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Friday's TV Highlights: 'Crossbones' on NBC

Written By kolimtiga on Jumat, 25 Juli 2014 | 12.56

Customized TV Listings are available here: www.latimes.com/tvtimes

Click here to download TV listings for the week of July 20 - 26, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


Crossbones There's little love for Lowe (Richard Coyle) in Santa Compana, and it could get much worse as Nenna (Tracy Ifeachor) intends to escape. Peter Stebbings and John Malkovich also star. 10 p.m. NBC

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives In this new episode host Guy Fieri visits the Starling Diner in Long Beach, for the pot roast and scones. 10 p.m. Food

The Almighty Johnsons In this new episode Axl (Emmett Skilton) woos a librarian (Antonia Prebble) who claims to be Frigg, but it turns out, that's true when she is playing a Norse-themed online game. Jared Turner also stars. 10 p.m. Syfy


Colin & Brad: Two Man Group This  special is an additional showcase for the improv comics Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood. 9 p.m. KTLA


Afternoon Delight A frustrated stay-at-home mom (Kathryn Hahn) who takes her husband to a strip club to spice up their marriage, then invites a sexy blond dancer (Juno Temple) to work for her as a live-in nanny. Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch, Michaela Watkins and Keegan Michael Key also star in this 2013 comedy written and directed by Jill Soloway. 9 p.m. Starz


CBS This Morning Kenny Rogers. (N) 7 a.m. KCBS

Today Behind the scenes of "Fifty Shades of Grey"; One Republic performs; Bear Grylls. (N) 7 a.m. KNBC

KTLA Morning News (N) 7 a.m. KTLA

Good Morning America Kings of Leon performs. (N) 7 a.m. KABC

Good Day L.A. Brian Ray; cast of "Once" performs. (N) 7 a.m. KTTV

Rachael Ray Chefs Bobby Flay, Alton Brown and Giada De Laurentiis. (N) 8 a.m. KCAL

Live With Kelly and Michael Kelsey Grammer ("Partners"); Kesha ("Rising Star"); chef Anita Lo. (N) 9 a.m. KABC

The View James Monroe Iglehart; Kristin Chenoweth; Joe Morton; "Virgin Territory" cast. (N) 10 a.m. KABC

The Doctors Flesh-eating bacteria; a viral outbreak on pig farms. 11 a.m. KCAL

The Talk John Stamos; Mike Vogel. (N) 1 p.m. KCBS

The Queen Latifah Show June Squbb ("Nebraska"); Gilles Marini; 11-year-old Lexi Walker performs. 2 p.m. KCBS; 7 p.m. KCAL

The Dr. Oz Show Gluten and dairy sensitivity; diet for food allergies; weight loss. 2 p.m. KABC

Dr. Phil An ultimatum for a pregnant, drug-abusing woman and her sister. 3 p.m. KCBS

Katie Entrepreneurs; a woman's journey to Uganda changes lives around the world; oral health. (N) 3 p.m. KABC

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Zac Efron. 4 p.m. KNBC

Washington Week With Gwen Ifill Middle East crisis; Ukraine crisis; immigration: Peter Baker; Nancy Youssef; Doyle McManus; Ed O'Keefe. (N) 8 p.m. KOCE

To the Contrary The women's movement. (N) 10 p.m. KVCR

Real Time With Bill Maher Economist Richard D. Wolff; Neil deGrasse Tyson; Hogan Gidley; Amy Goodman; Matt Kibbe. (N) 10 and 11 p.m. HBO

Tavis Smiley Author Stanley B. Prusiner; Terry Crews. (N) 11 p.m. KOCE

Charlie Rose (N) 11 p.m. KVCR; 11:30 p.m. KOCE

The Arsenio Hall Show Kid Cudi. 11:30 p.m. KTLA

The Tonight Show: Jimmy Fallon Jon Hamm; Brit Marling; Martha Stewart. (N) 11:34 p.m. KNBC

Late Show With David Letterman Michael Douglas. 11:35 p.m. KCBS

Jimmy Kimmel Live Chris Pratt. 11:35 p.m. KABC

Late Night: Seth Meyers Taye Diggs. 12:36 a.m. KNBC

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson Bradley Cooper; Lisa Joyce. (N) 12:37 a.m. KCBS

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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On Obama's private L.A. schedule: a meeting with Father Boyle

President Obama met privately with Father Gregory Boyle of Los Angeles' Homeboy Industries and four former gang members Thursday as part of the White House's My Brother's Keeper initiative aimed at lifting African American and Latino youths.

"He talked about how he had a similar background with a single mother. She gave birth when she was 18. And he said he had gotten into trouble but was good at not getting caught," said Boyle in an interview, adding that the meet-and-greet lasted about 10 minutes and each young man got a handshake and a picture with the president.

"The homies just loved him. Afterward they were saying, 'He's one of us.' "

Homeboy Industries is a much-praised Los Angeles-based program that helps former gang members turn their lives around, and Boyle is a celebrated and deeply respected community leader. The meeting, which took place after Obama's speech at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, was also attended by Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles).

The meeting was not on Obama's public schedule; the White House often leaves events off the itinerary that is publicly released. Reporters strained Thursday, for example, to determine whether Obama had dinner with anyone Wednesday night.

The subject came up in part because of an off-the-books dinner Obama shared with DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg during a Los Angeles visit last summer. Katzenberg, whom Obama hosted in his hotel suite, was a major financial supporter of Obama's 2012 reelection bid and of Priorities USA, a "super PAC" backing his effort.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz was repeatedly pressed about the matter by reporters traveling with the president on his three-day West Coast swing, and declined to offer specifics during a briefing outside a Thursday morning fundraiser at the Pacific Palisades home of Live Nation chief Michael Rapino.

"The president had a full day of events. You were with him at each of them," Schultz said. "Last night, the president didn't have any public events or leave the hotel. If he had, you would have been with him."

Asked whether Obama met anyone for dinner, Schultz did not answer directly.

"Again, he didn't leave the hotel. And if he would, you would have been with him. And he didn't have any public events,"  he said, later adding that Obama "stayed in the hotel after a long busy day last night."

In their private meeting with the president, the young men associated with Homeboy Industries were said to be enthralled by the encounter.

"Before we were on the way, they were saying not even rappers get to meet with the president of the United States," Boyle said. "Not even Lil Wayne – I don't know who that is – not even Lil Wayne gets to meet with the president of the United States."

Boyle said he relayed that story to Jarrett, who responded, "That's exactly right. There's a lesson for the day: Stay in school, do good, and you don't need to be a rapper to meet the president of the United States."

Obama told Boyle that he admired the work of Homeboy Industries, Boyle said.

"He said, 'We support your programs and want to continue to make sure they thrive,' " Boyle said. "As he left the room, he said, 'I've got to get back to Washington. I've got work to do. Just remember, work always continues, so keep at it.… No shortcuts. The work keeps going.' "

Follow @LATSeema for political news.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Chris Petersen seems to have found his perfect fit at Washington

My standing belief Chris Petersen was never seriously interested in taking USC's football job, or UCLA's the two times it was offered, was confirmed Thursday when Petersen complained about traffic — in Seattle.

The good news is, he lives close enough to campus to avoid the real gnarly stuff.

"But everything else there you have to plan out your day," he said. "Can't go there. Why not? Well, it's going to take two hours."

No one who really knows Petersen thought for a minute he'd end up in bumper-to-bumper Los Angeles.

Three's not a crowd to this guy, it's a mob.

At a news conference in Boise, Idaho, days before the 2006 Fiesta Bowl in which his Boise State Broncos stunned Oklahoma and the college football world, Petersen noted the stampede of national media in town.

There were two of us.

It is conspiratorial to suggest Petersen purposely tanked his interview with USC so it could then hire Steve Sarkisian, leaving vacated the comfort-fit Washington job Petersen wanted all along.

Let's just say it all worked out for the best.

It figured Petersen would someday leave Boise, but he wasn't easily pried from his seat. He spurned offer after offer during an eight-year run in which he led Boise State to a 92-12 record.

Petersen prowled patiently for the right opportunity and seems to have nailed it.

He didn't leave Boise State because he went 8-4 last year; he left because there was only one last train leaving town before major college football partitioned the biggest and best five football conferences from the other five.

Boise State lived among the others.

Petersen could compete in the old Bowl Championship Series system with overachieving teams that willed their way toward the top of the rankings. However, the new college playoff and autonomy structure will funnel more resources to major conferences as it cuts adrift the rest.

Petersen had to get to a power league even if change was hard.

"Everybody's in shock," he said of people on both ends of his move from Boise to Washington. "The kids look at you like, 'What just happened?'"

Petersen the family man, at 49, could have retired in Boise. But Petersen the competitor knew it was time to go. "Kind of a gut feeling," he said.

Washington acquired one of the nation's premier coaches and innovators and the Pac-12 added another stellar football mind to a growing stockpile.

NFL.com recently ranked Petersen the second-best college football coach behind Alabama's Nick Saban.

Petersen doesn't look like Woody Hayes or Bear Bryant. If he wore brown shorts, you might think he drove a UPS truck. But he has the intangible "it" factor.

Washington players, burned by Sarkisian's departure to USC, have quickly come to appreciate Petersen. Boise State's epic win over Oklahoma is still etched in the mind of Washington offensive lineman Ben Riva.

"I kind of realize why they were so successful," Riva said. "That's probably one of the biggest things that have changed. How hard the workouts are. How hard they work us. It sort of made sense. They didn't always have the most talent, Boise, but they worked harder than anyone."

It wasn't just that. Riva says Petersen's team-building philosophy is truly unique, even if it seems like "cheesy stuff, like making us play ice-breaker games." Riva said.

"When you're on a team with a hundred guys, not everyone is going to like each other," Riva added. "That's just human nature. But with him… it kind of got me to talk to guys I may not have talked to before."

