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Money Stockton bankruptcy ruling preserves city pensions

up from 11% today.Franklin had argued that the increasing cost of pensions would put the city at risk of another bankruptcy. A federal bankruptcy judge approved the city of Stockton's bankruptcy recovery plan Thursday and sidestepped challenges to its workers' pensions that could have threatened municipal retirement plans across the state in the years ahead.Stockton's plan slashes city spending, cuts salaries and eliminates jobs .

A federal bankruptcy judge approved the city of Stockton's bankruptcy recovery plan Thursday and sidestepped challenges to its workers' pensions that could have threatened municipal retirement plans across the state in the years ahead.

Stockton's plan slashes city spending, cuts salaries and eliminates jobs ? but preserves worker pensions. Also, companies owed money by the city will get back only a fraction of what they're due.

The case was being closely watched after the judge ruled this month that the city's payments to the California Public Employees' Retirement System could be cut in bankruptcy, just like any other obligation.

If Judge Christopher M. Klein had rejected Stockton's plan and forced the city to reduce its payments to CalPERS, it could have opened the door for other financially ailing cities struggling with escalating pension costs to follow suit.

The decision was good news for public workers and retirees statewide, said CalPERS Chief Executive Anne Stausboll, whose agency fought any pension cuts as part of the Stockton bankruptcy proceedings.

"We will continue to champion the integrity and soundness of public pensions to protect the benefits that were promised to the active and retired public employees," she said.

Pension reformers were not happy. They criticized the decision, saying the city's rising pension costs would continue to take money from essential services and keep Stockton on the brink of a second insolvency.

"The city of Stockton missed an opportunity to use a powerful tool to save their city's finances that's only available in Bankruptcy Court," said Dan Pellissier, president of California Pension Reform.

Stockton officials had argued that it was not possible to cut pensions or to create another retirement plan for city employees. They said employees would leave Stockton for other cities offering retirement benefits through CalPERS.

CalPERS had said that if Stockton left the state retirement system, the city would immediately owe it $1.6 billion ? far more than the city's current bill to the pension plan.

On Thursday, Klein said the city's 1,400 workers and 2,500 retirees had already taken enough hits in the bankruptcy.

Stockton's salaries and benefits for workers had been higher than those at other cities, the judge said, but workers had agreed after the bankruptcy filing to take big cuts, including eliminating the free medical care they received in retirement.

"It would be no simple task to go back," Klein said, "and redo the pensions."

He added, "This plan, I'm persuaded, is the best that can be done."

Klein said that rejecting the plan after two years in court and tens of millions of dollars in legal and other fees would have put the case back to "Square One."

Stockton's plan sharply cuts payments to its creditors, including Franklin Templeton, an investment firm that holds more than $36 million in bonds the city used to borrow money. Franklin had asked Klein to reject the city's plan so that it could get more of its money back.

Franklin's financial expert used the city's own projections to show that it would soon be paying CalPERS nearly 19% of general tax revenue ? up from 11% today.

Franklin had argued that the increasing cost of pensions would put the city at risk of another bankruptcy. But Klein said Thursday that Stockton's plan for paying creditors over the years was adequate and passed all legal tests.

City Manager Kurt Wilson said after the ruling that it "confirms that Stockton is fiscally stable and on the road to recovery."

"We are going to have stability that impacts our ability to attract and retain employees," he said.

It was a turnaround from Klein's oral ruling Oct. 1, when he said public workers' pensions were not sacrosanct and could be reduced in a bankruptcy.

"It looked like he was telling cities they had an easy offramp" to rising pension costs, said Harvey Leiderman, a lawyer at Reed Smith who advises CalPERS and other retirement funds. "Now he's shut down that offramp."

Klein explained in court what happens when employees and retirees are given equal standing in bankruptcy compared with all other creditors. The workers and retirees then far outnumber the other creditors and would have the power to veto any decision that is not favorable to them.

"You'll never come out of bankruptcy, and that's what he recognized," said Leiderman, describing Klein's decision.

In recent years, pensions have been a political hot potato in Stockton. Overly large pensions approved by city officials for employees are among the reasons that Stockton found it could no longer pay its bills, critics say.

Stockton's promised pensions for police and fire employees are some of the highest in the state, according to an analysis by Franklin's expert. The city is now paying the equivalent of 41% of police salaries to CalPERS for future pensions ? an amount that will increase to 57% in five years.

As a result, the city will face continued challenges in the years ahead.

"They're betting on a rosy scenario for years to come, said Pellissier of California Pension Reform. "Only time can tell whether the city of Stockton can continue to provide services without relief from its unsustainable pension obligations."

[email protected]

Twitter: @marclifsher

[email protected]

Twitter: @melodypetersen

Lifsher reported from Sacramento and Petersen from Los Angeles.

Chicago Tribune
Today
18 Points
New
1

Pennsylvania officials to seek death penalty for suspect Eric Frein

Marshals service captured Frein in an abandoned aircraft hangar at the shuttered Birchwood Resort, according to the supervisor at the Monroe County 911 Emergency Dispatch Center. Prosecutors will seek capital punishment for Eric Frein, the suspect in the September murder of a Pennsylvania state trooper, the district attorney of Pike County said on Thursday.Frein, 31, was captured earlier Thursday after eluding a massive seven-week manhunt.

Prosecutors will seek capital punishment for Eric Frein, the suspect in the September murder of a Pennsylvania state trooper, the district attorney of Pike County said on Thursday.

Frein, 31, was captured earlier Thursday after eluding a massive seven-week manhunt. He is the only suspect in a sniper ambush of two troopers on Sept. 12 that killed one officer and wounded the other, at a state police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pike County.

Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin said he would seek capital punishment for Frein on a first degree murder charge and one count of homicide of a police officer.

"I can confirm that we have taken Eric Frein into custody," said Trooper Connie Devens, a state police spokeswoman, earlier Thursday. 

Frein surrendered north of Tannersville, said Edward Hanko, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia division of the FBI. Frein was on the FBI's Top 10 most wanted list.

No shots were fired as he was taken into custody, Hanko said.

Frein will be arraigned on all charges in Pike County, where the shooting occurred, according to E. David Christine Jr., district attorney in neighboring Monroe County, where much of the search was focused.

Frein's capture may finally shed light on some of the questions that have baffled authorities and the public since the shooting, including a motive for the ambush and how Frein was able to stay one step ahead of the intense search for so long.

Officers from the U.S. Marshals service captured Frein in an abandoned aircraft hangar at the shuttered Birchwood Resort, according to the supervisor at the Monroe County 911 Emergency Dispatch Center. Authorities were intending to take him to Blooming Grove, site of the ambush, the supervisor said.

A woman who lives near the hangar where Frein was arrested, said helicopters started flying low and circling the area around 6 p.m. The woman, who would not give her name, said her three sons saw police leading a handcuffed, bedraggled man out of the woods and into an armored police vehicle. A photo of Frein in the vehicle shows him with a full head of dark hair and a stubbly beard, unlike the electronically generated photos police had circulated of Frein with a mohawk or buzz cut and full beard, which they believed he was sporting.

Scott Judy, whose Cherry Lane Road home is a couple thousand yards from the hangar, confirmed that a heavy police presence appeared just before Frein's arrest.

"My wife and I came home, and we're eating dinner, and all of these helicopters were going around, and I thought something was going on," Judy said.

Authorities have insisted for weeks that Frein, an expert marksman, was hiding in the Poconos. There have been several reported sightings of him during the manhunt, but police said they were unable to get close enough to apprehend him.

Shortly after identifying Frein as a suspect, authorities put his photograph on billboards and announced rewards totaling $175,000 for information leading to Frein’s capture.

Police found a journal during the manhunt detailing the ambush on the police barracks, alongside two pipe bombs at a campsite.

"I took a shot at him," reads one of the journal entries. "He dropped ... I was surprised how quick," referring to one of officers shot on Sept. 12. "He was still and quiet after."

The journal went on to describe the second shooting. "Another cop approached the one I just shot," it reads. "As he went to kneel, I took a shot at him ... His legs were visible and still."

The journal, which runs over several pages, also described how the getaway quickly became a "disaster" after Frein apparently crashed a Jeep belonging to his parents into a pond as he scrambled to find an escape route as helicopters circled overhead and police set up roadblocks.

State police from Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, as well as investigators from the FBI and other federal agencies scoured the wooded areas near the home of Frein’s family near Canadensis, Penn.

Those hunting Frein described him as a survivalist who may have been acting out a fantasy created through his participation in World War II and Cold War battle re-enactments.

Authorities indicated that Frein had been planning his attack and flight for years.

They also said that they uncovered evidence from a computer indicating that Frein researched manhunts and police tactics for them prior to the shooting.

Allentown Morning Call, Philadelphia Inquirer and Reuters reports included.

Chicago Tribune
Today
18 Points
New
1

Money An Inside Look At The History Of Schwab

Responding to the queries regarding his contribution to Schwab’s accomplishments, Mr. Bettinger said the success came from “serving the people,” and that is what the firm has always done.  Schwab offerings encompass two segments. Schwab was also the first to eliminate transaction fees for mutual funds in 1992; a practice that the entire industry would soon follow.You might also like this:. (AMTD), and larger firms in the business, such as UBS AG (UBS) and Edward Jones.

