Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Raiders’ Derek Carr learns how to be a successful quarterback

The Raiders didn’t relax until the fourth quarter Sunday, up 37-6 in what would become a 37-29 win in San Diego. But quarterback Derek Carr, who thoroughly outplayed five-time Pro Bowler Philip Rivers, said head coach Jack Del Rio had his players nice and loose before the game started.

“Coach always stresses to just do your job, don’t do anything superhuman and don’t do anything outside yourself,” Carr said. “Come in and do your job, and I feel like that’s what we did.”

Carr did his job well, completing 24 of 31 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns. His passer rating of 137.7 was the seventh best on the road in the history of the Raiders franchise.

Carr has 11 touchdown passes on the year, and is the first Raider since Rich Gannon (2002) with at least 10 passing touchdowns through six games.

“He’s a good young player that is making strides,” Del Rio said at Monday’s weekly news conference. “He’s growing in our system. He’s growing in his knowledge of what it takes to be successful in this league.

“It’s a week-to-week league. Very quickly we will move past this one and on to the next opportunity against a very difficult opponent.”

The Raiders (3-3) have a tough test next in the Jets (4-2). It will help if they can establish the run again so that play-action plays work as well as they did against the Chargers.

Carr was 7-of-10 for 120 yards and two touchdowns when he used the play fake Sunday. That includes his 52-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper, where the rookie receiver took a bubble screen pass and made like a video game character dodging oncoming bad guys.

The 120 play-action yards were the second most of Carr’s two-year career.

(Rivers, on the other hand, was 2-of-6 for minus-1 yard and an interception using play-action.)

Cooper had 59 yards after the catch, the most by a receiver against the Chargers this season. He had led all receivers in the NFL with 236 yards after the catch coming into the game.

“He’s a highlight player on their team,” Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers said. “They give the ball to him many different ways, whether it’s a screen, a pass downfield or lining him up in the slot. They move him around so they can get him as many touches as possible.”

Cooper finished with 133 yards receiving Sunday and became the first rookie since Mike Ditka in 1961 to have three 100-yard receiving games in his team’s first six games.

Del Rio is not going to gush about Carr, Cooper or his improving defense. But he is happy.

“What we saw yesterday was an example of all three phases played well and it came together for us,” Del Rio said. “There’s more there. It’s not like we arrived or anything. But it certainly was the best football we played to date.”

Briefly: Del Rio said rookie linebacker Neiron Ball had an MRI exam on his injured knee and was awaiting results. … Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. constantly yells at his players, “Nothing over the top,” and, in the first half, they held Rivers to 4-of-11 passing for 50 yards and two interceptions on passes that traveled more than 5 yards downfield. He was 11-of-12 for 55 yards on passes that went 5 yards or less.

Early losses help New Orleans Saints keep perspective after 3 wins in last 4 games

A simple glance at the New Orleans Saints

schedule could reveal a few truths that seemed unthinkable as recent as two weeks ago.

Then, coming off a dismal showing against the Philadelphia Eagles that dropped the Saints to 1-4, hope for a successful season appeared dim. But now, after successive wins for the first time in roughly a year, the Saints have the look of a team that could move into the thick of things as the season nears the midway point.

Just don't expect any players to make any pronouncements.

"At 3-4, we don't need to be thinking about the playoffs," Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro said Monday. "We need to be thinking about beating the New York Giants this weekend."

This is true. And probably best for anybody with a locker stall inside the Saints' facility on Airline Drive.

As for anybody else, a glance at a schedule that includes only three teams with winning records over the final nine games -- starting with the 4-3 Giants on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome -- provides some reason for optimism.

The Saints have won their last two games against the Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts with big plays on special teams along with six takeaways and nine sacks on defense.

Two of the three takeaways Sunday -- an interception by rookie linebacker Stephone Anthony and a fumble forced by David Hawthorne on a kickoff return -- put Drew Brees and the offense in immediate scoring position as they built a sizable lead in a 27-21 victory against the Colts.

A fake field goal pass by Luke McCown to Benjamin Watson set up another score, and the Saints' resurgent run game did the rest, as Mark Ingram posted gains of 44, 35 and 20 yards on a variety of runs to the outside and up the middle as he averaged 10.2 yards on 14 carries (143 yards total).

Those complementary elements appeared more in the last two games than they did in most of the first five.

"We're playing a lot looser," Saints center Max Unger said. "It's one of those things where you just kind of have to trust your game plan."

Yet for all the positives, a message from coach Sean Payton and his staff must remain: "We have to be brutally honest with, 'Hey, here are some things we're doing well, this gets me fired up, and here are some things we have to correct.'"

Among those are penalties, of which the Saints committed 12 for 100 yards.

"We're playing better on D," Vaccaro said. "We're getting more opportunistic, getting takeaways, getting sacks. At the same time, we're still letting the opposition offenses put up points. We got to stop that. We got to help our offense out and try to keep that to a minimum."

The Saints a year ago stood at 3-4 after they beat the Green Bay Packers in a Sunday night home game, and moved to 4-4 four nights later on the road against the Carolina Panthers.

Five losses in the next seven games dumped the Saints out of playoff contention with one game to play.

Several players insist the 2015 Saints bear little resemblance to the 2014 version, a claim supported by the high roster turnover during the offseason.

The Saints' remaining schedule includes five games against teams with fewer wins than the Saints, with the Tennessee Titans (1-5), Detroit Lions (1-6) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) at home, and the Houston Texans (2-5) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) on the road.

Also on the schedule is a road game against Washington Redskins (3-4) along with games the NFC South-leading Carolina Panthers (6-0, at home) and Falcons (6-1, on the road).

With a long-range goal of making the playoffs, the Saints will keep a short-term focus, starting with the Giants and their plus-10 turnover ratio that leads the NFL.

"Our goal is to win games every week," Unger said. "I think if we can do that, obviously our goals will be there at the end of the season."

Texans' Foster out for season with Achilles injury

Texans running back Arian Foster is out for the season with an Achilles tendon injury, a significant blow for a team that was just blown out for the second time this season.

Coach Bill O'Brien said Monday he expects Foster to miss the rest of the season but didn't elaborate on the injury to Foster's right leg.

Foster was injured without being hit late in the Texans 44-26 loss to Miami on Sunday. He was in motion when he fell to the ground at the beginning of a play.

Foster missed the first three games of the season after tearing his groin muscle in training camp.

"I know he's hurting," O'Brien said. "He worked hard to come back for the season, had the groin injury and now this injury. He's a guy that's proven he can come back from injury and I'm sure once he's able to rehab it he'll rehab it very diligently and try to come back. We're all supportive of him in that rehab."

Foster hasn't played 16 games since 2012 after missing three games last season and sitting out eight in 2013 after back surgery. The 29-year-old, who ran for 1,246 yards last season, had 163 yards rushing with a touchdown and 227 yards receiving with two scores this season.

Left tackle Duane Brown, a close friend of Foster, talked about how much he feels for him.

"It's devastating," Brown said. "Just because I know how much he puts into this thing, how much work he puts in to be great, to be healthy, and to stay on the field. I know how hard he worked to come back from his groin injury. To have this happen, I'm really hurting for him. I know it's pretty frustrating."

The Texans are also dealing with a situation with backup quarterback Ryan Mallett after he missed the team charter flight to Miami on Saturday and took a commercial flight instead. Mallett said that he was late because of traffic.

O'Brien said he and general manager Rick Smith are handling the situation internally unspecified "options" were being discussed.

"So 48 hours after he missed the flight you still haven't decided what to do yet?" a reporter asked the coach.

"Right," O'Brien said.

Brian Hoyer and Mallett are Houston's only two quarterbacks on the active roster with Tom Savage on injured reserve. A fourth quarterback, Zac Dysert, is on the practice squad.

With Foster out the Texans (2-5) will look to Chris Polk, Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue to try and keep the running game afloat. Blue started the three games that Foster missed this year and leads the team with 234 yards rushing. Most of those yards came in a win over Tampa Bay in Week 3 when he ran for 139 yards and a touchdown.

Polk has 138 yards rushing and Grimes has added 54. O'Brien was asked how the three running backs have performed so far.

"I think it's been decent," he said. "When you're 2-5 I don't think anybody's performed great (but) I think that those guys have shown some flashes."

Grimes said it will take all of them to make up for Foster's absence as they prepare to host Tennessee (1-5) on Sunday.

"It's the same mode," he said. "Everybody's just got to step up and get better."

Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from October 26

The first WWE Raw—after Hell in a Cell prevailed as such a resounding hit—was an upset victory.

WWE was without Randy Orton, John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Undertaker. And Steve Austin only showed up for an instant to hawk WWE 2K16.

Still, after weeks of dragging narratives and hollow matches, Monday's Raw flourished.

Low on firepower in terms of megastars, the company instead opted for smart booking and a focus on the WWE title. Roman Reigns and the recently returned Alberto Del Rio were among the four men vying to become Seth Rollins' next challenger.

Like with Hell in a Cell itself, WWE did well to both generate excitement about the moments unfolding before us and the ones yet to come.

The following is a look into all the night's highs and lows. Even with the show's misfires, Monday's Raw earned far more fridge-worthy grades than recent shows.

