Terry Collins changes up Mets lineup, gets good results

PHILADELPHIA — Desperate for offense, Terry Collins changed up his lineup Sunday and the Mets responded with a season-high 14 hits in a 7-4 win over the Phillies. With Michael Cuddyer taking a planned day off, Collins moved Daniel Murphy into the three hole for the first time this season. Lucas Duda was in the cleanup spot and Wilmer Flores was in the five hole for the first time this season. Kirk Nieuwenhuis started in left field for Cuddyer and hit sixth. “Well, I wanted to get Kirk Nieuwenhuis some at-bats. We have got to get Kirk going, got to get John Mayberry going, too,” Terry Collins said. “I was going to give Michael the day off and I didn’t want to put Kirk in the four hole. I thought that is a lot to ask when you are struggling a little bit.” RELATED: METS' SYNDERGAARD SAYS HE'S READY FOR MLB DEBUT Murphy went 3-for-5. Duda broke out of an 0-for-13 slump with a fourth-inning double and finished 2-for-5. Flores, who was out of the lineup Saturday night, responded with two hits and an RBI. Curtis Granderson, who went into Sunday’s game 1-for-8 in the series, hit his third homer of the season in the fifth inning. Nieuwenhuis, who came into Sunday’s game hitting .087, got his bat going in the sixth with an RBI double. He then stole third off reliever Justin De Fratus and scored when catcher Cameron Rupp’s attempt to pick him off third sailed into left field. Nieuwenhuis also made a sliding grab into the wall to end the game. WEEKEND WITH RUBEN He ran down a ball that was just behind the pitcher’s mound on the first base side, grabbed it and flipped it to first with his glove to throw out Ben Revere for the second out in the ninth. Saturday night, he made a backhanded grab of a hot shot to start a crucial double play. Collins said he will find a game for Tejada to play in during the four-game series in Continue Reading

How change will come to Baltimore: It’ll happen from the bottom up, not the top down

BALTIMORE — On Sunday, this city’s fractious class of elected politicians — from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to Democratic Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — united around the idea of bringing down the curtain on the bloody spectacle that has crippled the city. “Let’s get back to normal,” Hogan said to an army of reporters outside St. Peter Claver Church on Sunday morning, about three blocks from where a CVS store had been looted and torched the previous week. Hogan and his family had come to pray, as he’d urged all of Baltimore to do. Rawlings-Blake, at more or less the same time, took to the national airwaves and happily announced, via Twitter, an end to the city’s overnight curfew. She, too, is ready to turn the page on the riots and charges of police brutality. If only things were that simple in a place whose nickname, Charm City, has a bitter, hollow ring in the city’s catastrophically poor Western District. Nerves remain raw over the outrageous video recording showing 25-year-old Freddie Gray howling in pain, unable to walk and tossed into the back of a police van in the custody of officers who now stand charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and false imprisonment. The criminally callous treatment of Gray further inflamed the smoldering outrage already felt among many Baltimore residents. Anyone who walked the bombed-out blocks of the South Bronx in the 1970s and ’80s would feel a chill of remembrance in West Baltimore, home to a huge number of the city’s 30,000 vacant properties (16,000 empty buildings and 14,000 lots). For decades, urban planners have hailed the development of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor as a miracle of public and private ingenuity, a place with chain stores, convention-friendly hotels and fancy restaurants alongside gorgeous waterfront apartments. Much less has been written about the miles of vacant buildings and the Continue Reading

FAA does not require psychological tests for pilots, experts say; critics call for change after Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz ‘deliberately’ crashes plane

Disturbed pilots could be free to fly in the U.S., aviation experts say. There is only one loosely defined line of defense that could ground them. The Federal Aviation Administration requires pilots to take a physical exam at least once each year to renew their medical certification, and counts on doctors to spot “red flags” during those exams. The agency does not require pilots to undergo psychological testing. The level of regulatory oversight needs to change in light of the Germanwings plane flown into the French Alps Tuesday by a pilot who is now suspected of being suicidal, critics say. “It’s like everything else — you learn lessons along the way, and sometimes it’s the hard way,” aviation expert and pilot Brian Alexander told the Daily News. “It’s an issue that absolutely needs to be evaluated better.” “It’s absolutely prudent to look at how we can improve the FAA and airlines as a whole,” he added. Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz “deliberately” locked himself inside the cockpit alone and steered Germanwings Flight 9525 straight into the French Alps, killing 150 passengers and crew members, officials said Thursday. The 28-year-old German native once had to take a break while training to become a pilot because of "burnout syndrome or "depression" in 2009, his former classmates told Der Speigel.   It’s unclear exactly what, if any, mental health issues he had. He was said to have exhibited no signs of bipolar or personality disorder, substance abuse or other conditions, according to reports. Lubitz had passed his annual medical test, but he was not required to undergo a psychological assessment before taking to the skies, said Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings. The German airline, the largest in Europe, is not required to check pilots’ mental health through “explicit Continue Reading

