Monday, June 22, 2015

MB: WSU president dies, Portland's luxurious beards, and Taylor Swift outmuscles Apple

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 7:39 AM


WSU President Elson Floyd died from cancer over the weekend just two weeks after starting a leave of absence to battle the disease, and the Pullman campus is in mourning. (KXLY)

The sister of a motorcyclist who died in a crash with an STA bus — a crash ruled a suicide — doesn't believe he was trying to kill himself. (Spokesman-Review)

One of the Pasco police officers involved in shooting Antonio Zambrano-Montes in February has resigned. (KREM)


The leader of a white supremacist group who inspired South Carolina church shooter Dylann Roof has donated tens of thousands of dollars to several of the Republican presidential candidates, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum. (New York Times)

The now infamous prison escapees in New York had their DNA discovered in an upstate cabin. (CNN)

Jordan Spieth, a 21-year-old, won the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay on Washington's west side on Sunday, just months after winning the Masters. (Seattle Times)

Taylor Swift might actually be more powerful than Apple — the company changed its policy on paying artists and record labels available on its new streaming service when the pop star wrote a public letter chastising them. (BBC)


Portland hosted the Rose City Beard and Mustache Competitoin, and the photos are amazing. (Oregonian)
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Friday, June 19, 2015

76 false or otherwise #problematic statements from Rachel Dolezal, and counting

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 4:19 PM

Rachel Dolezal in 2010 - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Rachel Dolezal in 2010

The national media have largely moved on from the Rachel Dolezal story, turning their attention to far more disturbing events. But Dolezal — a black leader revealed to be white — remains a significant story in the community she repeatedly lied to. While many have pointed to her actions as evidence of the region’s struggles with racial issues, they fit even more cleanly into Spokane’s saga of getting fooled by scammers, fraudsters and liars. (And yes, the Inlander, was sadly not immune to being deceived.)

This compilation of Dolezal’s lies and other fishy actions can’t hope to be complete, but the goal is to give an idea of the sheer scale of Dolezal’s deceptions. Some deceptions are tiny. Some are massive. Other statements may not be lies at all, but have been thrown into serious doubt because of Dolezal’s other deceptions. We intend this to be a document that is continually updated as more revelations arise. Please let us know in the comments if there’s anything we missed. Or if there's a factual claim incorrectly labeled as false or suspicious, let us know that too.

Lies, untruths or "creative nonfictions" (36 examples)

1. Dolezal has repeatedly lied or represented that she is "black" or "multiracial." She is not. Yet she has made this claim in a variety of venues, including checking “African-American” on her application to the Spokane Office of Police Ombudsman.

2. ... Dolezal cringed at having to correct women who touch her hair and says she’s, like, “just please don’t do this to another black woman.”

3. ... Referring to Black History Month, Dolezal wrote, “Our story should be taught year round.” It’s not her story.

4. ... In an Inlander column, Dolezal referred to herself as a “black feminist like bell hooks and Harriet Tubman.”

5. ... In an Inlander column, Dolezal said her son doesn’t see the other black kids at the school as black, and “distinguishes himself as the only black kid at his school actually being raised by a black parent."

6.... In an interview in April with Inlander journalist Lael Henterly, Dolezal said, discussing the NAACP, “We’re black, we must be careful with our civil liberties.”

7. Dolezal has also repeatedly claimed that her adopted brother, Izaiah, is actually her son. For example, in an Inlander column, Dolezal calls herself “a mother raising two black sons.”

8. ... In an Inlander column, Dolezal refers to arguments with her “teenage sons,” plural.

9. ... In an interview with Melissa Harris-Perry, Dolezal said, “First of all, it means that I have really gone there with the experience in terms of being a mother of two black sons and really owning what it — what it means to experience and live blackness.”

10. ... In her first Inlander column, Dolezal said that “my black son is completing his degree.”

11. Dolezal has also repeatedly represented Albert Wilkerson, Jr., a black man, as her real father. In fact, he's a friend of hers, but not her biological father. For example, Idaho Rep. Paulette Jordan tells the Inlander when Dolezal served as her campaign manager that Dolezal “made it clear that she has part-black and part-native heritage,” and that Doelzal introduced him to her “father” Albert Wilkerson back in 2009.  

