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DreamWorks Animation sale could help it at box office, analysts say

Written By kolimtiga on Senin, 29 September 2014 | 12.56

DreamWorks Animation has evolved from a fledgling studio into a $700-million-a-year multimedia powerhouse, but Wall Street analysts said Sunday that the proposed acquisition by Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank Corp. could help the studio weather an increasingly volatile run at the box office.

SoftBank offered to buy the Glendale-based studio for $32 a share, according to a person familiar with the talks — well above the company's current share price, which closed at $22.36 on Friday. The deal values DreamWorks at $3.4 billion.

Analysts noted that SoftBank's capital could give DreamWorks the financial stability it has been lacking as a stand-alone studio dependent on the fortunes of two or three new releases each year.

Although the Jeffrey Katzenberg-led studio is behind box office favorites such as "Shrek" and "Madagascar," it has also experienced recent misses such as "Turbo" and "Rise of the Guardians."

With this kind of business model, "every film has to be a huge hit or you're in trouble," said Steve Hulett, a business agent for the Animation Guild, which represents many DreamWorks employees.

Unlike rival studios owned by media conglomerates, DreamWorks has little cushion when one movie flops. The company posted a $15.4 million loss in the second quarter and has reported three write-downs in the last two years.

"SoftBank's deep pockets provide access to capital for DreamWorks' hit-driven business," said Laura Martin, a senior media analyst with Needham & Co. in Los Angeles.

Tokyo-based SoftBank controls Sprint Corp. and recently dropped a bid to acquire T-Mobile. DreamWorks Animation, meanwhile, has been attempting to diversify its operations with interests in television, theme parks, live entertainment and digital media.

"I think they are sort of doing a 21st century version of what Disney did in the 1950s, when they went from being just an animation studio to doing live action," Hulett said. "They diversified, and that's the only thing you can do if you want to be a long-term player. Now it probably makes sense to sell."

Added Martin: "This is a great deal for DreamWorks shareholders because it's a generous premium to their public share price, and we expect DreamWorks shareholders to approve the deal."

Other analysts, however, were more skeptical.

"DreamWorks has been a steady content creator for a pretty sustained period of time, and the ramp-up in production hasn't yielded the success that they hoped for," said Rich Greenfield, a senior media analyst with BTIG, which has a sell rating on DreamWorks. "I think Disney and Pixar, with lesser output, have been far more successful and far more profitable. The question from us is, why now? What are you buying?"

To be sure, the deal poses some risks for SoftBank, given DreamWorks' track record at the box office and the history of foreign investors in Hollywood.

Another big Japanese company, Matsushita Electric Industrial, made a splash in Hollywood when it acquired MCA Inc., former owner of Universal Pictures, in 1990 for about $6.6 billion. But Matsushita sold its investment five years later.

Investors cooled on DreamWorks Animation after the studio struggled at the box office, but lately analysts have been encouraged by the performance of "How to Train Your Dragon 2," which had a slow domestic debut but did well internationally, especially in China.

The film has grossed $175.9 million in the U.S. and Canada and $435.2 million overseas. In China, the film grossed $26 million in its opening weekend, surpassing the popular "Kung Fu Panda" films and setting a record for the highest animated opening of all time in that country.

DreamWorks' expanding operation in China may also have been appealing to the Japanese telecom company, which is said to be eager to bolster business in the world's most populous country. SoftBank is the largest shareholder in the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

DreamWorks has teamed with Chinese partners to build an animation studio and design an entertainment district in Shanghai, where it is co-producing the third installment of the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise.

"Acquiring DreamWorks makes a lot of sense for SoftBank because its hit content has revenue streams for decades and high barriers to entry," Martin said.



Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Karlsson's play is among the consolations in Ducks' 4-2 loss to Kings

In the way that beefy linemen are sometimes nicknamed "Tiny," center William Karlsson has been dubbed "Wild Bill" by his Ducks teammates.

"I don't know why," line mate Andrew Cogliano said. "He doesn't talk much."

The 21-year-old Swede, a 2011 second-round draft pick, is trying to make a statement during training camp and win an NHL job. His performance Sunday was among the consolations the Ducks drew from a 4-2 exhibition loss to the Kings at the Honda Center, as Karlsson set up Emerson Etem for the team's second goal and barely missed scoring a goal when his hard shot beat Martin Jones but struck the post during the first period.

"He's pretty skilled and he gets a lot of speed through the neutral zone with the puck and he makes good plays. It's unlucky, he hits the post and then they go down and score," Cogliano said of the play on which Karlsson hit metal and the Kings quickly counterattacked, taking a 2-0 lead on the first of Jeff Carter's three goals.

"I thought he played pretty good. I thought Etem played pretty good. I thought our line had some chances and Etem got a big goal for himself."

Karlsson left home last season to play for the Ducks' American Hockey League farm team in Norfolk, Va. He had two goals and nine points in nine regular-season games and a goal and three points in eight playoff contests.

That experience accelerated his adjustment to North American rinks, which are 15 feet narrower than in Europe.

"That helped me a lot actually," he said. "Helped me adjust to the way they play here. The rink is smaller and goes much faster and it's more physical."

The Ducks (2-3-1 in preseason) don't play again until their exhibition finale Saturday against San Jose. That gives Coach Bruce Boudreau time to figure where Karlsson might fit.

"I thought tonight was his best game of the preseason, so we'll have to sit back and evaluate how that's going on," Boudreau said. "That's another thing you do all week long, is evaluate what we have and see if there's anything needed."

Boudreau also can use the time to analyze why the Ducks' power play was 0 for 6 Sunday, including two five-on-three advantages.

"That's where we've got to focus a little bit on getting a lot better," he said. "It was our Achilles' heel last season and so far in preseason it's been our Achilles' heel."

It's a vulnerability he believes can be fixed. "You're not sitting here before the season starts and saying, 'Whoa, what's going on with the Ducks?'" he said. "We're fine."

Still, he didn't like losing to the Kings for the second time in four days — even exhibition games. "This has been a bad week in that respect," he said. "No, you never do."


Twitter: @helenenothelen

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Karlsson's play is among the consolations in Ducks' 4-2 loss to Kings

In the way that beefy linemen are sometimes nicknamed "Tiny," center William Karlsson has been dubbed "Wild Bill" by his Ducks teammates.

"I don't know why," line mate Andrew Cogliano said. "He doesn't talk much."

The 21-year-old Swede, a 2011 second-round draft pick, is trying to make a statement during training camp and win an NHL job. His performance Sunday was among the consolations the Ducks drew from a 4-2 exhibition loss to the Kings at the Honda Center, as Karlsson set up Emerson Etem for the team's second goal and barely missed scoring a goal when his hard shot beat Martin Jones but struck the post during the first period.

"He's pretty skilled and he gets a lot of speed through the neutral zone with the puck and he makes good plays. It's unlucky, he hits the post and then they go down and score," Cogliano said of the play on which Karlsson hit metal and the Kings quickly counterattacked, taking a 2-0 lead on the first of Jeff Carter's three goals.

"I thought he played pretty good. I thought Etem played pretty good. I thought our line had some chances and Etem got a big goal for himself."

Karlsson left home last season to play for the Ducks' American Hockey League farm team in Norfolk, Va. He had two goals and nine points in nine regular-season games and a goal and three points in eight playoff contests.

That experience accelerated his adjustment to North American rinks, which are 15 feet narrower than in Europe.

"That helped me a lot actually," he said. "Helped me adjust to the way they play here. The rink is smaller and goes much faster and it's more physical."

The Ducks (2-3-1 in preseason) don't play again until their exhibition finale Saturday against San Jose. That gives Coach Bruce Boudreau time to figure where Karlsson might fit.

"I thought tonight was his best game of the preseason, so we'll have to sit back and evaluate how that's going on," Boudreau said. "That's another thing you do all week long, is evaluate what we have and see if there's anything needed."

Boudreau also can use the time to analyze why the Ducks' power play was 0 for 6 Sunday, including two five-on-three advantages.

"That's where we've got to focus a little bit on getting a lot better," he said. "It was our Achilles' heel last season and so far in preseason it's been our Achilles' heel."

It's a vulnerability he believes can be fixed. "You're not sitting here before the season starts and saying, 'Whoa, what's going on with the Ducks?'" he said. "We're fine."

Still, he didn't like losing to the Kings for the second time in four days — even exhibition games. "This has been a bad week in that respect," he said. "No, you never do."


Twitter: @helenenothelen

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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George Clooney and bride greet well-wishers day after Venice nuptials

George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin sported their new wedding rings Sunday on this city's storied Grand Canal and waved at well-wishers, some of whom threw flowers from a bridge — all part of a weekend of celebration that matched Hollywood glamour with Venetian history.

Guests including Matt Damon, singer Bono, Cindy Crawford, Bill Murray and Vogue editor Anna Wintour arrived by motor launch for a spectacular wedding party held Saturday in a 16th century palazzo.

It was the second marriage for Clooney, 53, and the first for London-based Alamuddin, 36, a human-rights lawyer who has represented former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as well as advised former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on Syria.

The couple, who met at a charity fundraising event last September, made a memorable entrance into Venice on Friday, waving to onlookers from a launch named Amore.

On Saturday, as Clooney traveled by launch to the party, boats loaded with photographers gave chase, stopping only when their path was barred by a cruise ship.

As the party got underway, Clooney and Alamuddin reportedly entered the palazzo through an archway of white roses before exchanging vows in a ceremony officiated by Walter Veltroni, formerly mayor of Rome.

At the dinner, waiters wearing fezzes served lobster. Clooney's hand was shaking badly from nerves as he cut the cake, AFP reported. A jazz trio and string quartet played before guests danced into the small hours.

Clooney's spokesman, Stan Rosenfield, announced that the couple had tied the knot while the party was underway. However, the couple need to visit Venice town hall Monday to sign documents to make the marriage legal under Italian law.

After staying overnight at the palazzo, which has been converted into the Aman Canal Grande luxury hotel, Clooney and Alamuddin were back on their launch Sunday. Although locals were impressed by Alamuddin's frequent changes in outfits, saying she recalled the style of Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Venice's gondoliers were less impressed by the wedding, complaining that the heavy traffic of launches was kicking up waves in the city's narrow canals.

