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Credit card companies lure in customers with low teaser rates

Written By kom Namsat on Minggu, 20 April 2014 | 12.56

Credit card companies know there's no free lunch, but they're letting more customers get a taste as an enticement by gouging their existing card members.

The average credit card interest rate for people with fair credit has hit a shocking 21 percent, up more than 2 percent from only a year ago, according to industry group CardHub.

Credit card companies, which attract new customers with zero percent teaser rates and more rewards, have raised rates while their costs remain historically low, industry observers say.

"Credit card interest rates were higher across the board during the first three months of 2014 relative to the same period last year," according to CardHub's Landscape report. The report said the increase was roughly 2.12 percentage points on a year-to-year basis.

Another rising and unsettling trend: More strapped consumers are taking pricey cash advance deals, a CardHub official warns.

These customers are forgetting the credit card woes of 2008, when delinquency rates rose because, as card companies stopped offering cheap deals, many consumers were stuck with high-interest card debts, he says.

Indeed, some consumers aren't considering that long-term effect of teaser rates, CardHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou warned.

He says this is part of a strategy by card issuers to increase profit margins by borrowing at near zero rates and then charging customers 21 percent interest instead of 18 percent.

"I think credit card companies are essentially realizing that consumers are more focused on introductory rates. So they are not paying much attention to what happens after the introductory rates," Papadimitriou said.

Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com, agreed that rates have been rising, adding that some consumers aren't looking "beyond the teaser, introductory rates and when they can be ended, such as for missing a payment."

Neither MasterCard nor the American Bankers Association wished to comment.

A three percentage-point increase on a credit card can make a big difference, Papadimitriou noted. "It doesn't seem like much, but in relative terms, that really adds up over the long term," he said.

Papadimitriou added that the increased use of cash-advance loans is a worrying trend. These loans trigger interest the minute the loan is taken and have no grace periods. The fees on these loans went up in the first quarter by some 10 percent, increasing to an average of $12.31, CardHub said.

Such loans are the worst ways to access credit, Papadimitriou believes.


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Deal with Warner opens door to artists’ rights

The music industry should prepare to be rocked by this deal.

More than two decades after Prince scrawled "slave" on his face to protest his record label, the artist has reconciled with Warner Bros. Records as part of a truce that will give him control over his master recordings.

Under the partnership, the eccentric singer will be able to exploit his own song catalog for commercial gain. In exchange, Warner Bros. will get to release his new album and a remastered 30th anniversary edition of his 1984 masterpiece, "Purple Rain."

"A brand-new studio album is on the way and both Warner Bros. Records and Eye [sic] are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful working relationship," Prince said in a statement that used his unconventional spelling for the pronoun.

Prince also agreed to sign an exclusive global licensing partnership covering every album from 1978 through the nineties, including "Dirty Mind," "Controversy" and "1999." Financial terms weren't disclosed.

While both sides portrayed it as a win-win situation, the landmark deal to end their long-running dispute over who owns the copyright to his original recordings could inspire other artists to claw back ownership of their catalogs.

Thanks to an often overlooked change in copyright laws dating back to the mid-1970s, musicians, writers and other artists can exercise so-called "termination rights."

The provision, which took effect last year with recordings from 1978, enables the creators of music to win back their US rights after 35 years, so long as they can show that they weren't employees of the record label. Other artists who released big-selling albums in 1978 include Dire Straits and Van Halen.

The law applies even if an artist or songwriter signed a contract with a record label to transfer all the rights to their work.

With the recording industry still reeling from piracy and declining sales, the provision could lead to more headaches for major record labels.

However, "terminations" are not automatic and usually entail extensive litigation when the law applies.

While Prince and his record label didn't address the copyright law, there is little doubt that it could have been used as leverage in the negotiations with both sides likely eager to avoid an expensive legal battle.

Indeed, some in the music business expressed surprise that Warner would cave given the huge value of Prince's works. The "Purple Rain" soundtrack, for instance, is one of the most popular of all time and has sold 20 million copies.

