For more than two decades, NFL owners seeking to finance new stadiums with public money used Los Angeles as a bargaining chip, threatening to move to the City of Angels if they didn't get what they wanted. Now St. Louis is losing its team to LA—and it still has years of multimillion-dollar payments left on its last bad stadium deal.
On Tuesday, the league's owners voted to let the St. Louis Rams move to Los Angeles for the 2016 seasonand to build what's supposed to be the NFL's biggest stadium on the site of a one-time racetrack. (The NFL also gave the San Diego Chargers a year to decide whether to join the Rams or work out a new stadium deal, and promised $100 million to the Chargers and Oakland Raiders if they stay put in their respective markets.) Los Angeles officials already have lauded the Rams' homecoming as an economic boost to the region; the state-of-the-art stadium in Inglewood, expected to open in 2019, could cost upwards of $3 billion, with the Rams likely playing in the Coliseum until then.
Meanwhile, the city and county of St. Louis will still pay at least $6 million apiece per year until 2021 to pay off bonds sold to construct and maintain the Edward Jones Dome, which opened in 1995. (The Rams paid a meager $500,000 per year to use the dome.) And then there's the more than $3 million in public funds used to develop a $1 billion riverfront stadium proposal to keep the Rams—a pitch NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell knocked as "inadequate" and "unsatisfactory."
St. Louis officials have been quick to note that the city is searching for new tenants for year-round use and would review how much the loss will affect the area's finances. They won't, however, be looking for a new NFL franchise: Mayor Francis Slay told reporters Wednesday that the city is turning its back on the league, once and for all.
Fans pay final tribute at a mural in Brixton, London.
Rock and roll hall of famer David Bowie has passed away at the age of 69. Bowie's latest album, Blackstar, was released on Friday (which was also his birthday). There was hardly any news of the musician's medical status before his passing, and many fans are beginning to wonder whether his last album was a dramatic farewell.
Bowie's cause of death has not yet been formally established, but it has been reported that he had been battling cancer for the past 18 months.
Bill Cosby will face criminal charges for allegedly sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, inside the comedian's Pennsylvania home in 2004.
Kevin Steele of the Montgomery County district attorney's office announced in a press conference Wednesday morning that Cosby is being charged with aggravated indecent assault. He is expected to be arraigned later this afternoon.
"Today, after examination of all the evidence, we are able to seek justice on behalf of the victim," Steele said.
This is the first time Cosby has been formally charged with sexual assault, after decades of ongoing rape allegations against the 78-year-old entertainer.
People in Wisconsin are evidently feeling a bit behind the times, wondering, "What does 'bae' mean?" (2015) and "What is Tinder?" (2014). Utah, caught with an embarrassing search history last year, wanted to learn more about transgender issues this year. And it's not clear what's going on in New Mexico, where people searched for "Pluto" in 2015 and "zombies" in 2014. See how your state compares with the rest, and happy Googling in 2016. (h/t The Daily Dot)
Another year is about to pass, which means we've managed to survive 12 months of cable news—and endure some fantastically awful segments that the networks churned out. But that doesn't mean we emerged unscathed! Whether it was calling the president of the United States a "pussy" on live television or relentlessly covering Donald Trump's circuslike presidential campaign, cable news had plenty of lowlights in 2015. Here are some of the most memorable ones:
San Bernardino shooting
Days after the shooting in San Bernardino, California, several media outlets were able to get inside the home of the two suspected shooters—access that involved a crowbar and a cooperative landlord. Despite the questionable circumstances, reporters from a slew of networks, including CNN and MSNBC, swarmed the residence. The resulting circus of cable TV coverage even disturbed some network hosts.
"I'm having chills down my spine, what I'm seeing here," said CNN security analyst Harry Houck, as reporters on the scene continued to film throughout the home. "This apartment is clearly full of evidence."
At one point, an MSNBC reporter zoomed in on a driver's license that likely belonged to one of the suspects' relatives.
MSNBC just doxed Rafia Farook, mother of a terrorist, on live television. I've blurred the important bits. pic.twitter.com/VqPwT60yVY
Insulting the president
A Fox News contributor abandoned every sense of decorum when he slammed President Barack Obama's terrorism strategy and called him a "pussy" on live television. The network suspended him for two weeks, finally answering the question we've all wondered: "Just what does it take to get suspended from Fox News?"
Migrant crisis and Syrian refugees
The international effort to resettle Syrian refugees sparked widespread concern about how refugees are vetted when they seek to be admitted into the United States, particularly in light of the deadly attacks in Paris. Instead of taking time to explain the complex and rigorous process, cable news shows often appeared to inflame safety concerns with misleading portrayals of refugees escaping violence in Europe and the Middle East:
Fox News also appeared to lend legitimacy to a biblical prophecy that some have used speculate that the Syrian crisis may signal the end of times. Watch the report on the "spooky passage" below:
Gun control and mass shootings
Amid calls to strengthen gun control laws and end the gun violence epidemic, Fox & Friends aired a segment about how to teach kids how to take down an active shooter with these self-defense skills:
When protests erupted in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident who died from a spinal cord injury while in police custody, CNN chose to ignore the demonstrations in favor of covering every second of the White House Correspondents' Dinner.