The festivities had started Friday, when bride and groom split up for separate dinners. Alamuddin headed out with about a dozen close friends and family members, while Clooney took six male friends to a local restaurant, Da Ivo, where they ate fresh crab, white truffle pasta and mushroom risotto under the gaze of photographers parked outside the restaurant on a wooden barge.

Clooney did not shy away from publicity during the festivities, joking on Friday with journalists staking him out as he ate in a hotel garden, sending one journalist a bottle of Clooney's own brand of tequila.

Times staff writer Christie D'Zurilla contributed to this article reporting from Los Angeles.


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Tax credit is no substitute for better minimum wage

Written By kolimtiga on Minggu, 28 September 2014 | 12.56

To the editor: As an alternative to hiking the minimum wage, Allen R. Sanderson proposes increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is essentially redistributing the income of other wage earners and companies. ("Why mandating higher minimum wage isn't best way to address poverty," Op-Ed, Sept. 20)

This is economically inefficient and socially unfair. Shifting the burden of an equitable wage from any company to the government dole (through the tax credit, food stamps or other programs) essentially subsidizes that company, disincentivizing innovation and efficiency.

A minimum wage broadly applied penalizes no individual, while failing to establish a level playing field penalizes those socially responsible companies that pay a living wage.

Further, it is socially more fair to assure a worker receives at minimum a livable wage for his or her work than to incentivize a work-free life on the taxpayers' dole.

Edward Hull, Seal Beach

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Police officer shot in Ferguson, Mo.; search on for suspect

A Ferguson, Mo., police officer was shot in the arm late Saturday night while responding to a report of a burglary, said Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.

The shooter fled, Jackson said. The condition of the officer was not released, said St. Louis County Police Department spokesman Brian Schellman.

Ferguson has been roiled by unrest since Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

No further details about the officer's shooting Saturday were released.

An online livestream of the situation showed a crowd has gathered near an area where police had also converged. KMOV-TV reported that a police staging area was near West Florissant Avenue and Stein Road, several blocks north of where Michael Brown was killed.

At one point, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson appeared on scene and told the crowd, "An officer has been shot." He also told the crowd to disperse.

A grand jury is examining evidence in Brown's shooting and will determine whether Wilson will face any charges.

Some in the community, including Brown's parents, have called on Ferguson's police chief to step down. In a video earlier this week, Jackson said to Brown's family that he was "deeply sorry for their loss."

Follow @kurtisalee for national news

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

8:53 p.m.: This story has been updated with location of police staging area.

9:28 p.m.: This story has been updated with comments from Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson

10:46 p.m.: This story has been updated throughout

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Division of labor in caring for Ebola patients

To the editor: As Peace Corps volunteers years ago, we were trained to work with host country nationals in carrying out any project the communities felt they needed. This basic principle can be applied to fighting the Ebola epidemic in West African countries. ("West Africans are key to fighting Ebola," Op-Ed, Sept. 25)

The United States can build new hospitals that will institute a policy of training family members to care for sick relatives in the hospital. By doing that, West Africans will learn how to care for Ebola victims, learn what is actually going on in the care centers, and be able to return to their communities and allay their suspicions about what happens inside the hospitals.

Training family members how to care for the sick and dispose of those who die will address both the medical and cultural obstacles to curbing this terrible plague.

Jean E. Rosenfeld, Los Angeles

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Are we more rude because of tech-driven narcissim?

To the editor: Thank you, Amy Alkon, for writing such a wonderful article about rudeness in our society. ("In battle against rude people, kindness is a powerful weapon," Op-Ed, Sept. 24)

She states that blaming the modern tech world is unfair because it goes much further than that. In this current narcissistic world, where the "me" factor comes before anything else, it's hard not to assign a little blame there. With more ways to talk about ourselves — Twitter, Instagram, texting, Facebook, that old standby email and all the rest that will be coming along — rudeness is inevitable.

There will always be kind and thoughtful people, and there will always be clueless jerks outside your house talking too loud on a cellphone. It is up to each individual to decide how they choose to act and how to behave and make civilization a little more civilized for those of us who still hold out hope that it can be done.

Frances Terrell Lippman, Sherman Oaks


To the editor: Rudeness is just another manifestation of narcissism, which is a far more serious and prevalent epidemic in our society. Therefore, the concept of societies that are too big for our brains does not apply to a culture that is self-absorbed, self-indulgent and non-empathetic.

Why would narcissists be bothered with good manners and proper social behavior? After all, they feel entitled to speak loudly on their cellphones, regardless of the venue, and they will lash out angrily in response to criticism. They will cut you off on the road with their vehicles, but should you toot your horn they will assail you with expletives.

Narcissists have no concept of rudeness, for they feel entitled and exempt from wrongdoing. The world revolves around them, and their parents have inculcated this since childhood.

Giuseppe Mirelli, Los Angeles

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Bishop Gorman edges St. John Bosco, 34-31

Written By kolimtiga on Sabtu, 27 September 2014 | 12.56

There was thunder, lightning, wind and rain. And that was before Friday's night's nationally televised game between No. 1 St. John Bosco and No. 2 Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. After a 55-minute weather delay, Bishop Gorman (6-0) let everyone know it's the best team in the West, if not the nation.

Sophomore quarterback Tate Martell passed for 230 yards and two touchdowns and senior running back Russell Booze rushed for 152 yards and had an 80-yard scoring run to lead Bishop Gorman to a 34-31 victory. The Gaels' defense denied the big play all night.

The Gaels opened a 20-3 halftime lead, then had to withstand a St. John Bosco comeback in the second half.

St. John Bosco falls to 3-1. The Braves were ranked No. 1 by USA Today. Josh Rosen passed for 244 yards and three touchdowns. Sean McGrew was limited to 85 yards rushing and one touchdown.

St. John Bosco's defense twice stopped the Gaels on fourth down in the second half to enable the Braves to close their deficit.

Bishop Gorman 34, St. John Bosco 31 (1:12 left in the fourth quarter)

A fourth-down stop by the St. John Bosco defense enabled Josh Rosen to guide a scoring drive, and Kaylin Franklin's eight-yard TD reception pulled the Braves to within three points.

But an onside kick was recovered by Bishop Gorman.

Bishop Gorman 34, St. John Bosco 24 (5:59 left in the fourth quarter)

Tight end Jarett Balter caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Josh Rosen, pulling St. John Bosco to within 10 points of the Gaels.


Bishop Gorman defense stopped Josh Rosen on a fourth-down quarterback sneak at the 39 with 9:19 left and took over the ball. Then St. John Bosco's defense stopped Bishop Gorman on a fourth-down play.

Bishop Gorman 34, St. John Bosco 17 (22 seconds left in the third quarter)

There's bad news and good news to report for St. John Bosco fans. The bad news is the Braves' defense can't stop Bishop Gorman. The good news is the Braves' offense has started to put up points. A six-yard touchdown run by Sean McGrew near the end of the third quarter pulls the Braves to within 17 points.

This game is still winnable for St. John Bosco, but only if its defense can step up. Time is running out.

Bishop Gorman 34, St. John Bosco 10 (4:02 left in third quarter)

Quarterback Tate Martell fired a 24-yard touchdown pass to UCLA commit Alize Jones, increasing Bishop Gorman's lead to 34-10.

Bishop Gorman 27, St. John Bosco 10 (6:06 left in third quarter)

Just when it looked as if St. John Bosco was headed for certain defeat, quarterback Josh Rosen came alive. He passed 45 yards to Jared Harrell and completed a 13-yard TD strike to Anselem Umeh.

But it's up to the Braves defense to come up with a stop.

Bishop Gorman 27, St. John Bosco 3 (7:02 left in the third quarter)

Whatever the reason for sophomore quarterback Tate Martell and sophomore receiver Tyjon Lindsey deciding to transfer together from Poway, Bishop Gorman fans don't care. All they know is they are game changers.

Martell rolled left, threw a short pass to Lindsey, who raced 67 yards for a touchdown and a 27-3 advantage. It might be time to officially label this game a rout, something unheard off in recent years around St. John Bosco, which has been doing the routing.


The third quarter began with St. John Bosco being stopped at the 49 and forced to punt. Bishop Gorman's defense continues to deny the big play or even the little play.

Bishop Gorman 20, St. John Bosco 3 (halftime)

St. John Bosco is in need of some big-time adjustments going into halftime trailing Bishop Gorman, 20-3.

Josh Rosen has missed some open receivers and Bishop Gorman's defense has pretty much shut down running back Sean McGrew (he has 13 yards in seven carries).

The Braves trailed Central Catholic of Oregon, 14-7, last week in the third quarter and rallied to win. They will get the ball to start the second half. Russell Booze has rushed for 127 yards for Bishop Gorman.

Bishop Gorman 20, St. John Bosco 3 (4:23 left in second quarter)

St. John Bosco is in trouble. A one-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Shumaker has given Bishop Gorman a 20-3 lead late in the second quarter.

A fourth-down personal foul on the Braves for roughing the punter kept the Bishop Gorman drive alive.

And things didn't get any better after a deflected pass allowed Bryan Garcia to intercept a Josh Rosen pass.


Sean McGrew of St. John Bosco is one of the fastest players in California, but he has been unable to get any kind of production against the Bishop Gorman defense.

He has been given the ball five times on handoffs and has minus-three yards rushing.

That has to change for the Braves to come back from a 14-3 deficit.

Bishop Gorman ball with 9:14 left in the second.


Bishop Gorman 14, St. John Bosco 3 (11:30 left in second quarter)

Well, questions about St. John Bosco's defense just came through loud and clear. Russell Booze of Bishop Gorman took the handoff and ran untouched up the middle for an 80-yard touchdown run.

Who goofed will be the question for the Braves when the film is watched on Saturday.

Bishop Gorman 7, St. John Bosco 3 (11:44 left in second quarter)

An uncovered Anselem Umeh caught a 58-yard pass from Josh Rosen to the Bishop Gorman 12, but St. John Bosco's Sean McGrew got stuffed twice on handoffs, plus there was an illegal procedure penalty.

The Braves had to settle for a 39-yard field goal by Eric Daniels.


