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USA Today December 16 2017

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SATURDAY
AN EDITION OF USA TODAY
Time has come
for ‘Star Wars:
The Last Jedi’
12.16.17
Get caught up on everything you need
to know about Episode VIII. We’ve got
you covered at life.usatoday.com
LUCASFILM LTD.
IN BRIEF
Trump calls for Moore to concede
in Alabama Senate election
President Trump called on Alabama
Senate candidate Roy Moore — whom
he had championed despite allegations of sexual harassment and assault — to concede defeat Friday.
“I think he should. He tried,” Trump
told reporters outside the White
House.
Democrat Doug Jones won the special election Tuesday by 20,715 votes in
the unofficial count and is expected to
be sworn in next month. But Moore
has refused to concede, contending
the race is still close enough for a recount.
Final version of GOP tax bill
a winner for Rubio, Corker
Herb Jackson
USA TODAY
Republican House and Senate negotiators released a final tax bill on Friday that would overhaul the individual
and corporate codes after making lastminute changes that appeared to lock
down the necessary votes needed for
passage.
Raising the child tax credit won over
at least one GOP holdout, Sen. Marco
Rubio, who said Friday he would be a
yes after threatening to scuttle the deal
only 24 hours earlier.
And in a major reversal, Sen. Bob
Corker of Tennessee said Friday he
would support the bill, despite voting
against a similar bill earlier this month
because of concerns it would add to the
national debt.
“This bill is far from perfect,” said
Corker, who decided to support the bill
now because the country is “better off
with it” than without it.
Those two new “yes” votes put the
bill on solid ground for final passage
next week, allowing President Trump to
sign it into law by Christmas.
Here’s a look at what’s in the bill:
Eliminated
Personal exemptions, which in 2017
reduce taxable income by $4,050 each
for taxpayers, spouses and dependent
children.
Increased
The standard deduction, which goes
from $12,700 this year to $24,000 next
year for couples filing jointly. For individuals, the amount will go from $6,350
See TAX BILL, Page 2T
Judge temporarily blocks new
regulations on birth control
A federal judge in Philadelphia on
Friday ordered the Trump administration not to enforce new rules that could
significantly reduce women’s access to
free birth control.
Judge Wendy Beetlestone issued
the injunction, temporarily stopping
the government from enforcing the
change to the Affordable Care Act.
The law required most companies
to cover birth control at no additional
cost, though it included exemptions
for religious groups. The new policy
would allow more employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt
out of covering contraception under
health insurance plans by claiming religious or moral objections.
70-year-old woman indicted in
retirement home ricin case
A federal grand jury has issued an
indictment against a 70-year-old
woman charged with manufacturing
the deadly toxin ricin at a Vermont retirement community.
The one-count indictment issued
Thursday charges that Betty Miller
“knowingly possessed an unregistered
select agent, namely ricin.”
Miller was arrested after telling investigators she made the ricin at her
home because she wanted to “injure
herself.” She said she tested the poison
by putting it in residents’ food or beverages. No one became seriously ill.
4 Palestinians killed in latest
Jerusalem fallout clashes
Four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire and dozens more wounded
along with an Israeli officer in clashes
across the West Bank and near Gaza’s
border Friday.
The protests were continued fallout
over President Trump’s announcement last week to recognize Jerusalem
as Israel’s capital.
Earthquake hits Indonesia’s
Java island; deaths reported
A strong earthquake shook Indonesia’s island of Java on Friday night, collapsing buildings and killing at least
one person.
The quake triggered a tsunami
warning that was lifted later.
The Associated Press
USA SNAPSHOTS©
62%
of Americans say
that people who
work seasonal
jobs get in the
holiday spirit
more than
those without
seasonal jobs.
SOURCE McDonald’s survey of 1,500 Americans
16 and older
MIKE B. SMITH, JANET LOEHRKE/USA TODAY
The facade of a fire-destroyed home in the Fountaingrove development in Santa Rosa, Calif. PHOTOS BY ELIZABETH WEISE
Scorched wine country gets
cleared, but rebuilding is slow
Sonoma offering lessons
for new wildfire victims
Santa Rosa
Vice Mayor
Jack
Tibbetts
talks with
Lilia
Gonzalez
in front of
her
burnedout home
in the
Coffey
Park
neighborhood.
Elizabeth Weise
USA TODAY
SANTA ROSA, Calif. – As fires still
rage in southern California, those affected by the devastation who wonder
how their communities will fare in the
aftermath need only come to this city
north of San Francisco for a hint of
things to come
Earlier this week, there were eight
excavators at work in the Coffey Park
neighborhood, clearing fire debris and
scraping the top layer of ash and soil
away to remove any potentially toxic
materials.
“They’ve been working so hard. I
was here on a Sunday in the rain and
they were working,” said Lilia Gonza-
lez, who brought donuts to the workers
who cleared her lot.
In Santa Rosa, the county seat of Sonoma County, her subdivision was
hardest hit, losing 1,300 homes after the
fire broke out Oct. 9. It was one of sever-
al fires touched off by fierce winds that
state fire officials are now calling the
Northern California firestorm. By the
time all were extinguished three weeks
See FIRES, Page 2T
A.I. helps find another star’s eighth planet
Mary Bowerman
USA TODAY
Researchers used data from NASA’s
planet-hunting Kepler space telescope
to discover an eighth planet orbiting a
star known as Kepler-90.
The planet, dubbed Kepler-90i, is a
hot, rocky planet that orbits its star every 14.4 days and was found with the
help of artificial intelligence, NASA
said Thursday. The discovery marks
the first solar system to tie with our solar system in the number of planets orbiting one star.
“The Kepler-90 star system is like a
An artistic rendering of NASA’s Kepler
Space Telescope. NASA/JPL
mini version of our solar system. You
have small planets inside and big planets outside, but everything is scrunched
in much closer,” said Andrew Vander-
burg, a NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow
and astronomer at the University of
Texas at Austin.
Vanderburg and researcher Christopher Shallue, a senior software engineer
with Google’s research team Google AI,
trained a computer to identify exoplanets in light readings recorded by Kepler. The telescope looks for dips in light
patterns that could signify an orbiting
planet.
NASA cautions that other planetary
systems “hold more promise for life”
than the Kepler-90 system. NASA said
the average surface temperature on
Kepler-90i may exceed 800 degrees.
2T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
to $12,000.
❚ 32% above $315,000 for couples
and $157,500 for individuals
❚ 35% above $400,000 for couples
and $200,000 for individuals
❚ 37% above $600,000 for couples
and $500,000 for individuals
State and local tax deduction
Charitable contributions
New maximum of $10,000 for a combination of property and income taxes
or property and sales taxes.
Remain deductible for those who
itemize, and the current limitation of
50% of income is increased to 60%.
Tax brackets and rates
Child tax credit
❚ 10% on the first $19,050 of income
for couples and $9,525 for individuals
❚ 12% above $19,050 for couples and
$9,525 for individuals
❚ 22% above $77,400 for couples and
$38,700 for individuals
❚ 24% above $165,000 for couples
and $82,500 for individuals
Increased from $1,000 per child to
$2,000 of which $1,400 is refundable,
meaning it would be paid to parents
even if they do not owe income tax.
Value of the credit begins to decrease
when
family
income
exceeds
$400,000.
Tax bill
Continued from Page 1T
Mortgage interest
Corrections & Clarifications
USA TODAY is committed to
accuracy. To reach us,
contact Standards Editor
Brent Jones at
800-872-7073 or e-mail
accuracy@usatoday.com.
Please indicate whether
you’re responding to
content online or in the
newspaper.
Remains deductible for those who
itemize, but for new mortgages on first
and second homes, only the interest
on the first $750,000 borrowed is deductible.
The interest on home equity loans
will no longer be deductible.
Continued from Page 1T
Estate tax
PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER
John Zidich
Joanne Lipman
CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER
Exemption is doubled so no estate
worth less than nearly $11 million
would be taxed.
Kevin Gentzel
Pass-through businesses
7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Va. 22108,
703-854-3400
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Fires
Important dates
Changes to the individual tax code
are effective Jan. 1.
Most individual changes would expire at the end of 2025.
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Cassie Taaning-Trotter shows a photo of her home in front of the now-cleared
lot where it once stood in Redwood Valley, Calif. The house burned in the
Northern California firestorm on Oct. 9. ELIZABETH WEISE
Business income reported on owners’ personal tax returns would get a
20% deduction on the first $315,000 of
joint income.
Corporations
New 21% rate would take effect Jan.
1 and would be permanent.
Health insurance
In 2019, the mandate to have insurance or face a fine would be repealed.
later, seven counties were affected, 42
people dead and 9,000 buildings destroyed.
Nearly 400 miles south in Ventura,
county seat of Ventura County, some
427 homes and other structures have
been lost, part of the 921 structures
claimed by the Thomas fire so far. Two
people, including one firefighter, have
died.
The National Weather Service is
predicting high winds over the weekend that could push the flames towards Santa Barbara, potentially putting as many as 20,000 people and
18,000 buildings worth billions at risk.
Ten weeks after the embers in the
wine country had cooled, recovery efforts in Santa Rosa provide a look at
what the southern part of the state
may face.
In the wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties, some homeowners are
finding themselves underinsured and
worry they will not be able to afford to
rebuild. Even those with sufficient insurance expect it to be two years or
more before they can once again re-
Penn State showed ‘shocking
apathy’ after hazing death
Grand jury report blasts
school, urges changes
Centre
County
(Pa.)
District
Attorney
Stacy
Parks
Miller,
left, with
Tim
Piazza’s
parents,
Jim and
Evelyn
Piazza.
Aamer Madhani
USA TODAY
A grand jury report released Friday in
the aftermath of a fraternity pledge’s
hazing death at Penn State University
charges the college “completely abdicated its moral responsibility” in dealing with the problems caused by excessive drinking at the school’s fraternity
houses.
The report released by Centre County
(Pa.) district attorney Stacy Parks Miller
recommends a series of changes the
school should undertake in the wake of
the February death of Tim Piazza, 19.
Beta Theta Pi brothers gave Piazza 18
drinks in an hour and 22 minutes and
were slow to get him medical help once
they discovered him unresponsive the
following morning, according to prosecutors. At least two dozen people face
charges in the case, including five Beta
Theta Pi fraternity brothers who face
manslaughter charges.
The report harshly criticized university officials for “shocking apathy” and
cowering behind a “thin wall” erected
between the university and the school’s
interfraternity council that largely implements the rules governing fraternities on campus.
The report noted that university officials lamented that the school is limited
in how it can deal with infractions of underage drinking, hazing and other misconduct at fraternities — the lone stick
the university holds is revoking a fraternities university recognition. “To that,
the Grand Jury responds: do it,” the report said. “If the University continues to
cower at the prospect that these ‘private
organizations’ conduct their business
on ‘private property,’ which robs Penn
State with any true power to act, then
Penn State should exercise the one recourse it alleges is available to it, and
terminate the fraternity recognition
when serious violations occur.”
The grand jury went on to note that
the university must act, because it “sees
ABBY
DREY/AP
The grand jury noted that
the university must act,
because it “sees young men
dying.”
young men dying. Penn State has at the
very least a moral obligation to protect
its students from known dangers such
as excessive alcohol use and hazing,”
the report states.
The report also offered a series of recommendations for improving safety at
fraternities, including calling on state
lawmakers to pass stronger laws to deter hazing and underage drinking. It also
called on the university to regulate
drinking at parties at fraternity houses
instead of leaving that responsibility
with the interfraternity council as it currently does.
The university said in a statement
the report “misunderstands or entirely
disregards Penn State’s tangible commitment to improving safety.” The university pointed to several measures it
has implemented in recent months —
including limiting the number of social
events fraternities can hold where alcohol is served, conducting additional police patrols in areas where fraternities
are located and emphasizing the university has zero tolerance for hazing.
Penn State President Eric Barron
bristled at the tone of the report. “Penn
State strongly disagrees with many
characterizations of the University
and our record of action as presented
by the District Attorney, but we remain
deeply committed to turning the pain
and anguish of this tragedy into reforms that continue to improve the
safety and well-being of our students,”
he said.
Alcohol-driven misconduct and
crime had been a problem at Penn
State fraternity houses long before Piazza’s death, according to the grand jury report.
In the three years before the Piazza
incident, State College Police officials
testified to the grand jury that they investigated seven allegations sexual
assaults, six drug and alcohol overdoses and several physical assaults at
Penn State fraternity houses.
In the weeks before Piazza’s death,
a 20-year-old victim reported being
sexually assaulted at the Beta Theta Pi
house, an 18-year-old woman reported
being sexually assaulted after being
supplied with alcohol at an unidentified fraternity house, and a 22-yearold fraternity member overdosed on
fentanyl at another unnamed fraternity house, according to the report.
claim their neighborhoods.
Clearing work is well underway.
It has been made easier because the
Army Corps of Engineers is coordinating removal for all homeowners who
agree to the process. The majority of
homeowners have signed up, Santa Rosa Vice Mayor Jack Tibbetts said.
“Some of these houses will take up to
20 trucks to remove everything,” Tibbetts said.
Officials hope most lots will be fully
cleared by January. While they wait,
homeowners are meeting with their insurance companies to determine when
they can start to rebuild.
Cassie Taaning-Trotter and her husband owned a home in Redwood Valley,
north of Santa Rosa.
Last year, the fire insurance rates
doubled on their property so she went
shopping for another policy. An agent
new to insurance found her one that
Taaning-Trotter believed still provides
her with full coverage. To her horror,
when she began to get quotes on the
cost to replace their home, it was double
what their insurance payout was.