If you were seeking coverage of the rallies, contributor Errol Louis suggested viewers could "find a live feed" somewhere else.
When the network did report on Gray later, CNN led one online story by describing Gray as the "son of an illiterate heroin addict."
There are myriad factors that have led to the rise of Donald Trump as a major GOP presidential candidate.The media's insatiable appetite (including our own, at times) to cover his inflammatory campaign rhetoric is definitely one of them. On cable news, Trump was practically unavoidable.
After announcing his plan to bar all Muslims from entering the United States if elected president, a slew of cable news shows scrambled to talk to Trump about the proposal, which gave Trump a huge platform for his offensive ideas:
In one of the creepier clips of the year, Fox News featured an all-male panel to opine on how a woman should dress in public. The clothing item in question was leggings. In the segment, the official "Panel of Fathers" ruminates over "lady parts" and whether they're comfortable with the "women in their life parading in public with leggings, because they ain't pants."
In which Fox News, a news organization, lends legitimacy to this photo of a "guardian angel."
America's notorious gender pay gap isn't the only inequality hurting women's pockets these days. According to a new study, gender discrimination practices creep into everyday shopping experiences, costing women significantly more for nearly identical products aimed at men.
The study, released by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs this week, compared 8,000 different products ranging from children's toys to shaving razors, and found that items specifically targeting women were on average 7 percent more expensive than their male counterparts, even when the products were virtually identical beyond their gender-based packaging.
"The only significant difference is the price," the Paquette explains. "Target listed one for $24.99 and the other for $49.99."
Items targeting women cost more 42 percent of the time. Men's products were more expensive only 18 percent of the time.
While the study only focused on New York City stores, many of those analyzed were national brands and retailers, including Neutrogena and Rite Aid. It's therefore likely the pricing discrepancies uncovered by New York exist far beyond the city.
But could progress be on the horizon? According to the National Women's Law Center, the gender pay gap closed by one whole cent this year! So word of advice ladies, don't waste your shiny new penny on "women's products." It's time to start shopping like a man.
As many Republican voters have cheered Donald Trump's plan to bar Muslims from entering the country, local businesses and communities around the country are working hard to fight back against the rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry.
Using the hashtag #HateHasNoBizHere, some small business owners are posting storefront messages to denounce Islamophobic views and stand in solidarity with Muslims in their communities.
These are especially important messagesamid the rising number of hate crimes against American Muslims after the San Bernardino shooting and Paris attacks. "It's important to stand on the side of respect and love and tolerance," Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association said during a Texas rally to support of a local mosque.
"This is a wonderful night where we get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations," newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a group of staff members and volunteers shortly before the refugees' arrival.
"Welcome to Canada. Ahlan wa sahlan. You're with family now," an editorial for the Toronto Star read:
Their arrival marks the first of 25,000 refugees Trudeau's government has pledged to take in by March. During Trudeau's campaign for office, it was discovered that the three-year-old boy who drowned near a beach in Turkey had been attempting to flee Syria with his family to Canada. Those powerful images made the refugee crisis a major election issue.
Canada's reception to the refugees' arrival on Thursday sharply contrasts with the continued effort by some American leaders from various states to block the resettlement of refugees in the United States, particularly in the wake of the Paris attacks and the recent shooting in San Bernardino, California. This week, Syrian refugees arrived in Texas and Indiana, despite efforts by the Republican governors there to stop them.
A group of cadets were suspended from the The Citadel, a military academy in South Carolina, after images of 13 students decked out in white clothing and white hoods emerged on social media.
The students have defended their attire, saying they wore the white outfits to rehearse a "Ghost of Christmas Past" skit.
Citadel's president called the post "offensive and disturbing" and said the incident is under investigation.
"A social media posting, which I find offensive and disturbing, was brought to my attention this morning," academy president Lt. John Rosa wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. "It shows an upper class cadet in front of seven cadets with pillowcases over their heads."
"These images are not consistent with our core values of honor, duty and respect," he added.
After the school's statement appeared on Facebook, one user responded to the post with a link to a site titled "The Lynching Myth." Another user appeared to suggest the cadets' suspensions were unfair.
This isn't the first accusation of racism or even glorification of white supremacy at the school.
In 1997, a female cadet who left the Citadel said cadets at the school had an "obsession" with the Ku Klux Klan. Nearly a decade earlier, a black cadet sued the school after five other cadets entered the black cadet's room in the middle of the night, wearing white sheets and shouting racial obscenities. The lawsuit was later settled out of court.