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College Football

College football scores, NCAA top 25 rankings, schedule, games today: Georgia, Texas in action – CBSSports.com

Auburn and Georgia both had to endure some stress on Saturday, but both top 10-ranked SEC teams overcame slow starts to begin their 2020 campaigns with victories ahead of their showdown with each other next week. The No. 8 Tigers outlasted No. 23 Kentucky 29-13, while the No. 4 Bulldogs beat Arkansas 37-10. 

Both teams showed plenty of room for growth — especially on offense — during long first-half scoring droughts. But at least they avoided upsets like the one suffered by No. 6 LSU at the hands of Mississippi State. By doing so, they set up a marquee matchup against each other next week that will have major implications for both teams in their league title efforts.

Auburn and Georgia were just two teams among a host of top-25 squads in action Saturday, and CBS Sports was here to cover it all. Here are the scores, stories and highlights from Week 4 of the college football season.

College football scores — Week 4

No. 8 Auburn 29, No. 23 Kentucky 13 — Box score

No. 21 Pitt 23, No. 24 Louisville 20 — Box score

Kansas State 38, No. 3 Oklahoma 35 — Takeaways, highlights

No. 5 Florida 51, Ole Miss 35  — Box score

No. 14 Cincinnati 24, No. 22 Army 10 — Box score

Mississippi State 44, No. 6 LSU 24 — Takeaways, highlights

15 Oklahoma State 27, West Virginia 13 — Box score

No. 8 Texas 63, Texas Tech 56 (OT) — Comeback analysis

No. 4 Georgia 37, Arkansas 10 — Box score

No. 2 Alabama 38 at Missouri 19 — Takeaways, highlights

No. 10 Texas A&M 17, Vanderbilt 12 — Box score

No. 12 Miami 52, Florida State 10 — Box score

No. 16 Tennessee 31, South Carolina 27 — Box score

Check out the complete Week 4 scoreboard

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FINAL: Tennessee 31, South Carolina 27

Fantastic battle between these two SEC East teams, but South Carolina was unable to get the late touchdown it needed in order to pull of the upset. Collin Hill had a strong showing in his Gamecocks debut, but Tennessee’s defense ends up winning the night for the Vols.

FINAL: Alabama 38, Missouri 19

After Mac Jones checked out the Tide’s offense shelled up a little bit and Missouri was able to throw a couple late scores on the board for some confidence moving forward. Bryce Young came into the season with much hype, but the biggest takeaway from his showing was that Jones will remain the starter until further notice in Tuscaloosa.

HALFTIME: Miami 38, Florida State 3

that’s being nice about it. Noles are getting boatraced

Collin Hill and the Gamecocks strike back fast. 4 plays totaling 75 yards in just about two minutes and it’s back to a one-score game in Columbia

Vols punch in a touchdown to cap an impressive statement drive here in the early parts of the third quarter. Gray gets the score, Tennessee now up 21-7

HALFTIME: Tennessee 14, South Carolina 7

Good competitive game in Columbia with both defenses showing up as expected. The explosive plays have been hard to come by but Tennessee has gotten a couple from Eric Gray and Brandon Johnson and a huge interception return touchdown from budding star Henry To’o To’o

HALFTIME: Texas A&M 7, Vanderbilt 5

Troubling signs for Texas A&M’s offense here in the first half of the opener. Kellen Mond has completed just 8-of-15 passes for less than 100 yards and the Aggies are averaging less than 3 yards per rush on the ground. Not a good sign with Alabama coming up next week for Texas A&M in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week

HALFTIME: Alabama 28, Missouri 3

Mac Jones has been efficient (17-for-23, 239 yards, two touchdown passes to Jaylen Waddle) and Najee Harris has gotten his own star-studded start with two scores. Mizzou is struggling to get anything going on offense, and it’s all looking pretty for the Tide.

Miami is absolutely POURING it on Florida State right now. After Jordan Travis’ INT the Canes strike right back with a deep TD pass to go up 28-3

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College quarantine

College Quarantine Breakdowns Leave Some at Risk – The New York Times

Colleges are trying to isolate students who have the coronavirus or have been exposed to it, but they are running into a host of problems.

Credit…Wes Frazer for The New York Times

Across the United States, colleges that have reopened for in-person instruction are struggling to contain the rapid-fire spread of coronavirus among tens of thousands of students by imposing tough social-distancing rules and piloting an array of new technologies, like virus tracking apps.

But perhaps their most complex problem has been what to do with students who test positive for the virus or come into contact with someone who has. To this end, many campuses are subjecting students to one of the oldest infection control measures known to civilization: quarantine.

Many public and private colleges have set aside special dormitories, or are renting off-campus apartments or hotel rooms to provide isolation beds for infected students and separate quarantine units for the possibly sick.