The Eagles are average at best

The Eagles have a bye. They don’t play again until Nov. 8 in Dallas. That’s good for them and you, too. Everyone could use a break and some rest. It has not been an easy season.

The Eagles are 3-4. Even in the NFC East — a division full of teams that are the NFL equivalent of those CBS alphabet-soup procedurals (they’re all pretty much the same, and none of them are very good) — that’s a disappointing record.

This is not how the season was supposed to go. Not according to the experts. And certainly not if you believed Chip Kelly. He dismantled the roster and rebuilt it with his hand-picked parts. Ah, but his man-made monster has mostly lurched and stumbled so far, and it hasn’t frightened the rest of the league nearly as much as it has terrorized this very town. Just in time for Halloween. The Eagles are under .500. Boo.

Here’s another scary thought: The Eagles aren’t very good. Unless you ask Kelly, who said he thinks the Eagles are “a good football team” and just “need to get things cleaned up.” They’re almost halfway through the season. At what point do you step back and admit that the mess is too big to wipe away?

More likely, they’re what they’ve appeared to be all season, something much closer to average than awesome. So many of us keep waiting for the Eagles we were promised to show up and dominate. But you can only wait so long before you realize the promise probably isn’t possible.

If you’re confused about why the Eagles haven’t delivered on those preseason expectations, you aren’t alone. What happened to playing fast and scoring a ton of points and bulldozing everyone on the way to a deep playoff run? What happened to Sam Bradford being worthy of that second-round pick they unloaded to land him? What happened to DeMarco Murray being a better fit for the offense because he runs north/south/blahblahblah? What happened to Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor replacing the production that disappeared when Jeremy Maclin decamped for Kansas City? What happened to that team we saw in Green Bay in the preseason? What happened, period?

As absolution goes, the defense can (mostly) sit out this bye-week blame game. Considering the injuries to Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks and others at various points, the unit has acquitted itself nicely. At the very least — the absolute least — the defense has not been the problem. Which means the other unit — the one engineered by Chip the GM, in concert with Chip the Coach — has been the problem. Which is a problem.

The offense was supposed to carry this team. Instead it’s weighed the Eagles down. They tend to start slow. Bradford is tied for the league-lead in interceptions. The highest-paid running back hasn’t been the best performer. The best running back hasn’t been given enough opportunities. The receivers have too many drops and not enough big plays. These are Kelly’s guys. He keeps saying he has the right personnel. He keeps saying that they just need to execute. But if the personnel he picked doesn’t execute, how can they be the right personnel? And doesn’t that all come back to Kelly?

Maybe, against all the evidence to the contrary, you’re still convinced the Eagles will emerge from the bye and stomp the competition just like we’ve expected them to do for much of the season. Here’s the remaining schedule, in order: At Dallas, home against the Dolphins and Buccaneers, at the Lions and Patriots, home against the Bills, Cardinals and Washington, at the Giants. To go 10-6, the Eagles would have to finish the season 7-2. (That’s quick math.) Look at the games that are left and find seven certain wins. Or six, if you think 9-7 takes the division. Or even five if you want to be really charitable. Pick out the games. Circle them. Then write down all the reasons you think the Eagles will win. The first item on your list will likely be “blind faith,” but what will the list say thereafter?

Before the Eagles headed off into their bye week, Kelly said the same familiar things about how they have enough talent and they just need to execute. You’ve heard it all before.

“We’re close,” Kelly insisted.

The Eagles are 3-4. Close to what, exactly?

If Cowboys aren't worried about Greg Hardy, they should be focusing on aspect that makes them last in NFL

The Cowboys find themselves in a difficult spot coming off their fourth consecutive loss.

It goes deeper than trying to explain how Greg Hardy's level of passion and engagement isn't an issue when he inserts himself into the business of the special teams coordinator during a game.

Head coach Jason Garrett spent the majority of his Monday news conference insisting that people outside the building were more concerned by Hardy's behavior in the team's loss to the New York Giants than those inside Valley Ranch.

So, if Hardy doesn't consume every waking thought of Cowboys coaches and officials these days, what does?

Here's one: turnover differential.

The Cowboys have turned the ball over 12 times this season, four of them coming in the 27-20 loss to the Giants. They have forced a league-low three turnovers.

That differential of minus-9 ranks Dallas last in the NFL.

When asked about specifics for why something is or isn't working with his team, Garrett consistently responds that it's a combination of factors. He rarely points to one overriding element.

But when asked if turnover differential is the primary reason these Cowboys sit at the bottom of the NFC East with a 2-4 record, he answers with one word.

"Absolutely,'' Garrett said.

The Cowboys suffer from a malady that infects most mediocre or losing teams. Once the coaching staff and players focus on one area, once strides are made, they fall back in another area.

An emphasis was placed on getting the ground game untracked against New York. The result: The Cowboys rushed for 233 yards, nearly doubling their previous single-game high for the season. They averaged 5.7 yards a carry, and Darren McFadden rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown.

"I thought he was outstanding,'' Garrett said of McFadden. "I think you saw him run inside, you saw him run off tackle and you saw him run outside. He made a lot of big plays in the game. He had a lot of dirty runs in the game. Just really, really played a complete football game.

"I think the guys up front responded well to him. That's as well as we've run the football all year long, and we have to continue to build on that.''

The performance likely means McFadden will supplant Joseph Randle atop the team's running back-by-committee structure.

"We will give him his opportunities and keep the whole thing competitive for everybody,'' Garrett said. "But he has certainly earned some more touches.''

While the Cowboys flexed their muscles on the ground, quarterback Matt Cassel threw three interceptions in his first start for the team. The Cowboys hadn't had that many interceptions in a game since Tony Romo opened last season against San Francisco with three.

The Cowboys gave up only 13 points on defense. They held Eli Manning to only 170 yards through the air and a quarterback rating of 76.7. What more could they have done?

Well, moments after the Giants got the ball on their own 1-yard line, the Cowboys could have risen to the occasion rather than giving up gains of 44 and 39 yards on consecutive plays. The defense also failed to force a turnover for the fourth consecutive game, a drought that now extends to 255 snaps.

"I don't know, man, it's definitely frustrating,'' defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford said. "We've just got to figure it out.

"To be honest with you, we've got to run to the ball better. I don't want to keep going back to last year, but last year we ran to the ball better and there were more guys wanting the ball.''

Through all that, Cassel led a drive to tie the score at 20 with 7:25 remaining.

Eleven seconds later, the Cowboys allowed their first kickoff return of more than 34 yards all season when Dwayne Harris raced 100 yards to give the Giants the lead and spark Hardy's outburst.

"We didn't do what winning teams do in the game, and really it was in regard to the football,'' Garrett said. "We turned it over three times on offense, we muffed a punt late in the ballgame and we gave up a 100-yard kickoff return, so I think those are the five plays that you point to and say these are the things that prevented us from winning this game.

"The biggest thing we have to do as coaches is to make sure we rectify those situations, eliminate those plays and be more opportunistic on defense, create some takeaways and make some of those plays on our own.

"You've got to eliminate those plays where we're giving them the ball. We understand that.''

Now comes the more difficult part. They must do something about it.

Catch David Moore on The Ticket (KTCK-AM 1310 and 96.7 FM) with The Musers at 9:35 a.m. every Monday and Friday and The Hardline at 4:10 p.m. every Tuesday and Friday during the season.

Brady flashes fourth-quarter mastery as Jets fail to finish off Patriots

The look on Willie Colon’s face, and the tenor of his voice said it all even before the Jets’ guard opened his mouth and spoke the truth.

“We felt like we had them right where we wanted them,” he said after thePatriots’ 30–23 victory on Sunday. “I am (angry), because I feel like we had them. I feel like we were the better team out there, but obviously we were not.”

With precisely 10:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Jets had the Patriots in the crosshairs. New York had made just enough plays on offense, frustrated Tom Brady with coverage and pass rush and got just enough poor execution by the Patriots (New England was dropping so many passes, especially Brandon LaFell, that it appeared it was doing tip drills) to lead 20–16. After LeGarrette Blount was dropped for a seven-yard loss, when he momentarily thought he wasLeSean McCoy trying to cut back to the other side, and an incomplete pass, the Jets had the Patriots exactly where they wanted them: third and 17 at New England’s 27-yard line.

You could smell a screen or dump off short of the marker coming. Jets fans were probably envisioning a stop and then a touchdown to go up by two scores. Against most quarterbacks and receivers in the league, that would be the case.

As if we needed another reminder, Tom Brady is not just another quarterback. His connection withJulian Edelman is anything but ordinary. And the play, from start to finish, was extraordinary.
There are two schools of thought on defending that down and distance. You can either play coverage, to force a perfect throw. Or you can bring pressure with the hope of getting the quarterback to get rid of the ball quickly before the deeper routes can develop. With the latter, of course, you risk more because if they do block it, there are less players in coverage.

Most of the game, the Jets played some version of man defense, with former Patriot Darrelle Revis on Edelman. On third down, the Jets decided to go conservative with a four-deep (both safeties and edge cornerbacks) and three under zone.

“We played in the zone—we played normal,” said Jets coach Todd Bowles. “You’ve got to play cat and mouse with them. You can’t give them what they want all the time, so we were trying to do that all game and it didn't work that time.”