"It's a big no-no under most circumstances," said one music source, referring to giving back master rights.

Industry sources speculate that Warner desperately wanted access to Prince's new material with his latest band, 3rd Eye Girl, while capitalizing on the 30th anniversary of "Purple Rain."

Warner Bros. Entertainment, which is no longer allied with the music label, is said to be re-releasing the classic '80s movie of the same name with Prince in the lead role.


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Pulitzer board okays journalists cooperating with traitors

It's official: Treason is cool and traitors are acceptable sources for journalists. The Pulitzer Prize says so.

In giving the 2014 Public Service award to The Washington Post and The Guardian for publishing stories based on Edward Snowden's stolen documents, the Pulitzer judges gave their stamp of approval to news organizations that cooperate with criminals and compromise national security. No doubt the lesson will trickle down to scoop-hungry young journalists that they should cultivate people willing to betray America.

And why not? Those scribes whose sources steal the most important documents could win a Pulitzer and be the toast of anti-Americans around the world. No responsibility for catastrophe is required.

Other ambitious young people might conclude there is glory in being the next Snowden. If they're really successful, they might get to be part of a propaganda event with Vladimir Putin, as the fugitive Snowden was last week.

Indicted by a federal grand jury under the Espionage Act, he lives under the tender mercies of Putin and the warm embrace of the Communist state. He's safe as long as he's useful, as he was when Putin took time out from carving up his neighbors to use Snowden to mock America. Because the former NSA contractor didn't bat out a secret message with his eyes that he was being tortured, we must assume that he's voluntarily burnishing Putin's image during the campaign to crush the freedom of millions of Ukrainians.

Snowden's video appearance with the dictator, where he asked the ex-KGB agent a softball question about Russian surveillance, should have embarrassed the ­Pulitzer people. Coming days ­after they sanctified his dirty work, they were reminded that Snowden is no whistleblower.

He didn't stay to make his case to the American public or to fight the charges in court. He ran first to China and then to Russia to spill his national-security secrets about programs that aim to stop the next 9/11 before it happens.

Snowden stole thousands of documents in part by tricking colleagues into surrendering their security passwords to get access beyond his clearance level. He says he took the job to expose the system but, because of where he found sanctuary, the possibility that he was a foreign agent from the beginning ­remains an open question.

Either way, Snowden's actions represent one of the most serious security breaches in modern times. He intentionally alerted our enemies to our capabilities and programs, some of which must be scrapped at a cost of billions upon billions of dollars to taxpayers. So far, there are no known fatalities from his betrayal, but if there were, would that matter to him?

As for the Pulitzers, Snowden is not mentioned in the award, but for pure transparency, he should have been. The Washington Post and The Guardian didn't do traditional reporting. They were handed the documents under agreements with Snowden and his accomplices and wrote stories about them. Not to at least credit Snowden for making that work possible seems an act of convenient omission by the Pulitzer board.

Then again, what would the judges have said to mitigate their harm? That "we don't approve of how the papers obtained the documents, but we think they were important enough that it doesn't matter"?

That would have caused a firestorm, but it would have made their rationale for the Public Service award more open and kept faith with their stated standards of sparking a public debate over security and privacy. If nothing else, an informed debate about surveillance should be accompanied by an equally informed debate about journalism ethics and standards.

Instead, the judges made the award without caveat or explanation, and that will have a huge impact on the cultures of newsrooms and classrooms across the country. Any journalist who wants a Pulitzer now has a license to go for it with almost no limits.

With news organizations already trusted about as much as politicians, which is to say, not much, the award can only further diminish journalism in the eyes of ordinary Americans. If that was the goal of this Pulitzer, then it's definitely Mission Accomplished.