Continue reading »

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Does anyone in Montana actually live in a tipi? Another Dolezal claim explored

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 10:30 AM

Among the many red flags in Rachel Dolezal's backstory was the whole birth-in-a-tipi-in-Montana thing. There was a time when tipis made a lot of sense. "The original tipis were ingenious," says Nick Mann, resident Crow Indian aficionado for the Billings Chamber of Commerce. "They were extremely mobile, broke down in an hour, were easy to transport and had flaps so you could control the air coming in."  

Tipis still do make sense for glampers, reenactors and the like. But no one, including Native Americans from the plains region —- the only place Indians lived in tipis —- lives in tipis today. And they haven’t in a long time, Mann says.

Living in a tipi may not give you cred on the rez these days, but many Crow do still own tipis. "When you drive past the houses on the Crow reservation, you’ll see a dozen tipi poles leaned up against each house," says Mann. You, too, can own a tipi. And in modern America, owning and sleeping occasionally in a tipi seems to be about the closest anyone gets to calling one of these conical tents home.

Things to do with tipis:

First, you’ll need a tipi.

Make your own tipi: you don’t need to kill a buffalo, skin it and tan the hide; Mann says the Crow swapped skins for canvas over a century ago when the white settlers showed up looking to trade.

Here’s a comprehensive tipi-building resource; this is good, too, and simpler.

Of course, you could always buy a tipi: Tipis are available for purchase. Pottery Barn's whimsical indoor option enables kids to "create an imaginative world all their own inside this special play place made just for them. Designed after a traditional Native American teepee, it makes a terrific tent for sleepovers". The gray-fabric covered tipi will set you back $249 and give your kids a legitimate claim to the whole "I grew up in a tipi" thing. ("So what if it was in my living room?")

Continue reading »

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MB: CdA shoplifting suspect dies, the nation mourns the Charleston shooting victims

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 9:05 AM


A man suspected of shoplifting from a Coeur d'Alene Super 1 Foods died after being held to the ground by a security officer, though witnesses say they don't think the officer used excessive force. (Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane City Council officially removed Rachel Dolezal from her position on the city's Police Ombudsman Commission. (Inlander)

Also, the Spokesman-Review received a package of letters yesterday from the same person "War Pig/Sgt. X" who allegedly sent hate mail to Dolezal earlier this year. (Spokesman-Review)


As the nation and the community of Charleston mourns and remembers the nine victims of Wednesday's senseless shooting, here's what we know about the victims and who they were. (Washington Post) 

The suspect in the killings, Dylann Roof, has been charged with nine counts of murder and the South Carolina governor is calling for the death penalty. (New York Times)

Now that he's been reassigned to MSNBC, Brian Williams has apologized for lying and says he blames his ego. (USA Today)

Is Tiger Woods on his way out? The golf star isn't doing so hot at the U.S. Open, happening now near Tacoma. (New York Times)
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Dolezal removed from police oversight panel

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 9:04 AM

The Spokane City Council voted to remove Rachel Dolezal as chair of the of Office of Police Ombudsman Commission and to accept the resignation of commission member Kevin Berkompas in response to a report that found they had abused their authority on the police oversight panel.

The report also faulted Adrian Dominguez. But Council voted 5-1 to defer taking action until next week on Dominguez, who is out of town without access to a computer and had requested an opportunity to respond to the charges in the report. Dominguez had resigned from the commission last week to take a job in Seattle but had offered to stay on through the end of July.

After emerging from a 45-minutes executive session, where members of the public are not allowed, council emerged voting 6-0 (Councilman Jon Snyder was absent) to accept the resignation of Berkompas and to remove Dolezal, who has been in the center of a firestorm after it was revealed she has presented herself as black for years despite being born to white parents.

“We have heard nothing from her except through the national media outlets,” said Council President Ben Stuckart during the meeting. “She has not contacted me, the mayor or the legal department.”