Petersen is no stranger to Pac football; he was an Oregon assistant in the mid-1990s alongside current Coach Mark Helfrich. But Petersen is, in every way, in a different league now. His glossy win-loss record figures to take a hit as he reboots his career in a den of dangers.

Kyle Whittingham knows. He coached Utah of the Mountain West Conference to an undefeated 2008 season capped with a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. Utah is 18-19 overall since joining the Pac-12.

"It's going to be tough sledding, no doubt," Petersen said.

There is congestion everywhere in the Pac-12's traffic lanes.

At least in Seattle it's an easier commute.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Sparks lose to streaking Phoenix Mercury, 93-73

DeWanna Bonner scored a season-high 22 points to lead the Phoenix Mercury to their 14th straight victory, 93-73 over the Sparks on Thursday night.

Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner each had 18 points and Candice Dupree added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Mercury (20-3), four wins shy of the Sparks' WNBA record of 18 straight wins in 2001.

Nneka Ogwumike scored 23 points and Jantel Lavender had 16 for the Sparks (10-14), who lost their fifth straight home game. Candace Parker returned from a knee strain injury and had 14 points and nine rebounds.

Phoenix led by double digits from 25-15. Taurasi made a 3-pointer early in third quarter to give Phoenix its biggest lead at 64-38 before the Sparks went on a 23-9 run to get to 73-61.

Ogwumike had 19 points in the second half.

Sparks owner Magic Johnson attended the game.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Angels' farm system, called worst, is producing best shots at winning

Written By kolimtiga on Kamis, 24 Juli 2014 | 12.56

Kole Calhoun has given the Angels consistent production in the leadoff spot, and Wednesday night, he drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Angels to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Rookie Mike Morin helped stabilize a wobbly bullpen in May and June; Matt Shoemaker has been a highly capable rotation fill-in; Efren Navarro has provided clutch hits and superb defense at first base and left field, and C.J. Cron hit so well the Angels released veteran designated hitter Raul Ibanez to clear a spot for him.

What do these players have in common? They are all recent products of a farm system that Baseball America rated as the worst in the major leagues in 2013 and 2014 but has churned out a number of significant contributors to a team with baseball's second-best record and a major league-leading 31 comeback wins.

"Our system is probably a little more capable than people think," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. "One thing we've focused on, because we didn't have first round picks [in 2012 and 2013], is finding guys who may not have superstar-type tools but have the intangibles to compete in the big leagues."

Calhoun, an eighth-round pick out of Arizona State in 2010, and Morin, a 13th-round pick out of North Carolina in 2012, fit that mold.

The gritty Calhoun, 26, is an undersized 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds, but he packs a wallop, with 11 home runs to go with his .288 average, .498 slugging percentage and 52 runs in 65 games. He also has a strong throwing arm in right field.

"I was just a ballplayer, you know?" Calhoun said. "I played hard and got better as I climbed the ladder. It's a tribute to the Angels system how it all came about. Guys get into the system and continue to grow and get better. If you look around this room at some of the guys who came up, that's what's going on here."

Morin didn't light up speed guns at North Carolina — his fastball tops out at about 92 mph — but the Angels liked the fact that he closed for a nationally ranked team.

It took Morin, 23, only two years to reach the big leagues — he was called up from double-A in late April-and, with a highly effective fastball-changeup combination that reminds some of Trevor Hoffman, he could be here to stay.

Morin is 2-3 with a 2.63 earned-run average in 37 games, with 35 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings. He had a 1.96 ERA before giving up three runs Tuesday night.

"He's not going to throw 98 mph, but he has a great changeup, he can locate, and he knows how to use his stuff," Dipoto said. "I saw him in college, where he had the bravery to pitch at the end of the game. He had the makeup. He's always had the changeup. We didn't teach him that."

Dipoto looked for similar qualities in recent trades for players such as outfielder Collin Cowgill, infielder Grant Green and reliever Corey Rasmus, "guys who have contributed in roles that aren't always sexy but are critical to a team's success," he said.

Cowgill hit .277 with five homers before going on the disabled list because of a broken nose July 13. Green hit .313 in 31 games and played all four infield positions and left field before going on the DL because of a lumbar strain Wednesday. Rasmus has a 1.99 ERA in 16 games.

Neither Shoemaker, who signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Eastern Michigan in 2008, nor Navarro, a 50th-round pick out of Nevada-Las Vegas in 2007, were highly touted, but both have been valuable.

Shoemaker is 7-2 with a 4.54 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings, and Navarro is batting .295 in 22 games, including a 16th-inning RBI single in a 3-2 walk-off win over Seattle on Friday.

"Every team is going to have guys banged up," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's just a matter of absorbing as much as you can with depth, and we've been able to do that on the offensive and pitching sides."

Cron, demoted to triple-A Saturday and recalled on Wednesday, was a 2011 first-round pick out of Utah who arrived sooner than expected. He elbowed Ibanez out by hitting .269 with nine homers and 27 RBIs in 53 games.

Dipoto also used three minor leaguers from a supposedly thin system to acquire closer Huston Street from San Diego last Friday.

The Angels were among the top five in Baseball America's organizational rankings from 2003-2007 but slipped to 11th in 2008, 25th in 2009 and 26th in 2010, the latter surprising because the Angels snagged Mike Trout (25th overall), Tyler Skaggs (40th) and Garrett Richards (42nd) with high picks in 2009.

But those "can't-miss" prospects at the top of the draft aren't the only players who excel at the big league level.

"Instead of always looking for the 95-mph fastball or the light-tower power guy, go find guys who understand how to play," Dipoto said. "In doing that, you find a lot of guys who can play."


Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Ten states join Indiana appeal of rulings allowing same-sex marriage

Ten states have filed an amicus brief in support of Indiana's challenge of a lower court ruling claiming bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, arguing that states, not federal courts, have legal authority to define marriage, according to court filings.

Attorneys general in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Idaho, Utah and Louisiana were all listed in the July 21 filing in Colorado in support of the Indiana attorney general's office, which filed an appeal in federal court earlier this month after a lower court found the state's ban unconstitutional.

"Regardless of someone's personal beliefs regarding whether same-sex marriage should be permitted as a matter of policy, doing so is not the role of the judicial branch," the recent filing from Colorado's Solicitor General states.

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled Colorado's gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, but an appeals process is pending.

Utah, Oklahoma, Idaho, Colorado and Indiana have all seen courts rule their bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Bans remain intact in the other six states that have joined the brief, but each faces a court challenge.

Same-sex marriage is completely legal, and not subject to a pending appeals process, in 18 states, largely throughout the Northeast.

In the brief, the states rely heavily on U.S. vs. Windsor, the landmark Supreme Court case that ruled limiting the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional. But the states now argue that the Windsor case did not define same-sex marriage as a fundamental right and actually reaffirmed the states' power to define marriage.

The Indiana attorney general's office said it was grateful for the help. Spokesman Bryan Corbin said,  "This office appreciates the amicus support of other states who help underscore the legal argument that Indiana has the authority to statutorily regulate marriage within its borders." 

Battles over same-sex marriage have been waged throughout the country in recent months, with several state bans being challenged and ultimately ruled unconstitutional. Beyond Wednesday's ruling in Colorado, a judge in Florida found that state's ban unconstitutional last week in a ruling that  affected only the Florida Keys. 

Evan Wilson, founder and president of the same-sex marriage advocacy group Freedom To Marry, told the Los Angeles Times that the states' argument is flawed because the constitutional right to marry trumps states' power to regulate marriage licenses.

"While it is true that states in the first instance regulate marriage and issue marriage licenses, they do so subject to the U.S. Constitution. There is a constitutional floor below which the states may not go," Wilson said.

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for breaking news

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

5:10 p.m.: This post has been updated with comments from Evan Wilson, the founder of an advocacy group that supports same-sex marriage. It also clarifies that the ruling against Colorado's same-sex marriage ban is in the appeals process.

10:25 p.m.: This post has been updated with comments from the Indiana attorney general's office. 

This post was originally published at 4:55 p.m.

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Up next for Sparks: Thursday vs. Phoenix

When: 7:30.

Where: Staples Center.

On air: TV: TWC Sportsnet, TWC Deportes.

Records: Sparks 10-13; Mercury 19-3.

Record vs. Mercury: 0-2.

Update: For the third time this season, the Sparks play host to Phoenix, the Western Conference leader, which hasn't lost since June 12. The Mercury clinched a playoff spot with an 89-71 victory over Seattle on Tuesday, which extended their winning streak to 13 games, third-longest in WNBA history. Candace Parker continues to lead the Sparks in scoring at 20 points per game, third best in the league.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Angels capitalize on bases-loaded walk to beat Orioles, 3-2

KEY MOMENT: Trailing, 2-1, Josh Hamilton led off the eighth inning with a single to right field against reliever Tommy Hunter and scored on Erick Aybar's double to left-center field for a 2-2 tie. Howie Kendrick and David Freese struck out, Aybar stealing third during Freese's at-bat. Efren Navarro was walked intentionally, Chris Iannetta walked to load the bases, and left-handed-hitting Kole Calhoun drew a walk against left-hander Brian Matusz to force in the winning run.

AT THE PLATE: During a five-game winning streak before the All-Star break, the Angels hit .337 with 41 runs (8.2 average) and hit .431 (22 for 51) with runners in scoring position. In six games since, they have hit .222 (51 for 230) while scoring 18 runs (3.0 average) and hitting .153 (nine for 59) with runners in scoring position, including 0 for 12 Wednesday night. They took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Mike Trout reached on a one-out infield single and scored from first base on Albert Pujols' single off the right-field wall.

