The Rundown for December 25, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 18,649,352 and the nation’s death toll stands at 329,022, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A forecasting model by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now predicts there will be 567,000 deaths in the U.S. by April. They warned that deaths could surpass 5,000 per day by mid-February if governments don’t order additional restrictions… California became the first state in the nation to surpass 2 million cases, just 44 days after recording 1 million cases on November 11. The state also reported a record of 18,875 hospitalizations including another record with 3,962 patients in ICU units.

A SCALED-DOWN CHRISTMAS… 2020 leaves us with a scaled-down Christmas, as pandemic restrictions are limiting and altering normal holiday traditions. Fewer Americans are traveling to spend the holiday with family and friends and bigger churches are having to limit attendance at services. Last night’s Christmas vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica was moved up a few hours to comply with Italy’s 10 p.m. curfew. Pope Francis reflected on Christmas’ significance and urged followers to reach out to the needy.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS BLOCK STIMULUS BILL PUSH… House Republicans yesterday blocked Democrats’ efforts to raise Americans’ stimulus checks to $2,000. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched the effort after President Trump called the previously agreed-upon $600 checks a “disgrace” but her GOP counterpart, Kevin McCarthy, denied her attempt to amend the bill by unanimous consent. Afterward, Pelosi released a statement urging Trump to rally Republican support in Monday’s full House vote. Experts say it will take at least two weeks for the Treasury to get cash into individuals’ bank accounts after any new legislation is signed.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN SUFFERS ANOTHER COURT LOSS… The Trump campaign was denied gain yesterday in its latest bid to persuade the courts to overturn his defeat in last month’s presidential election. A federal appeals court unanimously rejected Trump’s attempt to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin. The three-judge panel consisted of Trump appointees. Judge Michael Scudder of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said the election changes were not significant enough to run afoul of the Constitution’s provision that state legislatures determine the manner of selecting presidential electors. He also faulted Trump for challenging those provisions after the election, rather than before.

CALIFORNIA FIRE PROMPTS EVACUATIONS… A wildfire near the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in Southern California forced the evacuation of about 7,000 people last night. The fire started the night before and by yesterday morning grew to 3,050 acres with zero-percent containment. Crews are containment lines for the blaze, which officials say was fueled by steep terrain, difficult access and winds.

… Netflix announced yesterday that Season 3 of the “Karate Kid” sequel series “Cobra Kai” will debut on New Year’s Day. The streaming service had originally scheduled the debut for a week later. The half-hour, action-dramedy picks up more than 30 years after high-school rivals Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) famously competed at the All Valley Karate Tournament. The frenemies are now senseis at their own vastly different karate schools. The show has already been renewed for a fourth season.

NEVERLAND RANCH SELLS… Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California has a new owner. Billionaire businessman Ron Burkle purchased the 2,700-acre property near Santa Barbara for $22 million. The property was listed for $100 million in 2016 then dropped to $67 million a year later. In addition to a 12,500 square-foot main residence and a 3,700 square-foot pool house, the property boasts a separate building with a 50-seat movie theater and a dance studio. Other features on the ranch are a “Disney-style” train station, a fire house and barn.


Minnesota (6-8) is at New Orleans (10-4)

Tampa Bay (9-5) is at Detroit (5-9)…
Arizona (8-6) hosts San Francisco (5-9)…
Miami (9-5) is at Las Vegas (7-7)

Atlanta (4-10) is at Kansas City (13-1)…
the N.Y. Jets (1-13) host Cleveland (10-4)…
Indianapolis (10-4) is at Pittsburgh (11-3)…
Jacksonville (1-13) hosts Chicago (7-7)…
the N.Y. Giants (5-9) are at Baltimore (9-5)…
Houston (4-10) hosts Cincinnati (3-10-1)…
Denver (5-9) is at the L.A. Chargers (5-9)…
Washington (6-8) hosts Carolina (4-20)…
Philadelphia (4-9-1) is at Dallas (5-9)…
Seattle (10-4) hosts the L.A. Rams (9-5)…
Tennessee (10-4) is at Green Bay (11-3)

Buffalo (11-3) is at New England (6-8)

Memphis 25, Florida Atlantic 10 in the Montgomery Bowl

Marshall (7-2) plays Buffalo (5-1) in the Camelia Bowl

No. 19 Louisiana plays Texas-San Antonio in the First Responder Bowl…
Western Kentucky plays Georgia State in the LendingTree Bowl…
No. 12 Coastal Carolina plays Liberty in the Mortgage Cure Bowl…

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and his favorite receiver DeVonta Smith have been named as Heisman Trophy finalists. Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Florida’s Kyle Trask are the other two plays up for the award. Jones and Smith are the eighth set of teammates to be finalists together since the tradition started in 1982. Smith is trying to become the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. The Heisman will be awarded January 5 during a virtual ceremony.

New Orleans is at Miami…
Milwaukee hosts Golden State…
Brooklyn is at Boston…
the L.A. Lakers host Dallas…
the L.A. Clippers are at Denver

MLB NEWS… The Washington Nationals have acquired first baseman Josh Bell from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitchers Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean. The 28-year-old Bell was an All-Star in 2019 before an injury-shortened second half of the season. He hit just eight homers while batting a career-low .226 in 57 games for the Pirates in 2020.

The Rundown for December 17, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 16,955,024 and the nation’s death toll stands at 307,226, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 246,996 new cases and 3,486 deaths… The 113,069 hospitalizations reported yesterday set a new record high and marked the 15th consecutive day that hospitalizations topped 100,000 in the U.S.

ELECTIONS SECURE, FORMER CYBERSECURITY EXPERT SAYS… The federal government’s former top cybersecurity expert yesterday defended his assessment that last month’s elections were secure during questioning. Christopher Krebs, who was fired by President Trump last month as head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency after he refuted false claims of voter fraud, assured members of the Senate homeland security committee that last month’s election was “the most secure in American history.” Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan denounced the legal efforts by Trump and his Republican supporters to sow public doubt about the election outcome. Trump and Republicans have gone 1-59 in post-election court challenges and have presented no evidence supporting voter-fraud claims.

10 STATES SUE GOOGLE… A group of 10 state attorneys general led by Texas’ Ken Paxton filed an antitrust suit against Google yesterday, accusing the company of working with Facebook illegally to boost online advertising. The complaint alleges that Google engaged in “anticompetitive conduct, exclusionary practices, and deceptive misrepresentations” across its huge suite of products. The Department of Justice also filed an antitrust suit against Google in October, accusing it of monopolistic behavior in its domination of online search.

