The Rundown for March 9, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 29,044,109 and the nation’s death toll stands at 525,752, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines for people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The new CDC guidance says fully vaccinated people can: Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing; Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without masks or physical distancing, if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease; Skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone who has Covid-19 but are asymptomatic, but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

BIDEN SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDERS… President Joe Biden recognized International Women’s Day yesterday in signing executive orders to support gender equity and equal rights. Biden’s first executive order establishes the White House Gender Policy Council to ensure that the administration advances gender equity and equal rights and opportunity for women and girls. The second order directs the Education Department to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance and policy to guarantee education free from sexual violence.

SOUTH DAKOTA AG IMPEACHMENT ON PAUSE… South Dakota’s state House of Representatives voted yesterday to pause impeachment proceedings against state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. A bipartisan group of South Dakota lawmakers launched the impeachment effort after Ravnsborg was charged with distracted and careless driving in connection with a fatal crash. He faces three misdemeanors for running over a pedestrian on a remote highway last September. He told police he didn’t see what he struck, even as investigators noted that the victim’s face smashed through his windshield. Investigators also told Ravnsborg his phone records show he was scanning political articles a minute before the deadly crash.

GEORGIA STATE SENATE PASSES ABSENTEE-VOTING LAW… Georgia’s state Senate yesterday passed an election bill that would repeal no-excuse absentee voting, among other sweeping changes. The legislation, which has been championed by state Republican lawmakers, passed by a 29-20 vote. It now heads to the Georgia House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass in the coming weeks. Under SB 241, voters would need to be 65 years old or older, absent from their precinct, observing a religious holiday, be required to provide constant care for someone with a physical disability, or required to work “for the protection of the health, life, or safety of the public during the entire time the polls are open,” or be an overseas or military voter to qualify for an absentee ballot. The bill aims to undo a 2005 Republican-backed law allowing no-excuse absentee voting.

GHOST SHIP MAIN TENANT SENTENCED… The founder of a California artists’ warehouse where 36 people die in a fire more than four years ago was sentenced yesterday to nine years in prison and three years of post-supervision release. Derick Almena, the master tenant of the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, California, can serve the remainder of his prison term at home with a GPS monitor. Almena pled guilty to 36 counts of manslaughter in January, more than two years after a jury deadlocked on the charges in an earlier trial. The same jury acquitted a co-defendant, Max Harris, who had also faced involuntary manslaughter charges.

ENTERTAINMENT
ROYAL INTERVIEW A RATINGS HIT
… Oprah Winfrey’s Sunday interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drew an average of 17.1 million viewers. The viewership surpassed the most recent Golden Globes and Emmys combined. CBS released a statement yesterday calling the interview “the network’s most live-streamed event outside of the NFL and Super Bowl Sunday this season.”

GRAMMY PERFORMERS… Taylor Swift, BTS and Billie Eilish are among performers scheduled to perform at the 2021 Grammys. The event was rescheduled from January 31 to March 14 due to the pandemic. Beyoncé leads this year’s field with nine nominations. “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah is scheduled to host the event.

SPORTS
NHL SCOREBOARD

MINNESOTA 2 – Vegas 0… Kaapo Kahkonen stopped all 26 shots in his first career shutout and the Wild clipped the Golden Knights. Kevin Fiala provided all the offense Minnesota needed in the first period with his eighth goal.

EDMONTON 3 – Ottawa 2… Leon Draisaitl’s second-period goal proved to be the difference in the Oilers’ win over the Senators. Connor McDavid assisted on two goals.

Arizona 3 – COLORADO 2… Johan Larsson tipped in a tie-breaking goal early in the third period and the Coyotes held on to edge the Avalanche. Clayton Keller and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each had two assists.

SAN JOSE 3 – St. Louis 2 (OT)… Evander Kane found the net 41 seconds into overtime to send the Sharks past the Blues. Ryan Donato set up two goals.

VANCOUVER 2 – Montreal 1 (SO)… Bo Horvat assisted on Adam Gaudette’s tying goal with 41 seconds left in regulation and netted the lone goal in the shootout to lead the Canucks past the Canadiens. Goalie Thatcher Demko made 27 saves.

ANAHEIM 6 – Los Angeles 5 (OT)… The Ducks outlasted the Kings after letting a two-goal third-period lead slip away. Adam Henrique netted the game-winner three minutes into overtime. Rickard Rakell scored two goals and assisted on another. Adrian Kempe’s three goals weren’t enough for Los Angeles.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
the N.Y. Rangers are at Pittsburgh…
the N.Y. Islanders host Boston…
Buffalo is at Philadelphia…
Washington hosts New Jersey…
Nashville is at Carolina…
Columbus hosts Florida…
Winnipeg is at Toronto…
Detroit hosts Tampa Bay…
Chicago is at Dallas

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD
No. 1 GONZAGA 78, Saint Mary’s 55

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES
Miami 7, ST. LOUIS 7 (tie)…
WASHINGTON 9, N.Y. METS 5…
Arizona 2, SAN FRANCISCO 2 (tie)…
L.A. DODGERS 8, Chi. White Sox 0…
KANSAS CITY 10, Oakland 3…
CLEVELAND 10, Seattle 0…
CHI. CUBS 9, Texas 0…
MILWAUKEE 10, L.A. Angels 9…
Cincinnati 6, COLORADO 4

NFL NEWS… The Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott reportedly have agreed to a four-year, $160 million contract. The 27-year-old Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle suffered in the Week 5 win against the New York Giants in October, but doctors expected him to make a full recovery during the offseason. During his five seasons in the NFL, Prescott has recorded a team-record seven 400-yard passing games and 24 rushing touchdowns.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… The University of Kansas has parted ways with head football coach Les Miles. The move comes three days after the university placed Miles on administrative leave amid accusations of inappropriate behavior toward female students during his head-coaching tenure at LSU. On Thursday, a report released on behalf of LSU showed that a 2013 internal investigation at the school accused Miles of inappropriate behavior toward female students, including allegations he contacted some via Facebook and text, met them off campus alone and kissed at least one of them.

