The Rundown for October 15, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 7,916,118, and the nation’s death toll stands at 216,734, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday offered good news in its forecast about coronavirus vaccines. The CDC promised some vaccines by the end of the year in a posting on its coronavirus website. Vaccines are being developed and tested under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health. The Food and Drug Administration will give any emergency use authorization or approval.

BARRETT COMPLETES TESTIMONY AT CONFIRMATION HEARINGS… Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett completed her questioning yesterday on the third day of her four-day Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. She maintained her platform of fairness and open-mindedness but avoided questions aimed at specific issues. Notably, she dodged questioning from Senator and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris on voting rights, COVID-19 and climate change. She told Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy that it was an “open question” whether Trump could pardon himself and added that the top U.S. judicial body “can’t control” whether a president obeys its decisions. Under questioning by Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse, Barrett couldn’t name the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (They are: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assembly and the right to petition the government). The hearings conclude today with testimony of witnesses.

TRUMP, BIDEN TO HOST TOWN HALLS… President Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden will be hosting separate town halls tonight in lieu of their cancelled second presidential debate. ABC last week agreed to air Biden’s town hall from Philadelphia with ABC News political analyst George Stephanopoulos as moderator. Yesterday, NBC agreed to broadcast a competing Trump town hall from Miami, moderated by “Today” host Savannah Guthrie. A final debate between Trump and Biden is scheduled for next Thursday in Nashville.

EARLY VOTING TURNOUT SHATTERING RECORDS… Early voting records are already being broken as the U.S. closes within three weeks of the presidential election. Voters waited in long lines yesterday to cast their ballots in Texas, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee. Early voting is already underway in 18 other states. More than 14.9 million votes have been cast so far, shattering records from 2016.

TENNESSEE ABORTION LAW RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL… A federal judge yesterday struck down Tennessee’s 48-hour waiting period law for abortions as unconstitutional. The 2015 law requires women to make two trips to an abortion clinic, first for mandatory counseling and then for the abortion at least 48 hours later. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Bernard Freidman found that the law serves no legitimate purpose while placing a substantial burden on women who seek abortions in the state.

ENTERTAINMENT
SHOWTIME REVIVES ‘DEXTER’
… Showtime announced yesterday that it is reviving “Dexter” for a limited series. Michael C. Hall returns to star in the serial-killer drama. Production on 10 new episodes is scheduled to begin in early 2021 and the premiere is set for late 2021. The original series ran from 2006 to 2013 on the cable network.

‘YELLOWSTONE’ SEASON 3 COMING TO PEACOCK… Season 3 of “Yellowstone” arrives on the Peacock November 22. The streaming service already has the show’s first two seasons. The third season, which is cable’s most-watched series of 2020, ended in August on Paramount Network and continues to air on the channel. Kevin Costner stars in the series as John Dutton, who controls the largest, contiguous ranch in the U.S.

SPORTS
MLB
AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORE

HOUSTON 4 – Tampa Bay 3
(in San Diego)… The Astros held off the Rays in Game 4 to avoid a series sweep. George Springer blasted a tie-breaking two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jose Altuve homered in the first with the bases empty. Starter Zack Greinke gave up two runs on five hits over six innings. Neither team announced a starter for today’s Game 5.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORE
L.A. Dodgers 15 – ATLANTA 3
(in Arlington)… The Dodgers erupted to score 11 runs in the top of the first inning and coasted past the Braves to pull within 2-1 in the series. The 11 runs are the most ever scored in a single inning by a team in the history of Major League Baseball postseason play. Joc Pederson blasted a three-run homer and Max Muncy unloaded a grand slam. Edwin Rios, Cody Bellnger and Corey Seager smacked solo homers. Starter Julio Urias allowed just a run on three hits over five innings. Righthander Bryse Wilson takes the mound for Atlanta today’s Game 4. L.A. sends lefthander Clayton Kershaw to the mound after back spasms made him a scratch for Game 2.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban announced yesterday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. The 68-year-old Saban said he has no symptoms. Offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, will take over in Saban’s absence.

The Rundown for October 14, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 7,852,022, and the nation’s death toll stands at 215,818, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Drug maker Eli Lilly has halted a clinical trial for a coronavirus antibody treatment due to a “potential safety concern,” the New York Times reported yesterday. The government-sponsored trial was tested on hundreds of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. On Monday, Johnson & Johnson paused its coronavirus vaccine trial because of an illness in a patient. Last month, AstraZeneca halted its vaccine trial after two participants had adverse side effects.