The general strategy has been supported by public health officials like Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, who say it is better to separate students until they are no longer contagious rather than send them home where they might infect their family and friends.

But in practice, many undergraduates and some epidemiologists say, the policies have broken down, often in ways that may put students and college staff at risk. And that breakdown reflects the chaotic nature of this extraordinary semester, when schools are struggling to deliver both in-person and remote classes; to identify, isolate and treat coronavirus outbreaks; and to maintain safe behavior among sometimes unruly undergraduates.

At the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, with at least 1,889 virus cases since mid-August, and at the University of Notre Dame, with about 550 cases, students have reported their classmates for violating quarantine and wandering outside. At Iowa State University, which has reported more than 1,200 cases, a student who was waiting for his Covid-19 test results said he was sent back to his regular dorm room where he could have infected his roommate.

And at many campuses, students with confirmed or possible infections have flooded social media platforms to describe filthy rooms, meager food rations, lack of furniture, chaotic procedures and minimal monitoring from their universities.

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brianna Hayes developed a fever after a week at school, went to campus health services and was immediately assigned to a quarantine dorm for students with virus risks. Two days later, the university informed Ms. Hayes, a first-year student from Wilmington, N.C., that she had tested positive and would need to move again, this time to a Covid-19 isolation dorm.

But there was no university staff in the dorm to help sick students, Ms. Hayes said, and no elevator. Feverish and exhausted from the virus, she made four trips up and down staircases to move her bedding and other belongings to her isolation room. During her week in isolation, she said, no one from the university came to check on her.

“I felt like everyone was only interested in how I was affecting others, like who I came in contact with, and then I was just left to be sick,” she said.

Amy Johnson, U.N.C.’s vice chancellor for student affairs, said the school worked hard “to facilitate an easy and comfortable transition for students,” and to keep “lines of communication open.” With more than 900 student virus cases over the last month, the university switched to online instruction in mid-August, but it has permitted some students with demonstrated needs to remain on campus.

University officials say taking care of students with virus infections and exposures is logistically complex, involving dozens of employees from many departments. While sometimes acknowledging shortcomings in their programs, some schools also contend they are effectively sequestering students with possible infections and hampering the spread of the virus.

A number of universities said they were working to improve their outbreak responses. The University of Alabama said it had recently posted university police officers at its quarantine dorms while Notre Dame said it had hired security guards to monitor students in quarantine in hotels and off-campus apartments.

Image

Credit…Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune, via Associated Press

To try to stop the virus from spreading, other schools are moving students with infections to isolation units and then quarantining everyone remaining in their dorm. Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., recently put 23 fraternities, sororities and other student housing under complete or partial quarantine. Last week, Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania quarantined all students, requiring them to remain in their rooms, and is now sending most of them home to do online instruction — except for first-year students, who will remain on campus, each with a single dorm room.

Some public health experts say the spotty oversight of quarantine dorms raises questions about whether universities have made more fundamental changes that might have helped them limit outbreaks in the first place — changes like significantly reducing dorm occupancy and repeatedly testing all students for the virus.

“Universities shouldn’t be bringing students back if they don’t have a reasonable and feasible plan in place to keep the infection from spreading on campus,” Carl Bergstrom, a biology professor at the University of Washington, said. “Without a plan like that, they’re in a really bad position and you’re trying to mitigate the harm that you’ve caused.”

Epidemiologists warned that outbreak control measures at certain schools could have unintended consequences — potentially increasing virus transmission on campuses, in college towns and students’ homes.

“The big picture here is that universities are providing opportunities for virus transmission on campus and, especially, off campus,” said Sarah Cobey, an epidemiologist at the University of Chicago who develops predictive virus models for the state of Illinois. “Universities are not taking responsibility for the risks they are creating.”

A student at North Carolina State University, which recently switched to online instruction after a spate of virus clusters, said he packed up and went home — learning only several days later that he had developed Covid-19. At Tulane University, several students with possible virus symptoms or exposures said the school had transferred them to a dorm with quarantine and isolation units where they shared suites and bathrooms — housing conditions that they worried could foster infections.

One of those Tulane students, Elena Markowitz, a sophomore, said she moved into an isolation unit after she developed symptoms and was awaiting the results of a virus test. There, Ms. Markowitz explained in a TikTok video, she discovered that her suitemate, with whom she shared a bathroom, had tested positive for Covid-19. Ms. Markowitz subsequently received negative test results.

“I realized they could have exposed me to more than one person with the virus,” Ms. Markowitz said in an interview.

Scott Tims, Tulane’s assistant vice president for campus health, said that the school had placed together only those students with similar virus exposures and that it had stationed nurses around the clock at the isolation dorm.