A 'Sharp' criticism

Reader Bradd Gold is no fan of Al Sharpton and his political enablers. "He seems to have a problem paying his personal taxes, as well National Action Network's," Gold writes. "The situation is compounded when Democrats, Obama and de Blasio, in particular, constantly talk of citizens paying their fair share. Can anything be more hypocritical than speaking at a function for a man who makes a mockery of the very platform these people shove down our throats?"

Gotbaum's horse sense

It's hard to think of anything more tiresome than the sterile debate over carriage horses, so many thanks to former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum for an idea that would save the horses and improve street safety. She says there are unused spaces in Central Park where the horses could be boarded, and they and their customers would never have to leave the park.

Of course, anti-carriage zealots won't find her solution sufficiently radical, but that's their problem. The rest of us should say "aye" to Gotbaum's idea and giddyup to bigger problems.

A tall tale by Hillary

Hillary Clinton used her four years as secretary of state to fly around the world as a celebrity and avoid trouble spots so she could spin a book of triumph and run for president. With 2016 fast approaching, it's time for the book, and — surprise! — it will be a long piece of campaign literature.

In the real world, Clinton accomplished nothing and was a steward of failed policies from Asia to the Mideast to Europe. In the make-believe world of her presidential ambition, she was a global crusader for all that is good and true.

Publisher Simon & Schuster calls the book "Hard Choices" and promises an "inside account of the crises, choices and challenges she faced." It quotes her as saying such weighty things as, "All of us face hard choices in our lives," and, "Life is about making these choices, and how we handle them shapes the people we become."

Oy.

If Clinton offers only clichés and warmed-over Gwyneth Paltrow goop, readers will have an easy choice: Find another book.

Melissa the cheapskate

Studies show that conservatives give more to charity than liberals, so it figures that an ultra-liberal would give nothing. That's the case with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose tax returns show a salary of $113,555, plus $14,952 in net rental income on her subsidized East Harlem house. She paid $20,460 in taxes to the feds and $12,838 to the city and state — but contributed zero, nada, nothing to charity, The Post reports.

Then again, she gives at the office. The speaker, who was flattered by a sketch likening her to Che Guevara, never hesitates to spend other people's money. She's only cheap with her own.


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Canonization of popes John Paul II, John XXIII to draw millions to Rome

Easter services today are expected to kick off a record-breaking week at the Vatican.

Two beloved modern popes — John Paul II and John XXIII — are to be canonized at the Vatican next Sunday by Pope Francis.

There will be services all week, which could draw the most pilgrims ever to the Catholic capital.

John Paul II is remembered for helping to bring down communism and for inspiring a generation of Catholics. Many now call him "The Great," only the fourth pope to have earned the moniker.

And while much of the crowd's focus will be on the Polish pope's remarkable achievements, Pope John XXIII — known as the "Good Pope" for his kindhearted nature — was no less revolutionary.

Pope Francis bypassed the second miracle typically required for canonization for John XXIII, declaring that he deserved the honor for having convened the Second Vatican Council.

Rome officials said they expected 3 million visitors in the city during the period from the Easter celebrations this weekend and the canonization next Sunday.

Nineteen heads of state and 24 prime ministers are expected to attend the canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square.

In line with Pope Francis's no-frills papacy, organizers said the canonizations would be a much more sober affair than the three-day extravaganza that marked John Paul's beatification, the last step before sainthood, in 2011.

Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the vicar of Rome, said some churches would remain open overnight on the eve of the canonization to provide a spiritual retreat for pilgrims, "but not much else."

Francis has long signaled his support for making a saint of John Paul II, whose funeral nine years ago saw mourners chant, "Santo subito [Saint now]!"

In his 2005 testimony to officials responsible for the sainthood cause, Francis, then Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, praised John Paul's approach to death as "heroic": John Paul considered stepping down as pope but chose to serve until his death.

"John Paul II taught us, by hiding nothing from others, to suffer and to die, and that, in my opinion, is heroic," said Bergoglio at the time.