BARRETT HEARING… Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett maintained she was agenda-free yesterday during a second day questioning by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She declined to preview how she would rule on such issues as Roe v. Wade or Obamacare and did not commit to recusing herself from a potential Trump v. Biden case that might emerge from the presidential election. California Senator and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris criticized Republicans for rushing to confirm Barrett rather than passing additional legislation to address the coronavirus pandemic portrayed Barrett as a threat to the Affordable Care Act. Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse asked no questions but used a chart to identify the use of dark money in politics.

NO CHARGES IN DOJ UNMASKING INVESTIGATION… The Justice Department has ended its investigation into whether former Obama administration officials improperly sought to uncover the identities of individuals described in national security documents without finding any evidence of wrongdoing, according to a report yesterday in the Washington Post. President Trump had used the practice of “unmasking” to support his claims that his political opponents and critics should be arrested. Right-wing media portrayed the practice as political conspiracy. Former U.S. Attorney John Bash, who conducted the investigation launched by Attorney General William Barr, resigned from the Justice Department last week.

HIGH COURT DECISION ENDS CENSUS COUNTING… The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Trump administration can immediately end counting for the 2020 U.S. census a month earlier than originally scheduled. The decision put on hold a lower court ruling that ordered the once-in-a-decade population count to continue until October 31. The Trump administration argued in its appeal that the count must be finished immediately to allow the Census Bureau enough time to meet the congressionally mandated December 31 deadline. The nationwide population tabulation, conducted once every 10 years, determines how many seats in the House of Representatives and Electoral College each state receives. Civil rights groups had argued that ending the counting early will produce an undercount.

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR TARGETED IN ANTI-GOVERNMENT PLOT… Anti-government gangmembers accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also discussed kidnapping Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, according to an FBI agent’s testimony at yesterday’s court hearing. Special Agent Richard Trask said the plot to kidnap Northam was discussed during a June meeting in Ohio that drew members of anti-government groups from “four or five” states. Trask also discussed methods used in the investigation leading to charges against six men last week.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTRESS CONCHATA FERRELL DIES
… Actress Conchata Ferrell died yesterday of complications following a cardiac arrest. She was 77. Ferrell earned Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy nominations in 2005 and 2007 for her portrayal of housekeeper Berta on “Two and a Half Men.” She also received an Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series nomination in 1992 for her role as Susan Bloom on “L.A. Law.” Her television credits included ”Good Times,” “E/R,” “Grace and Frankie,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “BJ and The Bear.” Her more recent credits included Netflix’s “The Ranch.”

NEW ALLEGATIONS AGAINST ‘CHEER’ STAR… In a new court filing yesterday, federal prosecutors say “Cheer” star Jerry Harris “exploited and violated” at least 10 boys. The new allegations were part of the government’s motion for pretrial detention. The 21-year-old Harris rose to fame earlier this year in the Netflix docuseries chronicling the cheerleading team at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. He was arrested and charged last month with one count of producing child pornography for allegedly soliciting nude photos from minors. Harris is currently being held in a Chicago jail.

SPORTS
MLB
AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORE

Tampa Bay 5 – HOUSTON
2 (in San Diego)… The Rays downed the Astros to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. Joey Wendle stroked a two-run single and Hunter Renfroe added a two-run double as the Rays scored all five runs in the top of the sixth inning. Starter Ryan Yarbrough allowed two runs on three hits over five innings and four relievers shut the door. Tampa Bay sends Tyler Glasnow to the mound today as seeks to complete a series sweep. Zack Greinke gets the start for Houston in a matchup of righthanders. Gametime is 8:40 p.m. Eastern.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORE
Atlanta 8 – L.A. DODGERS
7 (in Arlington)… The Braves withstood a four-run Dodger rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to escape with the victory and open a 2-0 lead in the series. Freddie Freeman homered with a runner aboard and knocked in a run with an infield single. Ozzie Albies went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and sacrifice fly. Atlanta sends righthander Kyle Wright to the mound for today’s Game 3. He’ll be opposed by L.A. lefty Julio Urias. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. Eastern.

NFL SCORE
TENNESSEE 42 – Buffalo 16
… Ryan Tannehill found Jonnu Smith with two of his three touchdown passes as the Titans (4-0) rolled past the Bills (4-1) in a matchup of teams entering the contest unbeaten. Derrick Henry rushed for a pair of scores.