The Jets rushed four, and they were probably confident that Calvin Pace, Leonard Williams,Sheldon Richardson andMuhammad Wilkerson (all former first-round picks) could bring ample pressure since Brady would have to hold the ball a little longer to pick up the first down. Also the Patriots were answering the Jets’ Rolls Royce line with Bill’s Used Car Lot: right tackle Sebastian Vollmer playing left tackle, undrafted free agents Josh Klineand David Andrews at left guard and center, rookie Tre’ Jackson at right guard and right tackle Cameron Fleming, who was released and signed to the practice squad.

But they were more than up to the challenge. Vollmer was beat by Pace, but Brady stepped up to avoid the threat. Jackson chucked Richardson to start the play and then helped Fleming handle Wilkerson. The key blocks, both of the one-on-one variety, were thrown by Kline against Williams and Andrews vs. Richardson. Both misfit toys stood their rushers up and would not give ground. That gave Brady the pocket he needed.

“I thought overall our line gave us pretty good protection today—obviously not perfect, they have a good front and we took some hits,” Belichick said. “But they hung in there.”

Down the field, Edelman screamed down the hash mark to find the opening in the zone between the two safeties but over the coverage of linebacker David Harrisunderneath.

“We got split safety coverage on that,” Belichick said. “You know when you get split safety coverage, generally speaking, somewhere on the inside part of the field is where you want to go.”

A key was Edelman’s route running. If a receiver runs precise routes, he can usually get open against every coverage. If a receiver is content just running down the field and cutting, the defense is going to recognize what’s going on.

Edelman ran hard at Dion Bailey, the safety claimed off waivers from the Seahawks less than a month ago who was in the game because starter Calvin Pryor (ankle) was out. Bailey admitted he had no idea where Edelman was headed, and that’s good route running. While running at full speed, Edelman faked a corner route by shifting his hips. That caused Bailey to open his hips to the sideline to cover the corner, and then Edelman broke it back to the middle. Bailey was so fooled he had to turn round to recover.

“He was running full speed at the safety, and he finally got the safety to turn his hips to run and then Jules broke across his body,” Brady said. “Jules made a real smart play. It's not exactly how we drew it up.”

Bailey was so lost on the play he wasn’t sure which of the Patriots’ small, wide receivers he was covering. He probably knows now.

“What’s his name, Edelman-dela?” said Bailey, combining Edelman and similarly built Danny Amendola together. “He just stemmed his route good. I hadn’t really studied him in particular that much and he just stemmed it. I thought he gave me a corner stem and then he crossed my face. He fooled me with the stem, got me going the other way.”

Brady, meanwhile, gave a master class on elite-level quarterbacking. He knew he was going to Edelman the whole way with the split safety coverage, but he dropped back looking left, which moved the other safety and linebacker just enough. Finally, Brady threw Edelman open by throwing to a void in the coverage 10 yards to the left of Edelman and 33 yards in the air.

“It was well anticipated by Tom,” Bailey said. “The ball was out well before he crossed my face so I didn’t have any time to recover, really. It was just a bang-bang play. The pass was greatly anticipated. It wasn’t no room for error. He didn’t have to put any air under it, it was right on a rope so when I turned around … it wasn’t like he just clearly beat me. He made a great throw and catch. There wasn’t anything I could do if I wasn’t anticipating the route already.”

While Bailey admitted he should have slow played the corner stem and trailed Edelman there if that’s where he wanted to go, instead of trying to jump it, Bailey’s correct. There wasn’t much he could do because, from the Patriots’ blocking to Edelman’s route and Brady’s pass, it was basically football perfection that beat him, not himself.

The Patriots scored five plays later to take a lead they would not relinquish.

“That was a big play for us,” said Belichick.

The Jets, who were handed their third-straight loss to the Patriots by a touchdown or less, were close again. New York did have New England exactly where it wanted. But the Patriots still have Brady, and he makes all the difference. One play, with some help from his teammates, showed that.

Readers remember Flip Saunders

Reader reaction to the death of Timberwolves coach and President Flip Saunders has been overwhelming. Here is a sampling of some of the best comments left on

formercoach: I first met Flip at the CBA draft in 1988. We hit it off immediately. When our teams played each other in the CBA the game notes always included the fact that I was from Neenah, Wis. The PA announcer indicated that as well, which I knew was Flip’s doing. When I got fired, I made 21 phone calls to pro basketball coaches asking for help and telling them I was fired. Only one returned my call. It was Flip.

Several years later after many seasons in Europe, I was at the summer league in Salt Lake City in 1997. There was a row of coaches in front of me, who mainly ignored me, except for one coach who turned around, gave me a hug, wished me well, and told me to stay in touch. It was Flip.

Two years ago, I was hired for an assistant coaching position, pending a physical. During the exam, they found an irregular heartbeat and heart murmur. My contract had to be rescinded. There was one message upon my return to Florida where I live. It was from Flip!

There was only one person of all the NBA coaches who wasn’t egotistical, condescending and self-serving, and who exhibited the true Midwest values that I too had grown up with. It was Flip!

homerunking: I had seen Flip in public from time to time and while I never approached him, he seemed very approachable, unlike most “famous” people. Then a couple of years ago, when his girls were on the Gopher dance team, Flip would show up at the Gopher football “victory walk” before the game, dressed in Gopher gear and chatting with anyone that said hi. He blended right in, just like any other “Minnesotan.” It is a tremendous loss.

mlebens14: I had the good fortune to attend Golden Valley the first two years that Flip coached. What an experience — a respected coach and a class act! Our sympathies to the Saunders family.

rdubbs2121: I had the pleasure of meeting Flip several times as a youth basketball player growing up in Minnesota, and I’ll always remember his unmistakable warmth and presence. He gave his attention and respect to everyone that wished to shake his hand, which is a rarity for someone of his stature. He truly is Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball, and he will be sorely missed.

sgtsmash: Flip reminded me of Herb Brooks, another beloved Minnesota sports legend. Flip’s affable nature just seemed to come through in his words, actions and deeds. Like everyone else, I prayed and hoped he’d pull through, but by all accounts, he was loved by so many and lived a good life helping others. RIP Flip.

4 reasons a major death on 'The Walking Dead' might not have actually happened

Before we get started talking about you-know-who getting you-know-what, please, please back away from the computer screen if you haven’t seen Sunday’s The Walking Dead because dear Lord, there are huge, huge, major spoilers ahead. Seriously, major SPOILER ALERT.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s talk about what may or may not have happened to Glenn during Sunday’s shocking episode.

From the outside, it looks like dear, beloved Glenn, everyone’s favorite post-apocalyptic boyfriend, met a grisly end when he and Nicholas, the bumbling Alexandrian who clearly doesn’t have what it takes to survive in this zombie infested world, were cornered by a horde of walkers and seemingly torn to shreds.

But, is that what really happened? Or are we being led down a very devious path to find out that Glenn may have actually survived?

Let’s take a look at the key reasons Glenn could possibly have made it out alive.
1. Glenn wasn’t featured in the “In Memoriam” segment of The Talking Dead.

I’m relatively new to Walking Dead fandom but the Internet assures me that after every episode, Chris Hardwick takes viewers through all the deaths on the show and features them in a montage segment. This week, fans waited to see Glenn’s name pop up and surprise! He wasn’t listed.
2. This cryptic statement from showrunner Scott Gimple:

Dear fans of “The Walking Dead,” this is a hard story to tell, and when we were planning to tell it, we knew our friends over at Talking Dead would be talking to you about it. And knowing you’d talking and feeling and commiserating, I knew we should say something about it, lest our silence say something we didn’t mean to say or not say. So I will say this: In some way we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn, or parts of Glenn again…either in flashback or current story, to help complete the story.

What does that mean? Having not read any of the comic books, I’m not sure how Glenn’s story arc on the show relates to the written material, but by the sounds of it, there’s still a lot of story left to be told. We could potentially see Glenn as a zombie, but that would be unbearably sad.
3. It’s not Glenn’s body that we see being torn apart by zombies

When Nicholas shoots himself in the head on top of the dumpster he literally takes Glenn down with him. Now, we see both bodies fall to the ground but it looks like Nicholas ends up on top of Glenn.

There’s a chance that the zombies are tearing into Nicholas’ body, leaving Glenn lying beneath him and allowing him some chance to escape. Glenn is a survivor, and he could feasibly back away and crawl under the dumpster until help arrives. This feels like a stretch, but it’s the only explanation for how Glenn possibly makes it out of this alive.
4. Glenn’s “death” was telegraphed a little too well

There have been a lot of grisly deaths on The Walking Dead, but most come either when you least expect them, like Tyreese, or at the end of formidable character arcs, like Hershel. Glenn’s death is the most shocking because, while it didn’t adhere to these narrative tropes, it felt like the writers were trying a little too hard to give Glenn a proper send-off.

First, he makes a speech about how much he loves Maggie and would die to protect her and the community. Next, he takes a look at the watch Hershel gave him back at the farm. Finally, and I think the writers really tipped their hands with this one, he signs off on his last conversation with Rick by saying, “Good luck, dumb ass.”