“They’re doing rounds every few hours, they check symptoms twice a day, they’re also doing room checks to make sure that students are there,” he said of the nurses. “We really want to make sure that the student is safe.”

At the University of Alabama, which is contending with one of the nation’s largest campus outbreaks, several students in the Highlands, a campus apartment complex with quarantine and isolation units, said that the school had not stationed nurses on site and that they had observed classmates flouting quarantine.

Sarah Ortbal, a sophomore who lives in another wing of the Highlands, said she did not feel safe there after speaking with an infected student strolling outside the dorm and learning that quarantined students were allowed to use the communal laundry facilities.

She said she requested alternate campus housing only to be told by the university that if she felt unsafe she could cancel her housing contract and move off campus — a change she could not afford.

“I’m on a housing scholarship,” Ms. Ortbal said. “So it’s either live here for free or pay several thousand dollars to live off campus.”

Monica Watts, a spokeswoman for the University of Alabama, said the school was “constantly enhancing” support for students in isolation and quarantine housing. The school provided case managers, meal and pharmacy delivery, security and the personal cellphone number of a staff member for students to contact.

Ms. Watts added that the school was working to accommodate students’ relocation requests.

Another Alabama sophomore, Zoie Terry, from Birmingham, applauded the university for jumping into action after she tested positive for the virus, quickly sending her to isolate in the Highlands. Once she relocated, however, she said she felt anxious with no nurses or other staff coming by to check in on her. Students in isolation at other schools described similar experiences.

“One thing that needs to be taken care of more is the mental health aspect of it all because it is very, very scary having coronavirus,” Ms. Terry said of her isolation experience. “We’re college students. We just moved away from our homes and it’s very stressful.”

Tufts University near Boston, which started classes on Tuesday, is hoping to better manage virus risks than some of its peers. It has significantly reduced dorm occupancy and is testing all students for the virus twice a week. It has also installed modular residential units on tennis courts and a parking lot for up to 225 students with infections, rather than house them in a dorm.

Dr. Anthony P. Monaco, the president of Tufts, said the school decided against using the dorms partly because it did not want too many students sharing bathrooms and partly because the dorms lacked elevators, which might be needed in an emergency to transfer a sick student to a hospital.

“When we looked at our dorms, I was concerned as well as our medical staff,” Dr. Monaco said. “It just was much easier to order the temporary modular units.”

Many students applaud their universities’ efforts to contain the virus, saying they desperately want the schools to succeed so they can remain on campus. But they want their schools to step up their efforts.

Jack Hennen, 18, a first-year student at Iowa State University, said he asked the school for a virus test last month after a classmate developed Covid-19. After the test, he was sent back to his dorm room that he shares with a friend from home. When his test results were not ready the next day, Mr. Hennen grew concerned that he might infect his roommate and asked to move to a quarantine dorm.

But the day after Mr. Hennen moved into quarantine, the university informed him he had tested positive and transferred him to an isolation dorm. There, he worried that the school had overlooked his roommate, who was left in their dorm room even after Mr. Hennen tested positive.

“They are doing a good job for people who want to take initiative and don’t want to spread the virus,” Mr. Hennen said. “But I think they are letting too much stuff fly under the radar.”

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College Students

College students brace for the ‘second curve’ of COVID-19 — its mental health impact – NBC News

After five months of being home, Danielle Cahue was looking forward to returning to campus — that is, until she got there. When the 19-year-old sophomore arrived at Illinois State University, she saw her peers gathering in large groups without masks, disregarding the university’s COVID-19 guidelines.

There have been more than 400 positive cases of COVID-19 at Illinois State as of Friday. The pandemic has stressed her mental health, especially when she sees her classmates acting carelessly about safety and social distancing, Cahue said. She tries to leave her on-campus apartment as little as possible, even delaying buying groceries until she has almost no food left.

Danielle Cahue,19, a student at Illinois State University.Danielle Cahue

“This is the most anxious I’ve ever been, I think, in my entire life,” Cahue told NBC News. “It has made it a lot worse and made me kind of worried just to do anything.”

More than half of 50,307 college students who participated in the American College Health Association’s Spring 2020 National College Health Assessment reported receiving mental health services from their current campus health or counseling center in the last year. Those numbers are expected to dramatically increase as students return to college this fall, experts predict.

“Many experts believe there’s going to be a second curve, which is the mental health impact of COVID,” said Alison Malmon, founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization Active Minds, a group geared toward bringing mental health awareness and education to young adults. “And schools have a responsibility to be responsive to their students’ mental health.”

Preliminary data shows the pandemic has already negatively affected people’s mental health, particularly college students, according to Catherine Grus, the American Psychological Association’s chief education officer.