RETAIL SALES DECLINED AGAIN IN NOVEMBER… Retail sales in the U.S. declined in November for the second straight month, according to the Commerce Department’s monthly report released yesterday. The department found that retail and food-service sales for the month were $546.5 billion, a decrease of 1.1 percent from October. Bars and restaurants saw a 4 percent decline in sales and business was down at U.S. auto dealerships, gas stations, department stores, clothing stores, home furnishing dealers and electronics stores. The National Retail Federation noted, however, that retail sales in November were still close to 9 percent higher than they were a year ago.

FED RAISES EXPECTATIONS… The Federal Reserve has raised its economic expectations slightly for the end of this year as well as for 2021. In its Summary of Economic Projections released yesterday, the central bank expects real gross domestic product to fall just 2.4 percent in 2020, compared with a decline of 3.7 percent predicted in September. The Fed also upped its 2021 real GDP forecast to 4.2 percent from its previous 4.0 estimate. The central bank estimates the unemployment rate to fall to 6.7 percent this year, further below the 7.6 percent previously predicted. The unemployment rate should fall to 5.0 percent in 2021, compared with the central bank’s previous estimate of 5.5 percent.

… NBC and Warner Bros. Television are developing a sequel series to the 1980s sitcom “Night Court.” The original series ran for nine seasons from 1984 to 1992 on NBC. The revival will follow judge Abby Stone as she presides over an arraignment court in Manhattan during the night shift. The judge is the daughter of the show’s original main character, Harry Stone, who was portrayed by the late Harry Anderson. Original star John Larroquette will be reprising his role as attorney Dan Fielding in the revival. The actor earned four Emmy awards in the role.

‘LIZZIE McGUIRE’ REVIVAL NOT HAPPENING… Star Hilary Duff announced on social media yesterday that the long-awaited “Lizzie McGuire” revival won’t happen. She revealed that the Disney+ series has been officially shelved after multiple delays. The revival was placed on a production hiatus in February with two episodes already completed. Producers hoped to launch it 15 years after the original series went off the air following 65 episodes on the Disney Channel.


No. 7 VILLANOVA 85, Butler 66…
No. 11 TEXAS 79, Sam Houston State 63…
Purdue 67, No. 20 Ohio State 60…
No. 21 Duke 75, NOTRE DAME 65

NEW YORK 100, Cleveland 93…
Chicago 124, OKLAHOMA CITY 103…
DENVER 126, Portland 95…
L.A. Lakers 112, PHOENIX 107

the L.A. Chargers (4-9) are at Las Vegas (7-6)

MLB NEWS… Players who played in the seven “Negro Leagues” that existed between 1920 and 1948 will now be considered major leaguers, Major League Baseball announced yesterday. “All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game’s best players, innovations and triumphs against a backdrop of injustice,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in making the announcement. Major League Baseball did not integrate until Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Just two years earlier, Robinson was a member of the Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs.

The Rundown for December 14, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 16,251,716 and the nation’s death toll stands at 299,163, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 187,901 new cases and 1,379 deaths… The first shipments of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine are en route. 184,275 vials of the vaccine were trucked out of Pfizer’s facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, yesterday. A combined 189 boxes of the vaccine is set to be distributed among all 50 states today. The shipments began immediately after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield gave his approval.

TREASURY, COMMERCE DEPARTMENTS HACKED… The U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments were hacked by Russian government-backed spies, Reuters and the Washington Post reported yesterday. The hack was serious enough that analysts briefed the National Security Council. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is in charge of advising the president on telecommunications issues, was reportedly targeted. Cybersecurity experts say the group behind the hacks – APT29 or Cozy Bear — works with Russia’s foreign intelligence agency. APT29 was blame early last week for a hack on a top U.S. cybersecurity firm.

TRUMP CONTINUES DEFENSE BILL VETO THREAT… President Trump yesterday offered China as the reason he remains determined to veto an annual defense policy bill that passed by a veto-proof majority in the Senate last week. “The biggest winner of our new defense bill is China!” Trump tweeted. “I will veto!” Lawmakers from both parties insist the bill, which covers the military’s budget for equipment and pay raises for service members, would be tough on China and must become law as soon as possible. The president has previously threatened to veto the bill over a requirement that military bases honoring Confederate leaders eventually be renamed. He also threatened a veto to try to force lawmakers to include provisions that punish social media companies he claims were biased against him during the election.

33 ARRESTED IN D.C. AFTER VIOLENT CLASHES… Police in Washington, D.C., arrested 33 people amid violent protests over the weekend. Protesters clashed with police and there were confrontations between supporters of President Trump and counter-protesters. According to the Metropolitan Police Department, charges ranged from assaulting a cop to general assault, illegal weapons possession and resisting arrest. Eight police officers were hurt. Four people also suffered non-life-threatening stab wounds in one confrontation. Vandals tore down a Black Lives Matter banner and sign from two historic Black churches and set the banner ablaze. Police are investigating the incidents at the Asbury United Methodist Church and Metropolitan A.M.E. Church as potential hate crimes.

NEW RELIEF BILL TO BE INTRODUCED… Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said yesterday that a bipartisan group of lawmakers plans to introduce a $908 billion COVID-19 relief bill today. During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Manchin said the bill would serve as an emergency measure to help the nation survive the first fiscal quarter of 2021. The bill calls for $288 billion in small-business support and $180 billion for extended unemployment insurance.

… Best-selling spy novelist John le Carre died at his home in England on Saturday. He was 89 and had been battling pneumonia. The author’s classics include “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “The Honourable Schoolboy.” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” published in 1974 was adapted into a 2011 film starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth.

EDDIE VAN HALEN DIED OF A STROKE… Eddie Van Halen’s cause of death was a stroke, according to his death certificate obtained by TMZ. The certificate lists underlying causes, including pneumonia, the bone marrow disorder myelodysplastic syndrome and lung cancer. The certificate also listed a number of “other significant conditions”, including skin cancer on his head and neck and an irregular heart rate. Van Halen’s body was cremated 22 days after his death and his ashes were given to his son Wolfgang.


CHICAGO 36 – Houston 7
… The Bears (6-7) cruised past the Texans (4-9) to snap their six-game skid. Mitchell Trubisky passed for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Allen Robinson had nine catches for 123 yards and a score. David Montgomery rushed for 113 yards and a TD.

