The Rundown for March 1, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 28,605,669 and the nation’s death toll stands at 513.091, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky approved the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in adults yesterday, making it the third such vaccine available in the U.S. The new vaccine should start getting delivered tomorrow and Biden administration officials hope it helps boost lagging vaccination rates among minorities. Johnson & Johnson says it plans to test the vaccine on infants, newborns and pregnant women.

STATE DEPARTMENT RE-STARTS TALIBAN TALKS… The State Department announced yesterday that U.S. negotiators have arrived in the Middle East to restart peace talks with the Taliban. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad will meet with Afghan government officials and Taliban representatives in Afghanistan and Qatar. Khalilzad helped negotiate last year’s Doha agreement, calling for the Taliban to reduce violence and cut ties with terrorist organizations, among other demands. In exchange, U.S. forces would leave Afghanistan by May 2021.

IRAN NOT READY TO REVIVE NUCLEAR DEAL… Iran continues to demand that the U.S drop its unilateral sanctions before it will engage in talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. American diplomats say they are disappointed but remain ready to “re-engage in meaningful diplomacy.” The Trump administration imposed the sanctions in 2018 to force Iran to re-negotiate the accord. Iran refused and retaliated by abandoning its commitments. In trying to rejoin the agreement, the Biden administration insists Tehran must return to full compliance first.

CUOMO APOLOGIZES… New York Governor Andrew Cuomo apologized yesterday to the two women who have come forth with sexual harassment allegations against him. Cuomo said Sunday he was “truly sorry” if “some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.” Earlier yesterday, Cuomo asked the New York state’s attorney general and chief judge to appoint an independent investigator to examine the allegations. New York Attorney General Tish James said she is prepared to lead the investigation.

TRUMP AT CPAC… Former President Donald Trump yesterday targeted disloyal Republicans, repeated his election-fraud lies and hinted at a 2024 during a final-day address at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Trump called the Republicans who voted to him “grandstanders” and referred to Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney as a “warmonger.” Regarding his future plans, Trump asked supporters to contribute to his political action committees while plans are being made.

… “The Crown” won Best TV Drama and “Schitt’s Creek” was honored as Best TV Comedy at last night’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony. “The Crown” stars Emma Corrin and Josh O’Connor won for Best Actress and Actor in a TV Drama, and their co-star Gillian Anderson won for Best Supporting Actress on TV. Catherine O’Hara took the Globe for Best Actress in a TV Comedy for “Schitt’s Creek” and “Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudeikis won for Best Actor in a TV Comedy. Anya Taylor-Joy won the prize for Best Actress in a TV Movie, Limited Series or Anthology Series for “The Queen’s Gambit, which was honored as the Best TV Movie, Limited Series or Anthology Series. Chloe Zhao won the Best Director of a Film award for “Nomadland,” which was honored as the Best Drama Film. The late Chadwick Boseman was named Best Actor in a Drama Film for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Andra Day picked up the Best Actress in a Drama Film award for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.”

MORGAN WALLEN REMAINS ATOP ALBUM CHART… Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” sold 89,000 copies in becoming the first country album to spend its initial seven weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart. Ariana Grande’s “Positions” finished second after selling 49,000 units. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” finished third on sales of 43,000 copies. Lil Durk’s “The Voice” dropped to fourth place after selling 38,000 units. Pooh Shiesty’s “Sheisty Season” remained at No. 5 with 37,000 copies sold.


MILWAUKEE 105 – L.A. Clippers 100… The Bucks closed with a 9-0 run to upend the Clippers for their fifth straight win. Giannis Antetokounmpo keyed the late surge and finished with 36 points and 14 rebounds.

BOSTON 111 – Washington 110… Jayson Tatum made back-to-back driving layups in the final 15 seconds and finished with 31 points in leading the Celtics past the Wizards. Kemba Walker added 21 points and Daniel Theis tossed in 20. Bradley Beal’s 46 points weren’t enough for Washington.

New York 109 – DETROIT 90… Julius Randle scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half as the Knicks cruised past the Pistons. RJ Barrett added 21 points.

MIAMI 109 – Atlanta 99… The Heat made it six straight wins by fighting off the Hawks. Kendrick Nunn scored 24 points to lead a balanced scoring attack. Bam Adebayo had 16 points and 13 boards.

Memphis 133 – HOUSTON 84… Seven players scored in double figures as the Grizzlies dismantled the Rockets. Justise Winslow led the way with 20 points. Brandon Clarke powered his way to 16 points and 12 rebounds. The loss was Houston’s 11th in a row.