ON THE MOUND: Jered Weaver gave up two runs and six hits in eight innings, striking out six and walking none, to improve to 11-6 with a 3.36 earned-run average this season and get his career home record in July to 17-1. Huston Street, acquired from San Diego on Friday, struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his first save as an Angel.

ROSTER MOVE: Utility infielder Grant Green, who is hitting .313 in 31 games, was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a lumbar strain, an injury he suffered working out in the weight room. First baseman-designated hitter C.J. Cron, who was hitting .269 with nine home runs and 27 runs batted in but was in a three-for-26 slump when he was demoted to triple A on Saturday, was recalled.

EXTRA BASES: Thursday night starter Garrett Richards is 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA in his last nine starts, limiting opponents to a .158 batting average, striking out 70 and walking 17 in 642/3 innings.

UP NEXT: Right-hander Richards (11-2, 2.47 ERA) will oppose Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer (11-3, 3.34) on Thursday at Angel Stadium at 7 p.m. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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White House working on new birth control insurance rule

Written By kolimtiga on Rabu, 23 Juli 2014 | 12.56

The Obama administration plans to make another change in the rules governing how employer healthcare plans cover birth control, one in a long series of efforts to accommodate religious objections to some contraceptives.

Details of the new rules will not be set for a few weeks, a senior administration official told reporters in Seattle, where President Obama was attending Democratic fundraisers Tuesday. The Justice Department announced the general outline of the change in a filing with a federal appeals court earlier in the day. 

Nonprofit religiously affiliated employers such as colleges, hospitals and charities are required to provide contraceptive coverage as part of whatever health plans they offer. But if the organization objects on religious grounds to some or all methods of birth control, the current rules provide an exemption.

The rules require the employer to file a form with the government giving notice of its objection as well as the name of its insurer. The insurance company is then supposed to step in to offer the birth control coverage on its own at no extra cost to covered individuals.

Insurers have been willing to go along with that plan so far on the grounds that covering birth control saves them money in the long run by avoiding costly pregnancies.

Dozens of religiously affiliated employers have challenged that rule in court, saying that filling out the form would violate their religious convictions by making them complicit in the insurers' decisions to provide birth control coverage.

Early this month, the Supreme Court  gave Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian school near Chicago, permission not to file the form, at least for the time being. A majority of the justices said that until Wheaton's lawsuit was resolved, the government must allow the school to provide its notification in some other fashion.

"In light of the Supreme Court order," the administration plans to "provide an alternative way for objecting nonprofit religious organizations to provide notification," the senior official told reporters, speaking under condition of anonymity. Final details of the new plan will be announced within a month, the official said.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Georgians choose millionaire newcomer Perdue in GOP Senate runoff

Georgia voters Tuesday chose a millionaire from a political family, David Perdue, over longtime congressman Jack Kingston as the Republican nominee for an open Senate seat, ending a bruising primary fight that may have roughed up the party's prospects this fall in the battle for control of the Senate.

Perdue, the former Dollar General executive who poured more than $3 million from his personal fortune into his campaign, portrayed himself as an outsider with a fresh approach to Washington's problems, and he targeted the 11-term lawmaker as part of the status quo.

The cousin of former GOP Gov. Sonny Perdue now faces Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn, a moderate political novice and daughter of popular former Sen. Sam Nunn, making the November race a showdown of sorts for Georgian political families.

"Fixing big problems like this is what I've done all my life," Perdue said in ad midway through the campaign. "It's what I do."

The long primary campaign dragged into Tuesday's late-night cliff-hanger. Perdue led by more than 6,000 votes with more than 91% reporting when the Associated Press called the race. Voter turnout for the election, on a summer day that threatened rain, was low.

Nunn's team has used the months of Republican infighting to her advantage, building a strong campaign in a long-shot effort to turn the Peach State blue and giving Democrats their best chance to add a seat in a midterm cycle in which Republicans are favored nationally.

Control of the Senate will probably be determined in part by Georgia and the other Southern states; Republicans need to net six seats to wrest the chamber from Democrats. The Georgia seat, now held by retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, is one the GOP does not want to lose.

Republicans immediately cast their nominee as the outsider at a time when Washington is woefully unpopular with American voters.

"David's experience in the private sector will be put to good use in Washington," said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), the chairman of the Republicans' campaign committee.

For good measure, party Chairman Reince Priebus sent a picture on Twitter of Nunn and President Obama under the title, "Georgians can't trust Michelle Nunn."

But in a preview of the tough campaign to come, the executive director of the Democrats' campaign committee, Guy Cecil, said Perdue's "shady business dealings" made it "clear multimillionaire David Perdue is only looking out for himself."

The long-fought GOP primary was a test for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has played a more aggressive role this season to prevent more extreme tea party candidates from winning party nominations. Such candidates have been blamed for the GOP's failure to gain the Senate majority in past elections.

The Chamber of Commerce spent more than $2 million backing Kingston, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, including a late-breaking ad that portrayed Perdue as a crybaby -- a nod to the former executive's own campaign ads that repeatedly set Kingston amid a sea of babies in Washington's often childish political dramas.

Perdue, who had never before run for office, led the wide-open field of candidates in May's first round of voting. Kingston was able to scoop up endorsements from both the tea party and the business community to improve his showing, especially in metro Atlanta, but apparently not enough.

For the latest from Congress follow @LisaMascaroinDC

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Manchester United's new coach is late to the party

Louis van Gaal hasn't had a chance to see many of the sights since arriving in Los Angeles last weekend. But on Tuesday he did get to experience the Southern California lifestyle.

"This is my first time that I've been late to a press conference," Manchester United's new coach said after a tardy arrival at the Rose Bowl. "Los Angeles traffic. I'm sorry for that."

Time, after all, is something he's short on. After guiding his native Netherlands to a third-place finish in the World Cup on July 12, Van Gaal is rushing to get up to speed with soccer's most popular club team, which he'll coach for the first time Wednesday night at the Rose Bowl when Manchester United meets the Galaxy in an exhibition.

"I want to learn my players, I want to know them," he said. "Also when I am the coach and I give the orders to my players to play a certain way, I want to see how they perform. I want to give all players the chance to show themselves under my guidance."

Although Van Gaal is one of the top club coaches in soccer history, having taken teams to championships in three countries, this is his first try at coaching in the English Premier League. And he'll begin with a team in need of a thorough housecleaning after finishing seventh last season, its worst performance in more than two decades.

That collapse cost David Moyes his job and opened the way for Van Gaal, the team's fourth coach in 15 months. The team's makeover has already begun, with United allowing Patrice Evra to leave for Italy, making room for $60-million left back Luke Shaw. Van Gaal must also find room for Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera, who came over from Athletic Bilbao last month, and make roster decisions involving as many as half a dozen other players.

Among those needing to impress the new coach if they too want to stick around are Mexican striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa and veteran midfielders Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher, who are both entering the final year of their contracts.

United's two-week U.S. tour might make all that more difficult, though. Summer trips have become all but mandatory for major European teams, which can pay a lot of bills with the seven-figure guarantees they get for games here. But the players are often asked to mix with fans and sponsors such as Chevrolet, which paid $560 million to have its logo emblazoned on the front of the jersey United will wear for the first time Wednesday.

And those off-field demands are often at odds with the on-field ones.

"We have to prepare [for] the season," said Van Gaal, whose team will also play three games in the International Champions Cup, meeting AS Roma in Denver on Saturday, Inter Milan next Tuesday in Maryland and Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium on Aug. 2.

"When you have a lot of commercial activities, you have to fly a lot and then you have also a jet lag, that is not very positive for a good preparation," said Van Gaal, who was hired two months ago. "But the tour was already arranged. So I have to adapt.

"And I shall adapt as Manchester United shall do everything to adapt to my rules for a good preparation."

For the Galaxy, locked in a tight Major League Soccer playoff race, the friendly comes during a stretch that will see the team play 12 times in 50 days. Yet games such as Wednesday's also help burnish the team's reputation internationally while shoring up its bottom line.

"We get a number of things out of this," Galaxy President Chris Klein said. "For the players it's a great opportunity to test themselves against the best players in the world. Is this going to make or break our season or make or break some of our players' seasons? No.

"But I certainly remember games that I played in and guys enjoy these."

And though the team's cut won't match what United will earn, Klein said it will cover more than the cost of gas money to make it from Carson to Pasadena.

"It is financially beneficial," he said.


Twitter: @kbaxter11

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Donald Sterling opens third front in battle over Clippers ownership

Donald Sterling opened a third legal front Tuesday in his fight to maintain control of the Clippers, alleging in another lawsuit that he remained the team's rightful owner and demanding that his wife's $2-billion sale of the team to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer be blocked.

The new action came on the same day that Dick Parsons, the interim team chief executive appointed by the NBA, reported that he feared that the team could fall into a "death spiral" if fans, sponsors, players and coaches flee should Sterling remain with the team.

Parsons testified in Los Angeles County Superior Court that he was particularly concerned about the possible departure of Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, who he said had suggested in at least three conversations that he would probably leave if the team wasn't sold.

"If Mr. Sterling continues to own the team, he doesn't think he wants to continue as coach," said Parsons, the former Time Warner chief executive who took over as Clippers boss in early May after former chief executive Andy Roeser went on indefinite leave.

Parsons told the probate court that the departure of Rivers, who is also the team's president of basketball operations, would be a "disaster" for the team.

"Doc is really the guy who leads the effort. He is the coach. He is the grown-up," Parsons said. "The team believes in him and admires him and loves him. And if he were to bail because of other circumstances … that is going to accelerate the death spiral."

Shelly Sterling's attorneys called Parsons to bolster their request that Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas not only validate her takeover of the trust that owns the Clippers but also order that her actions remain in force, regardless of appeals.

To win such an unusual order, Donald Sterling's wife of nearly 59 years must prove that the family trust would suffer irreparable harm without the intervention.