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How a brain injury turned a college dropout into a genius

When Jason Padgett pours cream into his morning coffee, this is what he sees:

"I watch the cream stirred into the brew. The perfect spiral is an important shape to me. It's a fractal. Suddenly, it's not just my morning cup of joe, it's geometry speaking to me."

Padgett's world is bursting with mathematical patterns. He is one of a few people in the world who can draw approximations of fractals, the repeating geometric patterns that are building blocks of everything in the known universe, by hand. Tree leaves outside his window are evidence of Pythagoras' Theorem. The arc that light makes when it bounces off his car proves the power of pi.

He sees the parts that make up the whole. And his world is never boring, never without amazement. Even his dreams are made up of geometry.

"I can barely remember a time," the 43-year-old says, "when I saw the world the way most everyone else does."

Flashback 12 years: Padgett had dropped out of Tacoma (Wash.) Community College, and was a self-described "goof" with zero interest in academics, let alone math. The only time he dealt in numbers was to track the hours until his shift ended at his father's furniture store, tally up his bar tab, and count bicep curls at the gym.

With his mullet, leather vest opened to a bare chest, and skintight pants, he was more like a high-school student stuck in the 1980s — even though it was 2002, and he was a 31-year-old with a daughter.

He would race his buddies in a freshly painted red Camaro. His life was one adrenaline rush after another: cliff-jumping, sky-diving, bar-hopping. He was the "life of the party." The guy who would funnel a beer before going out and would slip a bottle of Southern Comfort in his jacket pocket to avoid paying $6 for mixed drinks.

"I thought it would go on that way forever," Padgett says.

Party time came to end the night of Friday, Sept. 13, 2002, at a karaoke bar near his home. There, two men attacked him from behind, punching him in the back of the head, knocking him unconscious.

He fell to the ground as the two men punched and kicked him, stopping only when he handed over his worthless jacket.

He was rushed to the hospital, where a CT scan revealed a bruised kidney. He was released that same night.

The next morning, while running the water in the bathroom, he noticed "lines emanating out perpendicularly from the flow. At first, I was startled, and worried for myself, but it was so beautiful that I just stood in my slippers and stared."

When he extended his hand out in front of him, it was like "watching a slow-motion film," as if ­every slight movement was in stop-motion animation.

Days went by, but the visuals remained.

Padgett said he was a mullett-wearing "goof" until September 2002 when he was mugged and beat up.

Padgett, who had scored relatively high on IQ tests in elementary school but reached only pre-algebra in high school, soon became "obsessed with every shape in my house, from rectangles of the windows to the curvature of a spoon."

When he looked at numbers, colorful shapes superimposed over them.

He stopped going to work and began to read anything he could get his hands on about math and physics. He developed a fascination with fractals and pi.

The doctors called what happened to him a "profound concussion." Little did they know just how profound it was.

Padgett is one of only 40 people in the world with "acquired ­savant syndrome," a condition in which prodigious talents in math, art or music emerge in previously normal individuals following a brain injury or disease.

Acquired savants like Padgett raise remarkable questions about the rest of us average folk: Do we all have inner Einsteins just waiting for the right bop on the head to be set free? Do we possess inner greatness?

"I believe I am living proof that these powers lie dormant in all of us," Padgett writes in his memoir, "Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), out Tuesday.

"If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone."

After Padgett's brain was shook up, so was his perception of the world.

"I noticed the light bouncing off a car window in the form of an arc, and the concept came to life," he writes. "It clicked for me ­because the circle I saw was subdivided by light rays, and I realized each ray was really a representation of pi."

Overcome by his realization, he began to draw out the images. Although he never had an aptitude for art before, now it was as if "someone else were clutching my fist and guiding my hand." Drawings had to be perfect. Sometimes they took days, a few took weeks.

During one of his meditations, he came to the conclusions that "circles don't exist."

"It was like a bomb went off in my mind. In a matter of minutes, I was no longer just a receiver of geometric imagery or a researcher; I was a theorist," he writes.

