The Rundown for November 3, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 9,284,261 and the nation’s death toll stands at 231,507, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. rose 18 percent and deaths increased by 3 percent last week, according to a Reuters analysis. It marked the fourth straight week of rises in new cases, with the biggest increases seen in the last two weeks. Texas reported the most new cases last week with more than 45,600, followed by Illinois, with more than 44,500 new cases. South Dakota led the nation with the highest positive test rate at 50 percent, followed by Iowa at 44 percent and Wyoming at 43 percent. A total of 17 states had a positive test rate of over 10 percent… White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx reportedly urged “much more aggressive action” against the coronavirus in an internal memo to Trump administration officials. Birx warned that “We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic… leading to increasing mortality,” in the memo, which was obtained by the Washington Post.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DAY… Americans who have not yet voted will be casting their votes today in the historic 2020 presidential election. President Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden made their final pitches to voters yesterday. Trump appeared at rallies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan as he seeks to avoid becoming the first incumbent president to lose re-election since fellow Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992. Biden spoke to groups in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Final polls showed Biden leading nationally and in the swing states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. A record-setting 98.4 million early votes have been cast either in person or by mail, according to the U.S. Elections Project. The number is equal to 71.4 percent of the entire voter turnout for the 2016 election and represents about 40 percent of all Americans who are legally eligible to vote. Officials don’t know how long it will take to county all the ballots, and it might take weeks to determine final numbers.

TWO MORE GOP BALLOT-COUNTING EFFORTS DENIED… Republican efforts aimed at limiting ballot counting continue to be rejected by the courts. A federal judge in Texas yesterday threw out a challenge to Harris County’s “drive-through” polling places, allowing 127,000 ballots to be counted. In Nevada, a District court judge rejected a GOP lawsuit that aimed to halt early vote counts in Clark County, home of Las Vegas and 70 percent of the state’s voters. President Trump yesterday expressed anger at last week’s Supreme Court ruling that allows Pennsylvania to accept absentee ballots received three days after Election Day. Trump tweeted that the decision will “induce violence.”

GREEN CARD POLICY STRUCK DOWN… A federal judge in Chicago yesterday struck down the Trump administration immigration policy that would have denied immigrant green card applications for those who receive food stamps or other public benefits. The rule had recently taken effect in September after the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a New York federal judge. Immigrant rights advocates called the expansion a “wealth test.”

MAN WHO TORCHED LOUISIANA CHURCHES SENTENCED… The 23-year-old man who pleaded guilty to setting fire last year to three historically Black churches in Louisiana was sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.66 million in restitution to the churches, the Justice Department announced yesterday. Holden Matthews pleaded guilty in February to intentionally setting fire to the three African American Baptist churches over a 10-day period in March and April 2019. Prosecutors say he set the fires “because of the religious character of these buildings, in an effort to raise his profile as a ‘Black Metal’ musician.”

ENTERTAINMENT
DEPP LOSES BRITISH LIBEL CASE
… Johnny Depp and his lawyers are planning to appeal after losing their libel suit against a British tabloid. London’s high court ruled that the Sun newspaper was “substantially true” when it labeled Depp a “wife beater” in a 2018 article. The article claimed the 57-year-old Depp assaulted his ex-wife, Amber Heard, during their marriage. Heard, who testified as the defense’s star witness, specified 14 cases of abuse Depp allegedly committed between 2013 and 2016.

5 ELECTED TO NASHVILLE SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME… The newest additions to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame were announced yesterday. Steve Earle, Bobbie Gentry, Kent Blazy, Brett James and Spooner Oldham have been elected to the Class of 2020. They will join the yet-to-to-be-named Class of 2021 during a joint induction ceremony scheduled for next November… Earle is known for his self-penned hits such as “Guitar Town,” “Copperhead Road” and “The Devil’s Right Hand”… Gentry is known for “Ode To Billie Joe,” “Fancy” and “Mornin’ Glory”… Blazy’s songwriting credits include Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til The Sun Comes Up)”… James has penned Carie Underwood’s “Jesus Take The Wheel” and Rascal Flatts’ “Summer Nights”… Oldham is the writer of songs “I’m Your Puppet” by James & Bobby Purify, “Cry Like A Baby” by The Box Tops and “Sweet Inspiration” by The Sweet Inspirations.

SPORTS
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Tampa Bay 25 – N.Y. GIANTS 23
… The Buccaneers (6-2) withstood a game-tying two-point conversion attempt in the final half minute to top the Giants (1-7). Tom Brady threw two second-half touchdown passes. Ryan Succop booted four field goals to 43 yards.

NFL NEWS… The NFL has suspended Chicago Bears wide receiver Javon Wims two games without pay for punching New Orleans Saints defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson during the third quarter of Chicago’s loss on Sunday. Wims will miss Chicago’s games against Tennessee and Minnesota in the next two weeks and becomes eligible to return on November 17, the day the Bears begin their bye week…. Sunday’s loss to Seattle was especially painful for the San Francisco 49ers after they learned it cost them quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and All-Pro tight end George Kittle for an extended period of time. Garoppolo suffered a high-ankle sprain that could keep him sidelined a minimum of six weeks. Kittle suffered a foot injury that will sideline him indefinitely.