“She did not do due diligence. So
we’re suing,” she said.
Until that is settled, she, her husband
and their dogs are living in a cabin on
her sister’s land.
Trump still
fussy about
FBI, but not
to its grads
Kevin Johnson and David Jackson
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Nearly two weeks
after declaring that the FBI’s reputation was in “tatters,” President Trump
kept up his stinging criticism of the
agency Friday in advance of his appearance at the bureau’s national
training center.
“It’s a shame what’s happened with
the FBI,” Trump said before traveling
to the bureau’s National Academy in
Quantico, Va. “We’re going to rebuild
the FBI; it’ll be bigger and better than
ever.”
Trump said there is “a level of anger” within the bureau following the
removal of a top FBI agent from special
counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation
into Russia’s interference in the 2016
election for exchanging anti-Trump
text messages with a bureau colleague. Mueller’s inquiry includes a review of possible obstruction of justice
by the president for his abrupt May
dismissal of FBI Director James Comey
for his handling of the Russia inquiry.
“It is very sad when you look at
those documents,” the president said,
referring to the exchanges involving
FBI counter-intelligence agent Peter
Strzok and bureau lawyer Lisa Page.
“How they’ve done that is really, really
disgraceful. ... People are very, very
angry.”
Earlier this month, FBI Director
Christopher Wray defended the agency. “It is the honor of my life to lead the
FBI,” Wray told the House Judiciary
Committee. “There is no finer institution than the FBI and no finer people
who work there.”
During his speech to more than 200
academy graduates, Trump made no
mention of his displeasure with the
bureau. Instead, he thanked the FBI
and pledged full support to law enforcement.
“The president of the United States
has your back 100%,” Trump said. “... I
will never ever let you down.”
3T
USA TODAY ❚ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017
Murder charge upgraded
in Charlottesville protest
Rooftopping:
Daredevils scale
for fame, fortune
Woman died following
white nationalists rally
Images of a Chinese daredevil falling from a 62-story skyscraper surfaced this week, highlighting the risky,
glamorous and potentially lucrative
world of rooftopping.
Reports that Wu Yongning, 26,
hoped to pocket $15,000 for dangling
off Changsha’s Huayuan Hua Centre
without a harness offered a glimpse
into rooftopping’s allure. They also
formed another account of a risk-taker
plunging to death in the increasingly
popular act.
Rooftopping remained on the far
fringes of culture just a few years ago,
the CBC reports. It’s the more daring
offshoot of a decades-old pastime
known as urban exploration — the infiltration of old buildings, subways
and other abandoned structures. But
as the rise of Instagram lured more
rooftop explorers to post sky-high,
stomach-churning selfies, the act has
found more eyeballs and adherents.
Rooftoppers such as Britain’s Harry
Gallagher can sell $40 branded hoodies to fans, The Guardian reports.
Gallagher’s 2016 video of him sneaking
onto London’s West Ham Stadium garnered 6 million YouTube views, with
companies buying ads before the clip.
Rooftopping’s viral pull drew Russian model Viki Odintcova to dangle
off the edge of Dubai’s 1,004-foot-high
Cayan Tower. The resulting photos
gained Odintcova legal threats and Internet fame: Her Instagram account
now has 4 million followers.
Mike James
USA TODAY
The alleged reckless driver who
plowed his car into a crowd protesting a
white nationalist rally in Charlottesville,
Va., is now charged with first-degree
murder, after prosecutors showed a
judge surveillance video of the deadly
assault.
This car allegedly driven by James
Prosecutors announced at the start Alex Fields Jr. drove into a crowd of
of a preliminary hearing for James Alex counterprotesters. GETTY IMAGES
Fields that they were seeking to upgrade
the second-degree murder charge he
previously faced in the Aug. 12 collision had descended into chaos — with vioin Charlottesville that left 32-year-old lent brawling between attendees and
Heather Heyer dead and dozens injured. counterdemonstrators — and authoriThe judge agreed and ruled there is ties had forced the crowd to disband.
Surveillance footage from a
probable cause for all charges
Virginia State Police helicopter,
against Fields to proceed.
played by prosecutors in court,
Fields’ case will now be precaptured the moment of impact
sented to a grand jury for an inby the car and the cursing of the
dictment.
startled troopers on board. The
Authorities had initially said
video then showed the car as it
that 19 people were injured, in addition to Heyer, when Fields James Alex reversed, drove away and eventually pulled over.
rammed his 2010 Dodge Chal- Fields Jr.
The video, showed in court by
lenger into another vehicle on
purpose on a crowded street. But testi- prosecutor Nina-Alice Antony, included
mony at the preliminary hearing re- some of the final words in the helicopter
vealed that there were many more vic- by crew members, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and
Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, who
tims, The Washington Post reported.
Fields, who lived in Ohio before his were monitoring the demonstration.
arrest, is charged with eight counts of About three hours later, the helicopter
“aggravated malicious wounding,” crashed while Cullen and Bates were
meaning that at least eight of the 35 flying to another assignment, killing
people who were hurt suffered what Vir- both men. The cause of the crash is still
ginia law describes as “permanent and under investigation, the Post reported.
Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, sat quietly
significant physical impairment,” the
in a striped jumpsuit with his hands
Post reported.
Authorities say the 20-year-old, de- cuffed during the hearing.
His attorney, Denise Lunsford, did
scribed by a former teacher as having a
keen interest in Nazi Germany and not present evidence or make any arguAdolf Hitler, drove his speeding car into ments at the hearing, although she did
a group of counterprotesters the day of cross-examine a detective.
Fields was photographed hours bethe “Unite the Right” rally that drew
hundreds of white nationalists from fore the attack with a shield bearing the
around the country. The attack came af- emblem of Vanguard America, one of
ter the rally in this Virginia college town the hate groups that took part in the ral-
ly, although the group denied any association with him.
A former teacher, Derek Weimer,
has said Fields was fascinated in high
school with Nazism, idolized Adolf
Hitler and had been singled out by officials at his Union, Ky., school for
“deeply held, radical” convictions on
race.
During her cross-examination of
Charlottesville Police Detective Steven
Young, Lunsford asked if searches of
Fields’ computer, phone or social
media revealed any evidence that he
was part of Vanguard America or any
other white nationalist group. Young
said, “No.”
Young also testified that he was
among the first officers to respond to
the scene where Fields pulled over. No
weapon was found in the car, he said.
Lunsford asked the detective what
Fields said as he was being detained.
Fields said he was sorry and asked if
people were OK, according to Young.
When Fields was told someone had
died, he appeared shocked and
sobbed, Young said.
Young said authorities had identified 36 victims of the car attack, including Heyer — a number higher than
officials have previously given. Some
are “wheelchair bound,” Young said.
Charlottesville General District
Judge Robert Downer Jr. also presided
over preliminary hearings Thursday
for three other defendants. Charged in
cases related to the August rally are
Richard Preston, who is accused of firing a gun, and Jacob Goodwin and Alex
Ramos, who are accused in an attack
on a man in a parking garage that was
captured on video.
The judge certified the charges
against all three men. All those cases
will also go to a grand jury.
Jason Kessler, the main organizer of
the Unite the Right rally, was in court
for the hearings. When he arrived
Thursday, a small crowd of protesters
outside the courthouse chanted,
“Blood on your hands.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
Josh Hafner
USA TODAY
Model Viki Odintcova, 23, in Dubai.
For fleeing Venezuelans, ‘Leaving was tough’
But with nation in free fall,
staying can be even worse
Simeon Tegel
Special to USA TODAY
LIMA, Peru – It is 8 a.m. and the line
of Venezuelan refugees outside the Interpol office already stretches to the end
of the block.
Most have just arrived in Lima with
not much more than the clothes on their
back and are here applying for a certificate to show they have no criminal
record, a requirement for a work permit
in Peru.
“Leaving was tough, but staying
would have been tougher,” says Andrea
Sequiera, 29, as she waits at the back of
the line with her husband, Luis, 31, and
8-year-old son, Fabian. “We know lots
of people who would like to get out of
Venezuela but can’t afford the ticket.”
Although Venezuelans for years have
been fleeing the “socialist revolution”
first launched by the late Hugo Chávez
in 1999, in recent months the trickle has
turned into a flood as living conditions
become ever more dire — from hyperinflation to acute shortages of food and
medicine to one of the worst homicide
rates in the world.
In response to protests over the oncewealthy country’s decline, President
Nicolás Maduro’s increasingly authoritarian regime has cracked down on
opponents, making prospects for improved times less and less likely.
Many exiles had fled to the USA, but
surging numbers, like the Sequieras,
now head to other Latin American nations. The change probably stems from
President Trump’s tough immigration
stance and the fact that fewer Venezuelans can afford the airfare.
From Mexico to Argentina, immigration agencies are reporting skyrocketing
numbers of Venezuelan arrivals, doubling and even tripling the total for
previous years.
The Sequieras have been in Lima just
four days, after a grueling six-day bus
trip from their native Valencia, Venezuela’s third-largest city. They rented a small
room in a gritty eastern suburb and are
looking to start a new life in Peru.
The Sequieras became desperate as
Venezuelans wait to board a bus in Caracas, the capital, on their way out of the
country to escape a deepening humanitarian crisis as hyperinflation and acute
shortages of food and medicine grip the country. FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
“This hurts. Venezuelans
don’t have a culture of
emigration. The expectation
is that grandparents will see
their grandkids growing up.”
Patricia Acosta, 38
An MBA who fled to Peru
Luis and Andrea Sequiera, with their
son, Fabian, 8, wait outside the
Interpol office in Lima, Peru, to apply
for a certificate that will allow them
to get a work permit. SIMEON TEGEL
their wages became increasingly worthless — Andrea’s pay as a human resources coordinator and her husband’s
at Empresas Polar, Venezuela’s largest
food and beverage company.
“The worst thing is not being able to
feed him,” she says, nodding toward
their son.
The final straw came when a tire on
their car ruptured beyond repair and
they couldn’t find a replacement, which
made the vehicle useless — in the nation
with the world’s largest proven oil reserves. Then the couple spent five days
searching in vain for an antibiotic to
treat a boil on young Fabian’s arm.
Peru introduced a special temporary
visa in February to address the growing
humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. Nearly 30,000 Venezuelans have applied for
the visa, which includes a temporary
work permit.
The exodus from Venezuela has
caused tension in some Latin American
countries. In Panama, the flood of
citizens from the much larger neighbor
now competing for jobs has stoked
nationalistic sentiment, says Harold
Trinkunas, an international security expert at Stanford University who grew up
in Venezuela. Panama responded by
tightening visa requirements.
Other countries have coped better,
particularly Colombia, which has called
on its extensive refugee system, originally created to help those displaced
from its civil war that recently ended.
Another change is most Venezuelan
immigrants are now simply looking to
survive, instead of wanting to send
money back home to family members,
says Garrinzon González, who runs the
Venezuelan Union in Peru, a self-help
group for immigrants in Lima that has
nearly 20,000 Facebook followers.
“There’s nothing to buy in the shops
in Venezuela now anyway,” he says.
“Here you can have a roof over your head
and stable work very quickly.”
The Venezuelan diaspora is estimated to be about 1.1 million — more than
4% of the population — although the
country long ago stopped publishing official numbers. Many hope to return to
Venezuela and help their homeland recover once there is a political transition.
They don’t know when that might happen, and the longer they stay abroad,
the more they put down roots.
“I want to go back and help lift my
country up again, but I am at an age
where I want to be established and have
a family,” says Patricia Acosta, 38, an
MBA who arrived in Peru in April and
now consults for Spanish telecom giant
Telefónica. “This really hurts. Venezuelans don’t have a culture of emigration.
The expectation is that grandparents
will see their grandkids growing up.”
That may hinder Venezuela’s recovery, because most emigrants are university-educated professionals who play a
vital role in the economy. “Venezuela’s
brain drain is a brain gain for its neighbors,” Trinkunas said.
The Sequieras are not even thinking
that far ahead. Their priority is to sort
out their papers, find work, rent an
apartment and get Fabian back to
school as quickly as possible.
“We want to make friends and have a
good life here,” Andrea Sequiera says. “We
would like to go back, but right now we are
focused on just rebuilding our lives.”
4T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
SANTAS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
SWITZERLAND: Offered a daily pass for wearing Santa garb, more that 2,000 people complied at the ski resort in Verbier, Swiss Alps. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Red cap! White beard!
Santa Claus is a global phenomenon at Christmas, but it’s not easy for St. Nick to get everywhere. Take Saint Michael,
Alaska, for instance. The tiny island community is closer to Russia than Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. Luckily, Santa
and Mrs. Claus hitched a ride on a military transport plane to deliver goodies to children: toys, books, personal hygiene
supplies, fresh fruit — yes, even ice cream. For some children, the toy they received during Santa’s visit last week, courtesy
of the Alaska National Guard’s Operation Santa Claus, will be the only one they get this year. The community outreach
program brings Kris Kringle to two villages each year —if the weather cooperates. – The Associated Press
GERMANY: Santa, pulled by a reindeer,
takes a moon-lit microlight ride near
Sieversdorf. AFP/GETTY IMAGES
TENNESSEE: Santa consoles Nancy Reynolds during the “Believe in Bristol photo with Santa”
event on Dec. 2. Reynolds asked for a roof over her head for Christmas. EARL NEIKIRK/AP
TOKYO: This Yokohama aquarium staff
Santa has the full attention of a crew
of African penguin elves in red and
green holiday gear. SHIZUO KAMBAYASHI/AP
HUNGARY: Santas in hats and swimsuits participate in
the 14th Great Santa Claus Run charity event Dec. 10
in downtown Budapest, Hungary. BALAZS MOHAI/EPA-EFE
PHILIPPINES: A Santa diver greets a
child from the aquarium at Ocean Park
in Manila. TED ALJIBE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
5T
USA TODAY ❚ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017
MONEYLINE
Fed rate
hike could
affect your
wallet in
many ways
HARRISON HEALTH SETBACK
PUNISHES CSX STOCK
Shares of CSX fell 7.6% Friday after
the railroad said CEO Hunter Harrison
will take a medical leave “due to unexpected complications from a recent
illness.” Chief Operating Officer James
Foote will serve as acting CEO of the
Jacksonville firm. Harrison, who has
engineered turnarounds at three railroads, was hired in March after activist
investors pressured CSX for changes.
