Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 Oscar nominees include record number of African-American actors, films of local interest

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 9:56 AM

Hidden Figures is up for Best Picture, and Octavia Spencer (right) earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
  • Hidden Figures is up for Best Picture, and Octavia Spencer (right) earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

While you were obsessing over the new president's latest actions or Gonzaga's big win last night and move up to No. 3 in the polls, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists released the list of Academy Award nominees this morning.

As mandated by law whenever she makes a film, Meryl Streep is among the nominees up for Best Actress, and after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy last year over the lack of African-American nominees, this year there are a record six nominations for black actors in acting categories (Denzel Washington for Fences, Mahershala Ali for Moonlight, Ruth Negga for Loving, Viola Davis for Fences, Naomie Harris for Moonlight, Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures). Nothing gets Hollywood moving, apparently, faster than some bad PR.

Among the Best Picture nominees are several still playing in Spokane, including Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Fences, La La Land, Lion, Hacksaw Ridge and Manchester by the Sea; the other nominees in the category are movies that already played here and moved on, but keep an eye out for return engagements now that the nominations are out for Hell or High Water and Arrival.

Of local interest: Viggo Mortensen earned a Best Actor nomination for the Washington-shot Captain Fantastic. And the Spokane NAACP is hosting a fundraiser screening of Best Documentary Feature film I Am Not Your Negro as a fundraiser for the Black Lens newspaper on Feb. 21 at the Magic Lantern.

For a full list of this year's Oscar nominations, go right here.
Viggo Mortensen (red suit) is nominated as Best Actor for his role in Washington-shot Captain Fantastic.
  • Viggo Mortensen (red suit) is nominated as Best Actor for his role in Washington-shot Captain Fantastic.

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Trump revives Dakota pipeline, FBI director keeps his job, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 9:16 AM

A Dakota pipeline protest camp last fall. - JEFF FERGUSON
  • Jeff Ferguson
  • A Dakota pipeline protest camp last fall.


MUSIC: The Sasquatch! lineup was announced yesterday, and Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper and the Shins are among the headliners. What do you think?


Two Spokane shootings overnight
Just after midnight, a shot was fired near the 1700 block of W. 2nd Avenue before police found a victim with a gunshot wound at a local hospital. Then, just after 1 am, another shooting occurred on the 400 block of S. Fiske. The two incidents appear unrelated. (KXLY)

AG sanctions landlords
Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General, has a message for landlords: You can't just refuse to rent to anyone with a criminal history. (Spokesman-Review)

Pro-life rally
Thousands of people rallied in Olympia to urge lawmakers to take away abortion rights in Washington. (Spokesman-Review)

DAPL moves forward
With a signature, President Donald Trump advanced the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, despite protests from Natives and environmental groups that led Barack Obama to block the projects before he left office. (AP)

Comey to keep leading FBI
FBI Director James Comey, who many have accused of swaying the election of Donald Trump and who Trump criticized for not charging Hillary Clinton for her email server, will keep his job. (New York Times)
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Sasquatch fest lineup announced; Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper, Shins among headliners

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 9:50 AM

The full lineup for Sasquatch 2017 is out, and tickets go on sale Saturday.
  • The full lineup for Sasquatch 2017 is out, and tickets go on sale Saturday.

The full lineup of this spring's Sasquatch Music Festival has a nice blend of old and new designed to help the annual Memorial Day throwdown at The Gorge to get back to it's insanely crowded heights after a down year in 2016.

Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper, Phantogram, The Shins and The Head and the Heart were among the bigger names joining the previously announced Frank Church. Tickets for this year's festival go on sale Saturday at 10 am and are $295 for the three-day pass; camping is $99.50 extra per car for the basic spot, and there are a number of VIP options available.

The wise decision to make the festival just three days over the holiday weekend potentially means more bang for your buck, and down-lineup acts like soul man Charles Bradley, indie-rock darling Car Seat Headrest, alt-country singer Courtney Marie Andrews and bounce beast Big Freedia should help get things going before each night's headliners.