Under the leadership of Walter Bettinger, the brokerage firm Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) has managed to reach new heights. Mr. Bettinger was appointed CEO by the firm’s founder, Chuck Schwab, in 2008. His appointment came at a time when most institutions were still reeling from the financial crisis.

During Mr. Bettinger’s six years as CEO, Schwab’s total client assets have doubled to $2.4 trillion, overtaking the former-largest retail broker in the world, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Mr. Bettinger has also brought down the transaction fee that the firm charges its clients to account for 13% of Schwab’s revenue, as compared to 24% in 2009.

This transaction fee is lower than the rate charged by its major competitors, which include E Trade Financial Corporation (ETFC), TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD), and larger firms in the business, such as UBS AG (UBS) and Edward Jones. Mr. Bettinger is now looking to match the rate offered by powerhouses like Well Fargo & Co (WFC), Morgan Stanley (MS) and BlackRock Inc. (BLK), in a bid to provide its clients with affordable investing options.

Schwab operates over 325 retail offices countrywide and possesses over 9.2 million brokerage accounts. Responding to the queries regarding his contribution to Schwab’s accomplishments, Mr. Bettinger said the success came from “serving the people,” and that is what the firm has always done.  

Schwab offerings encompass two segments. One segment offers investor services, which caters to individual clients. The other offers investment advisory services and consultancy for employee retirement plans.

Despite losing its clients’ money through short-term bond funds during the financial crisis (which cost the company around $319 million in settlements), Schwab managed to grow its net client assets $826 million from 2009 to 2013. This was equal to the total increase in net client assets for Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management, Bank of America Corp.’s (BAC) Merrill Lynch, E Trade, and TD Ameritrade combined.

Schwab entered the scene in 1974 when it placed an ad with The Wall Street Journal, offering trades to potential investors at a 70% discount. This was at a time when trading fees were as high as $100. This initiative was further boosted by deregulations in the brokerage industry the very next year, enabling Schwab to compete with some of the industry’s biggest firms.

Schwab also championed the idea of introducing the first ever mutual fund supermarket in 1984, where investors could access and trade their mutual funds from a single account, rather than conducting them through various accounts at different mutual fund companies. Schwab was also the first to eliminate transaction fees for mutual funds in 1992; a practice that the entire industry would soon follow.

You might also like this:

Bidness Etc
Today
18 Points
New

Money Scary Halloween fact: Chocolate prices are about to rise

A growing sweet tooth around the world means more demand for chocolate. The retail price of chocolate has climbed to an average of $5.93 a pound in 2014 from $4.92 five years ago, according to estimates from the National Confectioners Association, an industry group that represents candy and chocolate makers. In total, Americans will spend about $1.5 billion this Halloween filling bowls with chocolate, according to the NCA. The timing of Halloween could make this week a big treat for candy companies.

NEW YORK -- That bowl of chocolates for ninjas and ghosts won't cost you more this Halloween. Picking the perfect sweet for your Valentine could.

The cost of ingredients in chocolate bars is rising, and the nation's biggest candy makers have already warned of price hikes next year. And it's not just costs that are pushing up prices. A growing sweet tooth around the world means more demand for chocolate.

Here are the global trends putting pressure on the confection:

Pricier ingredients: Hershey and Mars, which together account for about two-thirds of U.S. chocolate sales, are hiking prices. Hershey cited the rising cost of cocoa, dairy and nuts when it announced an 8 percent increase in the average wholesale price of its candy this summer. Those higher costs weighed on the chocolate maker's most recent earnings, which fell 4 percent.

Hershey CEO, John Bilbrey, said in an interview with CNBC earlier this month that shoppers wouldn't see a price increase this year because his company negotiated prices for its holiday items well in advance. However, consumers would notice an impact next year.

Mars, a privately-held company, said this summer that its prices would rise by about 7 percent because of a need to support its marketing spending and "manufacturing capabilities." The company said that it last increased prices in 2011.

Global sweet tooth: People in the developing economies of Asia and Latin America are acquiring a taste for chocolate. While North America and Western Europe still account for more than half of global chocolate sales, demand is growing faster in emerging markets. That's raising concerns that demand for cocoa beans, the key ingredient in chocolate bars, will outstrip supply.

Chocolate sales in Asia are forecast to grow by 23 percent over the next five years and by almost 31 percent in Latin America, according to London-based research firm Euromonitor International. That compares with growth of 8.3 percent in North America and 4.7 percent in Western Europe over the same period.

Those forecasts helped push the price of cocoa beans as high as $3,371 a ton in September, the highest level since March 2011. The price has since fallen back to $2,923 a ton, but it is still 23 percent higher than it was two years ago.

Supply problems: West Africa is the world's biggest cocoa producing region and accounts for about two-thirds of the global crop. Unlike large, modern farms in the U.S. and other developed economies, about 80 to 90 percent of the world's cocoa crop comes from small, family-run operations, according to the World Cocoa Foundation, a trade organization.

The small-scale production makes it more challenging to introduce modern farming techniques that boost productivity from season-to-season to faster match demand. The WCF, which is backed by companies including Mars and Hershey, is sponsoring farmer training to encourage more efficient use of water resources and better soil management to improve crop yields.

West Africa is also at the center of the Ebola outbreak. But concerns that cocoa production would be hampered by the virus' spread have proven overblown, so far.

The Ivory Coast, which produces about 40 percent of the world's cocoa crop, has yet to register a single case of Ebola, despite sharing a western border with Liberia and Guinea, two of the nations at the center of the epidemic.

Food hikes: Chocolate-covered bacon, anyone? It might be a hit to more than just your waistline. Bacon prices have climbed 7 percent this year after a fatal virus swept through the nation's pig herds. Coffee prices jumped after a drought in Brazil damaged the crop. Milk prices have also risen.

The retail price of chocolate has climbed to an average of $5.93 a pound in 2014 from $4.92 five years ago, according to estimates from the National Confectioners Association, an industry group that represents candy and chocolate makers.

In total, Americans will spend about $1.5 billion this Halloween filling bowls with chocolate, according to the NCA. That makes the last day of October the industry's most important holiday for sales -- ahead of Easter, Christmas and even Valentine's Day.

The timing of Halloween could make this week a big treat for candy companies.

"We're optimistic on Halloween because it falls on a Friday this year," said Larry Wilson, vice president for customer relations at the NCA. People "will celebrate it later into the night, and they'll celebrate it all weekend."

For consumers, that party will cost a little more next year.

Chocolate sales 5-year forecast

+23%

Asia

+31%

Latin America

+8.3%

North America

+4.7%

Western Europe

San Jose Mercury News
30/10
19 Points
1

Money Not made in China: Garment manufacturing Part II

China will shed approximately 85 million manufacturing jobs in the coming years, which, some development experts say, could be a golden opportunity for economic development à la South Korea. Related: How Saudi Arabia will kick its oil habit In Haiti, where 80 to 90 percent of its exports come from apparel, there's some hope for development with labor standards. Related: Study abroad, get married As in China, garment assembly will then be seen as low-brow.

As labor costs in the "world's factory" continue to rise dramatically, global fashion brands are looking elsewhere to source apparel. In addition to established hubs like Bangladesh and Vietnam, the garment game is ripe for new players: Myanmar (Burma), Haiti and Ethiopia, among others, are looking to rejuvenate a once-thriving trade or even build one entirely from scratch.

China will shed approximately 85 million manufacturing jobs in the coming years, which, some development experts say, could be a golden opportunity for economic development à la South Korea.

The standard narrative: Start at the bottom with low-skill, basic textile manufacturing (like T-shirts) and work your way up to more complex garments (like suits), then to more complex goods like electronics. Improved quality of life and a rising consumer class will naturally follow, creating sustainable and natural growth.

Related: Study abroad, get married

As in China, garment assembly will then be seen as low-brow. "You don't make tanks out of textiles," says Derek Scissors, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

But whether China's successors can actually follow the "textile to tank" model is a point of serious contention. Some argue that new entrants can survive only by offering the lowest costs ? read: unlivable wages and minimal, if any, rights. Footloose garment brands, apt to flee to wherever labor costs are lowest, make nurturing an industry with highly skilled workers, robust infrastructure and effective legislation extremely difficult.

It's harder to unlearn bad habits, so the best shot at a sustainable industry may be Ethiopia, which is essentially a blank slate. Despite dire infrastructure shortcomings, Ethiopia's access to a continental market with six of the 10 fastest-growing economies and one of the world's largest cattle (leather) stocks makes "China 30 years ago" an attractive long-term investment. The Chinese and Turkish certainly seem to think so. Huajian Shoes and Akya Tekstil, two of the world's largest apparel makers, are planning multibillion-dollar "apparel-cities" fit for up to 60,000 workers and 50 different manufacturers each.

Related: Buy empathy for $12

H&M, the Swedish apparel giant, has staked an early claim in Ethiopia as well. By partnering with nonprofit Swedfund, they're championing a "responsible" way forward with three new sustainable factories, and growing. The move to set an ethical foundation in a new entrant mirrors that of Gap in Myanmar this past June. Once called an "outpost of tyranny" because of its brutal military dictatorship, Myanmar underwent vast democratic reforms in 2011; stifling economic sanctions from the West were eased a year later. Now the country's garment industry is on track to bring in $1.7 billion of export revenue in 2014 ? compared with $900 million in 2012.

