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Here’s why the latest Texas polls are so ominous for the GOP — even if Trump wins the state – Salon


Donald Trump and Joe Biden | Texas (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Some pundits continue to describe Texas a “deep red state,” but at this point “light red” may be more accurate



Alex Henderson
September 26, 2020 7:07PM (UTC)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.


More polls on the 2020 presidential race have come in for Texas — and once again, former Vice President Joe Biden is within striking distance of President Donald Trump, who is ahead by only 3% in a New York Times/Siena poll and by 5% in a Quinnipiac poll. Texas is still in play for Biden, but even if Trump ultimately wins the Lone Star State, these polls are an ominous sign for the GOP and underscore the inroads Democrats are making in a state that Republicans can no longer take for granted.

Texas’ U.S. Senate race is another ominous sign for the GOP. Incumbent Sen. John Cornyn is ahead of Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar, but only by single digits. According to polls released in September, Cornyn is winning the race by 6% (New York Times/Siena and Morning Consult), 2% (the Tyson Group), 5% (YouGov), 4% (Public Policy Polling) or 8% (Quinnipiac). If these polls are accurate, Cornyn will probably be reelected on November 3. But the very fact that Hegar is doing as well as she is in Texas is bad news for the Republican Party and demonstrates that Republicans are having to work harder in a state where they could usually count on double-digit victories back in the 1990s and 2000s.

Some pundits continue to describe Texas a “deep red state,” but at this point, a more accurate description would be “light red.” While Republicans still have an advantage in statewide races in Texas, that advantage is smaller than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

It isn’t hard to understand why so many Democratic strategists have been pessimistic about Texas. The last Democratic nominee to win Texas in a presidential race was Jimmy Carter in 1976, and during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, Texas was a state in which Democrats performed well at the local level but struggled badly in statewide races. Democratic strategists viewed Texas as state where Democrats were mayors or city council members and performed well in some congressional districts but struggled when it came to gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races. Democratic Texas Gov. Ann Richards was voted out of office in 1994, and the state has only had Republican governors since then.

But in 2018, Democrat Beto O’Rourke performed shockingly well when he challenged incumbent Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in a U.S. Senate race. O’Rourke lost to Cruz, but only by 2% — which was a major departure from all the double-digit victories that Texas Republicans enjoyed in statewide races in the 1990s and 2000s. After Cruz was reelected, GOP strategists were hoping that O’Rourke’s campaign was a fluke. But in 2020, the single-digit leads that Trump and Cornyn are having in Texas show that it was not. The GOP’s advantage in Texas hasn’t disappeared by any means, but it is shrinking.

One warning sign for Republicans in Texas came in 2016, when Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by 9% — compared to 2012, when Republican Mitt Romney defeated President Barack Obama by 16% in Texas. In 2012, Obama lost to Republican Sen. John McCain by 12% in Texas.

There are plenty of deep red states where Trump is almost certain to win, including Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Alabama, West Virginia and Nebraska — and he can carry those states without a great deal of effort. But in 2020, Trump is having to work extra hard to avoid a Biden victory in Texas. Similarly, Cornyn — in light of O’Rourke’s performance in 2018 — is taking nothing for granted in his battle against Hegar.

Demographics are not advantageous for Republicans in Texas, a state that is only 41% non-Hispanic white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Texas is a state where a non-white minority dominates the electorate, but if Democrats can increase turnout among Latino and African-American voters in the Lone Star State, it could be a major headache for the GOP.

Moreover, Texas’ major urban centers lean Democrat, including Houston, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and Dallas. But a heavy turnout among the GOP base in rural counties has given Republicans an advantage in Texas.

Texas has the most electoral votes of any red state: 38, to be exact. It has been a major cushion for GOP candidates in presidential races, but Republicans are having to work harder and harder to hold onto that cushion. And the harder Republicans have to work in statewide races in Texas, the worse it will be for the GOP in the long run.


