July 13, 2015

Almost as Despicable…

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:22 am

Cost-of-Chemotherapy-2Unless you get your news only from The Spokesman-Review or the Coeur d’Alene Press, you know the story of Dr. Farid Fata, the highly-respected and revered Michigan oncologist who late last week received a 45-year prison sentence for administering poison — cancer chemotherapy — to 550 “patients” who either didn’t need it at all or needed different and often less frequent dosages.   Some of his “patients” died because of Dr. Fata’s admitted lust for money and power.

Fata’s conduct was despicable, but he had help from fellow doctors and state regulators who knew in April 2010 that what Fata was doing was harmful to his “patients” but who consciously avoided doing their professional duty to expose and stop him.  Their failure of duty was almost as despicable as Fata’s greed for money and compulsion for power and acclaim.

Nurse Angela Swantek received little encouragement after her efforts in 2010 to expose Fata’s willfully administering treatments that harmed his victims.  But OpenCdA is completely unsurprised by the State of Michigan’s unwillingness to act.  Fata was a highly-respected oncologist who had trained at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.  Why would a state regulatory agency take the time to investigate the factually-supported allegations of a “justa” (as in, “She’s just a nurse”) over that of someone who was clearly her better, in this case, a medical doctor prominent in the community?

But it’s fair to ask:  If the state of Michigan’s investigatory department, now called the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), had taken nurse Angela Swantek’s well-documented facts seriously in 2010, could the suffering and pain Fata inflicted directly on his “patients” and indirectly on their families have been stopped sooner?

OpenCdA hopes that during the inevitable civil lawsuits that will follow, the misconduct and clear failures of duty of other medical professionals and public officials will be fully and completely revealed.  Their actions and failures to act are almost as despicable as those of Dr. Farid Fata.

July 11, 2015

OPM Hack — The Real Damage

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:46 am

MSS-ChinaBy now readers probably know that Katherine Archuleta, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), resigned Friday.   Her politically-expedient “resignation” was inevitable after the compromise of sensitive information in the personnel files of at least 21.5 million present and former federal employees, files OPM is responsible for securely maintaining and storing.  The feds suspect that the Ministry of State Security of the People’s Republic of China, the Guojia Anquan Bu or Guoanbu, is behind the data breach.

Ho-hum.  We’ve heard this all before — same song, different orchestra.  This time, the amount of data swiped was huge, but so what?  Should you or I really care if the Guoanbu filched a ton of Social Security numbers from OPM?  No.  And yes.

No, because it’s doubtful the Chicoms intend to raid Social Security’s funds (Besides, Congress beat them to it years ago.)

Yes, because if the hack was committed by the Guoanbu or any other competent foreign intelligence agency, the files they got were very sensitive investigative files on applicants for US government security clearances and special accesses.  Investigative files — information uncovered during the course of an applicant’s background investigation — not just Social Security numbers.   Those files would include credible derogatory information that might reflect on the applicant’s suitability to have access to sensitive classified and special access information affecting the national security.  In most instances some of those investigative files are off-limits to even the applicant.  That’s precisely the information a foreign intelligence service would love to get its hands on when its case officers are spotting prospective Americans who might be persuaded or induced to betray the United States. (more…)

June 19, 2015

ignite cda

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:13 pm

LCDC PigThis week we learned that Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, which some affectionately refer to as The First Unregulated Bank of Idaho, will officially change its name from LCDC to “ignite cda”.

That same article from the local skews paper also reported that the LCDC/burnout board decided to spend just under $55,000 to tell the public about the change.  That reminded us of the cartoon the legendary editorial cartoonist Jimmy Barona did in 2011.  It first appeared in Mary Souza’s OpenCdA post entitled Stall Tactics in October 2011.

As far as we at OpenCdA are concerned, the LCDC can call itself ignite cda or whatever it chooses.   The result is the same:  Same pig, just a different shade of lipstick.