But questions have emerged about his
health. In May, The Wall Street Journal
reported Harrison often works from
home and occasionally uses oxygen
because of an undisclosed issue. Harrison then told the newspaper doctors
had cleared him to work. Shares hit an
all-time high this week.
CAMPBELL, SNYDER’S-LANCE
SHARES UP ON DEAL REPORT
Shares of Campbell Soup and Snyder’s-Lance rose Friday after a report
the soup company is in advanced talks
to buy the pretzel maker. CNBC, citing
sources familiar with the situation,
said a deal could be announced next
week. Both companies said they don’t
comment on rumors. Camden, N.J.based Campbell has reported falling
sales as more people avoid processed
foods. Besides its canned soups, it
makes Goldfish crackers, V8 juices and
Prego pasta sauces. It bought organic
broth maker Pacific Foods this year to
shift its product lineup toward foods
seen as healthier. Snyder’s-Lance’s
brands include Pop-Secret popcorn
and Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels.
EU SEES NEW DIFFICULT
PHASE IN BREXIT TALKS
With British Prime Minister Theresa
May already back home, European
Union leaders stood united Friday in
saluting the outcome of the first
phase of Brexit negotiations but
warned London it will be “dramatically
difficult” to get a full departure deal
by the March 2019 deadline. EU leaders acknowledged “sufficient progress” had been made to start discussing a trade deal and future relations with the U.K. A payment of some
50 billion euros ($58.9 billion) was as
good as assured, full respect for the
rights of EU citizens in Britain was well
on its way and there was a commitment that the border between the
EU’s Ireland and the U.K.’s Northern
Ireland would remain transparent.
Dow Jones Industrial Avg.
24,700
24,650
24,600
24,550
4:00 p.m.
24,652
143.08
Credit cards, mortgages
to see biggest increases
Paul Davidson
USA TODAY
GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO
It’s time to get a
handle on growing
wealth gap crisis
Pete the Planner
Peter Dunn
USA TODAY
I used to be shocked when I’d hear
people say “I haven’t received a pay increase in five years.” It’s not shocking
anymore. It’s why the wealth gap is
building. And it’s many people’s reality.
When workers don’t participate in the
financial victories of the organizations
they serve, the debt bubble balloons and
the retirement crisis worsens. This is
how the wealth gap grows. It grows by a
thousand paper cuts.
As the prices of goods and services increase over time, your wages lose buying
power. For instance, if the cost of your
son Johnny’s piano lessons increase but
your wages don’t, then you are faced
with some seemingly simple options.
You can fund the increase by saving less.
You can fund the increase by reallocating
funds away from another monthly expense. You can go into debt. Or you can
tell Johnny to learn piano via YouTube.
With the U.S. personal savings rate
(amount of disposable income set aside
for retirement) hovering around 3.4%,
you would like to think people wouldn’t
sacrifice future stability for present
wants, but it happens all the time.
The U.S. personal savings rate has
been on a pretty steady decline since
2008, when it climbed to around 8% following the Great Recession. When people are scared they do exactly what they
should do — save. And when they get
less scared, they lose perspective — and
apparently memory — and stop saving.
OK, so the option of funding Johnny’s piano lessons by saving less money is actually pretty realistic.
As for the idea that you would stop
spending money on another expenditure
in order to afford the piano lesson price
increase — eh, maybe. But if a luxury
The U.S. personal savings rate
has been on a steady decline
since 2008, when it climbed to
around 8% following the Great
Recession.
such as piano lessons is taking priority over other expenditures, what exactly is getting cut? Anecdotally, I
don’t think most people will cut other
expenses in order to fund the increased cost of a luxury service.
Let’s consider the idea of pulling
Johnny out of his piano lessons.
Clearly it’s the most sensible thing to
do, but would it actually happen? Not
if the issue is wage stagnation. Now, if
you lost your job and needed to make
some cuts, then YouTube it is. But if
you have the same job you’ve always
had and your wages aren’t growing,
then you probably wouldn’t have the
foresight to avoid death by a thousand
paper cuts. Instead, you do what the
statistics suggest you would do — you
would turn to debt.
Buckle up. We collectively owe
$12.96 trillion in consumer debt — a
number so ridiculous it’s hard to even
care. Yep, you would go into debt for
the piano lessons. Don’t forget, the
only thing that went wrong was you
didn’t get a raise while the piano
teacher did.
This isn’t the real problem that
wage stagnation causes. If you enter
into a period of wage stagnation with
consumer debt, you’re in big trouble.
And if you enter into a period of wage
stagnation with inadequate retirement savings, you’re in big trouble.
This is the real problem.
Peter Dunn is an author, speaker
and radio host. Have a question about
money for Pete the Planner? Email
him at AskPete@petetheplanner.com.
24,500
24,450
9:30 a.m.
24,509
Friday markets
INDEX
CLOSE
Nasdaq composite
S&P 500
T-note, 10-year yield
Oil, light sweet crude
Gold, oz. Comex
Euro (dollars per euro)
Yen per dollar
6936.58
2675.81
2.35%
$57.30
$1254.30
$1.1757
112.63
CHG
x
x
x
x
y
x
80.06
23.80
unch.
0.26
0.50
0.0035
0.45
SOURCES USA TODAY RESEARCH, MARKETWATCH.COM
USA SNAPSHOTS©
65%
of Americans don’t know
how banks make money.
SOURCE MeetBeam.com survey of 1,000 adults
JAE YANG, JANET LOEHRKE/USA TODAY
RIP AIM: AOL’s Instant
Messenger dead at 20
Brett Molina
USA TODAY
Friday marked a sad day for fans of
AOL’s Instant Messenger: The service
has been discontinued.
Users who visit AIM.com are now
redirected to a support with details on
its demise.
Oath, the new entity formed under
Verizon combining AOL with the recently-acquired Yahoo, revealed in October it would end AIM, as a host of
new platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have surfaced.
“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift,
but the way in which we communicate
with each other has profoundly
changed,” said Michael Albers, vice
president of communications product
at Oath.
AIM was a staple of personal computers since first launching in 1997.
However, AIM couldn’t make the
seamless transition to mobile, where
AOL had difficulty making the
transition to mobile, and on Friday,
the service was discontinued.
2011 PHOTO BY JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES
most users rely on instant messaging
services.
Of course, that did not stop users on
Twitter from mourning the loss of their
first real messaging app.
Monthly payments on credit cards,
adjustable-rate mortgages and home
equity lines are expected to increase
after the Federal Reserve lifted its
benchmark short-term interest rate
this week for the third time in 2017.
All of those revolving loans have
variable rates that go up or down
based on the Fed’s key rate, which is
rising by a quarter percentage point.
While the impact of a single rate increase is limited, “The cumulative effect of the Fed’s interest rate hikes is
mounting,” says Greg McBride, chief
economist of Bankrate.com. “It’s putting a financial squeeze on household
budgets at a time when income growth
remains elusive.”
The central bank has raised rates
five times since late 2015.
For consumers with 30-year mortgages and other longer-term loans, the
effect of the Fed’s move on their pocketbooks will be far more gradual. Car
buyers may be affected, too, though
they’re now benefiting from a highly
competitive market for auto loans
that’s keeping borrowing costs low.
Officials say now is a good time for
those carrying credit-card debt to
prioritize paying it down. GETTY IMAGES
The Fed lifted its federal funds rate
— which is what banks charge each
other for overnight loans — by a quarter percentage point to a range of 1.25%
to 1.5% after similar hikes in March and
June. Fed officials have penciled in
three more rate increases next year.
How it could affect consumers:
❚ Credit cards, adjustable-rate
mortgages: These loans will become
more expensive since their rates are
directly linked to the prime rate, which
in turn is affected by the Fed’s key rate,
says Steve Rick, chief economist of
CUNA Mutual Group.
Average credit-card rates are
16.75%, according to Bankrate.com.
For a $5,000 credit-card balance, a
quarter-point hike is likely to add $199
in total interest for borrowers who
make the minimum monthly payment,
McBride says. Three Fed rate increases
this year could mean an additional
$575 in total interest.
Rates for home equity lines of credit
are much lower at 5.3%. A quarterpoint increase on a $30,000 credit line
raises the minimum monthly payment
by just $6 a month, McBride says.
By contrast, rates on adjustablerate mortgages are modified annually.
Three quarter-point hikes in 2017 likely will have boosted the monthly payment on a $200,000 mortgage by $84.
The Fed’s key short-term rate affects 30-year mortgages and other
long-term rates only indirectly.
The average 30-year fixed mortgage
rates is 4.08%, down from 4.15% a year
ago despite the hikes. Many factors
have pushed down long-term rates, including
still
sluggish
inflation
prospects that have kept a lid on longterm rates. And Wednesday’s move is
already figured into current rates.
❚ Bank savings rates: Since banks
will be able to charge a bit more for
loans, they’ll have a little more leeway
to pay higher interest rates on customer deposits. Yet don’t expect a fast or
an equivalent rise in your savings accounts or CD rates, many of which pay
interest of 1% or less. Those rates have
barely budged the past year despite
the Fed’s hikes.
6T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
MONEY
Feds approve disclosure
claims for Facebook ads
But work on broader rules remains work in progress
Fredreka Schouten
USA TODAY
This 2018 GMC Terrain Denali was outfitted with Christmas regalia for
fuel-efficiency testing. GENERAL MOTORS
Those car ornaments
are guzzling your gas
Phoebe Wall Howard
Detroit Free Press
USA TODAY NETWORK
Rudolph is a drag.
Literally.
General Motors engineers, clearly in
a holiday mood, tested the effect of various decorations on gas mileage.
They found that adding holiday items
to a vehicle — such as reindeer antlers, a
bow on top or a Christmas tree strapped
to the roof — creates more surface for
wind resistance. When the engine must
work harder to maintain speed, it uses
more gas.
Yep, holiday decor creates aerodynamic drag.
GM found:
❚ Antlers. Reindeer antlers and Rudolph’s nose create about a 1-mile-per-
gallon decrease in highway fuel efficiency and a 3% increase in drag coefficient — commonly understood as air
resistance.
❚ Bow. A roof-mounted bow creates
a 3.5-mpg decrease in highway fuel efficiency and a 15% increase in drag coefficient.
❚ Christmas tree. A tree tied to a
roof creates a 30% decrease in highway fuel efficiency and a 70% increase
in drag coefficient. Air pushes against
a tree with about 90 pounds of force.
❚ Wreath. A grille-mounted wreath
has no impact on aerodynamics but
may reduce cooling airflow to the engine.
“It might be best to let Rudolph lead
Santa’s sleigh instead of your ride this
holiday season,” said Joel Ruschman,
GM aero performance engineer.
WASHINGTON – Federal election
regulators told a political group Thursday that its Facebook ads must include
disclaimers showing who paid for
them, wading into the debate on social-media advertising as the government grapples with revelations about
Russian use of the platforms in last
year’s election.
But, on a unanimous vote, the Federal Election Commission made it
clear its action applied narrowly, and it
planned to work on broader rules governing digital advertising next year.
“This was a small step forward today,” Ellen Weintraub, a longtime
Democratic member of the commission, said after the vote.
The vote clarified that Take Back
Action Fund, a political group associated with Republican political consultant John Pudner, must include disclaimers on its proposed Facebook image and video ads that call for the election or defeat of candidates.
But the legal opinion approved by
commissioners warned that only an
organization engaged in political activity “indistinguishable” from that
planned by Pudner’s group should rely
on the guidance approved Thursday.
“I don’t think this is an earth-shattering answer that will affect lots of
people going forward,” Caroline Hunter, the commission’s Republican vice
chairwoman, said during the debate.
The commissioners often are bitterly divided along partisan lines, and
they wrangled considerably Thursday
over how to require the disclaimers on
Pudner’s ads while making it clear that
their views on how to regulate the digi-
AMERICA’S MARKETS
MATT ROURKE/AP
tal world could diverge.
“Some of our concern is making sure
we don’t decide too much” in advance of
the broader rule-making, said Matthew
Petersen, a Republican member of the
commission, nominated recently for a
federal judgeship by President Trump.
The action comes as policymakers
try to determine how to deal with the
use of social media to shape elections.
Earlier this year, Facebook disclosed
that it had identified more than
$100,000 in political ads purchased by a
Russian company with ties to the Russian government. Most of the 3,000 ads
focused on hot-button issues such as
immigration and gay rights.
Facebook has promised voluntary
measures to make political advertising
on its platform more transparent.