NBA REGULAR SEASON RESUMES TOMORROW

The Rundown for January 12, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 22,613,310 and the nation’s death toll stands at 376,060, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said nearly 9 million Americans have received their first vaccinations as of yesterday. The figure represents less than one-third of the 25 million total doses distributed to states by the federal government. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is seeking permission from the Trump administration to purchase 100,000 doses of the Pfizer directly to speed up vaccinations. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the city could run out of vaccine doses if the federal government does not send more. He has pledged to inoculate 1 million New Yorkers by the end of the month.

DEMS UNVEIL IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES… House Democrats yesterday unveiled articles of impeachment against President Trump in response to last Wednesday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building. Democrats accuse Trump of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States.” The articles claim Trump encouraged his supporters to storm the Capitol in a speech the day before. Democrats plan to vote on impeachment as early as tomorrow if Vice President Mike Pence fails to “do his duty and invoke the 25th Amendment” today, according to Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger.

FBI WARNS OF INAUGURATION VIOLENCE… An FBI warning issued yesterday confirmed that possible armed protests are being planned for Washington, D.C., and at all 50 U.S. state capitals prior to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. The National Guard is sending as many as 15,000 troops to the nation’s capital. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has urged Americans not to travel to the event. Biden’s inaugural committee announced yesterday the theme of the ceremony will be “America United.”

BIDEN PICKS CIA DIRECTOR… President-elect Joe Biden announced yesterday that he has picked State Department veteran William Burns as Central Intelligence Agency director. Burns has served in the State Department under five different administrations during his 33-year diplomatic career. His service includes U.S. ambassador to Jordan under former President Bill Clinton and ambassador to Russia under former President George W. Bush. Burns retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2014 and is currently president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY STEPS DOWN… Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced yesterday that he was stepping down effective last night. Wolf was never confirmed by the Senate to his post, even though it is a Cabinet-level position. Several rulings have invalidated the department’s policy decisions based on Wolf not being lawfully appointed. Trump withdrew Wolf’s nomination last week after Wolf called on the president to denounce the riot in the U.S. Capitol. FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor will direct the department for the remaining nine days of Trump’s term.

ENTERTAINMENT
AMAZON CASTING FOR ‘BEING THE RICARDOS’
… Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem are in talks to play Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in the upcoming Amazon film, “Being the Ricardos.” Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay and is set to direct the film about the relationship between the “I Love Lucy” stars. The story is set during one production week of “I Love Lucy” as Lucy and Desi face one crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage. A production start date hasn’t been announced. Kidman most recently starred in the HBO drama series “The Undoing,” alongside Hugh Grant. She was also featured in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix musical “The Prom.” This year, she will star in Hulu’s star-studded “Nine Little Strangers” and Robert Eggers’ “The Northman.” Bardem will star in Deni Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic “Dune” and was most recently seen in “The Roads Not Taken.” He’ll also play Ariel’s father King Triton in Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.”

CNN, MSNBC PULL AHEAD IN CABLE NEWS RACE… Cable news viewers flocked to CNN and MSNBC for live coverage of the riots and fallout, according to figures released by the Nielsen Company. Both networks trounced Fox News for three state days following the storming of the U.S. Capitol. On Wednesday, CNN averaged 5.941 million total viewers and 2.074 million in the key 25-54 demographic for the entire day, compared with MSNBC’s 4.543 million viewers overall and 1.106 million demo audience and Fox News’ total audience of 3.464 million and 852,000 in the demo. The disparity increased on Thursday and Friday.

SPORTS
ALABAMA IS COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S NATIONAL CHAMPION
… Alabama rolled past Ohio State 52-24 in last night’s college football national championship game in Miami. Heisman Trophy-winning receiver DeVonta Smith caught 12 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns before sitting out the second half with a right hand injury. The victory gave Alabama head coach Nick Saban his seventh championship, moving him past Bear Bryant for the most all-time.

NBA SCOREBOARD
CHARLOTTE 109 – New York 88
… Gordon Hayward scored a game-high 34 points to lead the Hornets in their rout of the Knicks. Five other players scored in double figures for Charlotte.

Memphis 101 – CLEVELAND 91… Dillon Brooks scored 21 points to lead a balanced scoring attack and the Grizzlies fought off the Cavaliers.

Milwaukee 121 – ORLANDO 99… The Bucks used a big fourth fourth quarter to put away the Magic. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 22 points. Kris Middleton put up 20 points and 10 rebounds. Bobby Portis added 21 points off the bench.

WASHINGTON 128 – Phoenix 107… The Wizards built a 25-point halftime lead and never looked back in their thrashing of the Suns. Bradley Beal pumped in 34 points to lead all scorers. Robin Lopez grabbed 11 boards to go with his 11 points.

ATLANTA 112 – Philadelphia 94… The Hawks took control with a big second quarter and coasted past the shorthanded 76ers to snap their four-game skid. Trae Young led all scorers with 26 points.

PORTLAND 112 – Toronto 111… CJ McCollum knocked down a go-ahead jumper with 9.9 seconds remaining and the Trail Blazers hung on to edge the Raptors. McCollum finished with a game-high 30 points. Damian Lillard added 23 points. Carmelo Anthony delivered 20 points off the bench.

SACRAMENTO 127 – Indiana 122… The Kings were too much down the stretch in downing the Pacers. Harrison Barnes lit it up for 30 points. De’Aaron Fox tossed in 21 points.

DALLAS – New Orleans (ppd)… The Mavericks had to postpone their game with the Pelicans after they had fewer than eight players available for the contest.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Miami is at Philadelphia…
Brooklyn hosts Denver…
Utah is at Cleveland…
Houston hosts the L.A. Lakers…
San Antonio is at Oklahoma City…
Golden State hosts Indiana

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD
No. 25 Connecticut 60, DePAUL 53

NFL NEWS… The Philadelphia Eagles fired coach Doug Pederson yesterday in the wake of a 4-11-1 season. Pederson led the Eagles to their only Super Bowl title in 2018 and the team went 42-37 (.531) in his five seasons. Philadelphia reached the playoffs three times under Pederson.