L.A. LAKERS 117 – Golden State 91… The Lakers jumped out to a 41-21 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in their blowout of the Warriors. LeBron James scored a game-high 19 points in only 24 minutes.

Phoenix 118 – MINNESOTA 99… Devin Booker scored 31 of his season-high 43 points in the third quarter as the Suns cruised past the Timberwolves. Deandre Ayton put up 22 points and 12 boards.

Charlotte 127 – SACRAMENTO 126… The Hornets came from eight points down with less than a minute remaining to topple the Kings. Malik Monk was fouled as he scored the tying basket with 1.4 seconds left and converted the decisive free throw. Terry Rozier brought Charlotte within range by knocking down a 3-pointer and three free throws. Monk finished with 21 points. P.J. Washington poured in a game-high 42 points. LaMelo Ball had 24 points and 12 assists.

Dallas is at Orlando…
Philadelphia hosts Indiana…
Denver is at Chicago…
New Orleans hosts Utah…
Brooklyn is at San Antonio…
Houston hosts Cleveland…
Charlotte is at Portland

Boston 4 – N.Y. RANGERS 1… Charlie Coyle found the net twice and David Pastrnak set up two goals as the Bruins skated past the Rangers. Charlie McAvoy had a goal and an assist.

Philadelphia 3 – BUFFALO 0… Goalie Carter Hart stopped all 28 shots in the Flyers’ blanking of the Sabres. James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist as Philadelphia did all its scoring in the second period. Joel Farabee assisted on two goals.

NASHVILLE 3 – Columbus 1… Eeli Tolvanen’s second-period goal gave the Predators the lead for good in their win over the Blue Jackets. Juuse Saros made 28 saves at goal.

Washington 3 – NEW JERSEY 2… Alex Ovechkin netted a go-ahead goal in the second period and the Capitals hung on to top the Devils. Jakub Vrana had a goal and an assist. Tom Wilson set up two goals.

N.Y. ISLANDERS 2 – Pittsburgh 0… Rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin made 20 saves in his second shutout and the Islanders clipped the Penguins. Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau netted power-play goals.

CHICAGO 7 – Detroit 2… The Blackhawks scored five third-period goals to put away the Red Wings. Patrick Kane scored his 400th career goal and had two assists. Alex DeBrincat had a goal and three assists. Goalie Kevin Lankinen made 44 stops.

Carolina is at Florida…
Ottawa hosts Calgary…
Vancouver is at Winnipeg…
Edmonton hosts Toronto…
Minnesota is at Vegas…
Anaheim hosts St. Louis…
Colorado is at San Jose

No. 9 Iowa 73, No. 4 OHIO STATE 57….
BUTLER 73, No. 8 Villanova 61…
No. 12 HOUSTON 98, South Florida 52

TAMPA BAY 9, Atlanta 7…
MINNESOTA 7, Boston 6…
Miami 6, HOUSTON 1…
DETROIT 10, Philadelphia 2…
Pittsburgh 6, BALTIMORE 4…
Toronto 6, N.Y. YANKEES 4…
Washington 4, ST. LOUIS 4 (tie)…
L.A. Angels 5, SAN FRANCISCO 2…
CLEVELAND 5, Cincinnati 1…
L.A. Dodgers 2, OAKLAND 1…
KANSAS CITY 3, Texas 2…
COLORADO 5, Arizona 2…
SEATTLE 5, San Diego 4

The Rundown for February 23, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 28,188,571 and the nation’s death toll stands at 500,244, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… At a White House ceremony last night, President Joe Biden called for a moment of silence to remember the more than a half-million Americans who have died of coronavirus. He also ordered all flags on federal property to be lowered to half-staff for the next five days.

MERRICK GARLAND CONFIRMATION HEARING… Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland answered wide-ranging questions yesterday on the first day of his Senate confirmation hearings. The former federal prosecutor told the Senate judiciary committee that overseeing the prosecution of those responsible for the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will be his initial priority. He also also said the Justice Department could be open to new policies on federal-level gun control reforms. Garland pledged that his Justice Department will take seriously racial and social inequality.

SUPREME COURT CLEARS RELEASE OF TRUMP TAXES… The Supreme Court yesterday dealt former President Donald Trump a blow by declining to block New York prosecutors from obtaining eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had subpoenaed the documents in August 2019 as part of an ongoing investigation into possible tax, insurance and bank fraud. Trump and the Trump Organization have denied any wrongdoing.