Alex Henderson

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Samsung’s latest $2,000 folding phone actually works this time – CNBC

You can fold it to sit up like a little computer.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Samsung bets that the future of phones looks a lot like this: You carry a device in your pocket that looks a bit like today’s phones, but you can just open it up and use its hidden larger screen like a tablet. It first proposed this idea with last year’s Galaxy Fold, which broke during our review and was ultimately delayed while Samsung worked on fixes. That felt like a beta product.

This year’s Galaxy Z Fold 2, which launches on Sept. 18, fixes pretty much every complaint I had with the original. It’s proof that you really can have a regular phone that doubles as a tablet when you open it up. But this sort of gadget is still very expensive. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 costs $2,000, which is why Samsung’s messaging this year is: It’s for rich people who like neat toys.

Hey, at least this one works.

Here’s what you need to know about the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

What’s good

It’s a bit fat but the hinge works really well this year.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

My first impressions of last year’s Galaxy Fold were bad. The outside screen was tiny and basically unusable. The inside folding display was unprotected (before Samsung fixed it) and looked like glossy cheap plastic. My first impressions of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 were the opposite. It’s clearly a very premium and well-built device. It’s all metal and glass with a bigger, but skinny, screen on the outside. The more fragile inside display comes with a screen protector that seems to work well, and the edges are protected by plastic and metal. It doesn’t seem like it’ll break very easily if you take care of it.

The inside display is now made out of super-thin, but fragile, glass. It looks and feels light years better than the original, but you still have to baby it to prevent it from damage. Samsung has lots of warnings to let you know to do so.

There’s a big screen inside that’s like a tablet.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Sometimes you can see the crease in the middle of the folding screen, but it’s not really a big deal. It’s mostly visible if there’s a lot of glare, and it usually just disappears into the screen. The display also has a higher refresh rate, which means everything looks smoother when you’re scrolling through apps or websites. And the weird camera area on last year’s model has been slimmed down to a single 10-megapixel camera cutout, which looks nicer.

The outside display is much larger, running from edge to edge, so you can use it like a normal phone now. Some things are cramped, like the keyboard, but I got used to it over time.

You can run two (or three!) apps side-by-side. Here, YouTube up top and CNBC on the bottom.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Samsung and Google optimized the software so that you can easily run up to four apps on the inside screen at once. Most of the time this doesn’t really make sense, since apps such as Facebook and Google News are too small to really use. It really shines when you’re running two apps side by side, like on an iPad. I was able to talk with friends in a group chat while browsing Twitter at night, for example. And keep an eye on Twitter while interacting with colleagues in Slack. And I loved being able to use that big screen to watch “Hamilton” on Disney+.

You can automatically continue watching content on the outside screen.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Samsung and Google also take advantage of the hinge to give you some interesting software twists. You can start an app, such as Google Maps, on the outside screen and then continue using it on the inside when you open the phone. Or you can use “Flex Mode” and bend the device to prop it up in a laptop-style mode to video chat with Google Duo, edit photos or view comments on YouTube while watching a video. 

Samsung seems to pack everything you need into the Galaxy Z Fold 2. It has 5G, which isn’t a huge deal now but will be in a couple of years. And it has five cameras, including one on the front, one on the inside big screen, and three on the back, with one for zooming, one for regular pictures and one for wide-angle shots that let you fit more in the frame.

There are five cameras, they’re pretty good.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

They’re not quite as good as the cameras on Samsung’s Galaxy S20 or Galaxy Note 20 Ultra phones, but they’re close. One cool feature: You can open the phone so it’s flat and the rear cameras are facing you, and use the external screen as a viewfinder while taking a high-quality selfie with one of the rear cameras, which are better than the built-in selfie camera.

I liked propping it up like this to watch movies.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Finally, it has some really good stereo speakers that are perfect for watching movies and listening to music. I just found I had to flip the device around a bit when I was watching a movie so that I wasn’t blocking them with my hands.

