– March 31, 2015

AP Sources: Woods to get new sponsor for PGA event 

(AP) — The PGA Tour is closing on a deal for Detroit-based Quicken Loans to become title sponsor of Tiger Woods' tournament at Congressional, The Associated Press has learned.

Two people who have been told about the deal said Quicken Loans could begin its sponsorship before the next tournament, to be played June 26-29. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is not completed and has not been announced.

Dan Gilbert, who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, is the chairman and founder Quicken Loans.

It would be a big boost to the Tiger Woods Foundation, which receives the net proceeds from the event currently called the AT&T National. The foundation has created seven Tiger Woods Learning Centers, three of them in the Washington, D.C., area.

AT&T, in the final year of its contract, was not planning to renew the sponsorship. The Dallas-based company announced two years ago that it would sponsor the Byron Nelson Championship starting in 2015. AT&T already is under contract through 2024 as the title sponsor of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the PGA Tour. It also sponsors a Champions Tour event in San Antonio.

Greg McLaughlin announced Tuesday that he is leaving after 14 years as president and CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation. McLaughlin was the tournament director of the AT&T National and did well to keep AT&T on as title sponsor through 2014 after the upheaval in Woods' personal life.

Woods had a personal endorsement deal with AT&T — the logo was on his golf bag — for nine months until the telecommunications giant cut him loose in December 2009.

McLaughlin and PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw declined comment Thursday, saying there was nothing to announce.

The title sponsorship would expand on the sports marketing programs of Quicken Loans, the nation's largest online home lender. The company closed $70 billion of volume across 50 states in 2012, with web centers in Detroit, Cleveland and the Phoenix area.

The company sponsors NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, along with involvement in the IndyCar Series and with Team Penske. Quicken Loans is title sponsor of a Sprint Cup race in Brooklyn, Mich., on June 15, which is two weeks before the PGA Tour event at Congressional.

It announced late last year it would sponsor the Sprint Cup series race in Phoenix on Nov. 9.

The AT&T National began in 2007 with a military theme built around the Fourth of July in the nation's capital. It has been held at Congressional for all but two years, in 2010 and 2011, as the course prepared to host the U.S. Open. In those years, it was played at Aronimink outside Philadelphia.

Congressional is under contract through 2014, though discussions are underway to host the tournament every other year.

Three tournaments benefit Woods' foundation. The others are the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston, which began in 2003 and now is part of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The other is the unofficial World Challenge, which announced last year it is moving from California to Isleworth, the club near Orlando where Woods once lived.

Do California's new water restrictions go far enough?


gordonwebstergordonwebster Gordon Webster - Publisher
gordonwebstergordonwebster Gabriel Dillard - Managing Editor