NFL NEWS… The New York Jets have released two-time All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell after less than two seasons with the team. Bell signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Jets that included $27 million guaranteed during the 2019 offseason. Now, the former All-Pro running back will be subject to waivers, and if he is not claimed, he will be free to sign with another team.

The Rundown for October 13, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 7,803,884, and the nation’s death toll stands at 214,063, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Johnson & Johnson announced yesterday that it is pausing its clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine after a study participant came down with an “unexplained illness.” The trial involves 60,000 patients.

SECRET SERVICE TRIPS LUCRATIVE FOR TRUMP… The U.S. Secret Service has spent $238,000 at the President Trump’s properties while protecting his children while they travel, the Washington Post reported yesterday. According to the report, rooms were charged at an average of $630 per night when agents accompanied Ivanka Trump on more than a dozen spring trips to the Trump golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, while the state was under strict stay-at-home orders. The report was part of the Post’s ongoing investigation into Trump using taxpayer dollars to benefit his own private businesses.

JUDGE BARRETT HEARINGS UNDERWAY… Judge Amy Coney Barrett vowed to fulfill her duties “faithfully and impartially” yesterday on the first of her four days of Supreme Court nomination hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republicans insisted that Barrett was well-qualified despite her holding no bench higher than appellate court. Democratic senators called Barrett’s conservative views a threat to the Obamacare healthcare law during a deadly pandemic and called out Republican hypocrisy in the efforts to approve her before the November 3 presidential election.

REPUBLICANS MUST MOVE ‘ILLEGAL’ BALLOT BOXES… California state officials issued a cease-and-desist order yesterday to prevent the Republican Party from setting up unofficial and illegal ballot drop boxes. GOP officials have acknowledged setting up the boxes. The order issued by Attorney General Xavier Becerra gives the GOP until tomorrow to remove all boxes.

DELTA BRINGS RAIN NORTHWARD… The aftermath of Hurricane Delta brought heavy rain to mid-Atlantic and Northeast states yesterday. The storm is blamed for four deaths in Louisiana and Florida since making landfall as a Category 2 hurricane. More than 140,000 people remained without power yesterday in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.

ENTERTAINMENT
JESSE METCALFE ELIMINATED FROM ‘DANCING’
… Actor Jesse Metcalfe was eliminated from Season 29 of “Dancing with the Stars” last night. He had been partnered with professional dancer Sharna Burgess in the competition. Still in the running are “Cheer” coach Monica Aldama, “The Bachelorette’ alum Kaitlyn Bristowe, “Selling Sunset” star Chrishell Stause, retired NFL player Vernon Davis, actresses Skai Jackson and Justina Machado, reality TV stars Jeannie Mai and Nev Schulman, Backstreet Boys singer A.J. McLean, rapper Nelly and Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir.

THE WANTED’S TOM PARKER BATTLING BRAIN TUMOR… Tom Parker, a member of the popular U.K. boy band The Wanted, has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The 32-year-old Parker acknowledged in an interview with OK! Magazine that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma. He said the diagnosis came six weeks ago after he had suffered a pair of seizures.

SPORTS
MLB
AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORE

TAMPA BAY 4 – Houston 2
(in San Diego)… The Rays cruised past the Astros to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Starter Charlie Morton pitched five-hit ball over five scoreless innings. Manuel Margot slugged a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning. Mike Zunino added a solo shot in the seventh. Tampa Bay will try to make it three straight today when they send lefthander Ryan Yarbrough to the mound. He’ll be opposed by Houston righthander Jose Urquidy. Gametime is 8:40 p.m. Eastern.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORE
Atlanta 5 – L.A. DODGERS 1
(in Arlington)… The Braves came up with four runs in the top of the ninth inning to put away the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series opener. Austin Riley smacked a go-ahead solo homer. Ozzie Albies added a two-run blast. The win was potentially costly for Atlanta, as left fielder Adam Duvall left the game early with an injury to his left oblique. Righthander Ian Anderson takes the mound for the Braves today. Lefthander Clayton Kershaw gets the start for the Dodgers. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. Eastern.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
NEW ORLEANS 30 – L.A. Chargers 27
(OT)… The Saints (3-2) rallied after halftime to outlast the Chargers (1-4). Taysom Hill came in at quarterback for New Orleans and ran 9 yards for a game-tying score with 52 seconds left in regulation. Drew Brees passed for 325 yards and a score. Emmanuel Sanders had 12 catches for 122 yards.

TODAY’S NFL SCHEDULE
Buffalo (4-0) is at Tennessee (3-0)