And companies are doing it, supposedly, with a conscience. By partnering with USAID and local NGOs, Gap is trying to avoid the plunder-and-bail reputation of the garment industry. "We want to lend resources in such an important time for the country," to set a precedence of humane working conditions and work with the government to build institutions to protect best practices, Debbie Mesloh, Gap's senior director of government and public affairs, told OZY.

Benjamin Powell, director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University

But some are calling BS ... literally. "There's a great deal of bullshit in the world of corporate social responsibility," says Scott Nova, director of the Worker Rights Consortium. "The idea that a brand would move into a country to make the world a better place is absurd. They do it because it's cheaper," he says.

Related: Housing is aging ... ungracefully

Indeed, according to the country's own manufacturers association, Burmese workers make as little as $30 per month, below the World Bank's $1.25/day poverty threshold. And early reports show Ethiopian garment workers earn between $37 and $53 per month, making them the world's two lowest paid (Bangladeshi workers earn approximately $68).

Few can ignore the data, but some experts argue that low wages ? once a characteristic of all now-developed economies, most recently Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong ? are a necessary initial sacrifice to attract investors. If job seekers voluntarily choose to work for low wages in a factory, that means it's the best of a series of bad options, says Benjamin Powell, director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University. "If we were to impose laws on these countries mandating higher pay and working conditions, it would take away the very reason companies chose to come there, thus leaving them trapped in an even worse poverty," he told OZY.

Related: How Saudi Arabia will kick its oil habit

In Haiti, where 80 to 90 percent of its exports come from apparel, there's some hope for development with labor standards. Conditions in Haiti have improved significantly, argues Arianna Rossi, research and policy officer at Better Work, an arm of the International Labour Organization that specializes in the garment industry. The minimum wage was raised in May of this year to $5 a day and Better Work's most recent report shows factories are complying almost across the board ? 37 percent are even receiving at least $6.75.

To be sure, garment hasn't proven the jobs creator it was touted to be. A 2-year-old industrial park in northern Haiti, Caracol, financed to the tune of $124 million by the U.S., has led to only 3,000 jobs, instead of the projected 60,000. That's despite duty-free access to the United States via the HOPE II trade agreement and serious promotion from the State Department, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton.

Still, companies are coming to the realization that "treating workers better is good for business," Rossi says, citing a Better Work research project as proof of concept.

Experts like Nova aren't sold. For one, if the garment industry was a way out of poverty, wages shouldn't have declined over the past decade across the world and, on average, constitute about a third of a "living wage."

Whether the garment industry is good for national and individual economic development or not, countries like Haiti, Myanmar and Ethiopia are rolling out the red carpet for fashion's name brands. If they'll have buyers' remorse remains to be seen.

This article originally appeared in Ozy. CNNMoney and Ozy are partnering to tell the story of the "Real Economy."

CNN
30/10
16 Points

Sports Stanford still has a lot riding on Oregon game

They sought out athletic linebackers and defensive backs who excelled at open-field tackling, players like cornerback Alex Carter and safety Jordan Richards.The change has been dramatic. Over the course of 26 games, from the beginning of the 2012 season to the end of 2013, the Oregon Ducks averaged 50 points per game -- Fifty. In 2010-11, the Ducks scored seven touchdowns on plays of 25 yards or longer.

Over the course of 26 games, from the beginning of the 2012 season to the end of 2013, the Oregon Ducks averaged 50 points per game -- Fifty! -- against every team they faced save the one they play Saturday.

In two games plus an overtime session against Stanford, the Ducks averaged 17 points.

"They are what they've always been, and it's going to be a big challenge for us,'' Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost said of the showdown in Autzen Stadium. "They've earned the victories."

Can the unranked Cardinal contain the Quack Attack and upset Oregon for the third year in a row?

There's nothing riding on the answer, except control of the North Division, a shot at the Pac-12 title and (for the Ducks) a berth in the College Football Playoff.

"We're not going to know until we get midway through the game,'' said Cardinal coach David Shaw, whose team will be without starting safety Zach Hoffpauir and possibly starting nose tackle David Parry.

"It takes a lot of attention to detail. You never completely hold them down."

Stanford's ability to contain one of the most dynamic offenses in college football history -- not once, but twice -- is a mystery, at least to those outside the respective programs.

The Ducks won't talk about it for fear of tipping off Stanford as to potential countermeasures. (Or perhaps they are simply trying to forget what happened.)

The Cardinal won't give away its secrets, preferring to talk in generalities about staying disciplined with their assignments, trusting each other and remaining fundamentally sound.

The slight exception to the tight-lipped approach came from Shaw, who acknowledged the obvious earlier this week: Everything starts with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Heisman Trophy frontrunner who leads the nation in pass efficiency.

"Our gameplans are completely geared around Marcus,'' Shaw said. "We have that much respect-slash-fear of him. He's the focal point of what we do, of what they do.

"At times, we've been able to contain him. But every game, there's a streak where you can't do anything about it.''

But like the offense he controls, Mariota has struggled more than sizzled against Stanford.

He accounted for only one touchdown in the 2012 loss ? the Ducks were No. 1 at the time -- and threw a rare interception late in the first half at the Stanford 28 yardline.

Last season, Mariota was ineffective until it was too late, as a knee injury appeared to limit his mobility.

"He didn't play his best game, nor did anybody around him,'' Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said.

The foundation for Stanford's success against Mariota was laid long before he played his first game for the team in yellow and green (and black and silver and white and gray).

During a two-season stretch (2010-11) in which Oregon pummeled Stanford with 105 point, Shaw and his staff shifted their recruiting efforts specifically to players who could contain the Quack Attack. They sought out athletic linebackers and defensive backs who excelled at open-field tackling, players like cornerback Alex Carter and safety Jordan Richards.

The change has been dramatic. In 2010-11, the Ducks scored seven touchdowns on plays of 25 yards or longer. In 2012-13, Oregon managed just three (ital)plays(and) of 25 yards or longer.

"We know where we're supposed to be,'' Cardinal linebacker A.J. Tarpley said. "It's a matter of can you read it, can you react to it, and can you make a play when you're there. When you have five yards of space and running backs as good as they have, it's tougher than at other times."

Stanford's also made a concerted effort to bolster its depth. The Ducks scored 59 points in the second half of the 2010-11 games as their tempo wore down the Cardinal starters and exposed the backups. But the past two years, Stanford made greater use of its second stringers early in the season. When it came time to face the Ducks, they provided valuable minutes to keep the starters fresh.

Improved depth and tackling alone didn't wrest control of the division away fro Oregon. The Cardinal received a vital boost from its offense.

Thanks to a running game that churned for 474 combined yards, Stanford averaged 40 minutes of possession the past two meetings. The ball control limited the number of opportunities for Mariota and Co., thereby increasing the pressure to produce on every series.

"They kept ball away, and we weren't able to capitalize on our chances,'' said Frost, the offensive coordinator who played quarterback for Stanford two decades ago.

"Last year, our kids put too much emphasis on the game. It was the one everybody had circled, and that can work against you because you play tight.

"We've done better job this year not thinking about it, not talking about it."

They can't avoid it any longer.

For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at [email protected] or 408-920-5716.

San Jose Mercury News
Today
15 Points
1

Fact check: 2014 campaign whoppers

Advice on tax policy was not part of the job description.McConnell's Bloated Tax Boast, April 23Grimes Ad Misses the Mark on McConnell, Oct. Elaine Chao, McConnell's wife and a former secretary of Labor, sits on the Wells Fargo board of directors . The liberal Senate Majority PAC claimed in a TV ad to "connect the dots" on Rep. Mary Landrieu claimed in a TV ad that she "voted nine times to block amnesty." She didn't, of course. Landrieu in Louisiana claimed that her Republican challenger, Rep.

By the time the last polling booth closes on Nov. 4, a staggering amount of money ? $4 billion, by one estimate ? will have been spent on the midterm elections. What did all that money buy? A lot of false and misleading TV ads.

Once again, we had no shortage of material for our annual Whoppers article. The candidates and their increasingly well-financed allies flooded the airwaves with ads accusing one another of dishonoring veterans, slashing Medicare benefits, threatening Social Security and lining their pockets with ill-gotten gains.

The facts too often did not support the over-the-top rhetoric used by both sides.

There were repeats from years past, including one that made our Whoppers list in 2006, as well as new twists on perennial topics, such as abortion and taxes. One Democrat claimed his opponent "proposed making women criminals for having an abortion," even though the bill his opponent co-sponsored clearly stated a woman could not be prosecuted in "the death of her unborn child." A Republican boasted that he "saved" 99% of taxpayers from "Obama's tax increases," even though he could only credibly claim to have "saved" at most 2%.

IMMIGRATION IMAGINATION

By now, it's routine for opponents of an immigration overhaul to yell "amnesty" at any supporter of a bill that includes a path to citizenship. There were many examples of that in this campaign cycle, too. But some candidates got more imaginative this year when it came to using the immigration issue as a blunt political weapon.

For example, in the Republican primary in North Carolina's 7th District, David Rouzer claimed Woody White is "part of a group that is pushing for amnesty." Really? The short answer is: No. The long answer is more entertaining: White belongs to a lawyer's association that advocated for driver's licenses to be issued to immigrants who are in the country illegally, so they can purchase car insurance. But that's not amnesty and, even if it was, White doesn't even share the group's position on driver's licenses.