St. John Bosco's opening possession stalled at the Bishop Gorman 33. A 50-yard field goal attempt by Eric Daniels was short.

Bishop Gorman's secondary did a good job covering. Quarterback Josh Rosen had time to pass but no one was open.

There's 3:28 left in the first quarter.


Bishop Gorman 7, St. John Bosco 0 (6:51 left in first quarter)

Sophomore quarterback Tate Martell, who picked up a scholarship offer this week from USC, led Bishop Gorman on a 71-yard scoring drive to start the game, scoring on a five-yard TD run.

Martell beat the Braves with his legs and arm. He completed a 13-yard fourth-down pass to keep the drive going. His ability to run and throw has caused trouble for teams all season.


UCLA Coach Jim Mora has made it to the St. John Bosco sideline to watch his future quarterback, Josh Rosen.

Also committed to the Bruins is tight end Alize Jones of Bishop Gorman.


The new start time for St. John Bosco-Bishop Gorman is 6:55 p.m. The rain has stopped, the clouds are leaving, but there's still lightning in the distance here in Las Vegas.

The teams have come back onto the field to stretch and prepare for a game matching No. 1 vs. No. 2. The students who stayed put during the downpour and wind storm are drying out and getting louder by the minute.


A storm cloud is passing over Bishop Gorman High and the start of the 6 p.m. game against St. John Bosco has been delayed for 20 minutes because of lightning.

The rain is coming down heavy, but Bishop Gorman students are staying put and chanting, "We're not leaving."

The teams have returned to their locker rooms, but Bishop Gorman and St. John Bosco students are having fun in the stands. The parents have umbrellas. The students are either taking their shirts off or standing with soaking wet shirts.


A week ago, one Bishop Gorman player was waving a sign that read, "We want Bosco." Well, unbeaten St. John Bosco, ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today, is in Las Vegas to take on No. 2 Bishop Gorman in a 6 p.m. national telecast before an expected sold-out stadium of some 5,000. ESPN has brought in two Musco lighting trucks to give it a Hollywood-like feel.

Bishop Gorman students, dressed in orange and waving a lot of signs (they want their ESPN moment), are ready to make lots of noise.

St. John Bosco players spent most of Friday in meetings, had a team mass and were going through final tests given by their position coaches.

UCLA-bound quarterback Josh Rosen of St. John Bosco got a feel for what's ahead when he stepped off the charter bus and his every step was followed by a camera crew into the locker room.

Bishop Gorman (5-0) has already beaten Southern California powers Servite, Corona Centennial and Santa Margarita. St. John Bosco is 3-0.

Get ready for lots of scoring, since both teams' offenses are hard to stop.


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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North Central Texas College bus crashes in Oklahoma; 3 dead, more hurt

Three people are dead and more than 15 are injured in Oklahoma after a North Central Texas College bus carrying the softball team collided with a semitruck Friday night.

The collision happened about 9 p.m. on Interstate 35, north of Ardmore, Okla., said Capt. Ronnie Hampton, spokesman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

At least three people were declared dead at the scene, he said.  It is unclear whether the three were college students.

It was uncertain how many people were on the bus.

North Central Texas College posted a message on its Facebook page: "We ask for your prayers at this time for our softball team. Their bus has been involved in an accident in Oklahoma."

Follow @theryanparker for breaking news

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

10:14 p.m.: This story has been updated with the information that the college's softball team was on the bus, and also that the college released a statement on Facebook.

This story was orgianlly published at 9:49 p.m.

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Egyptian teenager who skipped flight home seeks U.S. asylum

An Egyptian teenager who refused to return home following an international high school science fair staged five months ago has filed for U.S. political asylum.

Abdullah Assem was 17 when he skipped a flight to Cairo on May 18 at the conclusion of the weeklong Intel International Science and Engineering Fair at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Assem was convinced he would be jailed again for anti-government postings on Facebook once his flight landed in Egypt. He had been jailed in April for his political comments and released in time for the science fair only because of widespread Egyptian publicity over his arrest.

"In case I get back to Egypt, my future will be in jail, considering that I am threatened all the time to be detained," he said after his April 25 arrest as he walked to a downtown Cairo electronics store to buy parts for his science project.

Now 18, Assem was accompanied by certified immigration law specialist Valerie Curtis-Diop during a two-hour-long interview Thursday with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum office in Anaheim. Because of the notoriety of Assem's defection, the hearing officer's recommendation will be automatically reviewed by Immigration officials in Washington once it's issued.

Because Assem's passport was turned over to the Egyptian Consulate when he skipped the flight home, he has no identification card and cannot enroll in college classes that he'd hoped to now be taking.

He's lived with family friends in the Los Angeles area since May, moving from place to place.

"I want to stay in this country and go to college. My category will be computer science and development. I'm planning to make products in Web development for start-up companies," he said after the closed-door Anaheim hearing.

Assem was one of 1,787 competitors in the Intel competition, which awarded about $5 million in scholarships and prizes. His project was the design of an eye-tracking device that allows quadriplegics to control a computer by moving a mouse with their eyes so they can play games and send messages to friends.

"It worked," he said — although he came away from the contest empty-handed because he was forced to use handwritten notes and posters to explain to judges how his project worked.

Assem's family supports his decision to attempt to stay in the United States. He said his brother has also been threatened with arrest and jail for "expressing his opinion."

Curtis-Diop said she agreed to represent Assem for free after another of her clients expressed concern that the young man was getting bad legal advice from others. "Hopefully it was given with good intentions, but it was not wise advice," she said.

She said the hearing officer "seemed sympathetic and would like to give us a decision as soon as possible."

Twitter: @BobsLAtimes

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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It's a girl: Bill, Hillary Clinton welcome first grandchild

After much public anticipation, Bill and Hillary Clinton have finally become grandparents as their daughter, Chelsea, gave birth to a daughter.

The former president and the past--and perhaps future--presidential candidate delivered the news via Twitter, copying a post from their daughter referring to the birth.

"Marc and I are full of love, awe and gratitude as we celebrate the birth of our daughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky," read the post on Chelsea Clinton's Twitter feed.

No other details were made public.

Coming as her mother makes plans for a second presidential campaign, the news that Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, were expecting their first child garnered tremendous attention in the political world — leading some to compare it to the frenzy that surrounded the arrival of Prince William and Kate Middleton's son, George.

Chelsea Clinton revealed the news of her pregnancy at the end of a Clinton Foundation event with her mother this year at the Lower Eastside Girls Club in New York City.

"I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child — hopefully children — as my mom was to me," Chelsea Clinton said at the event for the foundation's No Ceilings initiative, which is focused on helping young women and girls.

Chelsea Clinton, who is 34, has taken a leading role in the expansion of her family's foundation, serving as vice chairwoman with a special focus on the foundation's health programs. She recently helped orchestrate the foundation's airlift of 100 tons of medical supplies to West Africa to help in the fight against the Ebola virus. She also leads the No Ceilings initiative with her mother.

At the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative gathering in New York on Tuesday, Chelsea moderated a panel on "valuing what matters" with General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra, Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker and Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Until late August, Chelsea Clinton held a part-time job as a special correspondent at NBC News; her hiring and high compensation raised questions about whether the network was trying to curry favor with her family. But she announced on her Facebook page that she was leaving to focus on her foundation work and the birth of her child. 

She worked at the consultant firm McKinsey & Co. and at Avenue Capital before taking a full-time role at the Clinton Foundation.

Hillary Clinton has stoked much of the discussion surrounding Chelsea this year by repeatedly mentioning her excitement about becoming a grandmother. The openness with which she talked of the coming event contrasted with the privacy the Clintons had sought for their daughter while she was younger.

The former secretary of State, who is among the most closely watched politicians in America, has also tied the baby's arrival to her own political ambitions — stating that she wants to experience being a grandmother before she makes a final decision on a presidential run. But she has also hinted that the family news has given her new reasons to pursue the presidency again.

During a Democratic conference in mid-September,  Clinton said that being on "grandbaby watch" had led her to think more deeply about her hopes for other children in America: "I want every one of our children to feel that they are inheriting the best of America," she said.

At Sen. Tom Harkin's steak fry in Iowa earlier in September, Hillary Clinton warned the crowd that she and her husband planned to drop everything as soon as the baby came: "If you see us sprinting offstage, that's why," she said. 

The Clintons did not reveal their daughter's due date, but Bill Clinton recently appeared to let it slip during an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

"I can't wait," he told Zakaria. "I hope by the first of October, I'll be a grandfather."

Twitter: @MaeveReston

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Monrovia defense workers say they were forced out after ICE audit

Written By kolimtiga on Jumat, 26 September 2014 | 12.57

When Raymundo Lazaro showed up for a shift last week at Vinyl Technology Inc., a Monrovia defense contractor that has employed him for the last 18 years, his boss took him aside.Lazaro, an immigrant from Mexico who came to the country illegally 23 years ago, was told he didn't have paperwork showing he was authorized to work in the United States. Fix it immediately, Lazaro said the boss told him, or sign a letter of resignation.Lazaro, who had been using falsified employment eligibility documents, had no choice but to quit. "I did my best every single day," he said Thursday. "And like that they called me in and gave me the boom."He is one of 240 immigrant workers at the company who have been pressured to sign resignation letters in recent weeks amid a federal audit of the company's hiring practices, according to former employees of the company and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, an immigrant advocacy group.

At a news conference Thursday at CHIRLA's headquarters, the workers called on the federal government to stop such investigations into workers' eligibility while President Obama weighs major changes to federal immigration policy.Obama promised in June to take executive action on immigration that many hope will allow millions of people in the country illegally to stay in the United States and legally work.

The president recently announced he will not take any such action until after the November election."There's no mercy, no justice, no humanity in the implementation of our broken immigration laws," said Xiomara Corpeno, CHIRLA's director of community education and outreach, who described the federal investigations of companies as "silent raids."Since Obama came to office in 2009, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has changed its approach to cracking down on companies that employ workers lacking authorization. Gone are the dramatic early-morning raids on factories and warehouses that were a hallmark of the presidency of George W. Bush, when armed agents routinely detained hundreds of workers, many of whom were eventually deported.