Stuckart also noted that he wanted to move rapidly in replacing the members of the Ombudsman Commission. If Dominguez is removed next week, the commission will be left with two sitting members and legally unable to function. 
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

MB: S.C. shooter kills 9 at black church, Spokane County burn ban, $10 bill gets a lady

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 9:07 AM


A fire near Fish Lake burned about 145 acres yesterday afternoon but crews had it mostly contained by the early evening. (Spokesman-Review)

With the record-breaking hot and dry weather so far this season that's helped ignite several brush fires around the region, a burn ban has been issued for Spokane County. (KXLY)

A report issued yesterday by the City of Spokane states that Police Ombudsman Commission chair Rachel Dolezal and two other commission members abused their position of authority and created a hostile workplace environment. (Inlander)

The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office is looking to find a person who abandoned a litter of puppies in Corbin Park in Post Falls. (KREM)


A 21-year-old man entered a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last night during a Bible study session, opening fire and killing nine people. Authorities have reportedly apprehend the suspect, identified as Dylann Roof. (CNN)

Pope Francis calls for world leaders to take action to mitigate and slow climate change in his recently released encyclical. (New York Times)

In 2020, a woman will grace the front of the $10 bill. Who that shall be is to be determined by the U.S. Treasury in the coming months. The decision commemorates the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote. (Fortune)
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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UPDATED Report: Rachel Dolezal and other ombudsman commissioners "abused their authority"

Posted By and on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 1:45 PM

As the legacy and lies of Rachel Dolezal have been debated nationwide, there’s been one defense of Dolezal that has cropped up again and again: Sure, Dolezal may have been dishonest about her race — but she’s done good work in her professional roles.

Posed that argument outside of Council Chambers after a press conference, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart fired back with two words: “Obviously not.”
Mayor David Condon (left) and Council President Ben Stuckart (right) respond to the report. - JAKE THOMAS
  • Jake Thomas
  • Mayor David Condon (left) and Council President Ben Stuckart (right) respond to the report.

Stuckart and Mayor Condon had just finished a press conference on an investigation into the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission, which Dolezal chairs. The news was grim. Dolezal and two other members of Spokane's Office of Police Ombudsman Commission, created “an intimidating, hostile and offensive environment” and “abused their authority,” according to a report released by the city of Spokane today.

“It’s horrible,” Stuckart said. “It makes me want to cry.”

Stuckart says he’s contacted all three accused commissioners. The other requested time to defend themselves. Only one — Dolezal — has refused to get back to him.

“It’s definitely a narrative. Dink! Dink! Dink! You’ve done wrong things here and wrong things here…” Stuckart says. "If somebody is behaving unacceptably and they do it multiple areas, it’s just — there’s a lot of people in Spokane hurt right now.” 

On April 16, an unnamed individual filed a whistleblower complaint against ombudsman commission chair Rachel Dolezal and commissioners Kevin Berkompas and Adrian Dominguez, prompting the city to hire the law firm Winston & Cashatt to investigate the allegations.

The police ombudsman position has been vacant since Tim Burns resigned in January. Since then it has been staffed by an assistant, Rebekah Hollwedel, who left the position in May, after the complaint was filed.

“The evidence and interviews confirmed [named redacted] workplace harassment allegations, revealing a pattern of misconduct as well as specific incidents of harassment that might be viewed only as rude or unprofessional were it not for the ongoing pattern of harassment,” reads the report.

Specifically it found:

• The members of the commission named in the report “abused their authority” by exceeding the scope of the ordinance and charter provisions governing the Office of the Police Ombudsman.

• Dolezal and Berkompas instituted a policy of altering commission meeting minutes before they were presented for approval at the next monthly meeting. They also avoided requirements of the Open Public Meeting Act, misrepresenting statements and conduct of staff and cut out other commissioners from the decision making process.

• The commissioners named in the report engaged in behavior that belittled and discounted the complainant and her abilities. During televised hearings they frequently misrepresented and criticized her activities and job performance, and later retaliated when she complained.

• Dolezal engaged in conduct that humiliated, insulted or degraded the complainant by instituting she was not accepting complaints from the public, was engaged in unnecessary training and chastising her for creating a draft informational flyer on the ombudsman’s office.

• Dolezal exhibited a bias against law enforcement, and her role as chapter of the NAACP president created a conflict of interest. Dolezal breached her duty to keep information confidential.

• Adrian Dominguez lied to investigators about a proposal to perform an evaluation of the complainant.