What’s bad

It’s a gorgeous phone. Three cameras are on the back.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

These are nitpicks because, really, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a nice phone that gives you everything you need. But at $2,000 I’d like to see twice the storage — 512GB instead of 256GB — since you can’t expand it on your own with a microSD card.

You also probably shouldn’t use the Galaxy Z Fold 2 out in the rain, like you safely can with mostly any other flagship phone. There’s no water and dust rating yet, probably since that’s going to be really hard to achieve with the folding screen.

The keyboard pops up like a little computer in messages when it’s folded like this.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

I’d also love to see support for Samsung’s S Pen in future generations, just because the huge inside display would make a great notepad once it’s strong enough to support constant poking with a pen. 

And it’s a bit thick when closed. It feels like I’m carrying a king-sized Snicker’s bar made out of metal in my pocket. But it needs to be fat to include the two batteries under the hood, which helped keep it running all day.

Should you buy it?

Watching CNBC on the big inside screen.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Look, if I had $2,000 to spare I’d probably buy the Galaxy Z Fold 2. It’s finally proof to me that Samsung’s folding phones aren’t just beta-test products that show the world it can build screens that bend. It feels like it’ll hold up for a long time, too, though we won’t know for sure until months or years from now.

This is a lot of money to spend on a phone, no matter how you look at it. But the Galaxy Z Fold 2 isn’t meant for normal people. It’s for early adopters who have a lot of disposable income to spend on new toys. If you’re one of those people, check it out. If you’re not, get a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

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The latest evolution of Ezekiel Elliott’s game may be the Cowboys’ worst-kept secret – The Dallas Morning News

FRISCO — It’s maybe the worst-kept secret at The Star.

On Wednesday, Ezekiel Elliott offered the thinnest layer of concealment.

The Cowboys running back was asked in a video call with local reporters if he expects to see a larger role in the team’s passing game in 2020. Elliott is coming off a year in which he caught 54 passes, a solid figure that still fell 23 receptions short of his total the previous season.

Elliott waited a second to answer.

“Uh, yeah, I think I will be,” he said, his head bobbing slightly.

He looked up and to his right. Finally, after a couple seconds and while cracking a smile, he gave a blatant wink with his left eye.

Elliott made it a priority this offseason to become a better receiver. His training efforts are expected to be apparent in the coming months, beginning in Sunday’s season opener at the Los Angeles Rams. More action as a receiver is forecast, one of multiple potential differences in his usage this year.

The three-time Pro Bowler will be on the move in 2020.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) prepares to catch the ball during a drill in practice at the Dallas Cowboys headquarters at The Star in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday, September 9, 2src2src. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) prepares to catch the ball during a drill in practice at the Dallas Cowboys headquarters at The Star in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)(Vernon Bryant / Staff Photographer)

According to Pro Football Focus, Elliott played 937 offensive snaps last year. Of those, a grand total of 37 snaps came when split in the slot. He was aligned out wide 20 times. And that’s it. The rest of his work — 93.9% of his reps — came while aligned in the traditional backfield area.

Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott trained together this offseason

They spent little of that time next to each other.

“I think this offseason, I really didn’t do anything from the backfield,” Elliott said. “I did a lot of stuff from out at receiver, in the slot. Just trying to evolve my game there, just so I can be more of a viable resource in the pass game.”

Prescott supported his teammate’s desire to develop.

He said that he encouraged Elliott, 25, to run some of the same routes that wide receiver Amari Cooper runs from out wide or that rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb runs from the slot.

“And that’s what he wanted to go do,” Prescott said. “He wants his game to evolve to that. He wants to be able to move all the way around, and I think that creates a new dynamic for our offense. We talk about the receivers and Blake Jarwin and the tight ends that we have. But when you can put Zeke out there and don’t know whether he’s going to run a route from there or motion back into the backfield and it be a run or play action, it just allows our game to be unlimited.

“So he’s done a great job at it, and I’ve just seen him evolve just with his knowledge and his knowledge within a route. More than, ‘Oh I’m just running an out route,’ but why the ball is coming out there and why he needs to get his shoulders around. He’s done a great job at it.”