EL CHAPO’S WIFE ARRESTED IN U.S… Federal agents yesterday arrested the wife of imprisoned Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. A single-count criminal complaint charges Emma Coronel Aispuro with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the U.S. The Justice Department also accused her of helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 and participating in the planning of a second prison escape before Guzman was extradited to the U.S.

MARIJUANA LEGAL IN NEW JERSEY… New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy yesterday signed three bills that legalize up to six ounces of recreational marijuana in the state. His signature comes after voters legalized marijuana in November after three years of legislative, financial and legal battles. New Jersey still needs to license new dispensaries to meet the needs for the state’s 100,000 medical marijuana patients.

… Former President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen are pairing up on a new eight-episode Spotify podcast. “Renegades: Born in the USA” features Obama and Springsteen sitting down to discuss race, fatherhood, marriage and the future of the U.S. Obama and his wife Michelle Obama announced in 2019 that their production company, Higher Ground, would partner with Spotify to produce exclusive podcasts.

DAFT PUNK IS DONE… The French electronic music duo Daft Punk announced yesterday that it is breaking up after 28 years. French musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter were known for wearing elaborate helmets, assuming robot personas and despising celebrity. The six-time Grammy Award winners composed the score for the 2010 film “Tron: Legacy’ and influenced numerous musicians with their music and mythology. Their 2013 single, “Get Lucky,” featuring vocals by Pharrell Williams, made it to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. They made No. 1 as part of The Weeknd’s 2016 single, “Starboy,” which they performed on, co-wrote and co-produced.


Chicago 120 – HOUSTON 100… The Bulls pulled away with a big third quarter and handed the Rockets their eighth straight loss. Colby White scored 24 points and brought down 10 rebounds. Zack LaVine added 21 points. Wendell Carter Jr. finished with 18 points and 13 boards.

DALLAS 102 – Memphis 92… The Mavericks built a big lead early and cruised past the Grizzlies. Tim Hardaway Jr. came off the bench to score a game-high 29 points. Luka Doncic dropped in 21 points.

Miami 108 – OKLAHOMA CITY 94… The Heat rallied past the Thunder in the second half. Duncan Robinson made six 3-pointers on his way to 22 points. Kendrick Nunn added 20 points. Bam Adebayo finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds.

PHOENIX 132 – Portland 100… The Suns blew the game open with a dominating third quarter on their way past the Trail Blazers. Devin Booker scored a game-high 34 points.

UTAH 132 – Charlotte 110… The Jazz used a 26-2 fourth-quarter run to blow away the Hornets. Utah made a team-record 28 3-pointers, including 19 off the bench. Donovan Mitchell was 8-of-17 from beyond the arc and finished with 23 points to lead seven players in double figures. Joe Ingles and Georges Niang added 21 points apiece. Jordan Clarkson tossed in 20 points.

Washington 127 – L.A. LAKERS 124… The Wizards came from 14 points down at the break to outlast the Lakers for their fifth straight win. Bradley Beal led all scorers with 33 points. Russell Westbrook had 32 points, 14 boards and nine assists.

Atlanta is at Cleveland…
Orlando hosts Detroit…
Sacramento is at Brooklyn…
New York hosts Golden State…
Philadelphia is at Toronto…
Dallas hosts Boston…
Minnesota is at Milwaukee…
Denver hosts Portland…
Washington is at the L.A. Clippers

Tampa Bay 4 – CAROLINA 2… Ondrej Palat netted a tie-breaking goal in the third quarter to help push the Lightning past the Hurricanes. Viktor Hedman had goal and an assist.

Calgary 3 – TORONTO 0… Goalie David Rittich stopped all 34 shots as the Flames blanked the Maple Leafs. Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk both had a goal and an assist.

FLORIDA 3 – Dallas 1… The Panthers skated past the Stars after spotting them an early lead. Keith Yandle scored a go-ahead goal late in the second period.

N.Y. ISLANDERS 3 – Buffalo 2… Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored a power-play goal to break a tie with less than five minutes remaining and the Islanders hung on to edge the Sabres. The victory was New York’s sixth in a row over Buffalo.

Los Angeles 3 – ST. LOUIS 0… Goalie Jonathan Quick made 30 saves in his 54th career shutout and the Kings breezed past the Blues. Dustin Brown netted a pair of goals.