The Rundown for September 2, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 6,073,806 and the nation’s death toll stands at 184,659, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The state of Florida announced yesterday that it is ditching nationwide testing lab Quest Diagnostics after the company attempted to dump close to 75,000 positive test results going back as far as April. Quest’s delayed data release on Monday resulted in a significantly changed case rate. Testing companies are required by state law to report test results in a timely manner… New York City’s public school system will delay the opening of classes by 11 days to September 21 under an agreement with unions that pressed for stronger coronavirus safety measures. School staff will get six days devoted to professional development before students arrive.

TRUMP VISITS KENOSHA… President Trump traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, yesterday to survey the damage caused by last week’s unrest. Violent protests were sparked on August 23 when a Kenosha police officer fired seven shots into the back of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old unarmed Black man. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Kenosha’s mayor had expressed concern that Trump’s visit would amplify tensions in the city.

APPEALS COURT DELAYS TRUMP SUBPOENAS… The Second Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday granted a stay order request delaying enforcement of the subpoenas seeking President Trump’s tax returns and scheduled oral arguments on the merits of the subpoenas for September 25. The subpoenas were brought by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and are part of an ongoing grand jury investigation into whether or not Trump violated New York state law regarding hush money payments made to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump prior to his election. Trump has cited broad presidential immunity in his fight to keep his financial records sealed since last year.

MARKEY DEFEATS KENNEDY IN MASSACHUSETTS PRIMARY… Senator Ed Markey withstood a challenge from Congressman Joe Kennedy III in yesterday’s Massachusetts Democratic primary. Markey captured 54 percent of the vote to Kennedy’s 46 percent. The 39-year-old Kennedy is the grandson of former Senator Robert Kennedy and grandnephew of former President John Kennedy. Markey is expected to be heavily favored to win the general election on November 3.

FACEBOOK BATTLING RUSSIAN TROLLS… A Facebook report yesterday revealed that the same Russian Internet troll group that plotted to interfere in the 2016 election in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump is seeking to sway the 2020 election. Facebook followed up on an FBI tip and removed a small network of 13 Facebook accounts and two pages linked to individuals associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency’s past activity, according to the report. People connected to the Russian troll group recruited “unwitting freelance journalists” to write for them, the report also noted.

ENTERTAINMENT
JOHNNY DEPP SEEKS DELAY IN DEFAMATION SUIT
… Actor Johnny Depp is seeking a delay in his U.S. defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard. The actor is suing over an article Heard wrote in The Washington Post, claiming that it implied he was violent towards her. The trial was set for early next year. A hearing on Mr Depp’s request for a postponement is currently set for September 11.

NETFLIX DELAYS CHADWICK BOSEMAN FILM PREVIEW… Netflix has delayed Monday’s scheduled virtual preview event for the film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” following the death on Friday of its star, Chadwick Boseman. The film is an adaptation of August Wilson’s play telling the story about the queen of the blues and her band in the 1920s. Boseman plays a trumpet player alongside Viola Davis and Colman Domingo in his final film appearance.

SPORTS
MLB SCORES
St. Louis 16 – CINCINNATI 2
… Brad Miller doubled home two runs to spark a six-run top of the first inning, homered twice and knocked in seven runs to lead the Cardinals in their shellacking of the Reds. Miller and Kelton Wong had four hits apiece to lead a 23-hit attack.

MIAMI 3 – Toronto 2… Starling Marte smacked a tie-breaking homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to send the Marlins past the Blue Jays. Five Toronto pitchers combined on a six-hitter.

PHILADELPHIA 6 – Washington 0… Phillies starter Aaron Nola (4-2) pitched two-hit ball over eight innings and struck out nine in the blanking of the Nationals. Andrew McCutchen blasted a three-run homer. Alec Bohm had a solo homer and an RBI double.

N.Y. YANKEES 5 – Tampa Bay 3… DJ LeMahieu hit a pair of solo homers and the Yankees beat the Rays for the first time in seven tries. Masahiro Tanaka (1-1) held Tampa Bay to two runs on three hits over six innings. Aroldis Chapman worked the ninth to earn the save but not before sparking a benches-clearing incident with a brushback pitch.

Atlanta 10 – BOSTON 3… Marcell Ozuna homered three times and knocked in six runs to lead the Braves in their pounding of the Red Sox. Ian Anderson (2-0) surrendered two runs on six hits over six innings.

BALTIMORE 9 – N.Y. Mets 5… Renato Nunez cracked two home runs and drove in four runs as the Orioles pulled away and handed the Mets their fifth straight loss. Anthony Santander also went deep.