Donald Sterling's latest lawsuit suggested, in contrast, that he was the one who had been abused by a whirlwind series of actions triggered in late April, when the website TMZ broadcast audio of Sterling telling a female companion not to bring black people to Clippers games.

A few days after the recording of the private conversation went public, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million, banned him for life from the league and asked other owners to oust him as owner of the Clippers. The league dropped the latter action when Shelly Sterling declared herself the sole trustee and agreed to sell the team.

Donald Sterling's filing Tuesday stated that the ongoing probate trial would resolve only issues about the family trust, andthat he still had claims based on his ongoing control of LAC Basketball Club Inc., the corporation that owns the team.

"Who has the authority going forward? Our contention is that it's only Donald Sterling," said his attorney, Bobby Samini. "There would also have to be a determination at the corporate level for a sale to be completed."

While Shelly Sterling acted on May 29 to remove her husband from the family trust, after a neurologist and a psychiatrist found him mentally unfit, Donald Sterling in effect responded: I can't be fired because I quit.

His lawsuit described how he placed the team in the family trust in 1998. On June 9 he served formal notice that he had revoked the trust, which restored ownership of the team to him as sole shareholder of the LAC Basketball Club, the lawsuit said.

"As sole shareholder of LAC, Plaintiff has the right to dispose of, sell, or retain the interest in LAC as he sees fit, irrespective of [Shelly Sterling's] community property interest," the lawsuit contended.

Sterling accused his wife, the NBA and Silver of fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and other violations for pushing a sale of the team despite his continuing ownership.

He also charged that the defendants acted with "complete and utter disregard" for his "psychological, financial, and emotional attachment to a team he owned for 33 years, which resulted in the infliction of severe emotional distress."

The suit asked for an injunction to block the sale to Ballmer.

Sterling previously filed an antitrust lawsuit in May in federal court, alleging that the NBA had improperly punished him for his comments. Other owners and NBA employees who misstepped had received much less onerous treatment, the lawsuit said.

The NBA declined to comment.

The testimony from Parsons drew the most attention Tuesday because the interim Clippers boss has kept a low profile — spending only a few days a week in L.A. and declining interviews.

He said he had heard from players concerned about Sterling's possible return, as well as many sponsors who said their advertising with the team was contingent upon Sterling staying away.

"The basic message is we are in, so long as Donald Sterling is out," Parsons said, citing Kia Motors and the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas as among advertisers who wanted no association with Sterling.

Parsons called the $2 billion that Ballmer was willing to pay a "knockout price" that goes far above the value of the team based strictly on its balance sheet. It would be difficult to duplicate the record price if Sterling manages to kill the deal, he said.

"If Steve goes away," Parsons testified, "I don't know how you get to this price again."

On cross-examination by Sterling's lawyer, Max Blecher, Parsons acknowledged that some of the purported threats to the Clippers were speculative. The Clippers, for example, are selling just as many season tickets in this off-season as last. And with increased prices, the team's early ticket revenue is actually up, Parsons conceded.

Parsons also admitted that he couldn't be certain that the Clippers would go for less if they were put up for sale again.

Two expert witnesses testified during most of the afternoon session.

Anwar Zakkour of Bank of America Merrill Lynch described how he helped run Shelly Sterling's sale of the team, saying that the hurried timeline — designed to beat an NBA deadline to seize the Clippers — seemed to help drive up the price.

He said the prospective buyers, including Ballmer, had no chance to "play games" by judging other possible bids.

The bidding, known by the code name "Project Claret" inside the bank, produced prices well above the $1 billion to $1.3 billion initially projected. "Whether you wanted to call it a slam dunk or a home run, none of us believed we would get to $2 billion when we started," Zakkour testified.

The courtroom combat took a lighter turn when Blecher asked Zakkour if he thought Ballmer was "nuts" for paying so much for the Clippers. Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, objected that "nuts" was "vague and ambiguous."

Donald Sterling's lawyers followed with their own witness, former sports executive Dean Bonham, who said that the Clippers could be sold for more than $2 billion and that the abbreviated sale process suppressed the offers.

O'Donnell tore into Bonham's credentials, charging the witness with falsely claiming that he had been president of the NBA's Denver Nuggets. In response, the consultant explained that he served as the team's president of sales and marketing.

The trial is set to continue Wednesday and Donald Sterling's lawyers plan to call a psychiatrist who evaluated Sterling. They also may question Shelly Sterling again.



Twitter: @LATimesRainey

Twitter: @nathanfenno

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry orders 1,000 National Guard troops to border

Written By kolimtiga on Selasa, 22 Juli 2014 | 12.56

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced plans Monday to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the state's border with Mexico, faulting federal officials for "empty promises" in dealing with an influx of Central American children and families.

"There can be no national security without border security, and Texans have paid too high a price for the federal government's failure to secure our border," the Republican governor said during an Austin briefing with other state leaders.

Perry said the Guard will provide support over the next month to Operation Strong Safety, the state-funded border surge he declared last month. The state operation, which includes sending state troopers to the border to assist local law enforcement, costs $1.3 million a week; the combined operation will cost more than $17 million a month. It's unclear how it will be funded, Perry said.

Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott, a fellow Republican campaigning for governor, had unsuccessfully requested $30 million in temporary border aid from the federal government and said it should pay for the new plan.

"Texans are willing to put boots on the ground. But we expect Washington to foot the bill," Abbott said.

The White House dismissed Perry's plans as an attempt to "generate headlines."

"Gov. Perry has referred repeatedly to his desire to make a symbolic statement to the people of Central America that the border is closed, and he thinks that the best way to do that is to send a thousand National Guard troops to the border," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "It seems to me that a much more powerful symbol would be the bipartisan passage of legislation that would actually make a historic investment in border security and send an additional 20,000 personnel to the border."

Perry said the state's enforcement surge in the Rio Grande Valley has already deterred illegal immigration, with apprehensions down 36% overall during the last month. But it is unclear how much of that decrease can be attributed to a drop in child migrants.

The White House said the number of child migrants apprehended at the border decreased sharply the first two weeks of July to about 150 daily, down from an average of 355 in June, because of a variety of factors, including an expected seasonal dip.

The National Guard deployment comes amid growing resistance to the federal government's efforts to apprehend, shelter and process the influx of families and 57,000 unaccompanied children who crossed the border illegally during the last nine months — double the number last year. Most enter the country through the Rio Grande Valley.

Perry and other Republicans see stepped-up border security as the answer to the crisis, insisting the sharp increase in young migrants has tied up Border Patrol agents and left the region vulnerable to smugglers, human traffickers and Mexican drug cartels.

Immigrant advocates want to shift the focus from border security to immigration policies and the reasons immigrants flee: crime and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Perry said the National Guard troops would support state and local law enforcement officers on the border as a "force multiplier."

"If we were asked to, we could detain people," Texas Adjutant Gen. John Nichols said during the briefing. "But we're not planning on that. We're planning on referring and deterring."

A guard spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor, later clarified that troops will operate under the state Department of Public Safety's "umbrella" and "we will not exceed their authorities."

Texas state and local law enforcement officers cannot enforce federal immigration law, meaning they cannot detain people based solely on their immigration status. But they can refer those they suspect have entered the country illegally to the Border Patrol.

Guard troops have been working on the border for years, but it's rare for a governor to deploy them without collaboration with the federal government, said Tim Dunn, a sociology professor at Salisbury University who spent years teaching in Texas and wrote several books about militarization of the border.

Republican state leaders praised the deployment.

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, who has proposed bipartisan legislation with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) to boost border security and expedite deportations, called Perry "a decisive leader" who "is acting to fill the leadership vacuum we've seen from President Obama during the crisis."

Cuellar, a Rio Grande Valley native, said he supported the deployment so long as it's for humanitarian reasons, not border security.

Other Democrats and some Texas border sheriffs warned against militarizing the border.

"We should be sending the Red Cross to the border, not the National Guard," tweeted U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio.

Terry Canales, a Democrat representing the Rio Grande Valley in the Texas House of Representatives, dismissed the deployment as a political ploy by Republican state leaders and a governor bent on another presidential run.

And state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat campaigning for governor, responded to Perry's announcement by calling for a different border surge: adding more sheriff's deputies to the region.

"If the federal government won't act, Texas must and will," Davis said. "However, we should be deploying additional deputy sheriffs to the border like local law enforcement is calling for."

Perry's administration did not consult with border sheriffs before making the announcement, and the group has not yet taken a position on the issue, said Don Reay, executive director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition, which represents 20 border sheriffs. Reay said he's not opposed to the deployment, but his group wants to know what role the Guard will play.

"We would prefer money be made available to local law enforcement" for overtime and more personnel, he said, adding that the sheriffs "should have a place at the table when they're doing the planning."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

8:32 p.m.: This post was updated throughout.

This post was originally published at 1:56 p.m.

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Fundraisers yes, Jimmy Kimmel no during Obama's Los Angeles visit

As violence exploded in the Middle East and the world recoiled at the destruction of a commercial jetliner, President Obama kept largely to his schedule, which included recent appearances at Democratic fundraisers that drew criticism from political opponents.

But yukking it up alongside comedian Jimmy Kimmel was apparently a couch too far.

The entertainment news site TMZ.com reported Monday that Obama would appear on the late-night ABC program during his visit to Los Angeles this week.

Not this trip, said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

"In advance of the trip, we've been in touch with Kimmel's folks about the president doing his show," Earnest said. "We elected not to do it this time, but hope we can arrange to do it in the near future."

The comedy couch has become a regular campaign stop for politicians of all stripes. Obama and his wife Michelle took part in the "Tonight Show" during Jay Leno's tenure and both have also visited with his late-night heir, Jimmy Fallon —the first lady with a dance routine that mocked "The Evolution of Mom Dancing."