Now the agency conducts quiet audits of employees' I-9 documents at companies believed to have hired unauthorized workers, with the emphasis on the employer's violations, not the immigrant's.

Arrests of workers have fallen as the amount of fines the agency has collected from employers has risen.

Overall, the number of workplace investigations initiated by ICE fell dramatically in the last year, from 3,903 in the 2013 fiscal year to just 1,963 in the 2014 fiscal year, which ends next month.

The decrease can be attributed to budget cuts at the agency, according to an ICE official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for stricter enforcement of immigration laws, said ICE is being too soft on immigrants here without permission and the companies that employ them.

"Audits are an important, but you need to also have work-site arrests," he said, adding that companies that employ unauthorized workers take jobs away from Americans.

"There's an enormous supply of American workers who are not only unemployed but who have dropped out of the labor market all together," Krikorian said. "The idea that there's not enough bodies to do the work here is laughable."

A representative of Vinyl Technology, which makes plastic products for customers such as the U.S. Navy and NASA, said the company had no comment on the investigation. According to its former workers, the company had around 350 employees until last week, with most earning between $8 and $15 an hour.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that prosecutes companies for knowingly employing unauthorized workers, does not release information on its audits unless an investigation has resulted in a fine or the filing of criminal charges.

Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for ICE, said the agency prioritizes audits of defense contractors because "the employment of unauthorized workers at locations of this nature could pose a threat to homeland security."

She said the agency's focus on audits has "reduced the need for large-scale immigration enforcement actions."

Immigrant advocates acknowledge that ICE's new approach may be gentler, but they say it still goes too far.

Even with the recent changes, they say, the system punishes workers. "It's the workers and the families that end up bearing the brunt of the burden," said CHIRLA spokesman Jorge Maria Cabrera.He pointed to the 240 immigrants who have been left scrambling to find new jobs.Lazaro, who had worked his way up to a supervisor position at Vinyl, with 30 employees under him, says he will be lucky if he finds work cleaning houses.

For more immigration news, follow Kate Linthicum on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

For the record, 10:26 p.m., Sept. 25: A previous version of this post spelled the company's name as Vynl Technology Inc.  

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Suspect arrested after three stabbed in Altadena, one critically

Three people were stabbed and a suspect was arrested Thursday night in an Altadena neighborhood.

One of the victims was hospitalized in critical condition. The other two suffered minor wounds, said Ed Pickett of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

He said he did not have information on the names or genders of the victims.

Sgt. Patrick Gadut of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department said detectives were on the scene as of 10 p.m. The triple stabbing was reported about 8:15 p.m. in the 100 block of East Woodbury Avenue.

"There was an argument. I don't know what the relationship between the people was, or whether they knew each other," Gadut said. 

The suspect has not been identified.

Twitter: @hbecerralatimes 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Kings choose younger lineup for preseason

Twenty-five regular-season games and one Stanley Cup championship … all before he turned 22 years old.

What does Kings left wing Tanner Pearson do for an encore, a successful second act, before he gets, oh, really old? As in turning 23.

Pearson didn't hesitate when the questions came his way on Thursday morning.

"Try to win another, really," he said. "That's why you play the game."

The ride has been a dizzying one for the youngster who started last season with the Kings' minor league affiliate in Manchester, N.H., because of salary-cap and roster issues. He went back and forth between Manchester (N.H.) and Los Angeles and finally settled in with the Kings after the Olympic break.

This is far from a typical second year for Pearson.

"It's kind of weird," veteran Kings forward Justin Williams said. "I feel like Tanner's played more playoff games than regular-season games.

"You want to come into camp, you want to re-establish yourself because there's always someone trying to take your job…. That's what training camp is about: distancing yourself from your competition. Tanner's had a good camp so far."

In fact, Williams was nearly on the mark about Pearson's games. Pearson appeared in 25 regular-season games, one more than in the playoffs. He played in all but two playoff games on the run to the Cup. Pearson formed a dynamic partnership with veteran Jeff Carter and youngster Tyler Toffoli and had four goals and 12 points in the playoffs.

So, is a resetting of goals in order?

"I don't try to set too many goals," Pearson said. "You obviously have your personal goals. If you set too high expectations and you don't succeed, it's a letdown."

With Kings Coach Darryl Sutter opting for a younger lineup in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Ducks in a preseason game on Thursday night at Staples Center, Pearson played on a line with Toffoli and prospect Andy Andreoff.

Sutter talked about avoiding the plateau effect, in terms of the Kings' youngsters. Still, it will be difficult to make direct comparisons between this season and last season

"Tanner and Tyler didn't play here very much last year till the playoffs, if you look at how many games they actually played," Sutter said. "Evaluate it on the prior year based on the whole year, how many games they played. Our team played 108 [games].

"How many of them did they actually play? And what did we get based on how many games they played?

"How did they play? It's all that. You know what? They can't all play. How else do we base it as a staff, fairly? It's based on training camp."

The first phase of training camp is nearly over. Sutter said there will be a shift in approach early next week.

"We're not even starting to evaluate our group from last year until after this weekend," he said. "We'll see more continuity in our lineup, and hopefully some of the injured guys are [getting] closer."

Twitter.com: @reallisa

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Football: Thursday scores

Thursday, September 25th



Muir 30, Glendale 0


Bellflower 40,  Glenn 7


California 56, Magnolia 6

Esperanza 33, Anaheim Canyon 20

Foothill 37, Brea Olinda 21

Fullerton 41, Gahr 33

Glendora 38, Charter Oak 37

La Canada 26, Rio Hondo Prep 19

Lompoc 45, Dos Pueblos 7

Los Alamitos 42, San Juan Hills 7

Rancho Alamitos 55, Godinez 21

Riverside Poly 49, Rubidoux 27

Santa Ana Valley 21. Orange 7

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Dodgers beat Giants, 9-1, to clinch NL West title

Written By kolimtiga on Kamis, 25 September 2014 | 12.56

It might not always have been the smoothest of rides, but it offered the desired finish: the National League West title.

The Dodgers won their second consecutive division title Wednesday night, fittingly behind the impressive pitching of Clayton Kershaw, by beating the Giants, 9-1, before a jubilant sellout Dodger Stadium crowd of 53,387.

Kershaw -- greeted by chants of "MVP" all night -- pitched eight innings, holding the Giants to one run on eight hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out 11. He even tripled in the Dodgers' first run in the fifth inning.

Kershaw now leads all of baseball in wins (21) and earned-run average (1.77), and he leads the NL in strikeouts (239). A third NL Cy Young appears assured, and he might have locked up the MVP award, too, with his performance Wednesday.

Yasiel Puig hit a solo home run to put the Dodgers ahead, 2-1, in the sixth inning. Juan Uribe drove in three runs on the night and Carl Crawford had a two-run double in a four-run sixth inning.

The Dodgers will host the division series at Dodger Stadium starting Oct. 3, likely a rematch from last postseason against the Cardinals.

Here's an inning-by-inning recap of the game:

Top of the ninth inning: Dodgers 9, Giants 1

The Dodgers called on former Giant Brian Wilson to start the ninth inning. Kershaw went another eight remarkable innings, giving up one run on eight hits. He struck out 11 and did not walk a batter.

Andrew Susac greeted Wilson with a double to left field before Chris Dominguez bounced out and Joaquin Arias flied out to right field. Gregor Blanco bounced out to a sliding Darwin Barney to end it.

And the Dodgers win themselves a second consecutive National League West title.

Bottom of the eighth inning: Dodgers 9, Giants 1

The Dodgers came up in the inning and mostly there was a sense of just wanting to get it over so they get on to the celebration. Wasn't going to happen.

Adrian Gonzalez was walked by Giants reliever Erik Cordier to lead off the inning, then Matt Kemp struck out. Miguel Rojas hit into what should have been an inning-ending double play, but shortstop Joaquin Arias dropped the ball for an error.

Reliever Erik Cordier hit Carl Crawford with a 98-mph fastball on an 0-2 pitch to load the bases. Crawford gave Cordier a look, but then took first base. Juan Uribe, after being buzzed by a 99 mph fastball, singled to center field two score two more. A.J. Ellis bounced out, but that was good enough to score Crawford with another run. Two more walks forced in a final run.

The Dodgers are three outs from the division title.

Top of the eighth inning: Dodgers 5, Giants 1

Darwin Barney, a former Gold Glove winner, took over for Dee Gordon at second base to start the inning.

Clayton Kershaw retired the Giants in order for the fourth time. He's now at 117 pitches and the Dodgers had J.P. Howell and Brian Wilson warming up in the bullpen. Closer Kenley Jansen has pitched three days in a row and is presumably unavailable to pitch the ninth inning.

Kershaw struck out two in the inning to give him 11 on the night. He's taken over the strikeout lead in the National League.

Bottom of the seventh inning: Dodgers 5, Giants 1

After two innings of excitement, the Dodgers went uneventfully in the seventh. Reliever Jeremy Affeldt took over to start the inning for the Giants and retired the Dodgers in order.

Clayton Kershaw is at 104 pitches, but is coming out to start the eighth inning. No one is up in the bullpen.

--Steve Dilbeck

Top of the seventh inning: Dodgers 5, Giants 1

As per usual, the Dodgers replaced Hanley Ramirez at shortstop with a much better defensive player, Miguel Rojas.

After striking out Joaquin Arias, Clayton Kershaw gave up another single to Gregor Blanco, his second of the night. Pinch-hitter Matt Duffy singled to center field, but Blanco tried reaching third base against Yasiel Puig. Generally not a good idea. He was thrown out easily, which halted the Giants' rally quickly.

Duffy advanced to second base on an error by Kershaw, but then the pitcher coaxed another strikeout from Hunter Pence.

Kershaw entered the inning at 94 pitches and with a four-run lead. He's still got the lead, and is at 104 pitches on the night. He's due to bat first in the bottom of the seventh inning, and it looks like he's going to hit and stay in the game.

--Everett Cook

Bottom of sixth inning: Dodgers 5, Giants 1

The intensity level at Dodger Stadium just jumped, something like the ball that Yasiel Puig hit. The dynamic Cuban outfielder brought the sellout crowd to its feet, not to mention the Dodgers' dugout, when he led off the bottom of the inning with a solo home run.

