Friday, December 9, 2016

CAT FRIDAY: Our exclusive guide to gifts for the cats and cat people you know

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 5:16 PM

It wouldn't be the holidays without Cat Friday's annual list of top gifts ideas for all of you out there looking to find something super original and cute for the feline fans on your list, and their respective companions. (Find past year's Cat Friday gift guides here: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.) Chances are, they already own a lot of cat stuff. You don't want to gift them an awkward duplicate item, or something that was viral, like, last year. Enter yours truly, the Inlander's resident cat lady here to help you out.

Cocoa and the rest of the Neko plush each come in different poses.
  • Cocoa and the rest of the Neko plush each come in different poses.
Neko Atsume keychain plushies
It's pretty much a given that any cat person you know has downloaded and collected every single regular and "special" neko in this addicting-ly cute Japanese mobile game. (Sadly, I lost my own Cat Book records when switching phones, and with only a few more specials to go!) Anyhow, imagine my surprise and delight to recently discover that the game has gained enough of a foothold in the states that one can now find all sorts of accessories and collectibles to add to your IRL neko collection. Obviously Amazon and Ebay are the easiest places to look, especially for Neko Atsume gear that's perhaps not sold yet by many U.S. retailers. I've yet to see the smiley neko's likenesses anywhere locally.) Prices on Amazon for the little keychain-sized plushies average around $15. Having already purchased one for someone on my shopping list, I can promise they are adorable in person, standing about 5 inches high, and featuring the utmost attention to detail.

Cat wine
Feel less guilty about your wine habits and drink with your cat.
  • Feel less guilty about your wine habits and drink with your cat.
Your cat people pals probably heard all about this weirdly real product — it really is (nonalcoholic) wine for cats — but most of them probably were hesitant to try it since their Picky McPickerson cat usually won't go for things that don't reek of meat or fish paté. That's why you should be the thoughtful, cool person who gets them and their cat a classy collection of vino to enjoy together during their next night in. Cat lovers can rest assured that this product is completely pet friendly (for dogs, too), made from beet juice and catnip (grapes are not good for cat or dogs, duh!). Order directly from the product maker's site, Apollo Peak, and don't forget a corresponding human-friendly bottle for Mr. Fluffypants' owner. Varietals including Pinot Meow, Catbernet, White Kittendel and Moscato range from $5-$13, depending on size.

Feline fashion is far from frumpy these days.
  • Feline fashion is far from frumpy these days.
Anything from the Modcloth "Cat Fashion" category
Every gal with a penchant for retro-influenced, classy clothing knows about Modcloth, and chances are, so do all my fellow cat ladies. The popular online fashion retailer is the place to go for the most stylish fashion pieces that pay homage to the loves of our lives: cats. With cat-themed designs on everything from leggings and tees to tights and shoes, you can probably even ask the cat lady you're shopping for to share her Modcloth favorites list — it probably includes everything with cats on it in the store's inventory. If you're a little less sure of what she already has hanging in her closet, a gift card may feel like a thoughtless gift (we promise it's not), but she'll be able to pick out something in the purr-fect size and style.

The Lion in the Living Room: How Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World
You'll obviously read this cuddled up with your own little lion.
  • You'll obviously read this cuddled up with your own little lion.
Most cat people have what seems like an infinite knowledge on their beloved species, but there's no doubt they'd love to learn more. This new book by Abigail Tucker offers a well-researched history into cats' fascinating domestication, and features insights from a range of experts; breeders, animal rights activists, scientists and more. While offering a wealth of information about humans' infatuation with cats, the book also objectively examines some of the more negative elements that cats' domestication has brought with it, like bird species' high mortality rates due to cats' predatory nature.

The Lion in the Living Room has so far received rave reviews, including this comment from the Seattle Times: "[Tucker] is an engaging writer and a sucker for the felines...her brief, lighthearted book takes us on a fascinating journey...Will this book change your opinion on cats? Probably not. Will you enjoy reading it? Absolutely, particularly with your own tiny lion close by."

Meow-y Catmas!
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9 things you should know about Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Trump's Interior pick

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 4:02 PM

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of the Interior, is a Republican. That's most of what you need to know right there.
  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of the Interior, is a Republican. That's most of what you need to know right there.

President Elect Donald Trump looks like he's chosen Spokane's own U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers as his Secretary of the Interior. And already, we've seen a lot of dramatic statements casting her as a drill-happy pillager of public lands who spells doom for rivers and forests.

Environmental groups have plenty of reasons to be concerned, but it's important to understand that McMorris Rodgers has not made oil drilling or selling off public lands the primary focus of her career. Instead, she's been focused more heavily on hydroelectric power and forest management. (Anti-dam groups should be very worried.)