The Rundown for December 31, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 19,968,087 and the nation’s death toll stands at 345,737, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nearly 3,750 deaths on Wednesday set a new record for the second straight day. The average of about 2,500 deaths per day in December doubled November’s death rate… The Florida Department of Health yesterday announced the first identified case of a variant of the COVID-19 first discovered in the United Kingdom. The discovery in Florida’s Martin County follows the detection of the virus in Colorado and California earlier this week.

WORKER FIRED, ARRESTED FOR DESTROYING VACCINE… A Wisconsin hospital employee has been fired and arrested for allegedly destroying more than 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The incident took place at the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee. A total of 57 vials of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine — which is required to be stored between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit — were left out overnight on Saturday. Officials say the worker “acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration.” Local authorities, the FBI and the Food and Drug Administration have joined in an investigation.

TRUMP EXTENDS BANS ON VISAS… President Trump yesterday extended his bans on green cards and several types of work visas amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump imposed bans on new green cards and certain visas in April and June, claiming they would protect American workers during the pandemic. The bans were set to expire yesterday but will remain in place through March 31. President-elect Joe Biden, who has criticized the measures, could opt to reverse the extension when he takes office January 20.

TOXIN IN RECALLED DOG FOOD BLAMED FOR 28 DOG DEATHS… Dangerous levels of aflatoxin in Sportmix products made by Midwestern Pet Foods are blamed for the deaths of at least 28 dogs. The Food and Drug Administration recalled the brand on Wednesday. The FDA said the “scope of the recall may expand as new information becomes available” during its investigation with the manufacturer and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

SLIGHT DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS… Nearly 800,000 more U.S. workers have filed new unemployment claims, according to the weekly Labor Department report released yesterday. The number of claims reflect a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week. The figure was lower than most experts predicted. The Labor Department also revised up last week’s claims by 3,000 and said the unemployment rate for the most recent week was 3.6 percent.

ENTERTAINMENT
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY TO MEDIATE DANNY MASTERSON CASE
… A judge in Los Angeles has ruled that stalking and intimidation cases brought by four women against actor Danny Masterson must now go through mediation within the Church of Scientology. The ruling comes just days before Masterson was scheduled to be arraigned on three charges of rape between 2001 and 2003. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield ruled that the complaints must be settled by the Church in “religious arbitration” due to an arbitration agreement that already exists among the parties. The suit filed in August 2019 claimed the plaintiffs had been stalked and intimidated by the church’s agents after reporting the allegations to police. Masterson is best known for starring in the sitcom “That 70s Show.”

FINAL McGUIRE SISTERS SISTER DIES… The last of the singing McGuire Sisters has died. Phyllis McGuire was 89 when she died Tuesday at her Las Vegas home. The group, also consisting of Christine and Dorothy McGuire, rose to fame in 1952 after winning a competition on the Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts show. The sisters sold millions of records and were best known for their hits “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight,” “Sincerely,” “Sugartime” and “Picnic.” The group made multiple appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, performed for five U.S. presidents and reunited for a comeback in 1985 where they also performed at various venues around Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

SPORTS
NBA SCORES

INDIANA 119 – Cleveland 99
… The Pacers built an early double-digit lead and cruised past the Cavaliers. All five starters scored in double figures led by Domantas Sabonis’ 25 points. Sabonis also grabbed 11 rebounds.

Chicago 133 – WASHINGTON 130… Otto Porter scored 28 points and Zach LaVine added 22 as the short-handed Bulls kept the Wizards winless. Seven players scored in double figures for Chicago.

Philadelphia 116 – ORLANDO 92… The hot-shooting 76ers led by as many as 37 points in the first half and never looked back in routing the Magic. Joel Embiid and Seth Curry scored 21 points apiece. Tobias Harris added 20 points.

HOUSTON 122 – Sacramento 119… James Harden came on strong at the end and finished with 33 points in leading the Rockets past the Kings. John Wall added 22 points in his first game since 2018. Christian Wood tossed in 21 points.

TORONTO 100 – New York 83… The Raptors came alive in the second half to put away the Knicks. Fred VanVleet’s 25 points led a balanced scoring attack. Kyle Lowry added 20 points.

New Orleans 113 – OKLAHOMA CITY 80… The Pelicans held the Thunder to seven fourth-quarter points in the runaway win. Brandon Ingram scored 20 points before getting ejected in the third quarter. Six other players scored in double figures.

Phoenix 106 – UTAH 95… The Suns took control with a big second quarter and held off the Jazz. Devin Booker scored a game-high 25 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Memphis is at Charlotte…
Detroit hosts Boston…
Miami is at Dallas…
Brooklyn hosts Atlanta…
Chicago is at Milwaukee…
Minnesota hosts Washington…
the L.A. Lakers are at San Antonio…
Denver hosts Phoenix…
the L.A. Clippers are at Utah…
Golden State hosts Portland

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 6 WISCONSIN 71, No. 21 Minnesota 59…
No. 16 Michigan 84, MARYLAND 73…
No. 21 OREGON 82, California 69

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCORES
Ball State 34, No. 22 San Jose State 13 in the Arizona Bowl…
Mississippi State 28, No. 24 Tulsa 26 in the Armed Forces Bowl…
West Virginia 24, Army 21 in the Liberty Bowl

TODAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
No. 8 Cincinnati plays No. 9 Georgia in the Peach Bowl…
No. 14 Northwestern plays Auburn in the Citrus Bowl…
No. 1 Alabama plays No. 4 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl…
No. 2 Clemson plays No. 3 Oho State in the Sugar Bowl

SATURDAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
No. 5 Texas A&M plays No. 13 North Carolina in the Orange Bowl…
No. 10 Iowa State plays No. 25 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl…
No. 11 Indiana plays Mississippi in the Outback Bowl…
No. 23 North Carolina State plays Kentucky in the Gator Bowl