Which, as true Walking Dead junkies know, is a call back to Rick and Glenn’s first meeting, when Glenn reaches out to him the tank and says, ‘Hey, dumb ass.” It sets up a nice symmetry that this show just doesn’t do.

That’s all pretty healthy evidence that we haven’t seen the last of Glenn, but viewers shouldn’t rejoice just yet.

The Walking Dead is brutal and takes pleasure in our pain. No character, no matter how beloved, is ever safe. And every death that’s happened, has happened for maximum soul-crushing potential. Poor Noah died just as he was starting to have hope again. Lori tragically bled out from a very ill-advised C-section just as it looked like she and Rick were going to reconcile. Good things don’t happen without consequence. And that consequence is usually some form of zombie maiming.

So, even if we do see Glenn again, it’s a good bet that we won’t see him for long. In any case, now is a good time to appreciate one of the best and most underrated characters on any current TV show. Here’s to you, Glenn Rhee.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Arkansas prevails over Auburn in four-overtime battle of disappointments

Auburn-Arkansas was a game that most circled during the dog days of August predictions. The Tigers were considered a national title favorite by many, the Razorbacks were a dark horse for an SEC West spoiler. Both teams’ seasons went south by the end of September, and a potential marquee SEC matchup was a mere blip on the radar of an otherwise forgettable noon slate in late October.

What emerged was one of the nuttiest games of the season.

Arkansas survived 54–46 in a four-overtime thriller in Fayeteville, echoing Ole Miss and the Razorbacks’ legendary seven-overtime battle in 2001 (a game Arkansas won 58–56). Twice faced with fourth-and-game situations in overtime, the Razorbacks logged two touchdowns to force more extra periods. QuarterbackBrandon Allen shook off his early inconsistent play to finish 19 of 31 for 233 yards with three touchdowns and an interception and earned praise from coach Bret Bielema after the game.

“Today we got some conditioning in,” Bielema said in his trademark maroon sweatsuit. “I’m proud of how resilient we were.

Arkansas didn’t trail until overtime and probably should have never been in the position after taking a 24–21 lead with 1:07 remaining in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for Auburn, wide receiver Ricardo Louis nabbed two outstanding full-extension catches with under 30 seconds remaining—21- and 28-yard grabs, respectively—to allow kicker Daniel Carlson to tie the game with a 41-yard field goal and send it to overtime.

And then, they traded touchdowns.

After combining for 48 points over four quarters, the Tigers and Razorbacks scored an astonishing 52 points on 62 plays from scrimmage over the course of the four overtimes. Auburn running back Peyton Barber scored one touchdown in regulation before getting three in overtime. Arkansas’s Drew Morgan had two catches before overtime started but finished the game with six receptions and two touchdown catches (the first on a fourth down with the game on the line).

Bielema’s squad finally appears to be coalescing after a disastrous start to the season, which saw it finish September 1–3 and lose star running back Jonathan Williams in the preseason to a foot injury. With Ole Miss and LSU lingering on the schedule, the Razorbacks may finally be the spoiler that most pundits expected they’d be at the start of the season.

For Auburn, the incredible disappointment only builds. The offense isn’t operating with its trademark efficiency under the command of quarterback Sean White, a promising but inexperienced young quarterback, and is subsisting on the bruising running of Barber, who finished the game with 37 carries for 122 yards and four touchdowns.

The defeat sinks Auburn to 4–3 on the season and 1–2 in conference play with no notable wins. Coach Gus Malzahn and Co. still have Ole Miss, Texas A&M,Georgia and Alabama remaining on the schedule. In a year when Auburn was expected to contend for the title, the Tigers may be lucky to finish the season with six wins.

After White missed Louis on a potential touchdown pass in the fourth overtime, Malzahn looked exasperated. His expression epitomizes Auburn’s season up to this point:

Screen Legend Maureen O'Hara Dies at 95

Blessed with fiery red hair and flashing green eyes, Maureen O’Hara’s stunning looks led Hollywood to dub her the “Queen of Technicolor.” However, her onscreen roles often mirrored her true persona: tough, courageous women trying to survive in, as she put it, an "absurdly masculine" world. In fact, her friend and frequent co-star John Wayne called her the "greatest guy he ever knew."

The legendary screen star died today of natural causes at her home in Boise, Idaho. Her family said in a statement: "Maureen was our loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. She passed peacefully surrounded by her loving family as they celebrated her life listening to music from her favorite movie, The Quiet Man.”

Born Maureen FitzSimons on August 17, 1920 in Dublin, Ireland, the second oldest child of Marguerite and Charles displayed an early gift for dramatics. When she graduated from the famed Abbey Theatre in 1937, her dream was to become an opera singer and stage actress like her mother until actorCharles Laughton convinced her to try film acting and to take the stage name O’Hara.

Laughton recommended her for a part in Alfred Hitchcock's British-made film,Jamaica Inn (1939). Later that year, she made her American film debut as the gypsy Esmeralda (opposite Laughton's Quasimodo) in RKO Pictures’ lavish production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939).

In 1941, O'Hara gave a haunting performance as the Welsh daughter of a mining family in the Oscar-winning drama How Green Was My Valley, which marked her first collaboration with legendary director John Ford.

O’Hara soon became a fixture in a series of swashbuckling features where she held her own alongside Hollywood's top leading men, notably, The Black Swan with Tyrone Power (1942), Sinbad the Sailor with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (1947), and Bagdad with Vincent Price (1949). One her biggest hits proved to be the holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947), in which she played a single working mother (to a precocious Natalie Wood) whose strong rational beliefs are challenged by Santa Claus.

She became an American citizen on January 25, 1946, while also retaining her Irish citizenship. It was the first time in history that the United States government recognized an Irish citizen as Irish. O’Hara challenged the judge who had wanted her to swear her allegiance to England. This led to a change in process for all Irish immigrants.

O'Hara reteamed with John Ford for the western Rio Grande, starring alongside John Wayne as his estranged wife. The two stars shared great screen chemistry, and would star in several more films together, including the Ford-directed drama The Quiet Man (1952). In total, she did five films with the famous director, but his obsession with her created an especially tempestuous relationship. He even punched her in the jaw at a party—but she didn’t hit him back. She said she wanted to show him she could take a punch.

O’Hara always described herself as a “tough Irish lass” and stuck to her principles even when it may have hindered her career. She paid a price for standing up to the men who ran the studios – in particular, those who expected to sleep with their prettiest stars. "I wouldn't throw myself on the casting couch, and I know that cost me parts. I wasn't going to play the whore. That wasn't me."

In the early 1960s, O'Hara lent her attractive singing voice to a series of television appearances, record albums, and the Broadway musical Christine(1960). Later that year, she was featured opposite Alec Guinness in the offbeat film adaptation of Graham Greene's novel Our Man In Havana. A number of lighter roles in family comedies followed, including the 1961’s big hit The Parent Trap with Hayley Mills, 1962's Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacationwith James Stewart, and 1970's How Do I Love Thee? with Jackie Gleason.

O'Hara reunited with long-time friend and costar John Wayne in the comediesMcLintock! (1963) and Big Jake (1971). Soon after she retired to St. Croix, Virgin Islands with her third husband, aviator Charles F. Blair, whom she married in 1968 and called “the love of my life.” "I was happier with Charlie than I'd ever been in Hollywood. We had a great life."

O'Hara was briefly married to George Hanley Brown in 1938 (their marriage was annulled in 1941). Later that year, she wed director William Price and they had a daughter, Bronwyn; they divorced in 1953.

When Blair tragically died in a plane crash in 1978, O'Hara briefly assumed her late husband's position as president of Antilles Airboats (a Caribbean commuter airline). She also wrote a general interest column for The Virgin Insider, a tourist magazine.

Following a 20-year hiatus, O'Hara returned to film acting with a role in the bittersweet comedy Only the Lonely (1991) as John Candy’s mother. She also performed in a several television movies, notably The Christmas Box(1995) and The Last Dance (2000).

She published her unapologetically frank autobiography, Tis Herself, in 2005 and in 2014, a 94-year-old O'Hara received an honorary Academy Award for her impressive body of work, which included more than 60 films. Noting that she was a pioneer among actresses in doing her own stunts on screen, presenter called her "one of the most adventurous women who ever lived." Naysayers would disagree at their own risk.

Adacia Chambers: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Adacia Chambers has been arrested following an incident that left four people dead at the Oklahoma State Homecoming Parade.

Police say the 25-year-old Chambers drove her car through the parade, sending “bodies flying”and killing four bystanders before crashing up onto curb. Chambers is being charged with DUI by police. Twenty-two injured bystanders, eight of whom are in critical condition, were taken to Stillwater Medical Center for treatment.

The crowd was in attendance of the Sea of Orange parade, an annual tradition that typically draws a crowd of thousands. The OSU football team blew out Kansas later in the day.

Chambers is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

The four victims killed in the crash have been identified. Police said Bonnie Jean and Marvin Stone, both 65, a married couple, and 23-year-old Nakita Prabhakar, a student at the University of Central Oklahoma originally from India, were killed. The fourth victim was 2-year-old Nash Lucas, who died at a hospital Saturday afternoon, KOTV reports.