Here, we'll try to put Cathy McMorris Rodgers career in context, focusing on her likely priorities as Secretary of the Interior.

1) She's pretty much a generic Republican.

McMorris Rodgers isn't someone like Raul Labrador, prone to publicly challenge the party's conventional wisdom. Instead, with the possible exception of her caution of military intervention in Syria, she's been a party-line Republican, more in the Rep. Eric Cantor mode than the Ted Cruz mode.

Mainstream Republicans are skeptical of climate change and in favor of pipelines and drilling; so is McMorris Rodgers. While she has a 0 percent score from the League of Conservative Voters, so do over 100 of her Republican colleagues in the House.

We once asked McMorris Rodgers where, if anywhere, she disagreed with the Republican party platform. She responded by reiterating Republican conventional wisdom on Obamacare.

Similarly, she's been loath to acknowledge the heavy division within the Republican party. My interview with her in 2013 focused on the big internal debates within the party over immigration and health care. She seemed confident that Eric Cantor's proposal to fund "high-risk pools" for health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions would eventually pass. Not only did it not pass, Cantor spectacularly lost his primary the next year.

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THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: The Sweeplings, Nightmare Before Christmas and more

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 3:41 PM


Armed with a brand-new Christmas EP, Winter's Call, the Sweeplings (Spokane singer-songwriter Cami Bradley’s act) come to Vessel Coffee Roasters tonight for an intimate Christmas performance that will show off some of their favorite holiday songs. Over the past few years, Bradley has continued to work her magic on the rest of the country. After placing sixth on America's Got Talent in 2013, Bradley joined up with Alabama native Whitney Dean to create a powerhouse folk-pop duo. Tonight's show is sold out, but for those with tickets the show starts at 7:30 pm.

If you like seeing yourself on film, local math rockers Flannel Math Animal are recording a live concert video at the Big Dipper tonight starting at 8 pm. By choosing to be a part of the audience included on the video you'll also receive the concert video for free via email.  Local singer-songwriter Andy Rumsey opens the set.

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Healthcare at risk, coding opportunities for kids and gingerbread build-off

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 2:30 PM

The annual Gingerbread Build-off at the Davenport on Sunday benefits Christ Kitchen's work providing work, training and fellowship for women in poverty.
  • The annual Gingerbread Build-off at the Davenport on Sunday benefits Christ Kitchen's work providing work, training and fellowship for women in poverty.

A Healthy Experience?
Big changes seem to be on the horizon for health care. There’s plenty of speculation about what Congress and a new president will do to the Affordable Care Act in the next year. But the Kaiser Health Foundation reports the secretary of Health and Human Services, an agency with a $1 trillion budget, has surprisingly broad powers to affect the health of every American all by himself. ‘“Virtually everything people do every day is impacted by the way the Department of Health and Human Services is run,” said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in the report. Tapped to head the department is Tom Price, a six-term Republican congressman from Georgia (a state currently ranked 46th in health cost, outcomes and access). If confirmed, Price could eliminate the ACA’s coverage of birth control at no additional cost, “water down” rules about tobacco products, and expand the scope of “conscience objections” by health care providers, among other things.

Get Coding
With the discouraging news that not only has life expectancy declined for the first time in decades, but also that kids today are much less likely to earn more than their parents, here’s a bright spot. Hour of Code encourages students of all ages to become familiar with computer programming. There are dozens of one-hour lessons to choose from. Though demand for programmers is subsiding from the red-hot trend of the early 2000s, median income for programmers was still more than $79K in 2015. But does money really buy happiness and health? Not always, but it doesn’t seem to hurt. According to a MacArthur Foundation Policy Brief, those living in more affluent neighborhoods enjoy better health and are happier.

Gingerbread House
Check out the annual gingerbread build-off on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm at the Davenport Grand Hotel. Watching the teams create their majestic works from lowly cookies and Royal Icing is free; build and take home your own creation for $7. Proceeds benefit Christ Kitchen, which provides work, training and fellowship for women in poverty.
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Stuckart WON'T be running for mayor — will be running for U.S. Representative

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Ben Stuckart isn't so interested in being Mayor of Spokane anymore.
  • Ben Stuckart isn't so interested in being Mayor of Spokane anymore.

Back in April, City Council President Ben Stuckart had a plan: He was going to run to be mayor of Spokane. Sure, it was three years off. But on April 19, he'd already submitted his paperwork to run in 2019.

And just to be sure, The Inlander asked him how certain he was he was going to stick to the plan. Unless something drastic happens, he said, he wouldn't be changing his mind.