We also wrote about false "amnesty" claims in Republican Senate primaries in Georgia and Mississippi. But Republicans weren't the only ones to get creative on the issue of "amnesty."

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu claimed in a TV ad that she "voted nine times to block amnesty." She didn't, of course. No one proposed legislation that would have given blanket legal status to those living in the U.S. illegally, and no votes were taken. Her tortured logic: The immigration system amounts to "de facto amnesty," so her support for a comprehensive immigration bill that included a path to citizenship amounted to votes to "block amnesty."

There were some immigration chestnuts, too.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee served up a vintage Whopper (circa 2006) in a TV ad saying Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor "voted to give Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants." Nobody proposed paying benefits to those in the country illegally ? not until and unless they gain legal status. Pryor voted in 2006 to kill a Republican amendment that would have changed current law to prevent legal immigrants from getting credit toward future Social Security benefits based on taxes paid while working in the U.S. illegally. Ten Republicans, including 2008 presidential nominee John McCain, voted against changing current law, too. We first debunked this claim in October 2006, and later put the claim on our list of the "Whoppers of 2006."

Dueling 'Amnesty' Claims in N.C., April 30

Kingston's False 'Amnesty' Connection, July 17

Twisting Cochran's Record, May 23

Playing Politics with Immigration, Sept. 17

Headed for the Hall of Shame, Aug. 20

QUESTIONABLE ETHICS CHARGES

Campaigns design attack ads to make voters think the worst of the opposing candidate, and sometimes those attacks are personal.

In Michigan's 4th District Republican primary, state Sen. John Moolenaar accused businessman Paul Mitchell of "lining his pockets with Obama's stimulus." On the screen, viewers see stacks of bills and the words: "Mitchell took $100,000 from Obama's stimulus." The Moolenaar ad cited an unimpeachable source for the claim: recovery.gov, the government website for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But there's a lot less here than meets the eye. Michigan received funding to retrain laid-off workers, some of whom signed up for classes at a medical education center Mitchell once headed. The stimulus money helped pay for the tuition of laid-off workers who were seeking training in careers such as dental assistant and pharmacy technician; it did not go to line Mitchell's pockets.

In another GOP primary, this one in Pennsylvania's 9th District, Rep. Bill Shuster accused his Tea Party-backed challenger, Art Halvorson, of "lining his pockets with taxpayer subsidies." The ad said: "His farm in Iowa got half a million dollars." That was not the case at all. Halvorson rents property to farmer Jon Charles Jacobson, who has received $423,019 worth of USDA subsidies over 18 years. Jacobson received those subsidies, not Halvorson. And Jacobson told us he farms 700 acres and only a fraction of the subsidies he received came from farming that was done on Halvorson's 40-acre property.

In the general election, the conservative Ending Spending Action Fund attacked Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's ethics by claiming she profited "from her votes," and specifically accusing her husband of engaging in "a shady stock deal" and the New Hampshire senator of "a conflict of interest." As a result of this family conspiracy, the ad says, Shaheen's "wealth has surged while in public office." The facts are far less tantalizing. The ad's claims all stem from her vote for the stimulus ? which all Senate Democrats supported ? and the fact that her husband had a small financial stake in a company that received a $77,715 stimulus grant. The kicker: The Shaheen family's estimated net worth had actually declined since she took office in January 2009. And the Shaheen campaign said her husband's stock option in the company expired, so the family did not earn a dime from the "shady stock deal."

In the Arkansas gubernatorial race, the Republican Governors Association claimed the Democratic nominee, former Rep. Mike Ross, got a "sweetheart deal" when he sold his family-owned pharmacy to a campaign donor in 2007. The ad cited a news story that was based largely on an independent appraisal of Ross' pharmacy by Adam Guthrie Jr. The ad quoted Guthrie from a 2009 news story: "You can buy half the town for $420,000." But Guthrie's appraisal of the Ross pharmacy was discredited by state regulators, and Guthrie surrendered his license in 2010 rather than face disciplinary action by the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board for his appraisal of the Ross property. Also, the House ethics committee cleared Ross of any wrongdoing, saying the buyer paid fair market value for the pharmacy. The ad ignored all that.

Misleading Michigan GOP Primary Voters, July 31

Scandalous Ad in New Hampshire Race, Aug. 28

Stretching the Facts in Pennsylvania, March 28

Another Arkansas Whopper, Sept. 3

SENIOR SCARE

This year, we likened claims designed to scare seniors to ghost stories ? both frightening and fanciful. And they were plentiful, too.

In the first nine months of 2014, $50 million had been spent on TV ads that mentioned Medicare, with Democrats outspending Republicans nearly 2 to 1, according to Kantar Media Intelligence's Campaign Media Analysis Group. That's about 112,000 spots, and the numbers don't even include ads about Social Security, the other major senior-scare topic.

In many cases, the claims were the same old scare tactics. In several Senate and House races, Democrats claimed Republicans would "end the Medicare guarantee," a reference to the candidates' support for Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan and a version of the "end Medicare" whopper that has been around since 2011. Ryan's plan wouldn't end the guarantee of Medicare, or Medicare benefits, as some ads claimed. Instead, it proposed phasing in a government-subsidy program in which future beneficiaries pick from traditional Medicare or private insurance plans, which must offer the same benefits as traditional Medicare.

Other Democratic ads, such as one from Alison Lundergan Grimes attacking Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell in the Kentucky Senate race, recycled the outdated claim that Republicans supporting Ryan's plan would increase Medicare costs by $6,000 per beneficiary. That's based on a Congressional Budget Office analysis of Ryan's 2011 plan. Ryan's subsequent proposals were more generous in terms of the growth of subsidies, and his current proposal is actually modeled on a plan that CBO says would lower seniors' premiums and costs by 6% on average. The CBO also now says its 2011 report was a "rough analysis" based on assumptions that have proven invalid. Other Democratic claims exaggerated the impact Ryan's plan would have on seniors' prescription drug costs.

On Social Security, an ad from Sen. Landrieu in Louisiana claimed that her Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, voted to cut Social Security benefits "to pay for a millionaire's tax cut." No, he didn't. That's a reference to a Republican Study Committee budget resolution that called for using a different method of calculating cost-of-living increases and raising the retirement age. The "savings" from the cost-cutting measures would prolong the life of the Social Security trust funds ? not pay for tax cuts. President Obama proposed the same change in cost-of-living calculations and correctly said it would "improve Social Security solvency."

Political ads designed to scare seniors to garner their votes usually include images of elderly men and women, even though the claims being made pertain to proposed changes that wouldn't affect seniors today. In the Arkansas Senate race, for example, an ad from Crossroads GPS attacking Pryor showed an image of a senior man while saying the Democratic incumbent "suggested raising the retirement age" for Social Security. He did ? but for those who are now teenagers, not the man pictured.

Midterm Medicare Mudslinging, Oct. 3

More Senior Scare in Arkansas, Aug. 22

Social Security Scare in Louisiana, Aug. 7

Medicare Ghost Stories, July 9

Old Medicare Claims in Arkansas Senate Race, Feb. 21

COAL-FIRED WHOPPERS

The whoppers in Kentucky and West Virginia were often fueled by America's No. 1 energy source, coal.

The House Majority PAC, a super PAC dedicated to returning the Democrats to power in the House, got things started early ? way back in March ? with a TV ad in West Virginia's 3rd District that falsely claimed Republican Evan Jenkins "vowed to repeal black lung benefits." Jenkins vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, not end black lung benefits. A repeal of the ACA would make it more difficult for some miners and surviving spouses to prove eligibility for the Federal Black Lung Benefits Program. But that would not repeal the benefits, which were created under a separate law.

In the Kentucky Senate race, Grimes accused McConnell and his wife of "personally" taking "$600,000 from anti-coal groups." Viewers wouldn't know this from the ad, but Grimes was primarily talking about money from Wells Fargo. Yes, the bank. Elaine Chao, McConnell's wife and a former secretary of Labor, sits on the Wells Fargo board of directors ? for which she has been paid $684,000 over the last three years. It's true that Wells Fargo ? five years before Chao joined the board ? decided not to extend credit to mountaintop removal projects or to coal companies that receive a majority of their coal production from mountaintop removal. But it's also true that the bank still lends billions to coal companies. In fact, the environmental Sierra Club gave it a "D" rating this year for its involvement in financing coal-fired power plants in 2013.

Not to be outdone, the McConnell campaign claimed to show "shocking" video evidence from Grimes' "own staff" that proves "Grimes is lying" about her support for coal. Spoiler alert: There is no smoking gun. None of those featured in the ad is a paid staffer with the Grimes campaign, and all of them are expressing their personal opinions ? not revealing campaign strategy. The Grimes supporters were surreptitiously videotaped by conservative activist James O'Keefe's Project Veritas Action Fund as they were meeting with undercover actors who posed as liberals concerned about Grimes' coal-friendly statements. The McConnell ad says "Grimes is lying," but ignores the possibility that the supporters shown in the video are just telling the undercover actors what they think the actors want to hear.