Puig had been hitless in nine at-bats in this three-game series when he launched his 15th home run of the season on an 0-2 pitch.

When Adrian Gonzalez then lined out to right field and Matt Kemp doubled to center, that ended the night for Giants starter Tim Hudson. Still, it was an heroic effort by the 39-year-old, whom the Dodgers had embarrassed the last time they met in a 17-0 blowout.

Javier Lopez took over for the Giants, but it only got worse for San Francisco. After intentionally walking Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford lined a two-run double to right. Gene Machi quickly took over for Lopez, Juan Uribe singled to score Crawford.

The Dodgers are up by four, the crowd is alive and a division title seems within grasp.

Top of the sixth inning: Dodgers 1, Giants 1

Apparently Clayton Kershaw was not completely winded after running around the bases for his triple the previous inning.

He got two quick outs before Pablo Sandoval hit a bouncer up the middle that Dee Gordon got to but dropped in his glove before making a throw. Andrew Susac followed with a single up the middle and a Kershaw wild pitch moved the runners to second and third bases. But rookie Chris Dominguez bounced back to Kershaw to end the threat.

Kershaw is at 94 pitches through six innings, so this could prove one of those dangerous bullpen games.

Bottom of the fifth inning: Dodgers 1, Giants 1

Seems Clayton Kershaw best get used to those "MVP" chants. He's not doing anything to make them go away. All he did in the fifth inning was triple in the Dodgers' first run.

Things started promisingly enough in the inning when Tim Hudson hit leadoff hitter Carl Crawford in the foot with a pitch, and Crawford almost immediately stole second base. When Juan Uribe lined out to right field, Crawford advanced to third base but A.J. Ellis popped up on his first pitch.

Which brought up Kershaw, who promptly tripled into the right-center field gap. It was the first career triple for Kershaw. The man knows timing. "MVP" chants rippled through Dodger Stadium. Kershaw has a reputation as a good-hitting pitcher, but he started the night hitting .164 with two RBIs.

Top of the fifth inning: Giants 1, Dodgers 0

Clayton Kershaw made quick work of the Giants in the fifth, retiring them in order for the third time.

He caught Gregor Blanco looking at a third strike, got Tim Hudson to bounce out to second base and Hunter Pence struck out looking at the pitch. Kershaw has six strikeouts without a walk through his five innings.

Bottom of the fourth inning: Giants 1, Dodgers 0

Getting a little nervous? The Dodgers hit the ball fairly hard against Tim Hudson in the fourth inning and had absolutely nothing to show for it.

Adrian Gonzalez flied out to deep center field before Matt Kemp crushed a ball, lining it almost directly at rookie left fielder Chris Dominguez. Hudson, who's 39, struck out Hanley Ramirez for the third out to retire the Dodgers in order.

After four innings, Hudson has thrown only 50 pitches and given up only two hits. This is the same guy who has been struggling as of late, right?

Top of the fourth inning: Giants 1, Dodgers 0

The Giants got another lead-off single, this time from Pablo Sandoval, but Clayton Kershaw pretty much took matters into his own hands this time.

He struck out the next two batters, Andrew Susac and Chris Dominguez, and then got Joaquin Arias to pop up. Through his four innings, Kershaw has thrown 58 pitches.

Bottom of the third inning: Giants 1, Dodgers 0

A.J. Ellis opened the inning with a walk and was sacrificed to second base by Clayton Kershaw's bunt.

Dee Gordon bounced out sharply to first base, Ellis taking third on the play. Yasiel Puig bounced out to shortstop to end the latest mini-threat. Puig is currently hitless in nine at-bats against the Giants in this three-game series.

Top of the third inning: Giants 1, Dodgers 0

Not according to script! Giants score first, despite an absolutely ridiculous defensive play by Clayton Kershaw.

Joaquin Arias led off the inning with an infield hit when he beat shortstop Hanley Ramirez's throw. Gregor Blanco followed with a line-drive single to left field.

Right-hander Tim Hudson then hit a sharp one-hopper back to Kershaw. It was actually hit behind his back. Kershaw stuck his glove behind him, made a backhanded catch and threw Hudson out. So good it was stupid.

Hunter Pence then hit a slow bouncer to Juan Uribe up the third-base line as Arias broke home. Catcher AJ. Ellis signaled for Uribe to throw to first but the throw came home instead, Ellis' tag too late to get Arias, who scored the game's first run.

Joe Panik singled to shallow left to load the bases, but Kershaw got out of further trouble when Buster Posey hit into a double play. Back in the dugout, Ramirez approached Kershaw and tapped his chest to say he should have thrown Arias out to start the inning. Kershaw gave Ramirez a glove slap on the butt to say thanks.

Bottom of the second inning: Dodgers 0, Giants 0

Well, at least that qualified as progress. The Dodgers collected the game's first two hits when Hanley Ramirez singled off the glove of shotrstop Joaquin Arias with one out and Carl Crawford lined a single to right field to advance Ramirez to third.

Juan Uribe ended the initial suspense by bouncing into a double play.

Not a good sign for the Dodgers: The last time they faced Tim Hudson, they chased him with six runs before he could get an out in the second inning.

Top of the second inning: Dodgers 0, Giants 0

Another easy inning for Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander retired the Giants in order again, striking out Andrew Susac. That's right, in their biggest game of the year, the Giants are batting Susac sixth.

Bottom of first inning: Dodgers 0, Giants 0

That seemed only fair. The Dodgers went just as quietly against San Francisco right-hander Tim Hudson in the bottom of the inning. He retired the Dodgers in order, getting both Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez to swing at pitches outside the strike zone. Boys might be a little eager.

Hudson, who started that game won 17-0 by the Dodgers on Sept. 9 in San Francisco, needed just 14 pitches.

Also co-owner Peter Guber, the Dodgers other Los Angeles resident, has joined Magic Johnson in the owner's box.

Top of the first inning: Dodgers 0, Giants 0

That was pretty much the start the Dodgers were hoping to see out of Clayton Kershaw.

He made short work of the Giants, retiring them in order on eight pitches.

Hunter Pence lined out to Dee Gordon at second, Joe Panik struck out swinging and Buster Posey bounced out to his former teammate, third baseman Juan Uribe.


At first pitch the stadium is, predictably, less than half full. The game is a sellout, though. There is only one of the Dodgers' five owners in their field box, Magic Johnson.

The honorary first pitch was thrown out by Elgin Baylor, introduced as "former Lakers great" without a word said about his 22 years spent as the Clippers general manager.

In his nightly video preview of the game, Vin Scully mentioned the Dodgers were winless in their last seven attempts at a first opportunity to clinch. Did not exactly send electricity rippling through the ballpark.

-- Steve Dilbeck


The Brewers won tonight, which means that if the San Francisco Giants are going to clinch a wild card spot tonight, it's going to have to be by beating the Dodgers. If the Brewers lost, the Giants could have clinched tonight.

Now, there's no chance of a double celebration. Only one team goes home happy tonight.


With first pitch in about 45 minutes, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw walked to the outfield and began stretching.

As he walked to left field alongside catcher A.J. Ellis, the Dodgers fans already in attendance gave him a standing ovation and chanted, "MVP!"


Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said before the game that left-handed starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to start throwing off a mound in the next couple days.

Ryu, the team's No. 3 starter and a crucial part of their postseason rotation, is recovering from a sore left shoulder. He's been throwing on flat ground this week, but hasn't thrown off a mound since completing one inning in his last start on Sept. 12.

Also of note is the Dodger's theoretical rotation against the Colorado Rockies this weekend. If the team doesn't beat the Giants tonight, it would need a win against the Rockies to clinch the National League West title. Right now, those weekend starters would be, in order, Roberto Hernandez, Dan Haren and Zack Greinke.

But, if the Dodgers do win tonight, there isn't much of an incentive to try to win games this weekend. The Nationals have the best record in the National League at 92-64. The Dodgers, at 90-68 before tonight's game, aren't likely to catch them. So, if the Dodgers win tonight, Mattingly said that they might adjust this weekend's rotation.

--Everett Cook


Dee Gordon and Carl Crawford will be back in the Dodgers lineup for their potential division-clinching game against the San Francisco Giants Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

The left-handed-hitting Gordon and Crawford didn't play the previous night, when the Dodgers were facing left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner. Right-hander Tim Hudson will pitch Wednesday for the Giants.

Clayton Kershaw, who is 20-3 with a 1.80 earned-run average, will start for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers lineup: 1. Dee Gordon 2B; 2. Yasiel Puig CF; 3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B; 4. Matt Kemp RF; 5. Hanley Ramirez SS; 6. Carl Crawford LF; 7. Juan Uribe 3B; 8. A.J. Ellis C; 9. Clayton Kershaw P

--Dylan Hernandez


More than three hours before the first pitch, outfielder Yasiel Puig was working out with trainer Stan Conte (here's a photo showing it). Puig told Times reporter Dylan Hernandez that "everything's fine." Although Conte was monitoring his movements closely, Puig said that he was just working out and not testing anything.

But Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly told Times reporter Dylan Hernandez that Puig was out on the field to test the ankle that was hit by a pitch in last night's win. According to Mattingly, there didn't seem to be any issues.

Puig, who was in the middle of a benches-clearing kerfuffle last night with Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, will be batting second and playing center field.


A night after totaling only two runs and seven hits against right-hander Zack Greinke in a 4-2 loss to the Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants have switched their lineup for Wednesday's game against left-hander Clayton Kershaw.

First baseman Brandon Belt, shortstop Brandon Crawford and left fielder Juan Perez are all out of the lineup. Buster Posey will be playing first base instead of catcher and rookie Andrew Susac will be catching Tim Hudson.

The Giants lineup: 1. Pence RF; 2. Panik 2B; 3. Posey 1B; 4. Sandoval 3B; 5. Susac C; 6. Dominguez LF; 7. Arias SS; 8. Blanco CF; 9. Hudson P.

--Everett Cook

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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How Clayton Kershaw and Dodgers clinched NL West over Giants

It was storybook time at Dodger Stadium, a Dodgers' dream come very much to life.