Elliott has made no secret about wanting to improve out of the backfield.

Right guard Zack Martin seemed well aware of the subject when discussing Elliott on Wednesday.

“I think Zeke obviously wants to be the best back, not only that he can be but the best back there is right now,” Martin said. “He works incredibly hard at those different things. I know he’s talked a lot about being more of a receiver this year, and you can see him put in the work and just try to polish all parts of his game.”

There could be at least one other difference in Elliott’s usage this season.

From the shotgun formation, Elliott has said, the Cowboys hope to “marry” their looks more, running the ball more and thus becoming more multiple in that alignment. Last year, according to Pro Football Focus, Dallas ran on 18.7% of snaps from the shotgun, the 20th-highest frequency in the league. That rate could increase in 2020.

The Cowboys and Rams faced each other last December.

In that game, which Dallas won 44-21, Elliott played 47 offensive snaps. He lined up in the slot twice. He was out wide once.

This Sunday won’t be different. Not at all.

Wink.

Versatility show

Ezekiel Elliott has lined up in the slot or out wide for 6.1% of his snaps during his Cowboys career. The percentage is likely to increase this season.

Season Snaps Slot/WR Pct.
2016 768 43 5.6%
2017 589 39 6.6%
2018 1,016 64 6.3%
2019 937 57 6.1%

Find more Cowboys stories from The Dallas Morning News here.

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latest Motorola's

Motorola’s latest mid-range phone is a sub-$500 stunner with 5G – Engadget

Powering the whole shebang is a 5,000mAh battery, which we’re hoping to see multi-day use from since it’s paired with a chipset that sips power rather than gulps it. Meanwhile, around back sits a quartet of cameras: You’ll spend most of your time shooting with the main, 48-megapixel wide sensor, but it’s flanked by a 2-megapixel depth sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 118-degree field of view and a curious 5-megapixel macro camera for extreme close-ups. Now, the jury is still out on whether people are really clamoring for this kind of highly specialized sensor, but Motorola gets credit for sweetening the deal in an unusual way — it gave that macro camera a tiny, proper ring light. (And in case you were wondering, no, you cannot use it as a more appealing kind of flash for the other cameras.)

The front-facing camera situation is similarly surprising, since Motorola saw fit to add two of them here. The first is a relatively straightforward 16-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture, and you can count on this one to deliver the stronger selfies. The other camera, meanwhile, is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide that Motorola says can squeeze an extra three or four people into the frame at once. Throw in a side-mounted fingerprint reader, a headphone jack and NFC for all those COVID-era contactless payments, and it feels like we’re looking at a phone that could give Google’s new, cheap Pixels a real fight in the looming 5G mid-range smartphone war.

Of course, there is too often a gap between a phone’s potential on paper and its performance in the real world. Motorola is eyeing an imminent launch so, stay tuned to see how its unusually appealing new phone stacks up against the competition.

Verizon owns Engadget’s parent company, Verizon Media. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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SpaceX’s latest launch took rare southern route from Florida – Engadget

However, due to wildfire dangers near Vandenberg, the Air Force decided to allow SpaceX — and only SpaceX — to launch south from Florida. It made the exception because the Falcon 9 has an automatic flight safety system that can destroy the rocket it it has an anomaly or goes off its intended path. It’s critical that the rocket can make that decision without human intervention, because the rocket engine blast can interfere with self-destruct commands from the ground.

The key danger point for SpaceX was shortly after take off as the Falcon 9 skirted the Florida coast. The first stage dropped before the rocket arrived over Cuba, and after that, it was high enough not to threaten the island.

While only SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has the exemption for now, existing and upcoming rockets like the United Launch Alliance Vulcan, Blue Origin’s New Glenn and SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy will all eventually be equipped with automated self-destruct systems. At that point, they’ll all be allowed to fly south from Cape Canaveral as well.