But, in the spirit of support your local bucket-o-cash, we think ignite cda needs a slogan.  We’d humbly suggest that as we approach  the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Watts Riots, “Burn, baby, burn!” would fit.  Or maybe we should say “Berns, baby, Berns”.

ignite cda might decide to emulate Spokane’s Pig Out in the Park, only ignite cda would call it “Flame out in McEuen Park”.

Anyone else want to suggest ways the LCDC/ignite cda can transform the pig into a beauty queen?



June 17, 2015

More Information – Not Necessarily Answers

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:10 pm

questionsOur post on June 15, 2015, entitled More Questions – Few Black and White Answers raised our own questions about Rachel Dolezal’s strange statements.

Today, the City of Spokane released a document entitled Report of the City of Spokane Whistleblower Committee.  It provides additional information and allegations about Rachel Dolezal’s conduct on the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission.   The Report asserts that the “… investigation substantiated [complainant’s name redacted] claims and revealed additional violations of law and City policies.”  The complaint had been lodged against Commissioners Dolezal, Berkompas, and Dominguez.

We assume more information will be forthcoming.

June 15, 2015

More Questions – Few Black and White Answers

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:29 am


Like many others in our area, OpenCdA is intrigued by the news, skews, and views stories about Rachel Dolezal.  We have not formed an opinion about her behavior because we’re not at all clear what the issues are.

However, we have some questions of our own for which timely, factual answers would help us be (1) better informed or (2) more confused. (more…)

June 1, 2015

Dissension in Meridian

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 6:38 am

idaho-state-police-trooper-marijuana-license-plate-profiling-640x344OpenCdA highly recommends that you read Idaho Statesman reporter Cynthia Sewell’s article headlined Officers allege interference, retaliation at Idaho State Police after crash probe.

Briefly, lawsuits have been filed against the ISP by some former and present ISP officers who allege they were ordered to change accident reports to protect a Payette County deputy sheriff.  They further allege that they were retaliated against by members of the ISP command staff when they refused to change the reports.

If you’re going to read Sewell’s article, we also suggest you read the sidebar hyperlinks in “Other Related Content.”  Most of those hyperlinks are court filings, however they are merely allegations and observations, not conclusive evidence.   The allegations would have to be supported by evidence at trial.

The public wants to believe our law enforcement officers are honest and that their investigations will be objective, factual, and complete.   In this particular case, the ISP investigators assigned some degree of fault for the accident to the Payette County deputy.   The documents linked in Sewell’s article suggest that the ISP command staff may have encouraged subordinate investigators to slant the reports to avoid the deputy’s being criminally prosecuted.  For example, ISP Deputy Director Lieutenant Colonel Kedrick Wills allegedly told one of the investigators who had assigned fault to the deputy that “he could not believe ISP was going to send a deputy to prison.”  (If Wills’ name sounds familiar, it might be because his father, Richard Wills, is an Idaho state legislator and retired ISP Corporal.)

We hope the Idaho Statesman continues its excellent reporting on a matter of statewide interest.

May 23, 2015

Price Fixing Case – It Cost All of U$

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:21 pm

price-fixing-cartoonThis past week the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that four multinational banks had recently agreed to plead guilty to felony antitrust violations and pay criminal fines and penalties approaching $3 billion.  A fifth bank agreed to plead guilty and pay a $203 million criminal penalty for breaking the non-prosecution agreement it entered in December 2012  regarding manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR – a benchmark interest rate used worldwide.

Simply put, these five banks agreed to plead guilty to manipulating the interest rates that nearly every consumer has to pay when we borrow money for mortgages, car loans, college loans, business loans, etc. (more…)

May 20, 2015

Another Federal Case in Coeur d’Alene

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:16 am

puzzled2By now you may have heard that on May, 19, 2015, a former employee of the Red Robin Restaurant in Riverstone filed a federal lawsuit alleging she was wrongfully terminated by that restaurant chain after she objected to the firing of one employee and the rejection of an applicant because they were “of color”.