Clayton Kershaw, their leader all season, took the mound Wednesday and led the Dodgers to a 9-1 victory over the rival San Francisco Giants, leaving them National League West champions for a second consecutive year.

Kershaw was greeted by chants of "MVP" all night, climaxing what has been a magical year for the left-hander. Kershaw is not expected to pitch again until the playoffs. If so he finishes the season leading the majors in wins (21) and ERA (1.77) and the NL in strikeouts (239).

He even added to his MVP credientials Wednesday by tripling in the Dodgers' first run. Yasiel Puig's solo homer in the sixth put the Dodgers ahead 2-1.

The Dodgers are expected to have a postseason rematch with the St. Louis Cardinals in a best-of-five-games division series beginning Oct. 3.

The first two games -- and the last, if needed -- would be played at Dodger Stadium. Last October, the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

Wednesday, though, was for celebrating 2014. There was no visiting pool to jump in, but the Dodgers rushed the field after the final out to experience a party at home.

Kershaw (21-3) appears headed for a third NL Cy Young Award and, very possibly, his first league MVP title.

Wednesday was the high point to an uneven, if still highly successful, season for the Dodgers. They never proved the super team many assumed their record payroll would provide, but nonetheless proved effective enough.

The Dodgers went in to San Francisco on July 23 with a 56-47 record, trailing the Giants by two games in the standings. They swept the three-game series and never looked back, leading the division the rest of the way.

The Giants led the Dodgers by 9½ games on June 4, and they had a record of 43-21 four days later when they began a stunning fall, going 42-52 the rest of the way.

The Dodgers were led by their starting pitching trio of Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kershaw. They are the team strength the Dodgers will count upon to carry them in the postseason. When they start, the Dodgers are 53-25; when any other pitcher starts, they are 38-43.

Ryu is out with a sore shoulder. The Dodgers are hopeful he can return to start in the division series.

Kenley Jansen filled the closer's role as expected, which was no simple task. He was asked to be dominant every time he was handed the ball, and for the most part he was exactly that. Jansen has 44 saves, tied for the National League lead with Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel and St. Louis' Trevor Rosenthal.

However, getting the ball to Jansen has been a regular pursuit for the Holy Grail. The Dodgers are still searching and experimenting heading into October, the bullpen remaining their largest area of concern.

The team's original plan of mixing former All-Star closers Brian Wilson, Brandon League and Chris Perez as eighth-inning setup men for Jansen never really took. Only left-hander J.P. Howell has been consistently reliable.

Offensively, the Dodgers have not been the monster fans had anticipated, but they are still one of baseball's best-hitting teams. They are third in the majors in hitting (.264), tied for first in on-base percentage (.331) and sixth in slugging (.403).

They seldom had their lineup fully healthy, though it appears to be now.

The Dodgers received a pair of offensive surprises this year in Dee Gordon and Justin Turner. Neither was a lock to even make the team going into spring training.

Gordon had been shuttled all over the field as the team tried to find a role for him. But when Cuban prospect Alex Guerrero struggled defensively at second, Gordon seized the opportunity.

Gordon not only filled their need for a leadoff hitter, but he leads the majors in stolen bases (64) and triples (12), and the team in runs (90).

Turner was a non-roster invitee to spring training who caught fire in May and never cooled. He's been a utility man extraordinaire, playing every infield position while leading the team in hitting (.333). In only 282 at-bats, he has seven home runs and 41 runs batted in.

Their one consistent offensive force has been Adrian Gonzalez. The first baseman leads the majors with 112 RBIs and can expect to get a share of National League MVP votes.

After a slow start, Matt Kemp has more resembled the player who nearly won the NL MVP in 2011. Three surgeries behind him, he's hit .304 in the second half. Perhaps most encouraging for the Dodgers, he's been destroying the ball in September, with eight homers and 22 RBIs.

Shortstop Hanley Ramirez has battled various ailments over the course of the season and never really looked like the guy who led the Dodgers offensively last season. Still, even he finished well, hitting better than .400 in his last 18 games.

Carl Crawford has come alive the second half, while Juan Uribe has hit a career-high .311. Puig remains dynamic, if struggling offensively in the second half.

Are they a better team than last year? It's certain now that they will have an opportunity to find out.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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CHP settles in videotaped beating of woman; officer to resign

A California Highway Patrol officer caught on video repeatedly punching a woman on the 10 Freeway has agreed to resign, the agency said Wednesday.

CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow announced that Officer Daniel Andrew was stepping down and that the law enforcement agency had settled a civil rights lawsuit brought by the 51-year-old woman, Marlene Pinnock.

The settlement, Farrow said, will establish a special needs trust for Pinnock to "provide a mechanism for her long-term care." He did not elaborate.

"When this incident occurred, I promised that I would look into it and vowed a swift resolution. Today, we have worked constructively to reach a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to all parties involved," Farrow said in his statement.

The CHP has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle the federal lawsuit, which alleged excessive force.

 Attorneys for Pinnock and Andrew could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

The settlement comes as Los Angeles prosecutors are deciding whether to charge Andrew with a crime.


Follow @katemather for breaking news.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Apple: iOS 8.0.2 update will be released within a 'few days'

Apple will push to release another update to iOS8 after the failure of an update released Wednesday that wreaked havoc on some phones, according to its website.

Along with instructions to uninstall the problematic 8.0.1 update, Apple said on its support page "We are also preparing iOS 8.0.2 with a fix for the issue, and will release it as soon as it's ready in the next few days."

The update iOS 8.0.1 was supposed to fix multiple problems with the new software, launched last week, including one with Apple's HealthKit feature.

But soon after the update became available Wednesday morning, iPhone users took to social media to complain that their cellphone service and ability to use Touch ID were not working.

Once 8.0.1 is uninstalled, the Health app again won't work, but it will be fixed in the iOS 8.0.2 update, according to Apple. 

Follow @theryanparker for breaking news

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Off-duty LAPD officer found dead inside Thousand Oaks home

Written By kolimtiga on Rabu, 24 September 2014 | 12.56

An off-duty LAPD officer was found dead inside a Thousand Oaks home Tuesday evening in what investigators believe was a suicide, hours after authorities were called to the home. 

Tim Lohman, a detective with the Thousand Oaks Police Department, said authorities received a 911 call about a domestic disturbance in the 3100 block of Apache Circle about 1:30 p.m.

A woman was able to flee from the home, Lohman said, but a man remained inside. Police were unsuccessful in reaching the unidentified man via telephone for hours. Between 6:30 p.m. and 6:50 p.m., officers entered the home and found the man's body.

"It appears to be a suicide based on preliminary information," Lohman said.

No information was provided about how he apparently killed himself.

LAPD Officer Drake Madison said the agency had received preliminary information that one of their current officers may have committed suicide. No information about the officer's identity was provided, but officials believe he was assigned to one of the San Fernando Valley stations.

The LAPD and Thousand Oaks Police Department remained at the single-family home Tuesday night. 

For breaking news, follow @AdolfoFlores3.

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Ebola epidemic more deadly than all previous combined, report says

The Ebola epidemic has already killed more people than all previous outbreaks combined, and an alarming new analysis by the World Health Organization suggests it already may be too late to prevent the virus from taking up permanent residence among humans in West Africa.

The virus itself is no more lethal or virulent than its predecessors, according to a report published Tuesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. But conditions in the affected regions of Africa — including a lack of approved drugs or vaccines, frequent cross-border travel and the failure to implement timely infection control measures — have made the epidemic unlike any before it.

Based on data collected during the last nine months, a panel of more than 60 WHO experts estimated that more than 20,000 people would be infected with Ebola by Nov. 2. The researchers also found that the disease had been fatal in 71% of confirmed cases.

"The current epidemiologic outlook is bleak," the experts wrote. "We must therefore face the possibility that Ebola virus disease will become endemic among the human population of West Africa, a prospect that has never previously been contemplated."

The suggestion that Ebola might never leave humans took some researchers by surprise.

"Diseases with a very high mortality, like Ebola, don't usually persist because they are too effective at killing their hosts," said Sherry Towers, a mathematical and computational modeling professor at Arizona State University. "A dead person can't move around in the population and continue to spread disease to susceptible hosts."

If a virus is slow to mutate — as Ebola appears to be — the pathogen gradually disappears from humans, for a couple of reasons. First, the percentage of the population that gets infected and develops immunity increases over time. Second, people modify their behavior and limit contact with one another. As a result, the virus finds it more difficult to spread and eventually runs out of human hosts.

At the end of past Ebola outbreaks, experts believe the virus retreated to its suspected animal reservoir, fruit bats. It may have lingered there for years until an infected bat came into contact with a human.

However, if the virus remains alive in at least some people, it remains an ongoing threat to public health.

In their first full statistical analysis of the epidemic, the WHO panel concluded that the exponential spread of the Zaire species of Ebola — named for the African nation now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo — was due more to geography, population density and an "insufficient" public health response than to any "biologic characteristic" of the virus.

The WHO researchers concluded that the three hardest-hit nations — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — were suffering because of the mobility of their populations and a lack of rapid and rigorous infection-control measures.

The region is highly interconnected, with frequent cross-border traffic among rural towns, villages and dense urban areas. As a result, "the large intermixing population has facilitated the spread of infection," the authors wrote.

The virus first gained a foothold in December 2013 and was not officially recognized as an outbreak until March 23.

Although the United Nations health organization estimated just days ago that at least 5,843 people had been infected and at least 2,803 killed so far, the true numbers are "certainly higher," the WHO panel added. However, the researchers noted that the mortality rate dropped from 71% to 64% for patients who were cared for in a hospital.

The ability of medical teams to collect accurate case numbers has been complicated by fear and desperation in the face of the virus, which is transmitted through bodily fluids. Some infected people have been hidden by their families because they fear the ostracism that comes with being diagnosed with Ebola. In some communities, medical teams have been greeted with violence.

In order to stop the epidemic, researchers said the rate of transmission would have to be cut in half. This would be equivalent to vaccinating 50% of the population, according to study authors. Several vaccines are now under development, but even if they are shown to be effective, they won't be available in large quantities for several months, officials say.