A pair of bills in Congress would go
further, requiring social-media companies to make copies of political ads
available for public review and would
extend a slew of campaign-finance laws
that currently apply to television and radio ads to the digital world. It also requires all advertising platforms —
whether broadcast or digital — to “make
reasonable efforts” to ensure foreign interests aren’t paying for political ads.
ALL THE MARKET ACTION IN REAL TIME
MARKETS.USATODAY.COM
DJIA
DOW JONES
SPX
S&P 500
COMP
NASDAQ
RUT
RUSSELL
+143.08
INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE
+23.80
STANDARD & POOR'S
+80.06
COMPOSITE
+23.47
RUSSELL 2000 INDEX
CLOSE: 24,651.74
%CHANGE: +.6%
YTD % CHG: +24.7%
THE MOTLEY FOOL
A FOOLISH TAKE
GAINERS Company (ticker symbol)
Leo Sun
The Motley Fool
Price
$ Chg
% Chg
YTD
% Chg
Under Armour A (UAA)
Shares move higher on upgrade at Stifel.
15.17 +1.35
+9.8
-47.8
Under Armour C (UA)
Shares rises along with sibling stock.
13.62
+1.17
+9.4
-45.9
Discovery Communications C (DISCK)
Shares up after insider buy.
19.75
+1.10
+5.9
-26.3
Discovery Communications A (DISCA)
Shares climb along with sibling stock.
21.04 +1.00
+5.0
-23.2
+.80
+4.9
+28.8
63.19 +2.85
+4.7
-12.2
+.58
+4.6
-19.7
AmerisourceBergen (ABC)
93.17 +3.79
Stock rating upgraded to buy, shares move higher.
+4.2
+19.2
Envision Healthcare (EVHC)
34.30 +1.34
Continues uptrend in gaining sector, hits month’s high.
+4.1
-45.8
Patterson Companies (PDCO)
36.50 +1.38
Shares highest in 8 years as company outperforms sector.
+3.9
-11.0
Freeport-McMoRan (FCX)
16.99
Poised to agree with Indonesia on new Grasberg plan.
Cardinal Health (CAH)
Shares rises most this year, pace sector.
CLOSE: 1,530.42
%CHANGE: +1.6%
YTD % CHG: +12.8%
MARKET PERFORMANCE BY SECTOR
S&P 500’S BIGGEST GAINERS/LOSERS
Retailers cut
discounts on
Black Friday
Retailers usually promote significant
discounts for Black Friday. That trend
continued this year, with pricing firm
Market Track (via eMarketer) reporting
an average discount of 44% in Black Friday circulars from 15 brick-and-mortar
retailers.
However, this year’s promotions
mark a small decline from an average
discount of 45% in 2016. Retailers such
as Best Buy, JCPenney and Target all offered slightly lower discounts this year.
Those declines offset slight increases
at other retailers, including Walmart
and Sears. Market Track also notes that
its study of 17 product categories across
these retailers found a combined average discount of 45%, compared to 48%
last year.
However, many consumers probably
didn’t save that much money. Deal site
BestBlackFriday.com reported average
savings on this season’s most popular
items likely topped out at 35%.
The slight reduction in promotional
pricing is a positive sign for retailers,
since the number of shoppers from
Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday
continues to grow, with more than
174 million Americans buying goods in
stores or online this year, according to
the National Retail Federation.
This means retailers won’t have to
crush their margins to attract shoppers.
Leo Sun has no position in any of the
stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has
no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure
policy.
CLOSE: 2,675.81
%CHANGE: +.9%
YTD % CHG: +19.5%
CLOSE: 6,936.58
%CHANGE: +1.2%
YTD % CHG: +28.9%
Sector
Close
Chg.
4wk 1
YTD 1
Technology
Health care
Consumer discret.
Industrials
Financials
Materials
Utilities
Consumer staples
Telecom
Energy
64.56
83.71
97.97
74.52
27.81
59.08
55.02
56.88
61.23
68.72
+0.49
+0.58
+0.09
+0.12
+0.12
+0.06
-0.31
+0.22
-0.32
-0.52
+1.9%
+3.0%
+4.7%
+5.7%
+6.3%
+1.3%
-1.4%
+3.9%
+4.4%
+1.9%
+33.5%
+21.4%
+20.4%
+19.8%
+19.6%
+18.9%
+13.3%
+10.0%
+4.3%
-8.8%
TOP 10 MUTUAL FUNDS
Fund, ranked by size
Vanguard 500IdxAdmrl
Vanguard TtlSMIdxAdmrl
Vanguard InsIdxIns
Vanguard TtlSMIdxInv
Vanguard TtInSIdxInv
Vanguard TtlSMIdxIns
Vanguard InsIdxInsPlus
Fidelity Contrafund
Vanguard TtInSIdxInsPlus
Vanguard WlngtnAdmrl
NAV
248.08
66.97
244.75
66.93
18.00
66.98
244.77
123.05
120.45
75.77
Chg.
+2.22
+0.63
+2.19
+0.62
+0.01
+0.63
+2.18
+1.04
+0.05
+0.46
4wk 1
+4.5%
+4.5%
+4.5%
+4.5%
+1.9%
+4.5%
+4.5%
+3.1%
+1.9%
+3.2%
YTD 1
+21.8%
+21.0%
+21.8%
+20.9%
+24.5%
+21.0%
+21.8%
+32.9%
+24.7%
+14.5%
1 – CAPITAL GAINS AND DIVIDENDS REINVESTED
Navient (NAVI)
13.20
Margin stabilizes, credit quality seen as positive.
LOSERS
Company (ticker symbol)
Price
$ Chg
YTD
% Chg % Chg
CSX (CSX)
Shares drop as CEO’s sick leave fuels doubts.
52.93 -4.38
-7.6
+47.3
Mattel (MAT)
Shares reverse gain on bond offer.
15.48
-4.7
-43.8
Centene (CNC)
Shares fall on investor meeting day.
94.85
-4.17
-4.2
+67.8
Oracle (ORCL)
48.30
Second-quarter results and forecast disappoint.
-1.89
-3.8
+26.1
3.51
-.13
-3.6
-50.0
Noble Energy (NBL)
25.66
Stock rating downgraded to neutral from overweight.
-.80
-3.0
-32.6
Neweld Exploration (NFX)
27.81
Shares fall on stock rating downgrade to neutral.
-.82
-2.9
-31.3
Chesapeake Energy (CHK)
Reverses gain on positive company note.
-.76
TOP 10 EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS
ETF, ranked by volume Ticker
SPDR S&P500 ETF Tr
SPY
SPDR Financial
XLF
iShs Emerg Mkts
EEM
PowerShs QQQ Trust
QQQ
iShares Rus 2000
IWM
CS VelSh 3xLongNatGs UGAZ
Barc iPath Vix ST
VXX
iShares EAFE ETF
EFA
VanE Vect Gld Miners
GDX
ProShs Ultra VIX ST
UVXY
Close
266.53
27.81
46.17
157.65
152.24
5.38
28.19
69.97
21.99
10.37
Chg.
+0.87
+0.12
+0.09
+1.77
+2.14
-0.42
-0.93
-0.02
-0.08
-0.75
% Chg
+0.3%
+0.4%
+0.2%
+1.1%
+1.4%
-7.2%
-3.2%
unch.
-0.4%
-6.7%
%YTD
+19.2%
+19.6%
+31.9%
+33.1%
+12.9%
-88.4%
unch.
+21.2%
+5.1%
unch.
INTEREST RATES
MORTGAGE RATES
Type
Prime lending
Federal funds
3 mo. T-bill
5 yr. T-note
10 yr. T-note
Type
30 yr. xed
15 yr. xed
1 yr. ARM
5/1 ARM
Close 6 mo ago
4.50%
4.25%
1.17%
0.91%
1.31%
1.01%
2.16%
1.77%
2.35%
2.17%
Close 6 mo ago
3.83%
3.80%
3.16%
3.02%
3.31%
3.06%
3.57%
3.16%
SOURCE: BANKRATE.COM
COMMODITIES
Starbucks (SBUX)
U.S. composite trend seen as concerning.
58.29
-1.41
-2.4
+5.0
EQT (EQT)
Shares decline as peers get downgraded.
54.71
-1.30
-2.3
-16.3
Cabot Oil & Gas (COG)
26.64
Falls along with peers and reaches month’s low.
-.62
-2.3
+14.0
Commodities
Close
Prev.
Cattle (lb.)
1.19
1.16
Corn (bushel)
3.48
3.36
Gold (troy oz.)
1,254.30 1,253.80
Hogs, lean (lb.)
.69
.64
Natural Gas (Btu.)
2.61
2.68
Oil, heating (gal.)
1.90
1.91
Oil, lt. swt. crude (bar.) 57.30
57.04
Silver (troy oz.)
15.98
15.85
Soybeans (bushel)
9.67
9.68
Wheat (bushel)
4.18
3.95
Chg.
+0.03
+0.12
+0.50
+0.05
-0.07
-0.01
+0.26
+0.13
-0.01
+0.23
% Chg.
+2.3%
-0.3%
unch.
+1.4%
-2.7%
-0.3%
+0.5%
+0.8%
-0.1%
unch.
% YTD
-0.1%
-1.3%
+9.1%
+3.6%
-29.9%
+11.7%
+6.7%
+0.3%
-2.9%
+2.5%
FOREIGN CURRENCIES
Currency per dollar
British pound
Canadian dollar
Chinese yuan
Euro
Japanese yen
Mexican peso
Close
.7507
1.2882
6.5989
.8505
112.63
19.1261
Prev.
.7440
1.2750
6.6125
.8481
112.18
19.0590
6 mo. ago
.7836
1.3275
6.7975
.8964
110.86
18.0745
Yr. ago
.8041
1.3345
6.9356
.9593
117.93
20.3285
FOREIGN MARKETS
SOURCE Bloomberg and The Associated Press
Country
Frankfurt
Hong Kong
Japan (Nikkei)
London
Mexico City
Close
13,103.56
28,848.11
22,553.22
7,490.57
48,081.55
Prev.
13,068.08
29,166.38
22,694.45
7,448.12
48,222.38
Change
+35.48
-318.27
-141.23
+42.45
-140.83
%Chg.
+0.3%
-1.1%
-0.6%
+0.6%
-0.3%
YTD %
+14.1%
+31.1%
+18.0%
+4.9%
+5.3%
SOURCE Morningstar, Dow Jones Indexes, The Associated Press
7T
USA TODAY ❚ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017
LIFELINE
‘Star Wars:
The Last Jedi’:
It’s go time!
Hannah, Josh Singer AFP/GETTY IMAGES
HOW WAS YOUR DAY?
LIZ HANAH CELEBRATES
Liz Hannah, the first time screenwriter whose take on The Washington Post’s late publisher Katharine
Graham became the basis for The
Post, celebrated her birthday at the
world premiere of the Oscar-bait film
Thursday in Washington, D.C. Director
Stephen Spielberg took the stage
before the screening, along with the
full cast including Meryl Streep and
Tom Hanks, and got in a happy birthday wish while thanking the crew. Not
a bad way to start a new year.
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) returns
to threaten the Resistance.
Heading to theaters to see the
new Star Wars this weekend?
We’ve got you covered. Visit us
at life.usatoday.com to catch up
on everything you need to
know about Episode VIII.
INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC/LUCASFILM
❚ The definitive
ranking of all the
‘Star Wars’ movies
(including ‘Jedi’)
❚ The 40 best characters in 40 years
of the blockbuster franchise
❚ Love for Leia (and Carrie Fisher)
could push The Last Jedi to a $200
million opening
❚ Porgs, the new
cuteness
❚ Q&A: Mark Hamill
❚ Meet the new
Chewbacca,
Joonas Suotamo
❚ 13 very basic things
to know if you’re new
to Star Wars
❚ Review: Our critic Brian Truitt gives
‘The Last Jedi’ eeeg
Carrie Fisher went from bikini-clad princess to
general in the “Star Wars” saga.
❚ Video: A refresher on your ‘Force
Awakens’ favorites
STREAMING
Harry and Meghan AFP/GETTY IMAGES
ROYALS REPORT
IT’LL BE A MAY WEDDING
Prince Harry and his American actress
fiancée, Meghan Markle, have set
their wedding date: May 19, 2018.
“Today’s announcement follows earlier confirmation of the month of the
wedding and its location at St.
George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle,”
Kensington Palace noted in its announcement Friday morning.
From left, Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May are on the road again. PHOTOS BY ELLIS O’BRIEN/AMAZON PRIME
Colbert GETTY IMAGES FOR MONCLAIR FILM
MAKING WAVES
‘SAD DAY’ FOR NET USERS
Late-night hosts were not happy to
learn that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted down
Net neutrality rules Thursday. Stephen Colbert called it a “sad day (for)
us Web-keteers, us internauts,” explaining how the vote rescinds customer protections that inhibit Internet service providers from slowing
down or blocking certain content.
“And that’s wrong,” Colbert said,
“because the only thing that should
slow your Internet speed is the number of people also sitting at Starbucks working on their screenplays.”
USA SNAPSHOTS©
$47.50
Average amount Americans
typically spend on pizza
each month.
SOURCE California Pizza Kitchen via
Harris Poll survey of 2,296 adults
MIKE B. SMITH, JANET LOEHRKE/USA TODAY
‘Grand Tour’ breaks in
the engine for Season 2
Jayme Deerwester
USA TODAY
When viewers tune in for Season 2
of Amazon’s The Grand Tour (the first
of 12 weekly episodes began streaming
Dec. 8), they’ll discover it’s a lot more
like the car-loving trio Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James
May’s former series, BBC’s Top Gear,
than the first season of the new show.