But joining Kimmel this week would have meant ceding control during a politically and diplomatically fraught period. And while the fundraisers that Obama has continued to attend — and will again in Los Angeles — have drawn criticism, they do not generate visuals of the sort that would have been created by a Kimmel visit.

Obama flies west Tuesday for fundraisers benefiting Democratic candidates in Seattle and San Francisco. He arrives in Los Angeles on Wednesday, with local Democratic National Committee events scheduled for Wednesday night and Thursday. He will also appear Thursday at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.

Asked Monday whether Obama considered curtailing his heavy fundraising schedule during the violence in Gaza and Ukraine, Earnest said he had not.

"As was demonstrated last week when the president was on the road and two of these crises flared up, the president was able to fulfill his responsibilities as commander-in-chief and as the leader of this country from the road," Earnest said during his daily White House briefing.

"When the president travels, he travels with an array of staff and advisors and communications equipment that allows him to do his job from wherever he happens to be.  And that will be the case this week when he's traveling later this week.… And if it becomes clear that there's a need for him to come back to the White House in order to fulfill those functions, then we'll make a change in his schedule."

Twitter: @khennessey and @cathleendecker 

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Pregnant woman strangled, boyfriend beheaded in Craigslist sex meeting

When Michigan police found the body of a 25-year-old man in a park last week, they had a macabre mystery on their hands.

The man's name was Charles Gerard Oppenneer, and investigators think he was killed by an injury to his head.

The problem is they don't know for sure what caused his death, because they still haven't found his head. Police say he was decapitated after he was killed.

Then on Monday, the story turned even more disturbing. 

Investigators in the town of Wyoming, a Grand Rapids suburb, released new details about the deaths of Oppenneer and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Brooke Slocumb, who was eight months pregnant when she also was killed last week. Slocumb's unborn child did not survive.

The couple had arranged to meet with a stranger they'd met on Craigslist, police say.

Now their suspected killer, Brady Oestrike, 31, is also dead, having shot himself after crashing his car while fleeing police, officials said.

Slocumb's body was in his trunk. Police had been looking for her since her boyfriend's body was discovered a day earlier, July 16.

Investigators say Slocumb had apparently used emails to arrange to meet with Oestrike in a money-for-sex encounter that was supposed to happen at a park in Wyoming late on the night of July 12.

Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody told reporters Monday that Oestrike was supposed to be paying the victims for sex.

Instead, officials think Oestrike -- who listed himself as a journeyman power lineman on the Facebook page under his name -- killed Oppenneer and took  Slocumb captive in his home.

"Investigators have recovered over 400 different items from the home, items that include restraints that would indicate that Oestrike held the victim Brooke Slocomb in captivity there for a period of time before he murdered her" by way of strangulation, Carmody said.

Also discovered in the basement: "Dozens of firearms, ammunition, numerous knives and other weapons," as well as computers, cameras and surveillance devices, Carmody said.

Oestrike had expressed strong opinions about gun rights on his Facebook page, on which he'd also written a cryptic poem in February about how "blood can mean death or indeed can mean life / And a man can be more when he has a good wife."

Below the poem, Oestrike had posted an image from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies with the words, "Crazy people don't know they are crazy, I know I am crazy therefore I am not crazy, isn't that crazy."

A photo on Facebook also showed Oestrike posing with swords.

Police were apparently about to serve a warrant on Oestrike's home in connection with Oppenneer's death and beheading when Oestrike drove off with Slocumb's body in the trunk, leading to the police chase that ended with his apparent suicide.

Follow @MattDPearce for national news.

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TCA 2014: Where is 'The Strain' going? Look to Corey Stoll's wig

FX's new vampire series "The Strain" has just begun its first season, but co-creator Guillermo Del Toro was not shy about discussing where the story would lead in future episodes during his appearance on a very packed panel at the Television Critics Assn. press tour on Monday.

The Mexican director of "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Pacific Rim" joined his co-creator Chuck Hogan and show runner Carlton Cuse on stage with 10 members of their cast. And while there was much discussion about Del Toro's memorabilia-packed houses, it was an innocent question about leading man Corey Stoll's wig on the show that revealed a lot about where things are going.

In the series, Stoll plays Ephraim Goodweather, the head of a CDC team tasked with investigating a plane full of dead bodies on the runway at JFK airport. What we soon learn is that the bodies are actually infected with a vampiric breed of worms that quickly spreads to the living populace. Stoll is a familar face to fans of his run on the Netflix series "House of Cards," but he looks different in "The Strain" because of the prominent hairpiece his character wears. When asked about it, the famously bald Stoll joked that it was nice to let his "real hair" grow.

But Del Toro revealed that the addition of hair to the character was key for the development of the show.

"If you know where it's heading, the character needed to be able to change his look so he could blend into the population and not be seen," del Toro said. "Unless he grows a beard or has an eyepatch, we needed somewhere to go."

But how does being bald help someone blend into the population? Well, does it clarify matters to know that the vampires in their final state are completely hairless? So it looks as if Goodweather's attempts to get a handle on the vampire menace will go south pretty quickly.

"I was skeptical [of the wig] at first," Stoll said. "The assumption was that I needed to fit a mold. But it was the opposite."

The series is based on a trilogy of books co-authored by del Toro and Hogan, but Cuse cautioned that anyone familiar with the books should not automatically assume they knew every twist of the show.

"The way things happen and the fate of the characters is not completely determined by the books," he said.

Del Toro elaborated, "We wanted to hit highlights of the books. Sometimes we hit them early; sometimes we hit them much later."

The director said he first pitched the project back in 2006, but executives at the time couldn't wrap their head around the idea of horrific, monster-like vampires. They could only think of them as sexy. One suggested he do it as a comedy. Del Toro wisely kept the project to himself until the time was right.

"Vampires are truly revolting parasites," he said. "They drink you like a Capri Sun. They don't hold you and say, 'Now I give you my life.' No, they crush you and throw you away."

In that regard, Del Toro himself is very un-vampire-like. To kick off the panel, he was asked to describe his house, which is actually two houses, side-by-side, filled to overflowing with the director's vast collection of toys, books and other ephemera. It's 11,000 square feet, with 11 different libraries and shelves all constructed by the director himself. He also has his first toy from the age of 4 all the way up to his latest toy, which he had just picked up the morning of his TCA panel.

"It's my own research library," Del Toro said.

"It took me six weeks to escape," Cuse said.

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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CBRE Group is profiting from consolidation among office space firms

Written By kolimtiga on Senin, 21 Juli 2014 | 12.56

What do Microsoft Corp., the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have in common?

All turned to CBRE Group Inc., based in Los Angeles, to handle global and U.S. office space needs.

CBRE is the world's largest commercial real estate brokerage. Its vast footprint includes 440 offices in 60 countries, including operations in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney, Australia.

"We have $90 billion of assets under management on the investment side of our business," said James R. Groch, CBRE's chief financial officer at an investors conference last month. "And we have about 3.5 billion square feet of property under management for both corporations and investors."

"A decade ago a typical large multinational would have an in-house real estate department maybe of several hundred people around the globe." Now, he said, multinational corporations are outsourcing that real estate business to companies like CBRE, "and that has helped with the industry consolidation that we've benefited from."

The company is in its quiet period before the release of its second-quarter earnings and, as a result, didn't make executives available to be interviewed.

CBRE's income comes from arranging transactions to buy or rent space in offices, warehouses and other commercial properties.

The company traces its roots to the firm of Tucker, Lynch & Coldwell, founded in 1906. It later became known by a much more familiar name in the real estate industry — Coldwell Banker.

Coldwell Banker evolved into CB Commercial. In 1998, the company changed its name to CB Richard Ellis. In 2011, the company became CBRE Group.

CBRE has come back from the damage caused in the global recession, when the company spent two quarters in the red. In 2009, the company's workforce was about 29,000 employees. It has since grown to 44,000 workers.

The latest

CBRE said it agreed last week to acquire U.S. Equities Realty, which leases and manages 17 million square feet of Chicago property, including the Willis Tower. CBRE also bought PKF Consulting USA, a hotel consulting firm.

In June, the company announced that its debt rating had been raised to investment grade BBB-, from BB, by Standard & Poor's Rating Services. CBRE's enterprise rating was also raised to BB+ from BB with a positive outlook.

"The S&P upgrade reflects the success of our strategy," Chief Executive Robert Sulentic told analysts in a conference call. "We have diversified our revenue base and are supporting our growth with prudent investments in our people."

In April, the company reported first-quarter net income of $67.7 million, up 80% from a year earlier. First-quarter revenue rose 26% to $1.9 billion.


CBRE finished 2013 with record revenue of $7.2 billion.

The company is ranked seventh on the latest Barron's 500 list, which judges businesses on its own proprietary algorithm that is based on sales growth and cash-flow return on investment.

CBRE is the only commercial real estate services company in the S&P 500 and on the Fortune 500 list.


It will be tough to maintain its own growth rate in revenue, the company said in a recent statement, and "year-over-year earnings comparisons will be more challenging in the quarters ahead."

In addition, uncertainty over U.S. fiscal and tax policy has led some CBRE clients "to delay or cancel commercial real estate transactions which may affect our revenues," the company said in its most recent annual report.


Of the six analysts who regularly follow CBRE, two have it rated as a strong buy. Four others consider it a buy.

Brad Burke, an analyst with Goldman Sachs who rates CBRE as a buy, said in a recent note to clients, "In the near term, we expect CBRE to generate strong cash flows on cyclical growth, and to deploy cash by acquiring smaller competitors within a fragmented industry."


Twitter: @RonWLATimes

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Israel pounds Gaza neighborhood it says is rocket-launching site

Israeli troops pounded an eastern neighborhood of Gaza City with air and artillery strikes Sunday, trading fire with Hamas militants armed with antitank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades and sending a tide of panicked humanity streaming from the area.