One of Chambers’ co-workers told Heavy that Chambers was “mature and responsible.” The co-worker, who has been working with Chambers for a few months, said she’s “completely shocked” to hear of her co-worker’s involvement in the accident. The two work at a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, a franchised restaurant in Stillwater. She said that Chambers is wearing her work shirt in the accident and subsequent arrest photos.

While the two weren’t friends, the co-worker said that Chambers “kept to herself, (and was) definitely not as loud and social as the others.”

As for the day of the incident, we’ve learned more about Chambers’ state at the time of her crash. When asked if anything was different about Adacia lately, the co-worker said, “Nope, not at all. She worked this morning though and people said she ‘looked like she’s on drugs.'” Adacia was supposed to work from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., but was sent home early “because they thought she was on drugs.” Adacia also worked until “at least midnight” on Friday night.

She told us that Chambers worked last night and then this morning, while her father indicated that Adacia went out for Homecoming festivities. That would make for an exhausting run, and could have played a role in Chambers’ state at the time of the accident.

According to Mark Thompson, the owner of Freddy’s, Adacia is “an excellent employee,” who “didn’t appear to be under the influence (when she left).” It is unknown if Thompson was at the restaurant during Chambers’ early departure.

After getting out of her car, Chambers was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Police have stated that it will be “several days” before the full facts of the incident will be released. She was booked and is at Payne County Jail.

At the scene, multiple choppers were used to airlift victims to Stillwater Medical Center. Multiple law enforcement agencies are involved in the recovery process. The accident occurred at the corner of Hall of Fame and Main Street, a very populated area just two blocks from the football stadium.

Four adults remain in critical condition, police said Sunday. Six children and six adults were also still hospitalized Sunday, with their conditions ranging from good to fair, according to the Stillwater Police. Thirty other victims, including five children, were treated and released by Sunday.

According to her Facebook profile, Chambers is a native of Oologah, Oklahoma. Oologah is approximately 100 miles from Stillwater, where the crash took place. Frank Chambers, Alicia’s father, told The Oklahoman that Adacia lives in Stillwater with her boyfriend. Her Facebook page doesn’t have many other details besides her entertainment interests, and her pictures don’t feature anyone besides herself. She has a Google+ and Youtube account, but they were started in 2011 and do not have any posted videos. Her Twitter profile was created in 2013 and consists of three tweets.

The Sea of Orange parade is an annual tradition at Oklahoma State. According to the OK Statealumni page, the parade consists of, “more than 120 entries by OSU Greek houses, residential halls, student organizations, alumni and the Stillwater community”

Frank Chambers told The Oklahoman that he first found out about the incident via social media. The 47-year-old, who resides in Oologah, told the paper that Adacia had attended homecoming festivities the night before, but had been home by 10 p.m. Chambers also confirmed that Adacia lives in Stillwater with her boyfriend.

He told the paper:

“I can’t figure this out. This is not the person that’s my daughter … I can’t imagine alcohol being involved. She is not an alcoholic that I’m aware of. This is just not who she is. They’re going to paint her into a horrible person but this is not (her).”

At around 10:30 a.m. local time, Chambers drove her silver sedan through a crowd of people at the OK State Homecoming Parade. Chambers’ vehicle was not part of the parade. The sedan first made contact with a police motorcycle, before barreling through and onto a crowded corner. Authorities have stated that it’s too early to tell whether or not Chambers’ actions were intentional.

Megan Lantz, who was at the parade, told The Oklahoman her account of the crash:

“This is the very end of the parade where all the vehicles start to split off in their own directions. There were probably 100 people on the corner where the car came through. We were facing the parade and heard tires squealing and then started to hear the car hitting things and people and there was screaming and people running away.”

“I think the car was going between 45 and 50 MPH, and it just barreled into everybody that was there. I had my six children with me, but I am first aid certified, so I passed them on to my mother and ran in to help. Everyone was helping as much as they could.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

El huracán Patricia pierde fuerza pero amenaza con dejar lluvias torrenciales en México

"Las carreteras están desiertas. Aquí en Vallarta también está todo vacío, no hay nadie en las calles, está desierto, desierto todo, la gente realmente sí hizo caso de no salir".

Pilar Jiménez, directora de Relaciones Públicas en la turística Puerto Vallarta, describe en conversación con BBC Mundo la situación en la que se encuentra uno de los lugares que más temía la llegada del huracán Patricia, calificado como el "más potente de la historia".

Pese a este y otros calificativos como "catastrófico" o "monstruoso", en las primeras horas las autoridades no habían reportado la destrucción y los daños para los que los mexicanos se habían preparado.

Lea también: Patricia: el huracán "más potente de la historia" arremete contra México
Vientos y lluvias

Patricia tocó tierra poco antes de las 6:00 pm (11:00 pm GMT) en playa Pérula en el poblado de Emiliano Zapata en el estado de Jalisco.

El huracán amenazaba con vientos y lluvias de un gran potencial destructor, pero parece que los grandes daños esperados no se materializaron.

El Centro Nacional de Huracanes, en EE.UU., informó que los vientos habían bajado a 80 kilómetros por hora cuando Patricia se debilitó rápidamente al pasar sobre tierra y degradándose a una tormenta tropical.

El centro pronostica que se disipará entrada la noche de este sábado.

"Aquí nada más fueron lluvias todo el día pero sin viento, ahorita está más fuerte porque ya está pasando pero de lo que esperábamos a lo que fue, gracias a Dios no tuvo nada que ver", explica Pilar Jiménez.

"Hay chubascos, ríos crecidos, algo de viento pero nada muy perceptible.

"No sabes el terror que vivimos", le cuenta Jiménez al enviado especial de BBC Mundo a Gudalajara, Alberto Nájar.

"Protección Civil evacuó todos los hoteles desde el jueves, nosotros lo hicimos en la mañana del viernes y el trayecto de los centros de resguardo de los huéspedes y colaboradores fue muy complejo", agrega Jiménez.

"Pero ya pasó, ya me veía yo volando por el viento. A Puerto Vallarta siempre nos ha ayudado la Sierra Madre Occidental (el balneario está en sus faldas), no sabes de cuántos huracanes nos ha salvado".
Mantener la alerta

El presidente de México, Enrique Peña Nieto, afirmó en mensaje difundido a última hora del viernes que los daños eran menores de lo que se esperaba.

El mandatario destacó que hasta el momento habían funcionado los sistemas de alerta y Protección Civil.

"Y lo más importante es que hemos contado con la activa participación de quienes viven en la zona de riesgo", dijo Peña Nieto.

Sin embargo, el mandatario advirtió que lo peor puede estar por llegar y dijo que no se debe bajar la guardia.

"Insisto, la parte más peligrosa del huracán aún está por entrar al territorio nacional. Además, también se esperan intensas lluvias en el Pacífico y en distintos estados del centro y noreste del país. Le pido a la sociedad mexicana que siga atenta a la información que emitan las autoridades sobre el huracán Patricia en las siguientes horas", subrayó.
Descanso interrumpido

Miles de habitantes y turistas fueron evacuados desde temprana hora en varios municipios costeros de los estados de Colima, Jalisco y Nayarit, los más amenazados por la trayectoria del huracán.

Muchos turistas que fueron evacuados de Puerto Vallarta se trasladaron a hoteles de Guadalajara, la capital de Jalisco.

Algunos tardaron casi 12 horas en recorrer un camino que normalmente requiere la tercera parte.

"La carretera estaba saturada, nos tocó lluvia en algunos tramos pero no tan fuerte como está ahora", cuenta Sara González, quien había llegado al balneario para pasar el fin de semana con su esposo.

Pedro Mendoza también viajó a Puerto Vallarta con la idea de descansar unos días.

"Empezaron a avisar que venía el huracán más peligroso de la historia y nos salimos en cuanto se pudo, no quise arriesgar a mis hijos. Venían muy asustados en todo el camino", dice Mendoza, que llegó a la costa procedente de Ciudad de México.
Medidas de precaución

Tanto las autoridades como los ciudadanos adoptaron una serie de medidas preventivas que ayudaron a reducir el impacto del huracán.

Se suspendieron las clases y los puertos se cerraron a la navegación marítima.

Además, la Comisión Federal de Electricidad suspendió el servicio de energía eléctrica en la franja costera que se extiende desde Bahía de Banderas, en Jalisco, hasta Manzanillo, Colima, y envió unos 2.500 operarios a la zona para hacer frente a la contingencia.

Ya en tierra, Patricia comenzó a perder fuerza al avanzar hacia el nor-noreste a 31 kilómetros por hora.

En su reporte de las 07.15 hora local del sábado (12.15 GMT), el Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, SMN precisó que Patricia "se degrada a tormenta tropical al oriente de Zacatecas (centro-norte)" y "se prevé que origine lluvias de muy fuertes aintensas en el noreste y occidente de México, así como rachas de viento y oleaje elevado en los estados del Pacífico Central ynoreste del país".

El organismo advirtió de la posibilidad de deslaves en zonas de montaña e inundaciones en zonas bajas.

Reality TV star Larry Hernandez faces kidnapping, assault charges

Larry Hernandez made a name for himself belting out ballads about Mexico's criminal underworld.