“We looked at the show with a critical eye, because we’re our own best
critics, and made some changes based
on things we didn’t like, just minutes
after we read that everyone else didn’t
like them,” May deadpans.
“We’re clever like that,” Hammond
chimes in.
In their first season on Amazon, the
three tried a little too hard to distance
themselves from Top Gear, which collapsed in 2015 after Clarkson was
ousted for punching a producer. Some
of the new bells and whistles failed to
impress longtime viewers — namely,
the traveling studio tent, the chatty
new American test driver and “Celebrity Brain Crash,” which killed its famous guests before they could set foot in
the tent or a car.
The tent now permanently resides
within spitting distance of Clarkson’s
Southwestern English home. Money
spent tearing down and rebuilding the
studio every week to set Grand Tour
apart from Top Gear (which continues
with new hosts) was invested in upgrading the show’s already stunning visuals.
May, Clarkson and Hammond, shown during a segment filmed in Mozambique,
don’t do as well on water as they do on wheels.
“You can see us drive cars all over the
world, which is what we’re sort of
known for, as opposed to being in a tent
all over the world, which is not really
what we’re known for,” May says. “It
was a bit of a choice, and we went with
the cars and adventure in the end.”
This season’s filmed segments include a muddy trek to Mozambique,
where they transported fish to impoverished inland areas; Colorado, where
they tried to drive Jaguars down ski
slopes; and New York, where they resurrected an old Top Gear staple by racing
different forms of transportation.
The final indication that this season
is closer to the old Top Gear: Hammond
is having catastrophic accidents, just
like old times.
In June, while shooting a segment in
Switzerland, he rolled a Rimac Concept
One, a Croatian electric sports car worth
nearly $1 million, during a timed hill
climb, causing it to burst into flames.
May was 30 seconds behind him.
“I’m not willing to go as far as saying I
like Richard Hammond,” May says, “but
I was alarmed at the thought that he
should have an untimely end that would
require me to perhaps say something
touching at the memorial service.”
Luckily, Hammond escaped before
the car caught on fire with only a knee
injury. But it required surgery and
forced him to retire from running, his
go-to exercise.
“Now I’ll be as fat as the other two,”
he laments.
8T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
DEBATE IS ‘BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE’ LIGHTHEARTED FUN, OR HAS ITS TIME PASSED?
Chill out on this
Christmas classic
The answer is ‘no.’
Time for it to fade
Charlotte Allen
Mary Nahorniak
Special to USA TODAY
USA TODAY
Every year at Christmastime these
days, as sure as fake antlers and Aunt
Ruby’s fluorescent-cherry fruitcake, the
feminists are out denouncing Frank
Loesser’s 1940s seasonal-seduction
duet Baby, It’s Cold Outside as “rapey.”
As cheerless as Scrooge wondering
why there are no workhouses, the sexual-assault sisterhood reads sinister subtexts into Loesser’s lyrics every Yuletide. “Say, what’s in this drink?” That’s
all about roofies, the date-rape drug. “I
ought to say no, no, no.” That’s women
being socialized by the patriarchy to be
nice when they really want to get away.
“I’ve got to get home” — “Oh, baby, you’ll
freeze out there.” That’s him wearing
her down into unwanted sex.
I can’t decide whether these Grinchettes of rape culture have tin ears, tin
eyes, tin brains, or all three. Have any of
them ever heard the song sung? (My favorite cover is Jerry Mercer’s and Margaret Whiting’s, although Ella Fitzgerald
and Louis Jordan are close runners-up.)
The contrapuntal lyrics, in which he
puts the moves on her by invoking
freezing exterior weather and she tries
to think why she ought to go home when
she’d really rather not, actually tell a tale
of sex at its most pleasantly consensual
(or maybe, since this was 1944, after all,
just a little kissing and hugging). There’s
flirtation, there’s wooing, and above all,
there’s a languid lightheartedness. He
never forces himself on her, merely persuades her to … stay a little longer. (And
remember that it’s she who’s arrived to
“drop in” on him, not the other way
around.)
As the musicologist Thomas Riis
wrote, “Loesser can be said to have built
his little tune into a miniature dramatic
scene, a scena in the operatic sense, in
which two characters and the nature of
their relationship are fully sketched
with efficiency and emotional clarity.”
And it should be noted that the very
first performance of Baby, It’s Cold Outside was by Loesser and his wife (you
can’t get more affirmatively consensual
than that), entertaining their celebrity
Is this the year we finally retire Baby, It’s Cold Outside?
In 2017, America woke up to the systemic sexual predation that pervades
every corner of society, but some of
our Christmas carols are stuck in the
past.
In particular, the drumbeat against
Baby, It’s Cold Outside is getting too
loud to ignore.
For so many people, the classic winter call-and-response song invokes
shivers.
In the tune, written in the 1940s by
Guys and Dolls composer Frank Loesser, the woman sings that she has to
leave her beau’s house, and he’s not a
fan of the idea. She spells out reasons
to go and he suggests otherwise — the
weather is frightful, there are no cabs,
they could share another drink or a
smoke — but the man smoothly persuading her to stick around feels a little
too close to coercion for comfort. He
simply doesn’t take “no” for an answer,
interrupting her, shooting down her
attempts to leave and beefing up her
half-baked ideas to stay. This is where
the song really sounds off-key to our
modern ears and our definition of consent, which has evolved from “no
means no” to “yes means yes.”
Even if the intentions aren’t sinister, it’s simply exhausting to be a woman in that situation. In the original
score, the male part is written as a
“wolf ” and the woman as a “mouse” —
that speaks volumes about male predatory behavior. Many women know
what it’s like to feel trapped by a man,
whether emotionally or physically. In
those situations, it doesn’t matter how
it began or why she wants to leave, it
only matters that she wants to go, now.
Advocating for sensitivity and empathy in how Baby It’s Cold Outside
sounds to so many women (and men)
isn’t Scrooge-like — it’s completely the
opposite. But while Baby, It’s Cold Outside is understandably falling off of
Christmas playlists as America
changes, there is another important
Lynn Loesser wrote that the song
“was our ticket to caviar and
truffles.” AFP/GETTY IMAGES
guests at a housewarming. The Loessers loved singing it, and their guests
loved hearing it. Commentator Mark
Steyn quotes Lynn Loesser’s memoirs:
“It was our ticket to caviar and truffles.
Parties were built around our being the
closing act.”
Well, not quite everyone loved Baby, It’s Cold Outside. A young Egyptian,
Sayyid Qutb, studying at what is now
Northern Colorado University, heard a
recording of the song at a church
dance and wrote that he was outraged:
“The room convulsed with the feverish
music from the gramophone. Dancing
naked legs filled the hall, arms draped
around the waists, chests met chests,
lips met lips ...” Qutb went back to
Egypt to become a leader in the fanatically anti-secular Muslim Brotherhood. Later hanged for plotting to
overthrow the Nasser government,
he’s regarded as the godfather of modern jihad.
Feminists love to cultivate sympathetic “allies.” And they’ve got them
aplenty in their grim and puritanical
loathing of a cheery Christmas song:
radical Islamic terrorists.
Charlotte Allen is a columnist for
First Things magazine. Follow her on
Twitter at @MeanCharlotte.
MUSIC
Pharrell, friends and ‘Lemon’:
There’s more to peel away
Patrick Ryan
USA TODAY
While we were all feverishly dissecting the latest Taylor Swift song and
girding our tear ducts for new Sam
Smith, Rihanna casually dropped one of
the year’s best songs.
Early last month,
pop’s DGAF queen
teamed up with Pharrell Williams on Lemon, a seismic, swaggering banger that
rattles with plinky
synths and a woozy
bass line. Williams trades bars with RiRi
about borders, guns and Donald Trump,
but it’s her minute-long verse that
steals the show. With the cool, cocksure
delivery that has become her trademark, she raps nonchalantly about her
haters and hustle — reminding us all
that she’s untouchable when she declares, “I get it how I live it, I live it how I
get it — count the (expletive) digits.”
Lemon is the lead single and opening
track of No_One Ever Really Dies, out
Friday, the first album in seven years
from N.E.R.D., Williams’ funk-rock side
project with producers Chad Hugo and
Shay Haley. But rock takes the sidelines
on the trio’s expansive fifth effort,
which plunges into reggae, rap and
dance music with a slew of high-wattage collaborators.
The most palatable pairing is indubitably Lemon, although the others are at
least worth a taste. Our ranking:
6. Voila (feat. Gucci Mane and
Wale)
Steel drums and altered vocals lay
the foundation for Gucci and Wale’s innocuous verses on this bouncy album
cut. But after the umpteenth reference
to magic and abracadabra, you’ll wish
this four-minute track was cut in half.
5. Rollinem 7’s (feat. André 3000)
If you squashed Lemon, you’d wind
up with this discombobulating mess of
deep house beats and near-unintelligible howls. Fortunately, André
swoops in to save the song with trenchant, rapid-fire rhymes about being a
black man in entertainment.
LISTEN UP
SONG OF THE WEEK
Sheryl Crow, ‘The Dreaming Kind’
With Dec. 14 marking the five-year anniversary of the
tragic Sandy Hook shooting, Crow is calling attention to
the gun violence that has proliferated in the years
since. This week, Crow shared a new song, The Dreaming Kind, to commemorate Sandy Hook and offer a
message of hope and defiance. Crow’s 12-year-old
niece, Ava, joins her on the track, which strikes a
hopeful tone in its visions of a more peaceful future. “So I’m giving it all I got / There’ll be no
more wasting precious time,” Crow sings before admitting, “Maybe I’m the dreaming
kind.” Yet The Dreaming Kind shows Crow
putting these dreams into action for the
greater good. Proceeds from the track benefit Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit founded after the school shooting and dedicated
to protecting children from gun violence.
— Maeve McDermott
4. Kites (feat. Kendrick Lamar
and M.I.A.)
Lamar and Williams deliver an urgent if familiar call to arms on this production highlight, which latches on
with its throbbing bass and choppedand-screwed choir chants. It’s M.I.A.’s
moment to shine, though, and her
evocative lyrics targeting xenophobia
pack a punch.
3. Lifting You (feat. Ed Sheeran)
Sheeran follows his swoon-worthy
Perfect duet with Beyoncé with an unexpected swerve into reggae that by all
counts shouldn’t work as well as it
does. But his celestial harmonizing
with Williams makes for a summer
earworm released 2 seasons too early.
2. Don’t Do It (feat. Kendrick
Lamar)
What sounds like breezy elevator
music quickly comes crashing down as
Williams gives a frantic play-by-play
of a black man being pulled over by police in a song inspired by the shooting
death of Keith Lamont Scott by a white
police officer in North Carolina last
year. Scorching electric guitars ratchet
up the tension when Lamar drops in
for an impassioned verse, pleading,
“How many more of us gotta see the
coroner? Slain by the same badge —
stop! Wait! Brake fast!”
1. 1000 (feat. Future)
Come for Williams’ social consciousness, stay for Future garbling
through Auto-Tune about champagne,
models and stacks of cash over a sticky
beat and resounding drum line. It’s
wonky, weird and all kinds of wonderful.
feminist angle worth exploring.
That interpretation of the song, made
popular in a Tumblr post in 2016, posits
that the woman would like to stay but is
held back by societal norms of the
1940s, in which an unmarried woman
staying over at a man’s house would be
scandalous. Her reasoning for leaving
all relates to other people — what will
the neighbors think, her mother will
worry — and doesn’t show a personal
hesitation from spending the wee hours
with her love interest.
Karen Tongson, an English and gender studies associate professor at the
University of Southern California, says
the song has to be interpreted as a product of its time. It was this “kind of culture of repression that would forbid this
kind of hanging out,” Tongson said.
“The song itself is an effort to furnish
female sexuality with a set of excuses as
opposed to a coercive song.”
Tongson says there’s more nuance in
Baby, It’s Cold Outside, as well.
“In the rapid-fire callout culture of
our current moment people don’t take
the time to reflect on the tone, and the
tone becomes lost. There is a kind of
coyness, a kind of female sexual energy,
in that song that people just neglect,”
she said.
To that point, there are some playful
and subversive interpretations of the
song, including a version by She & Him,
in which the gender roles are reversed; a
Glee performance between two men;
and a rewritten pro-consent version by
two Minnesota musicians. They all help
bring a modern (and much less creepy)
context to the nearly 80-year-old song.
But as a final word, in a viral Tumblr
post, the author writes that Baby It’s
Cold Outside is “one of the best illustrations of rape culture that pop culture
has ever produced. It’s a song about a
society where women aren’t allowed to
say yes … which happens to mean it’s
also a society where women don’t have a
clear and unambiguous way to say no.”
It’s time for our Christmas carols to
match our evolving culture.
Mary Nahorniak is the deputy managing editor for digital at USA TODAY.
Follow her on Twitter at @maryvale.
PLAYLIST
The Christmas
Song (Merry
Christmas
To You)
Nat King Cole
We start every Christmas party, playlist,
get-together or hangout with this song.
It’s great for setting the mood without
“Christmas overload.”
Rudolph, the Red
Nosed Reindeer
Jack Johnson
We love when newer artists put their own
unique spin on a classic. Jack Johnson
does just that by adding his iconic island
acoustic vibe.
Let it Snow
Daniela Andrade
This is one of the most beautiful (and
modern) renditions of Let it Snow. The
soothing vocals backed by a guitar will
soon become your favorite winter song.
Baby, It’s Cold
Outside
Rosemary Clooney
& Hoagy
Carmichael
We can’t make a holiday playlist without
including one of the greatest “duo” tracks
in holiday music history!