The SAOCOM 1B satellite launched by Argentina’s space agency will follow a sun-synchronous orbit that will allow it to monitor spots on Earth at the same time each day. It’ll use radar to monitor Earth for disasters that could affect its agricultural, mining and other industries. The Falcon 9’s stage one rocket used in the launch has now flown four times in total — and will fly again, thanks to another successful ground landing near the launch pad.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Latest On Mets Video Incident, Apologies From Brodie Van Wagenen & Mets Ownership – MLB Trade Rumors

By | at

While Mets and Marlins players took part in a moving on-field statement before deciding to postpone tonight’s game, a bizarre incident was taking place behind the scenes that resulted in public statements being issued by, separately, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, Mets CEO and owner Fred Wilpon, his son and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, and league commissioner Rob Manfred.

Less than two hours prior to game time, when it was still publicly unclear whether or not the teams would play, a video featuring Van Wagenen making some off-the-record comments was accidentally streamed to the Mets’ official website.  Van Wagenen said that the Mets weren’t going to play, and expressed incredulity at an apparent suggestion from Manfred’s office via Jeff Wilpon that the Mets and Marlins make their protest as planned but then return to the field an hour later to play the game.  “And I said, ’Jeff, that’s not happening. These guys are not playing.’….But that’s Rob’s instinct and Rob…at the leadership level, he doesn’t get it.  He just doesn’t get it,” Van Wagenen said on the video.

Details about how the video was mistakenly uploaded (or perhaps leaked, as Newsday’s Tim Healey noted that the 70-minute video was blank other than a few minutes that included Van Wagenen’s comments) remain scarce, though they naturally sent a storm of controversy around the baseball world.  Shortly after the Mets and Marlins left the field, the general manager released a statement saying he erred in thinking the idea came from Manfred.  Van Wagenen’s full statement:

Jeff Wilpon called Commissioner Manfred this afternoon to notify him that our players voted not to play.  They discussed the challenges of rescheduling the game. Jeff proposed an idea of playing the game an hour later.  I misunderstood that this was the Commissioner’s idea.  In actuality, this was Jeff’s suggestion.  The players had already made their decision so I felt the suggestion was not helpful.  My frustration with the Commissioner was wrong and unfounded.  I apologize to the Commissioner for my disrespectful comments and poor judgement in inaccurately describing the contents of his private conversation with Jeff Wilpon.”

In a later interview with the New York Post and other media outlets, Van Wagenen expanded on his apology to include the Mets players.  “This conversation is about the players making a statement,” Van Wagenen said.  “This conversation is about recognizing the pain and the anguish that black people are experiencing every day in this country.  The fact that I’ve put myself and this organization in the conversation in a way that takes away from the real point, I’m disappointed in myself…and I accept responsibility for that.

For his part, Manfred released his own statement later, with the Commissioner stating:

Over the past two days, players on a number of Clubs have decided not to play games.  I have said both publicly and privately that I respect those decisions and support the need to address social injustice.  I have not attempted in any way to prevent players from expressing themselves by not playing, nor have I suggested any alternative form of protest to any Club personnel or any player.  Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong.

Adding to the surreal nature of the hot mic incident were a pair of statements from the Wilpons, which each included misspellings of Van Wagenen’s first name.

From Fred Wilpon: “I am very stressed and disappointed to learn tonight that our General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, made disrespectful and inaccurate comments about our Commissioner, a long-time close friend of mine.  I hold Rob in the highest regard and in no way are Brody’s remarks reflective of my views or the organization’s. Rob continues to be a great leader of Major League Baseball.  I apologize for any harm this incident has caused Rob.”

From Jeff Wilpon: “To clear up any misunderstandings, it was my suggestion to potentially look into playing the game later because of scheduling issues.  Brody’s misunderstanding of a private conversation was and is inexcusable.  We fully respect our players and the Marlins players decision to not play tonight and appreciate the sincerity of all those who wish to draw attention to social injustices and racial inequalities that must be addressed.  The entire Mets organization remains committed to creating meaningful change in our society.