It wasn't long before the singer became a reality TV star with his own show, "Larrymania," billed by NBC Universo as an unscripted series that "reveals the behind-the-scenes life of the unstoppable artist with no filter."

The number of fans following the lives of Hernandez, his fiancée and their four children grew so big that officials observed a rapid uptick of girls in the United States with the same name as his daughter, Daleyza.

But an unexpected plot twist has kept Hernandez away from his family and far from the view of his throngs of supporters, while a growing number of Spanish-language media reporters camp out in a small town in South Carolina, awaiting word of the singer's fate.

In September, authorities arrested Hernandez at a California airport on kidnapping, assault and battery by mob charges, police said. Hernandez and his associates are accused of wrapping a man in plastic wrap, forcing him into their hotel room and beating him up when the singer didn't get the full payment he said he was owed after an August concert at a skating rink in Newberry, South Carolina.

Hernandez made his first court appearance in South Carolina Friday. A judge ruled that he be released on a $200,000 cash bond and ordered that he surrender his passport.

Alejandro Andrade, the accuser's brother, said his family wants justice.

"They kidnapped him, they beat him. ... He wants justice done because we do not want there to be another report that, instead of kidnapping, says murder," Andrade said.
While singer stays tight-lipped, show's website discusses case

Since his arrest, Hernandez has been tight-lipped about the case, and his lawyers have said they don't want to comment until the singer is charged in court.

Still, on the show's official website and its Facebook page, updates about the case are interspersed with a blooper reel from the most recent season of "Larrymania" and fashion tips from Hernandez's fiancée.

One recent post links to a news report from NBC Universo's sister network Telemundo, quoting Hernandez's stepfather.

"He is a very good person," Eleazar Ceniceros told the Spanish-language broadcaster. "I cannot believe that they have done this to my son."

A statement posted on the site in September, titled "Larry Hernandez sends a message to his fans from jail," offered few details about what transpired.

Hernandez thanked his fans for their support but said he couldn't speak about the accusations while the case was pending.

"As you well know, I am a person who has always been honest and hard-working, showing my face in any situation," he said. "That is why I am asking you to be patient. As soon as I can I will respond and clarify any doubts about it."

In an earlier interview, the statement said, Hernandez maintained his innocence, telling Telemundo, "They are slanderous lies, as time will tell."

Report: Payment discrepancy sparked dispute

It started when the promoter of Hernandez's August concert in Newberry paid the singer $14,000 for the show, according to an incident report released by the Newberry Police.

Hernandez "stated that it was not enough money and that he wanted more ($30,000)," the report alleges.

That's when the report says things turned ugly for the alleged victim, Jose Andrade -- a friend of the concert promoter who had driven him to a hotel to pay Hernandez and his band. Hernandez and his associates, the report alleges, told the promoter they'd hold Andrade until they got the money they were owed.

"The complainant stated that when (the promoter) left, the subject (Hernandez) and two unknown subjects wrapped the complainant in clear plastic wrap and started to strike him in the face and body then threw him into a brick wall," the report says.

From there, Andrade alleges he was held against his will inside a hotel room, beaten and threatened.

It wasn't until the promoter returned with the rest of the money, the complaint alleges, that Andrade was freed.

Police said they found a mostly unrolled tube of plastic wrap near the site where the alleged victim said he was abducted, and observed swelling and a minor cut around his left eye and a dark discolored spot on his right rib cage.

A town transformed

The high-profile case has sent a growing number of reporters from Spanish-language media outlets and fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the entertainer to Newberry, a town with a population of just over 10,000 about 40 miles from the state capital of Columbia.

Peter Dobrow, a spokesman for NBC Universo, said the network continues to air "Larrymania." He declined to comment about future plans for the series or the accusations against Hernandez.

A spokesman told The Los Angeles Times this month that the show, which just finished airing its fourth season, is the top-rated reality series on Hispanic cable television and the most-watched entertainment show on NBC Universo.

Hernandez was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, sometimes in the news as the home turf of fugitive drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

He started his entertainment career in the music industry, gaining fame with a 2009 album featuring narcocorridos -- popular ballads that often tell of the shootings, police chases and flashy personalities embroiled in Mexico's drug war.

He told en Español last year that he loved the music, but had begun to fear for the safety of his family. Traveling to perform concerts in Mexico, he said, had started to fill him with a sense of dread.

"I make music to entertain," he said. "Unfortunately, there are many people who don't understand this, that think that through the simple act of singing a corrido, you are part of a group."

Fans have grown accustomed to the details of Hernandez's life that he shares online, from descriptions of his dreams and nightmares to videos of his children. Last year, Hernandez told en Español that social media had fueled his music career long before he made his first album, and his continued openness was the key to his reality show's success.

"I come from there. So I share everything with the fans. I am an artist who, if something is happening to me, I talk about it," he said.

While Hernandez has remained quiet about the case, stalwart fans have flooded social media with messages of support for him since his arrest.

Still, outside a courthouse in a small South Carolina town, many are waiting to hear what Hernandez has to say. A probable cause hearing in the case is set for December.

Hurricane Patricia fades to tropical depression over northern Mexico

Hurricane Patricia pushed quickly over small hamlets in mountainous western Mexico early Saturday as it tracked northward and weakened to a tropical depression from a record-breaking Category 5 storm while dumping torrential rains that spurred fears of major flooding and deadly mudslides.

Patricia hurtled towards Mexico as the strongest hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere and made landfall Friday on an isolated stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coast--avoiding direct hits on the resort haven of Puerto Vallarta and major port city of Manzanillo.

There were initial reports of flooding and landslides, but no word of fatalities or major damage as the hurricane moved over the mountains overnight. Television news reports from the coast showed toppled trees and lampposts, and barren streets. Some highways were blocked by mudslides. Milenio TV showed footage of cars and buses being swept by floodwaters in the state of Jalisco.

"The first reports confirm that the damage has been less than those expected from a hurricane of this magnitude," President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a taped address late Friday. He added, however, that "we cannot yet let our guard down."

Patricia faded to a tropical depression by midmoring Saturday with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was expected to dissipate further inland. The eye of the storm was about 95 miles northeast of Zacatecas.

Remnants of the storm were feeding rains over southern Texas.

Puerto Vallarta heaved a collective sigh of relief Saturday morning to find itself largely unscathed by Patricia.

People snapped selfies next to an iconic sculpture overlooking the sea and business owners swept sidewalks as they would on any morning. There were puddles downtown, but nothing more than a passing thunderstorm might leave.

Tourist Brandie Galle of Grants Pass, Oregon said she had been sheltered with other guests in a ballroom with boarded-up windows at the Hard Rock Hotel in Puerto Vallarta. When the city was not feeling any major effects from the storm two hours after landfall, workers let them out to eat at a hotel restaurant.

"They said it looked like the storm had hit below us," she said. "Everyone is starting to perk up a little bit but still kind of on edge waiting to see what's going to happen with the storm."

Galle said some guests had paid her $400 to desperately get out of the city into Guadalajara, 120 miles away.

The airports in Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo and Tepic were closed Friday, but officials announced an air bridge Saturday to ferry stranded travelers out of areas hit by the storm.

Residents and tourists had hunkered down in shelters and homes along a coastal stretch dotted with sleepy fishing villages and gleaming resorts. In Puerto Vallarta, residents had reinforced homes with sandbags and shop windows with boards and tape, and hotels rolled up beachfront restaurants.

The Sokols, a family of five from suburban Detroit, were supposed to fly out of Puerto Vallarta on Friday but ended up for hours in a shelter at a university after their flight was canceled. By night they were back where they began: at their hotel, and no worse for wear.

"It's amazing it went from the worst in history to just some heavy rain," Susanna Sokol said, noting that at least the hurricane gave her daughter a birthday to remember.

"It was pretty stressful for a while," Tom Sokol said. "I felt guilty for taking my kids here."

Patricia formed in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday as a tropical storm and quickly strengthened to a hurricane. Within 30 hours, it had grown to a Category 5 storm. The strength of the storm caught many off guard with its rapid growth.

By Friday afternoon, it was the most powerful hurricane on record to hit that side of the Earth. It had a central pressure of 880 millibars and maximum sustained winds of 200 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Patricia's power while still out at sea was comparable to that of Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 dead or missing in the Philippines two years ago, according to the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization. More than 4 million people were displaced and over 1 million houses were destroyed or damaged in 44 provinces in the central Visayas region, a large cluster of islands.

Mexican officials declared a state of emergency in dozens of municipalities in Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco states, and schools were closed. Many residents bought supplies ahead of Patricia's arrival. Authorities opened hundreds of shelters and announced plans to shut off electricity as a safety precaution.

The U.S. National Weather Service said a flash flood watch would be in effect through Sunday morning for Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

A coastal flood warning was in effect through Friday night in Corpus Christi. Galveston was under a coastal flood advisory until Saturday night.

Carrie Underwood, American Girl

In her first release in almost three-and-a-half years, Carrie Underwood’s fifth album, “Storyteller,” drops Friday. Most of the 13 tracks center on the country star’s familiar themes: tight-knit working-class communities, trust in faith, and intense struggle, whether personal or social.