David Chang opens Fuku, a fried chicken sandwich shop

David Chang is now cooking up high-end Chick-fil-A. The chef behind the Momofuku empire opened Fuku today, which sells $8 spicy fried chicken sandwiches that will be the prototype for a fast-food brand. Right now, the menu focuses on one sandwich made out of chicken thighs that have been marinated in a habanero puree and dipped in buttermilk and a spice blend before deep frying. It's served on a Martin potato roll with pickles and butter. Details that take it to the next level: the chicken is sustainably sourced, the rolls are steamed, and the butter is flavored with fermented chickpeas. Additions to the sandwich, like Benton's ham and Swiss cheese, are in the pipeline. Chang sees the sandwiches as a way to indulge those fast-food cravings. "Everyone's concerned with eating healthy these days, but people are still going to want to eat something that's not so healthy once in a while," he told GrubStreet. "We want to be that solution." Other menu items include fries and a seasonal vegetable salad. The space, which was the original location of Noodle Bar at 163 First Ave., is standing room only — but does have a liquor license. Continue Reading

Man assaulted in Fulton County, Ga., after he reveals he’s gay while helping to change flat tire

A Georgia man faces charges that he assaulted a man who revealed he was gay while offering to help change a flat tire, Fulton County police said. The beating left Adrian Wilson with 13 stitches in his head after suspect Denzale Johnson allegedly hit him with a baseball bat, WSB-TV reported. Wilson told the station that Johnson asked him for help. Johnson, who was reportedly wearing low-hanging pants while he crouched over the tire, even offered to pay Wilson if he would help him change the tire, Wilson said. That’s when the encounter started to go sour. “Well, you already gave me the free peep show, so I’ll go ahead and fix your tire for free,” Wilson said he told Johnson. Wilson said Johnson asked if he was gay, and he said he was.   “He went off telling me he wasn’t gay, he was straight. He hated gay people,” Wilson added, saying that he tried to walk away but Johnson pulled out the bat and attacked him from behind. Police identified Johnson but have not yet arrested him, the station reported. He will face charges of aggravated assault. Police were calling the incident a hate crime because it appeared to have been motivated by the victim's sexual orientation, but the state doesn't have the means of prosecuting it as such. Georgia eliminated that classification in 2004, making it one of only five states in the country without a hate crime law, the station reported. “Everybody thought it was just brothers in the hood fighting. That’s the impression I got,” Wilson later told The News. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.  Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Changing U.S.-Cuba relations could bring return of wanted criminals Joanne Chesimard and Guillermo Morales

The normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations could mean a drastic change for two most-wanted American fugitives after decades of living free on the island nation. President Obama’s call to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism opened the door for the possible extradition of cop killer Joanne Chesimard and terrorist bombmaker Guillermo Morales. “We believe that the strong U.S. interest in the return of these fugitives will be best served by entering into this dialogue with Cuba,” Obama said. Both Chesimard and Morales escaped the U.S. in 1979 after their arrests: he through a window in the prison ward at Bellevue Hospital, and she from a New Jersey prison with the help of armed comrades. Black Liberation Army member Chesimard, placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List in 2013, was convicted 40 years earlier for the murder of state Trooper Werner Foerster during a New Jersey Turnpike traffic stop. Foerster’s widow declined comment Thursday on the Chesimard case. Morales was associated with the FALN, a Puerto Rican separatist group long linked to a deadly 1975 explosion at the landmark Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan. Chesimard arrived in Havana in 1984, while Morales — who was imprisoned for several years in Mexico — was believed to have reached Cuba in June 1988. Cuban officials did not react to the Obama administration’s comments about the two fugitives. But lawyers for both Morales and Chesimard say their extradition is unlikely. The two were formally granted political asylum in Cuba, making their return to the U.S. a difficult proposition. New Jersey Republicans, including Gov. Christie, condemned the President for extending an olive branch to Cuba while Chesimard remained free in its capital. “It is a national disgrace that this President would even consider normalizing relations while they are harboring a Continue Reading

‘Game of Thrones’ showrunner teases major changes from novels in season 5: ‘Worlds are colliding’