Dallas 30 – CINCINNATI 7… Andy Dalton threw a pair of touchdown passes in his return to Cincinnati and the Cowboys (4-9) cruised past the Bengals (2-10-1). Aldon Smith returned a fumble 78 yards for a score.

Kansas City 33 – MIAMI 27… The Chiefs (12-1) held off the Dolphins (8-5) to clinch their fifth straight AFC West title. Patrick Mahomes threw for 393 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted three times. Travis Kelce had eight receptions for 136 yards and a score.

Arizona 26 – N.Y. GIANTS 7… The Cardinals (7-6) turned it up defensively in downing the Giants (5-8). Heason Reddick recorded five sacks and three forced fumbles. Kyler Murray passed for 244 yards and a touchdown. Deandre Hopkins had nine catches for 136 yards.

TAMPA BAY 26 – Minnesota 14… Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes as the Buccaneers (8-5) handled the Vikings (6-7). Defensively, Tampa Bay recorded six sacks.

Denver 32 – CAROLINA 27… Drew Lock passed for 280 yards and four touchdowns as the Broncos (5-8) held off the Panthers (4-9). K.J. Hamler had two TD catches. Diontae Spenser returned a punt 83 yards for a score.

Tennessee 31 – JACKSONVILLE 10… Derrick Henry ran for 215 yards and two touchdowns as the Titans (9-4) dealt the Jaguars (1-12) their 12th straight loss. Ryan Tannehill threw for 212 yards and two scores. A.J. Brown had seven receptions for 112 yards and a TD.

Indianapolis 44 – LAS VEGAS 27… Philip Rivers threw for 244 yards and hit T.Y. Hilton with a pair of touchdown passes as the Colts (9-4) topped the Raiders (7-6). Jonathan Taylor rushed for 150 yards and two scores.

SEATTLE 40 – N.Y. Jets 3… Russell Wilson threw touchdown passes to four different receivers before sitting out the fourth quarter and the Seahawks (9-4) dismantled the Jets (0-13).

Green Bay 31 – DETROIT 24… Aaron Rodgers ran for a tie-breaking touchdown in the third quarter and threw touchdown passes in leading the Packers (10-3) past the Lions (5-8). Devante Adams had seven catches for 115 yards and a score.

PHILADELPHIA 24 – New Orleans 21… The Eagles (4-8-1) built a 17-0 halftime lead and held off the Saints (10-3). Miles Sanders rushed for 115 yards and two scores. Jalen Hurts got the stars at quarterback and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in the first quarter.

L.A. CHARGERS 20 – Atlanta 17… Michael Badgley booted a 43-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Chargers (4-9) over the Falcons (4-9). Justin Herbert passed for 243 yards and two scores.

Washington 23 – SAN FRANCISCO 15… Washington (6-7) dominated the 49ers (5-8) defensively in a hard-fought win. Chase Young returned a fumble 47 yards for a touchdown. Kamren Curl added a 76-yard interception return for a score.

BUFFALO 26 – Pittsburgh 15… Taron Johnson returned an interception 51 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the first quarter and the Bills (10-3) never looked back in their win over the Steelers (11-2). Josh Allen threw touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis in the third quarter.

Baltimore (7-5) is at Cleveland (9-3)

No. 3 IOWA 103, Northern Illinois 53…
No. 4 MICHIGAN STATE 109, Oakland 91…
No. 11 WEST VIRGINIA 87, No. 19 Richmond 71…
No. 22 OHIO STATE 67, Cleveland State 61…
No. 23 Arizona State 71, GRAND CANYON 70…

MLB NEWS… The Cleveland Indians plan to change their nickname after 108 years. They become the latest professional sports franchise to remove Native American imagery amid accusations that its use is racist. Cleveland has not settled on a new nickname.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… Auburn has fired head football coach Gus Malzahn after eight seasons. The Tigers went 68-34 under Malzahn and reached the BCS National Championship in his first season in 2013… Lovie Smith is out as head football coach at Illinois after five seasons. The Illini went 17-39 (10-33 in the Big Ten) under. Smith, who guided the NFL’s Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl appearance in 2006.

The Rundown for December 9, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 15,161,807 and the nation’s death toll stands at 286,189, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 208,121 new cases and 2,913 deaths yesterday… Rhode Island’s average of 123 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people is the nation’s highest using the metric. Indiana, Utah, South Dakota and Alaska are also in the top five. Rhode Island, Connecticut, California, and Tennessee are among states seeing the quickest rise. The average number of cases per 100,000 people is rising in more than half the country… President-elect Joe Biden yesterday presented his plan to fight the coronavirus pandemic during his first 100 days in office. Biden vows that his administration will vaccinate 100 million Americans, push to reopen schools and strengthen mask mandates… Documents released yesterday by the Food and Drug Administration raised no new red flags over the safety or efficacy of the vaccine pharmaceutical company Pfizer developed with Germany’s BioNTech SE.

SUPREME COURT WON’T STOP PA FROM CERTIFYING ELECTION RESULTS… The Supreme Court yesterday rejected a Republican bid to stop Pennsylvania from certifying its presidential election results. The High Court’s brief order offered only that: “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.” There was no mention of dissenting judges. Pennsylvania Republican congressman led the legal effort after claiming absentee voting violated the state constitution. Republicans are now 1-51 in post-election court challenges after a Michigan Federal Court denied a motion to maintain and preserve election data and machines for inspection. Meanwhile, the Arizona Supreme Court voted unanimously to affirm Biden’s victory in Arizona, upholding a lower court’s finding that there was no misconduct, fraud or illegal voting in the general election.

HOUSE PASSES DEFENSE BILL… The House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to approve a sweeping defense bill under a veto threat from President Trump. The 335-78 vote carried a veto-proof majority in sending the National Defense Authorization Act to the Senate. The $740 billion bill includes pay raises for soldiers, modernizations for equipment and provisions to require more scrutiny before troops are withdrawn from Germany or Afghanistan. Trump has vowed that he won’t sign the bill unless it includes a repeal of the law that shields internet companies from being liable for what is posted on their websites by them or third parties. Trump also opposes a limit on how much money he can move around for his border wall and the renaming of military bases that were named after figures from the Confederacy.

