The Rundown for November 27, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 12,879,762 and the nation’s death toll stands at 263,413, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Health officials fear that the rising number of deaths could reach levels initially seen in the spring, when the pandemic first hit the U.S. More than 2,300 deaths were reported on Wednesday, which marked a 57-percent increase over the 14-day average. Officials warn that daily deaths could double within a matter of days.

AMERICANS CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING… Americans marked a Thanksgiving Day holiday yesterday amid the ongoing pandemic. Nearly 6 million Americans traveled by air prior to the holiday despite political leaders and health officials discouraging travel or large gatherings. The number of air travelers is less than half of the same period last year. The traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City was scaled back significantly. The route was reduced from 2-1/2 miles to one block and balloon handlers were replaced by specially rigged vehicles. Spectators were forbidden from lining the streets.

COURT BLOCKS NEW YORK COVID RESTRICTIONS… New York Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday called Wednesday night’s Supreme Court decision blocking coronavirus restrictions imposed on religious gatherings “irrelevant.” The High Court voted 5-4 in favor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish congregations that had sought an injunction to block the restrictions from being enforced. Cuomo said the high court’s ruling would have no impact on the state’s virus control efforts because the red zone status for the area in question had expired last week.

TRUMP SAYS HE’LL LEAVE WHITE HOUSE IF BIDEN GETS EC VOTES… President Trump came as close as he has come to conceding the presidential election yesterday when he said he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden. Trump maintained it would be hard for him to concede under the current circumstances, however, and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration. Biden won the election with 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232. Electors are scheduled to meet on December 14 to formalize the outcome. Biden also leads Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote tally.

MEXICO INVESTIGATES WAL-MART… Mexico’s anti-monopoly commission signaled yesterday that it has launched a formal investigation into Wal-Mart’s Mexican subsidiary. While the Federal Economic Competition Commission did not identify its target, Wal-Mart de Mexico told investors earlier this week that it has been notified that it is that target of an investigation. The commission has publicly revealed that it is looking into possible monopolistic practices in wholesale and retail goods distribution and sales.

ENTERTAINMENT
ALEX TREBEK DELIVERS RECORDED MESSAGE
… “Jeopardy!” yesterday day aired a Thanksgiving message that had been pre-recorded by former host Alex Trebek prior to his death earlier this month. Trebek succumbed to his battle with pancreatic cancer on November 8 at age 80. The final episodes that he recorded is scheduled to air the week of January 4, 2021.

MADS MIKKELSEN REPLACES JOHNNY DEPP IN NEST ‘BEASTS’ FILM… Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has been tapped to replace Johnny Depp in the next “Fantastic Beasts” film. Warner Bros. The 55-year-old Mikkelsen is best known for his roles in the James Bond film “Casino Royale,” “Hannibal” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” He will portray the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the third “Fantastic Beasts” installment, which is currently in production outside London. Its release date is set for July 15, 2022.

SPORTS
NFL SCORES

Houston 41 – DETROIT 25
… Deshaun Watson passed for 318 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Texans (4-7) past the Lions (4-7). Will Fuller had six catches for 171 yards and two scores. Defensive end J.J. Watt returned a first-quarter interception 19 yards for a TD.

Washington 41 – DALLAS 16… Antonio Gibson rushed for 115 yards and three touchdowns as Washington (4-7) rolled past the Cowboys (3-8). Montez Sweat intercepted an Andy Daulton pass and returned it 15 yards for a score.

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

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Seattle (7-3) is at Philadelphia (3-6-1)

TODAY’S TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
No. 2 Notre Dame is at No. 19 North Carolina…
No. 13 Iowa State is at No. 17 Texas…
No. 15 Oregon is at Oregon State…
No. 24 Iowa hosts Nebraska

SATURDAY’S TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
No. 1 Alabama hosts No. 22 Auburn…
No. 3 Clemson hosts Pittsburgh…
No. 4 Ohio State is at Illinois…
No. 5 Texas A&M hosts LSU…
No. 6 Florida hosts Kentucky…
No. 8 Northwestern is at Michigan State…
No. 9 Georgia is at South Carolina…
No. 12 Indiana hosts Maryland…
No. 16 Wisconsin hosts Minnesota…
No. 18 USC hosts Colorado…
No. 20 Coastal Carolina is at Texas State…
No. 23 Oklahoma State hosts Texas Tech…
No. 25 Tulsa is at Houston