"It’s a sure thing as you can get," Stuckart said in June.

Well. He's changed his mind.

"I will definitively not be running for Mayor in 2019," Stuckart says. He sent out an announcement this morning proclaiming that he would be running to replace Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Donald Trump's appointment for Secretary of the Interior. But even if he loses, he says he won't run for mayor.

Even before Donald Trump's election, Stuckart says, his mind began to shift on running for mayor. Yes, he says, it was "partially" the chaotic scandal that enveloped the David Condon administration.

But there was more to it than that. His skill-set is best as a legislator, he says, not an administrator.

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McMorris Rodgers to the cabinet? Walmart truck joyride and morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 9:51 AM


NEWS: Some dingus took a Walmart semi-truck on a joyride around Spokane. He didn't get far.

NEWS: The legislature gave Spokane $300,000 to fight property crime (thanks, in part, to Inlander reporting). How will they spend it?

TATTOOS AND SKULLS: Local artist Anji Marth scribbles on humans and skulls. She's also got an art show that runs through Jan. 6.


• A new report says Washington's charter school law is among the best in the nation. (Spokesman-Review)

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
  • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is expected to be tapped as Donald Trump's interior secretary. And, in a press release this morning, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart announced his intention to run for her vacated 5th District seat. (New York Times)

Heroin and opioid-related deaths have surpassed gun homicides for the first time ever. (Washington Post) Related: The Inlander wrote about an 18-year-old girl whose father scrambled to get her help when it seemed none was available.

• John Glenn, the first man to orbit the Earth in 1962, died. He was 95. (Associated Press)

• President Barack Obama will release the results of a "full review" of cyberattacks during this year's election. The Obama administration has blamed the attacks on Russia. (Politico)
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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Why Boise's Treefort Music Festival matters to Spokane

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 4:10 PM


There's been quite a bit of regional music festival news as of late. First, Sasquatch!, in a bold move, opted to not only offer early-bird tickets for the holidays, as per usual, but also announced that Frank Ocean would headline the 2017 Memorial Day event. Then, it was revealed that Spokane would have it's own large, three-day riverfront music festival called Tinnabulation. Boise's own downtown Treefort Music Fest's (March 22-26) first wave of band announcements also landed last week with this seriously on-point preview video.

Now Boise and Spokane, about a six-hour car ride from one another, are similarly sized cities, and the Lilac City can benefit greatly from Treefort Music Festival, especially with high-end indie artists like Mac DeMarco, The Growlers, The Bouncing Souls, STRFKR, Deafheaven, WHY?, JMSN, The Album Leaf, Rituals of Mine, Open Mike Eagle, Carpenter Brut, Eilen Jewell, Jonathan Richman, Grouper, Lower Dens and Meat Puppets coming through their festival. Here's how:

1) Tinnabulation organizers can learn from Boise's music festival setup and build upon that. Treefort, now in its sixth year, has expanded overtime to include five days and a multitude of stages that feature everything from music to yoga. Spokane's Tinnabulation, which runs in September, will start out as three days of mostly music. Organizers say they plan to bring in large national touring acts (perhaps more well-known than what Boise's fest enjoys), but bands like these already booked for Treefort can serve as a starting point.

2) As in the past, let's hope that many of these artists will stop at Spokane before and after their Treefort sets (musicians like Mac DeMarco would be perfect in a Knitting Factory setting— hint, hint). Already Meat Puppets are scheduled to hit the Bartlett March 20 and Strand of Oaks will be there March 23, so that's a start. Any other city — Coeur d'Alene, Moscow, Pullman or Sandpoint — that these bands grace during that time, would only continue to build excitement for the Inland Northwest music scene.

Expect two more waves of Treefort music acts to be announced soon. A five-day general admission wristband is $89 for fans under 21, and $165 for those 21 and over.
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Some idiot took a Walmart truck on a high-speed chase and our local TV news knew how to handle it

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 3:47 PM


This morning, some dude who was apparently smart enough to work a big-rig transmission but dumb enough to think he could get away with stealing a Walmart semi-truck inside Spokane city limits went on rampage throughout the city, with police in his wake.

He then crashed the truck, full of the sort of goods you can get at rock-bottom prices at Walmart, but not before running over a car, hitting a home and putting a whole lot of lives in danger. Then, he ran from the police, leading to a school lockdown throughout a large portion of the city.

It was a mess. And thankfully the dipshit was apprehended and no one was hurt. But there was some good that came out of this mess, and that is this video produced by KHQ, Spokane's NBC affiliate.
You know something's up when the foreboding bass leads us into a shot of a seemingly uneventful intersection. But then — holy shit — there's the Walmart semi truck in question, caught in a freeze frame as it takes a too-wide turn at an intersection and whips around in the lane as the guitar of Satan himself jackhammers up through the pavement on its way up from hell and the drums of Thor tell us that — in case you haven't noticed — this is nefarious business.

