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pay raises for soldiers, modernizations for equipment and provisions to require more scrutiny before troops are withdrawn from Germany or Afghanistan.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.

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