SUNDAY’S NFL SCHEDULE
Miami (10-5) is at Buffalo (12-3)…
Cincinnati (4-10-1) hosts Baltimore (10-5)…
Pittsburgh (12-3) is at Cleveland (10-5)…
Minnesota (6-9) is at Detroit (5-10)…
New England (6-9) hosts the N.Y. Jets (2-13)…
Dallas (6-9) is at the N.Y. Giants (5-10)…
Tampa Bay (10-5) hosts Atlanta (4-11)…
Green Bay (12-3) is at Chicago (8-7)…
Denver (5-10) hosts Las Vegas (7-8)…
Jacksonville (1-14) is at Indianapolis (10-5)…
the L.A. Chargers (6-9) are at Kansas City (14-1)…
the L.A. Rams (9-6) host Arizona (8-7)…
Seattle (11-4) is at San Francisco (6-9)…
Carolina (5-10) hosts New Orleans (11-4)…
Tennessee (10-5) is at Houston (4-11)…
Philadelphia (4-10) hosts Washington (6-9)

The Rundown for December 31, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 19,740,471 and the nation’s death toll stands at 342,312, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said yesterday that he foresees America regaining “some semblance of normality” by autumn 2021, despite early setbacks in the vaccine rollout. During an online discussion that included California Governor Gavin Newsom, Fauci said it will take until next fall to achieve enough collective COVID-19 immunity through vaccinations. Newsom, meanwhile, announced that the more infectious coronavirus variant originally found in the United Kingdom has been detected in his state. Newsom said the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 had been confirmed earlier in the day in a Southern California patient.

BIDEN NOMINATIONS… President-elect Joe Biden added two more nominations to the
Pentagon staff yesterday. Biden’s transition team announced that Kathleen Hicks has been nominated for deputy secretary of defense and Colin Kahl as undersecretary of defense for policy. If confirmed, Hicks would be the first woman to hold the position. She is currently a senior vice president and director of the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

UN EXPERTS SAY TRUMP PARDONS VIOLATED LAW… A panel of independent United Nations experts yesterday concluded that President Trump’s pardon last week of four former Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries violates U.S. obligations under international law and urged member states to condemn the action. The four men were convicted of killing 14 Iraqis and injuring 17 others during an attack on Nisour Square in 2007. Nicholas Slatten was convicted of first-degree murder and Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted of voluntary and attempted manslaughter. Slatten was sentenced to life while the other three received at least 12-year-imprisonment orders.

MICHIGAN APPROVES FLINT TRUST FUND… The creation of a trust fund to distribute a $641 million settlement to residents affected by the Flint water crisis was approved yesterday by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The governor signed a pair of bills that authorize the state to issue bonds to cover the settlement. The state agreed to settle in August. The crisis began in 2014 when Flint changed its water source in a cost-cutting move and high levels of lead started showing up in people’s drinking water. An investigation revealed officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors leading to aging pipes leaching lead into the water supply, exposing residents to toxic contamination.

CENSUS BUREAU STRUGGLES AT DEADLINE… The U.S. Census Bureau acknowledged yesterday that it does not expect to meet today’s deadline to produce population counts used to allocate seats in Congress. The bureau said in a statement yesterday that it will continue to process the data it has collected since October and plans to “deliver a complete and accurate state population count for apportionment” in early 2021. The Census Bureau didn’t specify a date but vowed to deliver the data “as close to the statutory deadline as possible.”

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTRESS DAWN WELLS DIES
… Actress Dawn Wells, who was best known for playing Mary Ann in the 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” died died in Los Angeles of causes related to COVID-19. She was 82. After “Gilligan’s Island” completed its three-season run in 1967. Wells continued her role in three made-for-TV sequel movies that aired between 1978 and 1982. The former Miss Nevada who competed in the 1959 Miss America pageant also had television roles in “77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick,” “Bonanza,” “The Joey Bishop Show,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “The Wild Wild West” and “ALF.”

BIDENS TO RING IN NEW YEAR… President-elect Joe Biden and incoming First Lady Jill Biden are planning to ring in the new year tonight as part of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” on ABC. The Bidens will sit down with Seacrest for their final interview of 2020 before transitioning into the White House next month. The event will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest will feature performances by Jennifer Lopez, Megan Thee Stallion, Miley Cyrus, Brandy and Billy Porter.

SPORTS
NBA SCORES

BOSTON 126 – Memphis 107… Jaylen Brown poured in a career-high 42 points and the
Celtics made it 10 straight wins over the Grizzlies. Brown was 7-of-10 from beyond the arc.

BROOKLYN 145 – Atlanta 141… Kyrie Irving scored 17 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets surged past the Hawks. Kevin Durant had 33 points and 11 rebounds. Joe Harris tossed in 23 points. Jarrett Allen delivered 15 points and 13 boards off the bench.

MIAMI 119 – Milwaukee 108… The Heat topped the Bucks just 24 hours after losing to them by 47 points. Goran Dragic came off the bench and scored 26 points. Bam Adebayo dropped in 22 points. Tyler Herro finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Charlotte 118 – DALLAS 99… Rookie LaMelo Ball scored 22 points to lead the Hornets in their rout of the Mavericks. Miles Bridges racked up 20 points and 16 boards.

L.A. Lakers 121 – SAN ANTONIO 107… The Lakers used an 11-0 first-quarter run to shake off an early deficit and take the lead for good in their win over the Spurs. LeBron James led the way with 26 points on his 36th birthday. Dennis Schroder added 21 points and Anthony Davis tossed in 20. Spurs’ assistant coach Becky Hammon became the first woman to direct an NBA team when she took over for Gregg Popovich following his second-quarter ejection.

