Tuesday, November 24, 2015

UW and Gonzaga finally meet up...in the Bahamas...at 9 in the morning

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 3:29 PM

You won't like Sabonis when he's angry.
  • You won't like Sabonis when he's angry.

In December of 2006, Gonzaga played Washington for what they knew would be the last time in quite a while, and they made the most of it. The Zags, in their first post-Morrison campaign, slaughtered then then 13th-ranked Huskies 97-77 in Spokane.

The rivalry went cold after that, with the schools putting the annual matchup on an infinite hold. There had been a lot of beef about Gonzaga and UW going after the same recruits and rumors of other squabbles between the coaching staffs and athletic departments.

Since then, the Zags and Huskies haven't squared off, which is a shame because in some of those years, both schools had very good clubs. People really wanted to see them play again and state Rep. Michael Baumgartner even introduced a bill that would require the cross-state rivals to take the floor once a year

But without any legislative help, the UW-Gonzaga series is returning next season and will alternate between Spokane and Seattle going forward. That said, the party is getting started early tomorrow thanks to the scheduling committee at the Battle 4 Atlantis, an elite, swanky, slightly futuristic basketball tournament tipping off in the Bahamas tomorrow.

Gonzaga and Washington are set to face off in the opening round of the tournament, which also includes Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan, Syracuse, UConn and Charlotte. It's an impressive field, to say the least.

As if it wasn't odd enough that teams separated by less than 300 miles would travel to foreign soil to do battle, there are a few other weird things about tomorrow's game. First off, it's being played at 9 am Pacific time, which is not exactly when college athletes are at their most lively and active. Also, the game comes just two weeks after both schools played games in Asia and are likely a little air weary. Gonzaga went to Japan to play one half against Pitt before the court became a slippery deathtrap and the contest was called off. Washington, on the other hand, went to China and defeated Texas in a game made most memorable by 23 points from Husky guard Andrew Andrews and the verbal insanity that rolled out of color commentator Bill Walton's mouth on the television broadcast. Adding to the weirdness, Washington would play Texas again, should both the Huskies and Longhorns emerge victorious tomorrow.

So how do they measure up? Well, all the aforementioned variables could play a part, as will the fact that this is a rivalry game...although played in front of likely very, very few students in what looks more like a Barry Manilow concert set up than a college basketball arena. The Huskies are very, very young — Andrews is the lone senior and there's only a pair of juniors on the roster. But freshman Marquese Chriss and Noah Dickerson have played very well. Chriss scored 29 points against Mt. Saint Mary's in the Huskies' 100-67 win.

Gonzaga also took on Mt. Saint Mary's on Saturday, and with similar results, a 101-56 win. Like pretty much every other team, the Huskies are going to have trouble with Gonzaga's size and will hope to contain Domantas Sabonis, who is getting insane open looks this season, which is why he's made 19 of 23 shots in the Zags' two blow-out wins. Expect the Huskies to try to run up and down the court in the sort of up-tempo style Romar has featured at UW for the last decade-plus. They might look to do that to counter the Zags' size, but remember, Gonzaga has four very fast guards who can hang with anybody. Oh, and Kyle Wiltjer. They have Kyle Wiltjer...

Again, the game is at 9 am PST and you can watch it on ESPN because your boss has probably already left for Thanksgiving.
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City Council gets progress update addressing aftermath of windstorm

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 2:55 PM


As of last night, Mayor David Condon and City Councilman Mike Fagan were without power as a result of the historic windstorm that blew through the region last week. Council President Ben Stuckart was also without power as well until he received a text from his wife during the weekly council meeting notifying him that it was back on.

Stuckart joked that he was going to head home early, but instead stayed to hear updates about the storm from an Avista representative and the mayor.

“This has been absolutely the worst weather event that our company has experienced in our 126-year history,” said Steve Trabun, Avista regional business manager, explaining that the windstorm resulted in 180,000 customers without power.