This situation has only intensified speculation that Van Wagenen’s days in the GM role may be numbered, even with New York still in the NL wild card race with a 13-16 record.  Van Wagenen’s contract runs through the 2022 season, though his future is thought to be uncertain given that the Wilpon family is preparing to sell the franchise (final bids are due by Monday) and a new ownership group might very well prefer to make its own pick for the general manager job.  The Mets had a solid 86-76 record in 2019, Van Wagenen’s first season running the Mets’ front office, but his tenure has been marked with the off-the-field drama that has come to define the team under the Wilpons’ ownership.

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Epic’s latest legal filing targets Apple’s intent to cut off Unreal Engine, Microsoft joins in support – 9to5Mac

Epic’s latest filing in the battle against the App Store targets Apple’s declaration that it will follow policy and terminate Epic’s developer accounts on August 28th. As noted by The Verge, Epic argues several reasons why Apple should not do this, noting the wide-reaching consequences it has on the games ecosystem that depend on the Unreal Engine frameworks.

Microsoft has submitted a companion filing that lays out the impact to its business of the Unreal Engine. The statement says that “Apple’s discontinuation of Epic’s ability to develop and support Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS will harm game creators and gamers”.

This all started when Epic added a direct payments feature to Fortnite which blatantly violated Apple’s rules. In response, Apple quickly removed the game from the App Store. Epic also submitted a lawsuit alleging Apple’s App Store rules are monopolistic and unfair, which Apple is naturally contesting.

Whilst the game is now unlisted, Fortnite still remains installed on millions of devices, with the direct payments feature active. Apple says this ongoing violation of its policies cannot continue and has notified Epic that it will terminate its developer account on August 28, as per the rules of being an Apple registered developer.

Assuming that happens later this week, Epic will no longer be able to update Fortnite with new content and it will no longer be able to maintain and update the Unreal Engine on Apple’s platforms. That has wide-reaching consequences on the entire game industry. Apple says that Epic is free to argue its lawsuit over App Store terms in court, and its developer account can be restored as soon as the direct payments feature is removed.

Epic’s filing on Sunday addresses the Unreal Engine specifically, and it wants an injunction to stop Apple from going ahead. One of Epic’s arguments is that Epic breached only one of Apple’s agreements, and it does not apply to the agreement that covers Epic’s use of Apple developer tools to create the Unreal Engine.

Epic also says that it has six separate developer accounts. It claims that the accounts managing Fortnite and Unreal Engine are wholly separate, and Apple should only be allowed to terminate the Fortnite account, leaving Unreal untouched. Apple says that Epic treats these accounts “as if they are one”. It also leans on the ‘wider harm’ argument, like what is demonstrated in the associated Microsoft filing.

Whether Epic can get an injunction imposed this week remains unclear. A hearing is currently scheduled for later today on whether Apple will be required to restore Fortnite to the App Store.

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Latest SpaceX Starlink satellite launch sets another flight record – CNET

The booster flown Tuesday had been used five times before.


SpaceX

SpaceX sent another batch of Starlink broadband satellites on their way to orbit from Florida on Tuesday, along with a few Earth-observing metal birds, and made history once again in the process.

The Falcon 9 booster that Elon Musk’s space company used for the ride share had previously flown on three Starlink missions and on two commercial satellite delivery gigs. That means its flight this week was its sixth, a new mark for a single orbital rocket. 

From the lab to your inbox. Get the latest science stories from CNET every week.

“Some big milestones coming up,” Musk said on Twitter Sunday, referring to the sixth flight of the booster (serial number B-1049) and the 100th mission for SpaceX over the company’s history. 

The Falcon 9 first stage actually set two records on the same day, by first launching for the sixth time and then landing for the sixth time a short while later. 