L.A. CLIPPERS 128 – Portland 105… Kawhi Leonard returned from a two-game absence and scored 28 points in leading the Clippers in their romp over the Trail Blazers. Paul George added 23 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Cleveland is at Indiana…
Washington hosts Chicago…
Philadelphia is at Orlando…
Houston hosts Sacramento…
New York is at Toronto…
Oklahoma City hosts New Orleans…
Phoenix is at Utah

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCORES
Wisconsin 42, Wake Forest 28 in the Mayo Bowl…
No. 6 Oklahoma 55, No. 7 Florida 20 in the Cotton Bowl

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 2 BAYLOR 105, Alcorn State 76…
No. 7 Tennessee 73, No. 12 MISSOURI 53…
No. 23 Virginia 66, NOTRE DAME 57…
No. 25 OHIO STATE 90, Nebraska 54

The Rundown for December 30, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 19,556,927 and the nation’s death toll stands at 338,561, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A more infectious strain of the coronavirus that prompted an uptick of cases in the United Kingdom has officially arrived in the U.S. Colorado Governor Jared Polis revealed yesterday that state health officials found a case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 in a male patient in his 20s who had no travel history. There is no evidence yet that B.1.1.7 is deadlier or vaccine-resistant… NBC News has reported that the coronavirus vaccination effort in the U.S. is seriously behind schedule. At the current rate, it would take nearly 10 years for enough Americans to be vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus, the network says. The slightly more than 2 million people who have received the first dose of the vaccine in the U.S. so far is well below the 20 million that the Trump administration promised to have done by the end of the year.

McCONNELL BLOCKS RAISED STIMULUS PAYMENTS… Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday blocked a bipartisan effort to quickly pass a measure to increase direct stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sought to pass the change to the omnibus spending bill through a unanimous consent request on the Senate floor, but McConnell objected. The House passed the increase to stimulus payments on Monday. The measure could be scheduled for another vote in the Senate at a later date. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service would begin delivering the $600 payments as early as last night through direct deposit, with paper checks being mailed out today.

CONGRESSMAN-ELECT DIES OF COVID… Louisiana congressman-elect Luke Letlow died yesterday after a short battle with Covid-19. The 41-year-old Letlow had announced his diagnosis on his Facebook page on December 18. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered that flags in the state be flown at half-staff on the day of Letlow’s funeral. A new representative for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District will be determined by special election.

SAUDI ARABIA ARMS SALE APPROVED… The Trump administration yesterday approved a possible $300 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia. The State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency gave its okay on the sale of 3,000 Boeing-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I Munitions and related equipment to the ally Middle Eastern country for $290 million. The State Department said the munitions will increase Saudi Arabia’s stock of long-range, precision air-to-ground munitions that will improve the nation’s “capability to meet current and future threats.”

DOJ CLOSES TAMIR RICE INVESTIGATION… The Justice Department announced yesterday that it has closed its civil rights investigation into the fatal 2014 shooting by Cleveland police of Tamir Rice and that no federal criminal charges would be brought in the case. The announcement came five years after an Ohio grand jury cleared two Cleveland officers of state charges in the death of Rice, a 12-year-old youth who was shot in a playground while holding a pellet gun. Both officers are white.

ENTERTAINMENT
CHRISTMAS SONGS DOMINATE HOT 100 CHART
… A total of 39 holiday songs dominate this week’s Billboard Hot 100 chart, including nine holiday tunes in the Top 10. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” holds the top spot for the fifth time. Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” follows in second place. Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock,” Burl Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” are also in the top five.

‘DANCING’ CHAMP BATTLING COVID… Recently crowned “Dancing with the Stars” champion Kaitlyn Bristowe is battling Covid-19, she announced on social media yesterday. Bristowe, an alum of “The Bachelor” franchise, said she and her her boyfriend Jason Tartick had been quarantining before the holidays but the one person they allowed to come visit was carrying the virus. Tartick was a contestant on “The Bachelorette.”

SPORTS
NBA SCORES

New York 95 – CLEVELAND 86
… The Knicks built an early double-digit lead and held off the Cavaliers. Julius Randle racked up 28 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

Golden State 116 – Detroit 106… Stephen Curry pumped in 31 points and Andrew Wiggins scored 17 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors put away the Pistons.

Boston 116 – INDIANA 111… The Celtics rallied from 17 points down in the third quarter to take down the Pacers. Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed 11 boards.

PHILADELPHIA 100 – Toronto 93… Joel Embiid had game-highs with 29 points and 15 rebounds in leading the 76ers past the Raptors. Tobias Harris added 26 points and 11 boards.

Chicago 115 – WASHINGTON 107… Zach ZaVine scored nine straight points during a third-quarter surge and the Bulls dealt the Wizards their fourth straight loss. Wendell Carter Jr. had 12 rebounds to go with his 10 points.

Milwaukee 144 – MIAMI 97… The Bucks made an NBA-record 29 3-pointers in their bombing of the Heat. Kris Middleton led the way with 25 points. Jrue Holiday added 24 points.

Orlando 118 – Oklahoma City 107… The Magic handled the Thunder to win their fourth straight at the start of the season. Nikola Vucevic scored 28 points and pulled down 10 boards.

PHOENIX 111 – New Orleans 86… The Suns took over with a big second quarter and built a 39-point lead through three quarters in their thrashing of the Pelicans. Jae Crowder scored 21 points to lead six players in double figures.

L.A. CLIPPERS 124 – Minnesota 101… Lou Williams came off the bench to score 20 points and lead seven players in double figures as the Clippers cruised past the Timberwolves.

SACRAMENTO 125 – Denver 115… The Kings used a big fourth quarter to rally past the Nuggets. They got points from De’Aaron Fox and 20 from Richaun Holmes. Five other players scored in double figures.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Memphis is at Boston…
Brooklyn hosts Atlanta…
Milwaukee is at Miami…
Dallas hosts Charlotte…
the L.A. Lakers are at San Antonio…
the L.A. Clippers host Portland

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCORES
No. 21 Oklahoma State 37, No. 18 Miami 34 in the Cheez-It Bowl…
No. 20 Texas 55, Colorado 23 in the Alamo Bowl

TODAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
Wisconsin plays Wake Forest in the Mayo Bowl…
No. 6 Oklahoma plays No. 7 Florida in the Cotton Bowl

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 1 GONZAGA 112, Dixie State 67…
No. 2 BAYLOR 93, Central Arkansas 56…
TULSA 65, No. 5 Houston 64…
No. 9 WEST VIRGINIA 73, Northeastern 51…
No. 10 IOWA 87, No. 19 Northwestern 73…
No. 14 RUTGERS 81, Purdue 76…
CLEMSON 77, No. 18 Florida State 67…
No. 23 TEXAS TECH 79, Incarnate Word 51…
No. 24 VIRGINIA TECH 80, Miami 78

COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS… The University of Arizona announced yesterday that it is self-imposing a one-year postseason ban on its men’s basketball program. The decision follows the NCAA investigation stemming from the 2017 federal investigation into corruption in college basketball and college basketball recruiting. Former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit bribery after being accused of accepting $20,000 to steer Arizona players to aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins and financial advisers close to Dawkins.