“They’re seeing higher levels of depression, they’re having financial insecurity, which is also leading to mental health problems,” she said. “And this is concerning because, before the pandemic, we knew that college students were increasingly having mental health concerns. So, now you add the pandemic and we have a population that’s particularly in greater need for mental health services.”

In a survey conducted by Active Minds in April, 91 percent of the 2,086 college students surveyed reported that COVID-19 had added greater “stress and anxiety” to their lives, while 81 percent reported the pandemic caused them “disappointment and sadness.”

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Maryorie Delgado, a senior at Brigham Young University, said the pandemic is intensifying her responsibilities at home and at school. The 23-year-old, whose family immigrated from Peru, helps her father manage their used car dealership in Orem, Utah, while attending school full-time.

Maryorie Delgado, a student at Brigham Young University.Deontrez Todd

“So a lot of just the stress from my family falls on me because basically I am the oldest and I speak the language and my parents helped me out with my tuition. And so, I feel like I owe them a lot and then they feel like I need to help them a lot,” Delgado said. “The load of that plus, honestly, going to school, everything shutting down, it’s just like so much stress.”

With the transition to remote learning and most students leaving campuses in the spring, schools turned to telehealth to continue providing students with counseling services, support groups and even creating task forces dedicated to mental health.

But some students, like Michigan State University student Devonté Henderson, said it wasn’t an ideal situation.

“I will tell you it’s very challenging to schedule a therapy session through Zoom,” Henderson said. “I would much prefer just to see my therapist in person, so that is a big concern of mine.”

Devonté Henderson, 22, a student at Michigan State University.Devonté Henderson

Michigan State University, which recently announced that it would conduct its fall semester remotely, said 814 students asked for mental health services this summer as compared to 616 students in the summer of 2019 — a 32 percent increase. The uptick has been attributed in part to expanded telehealth services, as well as stress and anxiety surrounding the pandemic, a university spokesperson said.

Macy Faust, a junior at the University of North Texas who is part of the school’s Active Minds chapter, said she and her friends held weekly check-ins over Zoom during the spring semester to solve things like turning in assignments or how to access the school’s counseling center, and to generally provide support for each other. They invited other UNT students to join, and Faust said they plan to continue the check-in sessions heading into the fall.

Macy Faust.Courtesy Savannah Thomas

“If you have access, therapy is an amazing tool just to kind of talk out what you’re feeling and to expand on your coping skills, but also participate in peer support groups,” she said.

Some schools, like Howard University, are also working to address the fact that the pandemic has disproportionately affected Black Americans and people of color who have experienced higher mortality rates due to the coronavirus, as well as higher rates of unemployment.

Mike Barnes, director of the counseling center at Howard, said the school is working to educate students on issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as how to go to school in a virtual setting. They have also expanded their social media presence to send students encouraging messages over the last few months, most recently posting on Twitter, “Wishing all Bison a good first week. With every bump in the road that you experience…..there is support a call, email or DM away.”

“Many of our students have backgrounds that are fraught with frustrations and challenges and so forth. And so getting to Howard is, sometimes, a haven away from home,” Barnes said. “And so we’ve had to deal with students who have gone back home during the spring and obviously the summer, and live in what we’ve called a toxic environment or, not such a pleasant situation.”

Some students are feeling anxious and unsure about the fall semester as coronavirus outbreaks have already forced some schools to send students home and switch to fully remote instruction.

North Carolina State on Thursday asked students to move out of dorms, following the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which also canceled in-person instruction for the fall semester after it saw its positivity rate jump from 2.8 percent to 13.6 percent within its first week.

Courtesy Geralyn Timm

Other colleges like the University of Notre Dame insist that students can safely return to campus, despite continued COVID-19 cases, which is causing some students, like sophomore Hailey Abrams, to worry about her exposure to the virus.

“There’s a huge range of possibilities of how this disease can affect people and knowing that it spreads so quickly within close proximity, it’s a little nerve-wracking to be on a college campus, in a dorm, with so many other people, with a disease that spreads so quickly like this,” she said.

Nonetheless, mental health professionals are urging students to remain hopeful and to take care of themselves as the semester begins.

“I know that there’s a ton of pain and tragedy associated with the pandemic and with the associated increased awareness and backlash around social inequity. What I want to try to get across to people is maintain hope. I have nothing but hope,” said Allen O’Barr, UNC’s counseling and psychological services director. “I think that the way to do that is to really focus on the brief moments of joy.”

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College Electoral

The Electoral College dodges another bullet – Fox News

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On the roster: The Electoral College dodges another bullet – Trump still stuck in thirties as independents flee – Wait. What? Biden says he will ‘transform’ America – Dems thinking big – Lights, camera… pellets  

THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE DODGES ANOTHER BULLET


The Electoral College survived another assassination attempt with a Supreme Court ruling today upholding the power of states to compel electors to vote for the candidates voters choose.