Bogus Attack in Coal Mine Country, March 19

Doubling Down in West Virginia, Sept. 16

Kentucky Coal Connections, Oct. 7

No Proof of 'Lying,' Oct. 15

OBAMACARE

What list of campaign whoppers would be complete without claims about Obamacare? In this election, we saw efforts to paint Republicans as supporters of the Affordable Care Act, even though they weren't. And, as in past elections, we saw conservatives offering misleading attacks on the law.

In the most interesting twist, the Democratic Senate Majority PAC ran an ad that could have been mistaken for a product of the Koch brothers from the way it disparaged Obamacare. The TV spot claimed that Cassidy, the Republican running for the Senate in Louisiana, sponsored a bill while in the state Legislature to create "government-run health care" in Louisiana. Cassidy did nothing of the sort. His 2007 bill, which never made it out of committee, called for setting up a state insurance exchange to serve as a clearinghouse for insurers and potential customers. The ad also claimed Cassidy argued for "automatic Obamacare registration," but he actually called for repealing the ACA and enrolling the uninsured in a scaled-back GOP alternative.

The Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity made canceled insurance policies a theme of its ads, with one series of TV spots against Democratic senators claiming, "Millions of people have lost their health insurance." Insurance companies did discontinue policies that had covered millions who bought the plans directly, rather than through an employer. Those plans didn't meet the minimum benefit standards of the law. But those policyholders didn't lose the ability to have insurance. In most cases, insurers offered them an alternative plan, and in other cases, individuals could buy coverage on state or federal marketplaces, many with the help of federal subsidies. In fact, there is evidence that far more have gained coverage than had their policies canceled.

Other Republican ads claimed that premiums or health costs were "skyrocketing" under the ACA. That's misleading. Employer-sponsored premiums, where most Americans have coverage, have been growing at historically low rates in the past few years, as have overall health care costs. Premiums for those who buy their own private insurance will go up or down, in some cases significantly, depending on individual circumstances: For instance, those with health conditions would likely pay less than they did when their health status was a pricing factor, and the reverse is likely the case for healthy individuals.

'Cassidycare?' Come On! July 11

Who Supports Obamacare in Georgia Race? July 16

Obamacare Ad Onslaught, April 11

DISHONORING VETERANS

Democrats and Republicans tried to capitalize on public anger over the VA hospitals scandal by wrongly accusing their opponents of neglecting veterans by voting to cut their benefits or skipping important hearings on veterans-related issues to raise campaign cash.

Back in June, the House Majority PAC accused California Republican Doug Ose of voting "to slash veterans benefits by $15 billion" in 2003, but actually he voted for a nonbinding budget resolution that proposed a 5.4 percent increase in new spending authority for veterans benefits and services for fiscal year 2004. Democrats claimed the bill contained a $15 billion cut because the House Republicans' budget proposed a smaller increase in spending authority for veterans benefits than President Bush's budget. Bush had called for a 6.6% increase compared with the 5.4% contained in the House measure.

After that, the Senate Majority PAC and Patriot Majority USA aired an identical TV ad making the inaccurate claim that Cassidy, the Louisiana Republican, "voted for a plan that would cut veterans benefits." The ad was referring to a February 2012 vote related to the Baseline Reform Act of 2012, a Republican-sponsored bill that would have changed the budget process in a way that may or may not have resulted in budget cuts. Under the bill, baseline budget projections would not be adjusted for inflation. But the bill alone would not have resulted in automatic cuts to veterans benefits. Congress would still need to decide how much to spend above or below the baseline. As the Congressional Budget Office said in an analysis of the bill: "Any impact on the budget would depend on the extent of future legislative actions."

And Concerned Veterans for America got in on the deception with an ad that falsely claimed Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley "skipped an important VA reform hearing to attend three fundraisers." In fact, none of the three fundraisers that Braley attended was scheduled at the same time as the House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing that he missed that day. The Braley campaign has said that the congressman missed the VA committee hearing because he was attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing that was taking place at roughly the same time. The official transcript shows Braley was present for the oversight hearing. But it is not known for how long, and his campaign wouldn't say.

Moldy Baloney About Vets' Benefits, June 5

Democratic Assault on Cassidy's Record, Sept. 3

No Cuts for Military Vets, Sept. 18

Braley's VA Hearing Attendance Under Attack, Aug. 1

MISLEADING ADS ABOUT TAXES

Nothing, the saying goes, is as certain as death and taxes. To that we might add "and misleading political ads about taxes." As usual, 2014 campaigns have been filled with bloated boasts about tax cuts and off-base accusations that an opponent has raised taxes.

The bipartisan deal reached on New Year's Day in 2013 to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff provided plenty of ad fodder for both sides. Known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the compromise agreement permanently extended Bush-era income tax cuts for everyone except for individuals making more than $400,000 and couples making more than $450,000 a year.

That led to a grossly misleading boast by McConnell, the Senate minority leader from Kentucky, who voted for the bipartisan deal. McConnell claimed he "[s]aved 99% of Kentuckians from Obama's Tax Increases." But Obama's plan would have extended the Bush-era tax cuts for those earning up to $250,000 for families ($200,000 for individuals). In other words, McConnell can only credibly claim to have "saved" individuals with taxable income of between $200,000 and $400,000 and couples who earn between $250,000 and $450,000. That's about 1 percent to 2 percent of Americans.

On more than one occasion, Republicans and their allies labeled vulnerable Democratic senators champions of a carbon tax without evidence. One particularly egregious example: A Crossroads GPS ad said Colorado Sen. Mark Udall "voted to enact a carbon tax." He did not. The ad refers to a vote on a failed amendment to a nonbinding budget resolution. The amendment would have required any possible future carbon tax to be revenue neutral, with the tax proceeds being returned to the American people. We saw similar bogus attacks on Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Begich of Alaska.

In a Republican-on-Republican attack, Paul DeMarco, a candidate in Alabama's 6th District Republican runoff, butchered a quote from his opponent, Gary Palmer, on taxes. The ad left the false impression that Palmer supported a $1.2 billion tax hike. It took a quote from an op-ed Palmer wrote opposing the tax increase, but cut it off in mid-sentence. The ad quoted Palmer as saying, "I would be willing to support a tax increase ?," even though the rest of that sentence read "? but only on the condition that we first set in place some meaningful accountability measures. Unfortunately, the proposal before the people of Alabama falls well short of the mark."

And, in what ended up being the most shocking upset of the political year so far, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia lost his primary to upstart Republican David Brat, despite Cantor repeatedly portraying Brat as a "liberal college professor" who advised then-Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine on a massive tax hike plan. Cantor distorted Brat's role on the Joint Advisory Board of Economists, a large board of unpaid technical experts that was narrowly tasked with providing professional economic forecasts. Advice on tax policy was not part of the job description.

McConnell's Bloated Tax Boast, April 23

Grimes Ad Misses the Mark on McConnell, Oct. 23

Cantor Mislabels Opponent, May 5

Cantor Mislabels Opponent, The Sequel, May 28

Editing Out the Facts in Alabama, June 25

More Carbon Tax Distortions, July 24

AFP Distorts Begich's Carbon Tax Stance, Feb. 28

WAIT ... THERE'S MORE!

The liberal Senate Majority PAC claimed in a TV ad to "connect the dots" on Rep. Tom Cotton's career. Cotton was "paid handsomely working for insurance companies" before joining Congress, the ad said, and he has paid them back in Congress by supporting the industry's agenda. There is one problem with this theory: Cotton didn't work for any insurance companies. His only established connection to the industry involved consulting work for the Federal Housing Administration.

Conversely, Cotton made the curious claim that President Obama "hijacked the farm bill, turned it into a food stamp bill." That was his defense for being the only member of the Arkansas delegation to vote against the bill. But food stamp funding has been part of farm bills going back to 1973.

In the Georgia Senate race, Republican David Perdue cited a campaign strategy memo from Michelle Nunn's advisers to make the audacious claim that "her foundation gave money to organizations linked to terrorists." She "admits" it! It's right there in the campaign memo! Except it's not. The memo doesn't "admit" anything. It was meant to prepare "responses to potential Republican attacks," as it said. It didn't say those attacks would be accurate. And there's no evidence that the foundation ? Points of Light, the volunteer group founded by former Republican President George H.W. Bush ? gave money to any group linked to terrorists.

Most attack ads appear in competitive races, but long-shot Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer in Iowa's 4th Congressional District ran a TV ad that claimed Rep. Steve King voted to "raise his own pay by $20,000 a year and take perks like free health care for life." Mowrer is doubly wrong. The $20,000 figure is about how much congressional salaries automatically have increased for cost-of-living adjustments since 2002, when King was first elected. King did not vote to raise his pay ? let alone "by $20,000 a year." He also didn't vote for "free health care for life." King voted for a House budget resolution that urged the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. But if that happened, members of Congress would return to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which is not free.

Disconnecting the Dots in Arkansas, April 11

Hijacking History in Arkansas, Sept. 24

Abortion Attack Goes Too Far in Montana, May 22

Perdue Distorts Nunn Campaign Memo, Sept. 12

Double Whopper Against King, Oct. 10

Editor's note: Did we miss one of your favorite whoppers? Let us know which one. Tweet us at @factcheckdotorg.