Detroit 12 – MILWAUKEE 1… The Tigers made it six straight wins with the drubbing of the Brewers. Victor Reyes went 4-for-6 with a homer and five RBIs. Christian Stewart and Grayson Greiner also connected.

Cleveland 10 – KANSAS CITY 1… Roberto Perez drilled a two-run homer and doubled home a run as the Indians roughed up the Royals. Francisco Lindor also homered with a runner aboard, while Franmil Reyes and Jose Ramirez added solo shots.

MINNESOTA 3 – Chi. White Sox 2… The Twins sneaked past the White Sox after spotting them an early two-run lead. Byron Buxton singled home Nelson Cruz with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Luis Arraez came through with a game-tying pinch-hit double in the sixth.

Texas 6 – HOUSTON 5 (10 innings)… The Rangers recovered to top the Astros after blowing a three-run sixth-inning lead. Scott Heineman scored on a balk and Isiah Kiner-Filefa crossed the plate with an unearned run in the top of the 10th inning.

San Francisco 23 – COLORADO 5… The Giants pounded out 26 hits in their dismantling of the Rockies. Alex Dickerson hit three home runs and knocked in six runs. Brandon Crawford blasted a three-run homer and had six RBIs. Donovan Solano also drove in six runs.

Chi. Cubs 8 – PITTSBURGH 7 (11 innings)… The Cubs outlasted the Pirates after blowing a 6-1 sixth-inning lead. Ian Happ homered to lead off the game and singled home the decisive run in the 11th. Kyle Schwarber belted a two-run shot.

L.A. DODGERS 6 – Arizona 3… Chris Taylor knocked in four runs with a pair of doubles and the Dodgers cruised past the Diamondbacks. Julio Urias (1-0) allowed just a run on four hits over six innings.

TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE
San Francisco (Lance Webb, 2-3) is at Colorado (Kyle Freeland, 2-1)…
Baltimore (Jon Means, 0-0) hosts the N.Y. Mets (Michael Wacha, 1-2)…
St. Louis (Tyler Mahle, 1-2) is at Cincinnati (Johan Oviedo, 0-0)…
Miami (Hyun-Jin Ryu, 2-1) hosts Toronto (Sixto Sanchez, 0-0)…
Washington (Max Scherzer, 3-1) is at Philadelphia (Zack Wheeler, 0-0)…
Pittsburgh (Drew Holland, 1-2) hosts the Chi. Cubs (Kyle Hendricks, 3-4)…
Tampa Bay (Charlie Morton, 1-1) is at the N.Y. Yankees (Jordan Montgomery, 2-1)…
Boston (Kyle Hart, 0-0) hosts Atlanta (Robbie Erlin, 0-0)…
Detroit (Michael Fulmer, 0-0) is at Milwaukee (Josh Lindblom, 1-2)…
Kansas City (Jake Junis, 0-0) hosts Cleveland (Triston McKenzie, 0-0)…
the Chi. White Sox (Reynaldo Lopez, 0-0) are at Minnesota (Jose Berrios, 2-3)…
Houston (Cristian Javier, 3-1) hosts Texas (Kolby Allard, 0-0)…
San Diego (Danielson Lamet, 2-1) is at the L.A. Angels (Julio Teheran, 0-0)…
the L.A. Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 4-1) host Arizona (Zac Gallen, 0-0)

NBA PLAYOFFS SCORES (games in Orlando)…
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Boston 102 – Toronto 99
… Jayson Tatum pumped in 34 points and Marcus Smart keyed a fourth quarter rally that carried the Celtics over the Raptors and gave them a 2-0 in the series. Smart made five 3-pointers over a 3:04 span and finished with 19 points. Game 3 is tomorrow.

WESTERN CONFERENCE (first round)
Denver 80 – Utah 78… Nikola Jokic made a go-ahead basket with 27 seconds remaining and the Nuggets hung on to beat the Jazz in the decisive Game 7 of the first-round series. Jokic finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds for Denver, which scored just 30 second-half points. The Nuggets will open the Western Conference semifinals tomorrow against the L.A. Clippers.

TODAY’S NBA PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL

Milwaukee vs. Miami in Game 2 with the Heat leading 1-0

WESTERN CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND
Houston vs. Oklahoma City for Game 7

NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF SCORES
EASTERN CONFERENCE (in Toronto)
Philadelphia 4 – N.Y. Islanders 3 (OT)… Scott Laughton netted the winning goal in overtime and the Flyers pulled within 3-2 in the series. Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist for Philadelphia, which let a late two-goal lead slip away. Game 6 is tomorrow.

WESTERN CONFERENCE (in Edmonton)
Vancouver 3 – Vegas 1… Elias Petterson scored a tie-breaking goal early in the third period and the Canucks held off the Golden Knights to avoid a Game 5 elimination. Brock Boeser had a goal and an assist. J.T. Miller set up two goals. Game 6 is tomorrow.

TODAY’S NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
Colorado vs. Dallas in Game 6 with the Stars leading 3-2