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 1 Gonzaga 102, Kansas 90…
No. 3 Villanova 83, Arizona State 74…
No. 8 Illinois 97, Chicago State 38…
No. 15 West Virginia 78, VCU 66

The Rundown for November 23, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 12,226,643 and the nation’s death toll stands at 256,745, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have submitted an application for emergency authorization in the U.S. of their Covid-19 vaccine, which has been shown by tests to be 95 percent effective. Pfizer hopes to produce up to 50 million doses by the end of the year. A Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory committee is set to meet on December 10 to discuss whether to authorize the vaccine… Los Angeles County has issued an order that restricts in-person dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars for a minimum of three weeks. The order becomes effective Wednesday at 10 p.m.

BIDEN TO START NAMING CABINET APPOINTMENTS… President-elect Joe Biden will announce the first of his Cabinet appointments tomorrow and is planning for a scaled-down inauguration due to the coronavirus pandemic, his aides revealed yesterday. The New York Times and Bloomberg reported that former deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State. Bloomberg also reported that Jake Sullivan, a former aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will be named national security adviser.

TRUMP YET TO CONCEDE… President Trump has yet to concede the presidential election despite his legal team compiling a 2-34 record in post-election court challenges. He is facing mounting pressure by allies in his own party to accept the results and press on in serving Americans amid a pandemic. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer are among the most recent Republicans who have urged Trump to move on. Ron Klain, who is Biden’s choice as White House chief of staff, called on the General Services Administration to formally recognize Biden’s victory and unlock resources for the transition process. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign distance has apparently split from attorney Sidney Powell, whose recent public appearances have included incorrect statements about the voting process, baseless and wide-ranging conspiracy theories and a threat to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.

McMASTER WARNS AGAINST AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL… President Trump’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster warned yesterday that the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan will empower the Taliban. The retired lieutenant general called the plan “abhorrent” The withdrawal of about 2,000 troops from Afghanistan would leave 2,500 U.S. troops in country. It was announced earlier this month after Trump fired Defense Secretary and named Christopher Miller as his replacement.

ARREST IN WISCONSIN MALL SHOOTINGS… Police in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, last night announced the arrest of a 15-year-old suspect in connection with Friday’s shootings that left eight people injured at a mall. Officers also found a firearm that the boy allegedly used during the incident, police said. Investigators say it appears the shootings were the result of a dispute between two groups rather than a random act. Authorities said four “innocent bystanders” suffered what were believed to be non-life threatening injuries.

ENTERTAINMENT
TAYLOR SWIFT WINS BIG AT AMA AWARDS
… Taylor Swift won Artist of the Year and Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist at last night’s 2020 American Music Awards. Justin Bieber, Dan + Shay and the Weeknd were also three-time winners. The Weeknd’s wins included Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, Favorite Soul/R&B Album for “After Hours” and Favorite Soul/R&B Song for “Heartless.”

AC/DC TOPS ALBUM CHART… AC/DC’s “Power Up” sold 117,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 albums chart. Future and Lil Uzi Vert’s “Pluto x Baby Pluto” opened in second place with 105,000 units sold. Chris Stapleton’s “Starting Over” debuted in third place on sales of 103,000 copies. Last week’s champ, Ariana Grande’s “Positions,” dropped to fourth place after selling 75,000 units. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” capped the top five with 53,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
NFL SCORES

NEW ORLEANS 24 – Atlanta 9
… Taysom Hill replaced the injured Drew Brees at quarterback and rushed for two touchdowns in leading the Saints (8-2) past the Falcons (3-7). Michael Thomas had nine catches for 104 yards.