Most of those fleeing left empty-handed, carrying only their children in their arms as gunfire and explosions reverberated around them.

The fighting, described as the heaviest of Israel's 13-day campaign in the Gaza Strip, killed at least 66 Palestinians, injured hundreds more and displaced tens of thousands, according to Palestinian health officials. Thirteen Israeli soldiers died, the Israeli military said.

More than 430 Palestinians have been reported killed overall, most of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Israel's actions in the Shajaiya neighborhood "atrocious" and said it must do far more to protect civilians.

"Too many innocent people are dying," Ban said in Doha, Qatar, the first stop of a regional trip to try to bring an end to the fighting.

In an unguarded moment caught on an open microphone before an interview with Fox News, Secretary of State John F. Kerry appeared to express frustration Sunday with the Israeli campaign's mounting toll. "It's a hell of a pinpoint operation," he was heard telling an aide.

Asked about the comment in the interview, Kerry said he reacted "in a way that anybody does with respect to young children and civilians." But he defended Israel's right to go after a network of tunnels used by Hamas and its allies to strike at Israel.

He noted that Israel accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal that was rejected by Hamas, which controls Gaza. The Islamic militants say they will continue fighting until Israel and Egypt agree to lift a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave. Kerry was expected in Cairo on Monday to lend his support to the stalled talks.

Palestinian leaders accused Israel of war crimes. "What the brutal occupation forces have done today in Shajaiya in the Gaza Strip is a crime against humanity and a heinous massacre," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a televised address Sunday night. "We demand immediate international protection for our Palestinian people."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a tweet that "Israel regrets any inadvertent strike on Palestinian civilians." But he defended the operation in a national address as vital to Israel's security.

Speaking earlier to ABC News, Netanyahu said the goal was to restore "a sustainable quiet." The next stage, he said, would be working with the international community to "demilitarize Gaza." He did not elaborate.

Israel took some of its worst military losses in years, with the Israel Defense Forces announcing that 13 soldiers were killed while fighting Hamas militants since the previous night. The losses brought the number of Israeli military dead in the Gaza campaign to 18. Two civilians have also been killed by projectiles fired from Gaza.

Israel's military did not describe how its soldiers died, but Hamas said its militants had struck an armored personnel carrier. According to Israeli media, seven were killed as the vehicle was hit with an antitank missile, and the rest died in the close-quarters combat that followed.

About 60 soldiers injured Sunday morning were airlifted to several hospitals around Israel.

There were unconfirmed reports of two Americans being among the Israeli dead, including a 24-year-old from Woodland Hills.

Late Sunday, the military wing of Hamas, the Izzidin al-Qassam Brigade, claimed to have captured an Israeli soldier, setting off celebrations in the Palestinian territories. Israel did not immediately confirm that one of its soldiers was missing, and Hamas has made similar claims in the past that were not true.

Hamas-allied militants who captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006 held him captive until 2011, when Israel agreed to free more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for his release.

The White House said President Obama had spoken to Netanyahu for the second time in three days to discuss the Gaza invasion. Obama "reiterated the United States' condemnation of attacks by Hamas against Israel and reaffirmed Israel's right to defend itself," a White House statement said. "The president also raised serious concern about the growing number of casualties, including increasing Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza and the loss of Israeli soldiers."

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said Shajaiya was targeted because it is a stronghold of Hamas and the source of 8% of the rockets fired at Israel. Netanyahu said more than 2,000 had been fired since July 8.

Most of these rockets are stored underground in a network of tunnels running beneath houses and schools, Lerner said. "Everything is underground including maintenance, loading — it is all beneath the surface. They open a hatch, they fire, close the hatch, and that's it."

He said residents had been warned for three days to leave the area before Israeli ground troops backed by tanks moved in overnight to destroy the tunnels.

The troops met a "huge" amount of resistance in Shajaiya from fighters armed with antitank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons fired from houses and other buildings, Lerner said.

Some of the Palestinian civilians fleeing Sunday acknowledged receiving recorded messages on their phones warning them to leave, but said they did not expect the shelling to be so bad, or had no place else to go in the densely populated enclave, which is less than 30 miles long.

"They called us early yesterday, at 4 a.m.... But we were already hearing explosions in the area," said Najah Obed, matriarch of an extended family of 60. "We thought it would be safer to stay."

She bristled at Israeli suggestions that Hamas told residents to ignore their warnings. "That's wrong. Hamas does not use civilians as human shields," she said. "We did not leave our house because we have no place to go."

Family members held on as long as they could, she said. But when the first tank shells started hitting nearby houses, they fled, joining columns of people piling into vehicles and making their way on foot toward the city center. Rows of houses were damaged or destroyed.

"There was blood and body parts and kids' toys in the street," she said, beginning to cry. "We never witnessed anything as bloody as this."

The first casualties were brought to Shifa hospital in Gaza City before dawn. Within hours, ambulances were arriving every few minutes, full of bleeding, screaming passengers. Many did not survive long, medical staff said.

In the hospital morgue, white body bags lined the floor. Relatives crowded around, weeping and crying out to God. A small bundle wrapped in a soiled sheet lay on a table. Tawfiq Salim pulled away a fold and gently stroked the blood-spattered cheek of his 7-year-old niece. More blood pooled under the table.

"We were bombed as we tried to get here," he explained. "Everything that moved in the street was being shot."

An ambulance picked up Salim's family and ferried them out. But his brother's family had to flee on foot, he said. The ambulance was headed back to get them when a tank shell slammed into the street, killing his niece and her two brothers, 5 and 13.

At least one paramedic was killed in an Israeli strike Friday. His body was brought to the hospital in the morning, closely followed by that of a local freelance journalist.

Ambulances pulled out of the area until Israel agreed to a Red Cross request for a two-hour pause in the afternoon to allow emergency workers to collect the dead and wounded, and civilians to leave. Israel accused Hamas of breaking the temporary cease-fire, but then agreed to extend it by two more hours.

Outside the Shifa hospital morgue, entire families gathered under trees on the lawns, uncertain where to go.

Ahmed Fayoumi said his family spent a sleepless night listening to the shelling. Shortly before dawn, as many in the neighborhood were eating their last meals before beginning their daytime fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a barrage of tank fire started hitting the homes in his area.

"The house was shaking and there was smoke everywhere," he said. "We barely had time to leave with our clothes on."

It took them more than an hour to reach the hospital on foot, he said. Along the way, they passed several United Nations-run schools crammed with displaced people, but there was no room to take in any more, he said.

More than 60,000 people are already staying at U.N. shelters, according to the United Nations refugee agency for Palestinians. Fayoumi's family planned to spend the night under a tree on the hospital grounds.

"This is the safest place," he said. "So far, it hasn't been hit."

At 3 p.m., Riyad Abul Kass and his wife, Aida Khalil, were still wandering the streets, looking for a place to spend the night. He carried two small plastic bags, and she had several rolled up sleeping mats balanced on her head.

Their house was flattened, they said. "There is nothing there but ashes," Khalil lamented. "Where can we go? … We are 15 people."

A stranger took pity on them and invited them into her home until they found a place.

Times staff writer Zavis reported from Gaza City and special correspondent Sobelman from Jerusalem. Staff photographer Carolyn Cole in Gaza City, staff writer Lauren Raab in Los Angeles and special correspondents Maher Abukhater in Ramallah, West Bank, and Amro Hassan in Cairo contributed to this report.

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Dodgers rally late to beat Cardinals, 4-3

KEY MOMENT: With the score tied, 3-3, A.J. Ellis led off the ninth inning with a double to right-center field and was replaced on the basepaths by Miguel Rojas. Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal struck Hanley Ramirez on the left hand with a 99-mph fastball. Ramirez was forced to leave the game, but the Dodgers had men on first and second with two outs, setting up Adrian Gonzalez's tie-breaking single.

ON THE MOUND: Clayton Kershaw had trouble with his command, but nonetheless limited the Cardinals to three runs and six hits over seven innings. He struck out eight and walked one. J.P. Howell, who forced Matt Adams to ground out for the final out of the eighth inning with men on the corners, was credited with the victory. Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 28th save.

AT THE PLATE: The Dodgers forced the Cardinals' wild starter, Carlos Martinez, to exit the game after only four innings. They finished the game with 11 hits including three by Juan Uribe and two each from Dee Gordon, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.

OUTFIELD SHUFFLE: Yasiel Puig didn't play a day after from taking a pitch on his left hand, which remained swollen. With Puig unavailable, the Dodgers started Andre Ethier in right field, Scott Van Slyke in center field and Matt Kemp in left field. Mattingly said he didn't consider starting Kemp in right field, a position he last played regularly in 2008. "I'm a little bit hesitant to play Matt in right because he hasn't played there this year," Mattingly said. Preliminary X-rays on Puig's hand were negative. Puig will undergo another X-ray exam Monday in Pittsburgh, where the Dodgers open a three-game series against the Pirates.

UP NEXT: Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-5, 3.44 earned-run average) will face the Pittsburgh Pirates and Edinson Volquez (8-6, 3.65) at PNC Park on Monday at 4 p.m. PDT. On the air: TV: SportsNetLA. Radio: 570, 1020 (Spanish).

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Death of New York man sparks closer look at police use of chokeholds

Written By kolimtiga on Minggu, 20 Juli 2014 | 12.56

The death of a New York City man who was allegedly placed in a chokehold by a police officer last week has reignited discussions about an arrest tactic that has been outlawed in most police departments and linked to dozens of in-custody deaths.

The case of Eric Garner has unleashed torrents of criticism. On Saturday, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Garner's family led a march on a police precinct in Staten Island.

Generally, officers are not allowed to use chokeholds to subdue suspects in most major American police departments, law enforcement experts said. But while struggling with a suspect, especially one as large as Garner, an officer may look to end a confrontation quickly in a way that is least likely to result in injury to both cop and suspect.