The launch went off on schedule Tuesday morning at 7:31 a.m. PT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and the booster landed about nine minutes later on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to the historic launch and landing, SpaceX managed to catch one half of the nose cone that protected the 58 Starlink satellites and three satellites belonging to Earth-imagery company Planet as they blasted through the atmosphere.  The fairing half was snagged using a large ship equipped with a net, as seen in the video below. The other half reportedly landed nearby in the water. 

This fairing pair is also experienced in flight, having been used and recovered on an earlier Starlink mission. SpaceX has just recently perfected its method for retrieving these components, and we’ll see if it can eventually make a habit of this and continue to expand its recycling program.

Although officially named Starlink 10, this was actually the 11th launch of a batch of Starlink satellites, following the most recent prior mission on Aug. 7. The next one after this week’s is set for September, and will be preceded by a Falcon 9 launch in late August of a Argentinian satellite that was originally scheduled for a 2019 liftoff.  

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The latest ‘Rainbow Six: Siege’ character is the hero of ‘Splinter Cell’ – Engadget

Ubisoft’s ongoing Splinter Cell revival is gathering momentum. After some teasing, the developer has confirmed that series hero Sam Fisher will be a playable character in the third season of Rainbow Six: Siege, Operation Shadow Legacy. True to his clandestine roots, he’ll pack a suppressed pistol and a “two-way drill camera” that will let you see both sides of a wall and even destroy gadgets. You’ll also have Fisher’s signature SC-3000K assault rifle or an MP7 to fight back when things get rough.

Shadow Legacy will also bring some improvements to the game itself, including a new contextual ping system, reworked EMP grenades, match replays and web-based stat tracking. You can also expect a refreshed Chalet map with new paths.

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With latest executive orders, Trump gets approval from his golf club crowd – POLITICO

People wait to watch President Donald Trump speak at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey on Aug. 7, 2020. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — As White House negotiators and Democrats tried — and failed — to reach a deal that could help the millions of Americans who are unemployed and facing evictions, the man who calls himself a master dealmaker was missing in Washington.

President Donald Trump had retreated at the end of last week to his private club here in New Jersey, where he watched his political troubles mount: His poll numbers against Joe Biden were sliding, and White House negotiators failed to force Democrats to cave and reach a deal that would address the pressing concerns of a nation ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic and exhausted by the economic side effects.

Frustrated by the gridlock and his own grim political news, Trump did what has become routine for the president when he faces political impasse: He ordered his aides to draw up executive actions to sign and asked his team to assemble the press, in an attempt to put a Trumpian spin on the failures back in Washington.

To the delight of club members in pastel-colored polo shirts and golf cleats who, at times, sounded like a sitcom laugh track for the president’s jabs at Democrats and the press, the president put on back-to-back shows in the ballroom of his property.

The news conferences and executive actions were reminiscent of other times when Trump decided to act on his own when unable to reach a deal, like when he declared a national emergency to get funds for the border wall and end an argument over funding that shut down the government. And while the signings and speeches gave the optics of progress, it’s doubtful the power of pen will completely alleviate the financial pain being felt by millions across the country as the virus continues to spread. Questions have already been raised about the legality of the measures and how they will be funded.

Trump’s own aides acknowledged that executive actions would fall far short of what was needed to tackle the economic crisis, but the president wanted to convince the public otherwise.

On Friday evening, Trump stepped out to a podium set up in a ballroom of his club with crystal chandeliers and tall windows overlooking a perfectly groomed golf course, to send a threat to Congress that if a deal wasn’t made he would act on his own. But by that night there were no more plans for negotiations and his team was already drawing up executive actions for him to sign.

Then on Saturday, the president walked out to the podium once more with four leather-bound folders filled with official documents to sign. He declared that his actions would “take care of, pretty much, this entire situation,” and said once again that the virus — which has infected more than 5 million people in the U.S., has claimed the lives of over 164,000 and continues to spread — was “disappearing.”