Brace yourself, “Game of Thrones” fans: Change is coming. The HBO drama’s fifth season will see major changes in store for the show’s characters — including deviations from George R. R. Martin’s novels, co-showrunner David Benioff told Entertainment Weekly for its March cover story. “Worlds are colliding,” Benioff revealed. “One of the things we’ve been most excited about from the beginning of the series is we’ve had all these far-flung story lines across Westeros and Essos, which almost never cross,” he said. “Now some of these characters start to head on a collision course for each other.” They likely include fan favorites Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington), all of whom scored their own separate covers. But their fates and the rest of the “Thrones” sprawling ensemble is up in the air: The cover story divulges that some characters who are still alive in the book series will meet the Grim Reaper in season 5. There will also be three weddings in the upcoming season, but considering that major characters perished at the last two “Game of Thrones” weddings, the nuptials could be the setting for even more bloodshed. “With each season, the stakes get higher and higher and the war gets bloodier and bloodier,” said executive story editor Bryan Cogman. “We’re in season 5 and there’s an expectation for big events and consequences.” The new season of “Game of Thrones” premieres April 12 at 9 p.m. on HBO. Continue Reading

‘Pretty Woman’ 25th anniversary: 4 ways the Julia Roberts flick changed rom-coms

Fans are still in love with "Pretty Woman." When the movie hit theaters in 1990, the fairy-tale romance, about a call girl who wins the heart of a wealthy businessman, captivated audiences, becoming one of the biggest hits of the year. But the success of the Julia Roberts-Richard Gere flick, a modern retelling of the Cinderella story, reverberated throughout Hollywood beyond its initial release. With the film celebrating its 25th anniversary on Monday, here's how "Pretty Woman" changed rom-coms and the movie biz in general: 1. The success of "Pretty Women" led to a new wave of female movie stars "Pretty Woman" was Julia Roberts' breakout role, and the film's success launched a career that has kept her on top of the A-list for the past 25 years. While there had been successful romantic comedies before "Women," including "Splash" and "When Harry Met Sally," the movie became a pop culture phenomenon largely due to the then 22-year-old actress' star-making performance, earning her first Oscar nod. As the first rom-com with a female lead to earn $100 million, the genre became viewed as capable of creating female movie stars on par with heavyweights such as Tom Cruise or Arnold Schwarzenegger. "It proved that romantic comedies could compete with action films for box office supremacy, " Chicago Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper told the Daily News. "The 'date movie' meant you'd get men as well as women into theaters." Stars such as Sandra Bullock, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Aniston have seen romantic comedies either launch their careers or solidify their movie star status in the aftermath of "Pretty Woman's" success. In fact, seven of the top 10 highest-grossing actresses of all-time have at least two rom-coms on their resume. Roeper said that it's hard to imagine many of Hollywood's actresses achieving A-list stardom without the rise of the modern-day Continue Reading

President Obama cites daughter Malia’s childhood asthma as example of climate change harm

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday cited his daughter Malia’s childhood asthma as an example of the harmful effects of climate change. “Malia had asthma when she was 4, and because we had good health insurance, we were able to knock it out early,” Obama said in an interview on “Good Morning America.” Obama cited Malia, now 16, while arguing that higher temperatures lead to forest fires, which send allergy-causing particulates into the air, potentially increasing asthma cases. The President said that he can relate to “the fear a parent has when your 4-year-old daughter comes up to you and says, ‘Daddy, I’m having trouble breathing.’ ” “The fright you feel is terrible,” Obama said. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

National Urban League president: Freddie Gray’s death can be an opportunity for historic change

Sometimes difficult circumstances present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring about historic change. Such is the case at this moment in history, when Baltimore and other cities are grappling with civil unrest prompted by police violence toward unarmed young men of color. BALTIMORE POL TELLS CNN THE WORD 'THUG' IS RACIALLY CHARGED The death of Freddie Gray, whose spine was severed under unexplained circumstances, was the latest of more than a dozen incidents over the past 18 months. This week we reiterated a call, first issued in December, for a national policy to address police reform and accountability. But this week’s unrest isn’t simply a reaction to a single incident of violence, or even the ongoing trend of violence. PRESIDENT OBAMA SAYS HE HAS NO IMMEDIATE PLANS TO VISIT BALTIMORE While the relationship between police and the communities they serve must be repaired, we also must address the economic hopelessness that drags down communities and puts young people at risk. The National Urban League 10-Point Justice Plan, together with a significant federal economic stimulus plan, would change the trajectory of the nation’s inner-city neighborhoods. When the Great Recession threatened the nation’s financial institutions, we responded with an unprecedented infusion of resources. The plight of the jobless is no less urgent. A public-private initiative, targeted toward the poorest neighborhoods, with a significant public-sector jobs component, must be a part of any plan to address urban unrest. Marc Morial is the president of the National Urban League. Continue Reading