As of Monday evening, 153,000, or 85 percent, of those customers had their power restored and 132 crews, which had been called in from nearby states as well as Canada, were working on the remaining 27,000 left without power, he said, most of which were in the heart of Spokane.

“Our goal is to really focus on trying to restore power to the majority of our customers by the end of Wednesday night,” he said. “The devastation is extensive.”

Trabun said that restoring power is very difficult work for crews. For instance, he said a crew went out yesterday for 16 hours and was only able to restore power for 8 customers.

“It’s that hard,” he said. “If we get outside of the public right of way, we’re in backyards... we can’t take our big trucks and equipment in there, we have to hand-dig holes to replace poles.”

He said that “ground zero” for the windstorm was the 99203 zip code, which encompasses much of the South Hill.

Trabun said that he’s heard suggestions that Avista just put it lines underground to avoid situations like this. While Avista does that for newer construction, it’s just not practical for more established neighborhoods, he said, noting that Spokane is built on top of very dense basalt rock.

The council also heard a report from Mayor Condon on the windstorm. He said that at the peak of the windstorm, 60 intersections were without signals.

“We now as of today have only 9 intersections without power,” he said.

“We received 2,289 calls to the 911 system between 1 pm and 9 pm on the day of the storm,” he continued, adding that it received another 800 calls for medical incidents, structure fire, gas leaks and other calls for service. Police, he said, also arranged extra patrols for neighborhoods without power. Condon also said that all the city’s expenses will be paid for out of reserve funds or grants from the state.
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Let it snow: Schweitzer Mountain Resort opens its ski season Friday

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 1:46 PM

The scene earlier today at the North Idaho resort. - SCHWEITZER FACEBOOK
  • Schweitzer Facebook
  • The scene earlier today at the North Idaho resort.

You might have noticed that unusual white discharge plummeting from the sky when you woke up this morning. That's snow, and it's been a while since we've seen any around here. 

While some Inland Northwesterners are already driving like they've never seen the stuff as they navigate the roads, many are rejoicing at its arrival, none more than the local ski resorts that struggled through a momentously awful ski season last year. 

Schweitzer Mountain Resort sent word that they'll officially open on Friday, and they've been updating their Facebook page as they get more inches on the ground. The North Idaho mountain started manufacturing snow early this month, so they were glad to see the real stuff fly. Bill Williamson, the mountain's operations director, noted Monday that "we have received about 12 inches of natural snowfall, and with the cold temps last week, we were able to keep our snow machines turning, giving us another foot or so." Add the overnight dump, and there should be some worthy turns to look forward to this weekend.  

Schweitzer plans to have the Basic Express Quad running Friday through Sunday from 9 am to 3:30 pm, and adult full-day tickets are $40. The mountain will close after the weekend, but reopen the next Friday, Dec. 4. For more info, visit the resort's website
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Raheel Humayun will be the next Spokane police ombudsman (probably)

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 12:49 PM

  • Young Kwak Photo

Raheel Humayun has accepted the job as Spokane's next police ombudsman, but probably won't be able to start work until the beginning of next year at the earliest. 

Humayun, a Canadian, still has to obtain a visa to come work in Spokane. The job offer was contingent on his being able to obtain a visa within 75 days of accepting the offer. The city is paying for an attorney to help him through that process.

Ombudsman commission attorney Breean Beggs expects the application could be ready before the end of the year, which means Humayun could have an answer by the beginning of January. Maybe. If his visa is approved, he has 45 days to move to Spokane. 

Humayun is currently an investigator for the British Columbia Office of the Ombudsperson, and of the three final candidates, he was the only non-cop. 