USA Today
30/10
17 Points
1

Colorado Rapids sue Ciao Telecom over missed sponsorship payments

A look at Ciao's financials reveals the sponsorship agreement involved significant risk for the Rapids. District CourtIn May, Ciao founder Victor Santos told the Post the sponsorship deal was part of a strategic plan to roll out advertising-supported, ultra-low cost cellular service in the U.S. In the weeks before the deal was signed, Ciao completed a reverse merger allowing public trading in the company.

The Colorado Rapids filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court alleging Ciao Telecom's parent company has failed to make nearly half a million dollars in jersey sponsorship payments.

The lawsuit claims Global Logistics Solutions LLC has missed two payments and seeks the $485,000 that is owed as well as attorney fees and unspecified damages.

The Rapids signed the jersey sponsorship, worth $8.3 million over five years, on April 29.

Ciao's logo has been emblazoned on the front of the club's jerseys since the Rapids' May 4 game against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

According to court documents obtained by The Denver Post, GLS agreed to pay the Rapids $80,000 to close the sponsorship deal, but only $75,000 was paid. Payments of $240,000 due on July 30 and Sept. 30 were not made. Another $240,000 payment is due Nov. 30.

The deal would have paid the Rapids $800,000 this season, increasing to $1.5 million in 2015, $1.75 million in 2016, $2 million in 2017 and $2.25 million in 2018.

DOCUMENT: Read the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court

In May, Ciao founder Victor Santos told the Post the sponsorship deal was part of a strategic plan to roll out advertising-supported, ultra-low cost cellular service in the U.S. The metro Denver market was to be first to get Ciao Mobile Lite.

Get the latest updates and insights on the Colorado Rapids, MLS and the world of soccer on The Terrace blog.

Phone messages left for Ciao Telecom president Don Pinkston were not immediately returned.

Rapids president Tim Hinchey on Oct. 21, he said Ciao was "still a little behind on their launch. They're looking at retail locations. As we said before, 2014 was about getting the name out for them, and that's why they took a punt with us."

Hinchey declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday.

A look at Ciao's financials reveals the sponsorship agreement involved significant risk for the Rapids. In the weeks before the deal was signed, Ciao completed a reverse merger allowing public trading in the company. According to the company's most recent SEC filing, in March, it had roughly $65 million in liabilities and $2 million cash on hand. Ciao has filed to delay other SEC filings, a potential sign of financial trouble.

Ciao Telecom also had a jersey sponsorship deal with Italian Serie B club Reggina Calcio, which was supposed to run through the 2014-15 season, but Ciao's logo has since been removed from the club's website. Attempts to reach the club for comment were not returned.

Ciao's stock price, which is traded over-the-counter under the symbol CIAU, has plummeted since July. Thursday morning it was trading at about 36 cents per share.

The Rapids ended their season on Saturday with a franchise-worst 14-game winless streak. The team's average attendance declined 2.4 percent overall this year despite MLS setting a total and average attendance record. The club had the third lowest average attendance in the league ? 15,071 ? ahead of only the San Jose Earthquakes and the now-shuttered Chivas USA.

Hinchey said last week that 80 percent of the club's roughly 5,400 season ticketholders have renewed for next year, the second highest rate in club history. The club has also added 500 new season ticketholders, he said.

Daniel Boniface: 303-954-1104, [email protected] or twitter.com/danielboniface

The Denver Post
Today
15 Points
1

People Miley Cyrus explains why she spent $500K at AmfAR Gala: 'I'm a little drunk'

Jason Merritt/Getty Images for amfAR Miley Cyrus attends Tuesday’s AmfAR LA Inspiration Gala honoring Tom Ford.Jason Merritt/Getty Images for amfAR Miley Cyrus seems to be rethinking the thousands she dropped at AmfAR.Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic Miley Cyrus spent $300,000 on an auction item and donated $200,000 more to research at the AmfAR Gala.
MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS ‘If I'm going to have a voice I would like to start an open dialogue about prevention and awareness and how people in the world have been affected by HIV and AIDS,’ Miley Cyrus said at the gala.Kevin Tachman/Getty Images for amfAR While Miley Cyrus spent $500,000 at the AmfAR event, she seems not to have had enough money for a full top. Previous Next Enlarge

Miley Cyrus made it rain at the AmfAR Gala on Wednesday night.

"I'm a little drunk," she said on stage after bidding $300,000 on a Ryan McGinley photograph of a naked woman.

She then proceeded to donate another $200,000 to the AIDS research organization during the star-studded gala in Los Angeles, reports GossipCop.

"That's why I'm a half-million deep," she added about that paper she dropped during the event.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images for amfAR Miley Cyrus attends Tuesday’s AmfAR LA Inspiration Gala honoring Tom Ford.Jason Merritt/Getty Images for amfAR Miley Cyrus seems to be rethinking the thousands she dropped at AmfAR.Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic Miley Cyrus spent $300,000 on an auction item and donated $200,000 more to research at the AmfAR Gala. Previous Next Enlarge

Now that she had the room's attention, the "Wrecking Ball" singer got serious.

"If I'm going to have a voice I would like to start an open dialogue about prevention and awareness and how people in the world have been affected by HIV and AIDS," she said. "I could break down people's walls that have been built up around sexuality."

It's no secret that Cyrus is quite comfortable with her own sexuality and expresses it publicly every moment she can.

"I'm obviously not too embarrassed to talk about these things, especially with young people," she said.

Related Gallery: View Gallery Stars flock to amfAR Inspiration Gala
Daily News
Today
15 Points

What Seahawks' cornerback Richard Sherman says about Raiders' QB Derek Carr

He also has gone after the likes of Patriots standout cornerback Darrelle Revis and Arizona Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson."I know we can say, 'Hey, you threw at him, you threw at him.' It's not an arrogant thing," Carr said. However, Carr had served notice that he wasn't afraid to go at Sherman, regarded by many as the best cornerback in the league, or anyone else in Seattle's vaunted secondary.On the 10th play of the 12-play drive, Carr went right back at Moore, with Sherman in coverage.

ALAMEDA -- In less than half his rookie season, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr already has earned a reputation for not shying away from the game's top cornerbacks.

If he feels as if he can get the ball to a certain spot and give his receiver a realistic chance to make the catch, Carr just lets it rip.

"I'm not really surprised at all. He doesn't know any better," Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said, when asked if he was shocked that Carr went after him in an exhibition game. "If you don't know any better, you don't know better."

Carr attacked Sherman on the third play of the game Aug. 28 at the Coliseum, with a deep pass for wide receiver Denarius Moore. The pass fell incomplete. However, Carr had served notice that he wasn't afraid to go at Sherman, regarded by many as the best cornerback in the league, or anyone else in Seattle's vaunted secondary.

On the 10th play of the 12-play drive, Carr went right back at Moore, with Sherman in coverage. Moore made a nice catch of an off-the-mark pass and turned it into a first down at the Seahawks 5-yard line.

The Raiders scored a touchdown two plays later. That energized the crowd and started a 28-point outburst, with Carr accounting for three of the touchdowns through the air.

"If I were just to eliminate one side of a play or a progression, I'm hurting us," Carr said, "and I can't do that. I've got to be able to trust that our guys will make the plays against whoever is guarding them. But I promise you, I know where those guys are at all times as soon as I break the huddle."

Yet, time and again, Carr has gone after the opposing team's top cornerback. Against the Chargers, Carr connected with receiver Andre Holmes for a 77-yard touchdown on the third play of the game.

Carr targeted Holmes because he noticed Holmes in one-on-one coverage. It didn't matter that the cornerback was well-regarded Brandon Flowers. He also has gone after the likes of Patriots standout cornerback Darrelle Revis and Arizona Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson.

"I know we can say, 'Hey, you threw at him, you threw at him.' It's not an arrogant thing," Carr said. "It's not one of those things at all. Trust me, I know where they are and I'm very careful about where we're throwing it, what routes we're throwing."

Carr gets another shot at Sherman and the Seahawks this Sunday. Only this time, the game will count in the standings, it will be played in Seattle and Sherman will be on high alert.

Sherman oftentimes goes long stretches without seeing any action. He said he is expecting Carr to test him once again, based on how Carr played the first seven games.

"He's just been slinging the ball around," Sherman said. "I don't think he thinks about who's guarding anybody or anything like that. He just slings it. He's got nothing to lose, obviously."

Carr's fearlessness isn't lost on Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who recalled Carr's strong showing in that exhibition game.

"He played great against us," Carroll said, "and we've seen nothing but that, really, since Tony (Sparano, coach) took over; the emphasis of really trusting him, believing in him, giving him a chance to win the games. He's done a lot of marvelous stuff.

"I can see why they're excited about him and they've demonstrated so much trust and confidence in him by just the nature of the style of offense that they're willing to throw."

Sparano said it was evident during the pre-draft evaluations of Carr that he was "mature beyond his years" and not fazed by much.

As for his penchant of going after top cornerbacks, Sparano said Carr simply is doing what he is coached to do by offensive coordinator Greg Olson and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.

"It's a good thing for a young quarterback to continue to go through progressions, work through progressions and whatever his read tells him to do, that's where the ball should go," Sparano said. "He's not being spooked really by anybody that way."

For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders.