Winter
Wonderland
Jason Mraz
We’re both guilty of listening to this song
well before winter, because it’s THAT good.
December
Us The Duo
We’ve always thought Christmas was the
best day ever. So we wrote this song with a
simple underlying question: Why can’t
Christmas last all year?
No Christmas
for Me
Zee Avi
We’ve experienced the struggles of a
long-distance relationship, and this song is
great for giving hope to those far away
from each other during the holidays.
Christmas
in Paradise
Us The Duo
We’ve always dreamed about spending the
holidays somewhere tropical and warm.
This song is us living that fantasy!
ROCKIE NOLAN
Us The Duo, the husband-and-wife musical
project of Michael and
Carissa Alvarado, are
celebrating the holidays
this season with a
Christmas album, Our
Favorite Time of Year,
out now via Amazon
Music. In the spirit of
their new album, Michael and Carissa shared
a holiday playlist with
USA TODAY, featuring
Christmas standards and
newer covers from their
singer/songwriter peers.
9T
USA TODAY ❚ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017
MOVIES
In theaters this weekend
A Bad Moms Christmas
eeEE
Plot: A trio of underappreciated women have
their holidays turned upside
down when their own bad
moms come to town.
Directors: Jon Lucas and
Scott Moore
Compiled from reviews by USA TODAY film critics
1 hour, 44 minutes
It
Rating: R
Upside: Kathryn Hahn singlehandedly keeps the sequel
entertaining with over-the-top
crassness.
Downside: It’s missing a lot of
the cleverness and rebellious
nature of the hit original.
Plot: A band of small-town
teenagers must stave off
the return of a dark force
manifesting itself as an
evil clown.
Director: Andy Muschietti
eeeE
eeeE
Plot: TWA pilot Barry Seal
(Tom Cruise) gets involved
in gun running and drug
smuggling while working
for the CIA and the
Medellín cartel.
Director: Doug Liman
1 hour, 55 minutes
Justice League
Rating: R
Upside: Cruise is full of his
usual charisma but gives his
embattled pilot a needed and
hilarious sense of desperation.
Downside: The action is
well-paced, but the
momentum derails when
Barry’s family gets sucked into
his illegal dealings.
Plot: Batman (Ben Affleck)
and Wonder Woman (Gal
Gadot) gather a group of
superhumans to face an
invading alien threat.
Director: Zack Snyder
2 hours, 44 minutes
Murder on the Orient Express
Rating: R
Upside: A super-stylish and
deeply human sequel that
outclasses the original sci-fi
classic.
Downside: The runtime is a bit
staggering, but at least it’s
never boring.
Plot: A detective (Kenneth
Branagh) has to question
a slew of suspects when
a murder occurs on a
luxury train.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
eeeE
eeee
Plot: A futuristic cop (Ryan
Gosling) unearths a discovery
that could throw the balance
between mankind and
bioengineered beings
into chaos.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
eeeg
Plot: A Mexican boy (voiced
by Anthony Gonzalez) has
musical dreams that lead him
to visit his deceased family in
the Land of the Dead.
Directors: Lee Unkrich and
Adrian Molina
1 hour, 54 minutes
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Rating: PG
Upside: Pixar’s most songfilled effort to date is a joyful
tale about identity and love
for family.
Downside: It’s unabashed in
its emotional manipulation,
though you won’t mind by the
time you realize it.
Plot: New heroes and old
legends join the fray as the
Resistance tries to survive
against the resurging evil
First Order.
Director: Rian Johnson
eeeg
2 hours, 30 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Upside: This film gives Adam
Driver a chance to shine in a
stellar entry in the saga.
Downside: Even for a fun
‘Star Wars’ movie, the run
time is a bit much.
LUCASFILM LTD.
eEEE
Plot: Dads Dusty (Mark
Wahlberg) and Brad (Will
Ferrell) are back with new
headaches — their own
visiting fathers (Mel Gibson
and John Lithgow).
Director: Sean Anders
1 hour, 40 minutes
Thor: Ragnarok
Rating: PG-13
Upside: Like all dysfunctional
holidays, this unfunny, crude
movie eventually ends and
everyone goes home.
Downside: Gibson is the
absolute wrong choice to play
Wahlberg’s womanizing,
boozing father.
Plot: Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
rounds up a squad to keep
the goddess of death (Cate
Blanchett) from taking over
the realm of Asgard.
Director: Taika Waititi
eeeE
2 hours, 10 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Upside: Hemsworth gets
a chance to showcase his
comedic muscles along with
his beefy biceps.
Downside: The movie
struggles with tone and leans
zany to a fault.
MARVEL STUDIOS
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
The Disaster Artist
eeEE
Rating: PG-13
Upside: Branagh is solid on
both sides of the camera,
especially as the awesomely
mustached supersleuth.
Downside: The all-star cast
is wasted on an overly
complicated, ponderous
murder mystery.
1 hour, 49 minutes
PIXAR
Daddy’s Home 2
Rating: PG-13
Upside: The A-list movie does
justice to its comic-book
characters and offers quite a
bit of underlying emotion.
Downside: A bad CGI villain,
narrative issues and a lack of
character development don’t
do the film any favors.
20TH CENTURY FOX
WARNER BROS.
Coco
1 hour, 59 minutes
WARNER BROS.
UNIVERSAL PICTURES
Blade Runner 2049
Rating: R
Upside: The movie offers a
talented young cast and an
emphasis on heart rather
than all horror.
Downside: A long run time
and unnecessary subplots
upend the grand ambitions.
WARNER BROS.
STX ENTERTAINMENT
American Made
2 hours, 15 minutes
eeeE
Plot: A struggling actor
(Dave Franco) helps his
eccentric filmmaker friend
(James Franco) see his vision
through on his dream film,
“The Room.”
Director: James Franco
1 hour, 45 minutes
Wonder
Rating: R
Upside: James Franco is
hilarious and fantastic as
the eccentric indie director
at the heart of the film.
Downside: Some of the film’s
funniest moments might be
lost on those who haven’t seen
cult hit ‘The Room.
Plot: Life for the Pullmans
orbits around Auggie (Jacob
Tremblay), a child with
extreme facial irregularities.
When his parents (Julia
Roberts, Owen Wilson) decide
it’s time to stop home-schooling him, they pray the world
will welcome their son.
Directors: Stephen Chbosky
AP
eeeE
1 hour, 53 minutes
Rating: PG
Upside: Fifth grade can
be a treacherous place,
but the good guys outrun
the school bullies in this
heartwarming tale.
Downside: There is no
downside. We could all use a
dose of goodness right now.
LIONSGATE
Irresistibly entertaining.
Irresistibly lucrative.
Download our free app,
now with virtual reality.
Experience exclusive awards season access,
the hottest celeb trends, and the juiciest
moments in pop culture.
Download our free app,
now with virtual reality.
Tend to your growing financial future.
10T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
SUPER TEAMS, SUPER CLASH
Pats, Steelers meet
in AFC showdown
Lorenzo Reyes
USA TODAY NETWORK
USA TODAY Sports NFL reporter Lorenzo Reyes has attended multiple contests in 2017 involving the New England
Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, including January's AFC Championship
Game. He just both teams in Week 14
and has some observations heading into
Sunday afternoon's clash at Pittsburgh's
Heinz Field, a matchup likely to determine home-field advantage in the AFC
playoffs:
PATRIOTS
1. Tom Brady may be affected by injury
Neither the Patriots nor Brady have
said much — surprise — about a mysterious Achilles ailment that's landed the
star quarterback on the injury report
over the past three weeks. Brady has
missed practice time and, based on
Monday night’s subpar performance,
it’s worth wondering if his mechanics
have been compromised — especially if
he's nursing his plant foot.
Against Miami on Monday, he
missed several throws he would normally complete with ease. More specifically, Brady short-armed passes to the
sideline or deep parts of the field. Both
of his interceptions were underthrown.
When asked afterward whether the
problem was physical or mechanical,
Brady said: “I think it’s a little of everything.”
2. Receivers need to step up
Tight end Rob Gronkowski's onegame suspension, levied for a dirty hit
at Buffalo in Week 13, further crippled
the passing attack.
Gronk will be back against the Steelers, but the loss to the Dolphins emphasized how limited the Patriot receivers
are when the dominant tight end isn't
drawing attention away from them.
Brandin Cooks was targeted seven
times Monday but caught just one ball.
In fact, no wideout had a reception in
the first half.
The Patriots failed to convert all 11 of
their third-down tries and gained a sea-
Patriots QB Tom Brady has dealt with an Achilles issue for weeks. USA TODAY SPORTS
son-low 248 yards. New England appeared lost facing the relentless pass
rush and disguised coverages the Dolphins utilized.
It's easier said than done, but if the
Steelers can limit Gronkowski and pressure Brady like the Dolphins did, New
England may lack the firepower — even
if newly acquired Kenny Britt is active
Sunday — to compete with Pittsburgh’s
high-scoring offense.
3. Thin depth in front seven is ominous
Injuries have decimated New England’s front seven. Defensive end Trey
Flowers (ribs) and linebacker Kyle Van
Noy (calf) — and their combined 11 1⁄2
sacks — were sorely missed in Miami.
Making matters worse, defensive tackle
Alan Branch (knee) was forced out Monday night.
New England simply couldn't disrupt
Jay Cutler before the Dolphins raced to a
17-point second-half lead.
“You’re not going to be able to do as
much with (backups) as guys that have
done a lot of things against different
teams, different situations, different
looks,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said
Tuesday in a rare moment of candor.
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell
leads the NFL with 1,684 yards from
scrimmage and is the type of multi-purpose threat who can take advantage of
mismatches posed by an injury-weak-
ened unit.
STEELERS
1. Mixed coverages
During an interview with USA TODAY Sports in August, Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler was asked
about his takeaways from last season’s
36-17 loss to New England in the AFC title game. “I learned that we’ve got to
play something else besides zone," he
responded.
Brady dismantled the Pittsburgh defense, completing 76.2% of his throws
for 384 yards and three scores, and a repeat performance would be no surprise
if the Steelers rely on zone concepts
again.
Butler speculated during training
camp that Pittsburgh would “play a little
bit more man-to-man” this year against
the Patriots, which seems wise.
Miami played a lot of single-high
safety coverage with a linebacker playing zone in the middle of the field while
cornerbacks were man-to-man on the
outside.
The Steelers will get a boost if cornerback Joe Haden is ready to return from a
broken fibula Sunday.
2. Pittsburgh really misses Ryan
Shazier
There is probably no player more important to the defense than the uber-
athletic inside linebacker.
And the emotional loss of Shazier,
who recently underwent spinal stabilization surgery after an awkward tackle
at Cincinnati, can't be understated.
Schematically, the Pro Bowler normally chases running backs from sideline to sideline and monitors the shortto-intermediate space in the middle of
the field on passing downs. His absence
Sunday night against the Ravens was
palpable.
Baltimore entered the game ranked
30th in yards per game (288.5) and 18th
in yards per carry (4.0) but gained 413
yards and averaged 5.8 yards per rush
while Shazier watched from his hospital
room.
Sean Spence and Arthur Moats are
trying to fill the void, but as coach Mike
Tomlin said Tuesday: “It’s just not a
realistic discussion to talk about one
guy replacing (Shazier).”
The Steelers may be forced to bring a
safety into the box for run support.
Doing that, however, will likely be an
open invite for Brady to go to the air.
3. Can Pittsburgh afford to play
from behind?
The AFC North champion Steelers
have won eight in a row yet have needed
a game-winning field goal from Chris
Boswell inside the final minute over the
past three weeks.
But it’s not sustainable to continue
surmounting substantial deficits at the
wire — especially against veteran teams
like the Patriots, who are 40-11 since
2001 following a loss.
Brady is 10-2 in his career against
Pittsburgh and has won the last four by
compiling 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Even playing on the road,
Brady and Co. have a mental edge on the
Steelers. But Pittsburgh may be able to
neutralize that by jumping out to an
early lead.
PREDICTION
Expect the Patriots to be hot early,
but look for the Steelers to strike back in
the second half.
Lessons learned from recent failures
against New England — combined with
the Patriots' defensive injuries — give
the Steelers a great chance, especially if
Antonio Brown continues his MVP campaign with another huge performance. >
Steelers 28-26
Five keys help Chargers save year
Lindsay H. Jones
USA TODAY NETWORK
When the Los Angeles Chargers lost
their fourth game of the season on Sept.
30 as the Kansas City Chiefs started
4-0, quarterback Philip Rivers stopped
thinking about the AFC West race.
A four-game deficit that early in the
year, Rivers figured, should be insurmountable. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe his Chargers could rally and find
their way into the wild-card race. But it
felt silly to think about catching the
Chiefs, especially after Kansas City won
the teams’ first matchup 24-10 in Los
Angeles in Week 3.
“You didn’t see it coming. They went
to New England and won. They beat the
Eagles. They were just rolling,” Rivers
said of the Chiefs. “So I didn’t know we
USA SNAPSHOTS©
$11,132,000
Salary of Alabama football coach
Nick Saban in 2017, highest
among all college football
coaches this year
SOURCE USA TODAY Sports
ELLEN J. HORROW, VERONICA BRAVO/USA TODAY
could get to this point in the division
race.”
Yet somehow the Chargers find
themselves with the chance to take sole
possession of first place in the AFC West
Saturday should they beat the Chiefs at
Arrowhead Stadium. Both teams sit 7-6
after the rally Rivers was hoping for arrived with the current four-game win
streak, which followed a with a threegame run in October.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, had lost six
of seven games before last week’s 26-15
win vs. the Raiders.