Stay tuned for more details...
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Stories you need to know to start your day

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 9:20 AM


  • The United States issues a global travel alert
This caution comes after the Paris attacks and amid concerns that others will follow.
  • The first snow of the season came today and still thousands without power
    • Young Kwak
About 30,000 people are still bracing the cold, down from about 180,000 after the record-setting wind storm last week.
  • The Spokane City Council sets aside $250,000 for legal fees
The money set aside will be used to defend the city in a $6.5 million wrongful death claim in which a man died from chocking on his own vomit while being booked in Spokane County Jail, according to KHQ.
  • Five protesters shot in Minneapolis
The Black Lives Matter protesters have been outside the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct since the police-involved shooting on Nov. 15 when an African American man was killed. Police are searching for three white men who fled the scene.
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Monday, November 23, 2015

It's really easy to remember things wrong, even 9/11

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 2:34 PM

In 2013, Donald Trump shows magnanimity toward even haters and losers on 9/11
  • In 2013, Donald Trump shows magnanimity toward even haters and losers on 9/11

Donald Trump likes to say things. He likes to say a lot of things. And even when they're wildly, wildly wrong, he doesn't like to admit those things he's said were wrong. 

The latest in this trend is Trump's said he saw footage on TV of "thousands and thousands" American Muslims celebrating the attacks in Jersey City

"It was on television. I saw it," he said. "There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations."

Just as there's not any evidence that Trump was extensively quoted as an ardent Iraq War critic before the war began, there's absolutely no evidence that "thousands and thousands" of American Muslims in Jersey were shown on TV cheering 9/11. Trump has not admitted error. 

Today, Ben Carson, currently second place in polling, joined in. "I saw the film of it, yes," Carson said. Which film?

"Newsreels," he said. 
Now, it's quite possible that Trump or Carson false statements are just false statements. They could be lying.

But there's another possibility: They have false memories. It's easy to transfer memory from one setting to another. So seeing footage of Palestinians celebrating the attacks on the West Bank, could be misremembered as footage of New Jersey residents celebrating on the banks of the Hudson. 

(That, apparently

is what happened with Carson.)

Or they could be remembering rumors that popped up after the attacks, remembering them as truth, and exagerrating them 100-fold. A Sept. 18 Washington Post story noted that “law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.” Other than a few teens apparently celebrating in front of a library, most similar stories were debunked, but in the flawed memory, rumor can reify into apparent fact. 

That's especially true if a memory fits in with our political beliefs. A person with a more positive view of American Muslims might be a little more skeptical of the idea that hordes of American Muslims cheered 9/11. People with views like Carson and Trump may not.

Last year, I wrote about how the podcast Serial shows just how corruptible memory can be. In fact, a lot of the research on unreliable memories deal specifically with 9/11.

You can promise to "Never Forget" 9/11. But when you remember it, you may not be remembering it accurately. 

A 2011 Live Science article explains:
On Sept. 12, 2001, Duke University researchers Jennifer Talarico and David Rubin asked 54 Duke undergraduates questions about where they'd been when they heard about the attacks. They also asked the students to provide memories for a few everyday events.

One week, six weeks or 32 weeks later, the students returned to answer the same set of questions. It turned out that the consistency of 9/11 memories was no different than that of mundane memories. In both cases, the number of consistent details about the event dropped from around 12 one day after it happened to about eight consistent details 32 weeks later, while inconsistencies rose. Nonetheless, people felt very confident in their total recall of that moment.
Similarly, a group of memory scientists launched the 9/11 Memory Consortium, surveying thousand and thousands over what their 9/11 memories were in the years after the attacks. 
The resulting set of data contained responses from more than 3,000 people in seven cities. Following up with those same people one year and three years later, the researchers found a decline in flashbulb memory accuracy that gradually leveled off after year one. In the first year, people's memories were consistent with the initial responses only 63 percent of the time. After that, however, they only lost 4.5 percent of their accuracy per year.