FLYNN CRIMINAL CHARGES DISMISSED… A federal judge who dismissed criminal charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn yesterday revealed that he had been leaning towards denying a Justice Department request to drop the criminal case before Flynn received a pardon from President Trump. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District Court of the District of Columbia wrote that the pardon issued two weeks ago rendered the case moot. Flynn was facing one charge of lying to the FBI about his meetings with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. The former Army general initially pleaded guilty to the charge, but later filed to withdraw his plea. Attorney General William Barr later made the unusual move of directing the Justice Department to drop the case.

14 SENIOR OFFICERS PUNISHED AT FORT HOOD… An investigative panel looking into violent crimes and abuse at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas reported yesterday that it had found a command structure that was “permissive” of sexual assaults, harassment and violence. In response to the investigation’s findings, the Army announced that 14 senior officers will be punished in response to the murder of a soldier and several other deaths at the base. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy conceded that the issues at Fort Hood are “directly related to leadership failures.”

… ABC announced yesterday that actor/singer Billy Porter and actress Lucy Hale will join Ryan Seacrest as hosts of the 2020 Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve TV special. Porter stars as Pray Tell in the FX series “Pose.” Hale portrayed Aria Montgomery on the Freeform series “Pretty Little Liars.” The three will host the event from Times Square in New York; Ciara to host the West Coast celebration from Los Angeles. ABC will air festivities on December 31 at 8 p.m. Eastern.

LENNON REMEMBERED… Fans throughout the world gathered yesterday to remember John Lennon on the 40th anniversary of his death. The former Beatle was honored with flowers, candles and songs at worldwide ceremonies. Lennon was with his wife, Yoko Ono, when he was fatally shot on December 8, 2020, outside his apartment building in Manhattan. The shooter, Mark David Chapman, remains in prison. Lennon’s former bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr joined Ono in paying tribute on social media.


BALTIMORE 34 – Dallas 17
… Lamar Jackson threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran 37 yards for a score in leading the Ravens (7-5) past the Cowboys (3-9). Miles Boykin hauled in a 38-yard scoring toss. Gus Edwards rushed for 101 yards.

No. 3 IOWA 93, No. 16 North Carolina 80…
No. 5 KANSAS 73, No. 8 Creighton 72…
No. 6 Illinois 83, DUKE 68…
No. 12 TENNESSEE 56, Colorado 47…
Penn State 75, No. 15 VIRGINIA TECH 55…
No. 21 RUTGERS 79, Syracuse 69…
No. 22 Ohio State 90, NOTRE DAME 85

BASEBALL MOURNS DICK ALLEN’S PASSING… Baseball is mourning the loss of Dick Allen, a seven-time All-Star who died at age 78 on Monday at his home in Wampum, Pennsylvania, after an extended illness. Allen was awarded the 1964 NL Rookie of Year as third-baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies and he won the 1972 AL MVP award as a first-baseman for the Chicago White Sox. Allen’s 37 homers and 113 RBIs were league highs in that MVP season. He also led the AL with 32 homers in 1974. Allen’s career included single-season stops with the L.A. Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland Athletics before retiring after the 1977 season. Allen batted .292 with 351 homers and 1,119 RBIs during his 15-year career. Despite his success on the field, his defiance of racism during the 1960s in Philadelphia resulted in his media-induced reputation as a malcontent and may have cost him election into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2014, Allen fell one vote short of Cooperstown in a Hall committee election. The Phillies retired Allen’s No. 15 in September despite the franchise’s longstanding “unwritten” policy of only retiring the number of players who are in the Hall of Fame.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS… The top six spots in this week’s college playoff rankings remain unchanged. Alabama stays atop the rankings and is followed in the top five by Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State, and Texas A&M. Florida is at No. 6, with Iowa State, Cincinnati, Georgia and Miami completing the top 10.

The Rundown for December 8, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 14,949,299 and the nation’s death toll stands at 283,703, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 198,792 new cases and 1,508 deaths yesterday… New data released by the Department of Health and Human Services yesterday offers a stark picture of the stress facing hospitals. The dataset on hospital capacity and bed use at hospitals in 2,200 U.S. counties identifies areas where hospitals are getting dangerously full. In 126 counties, the average hospital is at least 90 percent occupied. The states with the most counties above this threshold are Kentucky, Georgia, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Texas.

BIDEN FILLS OUT HEALTH PICKS… President-elect Joe Biden confirmed his selection of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of the Department Health and Human Services yesterday and named other members of his health team. Vivek Murthy, who heads Biden’s COVID-19 advisory task force, will return for a second round as surgeon general. Rochelle Walensky, an infectious disease expert at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, will head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anthony Fauci will remain as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Biden has is expected to announce Army General Lloyd Austin as his pick for secretary of defense. Austin is the former commander of U.S. Central Command.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION RESTORES DACA… The Trump administration said yesterday that it has fully restored the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in compliance with a judge’s order. The DACA program shields hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation of they came to the U.S. as children. The Trump administration has argued that DACA is unconstitutional and stopped taking applications in September 2017. The Supreme Court ruled in June that the administration violated federal law in its ending of the program.

FLORIDA HOME OF FORMER COVID DATA SCIENTIST RAIDED… Florida state police yesterday morning raided the home of a former Florida Department of Health data scientist who was fired from her job running the state’s COVID-19 data dashboard. Rebekah Jones maintains her firing came after she refused to manipulate data. Jones has since created her own COVID-19 data platform and the data and backups used to run it were among items taken during the raid. Jones used social media to post video of the raid from a home surveillance camera. The Department of Health filed a complaint alleging the Jones had breached an emergency messaging alert system and had “illegally accessed the system.” She denies knowing how to do that. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his allies have been accused of engaging in a widespread campaign to downplay and misinterpret information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHUCK YEAGER DIES… Pioneering Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager, who became the first person to break the sound barrier in 1947 and was the first pilot in history to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight, died last night at age 97. After enlisting in the Army Air Corpos in 1941, Yeager advanced from a mechanic to pilot. He shot down 13 German planes on 64 missions during World War II, including five on a single mission. He was once shot down over German-held France but escaped with the help of French partisans. Yeager became a test pilot after World War II at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He flew more than 200 types of military aircraft and also trained many of the Gemini, Mercury and Apollo astronauts at the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilots School. The native West Virginian’s exploits were told in Tom Wolfe’s book “The Right Stuff,” and the 1983 film of the same name.

