughably trying to claim there is nothing wrong with a number of websites the NRCC has designed to look like legitimate online local news sources. The websites are being used as vehicles to attack Democratic candidates. The websites may be real attack sites, but they’re also masquerading as fake news sources. Nice try, NRCC. That dog won’t hunt.

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Quotation
I’m just very, very disappointed and troubled that lessons that we learned in Seattle have not been embraced by American law enforcement in general, by these police departments that are facing mistrust and distrust in their communities in particular. If anything, the police in America belong to the people, not the other way around.
— Seattle’s former police chief Norm Stamper speaks out on Ferguson and police militarization in an interview with Amanda Taub of Vox.

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Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Quotation
I was on a plane when I heard of his death on the in-flight television. I thought it was some sort of hideous joke. Like it was a set up to a very funny punchline. When I realized he was really gone, I cried.
Lewis Black, sharing his grief over Robin Williams’ death with his fans.

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Chat Transcript

The late Lauren Bacall, to Larry King: "Being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be"

  • LARRY KING: Are you big a "D" Democrat? Do you...
  • LAUREN BACALL: I'm a total Democrat. I'm anti-Republican. And it's only fair that you know it. Even though...
  • LARRY KING: Wait a minute. Are you a liberal?
  • LAUREN BACALL: I'm a liberal. The L word!
  • LARRY KING: Egads!
  • LAUREN BACALL: I love it. Being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you're a liberal. You do not have a small mind. Little picayune things. You want to welcome everyone. Liberal, little picayune thing.
  • LARRY KING: You're open to...
  • LAUREN BACALL: You want to welcome everyone. Liberal, I'm a Roosevelt. I'm a -- and I hear anyone say anything about FDR...
  • LARRY KING: You're a new dealer, fair dealer.
  • LAUREN BACALL: I'm a total -- and I was a kid and I'm total, total, total liberal and proud of it. And I think it's outrageous to say the l word. I mean, excuse me. They should be damn lucky that they were liberals here. Liberals gave more to the population of the United States than any other group.
  • LARRY KING: Well, Social Security.
  • LAUREN BACALL: Everything.
  • (Transcript courtesy of CNN)

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Aside

Memo to Dana Milbank: The world is *always* burning

Dana “Pox on Both Their Houses” Milbank has once again filed an inane column for The Washington Post. This one criticizes President Barack Obama for going on vacation “while the world burns”. Milbank:

Obama stood on the South Lawn on Saturday updating Americans on the new bombing campaign in Iraq — and then he boarded Marine One for a two-week trip to Martha’s Vineyard. There, half an hour after arriving at his vacation home, he was already on his way to a golf course. He played again Sunday, then had a beach outing Monday followed by a political fundraiser.

Even presidents need down time, and Obama can handle his commander-in-chief duties wherever he is. But his decision to proceed with his getaway just 36 hours after announcing the military action in Iraq risks fueling the impression that he is detached as the world burns.

So, in other words, Milbank is admitting that Obama going to Martha’s Vineyard and playing some golf won’t impair his ability to run the country, but he shouldn’t take a vacation because of how it would look. Oh, and because the audio and video capabilities are better at the White House.

Plus, Hillary Clinton disagrees with how President Obama is handling Iraq! Did I mention Hillary Clinton has been openly critical of President Obama? Let me say that one more time: Clinton has suggested Obama’s doing it wrong!

Milbank’s column is a predictable Villager take. Similar fare has been appearing on the pages of The Washington Post for years.

Villagers have a reputation for being concerned with appearances and missing the forest for the trees. The world is, both literally and figuratively, always burning – there’s always a fire somewhere. In the words of Billy Joel:

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Obama has taken far fewer vacation days than his predecessor, George W. Bush, but he seems to get no credit for this – not from Milbank or other pundits.

The right wing is constantly working to promote a fiercely negative impression of President Obama no matter what he says or does. If Obama wasn’t at Martha’s Vineyard, the attacks du jour would still be coming from Fox, Limbaugh, and others. The only difference would be the content of the talking points.

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