"People began to tell what I would call a canonical story," said Hirst, who was one of the study researchers. "The error they made at 11 months and the error they made at 35 months was the same."
For example: Do you remember watching footage of the first plane hit the towers on the first day of the attacks? You may. But those memories are not accurate.
In the case of 9/11, people will sometimes claim to have seen live video of the first plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center, Talarico said, despite the fact that such video was not broadcast until days after the attack.
In 2011, Scientific American interviewed Elizabeth Phelps, a New York University psychologist involved with the 9/11 memory survey. She suggests that extremely emotional events, like, say, a terrorist attack, makes you believe your memory is more accurate but doesn't necessarily improve the accuracy. You get false confidence, the worst of kind of confidence.
Emotion kind of focuses you on a few details but lets you ignore other details. And if you are highly aroused by fear, that emotion helps you store things in your memory better, in a storage process called consolidation that depends on the interaction of the amygdala and hippocampus. But what we've known for a while is that emotion gives you a stronger confidence in your memory than it does necessarily in the accuracy. Usually, when a memory has highly vivid details and you're confident in those details, that means you're likely to be right. Confidence often goes hand in hand with accuracy. But when something is highly emotional, they often get separated.
Scientific American Mind editor Ingrid Wickelgren suggests that the sort of conversations people have about an event can distort a memory further.
And as people repeatedly talk to each other about shared experiences such as 9/11, as I have, they may trigger a kind of collective forgetting that shapes joint memories. “What people forget in common is also a function of what they remember in common,” [researcher] Alin Coman says. “If a group of people forget the same things, that will increase the amount of shared information in their memories.” Such morphing of memory through conversation helps forge a collective identity in society by creating a common view of the past, Hirst believes. Other communication practices such as those propagated through the media are also likely to influence both individual and collective memory
In other words, even as media outlets rapidly debunk Trump and Carson's false statements, it's likely that such attention will only spread the myth. More and more people, especially those who look up to Trump and Carson as trusted figures, might develop their own false memories of "thousands and thousands" of American Muslims celebrating the worst terrorist attack of all time. 

And that can color how they react to other issues, like letting in Syrian refugees or shutting down mosques.  
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Monday Morning Place Kicker: EWU done, WSU streaking and Seahawks maybe ready to roll?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 10:35 AM

Yes, college hoops is off and running, but we're going to focus on football, as this week marked the end of the season for the four-time defending Big Sky champs at Eastern Washington, the potential end of a legendary career, a scary victory for the Cougars in Pullman, and the potential starting point for the Seahawks second-half fun to the playoffs. Let's do this. 

Eags complete late-season collapse
Cooper Kupp has a big decision to make regarding entering the NFL draft. - EWU ATHLETICS
  • EWU Athletics
  • Cooper Kupp has a big decision to make regarding entering the NFL draft.

Even dynasties have years when things don't quite come together, when dominant teams take a step back to reload for another championship run. All season long, even as they won a series of squeakers against their Big Sky foes, the Eastern Washington Eagles didn't quite look like the class of the conference that the program has become over the past decade or so. Sure, receiver Cooper Kupp seemed to set records every game, but none of the quarterbacks who played were quite up to the level of departed Vernon Adams, Jr., (and with good reason — Adams is now tearing it up at Oregon since he's gotten healthy). And the defense, never great, got lit up by some teams to the point that the offense was under serious stress to keep the team in some games. 

Saturday at Roos Field was the team's last hurrah for 2015. A victory over Portland State might have gotten the Eagles an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs. Instead, they lost a close one 34-31, and will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Southern Utah, Portland State and Montana will represent the Big Sky this year. 

While Coach Beau Baldwin gets to work on next season, Kupp has to figure out whether or not he'll enter the NFL draft. Chances are he will

Cougs continue rolling; Falk might miss Apple Cup
QB Luke Falk was hurt in the Colorado game, and he could miss the Apple Cup game Friday. - WSU ATHLETICS
  • WSU Athletics
  • QB Luke Falk was hurt in the Colorado game, and he could miss the Apple Cup game Friday.