MLB NEWS… The San Diego Padres made it official yesterday in announcing the acquisitions of pitchers Blake Snell from Tampa Bay and Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs. San Diego also announced the signing of infielder Ha-seong Kim from the Korea Baseball Organization. The deals follow the Padres’ first postseason appearance in 14 years.

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.

ENTERTAINMENT
‘COBRA KAI’ SEASON 3 DEBUTS JAN. 1
… 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.

SPORTS
TODAY’S NFL SCHEDULE

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

SATURDAY’S NFL SCHEDULE
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)

SUNDAY’S NFL SCHEDULE
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)

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL..
Buffalo (11-3) is at New England (6-8)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCORE
Memphis 25, Florida Atlantic 10 in the Montgomery Bowl

TODAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
Marshall (7-2) plays Buffalo (5-1) in the Camelia Bowl

SATURDAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
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.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
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 23, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 18,197,351 and the nation’s death toll stands at 322,285, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Centers for Disease Control said in an advisory last night that the COVID-19 variant identified in Britain has not yet been seen in the U.S. but cautioned that the sample sizes have been small. The nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says it’s reasonable to assume that the variant has already arrived. Nevertheless, scientists note that there’s no evidence that the variant is a more severe strain or a greater risk of death.

TRUMP WANTS CONGRESS TO AMEND CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL… President Trump last night suggested he might not sign the coronavirus relief package passed on Monday without amendments. The president, who was expected to sign the legislation yesterday, called it “a disgrace” and urged Congress to increase direct stimulus checks from $600 to $2000. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded enthusiastically on Twitter. “At last the president has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!” she wrote.

TRUMP ROLLS OUT PARDONS… President Trump yesterday handed out pardons to 15 people, including four former U.S. service members convicted of war crimes, two people convicted in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and two former Republican congressmen convicted of corruption. Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and his associate Alex van der Zwaan were pardoned for lying to FBI agents. Also pardoned were former congressmen Duncan Hunter, who was sentenced to 11 months for stealing campaign funds and Chris Collins, who received a 26-month sentence for insider trading. Former Blackwater Worldwide military contractors received pardons despite their roles in the shooting deaths of 14 Iraqis in 2007.

TWO TRUMP PRIVATE BANKERS RESIGN… Two private bankers at Deutsche Bank responsible for lending to President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner abruptly resigned yesterday. The resignations of Rosemary Vrablic and Dominic Scalzi are effective at the end of the year. The 60-year-old Vrablic took on Trump as a client in 2011 and had a VIP seat at his inauguration in 2016. Deutsche Bank has lent Trump about $330 million and the loans are set to come due in 2023 and 2024. Trump provided a personal guarantee to obtain the loans, allowing the bank to pursue his personal assets if they are not paid back. The Trump Organization is under investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and New York Attorney General, both of which have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information regarding its lending to the company. Two Deutsche Bank employees not working on the Trump account, were questioned by investigators with the criminal investigation seeking general information about lending practices in recent weeks.

BIDEN FAULTS TRUMP FOR CYBER ATTACK RESPONSE… President-elect Joe Biden said yesterday he had seen no evidence that the Trump administration has the cyber attacks against the U.S. under control and warned that the breach will not go unanswered once he takes office. Biden faulted Trump for stripping U.S. defenses against cyber attacks and urged the president to acknowledge that the attacks are coming from Russia and hold the Kremlin accountable. Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr have already placed blame on Moscow while Trump has claimed China is behind them.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR FILLS VP-ELECT’S SENATE SEAT… California Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday appointed state Secretary of State Alex Padilla to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris when she departs the Senate to become vice president next month. The 47-year-old Padilla, the son of Mexican immigrants, will be the first Latino to represent the nation’s largest state. He will serve the remaining two years of Harris’ term.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUES WALMART… The Justice Department sued Walmart yesterday, accusing the retail chain of enabling the opioid crisis through filling illegal prescriptions. Government lawyers say a “systematic failure” prevented Walmart from reporting questionable orders and is seeking thousands of dollars in civil penalties for each unlawful prescription filled and each suspicious order placed. If the suit is successful, Walmart could be forced to pay out billions in damages.

ENTERTAINMENT
SPECIAL MERIT HONOREES AT GRAMMYS
… The Recording Academy has announced that Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lionel Hampton, Marilyn Horne, Salt-N-Pepa, Selena and Talking Heads will be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. Ed Cherney, Benny Golson and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds will be presented Trustees Awards. The ceremony is scheduled for January 31, 2021.

HBO BRINGS BACK ‘HIS DARK MATERIALS’ FOR FINAL SEASON… HBO is bringing back the drama series “His Dark Materials” for a third and final season. The network said production would begin in Cardiff, Wales, in 2021. The Season 2 finale which airs Monday at 9 p.m. Eastern. “His Dark Materials” is based on the Philip Pullman fantasy trilogy of the same name.

SPORTS
NBA SEASON OPENERS

BROOKLYN 122, Golden State 99
… The Nets built a big lead early and cruised past the Warriors to open the NBA’s 2020-21 season. Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 26 points. Kevin Durant tossed in 22 points.

L.A. Clippers 116 – L.A. LAKERS 109… The Clippers jumped out to an early 22-point lead and cruised to an opening-night win over the Lakers. Paul George scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half. Kawhi Leonard added 26 points.