Lawrence Lessig, Harvard law professor, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and Electoral College foe, had taken up the case of four electors from the previous presidential contest who tried to ignore the will of the voters. The electors from Washington State and Colorado wanted to vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton to entice Trump-bound electors to do the same.

The argument from the plaintiffs is that the members of the Electoral College should be free to vote as they see fit – much the same way the Founders imagined. As Alexander Hamilton put it, “men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation” would gather to decide whom the next president would be.

But that idea quickly went by the wayside. In the fast-growing, increasingly populous country there were practical considerations. Most importantly, there was the complaint that the process was too detached from public sentiment.

State legislatures choosing electors who would be free to pick anyone they like hardly matched the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian impulses of the early republic. In the new, explicitly partisan system, Hamilton’s vision was out.

By 1832, every state except South Carolina had moved to require electors be chosen by popular statewide vote. Those “slates” of electors were then bound by law to the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of one of the parties.

This move kept some of the republican virtues of the college – retaining states as the essential unit of political organization, adding advantages for smaller states – while suffusing them with the democratic virtue of broad participation.

If the Supremes had sided with Lessig, electors could have done whatever they pleased. Not only would such a decision have made even greater pandemonium out of this year’s elections, it would have spelled the end of the Electoral College in short order.

Voting for free agents based on their characters and qualifications might be loaded with Federalist virtues, but it wouldn’t gibe with voter expectations. Without the directly democratic component, calls for abolishing the system altogether would be irresistible.

We hear you out there scrolling and wondering “So what?” These sustained attacks on the Electoral College could add up to plenty of trouble, that’s what.

Gallup found last year that most Americans want to ditch the Electoral College in favor of a national popular vote. It makes sense because Americans tend to side with advocates of more direct democracy and because so few are willing to defend an institution that sounds antique and nerdy. With an unpopular president who won without a popular vote mandate, such feelings were bound to intensify.

But please do consider two things: Electoral security and demagoguery.

Both major party nominees this year have already accused each other of attempting to steal the November vote. Foreign foes are working around the clock to try to hack the results. State elections officials have in many cases have already been overwhelmed by trying to conduct contests amid a pandemic. Public confidence in the accuracy of election results is low, low, low.

So now imagine how the weeks of counting a close nationwide election would go. The whole thing would ride on one result, not 51 separate contests. How long until President Trump accuses California of stuffing ballot boxes? How long until Joe Biden accuses Georgia of voter suppression? With more than 140 million ballots cast, a close election wouldn’t come down to a recount in a state or two, but in every state as partisans scrounged for every ballot they could lay their mitts on.

Sounds like a good way to tank the republic.

The second consideration for which we plea is related to the first one. Our politics today is as stormy as a Beethoven symphony, full of passion and feeling with scant attention to reason and argument. We are living in a hyper-emotional, performative time when Americans obsess over feelings and face real pressure to demonstrate those feelings.

Imagine now how the two parties would campaign in a system where it was like American Idol but for president. They don’t need to worry about geographic coalition building but rather finding the most excitable, most engaged voters wherever they are. Instead of intense pressure in handful of states, that pressure would be felt by every American from coast to coast.

A political process that is already too much driven by fear and hate would be kicked into a new frenzy as candidates sought out the intense fringes instead of needing to worry about seeming reasonable to voters in states like Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Pennsylvania where moderation is rewarded.

In the same way our 40-year experiment with primary elections has led us deeper into the wilderness of negative partisanship, a national popular election in a nation so vast and diverse would be a demagogue’s dream.

And once the third and fourth and fifth parties come in hoping to squat on enough vote share to hold the system hostage, Katie bar the door.

We’re not here to tell you that the Electoral College we have is perfect, but a national popular election is a titanic risk that America’s already enfeebled political system cannot sustain.

THE RULEBOOK: WORD


“Caution and investigation are a necessary armour against error and imposition. – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 31

TIME OUT: BRAVO, MAESTRO

AP: “Ennio Morricone, the Oscar-winning Italian composer who created the coyote-howl theme for the iconic Spaghetti Western ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ and often haunting soundtracks for such classic Hollywood gangster movies as ‘The Untouchables’… died Monday. He was 91. Morricone’s longtime lawyer, Giorgio Assumma … read a farewell message from Morricone. ‘I am Ennio Morricone, and I am dead,’ began the message… the composer went on to explain that the only reason he was saying goodbye this way and had requested a private funeral was: ‘I don’t want to bother anyone.’ … In total, he produced more than 400 original scores for feature films. His iconic so-called Spaghetti Western movies saw him work closely with the late Italian film director Sergio Leone, a former classmate. … Their partnership included the ‘Dollars’ trilogy starring Clint Eastwood as a quick-shooting, lonesome gunman… Morricone is survived by his wife, Maria Travia… Married in 1956, the couple had four children…”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD


NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE

Trump: 41.4 percent

Biden: 51 percent

Size of lead: Biden by 9.6 points

Change from one week ago: Biden ↑ 1.4 points; Trump ↑ 2 points

[Average includes: IBD: Trump 40% – Biden 48%; Monmouth: Trump 41% – Biden 53%; CNBC: Trump 41% – Biden 49%; USA Today/Suffolk: Trump 41% – Biden 53%; NPR/PBS/Marist: Trump 44% – Biden 52%.]