The Post showed some of Padgett's drawings to Tim Chartier, a math and computer-science professor at Davidson College in North Carolina and author of "Math Bytes" (Princeton University Press).

"It's remarkable that he sees the world this way without any real training," says Chartier. "Is that genius? I think you have to be careful when you use that word, but, yes, to be able to see that. That's just wild."

Padgett reminds Chartier of Srinivasa Ramanujan, an early-20th-century mathematician who significantly contributed to number theory despite never receiving formal training.

But Padgett is not the next Stephen Hawking. This ability allows him to see the world in a unique way — but it's highly ­unlikely his ability will land him a Fields Medal.

"He needs the help of a trained mathematician," says Chartier.

There were downsides that came along with the new Padgett. Once gregarious and outgoing, he now refused to leave the house. He nailed blankets to the window and refused visitors. He became obsessed with germs and washed his hands until they were red and raw.

He couldn't even hug his own daughter until she washed her hands.

He began to fear that this wasn't a gift at all — that it all was a sign of mental illness.

Reassurance came from a BBC documentary that featured Daniel Tammet, who could recite pi to the 22,514th digit. Tammet is an autistic savant, as well as a synesthetic one, which means that multiple senses are evoked — such as "smelling" colors or, in Padgett's case, matching numbers and colors.

This drawing is an example of sudden savant Jason Padgett's genius at work, and his unique, mathematical vision of the world. The circle — created out of 720 hand-drawn triangles — shows his comprehension of pi. "I came to understand how pi is calculated by measuring the area of the circle," he writes in his memoir.

"That's it! That's what's going on with me. Oh, my God! Someone else can see what I see!" Padgett recalls thinking.

He began to Google and found that there were others — people, unlike Tammet, who had ­acquired their "gifts."

There was Orlando Serrell who, after being struck by a baseball at age 10, could suddenly tell you the day of the week of any given date; Dr. Anthony Cicoria, who began expertly playing the piano after he was struck by lightning; and Alonzo Clemens, who was a child with an IQ of 40, yet after falling on his head could sculpt any animal out of clay down to the most minute detail after seeing it only briefly.

Padgett reached out to Wisconsin psychiatrist Dr. Darold Treffert, the world-recognized expert on savantism who had studied Kim Peek, the inspiration for "Rain Man," and championed use of the word "savant syndrome" instead of "idiot savant" in 1980.

Via e-mail — and later in person — Treffert diagnosed Padgett with acquired savant syndrome, one of only 30 people identified at the time. (The number has since risen to 40, Treffert tells The Post.)

Padgett wasn't alone, and this comforted him. He tore the blankets off the windows and enrolled in a local community college.

Further reassurance arrived in 2011, when Dr. Berit Brogaard, now director of the Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research at the University of Miami, invited him to Finland for a three-day ­research work-up.

She used fMRI machines and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to find that the right side of Padgett's brain had been compromised and that there was greater activation on the left side. She noted significant increased activity in the left parietal lobe — which is where neuroscientists say "math lives."

The parietal lobe is involved with many complex computations used in our daily lives. Reach out for a cup of coffee while reading, and your brain is making seriously complex calculations (charting the distance, the weight, the velocity of movement, etc.) — all of this without our realizing it.

"One could speculate that [Padgett] has better access to these areas than the rest of us," Brogaard says.

This supports emerging research that shows that those of us with bilateral involvement in the parietal lobe (meaning both sides are activated) actually is correlated with worse
math abilities. The brain likes to be specialized — and Padgett is ­hyper-specialized.

But how did it get this way? How did the brain know to specialize after an injury?

Theories involving neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to make new connections, abound. Brogaard hypothesizes that the trauma of the event flooded the brain with neurotransmitters, which ultimately changed the brain's structure.

Treffert believes that the structural changes allow Padgett to tap into his "genetic memory" — the same kind of instinctual memory that guides birds to fly in a "V" formation — freeing up areas that are inhibited in healthy brains.