The festival's comedy component is stellar as well, including appearances by Fred Armisen, Sasheer Zamata and Beth Stelling.

Here's a look back at our Sasquatch coverage from last year.
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Presidential fact v. fiction, Madonna's f-bombs, and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 9:20 AM



WHAT’S UP: The Spokane International Film Festival kicks off Friday, and this week there’s plenty of live music and mysterious beers to lead everyone out of a snowy, slushy January.


The latest round of Fact v. Fiction (Inauguration edition)

Trump kicked off his presidency angrily defending the size of his … inauguration crowds with a series of false or unverifiable claims, and did some damage control after asking why his millions of protesters didn’t just vote if they disliked him so much. Counselor Kellyanne Conway said the White House has “alternative facts,” (which she didn’t share) and that Trump will simply never release his tax returns, neither of which sets a promising tone for the next four years.

Trump considers today to be the first official day of his presidency, Friday’s swearing-in be damned, so let’s call this weekend a very weak practice run. (CBS, New York Times)

A Ray of Light
Madonna got real at the Women’s March on Washington, where she admitted she has “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House,” and dropped a few F-bombs to the crowd’s elation. She later said she was just expressing the “anger and outrage” she felt initially before focusing on peaceful action. (Huffington Post)

Rocky Road
Video shows Spokane police officer Tim Schwering and a neighbor saving local woman Kim Novak from her burning car after she hit slush and became locked inside on her way to get ice cream. The cause of the fire is still undetermined and the car is totaled, but an uninjured Novak is probably just fine with the ice cream and wine Schwering brought her the following day. (KXLY)
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Sunday, January 22, 2017

THIS WEEK: SpIFF launch, local rock and mysterious beers

Posted By on Sun, Jan 22, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Nat Park & the Tunnels of Love play a show with Fat Lady Friday at The Observatory.
  • Nat Park & the Tunnels of Love play a show with Fat Lady Friday at The Observatory.

Can you feel it?
 No, not the shift in the country that came with the inauguration. I'm talking about the approaching end of January, meaning we're oh-so-close to turning the corner on winter. Celebrate in style with some worthy activities you can find in our event listings and Staff Picks.

Here are some highlights of the week ahead:

Monday, Jan. 23

FILM | The Bing is hosting one of the great sci-fi movies you'll ever see for its Monday Night Movie: Blade Runner! Catch it on the big screen, you won't be disappointed. Here's a look as a reminder for old fans, or to tempt new ones:

Tuesday, Jan. 24

FOOD & DRINK | Europa hosts a Small Plates Wine Tasting featuring a slew of delicious vintages paired with dishes by Europa chef/owner Jeff Engel.

Wednesday, Jan. 25

LIVE BANDS | The Observatory hosts a couple of worthy rock acts in Young Jesus and Goon.

WORDS | Join authors Joshua Mohr and Brooke Matson for a reading at Auntie's.

Continue reading »

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Gov. Jay Inslee says don't let Congress play word games with health care

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 4:42 PM

Gov. Jay Inslee warns that repealing Obamacare without a replacement ready to go would be a disaster for Washington residents. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Gov. Jay Inslee warns that repealing Obamacare without a replacement ready to go would be a disaster for Washington residents.

Yesterday, with the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump looming, Gov. Jay Inslee dropped by a Community Health Association of Spokane clinic to deliver an appeal for Republicans to be cautious in tinkering with the Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare, as it's better known. He also urged Washington residents to look very carefully at the words Republicans have been using — like "access to" and "same day" — about their own health care reform proposals.

"I'm here on behalf of 750,000 Washingtonians who have health care for one reason. And that's because we have the Affordable Care Act that protects them and their families," Inslee said. "Protects their life and protects their health. We are determined not to allow the health care to be threatened by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement on the same day."

This week, we have a piece on how social services agencies are worried about the impact of Trump's and the GOP's agenda. In particular, they're worried about proposed changes to Obama's health care reform mandate. Inslee echoed those concerns.