BATTLEGROUND POWER RANKINGS


(270 electoral votes needed to win)

Toss-up: (109 electoral votes): Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Florida (29), Arizona (11), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (15), Iowa (6)

Lean R/Likely R: (180 electoral votes)

Lean D/Likely D: (249 electoral votes)

[Full rankings here.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE

Average approval: 40.2 percent

Average disapproval: 56.4 percent

Net Score: -16.2 points

Change from one week ago: ↓ 2.6 points

[Average includes: Gallup: 38% approve – 57% disapprove; IBD: 39% approve – 56% disapprove; Monmouth: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; CNBC: 43% approve – 57% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 40% approve – 58% disapprove.]

TRUMP STILL STUCK IN THIRTIES AS INDEPENDENTS FLEE

Gallup: “President Donald Trump’s approval rating is holding steady at a lower level after a sharp drop in late May and early June, with 38% of Americans currently approving of the job he is doing. In early May, Trump’s approval tied his personal best at 49% — before it sank amid nationwide protests over racial injustice after the death of George Floyd. Now his approval rating stands just three percentage points above his personal low of 35%, registered on four separate occasions in 2017. The latest results are based on a June 8-30 Gallup poll. While Trump’s overall job approval rating is essentially unchanged from the prior May 28-June 4 poll, it does show some improvement among Republicans, from 85% to 91%. However, the current poll also indicates the president’s approval rating has dropped among independents, from 39% to 33%, as well as among Democrats, from 5% to 2%.”

Campaign softens mask stance, rally attendees ‘encouraged’ to wear – Fox News: “President Trump’s re-election campaign announced Sunday that the president will headline an outdoor rally in the battleground state of New Hampshire next weekend, just his second rally since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the nation in March. Campaign staffers said the rally will be held next Saturday, July 11, at the Portsmouth International Airport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire… Public health officials have discouraged large crowds in extremely close contact amid the pandemic. The Trump campaign, in announcing next weekend’s rally in New Hampshire, noted that ‘there will be ample access to hand sanitizer and all attendees will be provided a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear.’”

Bashes NASCAR for banning Confederate Flag, noose probe Fox News: “President Trump on Monday lashed out at NASCAR and questioned why Bubba Wallace, the auto racing company’s only Black driver, hasn’t apologized after the highly publicized investigation over a rope found in his… ‘Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX?’ Trump wrote on Twitter Monday morning. ‘That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!’ The incident last month at the Talladega SuperSpeedway involving the rope in his garage appeared to be the result of a misunderstanding and not an intentional effort to put a noose in his area. … In early June, NASCAR banned all Confederate flags from its events following nationwide racial injustice and police brutality protests.”

Trump-tied lobbyists cleaning up on coronavirus spending – AP: “Forty lobbyists with ties to President Donald Trump helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal coronavirus aid, among them five former administration officials whose work potentially violates Trump’s own ethics policy, according to a report. The lobbyists identified Monday by the watchdog group Public Citizen either worked in the Trump executive branch, served on his campaign, were part of the committee that raised money for inaugural festivities or were part of his presidential transition. Many are donors to Trump’s campaigns, and some are prolific fundraisers for his reelection.”

WAIT. WHAT? BIDEN SAYS HE WILL ‘TRANSFORM’ AMERICA

Fox News:  “Joe Biden tweeted Sunday night that if he gets elected, his administration “won’t just rebuild this nation — we’ll transform it,” raising speculation online about what exactly in the country will be transformed. The tweet comes after a politically charged Fourth of July weekend, as the country works to manage a new surge in COVID-19 cases and tries to emerge from weeks of tense protests that have resulted in a widening divide between Democrats and Republicans.”

Susan Rice makes her play for Veep – Politico: “Former White House national security adviser Susan Rice on Sunday defended her qualifications to become presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, arguing she had accumulated substantial campaign experience despite never having held elected office. The remarks from Rice, Biden’s former Obama administration colleague, came on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” after host Andrea Mitchell asked her how Americans should feel about potentially supporting a vice presidential candidate with no background in electoral politics who had not previously run a national campaign. ‘Well, Andrea, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, right?’ Rice replied. ‘Joe Biden needs to make the decision as to who he thinks will be his best running mate. And I will do my utmost, drawing on my experience of years in government, years of making the bureaucracy work.’”