"It shows us that ordinary people have untapped abilities," says Brogaard. This sentiment is one that every researcher interviewed by The Post repeated.

In a series of studies at the University of Sydney in Australia, people wearing a "thinking cap," a device that immobilizes parts of the brain, were able to draw in greater detail and complexity, find mistakes in written language, solve complex puzzles and more accurately guess the number of objects in a large sample size. But these advances happen only while wearing the cap and fade an hour later.

It's enough for author Allan Snyder to conclude, "Savant skills are latent in all of us."

The truth is we know very little about our 3-pound organs, says Dr. V.S. Ramachandran, director of the Center of Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego.

"All the progress and advances we've made in neuroscience over the years, yet we know precious little of higher brain functions. These anomalies, as scientists call them, show the depth of our ignorance," he says.

But do we even want to know? Would we be happier as savants?

Asked whether Padgett would go back to his old life if he could, he responded:

"No."

Then, after a pause, he added, "though sometimes I do miss the blissful ignorance of life before."


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Ex-Met Harang leads Braves to one-hitter at Citi Field

Written By kom Namsat on Sabtu, 19 April 2014 | 12.56

During the offseason, the Mets threw Aaron Harang away, deciding not to offer him a contract extension or bring him back to New York. On Friday he returned in a Braves uniform and threw seven no-hit innings in Atlanta's 6-0 rout.

David Wright's two-out single in the eighth inning snapped Atlanta's no-hit bid just four outs short, and spared the Mets the indignity of being no-hit for the eighth time in their history. That was about the only thing the 33,199 at Citi Field had to cheer about all night, as they watched the Mets getting smothered by a pitcher they had tossed away.

Other than Wright dropping a single into left field with two out in the eighth off Braves reliever Luis Avilan, the Mets' lineup was dominated by Harang (3-1) for seven innings, their beleaguered bullpen got battered yet again and they showed their home struggles are very much a problem.

"His [stuff] was moving all over the place,'' Wright said bluntly. "He was throwing any pitch, any count: Two-seamers, cutters, sliders, curveballs, you name it, he was throwing it.''

And throwing it where the Mets couldn't do a thing with it. They had signed Harang last Sept. 2, and the veteran right-hander went 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in four starts for them. But the Mets didn't offer him a contract this offseason. Friday he made a very real bid to be the first pitcher to no-hit the Mets since Houston's Darryl Kile did it on Sept. 8, 1993.

The 35-year-old Harang allowed six walks and struck out five. He walked a pair as he tired in the sixth and seventh, putting men into scoring position. But he struck out struggling Curtis Granderson in the sixth and Andrew Brown in the seventh to strand two. It was the Mets' last best chance.

"You're not going to win many games getting one hit,'' said Wright.

After Atlanta outfielder Justin Upton singled to lead off the second and catcher Evan Gattis walked. Chris Johnson doubled to deep left to plate Upton, though Jon Niese limited the damage there. He held the Braves to four hits and that lone run in his six solid innings, but dropped to a hard-luck 0-2 with a 2.84 ERA. While Niese was solid, Harang — pulled after 121 pitches — was spectacular.

Or the Mets were spectacularly bad. You make up your own mind which.

Atlanta's Freddie Freeman crushed a 2-2 pitch into the bullpen for a two-run home run and 3-0 lead in the eighth.

Carlos Torres had relieved Niese with a scoreless seventh, but Gonzalez Germen came on having retired 31 of the last 34 batters he faced and promptly imploded, coughing up four earned runs in the eighth, contributed to by Granderson — back in the lineup after missing the past few games — badly misjudging a ball in right field.

"I think [Harang] preyed on our aggressiveness,'' said Lucas Duda, who has inherited the first base job full-time after the trade of Ike Davis. "He used it to his advantage. Tip your cap, go out tomorrow and try to get more than one hit.''


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It’s unlikely the Flyers will flake again in Game 2

It's not going to get any easier for the Rangers than it did on Thursday night.