WASHINGTON 20 – Cincinnati 9… Washington (3-7) rallied in the second half to get past the Bengals (2-7-1). Rookie running back Antonio Gibson ran for 94 yards and a score. The loss was especially painful for Cincinnati, which will be without rookie quarterback Joe Burrow for the rest of the season after he was carted off the field with a knee injury in the second quarter.

CAROLINA 20 – Detroit 0… The Panthers (4-6) recorded their first shutout since 2015 in blanking the Lions (4-7). P.J. Walker passed for 258 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start. D.J. Moore had seven receptions for 127 yards.

CLEVELAND 22 – Philadelphia 17… Linebacker Sione Takitaki returned a second-quarter interception 50 yards to open the scoring and the Browns (7-3) held off the Eagles (3-6-1). Defensive end Olivier Vernon recorded three sacks of Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz, one of which went for a third-quarter safety.

Pittsburgh 27 – JACKSONVILLE 3… Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick each had two interceptions as the Steelers (10-0) smothered the Jaguars (1-9). Ben Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes to Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron. Diontae Johnson had 12 catches for 111 yards.

HOUSTON 27 – New England 20… Deshaun Watson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the first half and the Texans (3-7) fought off the Patriots (4-6). Watson passed for 344 yards on the day.

Tennessee 30 – BALTIMORE 24 (OT)… Derrick Henry’s 29-yard touchdown run with 5:21 remaining in overtime lifted the Titans (7-3) over the Ravens (6-4). Henry finished with 133 yards on 28 carries. Ryan Tannehill had a pair of scoring tosses. Corey Davis finished with five receptions for 113 yards.

Dallas 31 – MINNESOTA 28… Andy Daulton’s 2-yard touchdown pass with 1:37 remaining sent the Cowboys (3-7) past the Vikings (4-6). Daulton also hit CeeDee Lamb and Ezekiel Elliott with scoring strikes. Elliott rushed for 103 yards.

DENVER 20 – Miami 13… Justin Simmons’ interception of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone with 1:03 left sealed the win as the Broncos (4-6) topped the Dolphins (6-4). Denver sacked Miami starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa six times and knocked him out of the game earlier in the fourth quarter. Melvin Gordon rushed for a pair of touchdowns.

L.A. CHARGERS 34 – N.Y. Jets 28… Justin Herbert completed 37 of 49 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns and the Chargers (3-7) handled the Jets (0-10). Keenan Allen hauled in a franchise-record 16 receptions for 145 yards and a score.

INDIANAPOLIS 34 – Green Bay 31 (OT)… The Colts (7-3) rallied from a 28-14 halftime deficit to outlast the Packers (7-3). Rodrigo Blankenship’s fourth field goal of the game came from 39 yards out with 7:10 to go in overtime. Philip Rivers threw touchdown passes to three different receivers.

Kansas City 35 – LAS VEGAS 31… Patrick Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 28 seconds remaining to give the Chiefs (9-1) a last-minute win over the Raiders (6-4). Kelce finished with eight catches for 127 yards. Tyreek Hill had 11 receptions for 102 yards and a score. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for two TDs.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
the L.A. Rams (6-3) are at Tampa Bay (7-3)

AP TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS… Alabama is the unanimous No. 1 in this week’s Associated Press college football poll. The Crimson Tide received all 62 first-place votes after beating Kentucky 63-3 on Saturday. The top eight teams in this week’s poll held their spots.

  1. Alabama
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Ohio State
  4. Clemson
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Florida
  7. Cincinnati
  8. BYU
  9. Miami
  10. Oregon
  11. Northwestern
  12. Indiana
  13. Georgia
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Iowa State
  16. Coastal Carolina
  17. Marshall
  18. Wisconsin
  19. USC
  20. Texas
  21. Oklahoma State
  22. Auburn
  23. Louisiana
  24. Tulsa
  25. North Carolina

The Rundown for July 10, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 3,117,946 and the nation’s death toll stands at 133,290, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Several states continue to set record highs for daily increases in new cases. Arizona, California, Florida and Texas have accounted for nearly half of all new cases in the U.S. in recent days. The recent surge has overwhelmed hospitals and slowed testing.

SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST TRUMP IN TWO DECISIONS… The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that presidents are not immune from state criminal proceedings while in office and that President Trump is not “categorically immune” from having his financial records released to a New York grand jury. However, High Court justices ruled in a second case that a lower court needs to consider separation of power issues related to Congressional subpoenas of President Trump’s tax returns, thereby making it appear unlikely that Trump’s financial records will be released before the November election. The vote was 7-2 in both cases. Both of Trump’s SCOTUS appointees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, ruled against him in each.

SECTION OF EASTERN OKLAHOMA IS NOW INDIAN LAND… A large swath of eastern Oklahoma will now be considered the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation following a Supreme Court ruling yesterday. The decision was based on Congress’ failure to formally undo the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s 19th century reservation. As a result of the ruling, state prosecutors have no authority to pursue cases against American Indians on that land. It could also overturn hundreds of past convictions and impact other tribes.

FORMER SDNY PROSECUTOR TESTIFIES… The recently-ousted federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York testified before the House Judiciary Committee behind closed doors yesterday. Geoffrey Berman, whose office has investigated people close to President Trump, testified that Attorney General William Barr pressured him to step down last month so that Barr could replace him with Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton. Berman said Barr offered him positions at the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division or even at the SEC.

DEFENSE CHIEF CONFIRMS RUSSIAN-BOUNTY BRIEFINGS… Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed yesterday that he had been briefed on intelligence reports that Russia was paying Taliban militants up to $100,000 for every American they killed. The confirmation conflicts with President Trump’s claim that the reports were a “hoax.” Esper did say that he has not seen intelligence that corroborates claims that American troops were killed as a result of the “bounty” payments.

JUDGE IN MICHAEL FLYNN’S CASE SEEKS REVIEW… The judge in Michael Flynn’s criminal case has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision to drop Michael Flynn case. Judge Emmet Sullivan seeks a review of the appeals court that would involve all active judges on the court rehearing the case. Trump has criticized the case against Flynn, his former national security adviser who pleaded guilty and admitted lying to FBI agents about his discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. before Trump was inaugurated. Flynn withdrew his plea and appealed his case.

CALIFORNIA SUES OVER STUDENT VISA RESTRICTIONS… California officials yesterday announced their intent to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its sudden policy change that intends to return international students to their home countries if their schools in the U.S. switched to online courses due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra came a day after Harvard and MIT sued in federal court to stop the new policy. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had announced in March that student visa holders in the U.S. would be allowed to remain in the country if they’re forced to attend virtual classes.

MICHAEL COHEN BACK IN CUSTODY… President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, was returned to federal prison yesterday for allegedly violating his home confinement agreement. Law enforcement officials said Cohen refused to sign documents prohibiting him from interacting with the media or writing a book. In May, pandemic concerns prompted Cohen’s release from federal prison to serve the rest of his three-year sentence from home. He was convicted for his role in making hush-money payments to women who said they’d had affairs with Trump.

ENTERTAINMENT
NAYA RIVERA BELIEVED DEAD
… Efforts to find actress Naya Rivera in a Southern California lake are now a recovery operation and not a rescue mission, Ventura County sheriff’s officials said yesterday. Authorities are resuming that the 33-year-old Rivera is dead. She rented a boat with her 4-year-old son on Wednesday afternoon and hasn’t been seen since. She was reported missing after the boy was found alone on the boat.

JOY REID GETS WEEKDAY MSNBC SHOW… MSNBC announced yesterday that it is giving political analyst Joy Reid her own weekday show in the 7 p.m. EDT time slot. “The ReidOut,” based out of Washington, D.C., is set to premiere on July 20 and will feature political discussions and one-on-one conversations with politicians. Its timeslot was previously filled by “Hardball” until show host Chris Matthews suddenly retired in March. Reid’s current weekend morning show, “AM Joy” will continue with a rotating lineup of hosts until MSNBC names a permanent replacement in the fall.