Sunday's game

Raiders (0-7) at Seattle (4-3),

1:25 p.m. CBS

San Jose Mercury News
30/10
17 Points
1

Tech The customer is NOT always right: Business strikes back with user reviews

Editor's note: Tomorrow Transformed explores innovative approaches and opportunities available in business and society through technology.(CNN) -- In business, it might pay to keep the customer happy, but how far should you go just to keep the peace. A difficult customer, he says, isn't necessarily difficult all the time."I personally will pick up passengers with a low rating because I simply don't like to ignore people," he said.

Editor's note: Tomorrow Transformed explores innovative approaches and opportunities available in business and society through technology.

(CNN) -- In business, it might pay to keep the customer happy, but how far should you go just to keep the peace?

Thanks to new technology, a bad review now cuts both ways and the peer review is increasingly a feature of everything from holidays and restaurants to cab rides and flat shares.

For Bereket Hagos, who drives an Uber car in central London, the two-way street of peer reviews has democratized a process that was normally arbitrated by employers.

"You just deal directly with the customer and that means there's real respect," he told CNN.

Uber runs a five-star rating system for both drivers and customers, which Hagos says has a tendency to keep the reviews honest.

"My rating is 4.66 out of 5, which is good -- for me that's absolutely beautiful!" he says. "You can't expect 5 all the time because, of course, you meet a lot of people."

Reviews, too, have a subjective basis and Hagos says a driver or a passenger's reputation can be damaged unfairly. A difficult customer, he says, isn't necessarily difficult all the time.

"I personally will pick up passengers with a low rating because I simply don't like to ignore people," he said. "When I've picked them up, I've found them to be perfectly nice."

Online customer reviews are now big business and, according to Margaret Ady of TrustYou, a company that tracks and aggregates reviews in the hospitality industry, online opinion is now the No.1 factor in influencing consumer choices.

"It has a huge impact. It's become the most trustworthy source of information for most travelers and peer reviews are really driving bookings," Ady told CNN.

"We've found that 65 per cent of travelers won't even book a hotel if it hasn't had a review written about it."

Peer reviews have now changed the marketing landscape for hotels, restaurants and holiday destinations.

"In many cases, they're beginning to make the old star rating for hotels obsolete," she said. "There are still different expectations for different price categories but it's easier to look at reviews and see what people are saying and to make your booking decision based on that.

"It gives it more texture and for many people it's just more trustworthy."

TrustYou works by collating thousands of reviews from more than 250 websites around the world, aggregates them and then runs them through a semantic algorithm to get an overview of the hotel, restaurant or destination.

Any outlying opinions -- either wildly positive or extremely negative -- are ironed out in the aggregate results produced by the company.

"What we're getting is exactly what the crowd is saying about a place," Ady said.

Responding to negative feedback is always a delicate operation for vendors and service providers and TrustYou says the professional reputation of a client often hinges on how it responds to a flame from a customer.

"We give them guidelines, saying acknowledge if there was a problem, explain the steps you are taking to fix it and invite the guest back and explain that their stay next time will be much more comfortable," Ady said.

"We encourage clients to get in touch with the complainant directly to see if anything needs to be discussed.

"That tends to work pretty well. Although I have seen in the news some hotels that have not done a good job of this, luckily none of them were clients."

Online reviews are also becoming a powerful marketing tool for companies, with a spread of opinions not only showing up the strengths and weaknesses of a given service provider but also those of its rivals.

TrustYou provides its clients with a monitoring tool that allows it to see what is being said about its business across all platforms and a dashboard that enables it to respond to every review being written.

"Then they can see our semantic analysis, so they can see areas where they are doing well and should be marketing along with areas that aren't doing so well and they need to improve," Ady said.

"They can also see their competitors too to see how they stack up or even get comparisons between hotels within their own chain."

While hotels and restaurants have been paying attention to online reviews for the past five or more years, Ady says it's only relatively recently that companies are starting to see them as a valuable marketing tool.

Read more from Tomorrow Transformed:

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CNN
30/10
15 Points
1

Poll: High anxiety, low expectations as election nears

"The president is not very competent and the people he's chosen are not very competent." More than four in 10 of those polled agreed.The poll of 1,210 adults, taken by Princeton Survey Research on Oct. The biggest question for this election night is whether Democrats will be able to keep control of the Senate.THE OBAMA FACTORHalf of likely voters say the president doesn't weigh in their vote for Congress. In the new survey, national security and terrorism rank second, cited by 21%.

WASHINGTON ? As Election Day nears, America is the Land of the Fearful.

Voters are rattled by the Ebola virus, braced for years of conflict against the terrorist group Islamic State and still worried about jobs, a nationwide USA TODAY Poll finds. Two-thirds say the nation faces more challenging problems than usual; one in four call them the biggest problems of their lifetimes.

And many lack confidence in the government to address them.

"There's this cornucopia of icky that's going on right now," says Laurie DeShano, 38, of Bay City, Mich., an instructor at Saginaw Valley State University who was among those surveyed. She cites concerns ranging from ISIS ? "We're absolutely in the cross hairs" ? to the out-sized influence of special interests in American politics.

"Just to be painfully honest, it's obvious we're quite off track," says Mike Trujillo, 46, an emergency-room physician from Miami. "I never thought the country would be going in this direction, not in my wildest dreams."

President Obama's approval rating is a so-so 44%, and neither party is broadly trusted to handle the big issues ahead. By significant margins, those surveyed prefer congressional Republicans when it comes to dealing with the economy and ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria. By double-digits, they say congressional Democrats would do a better job in handling income inequality and social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

On dealing with the Ebola virus, one in five volunteer that they don't trust either one.

But the bottom line seems to be that the downbeat mood of the electorate is favoring the GOP, whose backers are more enthusiastic about voting and animated by their opposition to Obama.

At stake in Tuesday's election are 36 Senate seats, all 435 House seats and 36 governorships as well as state ballot measures that would, among other things, restrict abortion and decriminalize marijuana.

Only a third of those surveyed say they are generally satisfied with how things are going in the United States. That's a more optimistic outlook than in the last midterm election, in 2010, when the unemployment rate had risen to 9.8% and the debate over the Affordable Care Act had caught fire.

Today's mood is akin to those during turbulent midterms in 1994 and 2006. In those elections, the party that held the White House suffered setbacks severe enough to cost them control of the House of Representatives.

With a Democrat in the White House now, Republicans already won a majority in the House four years ago. The biggest question for this election night is whether Democrats will be able to keep control of the Senate.

THE OBAMA FACTOR

Half of likely voters say the president doesn't weigh in their vote for Congress. But among those who call Obama a factor, by 2-1 they say they are casting a vote against him, not for him.

"It's a tough job...but this is not the best we've had, that's for sure," says Elizabeth Johnson, 58, a pharmacist from Morgantown, W.Va. "The president is not very competent and the people he's chosen are not very competent." More than four in 10 of those polled agreed.

The poll of 1,210 adults, taken by Princeton Survey Research on Oct. 23-26 by landline and cellphone, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The margin of error among the group of 697 likely voters is plus or minus 4 points.

"For me, Obama has done only 50%, not 100%," says Jose Camacho, 47, who has struggled to find a good job since moving to Tampa from Puerto Rico several years ago. "I understand the position of the president is not easy, but don't forget the old people and the poor people and the middle class."

The challenge for Obama's fellow Democrats is to turn out their supporters in the midterm election, when fewer people vote and those who do are more likely to be white, older and conservative -- that is, more likely to support Republicans.

That is proving to be difficult, although Democrats say they have honed field operations and turn-out-the-vote efforts. African-American participation has dipped only slightly, from 13% of the electorate in 2012 to 12% of the likely-voter sample in the new survey.

Still, some significant parts of the coalition that re-elected Obama two years ago are poised to stay home. In the poll, just 7% of the likely voters are under 30; those younger voters made up 19% of those who cast ballots two years ago, according to surveys of voters as they left polling places. In contrast, the proportion of voters 65 and older has risen to 27% from 16% in 2012.

Conservatives made up 35% of the electorate then; they are 41% of today's likely voters.

Among all registered voters, the Democratic congressional candidate is preferred over the Republican by five points, 45%-40%. But among those who indicate in a series of questions that they are likely to vote, that advantage shrinks to a single point, 43%-42%.

Harold Lowe, 46, a financial adviser from Oakland, Calif., calls Obama "the best president of my lifetime" and says racism is a major reason for the criticism of him. "If Obama was not black, we could get through issues about Obama's performance, but we can't even get to issues about Obama's performance because he is black," he says.

While he supports the president, though, Lowe also sees some "serious flaws" in Obama's leadership, including his decision early in his administration to make a health care overhaul his top priority when many Americans were more concerned about having a job. "I don't think those folks who come out from Harvard and Ivy League towers of privilege know what it means not to have a job," he says.

What's on voters' minds now?

? An uncertain economy. The top priority for congressional action next year is job creation, cited by 29% of those surveyed. Despite unemployment that has declined to 5.9% and an economy that grew by a healthy 3.5% in the third quarter of the year, economic anxiety forged in the Great Recession continues to cast a cloud.

? A long battle against ISIS. Six in 10 predict the United States will have to deal with the threat from Islamic State well past the time Obama's second term ends in two years. Four in 10 say it will stretch more than five years.

? The threat from Ebola . Four in 10 say a major outbreak of the Ebola virus in the United States is very or somewhat likely over the next year, although public-health experts call that prospect remote at best. More than one in 10 say it's very or somewhat likely someone in their family will contract Ebola.