The album’s first single, “Smoke Break,” manages to incorporate all three in profiling a small-town, hard-working woman who scuffles to feed four children. When you’re doing all the giving, the lyrics explain, “It’s hard to be a good wife, good mother and a good Christian.”

No wonder the beleaguered, tee-totaling mom of the song sometimes needs “a stiff drink,” she confesses. Furthermore, “I know it might sound bad, but sometimes I need a smoke break.”

Underwood, 32, is a seven-time Grammy Award winner who has recorded 21 No. 1 singles and sold 58 million records worldwide. She has never shied away from underscoring her faith and religious beliefs and lays them out for all to see.

“It’s how I was raised,” she once told this writer. “I honestly believe there is something, somewhere, watching over me, whether it’s angels or God himself pointing me in the directions I need to go. I’m very thankful.”

Underwood’s songs continue to make that clear, even as modern country music moves away from what used to be a staple of the genre, what old-school hillbilly star Porter Wagoner always called “a sacred number.”

“After ‘Jesus, Take the Wheel’ came out,” Underwood said, “I’d do interviews, and people would go, ‘Wow, singing about God! That was risky!’ I was like, ‘Really?’ Gospel music and country music has gone hand-in-hand for decades. Plus, it was just me. It was me!”

“The girl-next-door quality she exudes isn’t an image,” confirmed Randy Lewis, who has covered country music for the Los Angeles Times since 1981. “It’s who she is.”

On Nov. 4, for the eighth consecutive year, Underwood will co-host the Country Music Association’s live television broadcast with Brad Paisley. Together, they are country’s King and Queen of Clean, which is why Underwood was the perfect choice to play Maria von Trapp in NBC’s 2013 production of “The Sound of Music.” The live three-hour holiday special attracted 44 million viewers but got a “thumbs down” from reviewers.

Underwood has said she never wants to do or say anything she can’t explain to her grandchildren, so she held her tongue the best she could.

“Mean people need Jesus,” she tweeted. “They will be in my prayers tonight.”

“Sometimes critics forget that a whole lot of folks travel the middle road,” said Chrissie Dickinson, former editor of the Journal of Country Music. “Underwood has no problem traveling down that path.”

While former country — and now pop star — Taylor Swift struts her cool, inviting such rock superstars as Mick Jagger and Alanis Morissette onstage to duet, Underwood downplays the flash. As glamorous as she is onstage, she also gives off an honest, down-to-earth vibe in sweatpants and T-shirts.

“I can’t hang with people like Lady Gaga,” she said. “I don’t fit in there. That’s not my heart. I grew up listening to country music. I love to bring other elements of music into mine. We have some borderline rock and pop songs, and I love doing stuff like that. But in the end, I’m a country artist, and we wanted people to know that right off the bat.”

“I think that she is probably the best female vocalist to come out of Nashville, maybe ever,” said her friend Miranda Lambert, the CMA’s five-time Female Vocalist of the Year. “The mystery about her is that she does have this girl-next-door image, but then she comes out in fishnets. The first time I saw that, I was like, ‘Hey, that’s pretty gutsy!’ I think it’s cool. But if I had her thighs, I would do the same. With her, what you see is what you get. She’s not fake at all.”

Since winning “American Idol” in 2005, Underwood has made a career of celebrating the old-fashioned values she grew up near the tiny rural town of Checotah, Okla. The population hovers at just under 3,500, and the “beauty shop” is nestled in the town hardware store.

“The people in Oklahoma are not like any other people anywhere else,” she told me. “I know there are good people everywhere, but it seemed like there were more good, happy people in Oklahoma. In my little town, if you drove your car down the street and you waved at somebody, they’d wave back. We all knew each other, and it was nice that I could go out with my friends and roam around the streets and my parents didn’t have to worry. It was a good place to grow up.”

The baby of a family of three girls, Underwood learned to sing in church as a child. Hers was a solid and seemingly all-American upbringing. The Underwoods resided in the same house for more than 30 years, raised a few cattle (“We’re not the croppin’ kind,” Carrie explained), and the singer’s grandfather lived five blocks down the street. A tomboy in her youth, she has always been extremely close to her mother, and continues to be today.

In high school, Underwood was a well-rounded student, the salutatorian of her graduating class who balanced athleticism and cheerleading with her studies. At college at Oklahoma’s Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, where she studied broadcasting, she joined a sorority, volunteered for hospice care, and participated in beauty pageants and talent shows.

She waited tables to help her parents, an elementary school teacher and a paper mill worker, pay her tuition. She’d never been on an airplane until she auditioned for “American Idol,” and almost turned back at the last minute.

Throughout history, from Roy Acuff to Dolly Parton, country music culled its biggest stars from its own brethren — people who grew up working the land or blue-collar jobs and sang about hard times. No matter how much money they made doing it (and Underwood is reported to be the biggest “American Idol” earner of all time, with a total career net worth of more than $110 million), country stars were symbolic ordinary people who never “got above their raising,” or forgot their roots.

Most of that began to change in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and now new singers come to Nashville with a lawyer ready to draw up their deals.

Underwood manages to fill that gap, even as Nashville was at first skeptical of a young woman who had come to town via an “American Idol” win. But her genuineness quickly won over Music City and made her legions of new fans who had never seen her on the television show.

She remains a huge star, living in two worlds despite an old-fashioned view of life. This may be the key to her fan base.

“The adolescent girls and college-age women who fell in love with her a decade ago on ‘American Idol’ are now entering college, or starting careers, or getting married and raising families,” Dickinson said. “But Carrie is still a relatable figure to a lot of them. It’s easy to imagine her laughing and eating pizza with her gal pals or playing softball at the church picnic.”

In 2010, Underwood married Mike Fisher, then a hockey player for the Ottawa Senators, now with the Nashville Predators. When he initially expressed an interest in knowing her, she suggested a group setting, as in the meet-and-greet line after a show in Toronto. Theirs is a union of equals, and not just in their careers. The two do Bible studies together, for example. The singer calls him “my best friend. I trust him more than I’ve ever trusted any human being. He makes me a better person, and hopefully I do the same for him.”

Underwood is also a young working mother. Last February, the couple welcomed their first child, Isiah Michael Fisher. In June, when their dogs accidentally locked themselves in the car with the infant, Underwood didn’t wait for help — she broke a window to free them.

“I’m a very practical person,” she said.

With that mindset, Underwood looks to the future.

“I can’t stay in the music business forever, and hopefully that ride’s not over. I would just be so grateful for what I had.”

Texas storms snarl flights at Dallas airports

Stormy weather in Texas has snarled flights at Dallas/Fort Worth, creating headaches for travelers flying to, from or through that busy U.S. airport on Friday.

More than 420 flights – about 180 departures and 240 arrivals – had been canceled there as of 3:50 p.m. ET, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. That represented about 20% of the airport’s entire daily schedule. And another 600 of Friday's flights had been delayed. Together that represents about half of the day’s flights at DFW, according to the FlightAwaredata.

FLIGHT TRACKER: Is your flight on time?

DFW, of course, is the biggest hub for American Airlines, now the world’s biggest airline following its merger with US Airways.

Flight delays also were being reported at Dallas Love Field, the smaller of the two Dallas-area airports. Southwest operates a major base from Love Field.

Cancellations were relatively minor there – just about 2% of the day’s schedule, according to FlightAware – but delays were more problematic. Nearly 30% of Friday’s flights were running behind schedule as of 3:50 p.m. ET.

Flight schedules also appeared to be affected at other airports in Texas. About 10% of the day’s flights had suffered delays at the Houston Bush Intercontinental, Austin and San Antonio airports as of 3:50 p.m. ET, according to FlightAware.

Passengers flying through the region on Friday should check ahead to confirm the status of their flights. Additionally, travelers should be prepared for possible ripple effects.

The poor weather in Texas could affect flights in parts of the country where the weather is fine. For example, a flight from Washington, D.C., to Chicago could become delayed or canceled if the crew or aircraft scheduled to fly that flight gets bogged down in stormy Texas.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Olympic Freeskier Gus Kenworthy Comes Out as Gay

Gus Kenworthy took to Twitter on Thursday to make a statement he had long known to be true about himself. “I am gay,” the American freeskiertweeted. These three simple words were accompanied by a picture of the cover of the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine in which the Olympic silver medalist made the announcement.

Kenworthy previously garnered worldwide attention not only for medaling at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, but also for adopting four dogs during the games. In the interview, he spoke about his decision to come out publicly after confiding in his family and close friends nearly two years ago. He said he was apprehensive about the reaction from the action sports community.

“They say it’s a community of individuals and everyone is doing their own thing and it’s not a team sport, so you get to be yourself. But you don’t really,” he told ESPN. “Everyone wears a Red Bull or Monster or Rockstar cap, a T-shirt and jeans and skate shoes. Everyone drives the same type of car and listens to the same kind of music. The industry isn’t the most embracing of someone who’s different. I’m nervous about that.”

But the 24-year-old explained that he finally felt ready to share his story with the world.

“Hiding everything away is so painful. I mean, it’s like you’re constantly lying and you’re constantly feeling like you’re being deceitful. I’m just at that point where I’m ready to kind of open up and let everyone see me for me, and I hope everyone accepts it,” he said.