If you're not slam-dancing too hard at this point, you can see the Blues Brothers level of police cruisers in pursuit. It gets a little hard to see the truck, but he's out there. Yeah, he's out there, all right, driving like a madman and probably playing this very soundtrack in the cab of that illicitly acquired merchandise delivery vehicle.
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How local law enforcement plans to use that extra $300,000 to fight property crime

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 10:21 AM

Spokane police chief Craig Meidl speaks before the Senate Law & Justice Committee about how SPD and the Spokane County sheriff's office is spending an extra $300,000 to fight property crimes
  • Spokane police chief Craig Meidl speaks before the Senate Law & Justice Committee about how SPD and the Spokane County sheriff's office is spending an extra $300,000 to fight property crimes

Earlier this year, thanks in part to a big Inlander story about the property crime epidemic in Washington state, law enforcement agencies in Spokane County received a one-time boost of $300,000 from the legislature to fight property crime.

After decreasing significantly during 2014 and 2015, property crime has been increasing slightly during the first half of 2016 — vehicle thefts, in particular, have been increasing.

Because of a mistake by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs — which is dispersing the $300,000 — local law enforcement haven't actually received the funding yet, putting law enforcement two months behind their planned roll-out schedule.

While $15,000 will be taken up with indirect costs of the Association, here's how the police and sheriff's department plan to spend the rest of the money:

$60,000: Informational ad campaign
This won't go directly to making you safer. Rather, it will go to buy ads to inform you how to make yourself safer. They've already met with a public relations firm, which would buy advertisements aimed at "hardening" soft targets. Like: Lock your car. Don't leave purses or laptops or priceless family heirlooms sitting in the front seat. Open garages or unlocked homes tend to tempt thieves.

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The Zags were quick to show UW who runs the state of Washington

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 9:51 AM

Former Husky-turned-Zag Nigel Williams-Goss torched his old team last night for 23 points. - AUSTIN ILG PHOTO
  • Austin Ilg photo
  • Former Husky-turned-Zag Nigel Williams-Goss torched his old team last night for 23 points.

Remember when the Huskies used wanting to play other teams as their excuse for cancelling this rivalry a decade ago?

“It’s really not about us not wanting to play them,” former UW athletic director Todd Turner said at the time. “We want to be scheduling nationally.”

Well, last night UW got to play the eighth-ranked team in the nation. And it probably didn’t take long for the Huskies to get to the point of why their university hasn't wanted to come to Spokane.

Behind a season high 23 points from former Husky Nigel Williams-Goss, the Zags thoroughly outclassed their in-state rival 98-71.

If there was a moment to highlight in this beatdown it came just moments into the second half. Williams-Goss had scored on the Zags’ previous two possessions, and then Przemek Karnowski (17 points) — all 300 pounds of his 7-1 frame — beat the entire Washington defense down the court for a breakaway dunk.

Gonzaga’s lead was all the way up to 53-27, and there were over 18 minutes left to be played.
It only got worse for the UW defense, too. At one point, Karnowski brought the ball up the court like a point guard. The giant man with giant dribbles didn’t have the ball stolen from him, like he should against a Pac 12 team, but rather he drew a foul.

The only real positive for the Huskies, other than their willingness to once again face off with Gonzaga, came from freshman guard Markelle Fultz (25 points). Among NBA Draft experts, Fultz is considered to be a potential number one overall pick in the 2017 draft.
With Fultz, along with Gonzaga’s assortment of talent on display, NBA scouts from the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and numerous other teams, packed themselves into the Kennel’s press section to have a look in person.

In all, this didn’t look much like a rivalry. And maybe that's because it had been on ice for a decade. Or maybe because after this 40 minute drubbing Gonzaga, now 9-0 for only the second time in program history, has won 10 of the past 11 match-ups with the Huskies.
But it is indeed a rivalry game, and basketball in the Washington is better off now that it’s back, even if the Washington Huskies’ morale isn’t. Fans should be excited to see it continue next year over in Seattle.

The Zags are back in action on Saturday at 5 pm here in Spokane against a feisty Akron team (7-2) that will likely give them more of a run for their money than Washington could provide. It's televised on ROOT.

On the women's side, you can catch Gonzaga against Washington State tonight in the Kennel at 6 pm. As of now, there are still some tickets available. The Zags head to Cheney at 2 pm on Sunday to take on the EWU women.
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