SPORTS
COLLEGE CONFERENCES PLANNING FOR FALL
… The Big Ten Conference announced yesterday that it plans to adopt a conference-only season for all fall sports, including football, amid the coronavirus pandemic. The conference is the first to make such a move. Officials from the SEC say they are continuing to meet with campus leaders “to determine the best path forward” for fall sports. Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby says he’s following advice to “move ahead slowly” and plan “for all available scenarios.” The Atlantic Coast Conference plans to delay all fall sports until at least Sept. 1. On Wednesday, the Ivy League declared a shutdown of fall sports.

The Rundown for May 21, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,551,668 and the death toll stands at 93,431, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. All 50 states now have taken some steps to reopen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a 60-page document offering guidance for reopening schools, mass transit and nonessential businesses. The plan outlines a “three-phased approach” for reducing social distancing and proposes the use of six “gating” indicators to assess when to move through another phase.

SUPREME COURT BLOCKS MUELLER MATERIAL FROM HOUSE… The Supreme Court yesterday temporarily blocked a lower court order requiring the Justice Department to turn over to the House grand jury material gathered by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators in their probe of President Trump’s Russia dealings. The stay requires the Justice Department to file a formal appeal by June 1. The House Judiciary Committee has sought the documents for more than a year. The lower courts said that grand jury records in the past have been turned over to Congress as part of impeachment investigations. The Trump administration argues that the case presents “serious separation of powers concerns” and should be examined by the High Court.

APPEALS COURT HALTS TEXAS MAIL VOTE… A court ruling that allowed Texas to expand its mail-in voting amid the coronavirus was put on hold yesterday by a U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The three-judge panel sided with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in stopping the expansion from taking effect while it’s under review. The action reverts Texas’ qualifications limiting absentee ballots to voters who are 65 years or older. Texans under 65 can only qualify for a mail-in ballot if they cite a disability or illness, if they’ll be out of the county during the election period, or are confined in jail.

MICHIGAN FLOODING… Rising floodwaters unleashed by two dam failures left parts of the central Michigan town of Midland under five feet of water yesterday and forced the evacuation of about 10,000 residents. Days of heavy rain caused the Tittabawassee River to overflow its banks and breach the Edenville and Sanford dams on Tuesday. Dow Chemical reports that floodwater has mingled with chemical pools at its Midland plant, prompting fears of contamination. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer called the destruction in Midland County “devastating” and asked for federal assistance.

MICHAEL COHEN TO BE RELEASED… President Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen is scheduled for release from prison to home confinement today. The 53-year-old Cohen, who is serving a three-year sentence for lying to Congress and campaign finance fraud, was originally due to be freed in November 2021. Fears of the coronavirus prompted his early release. Cohen admitted lying to Congress about a Trump Tower project in Moscow and committing campaign finance violations for making hush money payments to women who allegedly had affairs with Trump. Cohen also pled guilty to tax and bank fraud charges unrelated to Trump.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTOR DIES IN ATTEMPTED MURDER-SUICIDE
… Actor Hagen Mills, who’s best known for his appearance in the 2016 FX pilot “Baskets,” died in an attempted murder-suicide on Tuesday night in Mayfield, Kentucky, authorities confirmed yesterday. Police found his body after responding to the report of gunfire at a home. Investigators say Mills held his 4-year-old daughter and her grandmother hostage and then opened fire on the baby’s mother upon her arrival. After shooting the mother several times, Mills reportedly turned the gun on himself. The mother survived her wounds and is listed in stable condition at a hospital. The child and grandmother were not harmed. Among his other acting roles, Mills played Buck Barrow in the 2013 television movie “Bonnie & Clyde: Justified.”

LITTLE RICHARD LAID TO REST… Little Richard was laid to rest at a private service in in Huntsville, Alabama, yesterday. The pioneering Rock ‘N Roller was 87 when he died from bone cancer on May 9. Born Richard Penniman, he sold more than 30 million records worldwide and is best remembered for the hit songs ”Tutti Frutti, “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.”

SPORTS
NCAA LIFTS ACTIVITY BAN FOR THREE SPORTS… The NCAA Council yesterday voted to lift its moratorium on athletic-related activities for football and men’s and women’s basketball. The vote allows for voluntary athletic activities for the threes ports to run through June. The moratorium was set to expire on May 31.