"It is simply not right, it is morally indefensible, to take away a person's health care and not replace it on the same day," Inslee says. "People who have cancer deserve treatment every single day. They should not be put in a place of anxiety and worry to figure out if they have health care."

That's not to say that Inslee couldn't envision ways that the health care system could be better.

"We understand there could be many views on how to improve health care reform as we know it today," he says. "We ought to be open to ideas on how to improve the Affordable Care Act. If these improvements are made, they need to be made on the same day as the repeal to the existing infrastructure."

Still, he says he's worried about the sorts of phrases he's beginning to hear.

"There is language I have heard used from Congress that should cause us great worry. I can hear some members of Congress say, 'Not to worry, we're going to provide people access to care.'"

Paul Ryan recently used the phrase "universal access" when describing the proposed still-theoretical GOP replacement plan.

"That sounds pretty good, right? 'Access,'" Inslee says. "But it doesn't mean health care. It doesn't mean guaranteed health care. It doesn't mean you'll have a way to provide or pay for access to health care. I have access to buy a $10 million house right now. I got access to buy it. But I don't have the $10 million."

Inslee calls these sort of lawyerly word games "sophistry."

"We've got to have the full-meal-deal which is real health care and a real guarantee for people — 750,000 people," Inslee says.

He also identifies another phrase to be skeptical of.

"I've heard people in Congress, say, 'Well, we're not going to cut you off that day,'" Inslee says."That sounds not-too-bad."

It's a phrase U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers used on Twitter last week, writing: "Those who currently receive coverage under Obamacare won’t lose that coverage the day after repeal is signed into law."

But Inslee spots a loophole in that language.

"Look, if they tell you they're going to cut you off a year from now, you're still at great risk," Inslee says. "We know one thing about the U.S. Congress: We shouldn't be confident that it's going to succeed."

Bob Crittenden, Inslee's special assistant for health reform, says that Inslee is currently relying on rhetoric — not any particular legislation or executive action — to try to prevent any reckless repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

"He has the bully pulpit and has a lot of influence here," Crittenden says. He says Inslee is hoping that McMorris Rodgers' constituents will flood her with messages to ensure that the health-care law is not repealed without a replacement in place that continues to cover as many people and protect those with preexisting conditions.

In the past Washington state has tried to pull off something a lot like Obamacare, only to have voters revolt against the higher taxes that resulted. Republicans seized control of the government in 1995, hollowed out the mandate that everyone buy health insurance, and watched the system death-spiral into disaster.

Financially, replicating Obamacare in Washington state would be infeasible, Crittenden says.
If Republicans repeal the tax cuts that pay for Obamacare through the budget reconciliation process, Crittenden says, it would mean $6 billion in federal funds lost for Washington each biennium.

To put that in perspective, you know the education funding mandate that the legislature has failed to solve for years? $6 billion is about twice that.

"Going to $6 billion would be impossible," Crittenden says.

But if it's tax money either way, does it matter if the money is coming from the federal government or the state? It does, Crittenden argues. Washington state, unlike the federal government, relies most heavily on the sales tax, which punishes low-income people the hardest.
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Scenes from Trump's inauguration and protests in Washington, D.C.

Posted By and on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 3:57 PM

Surrounded by friends, family and presidents past, Donald J. Trump was sworn in this morning as America's 45th president.

God bless America.

In his speech, Trump vowed to "rebuild" and "restore" the country and to give the power back "to you, the people."

"The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country," Trump said. "Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land."

Trump's speech drew applause from the relatively calm crowd gathered at the U.S. Capitol while police clashed with protesters on the streets of Washington throughout the day.

Two Whitworth University students attended the inauguration and demonstrations today and sent us some pictures and descriptions of what they saw:

Hundreds of protesters flooded the streets — some just blocks from Trump's parade route following his swearing in. They held cardboard signs and paper banners accusing Trump of racism. They also shouted profanity.