So how did the Chargers wind up
here? It starts with Rivers, who is playing his way into the MVP conversation,
but includes a hot streak from wide receiver Keenan Allen, a nasty pass rush
tandem and a defense creating turnovers by the bunch.
❚ Rivers in control: The 14th-year
veteran is on pace for nine interceptions
this year, which would tie his career low
since he became the Chargers’ starter in
2006. He’s been largely mistake-free
during Los Angeles' four-game winning
streak, and three of his seven interceptions came against the Chiefs in Week 3.
He ranks fourth in the NFL with 3,611
passing yards and is tied for fifth in
touchdowns with 23. The numbers,
along with with leading the Chargers
back into the playoff race, have Rivers in
the discussion for MVP. “Individual recognition and things come when teams
have success. If that comes with us having a lot of success then I’d be grateful.
But we got a good thing going and hopefully we can keep it going,” Rivers said.
❚ Allen’s hot streak: In recent years,
the story about Allen has been how serious injuries – a torn ACL, a lacerated
kidney – had derailed promising sea-
Philip Rivers and the Chargers are tied
with the Chiefs for the AFC West lead.
RICHARD MACKSON/USA TODAY SPORTS
sons and robbed the Chargers’ of their
top offensive weapon. Now the wide receiver is healthy and has 39 catches for
547 yards and four touchdowns in the
Chargers' last four games, putting him
over 1,000 receiving yards for the first
time since his rookie year in 2013.
Though Los Angeles has found success
in moving Allen around, he’s been particularly dangerous out of the slot,
where defenses typically don't expect to
find a 6-2, 211-pound receiver not known
for his speed. But Allen is among the
NFL’s best receivers off the line, which
has enabled him to get open all over the
field.
❚ Fierce pass rush: Defensive ends
Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram have combined for 20 1/2 sacks, more than half of
the Chargers’ team total of 37. With so
much attention on Bosa and Ingram, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is finding other ways to get pressure – including corner blitzes (rookie nickel corner
Desmond King has four sacks) and from
the interior defensive line (Corey Liuget
was disruptive against Washington last
week with with two tackles and a
shared sack).
❚ Takeaways: No stat better shows
why the Chargers have made this lateseason surge better than turnover margin. At +13, the Chargers rank third in the
NFL. Defensively, the takeaways are
coming from each level of the defense,
with four strip sack fumbles forced by
Bosa (tied for third-most in the NFL)
and 16 interceptions, which is tied for
third. “That is the biggest correlation to
winning. I’ve heard that my whole life:
(not) turning the ball over and getting
turnovers,” Rivers said. “I think that’s
pretty clear. It always holds up. The last
four weeks we haven’t turned it over and
we’ve gotten a bunch of them, and we’ve
won four in a row.”
❚ Elimination-game approach: Because of their slow start, the Chargers
have been playing for relevance since
mid-October, with each loss pushing
them further from playoff contention.
The elimination-game mindset has prepared the team for these meaningful
games in December, Rivers said. “We’ve
been playing very free but at the same
time very focused if that makes any
sense. We know we’ve been in a position
where we’ve had no more wiggle room,
and we’re still there.”
11T
USA TODAY ❚ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Bowl rankings: Sugar tops them all
two well-coached squads can shake off
losses in their respective conference title games, they’ll provide a hard-hitting,
competitive contest that will compete
for your attention in this Thursday night
slot. .
Eddie Timanus
USA TODAY NETWORK
The college football bowl season has
arrived and with it comes our annual
countdown to help you prioritize your
holiday viewing, from least important to
most intriguing.
7. Citrus Bowl in Orlando
39. Cure Bowl in Orlando
Georgia State (6-5) vs. Western
Kentucky (6-6), Dec. 16, 2:30 p.m. ET,
CBSSN: There isn’t a lot to recommend
here to be honest.
38. Boca Raton Bowl
Florida Atlantic (10-3) vs. Akron
(7-6), Dec. 19, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN: Akron is
will probably be overmatched by the
Conference USA champions in what
amounts to another home game for
Lane Kiffin’s Owls.
37. Camellia Bowl
in Montgomery, Ala.
Arkansas State (7-4) vs. Middle
Tennessee (6-6), Dec. 16, 8 p.m. ET,
ESPN: After going to the Bahamas and
Hawaii for the last two years, this destination for the Blue Raiders might feel
like a letdown.
For about five minutes of clock time
vs. Penn St., the Buckeyes looked like
the best team around. USA TODAY SPORTS
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield
will face his toughest test yet in
Georgia. SUE OGROCKI/AP
is another pairing of teams that finished
in the middle of the pack in their respective conferences.
7-5 records are created equal. Wake fans
were ecstatic with how their season unfolded, while the Aggies made a pricy
coaching change.
26. Sun Bowl in El Paso
No. 25 Boise State (10-3) vs. Oregon
(7-5), Dec. 16, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC: One of
the more attractive contests on the
opening-day slate, the Mountain West
champion Broncos look to score a win
against the Pac-12.
15. Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu
25. Music City Bowl in Nashville
No. 24 South Florida (9-2) vs. Texas
Tech (6-6), Dec. 23, noon ET, ESPN:
The Bulls, who narrowly missed out on a
shot at the AAC title game, probably deserved a bigger stage.
No. 20 Northwestern (9-3) vs. Kentucky (7-5), Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m. ET,
ESPN: This all-Wildcats showdown has
bust potential.
Fresno State (9-4) vs. Houston
(7-4), Dec. 24, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: The
Christmas Eve time slot might not be
ideal, but this game features a quality
pairing that should be worth a look.
35. Cactus Bowl in Phoenix
24. Texas Bowl in Houston
14. Bahamas Bowl in Nassau
Kansas State (7-5) vs. UCLA (6-6),
Dec. 26, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN: It’s hard to
know how interested the Bruins will be
in the proceedings as they wait for Chip
Kelly to assume the reins next season.
Missouri (7-5) vs. Texas (6-6), Dec.
27, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN: After a brutal 1-5
start, the Tigers saved their season with
a six-game winning streak and Barry
Odom was rewarded with a two-year
contract extension. The first year under
Tom Herman in Austin saw some growing pains.
UAB (8-4) vs. Ohio (8-4), Dec. 22,
12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: What UAB and
coach Bill Clark accomplished was quite
remarkable, resurrecting a football program that had been shuttered for two
years and getting a terrific postseason
destination as a reward.
Utah State (6-6) vs. New Mexico
State (6-6), Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m. ET,
CBSSN: Give credit to the Aggies from
Las Cruces, who managed to end their
57-year bowl drought in their final season in the Sun Belt.
33. Gasparilla Bowl
in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Florida International (8-4) vs.
Temple (6-6), Dec. 21, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN:
Butch Davis got immediate results at
FIU, getting the Golden Panthers to their
first bowl since 2011.
32. Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit
Northern Illinois (8-4) vs. Duke
(6-6), Dec. 26, 5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN: The
Blue Devils needed to win their last two
games to salvage a streaky season.
13. New Orleans Bowl
23. Foster Farms Bowl
in Santa Clara, Calif.
Arizona (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6), Dec.
27, 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox: The Boilermakers
qualified for this game by beating Indiana for the Old Oaken Bucket. They get a
tough assignment, however, as they
face Wildcats’ dual-threat QB Khalil
Tate.
22. Pinstripe Bowl in New York
Iowa (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5),
Dec. 27, 5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN: At a coldweather venue with two teams best
known for stingy defense, the score figures to be close if not especially high.
21. Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md.
Southern Mississippi (8-4) vs. Florida State (6-6), Dec. 27, 1:30 p.m. ET,
ESPN: FSU’s younger players will want
to make a positive impression as they
await their new coaching staff.
Navy (6-6) vs. Virginia (6-6), Dec.
28, 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Cavaliers
come in on a three-game skid, but after
going 2-10 in 2016 they’re more than
happy to be bowling. The Midshipmen
also stumbled down the stretch but
should still have plenty of fight in them
on their home field as they look to
bounce back from the loss to Army.
30. Frisco (Texas) Bowl
20. TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville
Southern Methodist (7-5) vs. Louisiana Tech (6-6), Dec. 20, 8 p.m. ET,
ESPN: The Mustangs put up over 40
points a game. The Bulldogs aren’t nearly as prolific, but they should be able to
keep pace as the SMU defense is quite
leaky.
No. 23 Mississippi State (8-4) vs.
Louisville (8-4), Dec. 30, noon ET,
ESPN: It’s probably going to be your last
chance to see Cardinals’ QB Lamar Jackson in a college game.
31. Independence Bowl in
Shreveport, La.
29. Heart of Dallas Bowl
West Virginia (7-5) vs. Utah (6-6),
Dec. 26, 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: The season
was disappointing for both these teams
that started out in the top 25.
28. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in
Boise
19. Liberty Bowl in Memphis
No. 18 Memphis (10-2) vs. Iowa
State (7-5), Dec. 30, 12:30 p.m. ET, ABC:
The Tigers won’t get to travel for the
holidays, but they shouldn’t assume
playing at home guarantees a victory.
The Cyclones were inconsistent late in
the season but still own one of the season’s best road wins at Oklahoma.
Troy (10-2) vs. North Texas (9-4),
Dec. 16, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN: The bowl season kicks off with this hidden gem between two former Sun Belt rivals. They
meet for the first time since the Mean
Green departed for Conference USA.
San Diego State (10-2) vs. Army
(9-3), Dec. 23, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: This
might be the quickest of the bowl
games, as neither team makes extensive
use of the forward pass. The Black
Knights, last seen holding off Navy in an
instant classic, boast the nation’s most
productive ground game. The Aztecs
have the top individual rusher in the
FBS; Rashaad Penny netted 2,027 yards
in the regular season.
11. Dollar General Bowl
in Mobile, Ala.
Toledo (11-2) vs. Appalachian State
(8-4), Dec. 23, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN: This rematch of last season’s terrific Camellia
Bowl gets the nod as the top pairing of
unranked opponents. The Mountaineers prevailed last year 31-28 in a backand-forth affair. Many of the participants are back.
10. Camping World Bowl in Orlando
No. 17 Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. No.
22 Virginia Tech (9-3), Dec. 28, 5:15
p.m. ET, ESPN: The star-studded Cowboys senior class will look to ride off
with a final win to conclude a fine career.
The Hokies, who have considerably
more youth at certain spots, would like
to build toward a run in the ACC Coastal
next season.
5. Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
No. 9 Penn State (10-2) vs. No. 12
Washington (10-2), Dec. 30, 4 p.m. ET,
ESPN: Though both teams came up
short in their crowded divisions, they
finish the regular season strong and
should provide a close contest.
4. Peach Bowl in Atlanta
No. 8 Auburn (10-3) vs. No. 10 Central Florida (12-0), Jan. 1, 12:30 p.m.,
ET, ESPN: It’s a bittersweet achievement for UCF, looking to cap a perfect
season while bidding farewell to coach
Scott Frost. In addition, the Knights are
perhaps carrying the future hopes of all
group-of-five conference hopefuls as
they take on one of the premier programs from the mighty SEC.
No. 5 Ohio State (11-2) vs. No. 7
Southern California (11-2), Dec. 29,
8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: Though we rate it at
the top of the non-semifinal slate, in
truth both teams showed at times during the year why they weren’t deemed to
be among the top four. For about five
minutes of clock time against Penn
State, the Buckeyes looked like the best
team in America, making their performance at Iowa all the more inexplicable.
The Trojans were saddled with a schedule of 12 consecutive games without an
open date, and it cost them on a short
week at Washington State and in the
hostile environs of Notre Dame Stadium. But they seemingly enter this bowl
with everything clicking for QB Sam
Darnold.
2. Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
No. 2 Oklahoma (12-1) vs. No. 3
Georgia (12-1), Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN:
And at last we come to the main event.
We’ll put this semifinal in the second
spot, although it is every bit as intriguing as the other half of the draw. It is
perhaps remarkable that these schools
that have fielded teams as long as they
have are meeting on the field for the first
time. Much attention will be paid to
Sooners’ QB Baker Mayfield and how
well the Heisman winner fares against
the highest-ranked defense he’ll have
seen all season.
1. Sugar Bowl in New Orleans
9. Holiday Bowl in San Diego
Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina
(8-4), Jan. 1, noon ET, ESPN2: Usually,
this contest shows up in the top 10. But
neither of these teams accomplished
much against the upper echelons of
their respective leagues.
27. New Mexico Bowl
in Albuquerque
17. Belk Bowl in Charlotte
8. Alamo Bowl in San Antonio
Marshall (7-5) vs. Colorado State
(7-5), Dec. 16, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: This
Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Texas A&M
(7-5), Dec. 29, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN: Not all
No. 13 TCU (10-3) vs. No. 16 Stanford
(9-4), Dec. 28, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN: If these
18. Outback Bowl in Tampa
No. 6 Wisconsin (12-1) vs. No. 11 Miami (Fla.) (10-2), Dec. 30, 8 p.m. ET,
ESPN: We’re really splitting hairs on this
quality NY6 undercard, but we’ll start
with this clash of two of the last teams
to taste defeat in 2017. The Badgers were
agonizingly close to perfection but hope
to end on a high note. The Hurricanes
will be eager to show that their closing
skid wasn’t just a case of their good fortune running out.
3. Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas
12. Armed Forces Bowl
in Fort Worth
No. 19 Michigan State (9-3) vs. No.