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Written on 03/31/2015, 10:09 am by SAM HANANEL, Associated Press
(AP) — Spider-Man's latest adventure is taking him through the strange and mysterious world of patent law.
Written on 03/31/2015, 10:06 am by KRISTIN J. BENDER, PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press
(AP) — Two former federal agents are accused of using their positions and savvy computer skills to siphon more than $1 million in digital currency from the online black market known as Silk Road while they and their agencies operated an undercover investigation into the website. The pair appears to have acted independently of each other while using sophisticated encryption software, inside knowledge of the investigation and complex offshore banking transfers of digital money called bitcoins and U.S. currency. Cybersecurity experts said corruption on the Internet appears to be uncommon because there are few law enforcement agents who have the skills to carry out the type of fraud the agents are accused of committing. J.J. Thompson, chief executive officer of Rook Security, an Indianapolis-based computer security company, said that as more officers learn the skills, cases of corruption are likely to increase. "It's really easy to create opportunity in the cyberworld because there are few people to hold you accountable," Thompson said. Former Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Carl M. Force, 46, was arrested Friday in Baltimore and remained in custody Monday after being charged with wire fraud, theft of government property, money laundering and conflict of interest. Former U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Shaun W. Bridges, 32, of Laurel, Maryland, appeared in federal court in San Francisco and is free on $500,000 bond after being charged with wire fraud and money laundering. Force led part of the multiagency investigation of Silk Road and its now-convicted operator Ross Ulbricht. Force, working undercover, convinced Silk Road's operator that he was a drug smuggler with global underworld connections. Using the pseudonym "Nob," Force communicated with the operator's online persona using encryption software and obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin payments as part of a sting operation sanctioned by his supervisors. But Force is charged with failing to report many of the communications and payments and funneling money received from Silk Road to private accounts.He is also accused of creating a new online name without his supervisors' knowledge and using it to sell inside information to Silk Road about the investigation. Court records accuse Force of stealing more than $200,000 from the online drug bazaar. Authorities say Force accepted a position as chief compliance officer for a bitcoin company while serving with the DEA. He's accused of using his federal position to seize a customer's $297,000 account and transferring it to his private account. Force resigned last year after a 15-year career, according to court records. His attorney, Ivan Bates, didn't return a phone call. Meanwhile, Bridges is charged with using information gleaned during the investigation to hack into the site and steal $800,000 in January 2013. Bridges served on a special U.S. Secret Service electronic crimes task force and was the technological expert for the investigation. Bridges sat in on a debriefing of a Silk Road employee cooperating with the probe who gave investigators passwords to access the site as administrators. He is accused of using the information to access Silk Road's finances and funnel the money to private accounts. Bridges "abruptly" resigned on March 18 after a six-year career with the Secret Service, court documents show. His attorney, Steven Levin, declined to comment. Federal authorities arrested the Silk Road operator in San Francisco in October 2013 and shuttered the site. A federal jury convicted Ulbricht of seven charges, and he faces 30 years in prison at his sentencing set for May 15.
Written on 03/31/2015, 10:04 am by 
(AP) — In the latest big pay-TV company deal, Charter is buying Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion. The companies said Tuesday that the deal would create the second-largest U.S. cable operator. Charter had previously wanted to buy Time Warner Cable, but lost out to a $45 billion offer from Comcast. That deal, along with the $48.5 billion combination of AT&T and DirecTV, are both under long-running regulatory reviews. The pay-TV industry is consolidating to gain more leverage against programmers such as The Walt Disney Co. Content costs have risen markedly, even as the pay-TV industry has shed video subscribers in recent years. New options for video that appeal to "cord-cutters" have sprung up in recent months, such as a Web version of HBO, an online set of about 20 channels from Dish called Sling and a $50-a-month service from Sony. Charter Communications Inc. said the Bright House Networks LLC purchase hinges on the Comcast Corp.-Time Warner Cable Inc. deal closing. As part of that combination, Charter is growing substantially. It's paying $7.3 billion for 1.4 million Comcast subscribers, swapping 1.6 million customers with Time Warner Cable and getting a one-third stake in a new cable company comprised of 2.5 million existing Comcast customers. But some analysts have become less optimistic that the government will approve the Comcast deal. Consumer advocates have said it will control too much of the country's Internet access, with more than 50 percent of high-speed Internet subscribers and nearly 30 percent of U.S. pay-TV customers. The Bright House deal is also subject to regulatory review. Charter, based in Stamford, Connecticut, is currently the fourth-largest cable operator in the U.S., with 4.3 million video customers, mostly in the Midwest, West and South. Bright House is the sixth-biggest with 2 million customers, mostly in Tampa and Orlando, Florida, but also in Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and California. According to a client note by MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett, Bright House also has "a strong reputation for service and customer satisfaction," a rarity among cable companies. Bright House and Charter are not competitors in any of their markets. The Charter-Bright House deal is "kind of small in the scheme of things," says John Bergmayer, a senior staff attorney at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit group that advocates for Internet access. "Trends in consolidation are always worrying but this deal by itself is not as bad as some other deals out there." Public Knowledge doesn't think the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal should be approved. Advance/Newhouse — the parent company of Bright House — will own 26.3 percent of the combined company. Charter is paying it $2 billion in cash and the rest in stock and preferred units that convert into common stock of the new company. Once the Bright House deal closes, John Malone's Liberty Broadband Corp., Charter's biggest shareholder, will buy $700 million shares of the new company, giving it a 19.4 percent stake. The board of the new company will include 13 members, with three directors appointed by Advance/Newhouse and three directors appointed by Liberty Broadband. Shares of Charter Communications added $13.05, or 7.1 percent, to $196.44 in midday trading. Liberty Broadband's stock gained $3.75, or 7 percent, to $57.45.