… Actress Natalie Desselle Reid, who was perhaps best known for her sidekick role opposite Halle Berry in the 1997 comedy film “BAP*S,” died yesterday after a battle with colon cancer. She was 53. Reid also had starring roles in the 2003-2006 sitcom “Eve” and the 2010 film “Madea’s Big Happy Family.” Her Hollywood career began in 1996 when she appeared in a single episode of the sitcom “Family Matters.” Her last acting credit came in 2017 for a role in the Comedy Central series “Ya Killin’ Me.”

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN OPPOSES WARNER BROS. DECISION… Filmmaker Christopher Nolan has taken a strong stand against Warner Bros.’ decision to release its films on HBO Max and in theaters in 2021. The “Tenet” filmmaker called it a bad business decision and criticized how the company handled it. “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” said Nolan, whose working relationship with Warners began with the 2002 film “Insomnia.” Nolan’s most recent film, “Tenet,” was the first and only major blockbuster to open in theaters in early September following pandemic-related closures.

Washington 23 – PITTSBURGH 17
… Washington (5-7) erased a 14-point deficit to rally past the Steelers (11-1) and hand them their first loss. Dustin Hopkins booted a go-ahead 45-yard field goal with 2:09 remaining and added a 45-yarder with 17 seconds left. Alex Smith sparked the rally with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Logan Thomas.

Buffalo 34 – SAN FRANCISCO 24… Josh Allen passed for 375 yards and hit four different receivers with touchdown passes as the Bills (9-3) rolled past the 49ers (5-7) to remain in sole possession of first place atop the AFC East. The game was played in Glendale, Arizona. Cole Beasley had nine catches for 130 yards and a score.

No. 19 RICHMOND 77, Wofford 72

MLB NEWS… The Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds exchanged right-handed relievers yesterday, with Cincinnati sending closer Raisel Iglesias and cash considerations to L.A. for Noe Ramirez and a player to be named later. The 30-year-old Iglesias has recorded 72 saves over the past three seasons. The 31-year-old Ramirez had a 4.13 ERA during that time.

The Rundown for December 3, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 13,916,543 and the nation’s death toll stands at 273,316, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Hospitalizations in the U.S. topped 100,000 for the first time yesterday and the 2,670 deaths set a new daily record. Health-care workers throughout the nation are becoming increasingly desperate amid the surging number of patients.

PELOSI, SCHUMER BACK RELIEF BILL… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer have expressed their support for the House’s $908 billion pandemic relief bill. The two Democratic leaders are backing the plan introduced Tuesday by a group of bipartisan lawmakers led by Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah. The plan calls for $288 billion in small-business support and $180 billion for extended unemployment insurance, among other fiscal appropriations. Senator Majority Leader McConnell has announced he opposes the bill and is seeking feedback on his own proposal.

TRUMP FACING BIPARTISAN OPPOSITION TO VETO THREAD… Republicans are standing up with Democrats to oppose President Trump’s threat to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, a $740 billion annual bill that sets Pentagon policy. The bill has passed both houses but Trump has vowed not to sign it unless it repeals legal protections for social media companies and removes a provision that would strip the names of Confederate generals from military facilities. Lawmakers from both parties are feeling pressured to obtain the president’s signature by the end of the month.

IVANKA TRUMP DEPOSED OVER INAUGURATION… Court filings made public yesterday confirmed that Ivanka Trump was deposed Tuesday as part of a lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds. The Washington, D.C., attorney general has accused the inauguration committee of making improper and inflated payments of $1 million to the Trump Organization. Ivanka Trump was involved in the planning of the inauguration. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former confidante of Melania Trump, was also deposed. Lawyers for the city have requested documents from Ivanka Trump, Melania Trump, inauguration committee chairman Rick Gates and the Trump Organization.

CAPITOL CHRISTMAS TREE LIT… A 55-foot tall, 25-foot wide Christmas tree was lighted at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., last night as part of an annual celebration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hit the switch on the lights that adorned the spruce that was harvested November 6 from the Uncompahgre National Forest in Colorado. Last night’s two-hour event featured musical performances and the cast of the Radio City Rockettes. There was no public admission but the event aired on NBC.

… Actor Warren Berlinger, whose career spanned stage, film and television, died yesterday in a Los Angeles-area hospital. He was 83. Berlinger starred in the Broadway and film versions of “Blue Denim” and in the original stage production of Neil Simon’s “Come Blow Your Horn.” Berlinger also worked alongside his future wife, Betty Lou Keim, on Broadway in 1955’s “A Roomful of Roses,” and he made his movie debut when they reprised their roles for the 1956 big-screen adaptation “Teenage Rebel.” Berlinger also had roles in the films “The Wackiest Ship in the Army,” “Spinout” and “Thunder Alley.” Berlinger’s television credits included “The Joey Bishop Show,” “A Touch of Grace,” “Bracken’s World” and “Operation Petticoat.”

JULIANNA MARGULIES SIGNS ON TO APPLE TV+ DRAMA… Julianna Margulies has joined the cast of the Apple TV+ drama series “The Morning Show.” The 54-year-old Margulies will appear alongside stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in Season 2. Margulies will play a morning TV news anchor at a fictional network. The series co-stars Steve Carell, Billy Crudup and Mark Duplass.


PITTSBURGH 19 – Baltimore 14
… The Steelers (11-0) overcame sloppy play to hold off the Ravens (6-5) and remain unbeaten. Their only offensive touchdown came early in the fourth quarter on a Ben Roethlisberger 1-yard pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Cornerback Joe Haden opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 14-yard interception return.

MLB NEWS… The Los Angeles Angels have acquired shortstop Jose Iglesias from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for right-handed pitchers Jean Pinto and Garrett Stallings. The 30-year-old Iglesias, who is known for his defense, batted .373 in 39 games for Baltimore last season. The Angels lost shortstop Andrelton Simmons to free agency this offseason… The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired 29-year-old right-hander reliever Corey Knebel from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Knebel has struggled to return to form following Tommy John surgery in April 2019.

NBA NEWS… ESPN reported last night that the Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards have agreed to swap disgruntled point guards Russell Westbrook is heading to the Wizards in exchange for John Wall and a lottery-protected 2023 first-round NBA draft pick. The 32-year-old Westbrook has been an All-Star in nine of the past 10 seasons. Wall has missed the past two seasons with an Achilles and knee injuries… Four dozen NBA players tested positive for COVID-19 since the league resumed testing last week. Officials say 546 players were tested the week of November 24, making the positivity rate roughly 9 percent. All infected players were required to isolate.