The president touted the measures he was taking as “important” and signed actions to give unemployed Americans $400 in weekly assistance ($200 less than what people had been receiving), and deferrals of payroll taxes and federal student loans. He also issued a vague memo that directs the secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury to identify “any and all Federal funds to provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners” who are unable to pay rent or mortgages because of the coronavirus.

“So, that’s the story,” Trump said on Saturday, as he closed the cover of an executive action he’d just signed, and then handed his signature Sharpies to club-goers.

But Trump’s version of the story failed to acknowledge just how little his executive actions would accomplish, the potential legal challenges, and the major hurdles still facing the country. In his remarks, the president placed blame on Democrats for wanting additional measures, like in a deal to address the coronavirus, even though he personally pushed for things such as money for a new FBI building in downtown D.C.

Also missing from what the president said was the fact that it was Senate Republicans who couldn’t muster the votes in their own caucus to advance a relief bill — months after House Democrats passed their own version to address the ongoing crisis.

Democrats immediately panned the executive actions. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, appearing Sunday morning on ABC News’ “This Week,” called them “paltry.”

“Unfortunately, the president’s executive orders, described in one word, could be paltry; in three words, unworkable, weak and far too narrow,” the New York Democrat said. “The event at the country club is just what Trump does, a big show, but it doesn’t do anything.”

A White House official on Saturday said the president had the “upper hand” by moving forward with actions and showing how little the Democrats were willing to actually negotiate.

“It just shows Trump is willing to get things done and work on the weekends, unlike Chuck and Nancy,” said Jason Miller, a Trump campaign adviser, referring to the minority leader and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But throughout negotiations the president himself was largely missing, although he said he was updated regularly by his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. And while the country has been rocked by the pandemic, the president has not spoken to Pelosi since last year, and suggested he wouldn’t anytime soon.

“We’ll see what happens, but right now they’re not ready,” Trump said, referring to Democratic lawmakers. “And they’re not ready because, frankly, I don’t think they care about people.”

The president was happy with how the news conferences went, according to aides, especially in the company of members from his club. Some came straight from happy hour holding glasses of wine.

Ahead of the first news conference, according to CNN, the president was heard on a microphone telling members: “You’ll get to meet the fake news tonight. You’ll get to see what I have to go through. Who’s there? Oh, all my killers are there, wow. So you’ll get to see some of the people that we deal with every day.”

People in the room booed and hissed when a reporter asked why members at his club appeared to be flaunting New Jersey guidelines by crowding into the room. Trump called it a “peaceful protest” at his country club.

“You know, you have an exclusion in the law. It says peaceful protest or political activity, right?” Trump said. “I call it a peaceful protest because they heard you were coming up and they know the news is fake, they know it better than anybody.”

The weekend was meant to help Trump reset. On Friday, the president met with his top campaign advisers, including Bill Stepien and Jason Miller, at Bedminster, and spent time Friday and Saturday with one of his closest allies, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). On Saturday morning, Trump and Graham called into a South Carolina Republican Party meeting, according to a person familiar. First lady Melania Trump and their son Barron spent the weekend at Bedminster, too.

The weekend away was also part of a big fundraising push by the Republican National Committee. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel traveled with the president on Marine One and accompanied him at exclusive fundraisers on Thursday in Ohio, and then over the weekend in the Hamptons and New Jersey. On Saturday, Trump got a boost from hobnobbing with friends at fundraisers at the ritzy homes of the Wall Street billionaire John Paulson and Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., in the Hamptons that raised $15 million for Trump Victory.

His Sunday fundraiser took place on the shore of New Jersey in Long Branch, where people acted as if there was no pandemic. Supporters, not socially distanced and without masks, crowded along the side of the road to see the president.

But even though the pandemic seemed far away for some of the public in New Jersey, the president had a gut-wrenching reminder of the virus’s toll when he visited. His final fundraiser of the weekend was held at the home of Stanley Chera, an old friend of the president’s and a fellow real estate tycoon who died of the coronavirus this spring.

“A great person, and a very early supporter,” Trump said. “Unfortunately, he didn’t make it.”

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