Written on 03/31/2015, 10:01 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Farmers are expected to plant a record number of soybean acres this year, but less corn as that grain's profit potential remains low due to slumping prices The U.S. Department of Agriculture's first report of the new crop season says farmers will plant 84.6 million acres in soybeans, up 1 percent from last year's previous record of 83.7 million acres. Corn planting will fall to 89.2 million acres, down 2 percent from last year. It's the third year of acreage decline. Soybeans are favored because they cost less to grow and prices haven't fallen as quickly as corn. The report is based on 84,000 farmer surveys completed in early March.
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:59 am by JULIE WATSON, Associated Press
(AP) — In a move that could heighten the hurdles faced by states attempting to execute prisoners, a leading association for U.S. pharmacists has officially discouraged its members from providing drugs for use in lethal injections. The policy adopted by American Pharmacists Association delegates at their annual meeting Monday makes an ethical stand against providing such drugs, saying they run contrary to the role of pharmacists as health care providers. The association lacks legal authority to bar its more than 62,000 members from selling execution drugs, but its policies set pharmacists' ethical standards.Pharmacists now join doctors in having national associations with ethics codes that restrict credentialed members from participating in executions. "Now there is unanimity among all health professions in the United States who represent anybody who might be asked to be involved in this process," said association member Bill Fassett, who voted in favor of the policy. Compounding pharmacies, which make drugs specifically for individual clients, only recently became involved in the execution-drug business. Prison departments turned to made-to-order execution drugs from compounding pharmacies because pharmaceutical manufacturers refused to sell the drugs used for decades in lethal injections after coming under pressure from death penalty opponents. But now the compounded version is also becoming difficult to come by, with most pharmacists reluctant to expose themselves to possible harassment. Texas' prison agency scrambled this month to find a supplier to replenish its inventory before getting drugs from a compounding pharmacy it won't identify. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said Monday that he had no comment when told about the ruling. After a troubling use of a two-drug method last year, Ohio said it will use compounded versions of either pentobarbital or sodium thiopental in the future, though it doesn't have supplies of either and hasn't said how it will obtain them. All executions scheduled this year were pushed to 2016 to give the state more time to find the drugs. Other states are turning to alternative methods. Tennessee has approved the use of the electric chair if lethal-injection drugs aren't available, while Utah has reinstated the firing squad as a backup method if it can't obtain the drugs. Oklahoma is considering legislation that would make it the first state to allow the use of nitrogen gas as a potential execution method. Fassett, a professor emeritus of pharmacy law and ethics at Washington State University, said the united front by health professionals might force people to finally face the death penalty's harsh realities. Lethal injections have created a sterile setting for executions, he said. "It's like we're not really executing. We're sort of like taking Spot to the vet. We're just putting him to sleep, and that's not true," he said.
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:56 am by COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press
(AP) — More than 13,000 Detroit-area property owners have entered into payment plans hoping to avoid losing their homes to tax foreclosure, and that number will likely rise. Hundreds of applicants lined up before 7 a.m. Tuesday outside the Wayne County Treasurer's Office in Detroit before the tax repayment plan deadline. Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski says another 16,000 owners living in their homes still are facing foreclosure. Homeowner Kevin Franklyn says he hopes to reach a deal on at least $15,000 he owes on his Detroit home and rental properties. Franklyn says he fell behind when tenants defaulted on rent. City and county officials urged state lawmakers to pass foreclosure prevention bills and Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation to cut interest rates, reduce down payments and cap past due taxes.
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:54 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — The director of a nonprofit organization that purported to help victims of international child trafficking has been arrested in New York City on fraud charges. Federal prosecutors announced the charges against Peter Senese on Tuesday morning. A criminal complaint accuses Senese of defrauding parents through an organization called I CARE. It says he collected large fees on false promises he would reunite abducted children with their families. The complaint says Senese told clients he was traveling the world as part of his efforts. It says he actually never left the United States. The 49-year-old Senese was to appear in court later Tuesday. The name of his lawyer wasn't immediately available.
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:51 am by The Associated Press