Another study, released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that if 70% of patients were properly isolated in a hospital, home or community setting, and safe burial practices were instituted, the epidemic "would almost be ended" by Jan. 20.

The CDC study also contained a worst-case scenario, in which no action were taken to stem the spread of the disease in Sierra Leone and Liberia. (Guinea was removed from the forecast because its data were too erratic for reliable statistical use.) In this hypothetical situation, CDC analysts estimated there could be anywhere between 550,000 and 1.4 million new cases in those two nations by the end of January.

"We don't think that will come to pass," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said of the worst-case estimate. "These are not projections. What we've done is outline what might happen in different scenarios."

Frieden said the scenarios, published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, were intended to demonstrate the urgent need for a rapid scaling-up of international medical aid.

"The model shows that a surge now can break the back of the epidemic," he said. "It also shows that there are severe costs of delay."


Twitter: @montemorin

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Benches empty but Dodgers win 4-2 to reduce magic number to one

Think the Dodgers-Giants rivalry is dead? A memory for the elderly? Forget about it. Yasiel Puig and Madison Bumgarner are crafting a whole new chapter.

The two jarred again, had to be separated by homeplate umpire Adrian Johnson and catcher Buster Posey and had the benches and bullpens empting.

No punches were thrown, no one was ejected and no love was lost.

This all transpired in the bottom of the first, the Dodgers using the energy to score three runs and then hold on behind Zack Greinke for a 4-2 victory before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 49,251.

The victory reduced the Dodgers' magic number for clinching the National League West to one game. If Clayton Kershaw beats the Giants Wednesday, the division is theirs.

All the offense for the Dodgers came via a pair of home runs from Justin Turner and a two-run homer by Matt Kemp.

Nearly all the juice to Tuesday's game for the Dodgers came in the bottom of the first. Turner started the excitement by leading off with a solo home run.

Puig was the next batter and Bumgarner hit him on the left ankle with a 1-2 slider. Puig, one of three Dodgers hit by a pitch Monday night, fell to the ground trying to avoid the pitch and then sat there on his derriere for a bit with his back to Bumgarner, before glancing over his shoulder.

Bumgarner might have said something unpleasant at this point, because Puig suddenly jumped up, spun around, started yelling and coming toward the left-hander.

Johnson and Posey both got in front of Puig to head him off.

But the two continued yelling at each other, Bumgarner at one point throwing down his glove and appearing to scream something like, "Come, on. Let's go!"

These are serious heavyweights. Bumgarner is 6-feet-5 and 235-pounds, Puig 6-feet-3 and 235 pounds.

By now both benches and bullpens had sprinted onto the field. Manager Don Mattingly got to Puig and walked him away from the swelling scrum and to first base. Things calmed, order was restored and Johnson warned both benches.

There is some history between the two, of course.

Back on May 9 at Dodger Stadium Puig hit a solo home run off Bumgarner. The left-hander apparently took exception to Puig's bat flip or less-than-sprint around the bases -- he never did say -- and came off the mound and near the third base line to scream at him as he ran by.

Puig yelled back and there was more emptying of benches, but still no punches.

The confrontation must have pumped up birthday boy Kemp -- celebrating his 30th -- who then slugged a two-run homer out to center to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

The Giants pulled to within a run in the third when Bumgarner, a good-hitting pitcher, slugged a two-run homer. It was Bumgarner's fourth of the season and he pumped a fist as he saw it go over the left-center wall.

Meanwhile on the mound, Bumgarner (18-10) quickly reverted to being the Giants' ace. He allowed only one more hit after the first, retiring 19 of the next 20 Dodgers before Turner hit his second solo home run with one out in the eighth.

Turner, who came to camp as a non-roster invitee, is finishing off a career year. He now has seven home runs and 41 RBI on the season. He is hitting .333.

But Greinke was pretty much doing the same for the Dodgers. He retired 16 of his last 17 batters. Greinke (16-8) went eight innings, holding the Giants to the two runs on six hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.

Kenley Jansen, pitching in his third consecutive game, held the Giants scoreless in the ninth to earn his 44th save.

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Erick Aybar steals a run, Gordon Beckham homers in 2-0 Angels' win

KEY MOMENT: Oakland loaded the bases off setup man Joe Smith in the eighth when Eric Sogard singled and Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss walked with two outs. But Smith got Stephen Vogt to fly to right to snuff out the rally.

AT THE PLATE: Erick Aybar stole a run in the second when he singled, swiped second on a delayed steal, took third on Geovany Soto's throwing error and scored when Soto threw to second on Efren Navarro's stolen-base attempt. Gordon Beckham, who probably has won a spot on the playoff roster, led off the sixth with a homer off A's starter Sonny Gray.

ON THE MOUND: Jason Grilli replaced starter Wade LeBlanc with one on in the sixth and struck out Donaldson, hit Moss with a pitch and struck out Vogt. Kevin Jepsen threw a scoreless seventh, and Huston Street retired the side in order in the ninth for his 16th save with the Angels and 40th of the season.

IN THE FIELD: With a runner on third and two outs in the fifth, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick charged Sogard's bunt, made a bare-hand grab and off-balance throw to first for the out to preserve a 1-0 lead.

REHAB REPORT: Josh Hamilton, who has missed 17 of 18 games because of right shoulder, chest and rib-cage injuries, hit off a tee again Tuesday but probably won't return until this weekend. … Matt Shoemaker (left rib-cage strain) played catch for the second straight day Tuesday and "is definitely making progress," Manager Mike Scioscia said.

OUT SICK: Ace Jered Weaver missed Monday's game because of flu-like symptoms and returned to the team hotel before batting practice Tuesday. Scioscia said the Angels could push Weaver's next start to Saturday. Weaver would still be in line to start Game 1 of the division series Oct. 2.

FREESE FRAME: David Freese, who is batting .339 (21 for 62) with four home runs, five doubles and 14 RBIs in his last 18 games, sat out Tuesday because of upper back stiffness, but he said the injury is not serious.

THE KID ON THE KID: Former star Ken Griffey Jr. and an MLB film crew talked to Angels star Mike Trout for a special that will appear on Fox Sports 1 on Oct. 9.

UP NEXT: Left-hander Hector Santiago (5-9, 3.98 ERA) will oppose Oakland left-hander Jon Lester (16-10, 2.41 ERA) at the Oakland Coliseum on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830 AM.

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Ashley Swearengin for state controller

Written By kolimtiga on Selasa, 23 September 2014 | 12.56

Californians have been breathing a bit easier in recent months as the state government's finances have turned — slowly, like an ocean freighter — from disaster to solvency. But the work is hardly done, and diligence is called for to ensure the budget doesn't drift off course.

The budget, of course, is a political document hashed out between the governor and the Legislature. But the state controller plays a significant role as a watchdog, the chief administrator of a large squad of people who check the books and make sure the bills are paid while helping taxpayers obtain as clear a picture as possible of the government's financial health.

It is because of her professional experience and skill-set that The Times endorses Republican Ashley Swearengin, the mayor of Fresno, for state controller.

Swearengin's opponent — and fellow survivor of the June primary — is Democrat Betty Yee, a member of the Board of Equalization from the Bay Area and former chief deputy director for budget in the state Department of Finance. Those jobs have given Yee an up-close view of the state budget and taxation process, and she recognizes the need for tax reform and the importance of addressing unfunded pension obligations. But while Yee is a credible candidate for the job of controller, she's simply not as well prepared for the office as Swearengin.

A former executive for Fresno-area economic development programs, Swearengin became mayor in 2009, as the state was facing financial crisis. She steered the city through its own budgetary shoals (though it's not in the clear yet) and was instrumental in keeping Fresno from joining Stockton and San Bernardino in filing for bankruptcy protection. Swearengin oversaw a sharp reduction in government payroll, necessitated by collapsed revenues, and — perhaps more significantly — she persuaded unionized city employees to shoulder a higher pension burden, aimed at addressing the problem of unfunded obligations. Swearengin also understands the need for a diverse economy, not only in Fresno but statewide. And as mayor, she has experience running a government, something that Yee lacks.

Notably, Swearengin has not been infected by the far-right fever that has gripped much of the Republican Party in California and, indeed, across the nation. So far, she has shown herself to be pragmatic, non-doctrinaire and able to separate her campaign from the divisive social issues that have marginalized many of her fellow Republicans.

In a state dominated by Democrats, Swearengin faces a difficult election. But of the two candidates, we believe she is the better choice for controller, and for the future of the state.

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Let's make a climate deal, California

It has been almost 25 years since the United States joined much of the world in Rio de Janeiro and tentatively agreed to do something to reduce the pollutants associated with global warming and other climate disruption. Since then, though, the U.S. has been a laggard in taking major action. Now, with a United Nations climate summit underway in New York and the next U.N. climate conference scheduled for December 2015, the U.S. can make up for lost time — with California's help.

All it would take is for the Golden State to allow voluntary opt-ins to its existing carbon cap-and-trade program, creating a de facto national system with the stroke of a pen.

With California's blessing, the U.S. could leapfrog its own inaction and find itself once again at the forefront in the race to address climate change. All without painful and costly political arguments. What we need is a successful, accessible, competitive way to regulate carbon emissions: California has built it, so why not let others come?

Cap and trade, a tried-and-true system invented in the United States, requires entities that emit pollutants to "cap" them at established maximums, which decrease over time. Polluters that are efficient in cutting emissions and that stay below their quotas may find themselves with surplus allowances to "trade" — which is to say, to sell — to those having more trouble meeting their goals. The incentives flow to the efficient — the more they reduce, the more allowances they can sell and the more money they can make. The net environmental effect is that overall pollution comes down as the race to be a seller ensues.

California passed AB 32 in 2006, committing itself to reducing its carbon emissions to pre-1990 levels by 2020. As part of that effort, it put a carbon cap-and-trade program into effect in January 2013. There is a regional cap-and-trade program in the Northeast, but to open it up to outsiders would require agreements with many parties. California, on the other hand, has the most up-to-date system, and given its green proclivities, it isn't hard to imagine it inviting polluters anywhere in the U.S. — or beyond — to voluntarily join the system and follow its rules going forward.