21 Washington State (9-3), Dec. 28, 9
p.m. ET, Fox: There was a bit of grousing
from the Michigan State camp on selection day when the Spartans were passed
over in favor of Michigan for the Outback Bowl. In truth, they got a more attractive game anyway, and San Diego is
quite nice this time of year.
Central Michigan (8-4) vs. Wyoming (7-5), Dec. 22, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN:
The Chippewas ride into Boise on a fivegame winning streak, which included a
sweep of their directional Michigan
MAC rivals.
6. Orange Bowl
in Miami Gardens, Fla.
16. Las Vegas Bowl
North Carolina State (8-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5), Dec. 29, 3 p.m. ET,
CBS: It’s The Wolfpack’s year was on the
verge of being truly special but in the
end was just OK. The Sun Devils’ season-ending rivalry win against Arizona
was insufficient to save Todd Graham’s
job.
36. Birmingham Bowl
34. Arizona Bowl in Tucson
No. 14 LSU (9-3) vs. No. 15 Notre
Dame (9-3), Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET, ABC: We’ll
give this battle of name-brand programs the nod as the best matchup outside the playoff access bowls. Considering where the Fighting Irish were a year
ago, playing on New Year’s Day is a tremendous accomplishment, though
losses in two of their last three put a
damper on things. The Tigers overcame
a disastrous September that ended with
a homecoming loss to Troy, with a huge
comeback against Auburn highlighting
a 6-1 finish.
No. 1 Clemson (12-1) vs. No. 4 Alabama (11-1), Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN:
Given how those last two encounters in
the championship game unfolded, we
kind of have to put this one at No. 1. It
will be hard for this semifinal to live up
to those first two rounds, but neither
would we bet against it. Clemson comes
in as the hotter team, firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball down the
stretch. The Tide looked mortal in its final SEC contests of November that obviously included the setback at Auburn,
but the down time might help the depleted defense find some answers.
12T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
WEATHER
WEATHER ONLINE
USATODAY.COM
TODAY’S FORECAST
Seattle
45/41r
Helena
30/12sn
Portland
43/40r
NATIONAL FORECAST
Bismarck
44/22c
Portland
32/13sf
Billings
33/19sn
Boise
34/20pc
Mpls-St. Paul
31/21c
Albany
31/11sf
Rapid City
39/22sn
Sacramento
63/43s
Salt Lake City
36/23sf
San Francisco
62/49s
Denver
51/22c
Las Vegas
61/42s
Los Angeles
71/50s
San Diego
66/49s
Milwaukee Detroit
39/32c
31/25sn Cleveland
37/23sf
Chicago
Pittsburgh
44/28pc
42/25sf
Indianapolis
Omaha
49/33s
52/26pc
St. Louis
Washington
60/40s
Cincinnati 48/33pc
Kansas City
50/32s
59/39pc
Wichita
Charlotte
60/40s
54/32s
Nashville
Memphis
Tulsa
57/37s
58/42s
62/43s
Casper
33/17sn
Phoenix
69/49pc
PRECIPITATION
Albuquerque
48/27pc
Little Rock
60/41s
Dallas-Fort Worth
64/44s
Houston
61/49c
El Paso
57/40s
Birmingham
56/39pc
Miami
80/68s
Hawaii
Forecasts and
graphics provided by
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©2017
Precipitation
c Cloudy
dr Drizzle
f Fog
h Haze
Below 10
10s
Thunderstorms
i Ice
r Rain
pc Partly cloudy s Sunny
20s
Rain
30s
Honolulu
78/69pc
Showers
sf Snow flurries
sh Showers
Hilo
79/61pc
Juneau
41/36r
40s
Baltimore
45/28pc
Charleston
58/36s
Atlanta
56/38s
Tampa
75/58pc
Alaska
Anchorage
35/25sn
Temperatures (°F)
New York
38/27pc
Philadelphia
42/28pc
Orlando
72/53pc
New Orleans
60/54pc
San Antonio
53/43r
Boston
36/20pc
50s
60s
Snow
70s
Snow flurries
sn Snow
w Windy
t Thunderstorms
80s
90s
100s
110+
Ice / wintry mix
Note: The forecast highs are for the 24-hour
period of that day. Low-temperature forecasts
are for the upcoming night.
TODAY
SUN
28/23pc
Providence
SUN
Albany, N.Y.
TODAY
31/11sf
36/18pc 34/26pc
Raleigh, N.C.
52/30s
Allentown, Pa.
37/23pc 41/30pc
Reno
40/19pc 42/23pc
Atlantic City
45/31pc 46/40pc
Richmond, Va.
50/29s
54/41pc
Augusta, Ga.
57/30s
64/45c
Rochester, N.Y.
28/14sf
30/26c
66/43s
57/43pc
Austin
56/40r
67/51c
San Jose, Calif.
65/47s
Bakersfield, Calif.
61/35s
61/37s
Sarasota, Fla.
74/56s
80/62pc
Baton Rouge
58/50pc 73/62r
Savannah, Ga.
60/36s
69/52pc
Boise
34/20pc 33/26pc
Shreveport, La.
62/42pc 67/48pc
Buffalo
26/14sf
South Bend, Ind.
40/25pc 40/32c
Cedar Rapids
48/24pc 41/24c
Spokane, Wash.
28/23pc 34/29c
Colorado Springs
55/24pc 36/21pc
Springfield, Mo.
61/40s
Columbia, S.C.
56/32s
Syracuse, N.Y.
28/11sf
27/23c
Columbus, Ohio
44/29pc 44/36r
Toledo, Ohio
37/23sf
39/32c
Dayton, Ohio
45/30s
Tucson
69/48pc 59/35sh
Daytona Beach
67/53pc 77/59pc
Des Moines
31/29pc
64/47c
43/35r
53/40r
54/30pc 44/27c
WORLD FORECAST
Duluth, Minn.
20/14c
27/14c
Athens, Greece
66/56sh 65/49sh
Fort Myers, Fla.
78/60s
83/64pc
Baghdad
71/42s
70/42s
Fresno
58/34s
59/35s
Beijing
34/17s
42/24s
Grand Rapids
29/24sn 37/31sn
Berlin
36/29c
34/30pc
Greensboro, N.C.
50/30s
55/43c
Buenos Aires
96/60t
74/55pc
Greenville, S.C.
53/33s
56/46r
Cairo
71/56s
75/60s
Harrisburg, Pa.
42/26pc 42/30pc
Caracas, Ven.
85/74pc 84/75pc
Hartford, Conn.
34/14pc 31/24pc
Freeport, Bahamas
79/64pc 80/67pc
Huntsville, Ala.
56/37s
Hong Kong
65/53pc 62/53c
54/50r
Jackson, Miss.
61/46pc 67/59r
Jerusalem
61/46s
Jacksonville
63/45pc 74/56pc
Kingston, Jamaica
89/75pc 89/76s
66/50s
Knoxville, Tenn.
52/29s
50/45r
London
41/35pc 49/40sh
Lexington, Ky.
51/33s
49/41r
Madrid
50/29pc 49/27s
Louisville
55/37s
50/43r
Manila
81/73c
83/75r
Lubbock, Texas
57/32s
57/33s
Mexico City
70/47pc
71/49pc
Madison, Wis.
38/25c
39/26c
Montreal
20/6sn
12/4pc
McAllen, Texas
56/49r
72/62pc
Moscow
41/37r
42/30sn
Mobile, Ala.
57/48pc
73/63r
Nassau, Bahamas
82/71s
83/71pc
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
54/37s
62/49c
New Delhi
69/46pc 71/48pc
Nags Head, N.C.
48/37s
53/48pc
Paris
41/33pc 44/40pc
Norfolk, Va.
49/34s
56/42pc
Rome
54/37sh
Oklahoma City
60/40s
55/36pc
Sydney
85/71pc 79/72c
Palm Springs
72/53s
69/45s
Tokyo
59/41pc
Pensacola, Fla.
58/52pc 73/64r
Toronto
26/12pc 27/25c
52/33s
48/36pc
Irresistibly athletic.
Meet our new app, now with virtual reality.
Feed your inner fan with in-depth player interviews,
up-to-the-minute scores, and the most thrilling moments in sports.
PUZZLES
Report puzzle problems to us at
feedback@usatoday.com or 1-800-872-7073
By David L. Hoyt and Jeff Knurek
BY Fred Piscop
12/16
Eight words rhyming with “flower” (four-letter min.)
Three school subjects
Gold, silver and bronze positions
Two related amphibians
Bounce back
☑☐☐☐☐☐☐☐
☐☐☐
☐☐☐
☐☐
☐
QUICKCROSS
© Andrews McMeel
Find and Circle:
TAKE FIVE
P
L
U
J
V
B
H
J
T
T
O
R
O
I
R
S
H
O
D
U
S
F
C
X
I
A
N
T
R
I
S
Z
R
D
O
M
E
R
E
T
D Y H
R T E
A C F
N C R
Z H O
S T G
C O N
OW E
V H
S O
C U
O R
U E
R W
D O
R P
UP & DOWN WORDS
By John Wilmes
12/16
© Andrews McMeel
ACROSS
1 Set components,
at the gym
5 Yucatan natives
10 Pre-cable TV
annoyance
14 Skin cream
additive
15 Cinnabon stand
emanation
16 With 56-Across,
hoppy brew
17 Old King Cole
request
18 What a sentry
keeps
19 Partner of
Currier
20 Top job in the
NHL?
23 Handyman’s
letters
24 Number on most
Scrabble tiles
25 Hopi home
28 Elevator
alternative
30 Get the ball
rolling
33 Husking unit
34 Pose, in a way
36 Priest in I Samuel
37 Chess player’s “I
win!”
38 Generator of
automated Dear
John letters?
42 Top seeds may
draw them
43 Alley-___
(basketball play)
44 Seemingly
endless span
45 Not subject to
change
46 Tartan wearers
48 More prevalent
52 Magazine for
marketers
54 Bricklayer’s
burden
56 See 16-Across
57 Smokes for Dr.
Zaius?
61 Creche threesome
63 Port of Honshu
S F
H O
O V
WC
E O
R W
K E
R R
WORD ROUNDUP
CROSSWORD
Scorch
“Pilot” or “mobile” prefix
Ram (into)
By David L. Hoyt and Russell L. Hoyt
12/16
1. FRAGGLE
2.
3.
4.
5.
Tree juices
6.
Clues:
1. Jim Henson show
2. Certain crustacean
3. Chilled dish with sauce
4. Social gathering with drinks
5. Certain political principles
6. Forms a queue
7. New York, to Miami
Hoop type
Above
© Andrews McMeel
64 Home to workers
and drones
65 Boardroom VIP,
briefly
66 Place for a flag
pin
67 Congregation’s
response
68 Harper of
“Breaking Bad”
69 Salon workers, at
times
70 Tinker Bell
costume
accessory
DOWN
1 Canoeist’s
challenge
2 Draw out, as a
response
3 Spinach eater of
cartoons
4 Trickle through
the cracks
5 Expert, as in
fashion
6 Crops up
7 Boo-Boo’s toon
friend
12/16
8 In the thick of
9 Bargain
basement tag
figure
10 Curry or
cardamom
11 Common soup
legume
12 World Cup cry
13 Bentley of “Pete’s
Dragon”
21 Martini’s partner
in winemaking
22 Avid fan, slangily
26 After the buzzer
27 ___-Ida (Tater Tots
maker)
29 Hippies’ digs
31 Act the siren
32 ___ vapeur
(steamed)
35 Beat senseless
37 Mary Quant skirt
design
38 Gave the
once-over to
39 Pay after
deductions
40 Sticky stuff
41 Nomadic group
Answers: Call 1-900-988-8300, 99 cents a minute; or, with a credit card, 1-800-320-4280.
42 “Be Prepared”
org.
46 Get the drift of
47 Ann Lee, notably
49 Daughter of
Muhammad
50 Cricket
complement
51 Tend to a failed
delivery
53 “Iliad” and
“Odyssey,” for two
55 Grad students’
hurdles
58 “What’d ___” (Ray
Charles hit)
59 Stare slack-jawed
60 Easing of tensions
61 Citi Field player
62 Guitar, to a guitar
god
CROSSWORDS
ON YOUR PHONE
mobilegames.usatoday.com
NORTH
7.
They can be locked on a
keyboard
Seating sections
QUICKCROSS
ON YOUR PHONE
mobilegames.usatoday.com
PLAY ONLINE
PUZZLES.USATODAY.COM
© Andrews McMeel
SUDOKU
Complete the grid so that every row, column and 3x3
box contains the numbers 1 through 9 (no repeats).
6 9
5
2
5 4
3
9
1
3
4
1
4
8
12/16
7 5
4 9
3 2
6 5
DIFFICULTY RATING
6
3
3
1
2
1
8
3
3
8
5
4
6
4
1
6
9
5
9
5
2
4
1
Complete the grid so that every row, column and 3x2
box contains the numbers 1 through 6 (no repeats).
6
2
4
4
6
DIFFICULTY RATING
)))$$
SUDOKU FUSION
ON YOUR PHONE
)))$$ mobilegames.usatoday.com
DON’T QUOTE ME®
English journalist
Walter Bagehot
offers this insight.
Rearrange the words to complete the quote.
EXCEPT INTERVAL LONG MEDITATION
PRODUCED STILL WORK
NO GREAT ________ HAS EVER BEEN ______________
___________ AFTER A ________ ______________ OF
___________ AND MUSING ______________.
12/16
© WIGGLES 3D GAMES
© Andrews McMeel
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