  • Hannah Brekke Photo
Police used pepper spray, tear gas and other nonlethal crowd control techniques to prevent destructive protesters from advancing. Video footage of the demonstrations show people throwing bricks at cars and at the police and lighting trash cans on fire.

  • Hannah Brekke Photo
  • Hannah Brekke Photo

  • Hannah Brekke Photo
Some news organizations are reporting more than 200 people arrested. More protests are planned throughout the country during the next few days — including Spokane's version of the Women's March on Washington.

Josiah Van Wingerden contributed reporting from Washington, D.C.

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Inauguration, march for women's rights, and morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 9:47 AM



Today's the big day. We've got all things Donald Trump, including:

Stay tuned, world!
The long wait is over — The Donald has officially been upgraded to President Trump. Keep watching for performances from the people, the Inaugural Parade and more. Here's a schedule of events for today and tomorrow. (NYT)

Loud and clear
Tomorrow, activists will turn out in droves to support women's rights at the Women's March on Spokane, a non-partisan, peaceful event. The rally is at 11 am at the Convention Center, leading into the march at 1 p.m.
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Spokane Police release the name of officer involved in fatal shooting

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 3:34 PM

  • Spokane Police photo
  • SPD Cpl. Ryan Jamieson

Spokane Police Cpl. Ryan Jamieson was the officer who fatally shot Dexter Dumarce, according to a news release from the Spokane Police Department.

Jamieson, a nine year veteran of the force, was the only officer to fire his service weapon in the early morning hours of Jan. 15.

Although all the details of the incident have not yet been released, Spokane Police have said Dumarce flashed a knife and led Jamieson and other officers on a foot chase through the lower South Hill.

Multiple officers fired Tasers in an attempt to stop Dumarce, but they were ineffective, police said. Jamieson reportedly fired when Dumarce ran toward a vehicle stopped at a red light, police said.

Dumarce was pronounced dead at the scene after an EMT-certified officer gave medical aid. In a press conference hours after the shooting, Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl emphasized that Jamieson stopped Dumarce while patrolling in a "hot spot" — an area where police focus their resources in an attempt to reduce the relatively high level of crime.

At this point, it is not known why, specifically, Jamieson initially stopped Dumarce.

The Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team (SIRRT) is investigating the shooting, with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office as the lead agency.

Jamieson was one of the original volunteers for crisis intervention training (CIT) before the de-escalation training became mandatory for all of its members. The mandate was a stipulation of a lawsuit stemming from the officer involved beating death of a mentally disabled janitor, Otto Zehm.

Jamieson is also a verbal defense and influence instructor, according to SPD and is a range safety officer and a defensive tactics instructor. He received the Chief's Citation Award in 2014.
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Costco to pay millions in settlement over prescription drugs

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 12:51 PM


The giant warehouse store Costco agreed to pay $11.75 million in a settlement to a lawsuit that accused its pharmacies of improperly filling drug prescriptions and failing to keep adequate records for dispensing prescription drugs, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington Michael C. Ormsby.

Costco also agreed to implement a new pharmacy management system and audit program, the announcement says. Additionally, the DEA can now conduct unannounced and unrestricted inspections of some of Costco's pharmacies without warrants.

Although national in scope, the case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration officials from Seattle, Los Angeles, Sacramento, California and Detroit. U.S. Attorneys from Washington state, California and Detroit worked on the case and negotiated the settlement.

"Opioid misuse has reached epidemic levels in the United States," Ormsby says. "This important matter is yet another example of the tenacious dedication of Drug Enforcement Administration investigators in uncovering and addressing corporate regulatory noncompliance."

Under the settlement reached Jan. 18, Costco recognized that some of its pharmacies filled prescriptions from doctors who did not have authority to issue them and that did not contain all of the required information. It also failed to maintain prescription records for its central fill locations in Sacramento and Everett, Washington.

"In light of the prescription pill and opioid overdose epidemic we are seeing across the country, compliance with regulations governing pharmacies is more important than ever," says Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. "We applaud Costco for working with DEA and taking steps to tighten up its compliance to ensure that prescription pills do not end up on the street market."
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