Duckworth gains momentum – WaPo:  “As Joe Biden pushes ahead with his search for a running mate, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) has quietly emerged as a serious contender, according to three people with knowledge of the selection process, one of several developing dynamics as the search enters its final weeks. Duckworth is a Purple Heart recipient and veteran of the Iraq War, the only finalist with military combat experience — and as a woman of Thai and Chinese descent, one of several candidates of color under consideration. While she has a lower profile than some rivals, she is being taken seriously by Biden’s team, according to the people with knowledge of the search, one of whom said she has lately received strong consideration.”

DEMS THINKING BIG 

Politico: “Donald Trump’s collapsing poll numbers have Democrats thinking bigger than just winning the White House and seizing the Senate — they’re imagining a rout that extends all the way down the ballot. Intent on not repeating the mistakes of 2010 under then-President Barack Obama, the party is seizing on a once-in-a-decade opportunity to drive the redistricting process — and reverse the built-in advantage Republicans amassed over House district lines after the last census. From Pennsylvania to Texas to Minnesota, cash-flush Democrats are working to win back legislative chambers needed to take control of drawing congressional maps — or at least guarantee a seat at the table. If they succeed, it would correct an Obama-era down-ballot shellacking that handed Republicans House control and resulted in the loss of more than 900 Democratic legislative seats.”

Including a Southern surge – AP: “From Mississippi retiring its state flag to local governments removing Confederate statues from public spaces, a bipartisan push across the South is chipping away at reminders of the Civil War and Jim Crow segregation. Now, during a national reckoning on racism, Democratic Party leaders want those symbolic changes to become part of a fundamental shift at the ballot box. Many Southern electorates are getting younger, less white and more urban, and thus less likely to embrace President Donald Trump’s white identity politics. Southern Democrats are pairing a demographically diverse slate of candidates for state and congressional offices with presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden, a 77-year-old white man they believe can appeal to what remains perhaps the nation’s most culturally conservative region.”

Buuuuut, they’re still snakebit from 2016 – USA Today: “Democrats have heard this story before. Their standard-bearer builds a sizable lead in the race for president against Donald Trump. Everything seems pointed in their direction. Pundits talk about a Democratic victory like it’s inevitable. Then it doesn’t happen. Still licking their wounds four years after Hillary Clinton’s stinging loss, Democrats are grappling with heightened expectations that didn’t seem possible at the start of the year. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden cruised to a double-digit lead nationally weeks ago and has stayed there as President Trump takes a pounding over his handling of the coronavirus crisis, high unemployment and the fallout from nationwide protests over police brutality… On one hand, Democrats are gushing about their prospects: a chance for a sweeping victory, not just eking out a win, to deliver a clear repudiation of the Trump era and unseat Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader. But they’re not able to shake off their painful memories of 2016…”

THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS: CORONA’S SUMMER SURGE

NYT: “Miami’s flashy nightclubs closed in March, but the parties have raged on in the waterfront manse tucked in the lush residential neighborhood of Belle Meade Island. Revelers arrive in sports cars and ride-shares several nights a week, say neighbors who have spied professional bouncers at the door and bought earplugs to try to sleep through the thumping dance beats. They are the sort of parties — drawing throngs of maskless strangers to rave until sunrise — that local health officials say have been a notable contributing factor to the soaring coronavirus infections in Florida, one of the most troubling infection spots in the country. Just how many parties have been linked to Covid-19 is unclear because Florida does not make public information about confirmed disease clusters. On Belle Meade Island, neighbors fear the large numbers of people going in and out of the house parties are precisely what public health officials have warned them about.”

Something’s in the air NYT: “The coronavirus is finding new victims worldwide, in bars and restaurants, offices, markets and casinos, giving rise to frightening clusters of infection that increasingly confirm what many scientists have been saying for months: The virus lingers in the air indoors, infecting those nearby. If airborne transmission is a significant factor in the pandemic, especially in crowded spaces with poor ventilation, the consequences for containment will be significant. Masks may be needed indoors, even in socially-distant settings. Health care workers may need N95 masks that filter out even the smallest respiratory droplets as they care for coronavirus patients. Ventilation systems in schools, nursing homes, residences and businesses may need to minimize recirculating air and add powerful new filters.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY

Trudeau shuns White House celebration citing pandemic – AP

Trump administration suggests executive orders on China, immigration, and more to be signed this week – Politico

SupCo upholds move to ban robocalls – The Hill

Pergram: How Trump’s signing of PPP reform bill highlights GOP woes – Fox News

Vandals raze statue honoring Frederick Douglass in New York – AP

R.I.P. Charlie Daniels – USA Today

Rapper, reality show spouse and Trump ally Kanye West says he’s running for president but has missed many filing deadlines already – Pitchfork

AUDIBLE: YOU CAN’T TEACH AN OLD DON NEW TRICKS


“He is who he is. People know who he is. You think he’s going to change?”– Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaking about President Trump to the New York Times.