TONIGHT’S NBA SCHEDULE
Charlotte is at Cleveland…
Indiana hosts New York…
Miami is at Orlando…
Philadelphia hosts Washington…
Milwaukee is at Boston…
Toronto hosts New Orleans…
Atlanta is at Chicago…
Houston hosts Oklahoma City…
San Antonio is at Memphis…
Minnesota hosts Detroit…
Sacramento is at Denver…
Portland hosts Utah…
Dallas is at Phoenix

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 1 GONZAGA 95, Northwestern State 78…
No. 3 KANSAS 79, No. 7 West Virginia 65…
No. 4 IOWA 70, Purdue 55…
No. 6 HOUSTON 76, Temple 50…
No. 9 WISCONSIN 67, Nebraska 53…
No. 14 MISSOURI 54, Bradley 53…
No. 15 Texas Tech 69, OKLAHOMA 67…
No. 16 VIRGINIA 76, William & Mary 40…
NORTH CAROLINA STATE 79, No. 17 North Carolina 76

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… Auburn has hired away Boise State’s Bryan Harsin to become its next head football coach. Harsin replaces Gus Malzahn, who was fired earlier this month after eight seasons with the Tigers. The 44-year-old Harsin is 69-19 with three Mountain West titles in seven seasons at Boise State, his alma mater.

The Rundown for December 11, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 15,599,122 and the nation’s death toll stands at 292,001, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 217,779 new cases and more than 2,974 deaths… The Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee yesterday recommended the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency use authorization. The FDA hasn’t said when it will decide on approving the vaccine. Should it get FDA approval, the vaccine would then be approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control. The vaccine, which showed to have about 95-percent efficacy in late-stage clinical trials, has already been approved for emergency use in Britain and Canada.

BIDEN HIRINGS… President-elect Joe Biden continued to fill out positions in his new White House yesterday with the selections of Susan Rice to lead the White House Domestic Policy Council and Denis McDonough as Veterans Affairs secretary. Rice, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President Obama, will coordinate Biden’s domestic policy agenda. McDonough served the Obama administration as White House chief of staff, deputy national security adviser and chief of staff of the National Security Council. Biden asked former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack to return as agriculture secretary and also announced the naming of Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge as housing and urban development secretary and attorney Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative.

REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS SUPPORT TEXAS SUIT… 106 Republican members of Congress joined yesterday in filing a brief in support of Texas’ highly-criticized Supreme Court lawsuit aiming to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The lawsuit targeting four swing states claims that they changed their voting systems in a way that facilitated fraud. Legal experts expect the suit to be dismissed, since Texas has no authority over other states’ laws and GOP claims of election fraud have been shot down to the tune of 55-1 in post-election challenges. Prominent members of the Republican caucus who signed on to the letter included House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan, ranking member of the powerful Ways & Means Committee Kevin Brady, Senator-elect Roger Marshall of Kansas and Governor-elect Greg Gianforte of Montana. Republicans who refused to sign on included Senate GOP Whip John Thune, who noted, “I just don’t know why a state like Texas, which never wants anybody telling them what to do, now wants to tell a bunch of other states how to run their elections.”

MUSLIM TRAVELERS CAN SUE FBI AGENTS… The Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that a group of Muslims can sue the FBI agents who placed them on the No-Fly List in retaliation for refusing to inform on their communities. Justice Clarence Thomas found that the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act plainly provides a right to seek financial damages against government officials that impede their freedom of worship. An attorney for the civil-rights group said the ruling affirms that American Muslims can fight against injustice.

FEDERAL INMATE EXECUTED… The federal government last night executed a man convicted of killing a married couple in 1999. 40-year-old Brandon Bernard was administered a lethal injection at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. The federal execution was the first during a presidential lame-duck period in 130 years and came after the Supreme Court denied a plea by Bernard’s attorneys to appeal the case based on allegations that prosecutors withheld evidence they said may have spared their client the death penalty. Bernard was 18 when he and four other teenagers abducted and robbed Todd and Stacie Bagley on their way from a Sunday church service in Killeen, Texas.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTOR TOMMY LISTER DIES
… Actor Tommy “Tiny” Lister, who appeared in the films “Friday,” “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and “The Fifth Element” died at his Los Angeles-area apartment yesterday after displaying symptoms of COVID-19 in recent days. He was 62. Lister also spent time in World Championship Wrestling, using the name Z-Gangsta. His television credits included “Matlock” and on “In the Heat of the Night.”

CHADWICK BOSEMAN CHARACTER NOT RECAST IN ‘BP2’… Marvel Studios announced yesterday that Chadwick Boseman’s character won’t be recast in the new “Black Panther” movie. The actor, who died of colon cancer in August, played T’Challa in the original film and the sequel will honor his legacy. “Black Panther 2” is set to be released July 8, 2022.

SPORTS
NFL SCORE

L.A. RAMS 24 – New England 3
… Jared Goff capped the game’s opening with a 1-yard touchdown run and threw a -yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter as the Rams (9-4) rolled past the Patriots (6-7). Linebacker Kenny Young returned an interception 79 yards for a second-quarter touchdown. Running back Cam Akers gained 171 yards on 29 carries.