"Struggles between police officers and resisting individuals are not choreographed events," said Wayne Fisher, a professor of police studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. "They occur spontaneously and it's quite possible that an officer's arm could wind up around somebody's throat."

Garner was approached by officers who were investigating the sale of loose cigarettes around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Videos of the incident show Garner, a 43-year-old Staten Island man with chronic asthma, pleading with officers to leave him alone before one applies what appears to be a chokehold.

Garner crumples to the ground, according to one video, and repeatedly says, "I can't breathe," while another officer presses his head to the sidewalk.

New York City's Citizen Complaint Review Board received 50 complaints about officers using chokeholds from January to June, records show. Only one complaint was substantiated.

The NYPD and Los Angeles Police Department outlawed chokeholds decades ago. Then-NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly issued a ban in 1993.

The Los Angeles City Council did the same in 1982, not long after then-Police Chief Daryl F. Gates sparked a furor when he suggested black people were more susceptible to death via chokehold than those of other races.

"It seems to me that we may be finding that in some blacks when it is applied, the veins or the arteries do not open as fast as they do on normal people," Gates said at the time.

Chokeholds were also removed from many police training regimens across the country, according to Eugene O'Donnell, a former district attorney in Brooklyn and Queens who investigated NYPD use-of-force cases.

O'Donnell said the officers in the Garner case may not have applied what is technically deemed a chokehold, and they may not have known how to execute the maneuver.

At a news conference held the day after Garner died, New York Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said the maneuver appeared "to have been a chokehold," but said the incident required further investigation.

O'Donnell also said the situation with Garner may not be as cut and dried as many suggest.

Garner had a distinct height and weight advantage over the officers, and appeared to be resisting arrest, O'Donnell said.

"In this case the guy is 350 pounds … in that case, on the video, the guy clearly won't allow himself to be handcuffed, and if you look at that particular video, the cops look awfully small compared to him," he said. "So how do you get someone to allow themselves to be handcuffed quickly so he and you don't get hurt? I'm not sure any department has a great secret formula."

Garner had been arrested twice in recent months by officers from the 120th Precinct, which oversees the area where he died.

On Saturday the NYPD identified one of the officers in the Garner case as Daniel Pantaleo and said he had been placed on "modified duty." The police union blasted the move as "absolutely wrong."

Garner's death has infuriated residents and could rekindle the mistrust between officers and residents that has been exacerbated by the NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactics and spying on Muslim communities in recent years.

"After you look at the video and the use of this chokehold, which is against departmental procedure, there is no justification, at all, on this chokehold. And there is clearly no reason when a man is saying, 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe,' that you maintain this chokehold," Sharpton said Saturday.

Public outcry and media attention aside, O'Donnell said the fact that the officers were making an arrest, even for such a minor crime, helps minimize the likelihood that criminal charges will be filed.

"This case is much more difficult for prosecutors because it's a legitimate arrest," he said. "Even though we would think it's a stupid arrest."


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KISS likes what it sees in Kenny Guiton

This is going to be a busy off-season for the KISS.

Before Saturday's game against the San Antonio Talons, the team was 3-13 in its inaugural Arena Football League campaign, being outscored by an average of 18 points a game. With a full off-season ahead, expect the KISS roster to look much different by the beginning of the 2015 season.

Still, the KISS will build around several players on the 2014 team. Defensive end Beau Bell was on pace to set the single-season sack record before he was injured two games ago, and wide receiver Donovan Morgan was third in the league with 126 receptions before Saturday's game.

The player the KISS front office seemed to be most excited about, though, is one who didn't play in the team's first 11 games and has yet to start an AFL game.

That player is backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, a rookie who started only two games at Ohio State.

"Kenny Guiton is the type of guy you need because he's versatile," co-owner Brett Bouchy said in a phone interview last week. "I think Guiton will definitely be back, and he's the type of guy we're going to try to build around for the future."

In the AFL, quarterbacks need a different skill set than they do in the outdoor game. They generally have between two and three seconds to throw the ball, so a quick release and the ability to scramble is at a premium.

That's why the team is excited about Guiton — he's one of the fastest players on the roster and has a tight release when throwing the ball. This season, the KISS has used Guiton mostly in red-zone situations, trying to exploit his speed and athleticism. He has rushed for two touchdowns and thrown for five.

It's early in Guiton's career, but Bouchy predicts bright things for his possible quarterback of the future.

"A guy like Kenny Guiton, who comes and plays for us for three or four years, he'll get his NFL shot at 27 and be a completely different quarterback," Bouchy said.


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Integrity of jet wreckage site in Ukraine compromised, Malaysia says

The sprawling site in eastern Ukraine where a Malaysia Airlines jet went down in a missile attack threatened to become a humanitarian and forensic nightmare Saturday as pro-Russia separatists continued to limit the access of international teams seeking to recover bodies and investigate the crash.

As many as 38 bodies have disappeared from the area where the Boeing 777 crashed Thursday, killing 298 people, Ukrainian officials said.

The location of the plane's flight recorders remains a mystery. International investigators have been able to make only brief and limited visits to the location, which is held by armed separatists. U.S. officials say the missile was launched from territory they control.

Ukraine also said Saturday that weapons systems of the type suspected in the attack had been spirited across the border to Russia.

"The integrity of the site has been compromised," Malaysian Transportation Minister Liow Tiong Lai said as he prepared to join a team of more than 60 investigators and relief workers from Malaysia in Ukraine. "There are indications that vital evidence has not been preserved in place."

Officials of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, said that time was crucial in terms of preserving the bodies of the victims as well as gathering usable evidence to determine who destroyed Flight 17 as it traveled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In a news conference, however, one of the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said that it was Ukraine that was thwarting the investigation and that the site remains intact.

"There's a grandmother. A body landed right in her bed. She says, 'Please take this body away.' But we cannot tamper with the site," said the leader, Alexander Borodai. "The Ukrainian authorities are not interested in an objective investigation."

OSCE observers were given access to the site Saturday for a little longer than the hour allowed them on Friday and watched as local men packed some remains into body bags, but they said their time was far from sufficient.

They said they were also limited to circumscribed areas under the watchful eye of the separatists. Volodymyr Groysman, Ukraine's vice prime minister who is overseeing the task force on the crash, told reporters in Kiev that the site amounted to "200 rescue workers working under the pressure of 900 gunmen."

The more time that elapses, the less credible the evidence gathered at the crash site will be, the OSCE said. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose nation lost 193 citizens on the flight, called TV images of victims' property being handled by unauthorized people at the site "downright disgusting."

International leaders on Saturday turned up the heat ‎on Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they say has the necessary clout with the separatists. The diplomatic escalation is turning into one of the most intense showdowns between Russia and Western Europe since the end of the Cold War.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Rutte implored the Russian leader to pressure the separatists to allow unfettered access to the site, and British Prime Minister David Cameron summoned Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for talks with Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

Rutte said he had a "very intense" phone conversation with Putin asking him to urge the Ukrainian insurgents to change their stance and "show the world that [Putin] does what is expected of him."

After talking by phone, Cameron and Rutte agreed that the European Union "will need to reconsider its approach to Russia in light of evidence that pro-Russian separatists brought down the plane," according to a statement from the British government.

Russian officials continued to deny that they had anything to do with the attack and insisted that they were not holding up the investigation.

"We want international experts to arrive at the crash site as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russian TV. He said the country would not "violate the existing international norms applicable for such cases, contrary to allegations voiced in Kiev."

Putin agreed with Merkel on the need for a "thorough and objective investigation," the Kremlin said. But even as pressure mounted on Putin, how much action he would take to influence the separatists remained unclear.

Reaching the site and finding the flight data and voice recorders, as well as other pieces of the aircraft, remain key for the investigators. That's especially true given the weapon that was probably used to bring it down, which U.S. officials have said was fired from territory held by the pro-Russia fighters seeking independence from Ukraine.

The Russian-built SA-11, or Buk missile, suspected in the attack carries an explosive warhead armed with a "proximity" fuse that detonates within 110 yards of a target instead of striking it directly, according to retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Stephen V. Reeves. That means debris from the wreckage, particularly chunks of the jetliner, probably would contain tell-tale fragments of the SA-11.

Ukraine said it was assembling an investigation team that includes representatives of the International Civil Aviation Organization and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, as well as the Netherlands, Malaysia and other countries, in the hope that it will gain full access to the site soon.

Meanwhile, tension continued to rise between Ukraine and Russia over the downed plane. Ukrainian officials Saturday made new accusations of Russian involvement in the attack, citing intelligence that three Buk systems were taken across the border into Russia in the predawn hours Friday, after a week in which two Ukrainian military transport planes were also shot down. Russian military personnel accompanied the Buk systems, the officials said.

At a news conference in Kiev, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin called the missile attack "an act of aggression in the sense of international law and U.N. statute," though he stopped short of saying he considered Ukraine at war with Russia.

The latest volley of strong words continued a tense showdown between Ukraine and Russia that began early this year when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. It shows little sign of abating as insurgents inspired in part by that takeover have seized control of large swaths of eastern Ukraine. On Saturday, fighting continued in the region, and separatist leaders said 16 civilians were killed. The Ukrainian government did not offer a tally of casualties.

Despite Moscow's denials, the idea that skilled military personnel assisted in the strike on the Malaysia Airlines jet was given currency by American military experts, who said that whoever fired the weapon — at a plane traveling about 600 mph at an altitude of 33,000 feet — would have required extensive training.

A crew of at least four would have been needed to accurately fire a truck-mounted SA-11. "You've got to have people who are technically competent," said Reeves, who formerly served as an intelligence officer in Western Europe.

The SA-11, a 1970s-era weapon, is not as technologically advanced or easy to operate as modern weaponry.