Four in 10 say they don't trust the federal government to handle the Ebola threat.

TERRORISM CONCERNS RISE

If Congress could pass just one major piece of legislation next year, job creation comes first, but it's subsided as the single dominant issue it has been in the past three elections, in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown and the recession that followed. In 2012, more than four in 10 cited jobs as the top issue; now it's named by about three in 10.

Meanwhile, concern about national security and terrorism has surged amid worsening violence in Iraq and Syria and the videotaped beheading this year by Islamic State of two American journalists.

In a 2012 poll, terrorism came in last on a list of seven issues, at 2%. In the new survey, national security and terrorism rank second, cited by 21%. While jobs remains the top issue among Democrats, Republicans rank terrorism first.

Still, there's no sweeping confidence in government to deliver on any of those priorities, now or next year.

"My gut tells me because the U.S. population is relatively dissatisfied with what's going on, there's probably going to be a changing of the guard," says DeShano, although she questions whether even a switch in control of the Senate will make much difference. "I don't have a lot of hope until we have a more catastrophic change. Honestly, I think we are ripe right now, if we had the right person, for a third party."

Burton Dewilde, 29, a data analyst who works for a non-profit organization in New York City, doubts that Tuesday's election is going fix anything, but he also says things aren't likely to go in the other direction. "I know it's a cliché to beat up on Congress," he says, "but they really can't get much worse."

USA Today
30/10
15 Points
1

Travel Park City's Canyons ski resort is well on its way to the big time

In 1975, it became Park West, then Wolf Mountain, then The Canyons, and finally simply Canyons Resort.All that should evaporate soon. Operated by Vail Resorts since 2013, Canyons already has seen big improvements in its lift system, snowmaking and lodging. Wasatch Powder Guides (800-974-4354, powderbird.com) offers daylong packages to the untracked backcountry powder, departing directly from Canyons.Canyons’ base area is a pleasant about-face from the scope of the mountain.

Canyons never seemed to get the respect it deserved. Despite being the biggest ski resort in Utah ,with 4,000 skiable acres, it always seemed to be in the shadow of Park City and Deer Valley, the more glamorous neighbors in Parley’s Canyon. Canyons traditionally hosted roughly half as many skiers as Park City.

It couldn’t even settle on a name, which has changed four times since it opened in 1968. It started as Park City West. In 1975, it became Park West, then Wolf Mountain, then The Canyons, and finally simply Canyons Resort.

All that should evaporate soon. Operated by Vail Resorts since 2013, Canyons already has seen big improvements in its lift system, snowmaking and lodging. With management’s plan to link Canyons with newly purchased Park City Mountain Resort for the 2015-16 season, visitors may need to start calling it The Giant.

Canyons’ reputation has long been as a cruiser’s mountain, but that belies the breadth of skiing available. Yes, there is tons of wide-open intermediate terrain. Runs such as Pinecone, Lower Crowning Glory and Eclipse seem to demand speed.

In addition, skiers will find an abundance of narrow, groomed runs that wind through the trees off the Daybreak chairlift, perfect spots protected from the elements on blustery days. Elk Dance and Winter Way offer spectacular views to add flavor for the run down the mountain.

My second day at Canyons, I awoke to 6 inches of fresh powder and brilliant blue sky. All morning I rode the Dreamcatcher lift like a yo-yo. Run after run on Pipe Dream, Chimera, Phantasm and others. I kept going until I could no longer find snow to cut fresh tracks.

After a stop for lunch at the Cloud Dine restaurant (which is undergoing a complete renovation for this season), I headed up higher to the trails under the Daybreak lift. It was after 2 when I ran out of energy ? before I ran out of untracked snow.

Glade skiers can sate their appetites on runs such as the Abyss, Shadowlands and Mystic Pines. These steeps and trees held the uncut powder well into the next day. Experts should find all the challenge they need on the runs served by the Ninety-nine 90 chair. Fright Gully, for example, is very aptly named.

Those are just a few of the more than 180 trails served by 21 lifts. One small caution: This isn’t a beginner’s mountain. Only about 10 percent of the trails are rated as novice terrain.

For good intermediate skiers and better, however, this mountain is a real playground. The lack of crowds combined with the vast terrain mean crowds are nonexistent other than during holidays. Lift lines are rumors except for the first thing in the morning.

But the sheer size of the mountain also can be a bit daunting at first, with skiers sometimes finding it tricky to navigate from one section of the mountain to another.

The resort management is certain to correct these logistical speed bumps (it is one of the things Vail Resorts does best), but it won’t happen overnight. Meanwhile, skiers should plan their days carefully, study the trail map and minimize moving from sector to sector.

Other than the Ninety-nine 90 lift, intermediates will find runs they can enjoy in every section of the mountain. Even the Super Condor Express lift, which serves some of the mountain’s toughest terrain, also provides access to Upper Boa and Upper Apex Ridge, two of the area’s most enjoyable cruising runs.

If the mountain isn’t quite enough for you, helicopter skiing also is available. Wasatch Powder Guides (800-974-4354, powderbird.com) offers daylong packages to the untracked backcountry powder, departing directly from Canyons.

Canyons’ base area is a pleasant about-face from the scope of the mountain. It is compact, and it has a distinctly laid-back, familial vibe. Apres-ski activity tends to revolve around Ski Beach, a large open area just off the village’s central plaza.

Plop into one of the plush beach chairs strewn across the plaza and enjoy a local beer or a margarita while you watch the last skiers come off the mountain. Listen to the joyful, post-skiing banter. It is less raucous and much more short-lived than at some of the celebrated ski resorts. By 6 p.m., most of Ski Beach’s occupants have headed back to their lodging to get ready for dinner.

Dinner choices are not extensive ? there are fewer than a dozen dinner spots ? but they are very good. The Edge Steakhouse serves superb beef, but the star is The Farm, a proponent of the farm-to-table, head-to-tail movement.

The Farm (435-615-8080, canyonsresort.com) was voted Utah’s best new restaurant in 2012, and its original chef is returning this season with a promise of a new tasting menu that can be paired with the restaurant’s remarkable cellar.

The specialty obviously is steak at the Edge Steakhouse (435-655-2260, edgeparkcity.com), but don’t miss the chef’s tasting menu.

Canyons visitors who want more excitement or greater diversity in dining choices can head into Park City, just 15 minutes away by free public transit.

If you go

Getting there: Nonstop flights to Salt Lake City originate in numerous cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Orlando. Most major rental car agencies are at the airport, but public transit in the Park City area makes a car unnecessary. Shuttle service is available from All Resort Express (877-658-3999, allresort.com).

Staying there: There are just eight properties at the Canyons base area, but they offer nearly any level of accommodation (866-604-4171, canyonsresort.com). The Grand Summit Hotel is an excellent option and offers everything from hotel rooms to three-bedroom suites right next to the Red Pine Gondola and Orange Bubble heated chair.

Dining there: Beyond the choices at the resort base area, nearby Park City offers more choices than anyone can sample in one trip. Shabu (435-645-7253, shabuparkcity.com) features excellent sushi and what it calls “freestyle Asian cuisine.” Whiskey lovers shouldn’t miss High West Distillery (435-649-8300, highwest.com); not only can you sample award-winning ryes and other whiskeys, but the food is very satisfying whether you have only appetizers or go for a full meal.

Chicago Tribune
Today
16 Points
New
1

Arts 'Meredith Vieira Show' Renewed for Season 2 on NBC O&Os

"Meredith is genuine, smart, warm and funny, and she has our strong support to help her continue to grow her show in this very challenging day part." "Meredith Vieira" in the most recent syndie ratings for the week ending Oct. "We are proud to have Meredith Vieira on our stations for a second season," said Valari Staab, prexy of NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. The harder test for the show will be the renewal verdict among its non-NBC-owned station affils.

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - NBC's O&O group has given a vote of confidence to "The Meredith Vieira Show," the freshman daytime yakker distributed by the Peacock's syndication arm.

The show has had an uphill climb ratings-wise since its September debut. But the host is well-liked and the lifestyle-centric show has been generally well-received, so NBC is inclined to be patient and hope that the audience will build. The Peacock's 11 O&O stations, covering top markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, have given the show plum afternoon time slots.

The harder test for the show will be the renewal verdict among its non-NBC-owned station affils. But without much in the way of options on the horizon for fall 2015, it's likely that "Meredith Vieira" affils will stay the course for at least another year, barring a dramatic ratings downturn.

"We are proud to have Meredith Vieira on our stations for a second season," said Valari Staab, prexy of NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. "Meredith is genuine, smart, warm and funny, and she has our strong support to help her continue to grow her show in this very challenging day part."

"Meredith Vieira" in the most recent syndie ratings for the week ending Oct. 19 logged a 0.7 rating in the women 25-54 demo that is key for daytime shows. Warner Bros.' new roundtable show "The Real" has narrowly outpaced "Meredith Vieira" among freshman talkshow strips for the season to date.

Disney/ABC Domestic Television has unveiled plans for a fall 2015 talker "The Fab" featuring Tyra Banks and a panel of lifestyle and pop culture mavens. That could be competition in some markets for the time slots held by "Meredith Vieira," or for Queen Latifah's yakker, now in its second season.

Chicago Tribune
Today
16 Points
New
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