SUNDAY’S NFL SCHEDULE
Houston (4-8) is at Chicago (5-7)….
Cincinnati (2-9-1) hosts Dallas (3-9)…
Kansas City (11-1) is at Miami (8-4)…
the N.Y. Giants (5-7) host Arizona (6-6)…
Minnesota (6-6) is at Tampa Bay (7-5)…
Carolina (4-8) hosts Denver (4-8)…
Tennessee (8-4) is at Jacksonville (1-11)…
Las Vegas (7-5) hosts Indianapolis (8-4)…
the N.Y. Jets (0-12) are at Seattle (8-4)…
Detroit (5-7) hosts Green Bay (9-3)…
New Orleans (10-2) is at Philadelphia (3-8-1)…
the L.A. Chargers (3-9) host Atlanta (4-8)…
Washington (5-7) is at San Francisco (5-7)…
Buffalo (9-3) hosts Pittsburgh (11-1)

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Baltimore (7-5) is at Cleveland (9-3)

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORE
No. 24. San Diego State 80, No. 23 ARIZONA STATE 68

SATURDAY’S TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
No. 1 Alabama is at Arkansas…
No. 6 Florida hosts LSU…
No. 9 Georgia is at No. 25 Missouri…
No. 10 Miami hosts No. 17 North Carolina…
No. 13 Coastal Carolina is at Troy…
No. 14 Northwestern hosts Illinois…
No. 15 USC is at UCLA…
No. 16 Iowa hosts Wisconsin…
No. 18 BYU hosts San Diego State…
No. 21 Colorado hosts Utah…
No. 22 Oklahoma State is at Baylor…
(*six games involving seven ranked teams were canceled due to COVID)

The Rundown for December 10, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 15,381,450 and the nation’s death toll stands at 289,357, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 225,441 new cases and more than 3,000 deaths for the first time yesterday. The U.S. is averaging about 2,230 new death reports per day. California, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have reported record-high hospitalizations.

ELECTION CERTIFICATIONS COMPLETE… West Virginia yesterday joined the 49 other states and the District of Columbia in certifying their presidential-election results. With the certifications complete, the 538 electors who make up the Electoral College are scheduled to meet Monday and cast their ballots. Congress will count their votes on January 6. Joe Biden is expected to receive 306 votes to President Trump’s 232.

TRUMP, 17 STATES JOIN TEXAS LAWSUIT… President Trump and 17 states he carried are joining Texas’ lawsuit against four swing states in what law experts say appears to be the last gasps of a dying administration. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced earlier this week that he would file the suit in the Supreme Court against Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania over their voting processes. Biden won all four states and plaintiffs are waving off the filing as a publicity stunt. President Donald Trump filed a motion to intervene in the case “in his personal capacity” as a presidential candidate.

HOUSE PASSES FUNDING BILL… The House yesterday passed a short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the week. The stopgap measure passed by a 343-67 vote. It would extend the funding deadline from tomorrow to December 18 after a previous extension at the end of September. Congress sought a one-week extension as lawmakers have struggled to agree to a new sweeping omnibus funding bill. An agreement on legislation has been held up by disagreements over immigration provisions, abortion language and other issues.

SENATE DEFENDS UAE WEAPONS SALES… The Senate yesterday defeated a pair of Democrat-led measures that would have blocked the Trump administration’s proposed sale of advanced military weapons to the United Arab Emirates. Twin votes centered on the transfers of F-35 stealth fighter jets and Reaper drones to the Gulf nation fell largely along party lines. A 46-50 vote failed to advance a resolution disapproving of the Reaper sales. A vote to block the F-35 sale failed 47-49. The proposed sale is valued at $23 billion.

FTC, STATES SUE TO BREAK UP FACEBOOK… The Federal Trade Commission, along with a bipartisan coalition of 48 state attorney generals led by New York’s Letitia James, are seeking to end the monopoly that they believe exists at Facebook. Both groups yesterday filed lawsuits to force a breakup of the social-media giant. The FTC accused Facebook of engaging in “a systematic strategy” to eliminate its competition and specifically asked a court to force the company sell off its Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services. James said at a press conference that Facebook “used its monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users.”

ENTERTAINMENT
KEVIN HART, WESLEY SNIPES TO PLAY BROTHERS
… Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes have signed on to play brothers in a new Netflix series. The 41-year-old Hart and 58-year-old Snipes will star in “True Story,” an eight-episode series about Kid, a world-famous comedian, and his wayward older brother, Carlton. The series follows Kid after a lost evening with Carlton threatens to destroy everything he has ever worked for.

GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS… Google released its 2020 Year in Search yesterday, outlining the top trending topics of the year by category. “Coronavirus,” “Election Results,” and Kobe Bryant were the three most-searched phrases. Tom Hanks was the most-searched Hollywood star and ranked fifth in the most-searched people category. “Parasite,” “1917” and “Black Panther” were the three most-searched films. In the television-show category, “Tiger King,” “Big Brother Brasil” and “Money Heist” topped the list.

SPORTS
TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES

No. 2 BAYLOR 83, Stephen F. Austin 52…
No. 13 TEXAS 74, Texas State 53…
No. 13 (tie) WISCONSIN 73, Rhode Island 62…
No. 17 TEXAS TECH 51, Abilene Christian 44…
No. 19 RICHMOND 78, Northern Iowa 68…
No. 20 FLORIDA STATE 69, Indiana 67 (OT)
(*four games involving five ranked teams were cancelled due to Covid)

MLB NEWS… Major League Baseball umpire Brian O’Nora pleaded not guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor solicitation charges filed in Youngstown, Ohio, according to court records released yesterday. He and a dozen other men were arrested last Sunday as part of a prostitution sting. The 57-year old O’Nora was released on a $5,000 bond and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on March 3, 2021. O’Nora has umpired in the major leagues for more than 20 years and has officiated three All-Star Games, the 2008 American League Championship Series and the 2012 World Series.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… LSU is adding to its list of self-imposed sanctions stemming from the NCAA’s investigation into improper booster payments to its football players by forgoing any bowl game this season. LSU is 3-5 with two games remaining on its schedule but could still have finished bowl-eligible due to pandemic-related waivers granted by the NCAA. Last month, LSU self-imposed a loss of eight scholarships over two years; a reduction in recruiting visits, evaluations and communication; and a ban of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from its football facilities for two years. Beckham, a former star at the school, gave $2,000 in cash to four LSU football players on the field after the team’s 42-25 victory over Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 13.

TONIGHT’S NFL SCHEDULE
New England (6-6) is at the L.A. Rams (8-4)

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.”

ENTERTAINMENT
ABC ANNOUNCES ‘NEW YEAR’S ROCKIN’ EVE’ HOSTS
… 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.

SPORTS
NFL SCORE

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.

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
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.