The rock band announced a 15-city stadium tour Tuesday that will kick off May 24 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. Other stops include Columbus, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; and Nashville, Tennessee. The so-called "Zip Code" tour will once again reunite singer Mick Jagger, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. The last time the Rolling Stones played North American stadiums was during their "A Bigger Bang Tour" in 2006. They opted for arena venues for their "50 & Counting" tour in 2012 and 2013. "We love being out on the road and it is great to come back to North America," said Keith Richards in a statement. "I can't wait to get back on the stage!" And quite the stage it will be, including a section that juts far into the crowd, allowing the Stones to interact with fans. As is the band's practice, the stage design will employ cutting-edge technology to enhance the performance, including video screens and special effects. Other cities on the "Zip Code" tour include Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Missouri; Raleigh, North Carolina; Indianapolis, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; and Quebec, Canada. Tickets will go on sale April 13. The "Zip Code" tour will coincide with the rerelease of their seminal album "Sticky Fingers" on May 26. The 1971 recording features such Stones classics as "Brown Sugar," ''Wild Horses" and "Dead Flowers." The band interrupted last year's "14 On Fire" and rescheduled all their Australia and New Zealand dates after fashion designer L'Wren Scott, Jagger's companion since 2001, took her own life. The tour concluded Nov. 22, 2014 at the Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:50 am by FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer
(AP) — A day after Trevor Noah was declared the new host of "The Daily Show," complete with the blessing of the exiting Jon Stewart, graphic tweets targeting women, Jews and victims of the Ebola virus are causing a social media backlash. By Tuesday, Trevor Noah was a trending topic on Twitter as he drew fire for jokes described as tasteless, hateful — and unfunny. Roseanne Barr was among those calling out the 31-year-old South African comic, who has an international following and two million Twitter followers. "U should cease sexist & anti semitic 'humor' about jewish women & Israel," she tweeted late Monday. Noah's controversial tweets were posted between 2009 and 2014. In 2009 he wrote, "Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!" A 2012 post derides "jewish chicks." Another one from 2011 jokes about "a hot white woman." In a post from 2011, he writes, "Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!" He attributes the joke to "fat chicks everywhere." When a fan tweeted him last fall with a request to come to Texas, Noah replied, "But you've already got Ebola?" Comedy Central did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Conservative commentator David Frum, anticipating the network's response to the uproar, tweeted, "Daily Show method: entrap & edit targets to look stupid & bigoted. But for Trevornoah (who edited himself) they'll urge context & nuance" The tweets showed a different side to Noah than the picture painted by Comedy Central and the comedian himself just a day earlier: In a phone interview on Monday from Dubai, where Noah was traveling on a comedy tour, he likened himself to the New York-born Stewart, saying, "One thing we both share: We are both progressives." He added, "traveling the world I've learned that progressives, regardless of their locations, think in a global space." Noah, the son of a black South African mother and white European father who speaks six languages, was bring pitched by Comedy Central as reflecting a new age of global multiculturalism, "a citizen of the world," in the words of Michele Ganeless, the network's president. He was named a little more than a month after Stewart unexpectedly announced he was leaving "The Daily Show" following 16 years as the show's principal voice. Although no dates have been disclosed, Stewart is expected to depart by the end of the year, with Noah taking over soon afterward. On Monday, Ganeless spoke of the advantage of introducing Noah to a mainstream U.S. audience through "The Daily Show," with viewers coming to the show he hosts with no preconceptions. "They will get to discover him, and form their opinions of him, as they watch him host." The choice of a new host for "The Daily Show" is a critical decision not only for the satirical-news program, but for the network, whose identity has largely been forged by the "Daily Show" franchise, which for years was followed by the likewise signature "The Colbert Report." By the end of the year, Comedy Central will have completely remade this programming block. In January, African-American comic Larry Wilmore replaced the "The Colbert Report" hosting "The Nightly Show."
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:35 am by Business Journal staff
A woman who went on a "Taser" spree in a Fresno Walmart Sunday bit the chest of a man trying to protect his 12-year-old son who was hit with the stun gun. Fresno police reported that Jasmine Stevenson, 19, was arrested after a short foot chase near the Walmart on Herndon and Ingram avenues in Northwest Fresno. She's accused of entering the Walmart store and assaulting customers with a pink Taser. Victims include a 32-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man, a 30-year-old man and the 12-year-old boy. Stevenson's alleged bite of the boy's father drew blood, causing her to break free and run from the store. Stevenson was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse, assault with a stun gun and resisting arrest for the assault, which was captured on surveillance video. She was booked into Fresno County jail and faces a bail amount of $110,000 based on her charges, according to Fresno County jail online records.

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Written on 03/31/2015, 10:06 am by KRISTIN J. BENDER, PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press
(AP) — Two former federal agents are...
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:59 am by JULIE WATSON, Associated Press
(AP) — In a move that could heighten...
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:51 am by The Associated Press
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Latest National News

Written on 03/31/2015, 10:09 am by SAM HANANEL, Associated Press
(AP) — Spider-Man's latest adventure is...
Written on 03/31/2015, 10:04 am by 
(AP) — In the latest big pay-TV company...
Written on 03/31/2015, 10:01 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Farmers are expected to plant a...
Written on 03/31/2015, 9:56 am by COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press
(AP) — More than 13,000 Detroit-area...