At least that's the approach the Blueshirts are taking after limiting the Flyers to 15 total shots in a 4-1 win, taking Game 1 of this opening-round playoff series.

"As [the] series goes on, as [the] playoffs go on, they're going to get better and better," alternate captain Marc Staal said after Friday's optional skate in which seven skaters took the ice, him not included, to join both goaltenders. "We'll look to improve, I'm sure they will, too. Who knows — it'll keep getting amped up as far as the series goes. So you expect improvements throughout."

Staal and his Blueshirted brethren could certainly send a shock not just through this series, but throughout the whole league if they put together an encore performance come Game 2 on Easter Sunday at noon at the Garden. With a lot of the talk coming in focused on the Flyers and their physicality, as well as their talented top line centered by possible Hart Trophy candidate Claude Giroux, the Rangers stayed cool and never allowed Philadelphia to sustain any offensive pressure.

The Rangers were shorthanded for just two minutes the whole night, while Giroux and linemate Jakub Voracek, who combined for 51 goals this season, didn't register a single shot on net.

"We controlled the puck for most of the game and caused them not to have it a lot," said Staal, who partnered with Anton Stralman and ended up playing quite a bit against Giroux's line. "When they don't have the puck they can't be very effective in the offensive zone. So I think we did a good job of controlling it."

Controlling the puck is not a new idea in terms of figuring out how to win, and there doesn't need to be any new-age advanced statistic to show the Rangers excel when they outshoot their opponent (36-15) and out-attempt them (69-42).

But the Flyers didn't finish third in the Metropolitan Division out of pure luck, and they ended the regular season ranked 14th in the league while averaging 30.4 shots per game. Yet, look up that list, all the way to No. 2, and there are the Rangers, behind only the Sharks in averaging 33.2 shots per game.

So as in any series, it's a matter of execution, something the Rangers are not taking lightly, no matter what happened in the first game.

"I think it's going to be a tough game," goalie Henrik Lundqvist said, allowing himself to look ahead to Sunday. "I think they're going to come hard. Whatever happened [Thursday], we move past that. Sometimes things change a lot from game to game, you can't just go in with a certain expectation. You have to be ready for anything."

What the Rangers certainly can be ready for is a Flyers team hungry to get this series back to Philadelphia split at one game apiece. The two teams split the regular-season series, with each winning two games at home, so the Rangers know a 2-0 lead going into Tuesday's Game 3 at the Wells Fargo Center will be a lot better than 1-1.

"We know that our opponent on Sunday morning is going to be ready, is going to be better, and we're going to need to prepared and we're going to need to be better," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We're aware of that."


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LA Times on lockdown after gunman storms building

LOS ANGELES — Police took a man into custody Friday night inside the Los Angeles Times building after it was locked down because of a shooting threat report, the newspaper said.

The man was detained by police and removed from the building less than an hour after the threat report, the Times said. The man does not work for the newspaper but is connected to Vxi Global Solutions, which rents office space in the building.

Officers searched the building but found no weapon and the lockdown was lifted by 9 p.m., police Lt. Lonnie Benson said.

Police said the man was 28 years old, but did not immediately release his name.

A radio call went out at 7:26 p.m. notifying police that a text message sent from inside the building said there may be someone "about to start shooting," Detective Gus Villanueva told The Associated Press. The Times building is across the street from LAPD headquarters.

The Times reported that the man said he had been depressed, didn't mind killing someone, showed a co-worker a bag of bullets and said he didn't want to go to jail.

The building at 1st and Spring streets has been headquarters of the Los Angeles Times since 1935.

Several other businesses and government agencies rent space from the Times in the building, including Vxi Global Solutions, which provides customer service and technical support by phone for other businesses. A message left for company representatives by the AP was not immediately returned.


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Hondo’s double-dipping

The sloppy Cardinals threw it all over the yard Friday night, paving the way for a Nats victory that raised Hondo's accounts payable to 295 bilardellos.