No. 1 Gonzaga 87, No. 11 West Virginia 82 (Jimmy V Classic)…
No. 2 Baylor 82, No. 5 Illinois 69 (Jimmy V Classic)…
No. 17 Texas 69, No. 14 North Carolina 67 (Maui Invitational)…
No. 22 FLORIDA STATE 86, North Florida 58…
Missouri 83, No. 21 Oregon 75 (Omaha)…
No. 23 OHIO STATE 77, Morehead State 44

The Rundown for November 19, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 11,498,515 and the nation’s death toll stands at 250,180, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… New York City Public Schools announced yesterday that it will be shutting down after the city reached a 3-percent testing positivity rate… Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers yesterday declared a state of emergency and said he would extend the state’s face mask mandate until 2021.

BIDEN PARTICIPATES IN HEALTH-CARE ROUNDTABLE… President-elect Joe Biden held a virtual roundtable with front-line healthcare workers yesterday. The workers called for more personal protective equipment, widespread testing, contract tracing and better economic support for Americans. Biden was also warned that hospitals nationwide are overflowing with coronavirus patients.

TRUMP CONTINUES LEGAL CHALLENGES… President Trump continued his legal challenges to the 2020 presidential elections with new filings yesterday. The Trump campaign has paid the state $3 million and filed a petition for a recount of ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. Trump’s campaign also filed an amended complaint in Pennsylvania seeking to block the state’s efforts to verify its election results. On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled officials in Philadelphia did not prevent observers from overseeing the counting of ballots. Officials in Georgia are expected to release tallies from a recount today and say results are not likely to overturn Biden’s 14,000-vote victory in the state.

FBI INVESTIGATING TEXAS AG… The FBI has launched an investigations into allegations that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton illegally used his office to benefit a wealthy donor. Former members of Paxton’s staff accuse Paxton of committing bribery, abuse of office and other crimes in support of an Austin real estate developer. Seven senior lawyers in the attorney general’s office and the agency’s head of law enforcement claim Paxton hired an outside lawyer to investigate the developer’s allegations that the FBI improperly searched his home and offices last year.

PELOSI RE-ELECTED TO LEAD DEMS… Democrats yesterday re-elected Nancy Pelosi to lead the party as House speaker. Pelosi, along with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, ran unopposed. The three Democrats have held their positions in the House for the last 14 years. Last week, New York Democrat Chuck Schumer was re-elect as Senate minority leader while Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky won another term as the Senate majority leader.

GREEN BERET ADMITS SPYING FOR RUSSIA… A former Army Green Beret has pleaded guilty today to providing Russian intelligence operatives with U.S. national defense information. 45-year-old Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins allegedly participated in the conspiracy between December 1996 and January 2011. The former U.S. Army Ranger allegedly provided information about his chemical and Special Forces units. As part of his arrangement with the Russians, he was given a code name and signed a statement of cooperation.

… Michael B. Jordan has been named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive for 2020.” The 33-year-old actor is best known for his TV roles in “The Wire” and “Friday Night Lights,” as well as his work in such films as “Fruitvale Station,” “Creed,” “Black Panther” and “Just Mercy.” Last year’s Sexiest Man Alive was singer John Legend.

TORY LANEZ PLEADS NOT GUILTY… Rapper Tory Lanez pleaded not guilty yesterday to felony assault charges in the July shooting of hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion. The 28-year-old Lanez entered the plea through his attorney and was not present in the courtroom. He was told to return for a hearing on January 20. If convicted, Lanez faces a maximum sentence of roughly 23 years. Lanez was charged in October with one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and one count of carrying a loaded, concealed firearm in a vehicle following a July incident in the Hollywood Hills.

… The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Anthony Edwards with the first pick of the 2020 NBA draft night. Edwards is a 6-5 guard who played his lone college season at Georgia. The Golden State Warriors chose Memphis center James Wiseman with the second choice, while guard LaMelo Ball went to the Charlotte Hornets at No. 3.

MLB NEWS… Major League Baseball has suspended New York Mets second-baseman Robinson Cano for the 2021 season following his second positive test for a performing-enhancing drug. The 38-year-old Cano was previously suspended for 80 games in 2018. The current suspension will cost him $24 million in salary and possibly harm his post-career election to the Hall of Fame. He is a lifetime .303 hitter with 334 career homers.

Arizona (6-3) is at Seattle (6-3)

The Rundown for November 17, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 11,036,935 and the nation’s death toll stands at 246,214, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A second coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. has shown to have a high success rate. Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine was 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 infection, according to interim data from a late-stage trial published yesterday. Last week, Pfizer announced that early data showed its vaccine is more than 90 percent effective… California governor Gavin Newsom announced yesterday that his state is “pulling the emergency brake” in moving 28 counties accounting for 94 percent of the state’s population back into the most restrictive purple tier. The move comes after the number of cases doubled over the past 10 days. Total hospitalizations and cases in intensive care units have shot up 48 and 39 percent, respectively, over the past two weeks.

TRUMP, ALLIES DROP SUITS… Voters in four states who had filed suit challenging Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election dropped their cases yesterday morning. Suits filed in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania federal courts were all backed by the law firm of a nationally known conservative attorney, James Bopp Jr. On Friday, a federal appellate court ruled that voters couldn’t bring some constitutional claims. Trump has refused to concede the election and continues to make false claims of widespread voter fraud with no evidence. His campaign and GOP allies have posted just a minor win in Pennsylvania among the 25 post-election lawsuits they have filed. The Trump campaign will be back in court today trying to overturn Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania. The campaign unsuccessfully argued to delay the trial yesterday after three of four attorneys on the team quit. Two previous sets of Trump lawyers stepped away from the case over the past week.

GEORGIA SEC OF STATE SAYS REPUBLICANS APPLIED PRESSURE OVER VOTING… Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told the Washington Post that Republican lawmakers have pressured him to discredit absentee ballot votes in the state following Joe Biden’s victory there. Raffensperger said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was among those applying pressure. Graham allegedly questioned Georgia’s signature-matching law and suggested that Raffensperger find a way to toss out legal ballots.

BIDEN, HARRIS TALK ECONOMIC RECOVERY… President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris met with business and labor leaders yesterday before before publicly presenting their plans for managing the economy. During a speech in Delaware, Biden stressed the importance of harnessing the coronavirus pandemic, developing a fair tax structure and buying U.S.-made products. He warned of dire consequences if the Trump administration continues its refusal to coordinate with Biden’s transition team on the coronavirus pandemic and block briefings on national security, policy issues and vaccine plans. Harris stressed the impact of the pandemic on the economy.