FROM THE BLEACHERS


“My oldest son is a retired police officer who served in two departments in New England. He relates that an inordinate amount of his police responses were for domestic issues. In the end after separating the parties, very often there was refusal to file charges.  The current idea to have social workers accompany police on identified  domestic issues, on its face makes a certain amount of sense, since they might be trained for those type of conflicts. My concern is when the a domestic party injures or kills the social worker, the accompanying police officer/s will be charged with dereliction and the criminal will be able to claim abuse on the part of the responders, and some of the members of the public will back the criminal. Hope this never happens but at my age and having grown up in Queens/Brooklyn, good luck.” — Lt. Col. Tom Winter USMC (Ret.), Steele, Mo.

[Ed. note; I confess that I had not thought about the additional legal exposure for police officers in such arrangements. My first impulse is that officers, especially with body cameras, will benefit from goodwill here. But I will think more on it. Certainly there is much good to be said about the idea of getting real when it comes to what cities ask of police officers. As a cub reporter, I started out covering cops and courts. It was thrilling as a teenager and gave me a good understanding of how politics and government really works. A night spent in magistrate court has more learning in it than any class at the Kennedy School of Government. One of the things that you quickly learn is how much of their time police officers and courts spend on domestic issues, which leads to another understanding very quickly: Substance abuse and/or mental illness is at the root of a huge share of our criminal justice system’s caseload. I don’t know what the percentage is, but I would bet a year’s pay that if you took out the cases where people being drunk or high was a major contributing factor, most departments would see massive declines in caseloads. Exceptional officers are good at diffusing these situations and maybe even bringing in social service resources when they are available. But such resources are seldom in great supply. So we send out police, who have at their disposal tools for fighting crime and combating violence, to be essentially social workers. That means the same individuals cycle in and out of jails and courts over and over again until somebody winds up dead or in prison, or both. Treatment for addiction and other mental health problems is expensive and has a track record that is mixed at best. But it may be the only way to let police do what they should be doing — keeping the peace — rather than being ad hoc social workers.]

“One tool for managing my inbox is that if I don’t read a “daily news” update the day-of, I delete it. Not so for Halftime Report! Just getting to Tuesday’s. SUPCO? Is that a thing now? I thought it was SCOTUS? Is this some newfangled designed-to-save-a-character-on-twitter tomfoolery?” — Mary Jean Duran, Lafayette, Calif. 

[Ed. note: We do aim to have some shelf life, so that is quite pleasing to hear, Ms. Duran. As for how we refer to the Supreme Court in headlines, it is true that we shun the “SCOTUS” acronym. We do so mainly because it relies on an abbreviation of a phrase not in normal use. I never, except for in legal filings, hear or see anyone use “Supreme Court of the United States.” The acronym follows that other annoying abbreviation: POTUS. The keystrokes saved from “president” are hardly worth the jargony feel that these all-caps character blobs introduce into copy. (On that one we can also be glad that presidents tend to have short last names!) There are other attempts at the -OTUS shorthand that come from White House press abbreviations, including VPOTUS and FLOTUS. Blech. These are abbreviations when used by journalists that are not meant to help save words as much as they are intended to convey some kind of insider knowledge. I like “SupCo” or “Supremes” for Supreme Court because they sound more conversational to my ear and don’t require a Potomac decoder ring.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

LIGHTS, CAMERA… PELLETS  

Fox News: “A hamster is getting the star treatment after its owner created real-life miniature movie sets from popular films for the furry pet to play in. Lisa Murray-Lang, 44, took up the pastime of creating movie-themed play places for her hamster, Spud, after U.K. went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and she lost her job. ‘I needed a way to stay busy and then my friend sent me a video of guinea pigs in a tiny art gallery,’ Murray-Lang told SWNS. ‘I thought: ‘That’s it, Spud has to go too!’’ And I got to work making my own version.’ With time on her hands, Murray-Lang turned to creating the small models using cardboard boxes and doll furniture to make the iconic spaces like Hogwarts from Harry Potter and Coronation Street from the U.K. soap opera, SWNS reported.

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…


“The search for logic in anti-Americanism is fruitless. It is in the air the world breathes. Its roots are envy and self-loathing — by peoples who, yearning for modernity but having failed at it, find their one satisfaction in despising modernity’s great exemplar.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on Nov. 9, 2003.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Kim Anderson contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

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