First, the good news. WSU continued its run through the Pac-12 with a dominant win over Colorado. The team rose in the AP poll to No. 20, and a win in the Apple Cup on Friday against rivals UW will give them a 9-3 regular season record and probably a great bowl game. 

The bad news: Luke Falk was taken from the field on a stretcher, and he might not be through the concussion protocol in time to play against UW. Payton Bender, the freshman backup QB who came in to finish the game, is a fine player, but doesn't have the experience or ice-filled veins of Falk. The Huskies are an unpredictable team, so the Apple Cup could be far more exciting than it would have been with Falk behind center. The game is at noon on Friday, so wake up from your turkey coma in time for some Friday pigskin. 

Seahawks surging
Thomas Rawls filled in for Marshawn Lynch, and racked up more than 200 yards on the day. - SEAHAWKS.COM
  • Seahawks.com
  • Thomas Rawls filled in for Marshawn Lynch, and racked up more than 200 yards on the day.

Granted, the Niners aren't exactly the same team that made for a great rival for Seattle when Harbaugh was stalking the sidelines in his dad pants. In fact, they pretty much suck. But it was still nice to see the Seahawks have a dominant performance for a change. No fourth quarter meltdowns. No closer-than-it-should-have-been final score. Just a whooping led by Beast Mode's backup, Thomas Rawls, who had a record-breaking day. 

Russell Wilson threw for three TDs, Rawls ran for 209 yards and got 46 more receiving, and the defense didn't allow Blaine Gabbert to do much of anything. 

What does it mean? Well, at 5-5 the Seahawks are in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race. There are a whole lot of 4-6 teams in their rearview mirror, and the only other team at 5-5 is Tampa Bay. Anyone else think Seattle is likely to finish ahead of Jameis Winston and Co.? The Seahawks are three games behind in the division, but the Wild Card is out there for them. 

The schedule ahead isn't crazy-daunting. Pittsburgh at home this weekend and the Cardinals on the road the final week are the two toughest matchups. The other four games? The upstart Vikings, who are getting ready to swoon, the QB-less Rams at home in a revenge game, the Ravens who just lost their starting QB and RB for the season, and the Browns at home. A 9-7 final record is easy to imagine, and that should be good enough to get to the playoffs. And no one will want to be matched up with the Seahawks come January. 

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Stories you need to know as you start your week

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 9:30 AM

What to do this week
The Cougs won, but probably lost their star QB
Eastern falls to Portland State in heart-breaker
Why Seattle schools are starting later

  • Young Kwak
• Thousands remain without power across the region
Avista says it's taking longer than expected and are hoping to have power restored for most customers before Thanksgiving. (Behind pay wall: Spokesman)

• Mixed results in local sports
Cougs won, but lost their QB. Eagles just plain lost. Seahawks won without Marshawn Lynch.

• 16 people arrested in raids across Belgium
The main target of the operation — one of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks — was not among those arrested.

• New research confirms what you already thought
Coffee can help you live longer.
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Sunday, November 22, 2015

THIS WEEK: Turkey Trots, hard rock, Russian ballet, Apple Cup and The Terminator all on tap

Posted By on Sun, Nov 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM

The Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker comes to town this week.
  • The Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker comes to town this week.

No doubt you have a heavy dose of family time coming your way this week, but that doesn't mean you have to stay at home through Thanksgiving week. Check out our event listings and Staff Picks for options for either entertaining visitors — or escaping them. 

Here are some highlights of the week ahead: 

Monday, Nov. 23

PERFORMANCE ARTS | You have a lot of Nutcracker productions to consider each holiday season, but you can't go wrong with the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker, which combines incredible dance with puppetry and ornate sets. It's happening Monday night at the INB Performing Arts Center. 