Vegas 3 – COLORADO 0… Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 shots at goal as the Golden Knights whitewashed the Avalanche. Vegas did all its scoring in the second period with Alex Tuch finding the net twice.

ARIZONA 4 – Anaheim 3… The Coyotes erased a three-goal deficit in upending the Ducks. Christian Dvorack’s second goal of the game came early in the third period and proved decisive. Jakob Chychrun scored a goal and assisted on another.

Minnesota 6 – SAN JOSE 2… Six different players found the net as the Wild tamed the Sharks. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and three assists. Victor Rask netted a goal and set up two others.

Buffalo is at New Jersey…
Washington hosts Pittsburgh…
Chicago is at Columbus…
Ottawa hosts Montreal…
Nashville is at Detroit…
Vancouver hosts Edmonton

OKLAHOMA STATE 74, No. 18 Texas Tech 69…
No. 19 USC 72, Oregon 58

MLB NEWS… Seattle Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather resigned yesterday amid backlash he received for comments he made to a Rotary Club earlier this month. Mather targeted several of the team’s players in comments that were shockingly candid and drew condemnation from Major League Baseball. His resignation is effective immediately, with Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton taking on the roles of CEO and team president on an interim basis.

The Rundown for January 25, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 25,124,064 and the nation’s death toll stands at 419,204, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during an appearance on Fox News “Sunday” yesterday that health officials are tracking coronavirus mutations to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines and treatments stay ahead of new variants until collective immunity is achieved. She said the CDC had administered 21,848,655 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of yesterday morning. President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, said in a separate interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that a plan for distributing the vaccine, particularly beyond nursing homes and hospitals, “did not really exist when we came into the White House.”

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION RALLIES SUPPORT FOR RELIEF PROPOSAL… The Biden administration is trying to rally bipartisan support for the president’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal. During a call to 16 senators and two House members, administration officials tried to ease concerns that the package is too pricey. Some lawmakers from both parties have expressed preference for a smaller plan that prioritizes coronavirus vaccine distribution.

BIDEN TO LIFT PENTAGON’S TRANS BAN… President Joe Biden will lift the Pentagon’s ban on transgender people serving in the military by signing an executive order today, according to White House officials. Former President Trump imposed the ban in 2017, reversing the Obama administration’s policy that allowed open service by transgender people. New Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to attend today’s signing at the White House.

SIX DEAD IN INDIANAPOLIS SHOOTINGS… Six people were fatally shot and a juvenile was taken to the hospital in critical condition early yesterday following a shooting spree in Indianapolis. Police responding to the report of a disturbance found the wounded child and directed units to a second location, where the bodies were found. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randall Taylor both referred to the incident as a “mass murder” during a press conference yesterday afternoon. Among the dead was a pregnant woman and her unborn child.

CHICAGO TEACHERS WON’T RETURN TO CLASS… Chicago Teachers Union members yesterday voted to defy an order from Chicago Public Schools to return to in-person instruction due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Representatives from the nation’s third-largest school district have indicated that they would treat the defiance as an illegal strike. Kindergarten through eighth grade teachers were originally scheduled to return to classrooms today.

… Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” sold 159,000 copies to remain atop the Billboard 200 album chart for a second week. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” jumped into second place on sales of 47,000 units. Why Don’t We’s “The Good Times and the Bad Ones” opened in third place after selling 46,000 copies. Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” slipped to fourth place with 41,000 units sold. Ariana Grande’s “Positions” sold 39,000 copies to cap the top five.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE… The Liam Neeson action-thriller “The Marksman” brought in $2 million to top the weekend box office for a second straight week. “The Croods: A New Age” finished second with $1.8 million. “Wonder Woman,” “News of the World” and “Monster Hunter” were also in the top five.


Tampa Bay 31 – GREEN BAY 26… The Buccaneers held off the Packers in the NFC title game and advance to take on defending-champion Kansas City in the Super Bowl on their home field. Tom Brady overcame three interceptions to throw touchdown passes to three different receivers in reaching the Super Bowl for the 10th time. Leonard Fournette ran 20 yards for a second-quarter score. Chris Godwin had five catches for 110 yards. Defensively, Tampa Bay sacked Aaron Rodgers five times.

KANSAS CITY 38 – Buffalo 24… Patrick Mahomes hit Travis Kelce with two of his three touchdown passes and the Chiefs rolled past the Bills in the AFC championship game. Mahomes completed 29 of 38 passes for 325 yards. Tyreek Hill had nine receptions for 172 yards.