Here is a link to the federal complaint filed by plaintiff Stacie Ward against Red Robin International, Inc.  The case was filed in federal district court and assigned case number 2:15-cv-00168-JVL.  Ward alleges in the complaint that “The [Coeur d’Alene Red Robin store ] General Manager Reed Faucet (wrongfully) terminated Stacie for cause on or about October 27, 2012.  Also present at Stacie’s termination was Alicia DiAgastino, the Assistant General Manager, and by information and belief, Ms. DiAgastino is now General Manager of the Coeur d’Alene store.”

Ward’s complaint states precisely the language allegedly used by the Riverstone Red Robin store’s Assistant General Manager.  It also states her allegations of “retaliation and harassment by the management” against Ward.

The complaint informs readers that “Stacie filed a complaint with the Idaho Human Rights Commission/EEOC.  The EEOC conducted its investigation, and found probable cause that Red Robin had retaliated against her and issued its Right To Sue letter on February 26, 2015.”

Ward’s legal counsel is Douglas A. Pierce of James, Vernon & Weeks, P.A. in Coeur d’Alene.

OpenCdA wonders why the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations has not vocally and visibly protested the allegations of racial discrimination by one of Coeur d’Alene’s local businesses.   This case would certainly generate the publicity and attention that group usually seeks for itself and the City of Coeur d’Alene.  What could the reason be?

May 15, 2015


Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:33 pm

CheatedCoverIf you have an interest in ensuring that the tax dollars you provide to your local colleges and universities are not going to support academic fraud, read Jay Smith’s and Mary Willingham’s book “Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports“.

Your first inclination may be to say, “Well, the UNC scandal was at a major school, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  And it’s got a major megabucks athletic program.  We’re in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and we only have a dinky community college.”

But when you read the book, you may well conclude otherwise.   “Cheated” educates readers to understand how academic frauds not only occur in our institutions of higher (or not) learning but also how the frauds can be created or promoted by elected boards of trustees, hired administrators, faculty, and staff.  Initially, the motivation for propagating the frauds is to bring in money for the college or university.   Never mind the message that sends to the “student”-athletes and to the honest students who work diligently to earn their degrees honestly.

“Cheated” is not an easy read.  Smith and Willingham are academics, and their writing style is informative and instructional rather than entertaining.  Still, it is worth reading.  It is an eyeopener, a reminder to the people that those whom they elect or appoint to run their colleges and universities and educate their students are not necessarily acting in the best interests of the students they purport to be educating.  The public needs to be less trusting and pay more attention.

But “It’s Not Just About Technology”

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 9:01 am

surveryingtargetSay the phrase “law enforcement technology” to many people and ask them to respond with associated words and phrases.  You will very likely hear “body cameras,” “DNA,” “CSI,” “Breathalyzer,” “drones,” and “computers.”  You can probably come up with others.

But those responses are not “law enforcement technology;” they are examples of technology that have been adapted and adopted by law enforcement (well, all except “CSI” which is a dramatization of technology application specialists).

The public rarely has a serious opportunity to read a report that adequately portrays the challenges law enforcement administrators face in evaluating, selecting, and applying technology and in writing policies and practices to ensure consistency and legality in its application.  Even more rarely does the public have an opportunity to look into the future of law enforcement administration and see the challenges 21st century chief executive law enforcement officers will face in the social and cultural environment in which they will be expected to operate.  Here’s that opportunity.

In July 2014 the Rand Corporation conducted a workshop which sought “… to explore future visions of law enforcement and identify and prioritize needs in technology, policy, and practice based on those visions.  Participants consisted of a diverse group of law enforcement practitioners from municipal, state, and federal  law enforcement organizations and representatives from academic institutions.”   The Rand workshop produced a 102-page report  entitled Visions of Law Enforcement Technology in the Period 2024-2034 — Report of the Law Enforcement Futuring Workshop.

But contrary to the report’s title, the workshop and its report were not just about technology.  In fact, specific technologies were mentioned peripherally, and usually then only as examples.  (more…)

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