Tuesday, Nov. 24

LIVE BANDS | Greek "chillwave" purveyors Keep Shelly in Athens is currently on their largest North American tour to date, and stop at The Bartlett Tuesday. The group has a history in Washington, as their original three tracks were featured on Seattle radio station KEXP in the summer of 2010. Their sophomore release, Now I’m Ready, came out last month. Here's a taste of their sound: 

Wednesday., Nov. 25

SPORTS & OUTDOORS | The night before Thanksgiving is always a rager, with folks gathering as they arrive in town for visits, and everyone (hopefully) having the next day off from work. Avoid the bars or pregame at the Spokane Chiefs game against the Vancouver Giants, starting at 7 pm at the Spokane Arena. 

Continue reading »

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The Cougars won last night, but may have lost Luke Falk

Posted By on Sun, Nov 22, 2015 at 11:37 AM


Washington State’s extended stay in college football’s nether regions has taken some of the juice out of recent Apple Cups. The prospect of the nation’s leading passer coming to Husky Stadium with the revived Cougars would certainly heighten interest in the annual grudge match with Washington, but it remains to be seen if Luke Falk will be on hand for Friday’s game.

WSU’s workmanlike, 27-3 victory over Colorado was marred Saturday night when Falk was slammed to the artificial turf midway through the third quarter. Falk lay face down and motionless at midfield for some time. After several minutes, Falk was placed on a stretcher and taken off the court on a cart while raising both thumbs to the cheering crowd at Martin Stadium.

“Luke’s an awesome player,” said Peyton Bender, the redshirt freshman who filled in for Falk the rest of the game. “He’s had a great year.
“I don’t know what happened (Falk’s injury). Hopefully, he’s all right and he can get back to playing for us.”

Bender has displayed a strong arm, considerable potential and the usual signs of inexperience during limited action this season. Saturday, in his most extensive action, Bender completed 13 of 22 passes for 133 yards, one touchdown and one interception in temperatures in the 20s.

“When we were in fall camp, we didn’t know who (Falk or Bender) was going to be the starting quarterback,” wide receiver Gabe Marks said. “It was tight all the way.”

“It came down to the wire,” Bender agreed. “I thought I was going to be the one, but I wasn’t, unfortunately.
“It’s all right. The season has been great.”

Marks added to the great season of the Cougars as a whole and himself as an individual when he caught a school-record 14th touchdown pass in one season. It was Bender’s second TD pass of the season, his first coming last week when Falk was shaken up against UCLA and temporarily left the game for concussion tests that he passed.

The Cougars (8-3, 6-2 Pac-12 Conference) have dropped two straight Apple Cups, and five of the past six. Washington (5-6, 3-5) needs to win the regular-season finale for both teams to reach normal standards for bowl eligibility, although it’s technically possible a five-win team may someday qualify for a bowl, since 80 of the 127 Football Bowl Subdivision teams now go to bowls.

Marks, one of the greatest receivers in WSU history, lightened the mood in the press room when he playfully responded to a reporter’s claim that he’s not all that well known in Seattle.

“They don’t know about me?” Marks asked, properly incredulous. Marks then went for the kill. “The people here know about me, so that’s cool. I mean, that’s what matters. I don’t really care what people from Seattle think about me. There’s a school over there we don’t really care for.”

Marks also had some fun with his good friend Taylor Taliulu, WSU’s senior strong safety. After 44 games and 33 starts at WSU, Taliulu finally recorded his first interception in the fourth quarter. He returned the pick 42 yards.

“You got nervous (on the return),” Marks told Taliulu.

“Yeah, I did get nervous,” Taliulu admitted.

“I saw you, you tightened up,” Marks said.

“I did tighten up a little bit,” Taliulu said. “I was running down the sideline and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can cut back.’”

“No burst,” Marks deadpanned.

“No burst,” Taliulu agreed. “But hey, it was really exciting.”

Taliulu joked that he was “just waiting for Senior Night” to make his first interception. Taliulu and WSU’s 15 other seniors – including star left offensive tackle Joe Dahl, who wore a protective boot on his left foot when the seniors were introduced prior to the game – helped the Cougars dominate the injury-riddled Buffaloes on both sides of the ball.
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