Toronto 107 – INDIANA 102… The Raptors came on strong down the stretch to hold off the Pacers. OG Anunoby scored a game-high 30 points. Fred VanVleet added 21 points and Norman Powell tossed in 20.

L.A. CLIPPERS 108 – OKLAHOMA CITY 100… The Clippers jumped out to a 17-point lead after the first quarter and hung on to down the Thunder. Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 34 points.

BOSTON 141 – Cleveland 103… The Celtics built a big lead early and never looked back in their dismantling of the Cavaliers. Jaylen Brown scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter. Kemba Walker dropped in 21 points.

Charlotte 107 – ORLANDO 104… The Hornets erased a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to upend the Magic. Gordon Hayward made a tie-breaking layup with less than a second remaining and finished with a game-high 39 points.

SAN ANTONIO 121 – Washington 101… The Spurs ran past a Wizards team that was playing for the first time in two weeks. Patty Mills scored 21 points to lead a balanced scoring attack.

MILWAUKEE 129 – Atlanta 115… The Bucks led by 19 points at the half and coasted past the Hawks. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Bobby Portis delivered 21 points off the bench.

PORTLAND 116 – New York 113… The Trail Blazers withstood a fourth-quarter rally in downing the Knicks. Damian Lillard lit it up for 39 points.

Philadelphia is at Detroit…
Indiana hosts Toronto…
Charlotte is at Orlando…
Miami is at Brooklyn…
Cleveland hosts the L.A. Lakers…
Denver is at Dallas…
Chicago hosts Boston…
San Antonio is at New Orleans…
Golden State hosts Minnesota…
Oklahoma City is at Portland

CHICAGO 6 – Detroit 2… Pius Suter scored two of his three goals in the first period and the Blackhawks skated past the Red Wings. Conor Murphy had a goal and an assist.

Buffalo 4 – WASHINGTON 3 (SO)… Jack Eichel netted the lone goal in the shootout to lift the Sabres over the Capitals. Rasmus Ristolainen assisted on two goals.

Toronto 3 – CALGARY 2… Wayne Simmonds scored a tie-breaking power-play goal with 32 seconds left in the second period and Auston Matthews added the decisive goal in the third to push the Maple Leafs past the Flames. Morgan Rielly assisted on all three goals.

Vegas 1 – ARIZONA 0… William Karlsson found the net with 43 seconds remaining to send the Golden Knights past the Coyotes. Marc-Andre Fleury faced only 16 shots in the shutout.

NEW JERSEY 2 – N.Y. Islanders 0… Jack Hughes and Pavel Zacha scored two minutes apart in the first period and the Devils blanked the Islanders. Goalie Scott Wedgewood stopped all 28 shots.

PITTSBURGH 3 – N.Y. Rangers 2… Jake Guentzel’s goal with 1:31 left gave the Penguins a come-from-behind win over the Rangers. Jared McCann netted a tying goal early in the third period.

Los Angeles 6 – ST. LOUIS 3… Six different players found the net as the Kings doubled up on the Blues. Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists. Adrian Kempe set up two goals.

San Jose 5 – MINNESOTA 3… The Sharks recovered to put away the Wild after blowing a two-goal lead. Brent Burns scored a go-ahead goal with 1:49 remaining.

DALLAS 3 – Nashville 2… Joe Pavelski’s power-play goal early in the third period proved to be the difference in the Stars’ win over the Predators. Pavelski also had two assists. Roope Hintz also had a goal and two assists for Dallas.

ANAHEIM 3 – Colorado 1… John Gibson made 32 saves at goal and the Ducks eased past the Avalanche. Jakob Silfverberg, Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm found the net.

Edmonton 4 – WINNIPEG 3… Leon Draisaitl beat the final buzzer with a game-winning goal as the Oilers topped the Jets. Kailer Yamamoto scored a tying goal with 3:05 to go. Connor McDavid had three assists.

Ottawa is at Vancouver

MLB NEWS… The New York Yankees have acquired right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates for four minor league prospects. Pittsburgh received pitchers Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras, infielder Maikol Escotto and outfielder Canaan Smith in the deal. The 29-year-old Taillon, the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2010 and was a 14-game winner for the Pirates in 2018. He appeared in just seven games in 2019 and missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow.

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.

… 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.”


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.

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

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

Wisconsin plays Wake Forest in the Mayo Bowl…
No. 6 Oklahoma plays No. 7 Florida in the Cotton Bowl

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.

… 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