How would a national and possible even international opt-in work? Currently, California's law covers only companies operating within California. So companies operating outside California would have to enter into corollary agreements with the state to reduce their emissions anywhere in the U.S. along the same trajectory as California-based companies. Opt-in companies would act as if they were covered by California's framework. Carbon accounting and the trading market would remain in California, regardless of where the actual pollution reductions occur — like a bank account kept in one state by someone who lives in another.

Why would any entity volunteer to be regulated, let alone by a state where it does not operate? Forward-looking companies are already planning for climate change because they know it poses vivid risks to their operations. Most major polluters already have emission reductions plans in place because they believe mandatory reductions will come in time, and they crave regulatory certainty. Acting sooner rather than later would convey a competitive advantage, as all early adopter steps tend to do.

Besides, ample evidence exists that companies will volunteer for climate regulation. From 2003 to 2010, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) operated a voluntary but legally binding cap-and-trade system that included participation by DuPont, American Electric Power, Honeywell; cities such as Oakland; Portland, Ore.; and Chicago; and states such as New Mexico. In its heyday, the Chicago exchange had more greenhouse gas emissions capped voluntarily than California's current system does, even more than Germany, which is under mandatory regulation.

And during the debate over the 2009 Waxman-Markey bill in Congress, which would have established a national cap-and-trade system, many leading companies, including CCX members, lobbied hard for passage of the bill. So there is an demonstrable appetite for regulatory certainty and a belief in cap and trade as an acceptable tool.

Operationally, yes, some hurdles will need to be overcome, and California would probably want to charge a fee for admission to cover its additional administrative and accounting costs. But there are no major impediments to harmonizing data and fair emissions accounting; those systems are well advanced. Silicon Valley should be able to expand the trading system. There may be some legal interstate commerce issues, but these could be worked out, especially given that each participant is a volunteer and therefore by definition not being coerced.

And opting in is not foreign to California's system. It mandates participation only for certain industries and entities, but others within the state can volunteer to be covered. Presumably the same rules could be easily applied to entities from outside the state. Then, as federal regulations firm up, the California system, with its added participants nationwide, will be up and running, relieving other states from the trouble of developing their own programs.

And as companies gain a level playing field for taking action, the competitive juices will flow and the nation will gain the benefits of energy efficiencies, new technologies and rebuilt infrastructure that are the highly productive economic byproducts of addressing climate change coherently, in a market-based system.

While the law of the land catches up to climate change — as it must — visionary companies could avail themselves of the state-of-the-art thinking California has already applied to the cap-and-trade system, and they would find themselves well ahead of the game. And so would the rest of the nation and the world. California — open the door.

Paula DiPerna has participated in global climate policy negotiations since 1992. She was president of the international division of the Chicago Climate Exchange and vice president for international affairs at the Cousteau Society.

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What 'war on women'?

On Friday, the White House announced its "It's On Us" initiative aimed at combating sexual assaults on college campuses. I'm all in favor of combating sexual assault, but the first priority in combating a problem is understanding it.

That's not the White House's first priority. Roughly six weeks before election day, its chief concern is to translate an exciting social media campaign into a get-out-the-vote operation.

Accurate statistics are of limited use in that regard because rape and sexual assault have been declining for decades. So the Obama administration and its allied activist groups trot out the claim that there is a rape epidemic victimizing 1 in 5 women on college campuses. This conveniently horrifying number is a classic example of being too terrible to check. If it were true, it would mean that rape would be more prevalent on elite campuses than in many of the most impoverished and crime-ridden communities.

It comes from tendentious Department of Justice surveys that count "attempted forced kissing" and other potentially caddish acts that even the DOJ admits "are not criminal."

According to one Justice Department survey, more than half the respondents said they didn't report the assault because they didn't think "the incident was serious enough to report." More than a third said they weren't clear on whether the incident was a crime. But President Obama uses these surveys to justify using the terms "rape" and "sexual assault" interchangeably.

And yet critics of the alleged rape epidemic are the ones who don't take rape seriously? I would think conflating a boorish attempt at an undesired kiss with forcible rape is an example of not taking rape seriously.

The "It's On Us" PR stunt is not an exception; it is par for the course. To listen to pretty much anyone in the Democratic Party these days, you'd think these are dark days for women. But by any objective measure, things have been going great for women for a long time, under Republicans and Democrats alike.

Women earn 57% of bachelor's degrees, 63% of master's degrees and 53% of doctorates. They constitute the majority of the U.S. workforce and the majority of managers. Single women without kids earn 8% more than single men without children in most cities. Women make up almost half of medical school applicants and nearly 80% of veterinary school enrollees.

The recession — a.k.a. the "mancession" — hit men much harder, and women recovered from it much more quickly. When you account for hours worked and job choices, pay equity is pretty much here already. Sure, this is a snapshot, but few serious people think it isn't a snapshot of a race in which women are surging ahead.

A broad coalition of feminist groups, Democratic Party activists and the journalists who carry water for them refuse to recognize the progress women have made unless it is in the context of how "fragile" these victories are. Going by the endless stream of fundraising emails I get from the Democratic Party, Emily's List — never mind New York Times editorials — and other usual suspects, we're always one election away from losing it all. If Harry Reid isn't the majority leader next year, it's back to wearing corsets and churning butter for you.

Obviously, this isn't all about elections. There's a vast feminist industrial complex that is addicted to institutionalized panic. On college campuses, feminist and gender studies departments depend almost entirely on a constant drumbeat of crisis-mongering to keep their increasingly irrelevant courses alive. Abortion rights groups now use "women's health" and "access to abortion on demand" as if they are synonymous terms. The lack of a subsidy for birth control pills is tantamount to a federal forced breeding program.

Sure, women still face challenges. But the system feminists have constructed cannot long survive an outbreak of confidence in the permanence of women's progress. The last thing the generals need is for the troops to find out that the "war on women" ended a long time ago — and the women won.

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New Afghan government; same old problems

President Obama called Kabul on Sunday to congratulate Afghan presidential contenders Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah for finally accepting a power-sharing deal to resolve a months-long dispute over who won in an election deeply marred by fraud. "Signing this political agreement," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, "helps bring closure to Afghanistan's political crisis and restores confidence in a way forward."

Afghans are not so sure.

Many express relief that the threat of a descent into chaos or civil war has been averted, and they hope that day-to-day business activities will resume after months of paralysis. Still, most Afghans fear that this cobbled-together government — in which Ghani has been declared winner and president but Abdullah has been given an extra-constitutional prime minister-style post — will prove even worse than the unpopular regime of Hamid Karzai.

Built as it is on a foundation of electoral fraud and elite bargains, the new government is likely to be at least as corrupt and even more fractured and contested than the Karzai government. Those weaknesses will invite further inroads by the Taliban, which has regained ground over the last six months, fighting pitched battles and both killing and enlisting frightened locals.

"This isn't an inclusive government," says Shafiullah Afghan, a former police officer and rule-of-law expert, "it's a joint venture." Indeed, one of the ironies of the power-sharing deal, brokered and co-signed by U.S. officials, is that it negates the value of what so many Americans hailed as a triumph on the first day of voting: the overwhelming turnout.

Surprising even themselves on April 5, Afghans flocked to cast their votes. Braided ropes of villagers and city-dwellers wove down steep hillsides and along muddy streets, or clogged thoroughfares in cities shut down for the day. In separate women's lines, voters could only be distinguished by the color of the burkas or the black head-to-foot wraps they wore — and the names on the voter cards they clutched in their hands. In Kabul, it was a holiday celebration, as people waiting in line exuberantly called out greetings to friends and neighbors, as they do on annual feast days.

In Kandahar — whereas during the last presidential election, in 2009, members of my soap-making cooperative were the only ones among their friends who voted, and scrubbed the tell-tale ink of their fingers immediately afterward — this year everyone voted. "For the first time ever," said local radio reporter Sarwar Amani, "they ran out of ballot papers!"

Contrary to one common Western myth, in other words, Afghans are not unwilling or unready to accept democracy. They crave it.

Many Western observers read the high participation as having "delivered a resounding ... defeat to the Taliban," in the words of the Washington Post. In fact, that ballot had a more sophisticated political significance: It represented an explicit repudiation of Karzai. He was widely believed to have placed his support — and the levers of state power he controlled — behind his longtime confidant Zalmai Rassoul. And, by the hundreds of thousands, Afghans voted against Rassoul for precisely that reason.

"We knew that if people didn't come out to vote, Karzai would be able to throw this election to Rassoul," said Hajji Muhammad Rahim, a shopkeeper in Karzai's fiefdom of Kandahar. "And that would mean another five years of Karzai's regime."

Rassoul's loss demonstrates the success of that strategy: So massive was the participation that it overwhelmed even the ability of Karzai's practiced vote-stealing machine to fix the results.

But that doesn't mean the elections were honest. While international attention was primarily focused on the enthusiastic turnout, blatant violations of electoral laws marred the first round and proved to be the dominant factor in the second.

Many Afghans describe the upshot as a betrayal of the whole notion of democracy. "We feel nothing is in our hand; it's in the foreigners' hand," one Kandahar gray-beard put it. "We voted for nothing. Votes should have value, but our vote doesn't count in the end. Only force counts."

The post-Karzai government, in other words, is facing a credibility crisis before it even gets going. "Whether it's Ghani or Abdullah," one NGO worker told me before Sunday's result, "it won't be legitimate."

The elite bargains that went into building the two contending camps and negotiating Sunday's deal also undermine chances for the type of profound governance reforms Afghans crave. "It's a good system for corrupt people," said the NGO worker. "If a person is arrested, he can just claim the move was ethnically motivated and his camp will come to his defense." Meanwhile, the Ghani/Abdullah regime will be focused more on spoils than on governance.

Ultimately, the inauguration of a new Afghan president is unlikely to usher in much of a transition. Ghani and Abdullah or his appointee will preside over a fractured, contested, corrupt government. Karzai, who played a Machiavellian role in the electoral process, may leave the front of the stage, but he will remain a background presence. As recent events in Iraq demonstrate so painfully, this is a ripe stew for extremist advances.

Sarah Chayes, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment and a contributing writer to Opinion, lived in Afghanistan for most of the last decade and served as special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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