HATE-CRIME MURDERS SPIKE… Annual data released yesterday by the FBI showed that hate-crime murders surged to a record high in 2019 and overall hate crime incidents also rose. Studies found 51 people were the victims of murder or non-negligent manslaughter motivated by hate in 2019, far surpassing the 24 people killed the year before. 2018 had already been the deadliest year on record for victims of hate crimes since the FBI began tracking the data in the early 1990s, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

CREW DOCKS AT SPACE STATION… The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft delivered four astronauts to the International Space Station last night. The spacecraft docked at approximately 11:15 p.m. Eastern after launching from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center 27 hours earlier. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker arrived on the mission, as did Soichi Noguchi from Japan’s space agency. The crew is expected to spend about six months working on a variety of science experiments and conducting space walks to continue updates and repairs on the space station’s exterior.

… Comedian and actor Sinbad is recovering from a recent stroke, family members revealed yesterday. The condition of the 64-year-old entertainer was not disclosed. Sinbad is best known for his stand-up comedy specials, as well as his work on the TV sitcom “A Different World” and in films that include “Houseguest.”

2 DANCERS ELIMINATED… Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir and actress Skai Jackson were eliminated during last night’s “Dancing with the Stars” semi-finals. Weir had been partnered with pro dancer Britt Stewart for Season 29 of the competition series. Jackson danced with Alan Bersten. Actress Justina Machado, reality TV stars Nev Schulman and Kaitlyn Bristowe, and rapper Nelly have advance to next week’s finals.


Minnesota 19 – CHICAGO 13
… Kirk Cousins’ second touchdown pass to Adam Thielan came from 4 yards out and broke a fourth-quarter tie in carrying the Vikings (4-5) past the Bears (5-5). Cousins found Thielan with a 17-yard scoring toss in the first quarter. Justin Jefferson had eight receptions for 135 yards. Chicago led most of the third quarter after Cordarrelle Patterson returned the second-half kickoff 104 yards for a TD.

NFL NEWS… The New Orleans Saints are expected to be without quarterback Drew Brees indefinitely as he recovers from multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung. Brees suffered two fractured ribs and the collapsed lung on his right side in Sunday’s win over the San Francisco 49ers and sustained three fractured left ribs in the previous week’s defeat of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

NBA NEWS… The Phoenix Suns have acquired All-Star guard Chris Paul in a blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The deal brings Paul and Abdel Nader to Phoenix in exchange for Kelly Oubre Jr., Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a 2022 first-round pick. The 35-year-old Paul will be reunited with Suns coach Monty Williams, who coached the point guard for one season in New Orleans… ESPN reported that the New Orleans Pelicans were nearing completion of a deal to send guard Jrue Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and “significant” draft compensation.

MLB NEWS… The San Diego Padres announced yesterday that pitcher Mike Clevinger is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery today and will miss the 2021 season. The announcement came after the team reached agreement with the righthander on a two-year, $11.5 million contract extension. San Diego acquired Clevinger from Cleveland on August 31, but he left with a sore elbow in his final start of the regular season and was not available for the playoffs.

The Rundown for November 13, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 10,526,906 and the nation’s death toll stands at 242,621, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 89,206 new cases and 400 deaths yesterday, with more states reporting record highs in daily cases. California has joined Texas as states with at least 1 million cases… Wearing a face mask doesn’t just protect other people from potentially getting infected with the coronavirus, it protects you too, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention… Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has issued a stay-at-home advisory and Detroit stopped in-person schooling yesterday to combat outbreaks.

DEMS WANT TRUMP CONCESSION… Pressure is mounting on President Trump to concede the 2020 presidential election. Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer yesterday called on Republicans to accept the election results so Congress can focus on passing a new coronavirus stimulus package. John Cornyn, Ron Johnson, James Lankford, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham are among a growing number of Republican senators who are urging the Trump’ administration to allow President-Elect Joe Biden access to presidential daily intelligence briefings. Trump has been unsuccessfully challenging the outcome in courts, where his team is 0-12 in pressing its claims of widespread voter fraud. Biden has surpassed the 270 Electoral College votes required to become president and his lead in the popular vote has grown to more than 5.2 million votes. The Department of Homeland Security hit back at Trump’s voter-fraud claims yesterday with a strongly worded statement issued jointly by two committees. “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” the statement noted. CNN and NBC declared Biden the winner in Arizona last night, raising his Electoral College total to 290.

TURNOVER CONTINUES AT DHS… The continuing turnover atop the Department of Homeland Security continues to alarm defense analysts. Yesterday, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Assistant Director Bryan Ware and DHS Assistant Secretary International Affairs Valerie Boyd both resigned. CISA’s director, Christopher Krebs, expects to be fired, according to Reuters.

5 AMERICANS KILLED ON PEACEKEEPING MISSION… Five Americans were among seven international peacekeepers killed when their helicopter crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula yesterday. The crash also left one American peacekeeper injured. The cause “appears to be mechanical in nature,” officials said. The peacekeepers are part of the international mission that oversees the enforcement of the 1978 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

ETA RETURNS… Eta returned to the U.S. as a tropical storm yesterday morning near Cedar Key, Florida, before turning north and bringing heavy rain and dangerous flooding to the Carolinas and Virginia. The storm is blamed for the deaths of at least six people, including five in North Carolina. Flash flood warnings remain in effect across a large portion of North Carolina with flash flood watches in effect along the mid-Atlantic coast, from South Carolina to Virginia.

… Grammy-winning singer The Weeknd has been chosen as the halftime performer at Super Bowl 55. The game is scheduled for February 7 in Tampa, Florida, and will air on CBS. In making the announcement yesterday, the NFL called the singer “one of today’s most compelling and significant artists of a generation.” Jennifer Lopez and Shakira headlined last year’s halftime show.

VetsAid LINEUP GROWS… Gwen Stefani, her fiance Blake Shelton, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Jon Bon Jovi and other performers have signed on to appear during the virtual VetsAid festival from Joe Walsh. VetsAid 2020: Home for the Holidays is scheduled for December 12. Other performers include Ryan Bingham, Alice Cooper, Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Vince Gill, James Hetfield and Tim McGraw.