“I’m not going to sit and accept some blame for this report, or what [Dolezal’s] done to shift attention from the real leaders in our community. You know, people like Toni Lodge with the Native Project, Freda Gandy, at the Martin Luther King Center. They’re doing amazing work in our community,” Stuckart said. Yet we’re spending five or six days talking about this woman who didn’t even have the guts to apologize to her own community, and flies to New York to be on national television.”

Stay tuned for updates.

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Does state's appeal of fed court's competency ruling further mistreatment of jailed mentally ill?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 1:15 PM

The Department of Social and Health Services has a problem with a federal judge's ruling.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled in April that criminal defendants must receive competency evaluations within seven days of a court order. If a defendant is found incompetent to stand trial, he or she must be transferred to Washington State Hospital or Eastern State Hospital. The seven-day timeframe is also suggested by state law.

DSHS is appealing the portion of the ruling that requires evaluations within seven days of the court order, saying that timeframe could be too short and produce a false positive result for mental illness. The rationale is that defendants could still be coming down off drugs.

"If you determine that someone is mentally ill when they're actually not, that takes up precious bed space in the hospital," says Kathy Spears, a spokeswoman for DSHS. 

Kari Reardon, a Spokane public defender for almost 20 years, can only shake her head at the appeal. Many of Reardon's clients have mental illnesses, and she says competency evaluations are almost never ordered on the same day as arrests. 

"Mental health evaluations are generally ordered after the defendant has met with a lawyer and that lawyer has questioned their ability to rationally assist in their defense," Reardon says. "To delay this further amounts to mentally ill people sitting in our jails not receiving the services they need." 

She gives an example of a client, Sidappa Tall, who was arrested February 14. Tall's competency evaluation wasn't ordered until February 23, after Reardon had a chance to meet with him. Tall's evaluation took place more than a month later. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and recommended for a transfer to Eastern State Hospital for treatment. 

CORRECTION: Tall has been sitting in Spokane County Jail for 123 days (as of June 17) without medication, not 58 as previously stated. It's been 58 days since his was evaluated and ordered treatment at Eastern State Hospital. 

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Spokane Human Rights Commission calls on Dolezal to resign from ombudsman position

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 9:55 AM

The Spokane Human Rights Commission passed a resolution during an emergency meeting last night calling on Rachel Dolezal, the chair of the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission, to resign.

Blaine Stum, chair of the HRC, began the meeting by noting that Dolezal “has been the subject of a lot of controversy” after charges emerged last week that she has falsely represented herself as black and that she exaggerated or fabricated hate crimes committed against her.

“And so I thought it would be a good idea for us as the Human Rights Commission, given how close we align ourselves with the Office of Police Ombudsman, to ask her to resign,” said Stum.

While the resolution avoids wading into the specific accusations leveled against Dolezal, it does state that her “continued presence on the Office of Police Ombudsman has the potential to damage the credibility and legitimacy of the Commission and the vital work they do in the community.”

Toward the end of the meeting, Jamie SiJohn, a member of the HRC, said that Dolezal used stereotypes of African Americans and Native American culture to her advantage.

“I'm offended that this person used stereotypes that I fight everyday to elevate herself,” said SiJohn, a member of the Spokane Tribe. “I think the way to stop it is with education.”

HRC Resolution Requesting Rachel Dolezal Resign From OPO Commission

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MB: Dolezal questions parentage, Spokane jail inmate dies, white rhinos' bleak fate

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 9:17 AM


Just when we all thought the situation might get crazier, it did: Rachel Dolezal now is saying she questions whether her white parents are her real parents. (LA Times via Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane NAACP is requesting that the Spokane Police resume investigations into alleged hate mail sent to Dolezal, after the SPD announced on Friday it was suspending its investigations into the case. (KREM)

Another inmate has died at the Spokane County Jail, becoming the third to die there in the past six weeks. (Spokesman-Review)

The Davenport Grand Hotel opens its doors today for a soft opening. (KXLY)

A fire started on the 17th floor of the Park Tower Apartments in downtown Spokane yesterday. (KXLY)


The world is running out of water, and new NASA data shows just how dire the problem is getting. (Washington Post)

ISIS has directed and inspired attacks all around the world, and this New York Times data-focused story with graphics and charts shows where, when and how. (New York Times) 

The fate of the entire white rhino species is up to the last elderly male living. (Washington Post)
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