Saturday: After carefully perusing the menu, Mr. Aitch has decided to try the Cingrani (with rigatoni) in Wrigley — 10 units on the Reds. Also, he expects Nova to be the star of the show at the Trop — 10 units on the Yankees.

-$

If you had that eerie, deja vu feeling when reading Friday's Daily Ruse front page story about a former Mr. Met being threatened by the Secret Service when Bill Clinton visited Shea in the 1990's, it could be because the story had already appeared in The Post five days earlier. What a weird sensation! … Speaking of deja vu,the Portly Pantsuit has decided on a title for her new book about her flat-line term as Secretary of State: "Hard Choices." One of her hard choices must have been whether to use the same title former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance used for his book back in the 1980's … Oddly enough, Hondo hears Peyronie Bill was thinking about using that very same title if he ever wrote a book about those lonely nights at the White House when he was up for a romp with one of the interns.


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Rays whip Yanks, end five-game win streak

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Cesar Cabral packed a travel bag with a lot more accuracy than he displayed from the mound Friday night, when he drilled three batters with pitches, was ejected for being terrible and designated for assignment.

To say that Cabral was the reason the Yankees lost to the Rays, 11-5 in front of 26,079 at Tropicana Field would be wrong.

Hiroki Kuroda couldn't get out of the sixth inning, Matt Thornton gave up a hit that fueled a three-run Rays rally in the seventh and Adam Warren failed to put hitters away with two strikes.

Yet, Cabral giving up three hits and hitting Evan Longoria, James Loney and Logan Forsythe in the ninth certainly couldn't be ignored and the Yankees sent the erratic lefty reliever packing after their five-game win streak vanished. Manager Joe Girardi didn't even have enough confidence in Cabral to face the left-handed hitting Loney in the seventh when he drove in two runs against the right-handed Warren.

"It was not a good day, I didn't want to hit anybody,'' Cabral said. "I wanted to throw strikes, but it happens sometime.''

Asked what umpire Joe West said was the reason he tossed Cabral in the ninth and forced the Yankees to use closer Shawn Kelley for the final out in a six-run loss, the manager referred the question to West.

"He hit the first guy in the leg with a fastball, the second guy in the leg with a changeup, and the third guy in the back somewhere, and that was enough,'' West explained. "Do I think he did it maliciously? Probably not. But before somebody got hurt, something had to be done."

The way West saw it, he was protecting a Yankees hitter from getting drilled on principle.

"He hit three guys in one inning. Does that set them up for them to be thrown at when they come to bat? Yes," West said. "So, he's got to go for disciplinary problems and to stop something else from happening."

As for Girardi being unhappy, West understood, but …

"I'm sure he wasn't [happy]. But I don't want Girardi's players hit either,'' West said.

Rays manager Joe Maddon agreed with West on two counts.

"[Cabral] just had a hard time throwing the ball over the plate. There was nothing malicious about what he was doing. I totally believe that,'' said Maddon, whose club halted a four-game losing streak by erasing a 4-0 deficit in the second inning. "I think Joe West did exactly the right thing there.''

Before Cabral got tossed and then sent packing — right-hander Matt Daley will replace him Saturday — the Yankees' first bullpen meltdown cost them the game.

Working with a 5-3 lead going into the seventh, David Phelps, Thornton and Warren gave up three runs. The big blow was Loney's two-out single on a 1-2 pitch.

"I couldn't make quality pitches when I needed to and it cost me,'' said Warren, who got the Yankees' first blown save of the season in nine chances. "I got ahead of most of the guys at two strikes and couldn't put them away.''

The biggest reason the Yankees won 10 of their first 16 games was the bullpen. In the previous seven games the Yankees' relievers hadn't allowed a run in 15 ¹/₃ innings. Friday night they gave up eight.

"There are nights like that,'' said Phelps, who was drilled above the right hip bone by a Ryan Hanigan liner in the seventh. "Nobody's perfect.''


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