11 Benghazi takeaways ,One for each hour

The House Benghazi committee took its best swings at Hillary Clinton in a day-long hearingThursday -- but the former secretary of state remained mostly calm throughout the hearing, save for a few animated moments in which she struggled to mask her contempt for her Republican inquisitors.

The panel's seven Republicans tried to prove Clinton ignored U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens' requests for additional security before theSeptember 11, 2012, attacks during which Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

But Clinton -- seeking an October trifecta after delivering a strong performance in the first Democratic presidential debate last week and then watching Vice President Joe Biden decide to sit out the race, bolstering her chances at the party's nomination -- gave them little new fodder.

Here are 11 takeaways from the hearing, one for every hour it lasted.

1. A calm and collected Clinton.

There would be no moment of exasperation like the one Clinton had made at a Benghazi hearing two years ago, when she asked of the attackers' motives: "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

Clinton spoke slowly in a measured tone -- careful to keep any anger or frustration in check even as Republicans attacked her.

She even tugged at the heartstrings of those who were watching the hearing on television, saying that insinuations that she deliberately blocked requests for increased security are "very personally painful."

"I would imagine I've thought more about what happened than all of you put together. I've lost more sleep than all of you put together," Clinton said.

The following morning, one source told CNN that Clinton HQ was "ecstatic."

"That was a president sitting there," the source, a Clinton campaign aide, said.

Marathon hearing leaves Clinton largely unscathed

2. That private server.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, pushed Clinton hard over her use of a private email server -- mocking her as "the most transparent person ever."

He demanded to know the search terms her attorneys used to sort through which emails were work-related and therefore should be turned over to the State Department and which were personal.

"You might have made more mistakes -- we don't know," Jordan said.

Clinton appeared a bit thrown, unable to answer questions about how, specifically, her lawyers combed through her emails.

"I have been releasing my emails to the public," she said, a reference to the State Department's court-ordered release of her work emails.

Timeline of the attacks

3. In pursuit of a 'gotcha' moment?

The hearing started at 10 a.m., and Jordan's line of questioning didn't begin until 7:45 p.m. If Republicans were hoping Clinton would be worn down, it didn't happen. But they did manage to push the portion about Clinton's private server into prime-time television. It was a risk, as some news outlets -- like Fox News -- had already cut away from the hearing.

The email questions did push Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings over the edge, though, as he lambasted Republicans for trying to "badger you into a gotcha moment."

"We're better than that. We are so much better. We're a better country," an impassioned Cummings said to Clinton. "And we are so much better than using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy a campaign."

Did Clinton speak with Stevens in the months before he died?

She said she couldn't recall.

One of the most compelling -- and informative -- moments of the day unfolded shortly after 7 p.m. during an exchange with Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., who repeatedly asked whether Clinton had spoken with Stevens after he was sworn in as the U.S. ambassador to Libya in May 2012 and before his death on Sept. 11, 2012.

"We don't know the answer. Did you ever personally speak to him after you swore him in in May?" Brooks asked Clinton, her voice raising with emotion. "Yes or no please."

"Yes, I believe I did," Clinton replied. "I don't recall."

It was a moment that will almost certainly be referred back to again and again, particularly by critics who believe Clinton did not do enough to secure the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi. It was reminiscent of those five words that still reverberate from her 2013 testimony: "What difference does it make?"

Her voice was calm. She stood her ground. But Clinton bluntly explained that there are many diplomatic personnel working in dangerous conditions -- not just Libya.

"We have diplomatic facilities in war zones," Clinton said. "We have ambassadors that we send to places that have been bombed and attacked all the time."

The answer wasn't satisfactory to Brooks.

"Had you talked to him in July, he would have told you that he had asked to keep the security in Libya that he had," Brooks said. "He was told no by your State Department."

Much of the focus in the lead-up to the hearing hasn't been on Clinton at all, but on the panel's chairman, Trey Gowdy.

The former prosecutor's carefully laid plans for the hearing were thrown into a tailspin when Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy put Gowdy on defense by claiming the committee was scoring political points by dragging Clinton's poll numbers down. Gowdy spent weeks trying to show that the work is only focused on getting the truth -- not Clinton.

But Gowdy's lines of questioning -- hitting Clinton about her friends and her emails -- will do little to erase doubts about his committee, especially as Democrats continue their threat to pull out altogether.

It's unclear whether it sullies his future, though: Gowdy ultimately wants to leave Congress when the committee work concludes and become a federal judge, which would require a Republican in the White House.

Gowdy was unable to say what was different between Thursday's event and the last time she testified.

"I don't know that she testified that much differently today than the previous times she's testified,"

6. Sidney Blumenthal, superstar.

The biggest player in Thursday's hearing might not have been in the room at all.

It was Sidney Blumenthal -- a long-time friend of the former secretary of state who often emailed her what Clinton has described as "unsolicited" takes on Libya and other situations, based on conversations with his own contacts.

The committee's chairman, Gowdy, made Blumenthal the focus of the first 10-minute period in which he questioned Clinton. He highlighted negative remarks Blumenthal had made about other members of President Barack Obama's administration.

"You know, Mr. Chairman, if you don't have any friends who say unkind things privately, I congratulate you, but from my perspective, I don't know what this line of questioning does to help us get to the bottom of four deaths of Americans," Clinton said.

The committee has already interviewed Blumenthal. Democrats got frustrated enough with the GOP's comments about him that they moved to make public the transcript of that interview -- but Republicans voted down that motion.

Said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California: "I have to say, I just don't understand the preoccupation with Sidney Blumenthal."

7. Schiff and the Democrats who had Clinton's back.

Clinton had a good ally on the panel in Schiff, who is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. The closest member on the panel to classified intelligence, he gave her a lot of cover on the "fog" that happens in unfolding situations.

He also was a bit of yin to Cummings' yang, in that his sharp attacks on his Republican colleagues have been overwhelmingly calmly delivered, while Cummings opted for more flash and bang.

Both have allowed Clinton to deliver pure, emotionally powerful statements -- staying above the fray while the panel members handle throwing barbs.

Clinton had more friends in the audience. Several Democrats made appearances in the hearing room throughout the day. At one point, Clinton turned and said to them, "You've got my back -- literally!"

Despite Republicans' assurances that Clinton's use of a private email server wouldn't be a primary focus of the hearing, the seven GOP members kept coming back to her emails.

Brooks piled two stacks of Clinton's emails on her desk -- a taller set from 2011 and a shorter collection from 2012.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, asked Clinton why she had never given Stevens her personal email address.

He then pushed Clinton on whether Stevens had her home address, fax number or cell phone number, too -- reminding her that her friend Blumenthal does.

Others pressed the same issue. It was part of an attempt by Republicans to demonstrate that Stevens' requests for additional security were ignored by Clinton because she didn't offer him enough access.

"Help us understand how Sidney Blumenthal had that kind of access to you, Madam Secretary, but the ambassador did not," Gowdy said.

The problem for Republicans, who appeared overly focused on what has become a political hot button, is that most of the resources the committee has are in the form of emails, thousands of documents they've received from the State Department about what happened in Libya and Benghazi. That limits their ability to press Clinton on records obtained otherwise.

9. The Republicans refuel.

What about Thursday's marathon hearing will give the GOP new ammunition in the fight against Clinton and her performance on Benghazi? The revelations that she told both a top Egyptian official and her own family that the attack was premeditated and, respectively, carried out by an known terror group will likely be used against her.

Jordan read out a conversation she had with then-Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil the day after the Benghazi attack in which she told him: "We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." And he also read from an email to her family right after the attack in which she wrote: "Two officers were killed today in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group."

Clinton explained the discrepancy between those sentiments and the administration's repeated statements in the days after the attacks that the attacks were spontaneous as largely due to fast-moving intelligence assessments in a chaotic period.

But to Republicans, they are likely to be seized on as evidence that the administration was not upfront about the nature of the attacks. Many in the GOP have long maintained that the Obama administration wanted to conceal the attacks' ties to terrorists out of fear that would undermine a central argument in President Barack Obama's re-election campaign -- then in its closing weeks -- that he had been effective in fighting terror.

10. 2012 election considerations?

Jordan submitted the former secretary of state to a dramatic period of questioning when he alleged that she and other Obama administration staff tried to blame the attack on the consulate on an anti-Muslim YouTube video to avoid undercutting Obama's claims that he had crushed al Qaeda.

"You could live with a protest about a video, that won't hurt you, but a terror attack would," Jordan said, saying that Americans could accept, reluctantly, compatriots being killed abroad but "what they can't live with is when their government is not square with them."

Clinton rejected the claim, saying in the desperate hours after the attack that information on the true nature of the assault on the compound by a mob was unclear.

"I am sorry that it doesn't fit your narrative, congressman," Clinton said. "I can only tell you what the facts are."

11. 'I really don't care what you say about me.'

At the end of the 11th hour -- and after a brief coughing fit -- Clinton could no longer hide her contempt for the Republican-led committee, and particularly Gowdy.

"I really don't care what you say about me. It doesn't bother me a bit," she said while defending Admiral Michael Mullen, who helmed a previous Benghazi investigation.

She added: "I can't help, Mr. Chairman, that you all don't like the findings" of previous reviews.