Indianapolis 34 – TENNESSEE 17
… The Colts (6-3) scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to roll past the Titans (6-3). Nyheim Hines caught a Philip Rivers touchdown pass and ran for a score. Rivers completed 29 of 39 passes for 308 yards. Michael Pittman Jr. had seven receptions for 101 yards.

Washington (2-6) is at Detroit (3-5)…
Green Bay (6-2) hosts Jacksonville (1-7)…
Tampa Bay (6-3) is at Carolina (3-6)….
the N.Y. Giants (2-7) host Philadelphia (3-4-1)…
Houston (2-6) is at Cleveland (5-3)…
Arizona (5-3) hosts Buffalo (7-2)…
the L.A. Chargers (2-6) are at Miami (5-3)…
Las Vegas (5-3) hosts Denver (3-5)…
San Francisco (4-5) is at New Orleans (6-2)…
the L.A. Rams (5-3) host Seattle (6-2)…
Cincinnati (2-5-1) is at Pittsburgh (8-0)…
New England (3-5) hosts Baltimore (6-2)

Minnesota (3-5) is at Chicago (5-4)

JOSE ABREU NAMED AL MVP… Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has been named 2020 American League Most Valuable Player. The 33-year-old Abreu becomes the first White Sox player to win the award since Frank Thomas in 1994. He also becomes the oldest AL MVP since 38-year-old Dennis Eckersley won the award in 1992. Abreu played in all 60 regular-season games and led the AL with 76 hits and 60 RBIs. His 19 homers were second in the league behind Luke Voit’s 22 for the New York Yankees.

IVY LEAGUE CANCELS WINTERS SPORTS… The Ivy League announced yesterday that it has cancelled winter sports, including basketball, for the 2020-21 season. The decision to become the first Division I conference not to participate in winter sports came after days of talks among conference presidents. The basketball season was to start in 12 days.

THE MASTERS UNDERWAY… Wet conditions led to more than two dozen golfers posting under-par scores on yesterday’s first round of the 2020 Masters. Play was delayed three hours by rain and some golfers will be finishing their first rounds this morning. Paul Casey leads the field at 7 under after posting a bogey-free 65. Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and Webb Simpson follow at 5 under.

The Rundown for November 11, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 10,242,754 and the nation’s death toll stands at 239,618, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 128,181 new cases and new 1,347 deaths yesterday. The number of new cases for the three-week period ending Monday nearly doubled to 1.9 million from the previous 21-day tally of 1.07 million and projections call for the U.S. to reach 20 million cases by Christmas if the virus keeps infecting people at the current rate. Yesterday’s hospitalizations reached a record-high 61,964.

BIDEN MOVES FORWARD… President-elect Joe Biden vowed yesterday that nothing would stop the transfer of power in the U.S. government. Speaking in Delaware, Biden responded to President’s Trump’s refusal to concede last week’s election results. “I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly. How can I say this tactfully? I think it will not help the president’s legacy.” A Reuters poll released yesterday found that 80 percent of Americans believe Biden won, including 60 percent of Republicans. 72 percent of Americans believe Trump should concede, according to the poll. President Trump continued his efforts to retain power by filing lawsuits in several states, asserting unsupported claims of widespread fraud. The refusal to concede is hampering Biden’s attempts to launch a new pandemic plan of action. The president-elect’s transition team has been prevented from meeting with officials heading Operation Warp Speed and other Trump administration coronavirus efforts. The Washington Post reported yesterday that agency head across the federal government have been instructed not to cooperate with Biden’s transition team until President Trump finally accepts his loss. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday became the most recent world leaders to congratulate Biden for his victory.

TRUMP PRESSURED GEORGIA SENATORS OVER VOTING… The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported yesterday that the Trump administration pressured Georgia senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue to call for the resignation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger amid baseless voter-fraud allegations in the state. The senators issued a joint statement Monday condemning last week’s presidential election as an “embarrassment” and calling for Raffensperger to resign, accusing him of “mismanagement and lack of transparency.” Had they not complied, according to the report, Trump would would have attempted to alienate them from their voting base ahead of their January 5 runoff elections.

FORMER FBI DIRECTOR DEFENDS TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION… Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday that the bureau had reason to believe President Donald Trump was a threat to national security. McCabe offered the testimony as part of a GOP effort to examine the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s Russia links. McCabe cited Trump’s decision to fire then-FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 after he refused to close an investigation into Trump’s then-national security adviser, Michael Flynn. “It became pretty clear to us that he did not want us to continue investigating what the Russians had done,” McCabe testified.

DEPARTURES ALARM PENTAGON LEADERSHIP… The Trump administration’s sweeping changes atop the Defense Department’s civilian leadership structure has left senior Pentagon officials alarmed. James Anderson, the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary of defense for policy, resigned yesterday, a day after President Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Anderson is being replaced by Anthony Tata, who was passed over on an appointment last year over Islamophobic tweets. Tata also has pushed “deep state cabal” conspiracy theories. Retired Navy Vice Admiral Joseph Kernan is being replaced as the under secretary of defense for intelligence by Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was on the staff of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and took a Pentagon job earlier this year. Replacing Chief of Staff to the Defense Secretary Jen Stewart is Kash Patel, a former staffer for California Congressman Devin Nunes, who opposed the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

… Netflix announced yesterday that it is bringing back “The Umbrella Academy” for a third season. “The Umbrella Academy” is based on the comic book series written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá. The series centers on a dysfunctional family of sibling superheroes who attempt to prevent an apocalypse. Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lamperman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Justin H. Min, Ritu Arya and Colm Feore will return for the 10-episode third season.

CNN WINS ELECTION-WEEK CABLE NEWS RATINGS… CNN edged Fox among total viewers during election week, averaging 5.9 million viewers to Fox’s 5.7 million. CNN attracted 13.5 million viewers to President-elect Joe Biden’s speech on Saturday night after the presidential race was called. The Fox broadcast drew 9 million.

… The Miami Marlins’ Don Mattingly was named National League Manager of the Year yesterday. The award comes after the Marlins went 31-29 in the shortened season and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Mattingly becomes the fifth former Most Valuable Player to be named Manager of the Year.

NBA NEWS… ESPN reported last night that the Phoenix Suns have had discussions about acquiring All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City is trying to move Paul and his two-year, $85.5 million contract as part of a rebuilding effort. Paul averaged 17.6 points and 6.7 assists last season and was named second-team All-NBA.