"This is a hard system to use, in today's terms," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O'Reilly, a former director of the Missile Defense Agency, who estimated that each of the SA-11 crew members would have needed at least six months of training. "You don't just take some folks off the street and 30 days later they're trained."

Times staff writers David Willman in Washington, Sergei L. Loiko in Moscow and Henry Chu in London contributed to this report.

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This time Seattle drops Angels, 3-2, in 12 innings

KEY MOMENT: Kyle Seager and Logan Morrison, who each hit left-handed, opened the 12th inning with doubles against left-hander Joe Thatcher to end a 1-1 tie and end at 15 a streak of consecutive scoreless innings by Angels relievers. Endy Chavez's bunt single and Justin Smoak's run-scoring infield single added a run that enabled the Mariners to absorb David Freese's leadoff home run in the bottom of the 12th and end the Angels' winning streak at six games.

AT THE PLATE: Dustin Ackley broke up Garrett Richards' perfect game with a leadoff double to left-center field in the sixth and scored on Jesus Sucre's single for a 1-0 Seattle lead. Albert Pujols sparked a tying rally in the seventh when he fouled off five two-strike pitches and drew an 11-pitch walk. Josh Hamilton walked and Howie Kendrick hit an infield single. Shortstop Brad Miller made a diving stop, but his throw bounced past first base for an error that allowed Pujols to score.

ON THE MOUND: Seattle's Felix Hernandez tied an American League record with his 12th consecutive start in which he threw seven innings or more and gave up two runs or less. Richards is 7-0 with a 1.25 earned-run average in his last nine starts.

IN THE FIELD: Efren Navarro, a first baseman who started in left field Saturday, fielded James Jones' eighth-inning single near the line, spun and fired a strike to second to nail the Seattle speedster, who was trying to stretch it into a double.

LATE-NIGHT DRAMA: Navarro hit two-out single to center field for the first walk-off hit of his career late Friday night, lifting the Angels, 3-2, over Seatle in 16 innings. Mike Trout, who doubled with one out, scored the winning run to end the 5-hour 14-minute game, the 21st in club history of 16 innings or more. Hector Santiago threw 22/3 innings for the win.

ROSTER MOVE: The combination of C.J. Cron's slump, Erick Aybar's groin injury, the effectiveness of reliever Corey Rasmus and some clutch hitting by Navarro resulted in Cron being sent to triple A to clear room for new closer Huston Street. Cron hit .238 with a .274 on-base percentage in his last 23 games. "They said they needed an extra pitcher and with Aybar hurt, they needed an extra middle infielder," Cron said. "But at the same time, I'm getting sent down for a reason. I have to get better."

EXTRA BASES: Aybar sat out Saturday because of a sore right groin, but Manager Mike Scioscia said it's not significant enough to send the shortstop to the disabled list Santiago is on track to start Tuesday despite throwing 38 pitches in relief Friday Triple-A utility infielder Ian Stewart was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Street.

UP NEXT: Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (5-5, 4.50 ERA) will oppose Seattle right-hander Chris Young (8-6, 3.15) at Angel Stadium on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830.

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Conflicts of interest pervasive on California stem cell board

Written By kolimtiga on Sabtu, 19 Juli 2014 | 12.56

There's no good time for a public agency to be embroiled in a conflict-of-interest scandal, but this is an especially delicate time for California's stem cell agency.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, as the program is known formally, is on track to finish doling out its $3 billion in funding from the state's voters as soon as 2017. Its original sponsor, Northern California real estate developer Robert Klein II, has been quoted talking about another $5-billion infusion, perhaps via the 2016 ballot.

Any such effort will refocus attention on the program board's inherent conflicts of interest, which were baked in by the terms of Proposition 71, Klein's 2004 ballot initiative that created CIRM and funded it through a bond issue. The prestigious Institute of Medicine in a 2012 report found these conflicts to lead to questions about "the integrity and independence of some of CIRM's decisions."

And now here comes another case. This one involves CIRM former President Alan Trounson, an Australian biologist who left the agency on June 30 and joined the board of one of its highest-profile financial partners a mere seven days later. Trounson's new employer, Stem Cells Inc., is the recipient of a nearly $20-million loan for Alzheimer's research.

CIRM says Trounson's quick move to Stem Cells Inc., where he'll receive a stipend of at least $90,000 a year, is legally "permissible." But officials there acknowledge they were blindsided; the agency learned about Trounson's new position from the company's press release.

Afterward, CIRM rushed out a statement acknowledging that Trounson's appointment to the board of a CIRM loan recipient "creates a serious risk of a conflict of interest." The agency says it will place the relationship between CIRM and the company under "a full review." Administrators reminded Trounson, board members and agency staff that state law bars him from communicating with them on any administrative matter involving Stem Cells Inc. The company declined to comment.

The relationship already reeked of cronyism. As we reported in 2012, the Newark, Calif.-based firm's co-founder, Irving Weissman, director of Stanford University's Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, had been one of the most prominent and outspoken supporters of Proposition 71.

He's also a leading recipient of CIRM funding, listed as the principal investigator on four Stanford grants totaling nearly $35 million. CIRM contributed $43.6 million toward the construction of his institute's $200-million research building at the Stanford campus. Weissman and his wife, Ann Tsukamoto, owned nearly 380,000 shares of the firm as of last April, according to a corporate disclosure. Tsukamoto is one of the company's top executives; Weissman is a board member.

Trounson's move comes as CIRM must begin looking to the future, but any discussions about extending the agency's life span will have to address the flaws created by Proposition 71. Among them is the program's very structure, and even its scientific goals.

Klein's ballot proposition exempts CIRM from virtually any oversight or accountability. Each of the 29 governing board members has to be associated with a California public or private research institution or company, or an advocacy group for patients of one disease or another. The qualifications for board chairman are so specific they initially yielded a single credible candidate: Bob Klein.

How bad are the conflicts? When the board considered a proposal earlier this year to spend $16 million to attract three star scientists to California, so many members had to recuse themselves that only nine were left to vote. (Six ended up voting in favor.)

When conflicts of interest are so rife that only one-third of your board can weigh in on a major policy issue, that's tantamount to not having any board at all.

Over the years, conflicts have kept cropping up. Board members intervened or advocated for grant applications by their institutions; consultants failed to disclose professional relationships; and grant applicants alleged favoritism.

Another problem is that CIRM was sold to the public with fatuous and wholly unscientific promises of stem-cell-based cures for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes and a host of other conditions. The general public didn't understand that basic science can't guarantee the fulfillment of such specific promises.

Programs like CIRM are always susceptible to inflated expectations.

"Since Big Science needs great public support it thrives on publicity," the physicist Alvin Weinberg, a veteran of the Manhattan Project, wrote in a famous 1961 article in "Science" about the drawbacks of big-money scientific research. He added: "The inevitable result is the injection of a journalistic flavor into Big Science which is fundamentally in conflict with the scientific method.... The spectacular rather than the perceptive becomes the scientific standard."

CIRM-funded labs have produced genuine achievements. But the agency tends to delineate its progress in buildings built, papers published, and big-name scientists lured to California. But the specific cures promised by the Proposition 71 campaign haven't materialized, which doesn't surprise anyone steeped in the realities of the scientific method. It explains why a hint of desperation often creeps into CIRM press releases heralding clinical milestones.

As CIRM or its backers start thinking about a new appeal to voters, you can expect the drumbeat of hype about "spectacular" new findings to intensify. In fact, last year CIRM cut its funding for basic research — a field of science already chronically short of funding — in favor of stepping up its grants and loans to prepare possible therapies for clinical trials, which have more potential to generate exciting PR.

The Trounson case reinforces the impression that CIRM is engaged in crony capitalism. As David Jensen's indispensable California Stem Cell Report has documented, more than 80% of the program's grants have gone to institutions represented on its board — topped by Stanford, which has collected 88 grants totaling $275 million.

The case also refocuses attention on the queer circumstances of the original loan to Stem Cells Inc. ("Loan" may be a misnomer, for the company isn't obligated to repay the money if it doesn't yield a revenue-generating product.)

The proposal covered a means of transplanting healthy stem cells into one part of the brain so they might migrate and repair Alzheimer's-damaged cells throughout the organ. At first, it was rejected by the agency's professional scientific advisors, who observed that the theory might not be applicable to humans or be commercially feasible.

When the advisory opinion came before the board in July 2012, it was challenged by Bob Klein. He had stepped down as chairman, but still exerted immense sway over the board. He persuaded it to send the proposal back to scientific reviewers for a second look. They recommended rejection a second time.

By then, however, the company was pledging to match CIRM's $20 million. Klein made the case again.

"This is $20 million of company money betting on their science," he said. He observed that the proposal filled a "programmatic" Alzheimer's hole for CIRM, for it had no other potential Alzheimer's treatment in its portfolio. "This is our best shot," he said. (Klein told me at the time that he had no financial interest in Stem Cells Inc.)

Even if one believes the need for California to devote $3 billion to a narrow, extremely speculative field of science, the Trounson case and other CIRM administrative missteps have made clear that Proposition 71 created the wrong framework to manage a complex research effort. The initiative left the public with no way to tell if its money has been well spent, and no accountability if it hasn't.

Moreover, the program deprived potentially more promising research efforts of resources and contributed to the general impoverishment of California's entire higher-education system. If its sponsors have the audacity to ask taxpayers for even more money under the same terms as Proposition 71, the reply should be a resounding "no." If the voters are gullible enough to repeat the same mistake they made in 2004, there's no cure for them.

Michael Hiltzik's column appears Sundays and Wednesdays. Read his blog, the Economy Hub, at latimes.com/business/hiltzik, reach him at mhiltzik@latimes.com, check out facebook.com/hiltzik and follow @hiltzikm on Twitter.

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