Presidential Election Getting Too Close to Call; Actor Sean Connery Dead at 90

National news stories from across America, from Wynne Broadcasting’s, the digital home of the Rogue Valley.

Monday, November 2, 2020

With the polls so off in 2016, hold onto your hat as we close in on Tuesday’s Election Day.  President Donald Trump is said to trail former VP Joe Biden in the latest national poll of many, such as NBC, CNN, Fox News and NPR, but the race will come down as to who can ultimately win those battleground states, which are many.

President Trump trails by 4-10 percentage points among voters nationally in the final days of his re-election campaign, is facing substantial public anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic but with broad approval of his management of the economy and the past four years. He was said to be beyond through the entire 2016 election campaign, which proved major media outlets and pollsters to be quite wrong.

One survey finds the presidential race tightening when the landscape is narrowed to a set of the real 12 battleground states. Mr. Biden holds a 6-point lead across those states, 51% to 45%, compared with a 10-point lead last month.  Like we said, hold onto your hat and make sure you vote.

Mr. Biden’s advantage in swing states is within the poll’s margin of error and corresponds with the many swing-state surveys that show close races and a potential path for Mr. Trump to build an Electoral College majority without winning the national popular vote, as he did in 2016.

“This election is probably the most competitive 10-point race I’ve seen,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted one poll survey with Democrat Jeff Horwitt.  Mr. Trump’s support remains strong among his base of largely working-class, white voters, who are plentiful in the swing states.

While Mr. Biden holds large leads among people who have voted early or plan to, Mr. Trump holds a big lead among those who say they will vote on Election Day.

The 2020 campaign is approaching its end amid near-record voter interest and disquiet over the coronavirus pandemic that on Friday reached a high for new cases.

Asked which issue was most important to their decision in the election—the economy or coronavirus—voters were divided almost evenly, a sign of how much the pandemic has upended expectations as they stood at the start of the election season.

Mr. Trump’s hopes for an Electoral College majority turn in large measure on the fact that he is viewed more favorably in battleground states than among voters nationally.

Meanwhile, we’re hearing that millions of mail-in ballots haven’t been received by election offices in critical battleground states, where recent slowdowns in mail deliveries risk some votes not arriving in time to count for the presidential election.

As of Oct. 30, more than seven million mailed ballots had not been returned in the 13 most competitive states that require ballots to arrive on or before Election Day. That’s about 28% of the more than 24 million ballots that had been tallied in those states, the Elections Project data show.

Many of the states, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Florida, were narrowly won in the 2016 presidential election, in some cases by only a few thousand votes, making the outstanding ballots potentially critical to figuring a winner this time around.

Mail delays won’t help the situation: So far this past week, first-class mail times have slowed from the week before in 12 of the 13 competitive states with tight deadlines, according to data from mail-tracking firm GrayHair Software. 

In a statement, the U. S. Postal Service said it had seen an exceedingly high volume of mail moving through the system this week, and was continuing to “implement extraordinary measures to advance and expedite the delivery of the nation’s ballots,” including extra trips, extended overtime shifts for workers and mail collection on Sunday.

The total number of outstanding votes is difficult to know with precision. Some voters who requested mail-in ballots may wind up voting in person or not at all. reminds everyone to please exercise your right… and vote.

Comedian John Mulaney hosted SNL (Saturday Night Live) over the weekend.  While it was a pretty good show, during his monologue he of course pontificated on the presidential election and did it this way:

 “Oh, yes, I’m supposed to make an announcement. On November 3rd there is an elderly man contest.  So there’s two elderly men and you’re supposed to pick your favorite of the elderly men,” he continued. “You can put it in the mail or you can go and write down which elderly man you like and we’ll add them all up. Then we might have the same elderly man or we might have a new elderly man.”

“But just rest assured, no matter what happens, nothing much will change in the United States,” he said, inexplicably. “The rich will continue to prosper while the poor languish. Families will be upended by mental illness and drug addiction. So Mulaney, surprisingly to NBC execs and everyone watching, basically told millions of people watching SNL three days before the election that there is essentially no difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

He finished with:  “You’ve got to vote. Vote as many times as you can, fill in every circle, every dot they have, fill them in,” which could again be considered a “both sides” take on the election.

From there, he revealed that his 94-year-old “Nana” is going to vote, which he thinks is not a great idea. “You don’t get to vote when you’re 94 years old!” he said. “You don’t get to order for the table when you’re about to leave the restaurant!”  Yes, that’s the humor of John Malaney.

Sean Connery

Sean Connery dies at 90

The Scottish-born actor who rocketed to fame as James Bond 007, has died at his home in the Bahamas.  Sean Connery was 90. Connery, long regarded as one of the best actors to have portrayed the iconic spy, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, and marked his 90th birthday in August. His death was confirmed by his family, who said that the actor “died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family” in the Bahamas. It’s believed he had been unwell for some time.

Connery was an audience favorite for more than 40 years and one of the screen’s most reliable and distinctive leading men. In a statement, Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said Connery “was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words, ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond.’

“He revolutionized the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent. He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him,” said the producers. However, Connery — who made his debut in the first Bond film, “Dr. No” (1962) — also transcended Ian Fleming’s sexy Agent 007, and went on to distinguish himself with a long and mature career in such films as “The Wind and the Lion” (1975), “The Man Who Would Be King” (1975) and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989. Pairing Connery and Harrison Ford as father and son in the third “Indiana Jones” film was an inspired move, and the film grossed almost half a billion dollars worldwide.

Sean Connery with Harrison Ford teamed up for the Indian Jones movie series.

Meanwhile, “The Hunt for Red October,” in which Connery played a defecting Soviet sub captain, was also a major hit in 1990.

By the 1990s, he was so popular that his uncredited cameo as King Richard in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” became one of the film’s highlights. His first Bond film paid him a mere $30,000 and by 1989 for Indiana Jones, his salary was regularly $5 million a film.

Connery was married to actress Diane Cilento from 1962-73. The couple divorced in 1973 and Cilento died in 2011. Connery is survived by his second wife, painter Micheline Roquebrune, whom he married in 1975; his son by Cilento, actor Jason Connery; and a grandson from Jason’s marriage to actress Mia Sara.

According to the Connery family, there will be a “private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended.”

A determined Florida (Orange County) woman made her husband stop by the Supervisor of Elections Office so she could make sure to cast her ballot before delivering their baby. An employee in the office said the pregnant wife was calm, but the husband was “a little bit more nervous.”

In the run-up to Tuesday’s election, Oreo is encouraging unity with stuffed animals at a fair. In the sweet 30-second ad, the stuffed animals handed out as game prizes come to life after hours. Upon spotting a deep-fried Oreo stand, a plush toy cat starts meowing, grabbing the attention of a stuffed donkey and elephant. As they try to help the cat get some milk and Oreos, the symbolic political rivals end up getting into a tiff, forgetting about the task at hand. After seeing the feline’s distress, they ultimately manage to put their differences aside, and the three of them enjoy some milk and Oreo cookies together. • VIDEO

Since the start of the pandemic, public health officials have advised people to avoid touching their face — but the recommendation is easier said than done. A new app hopes to drive the message home by alerting users when they touch their eyes, nose or mouth. Called Face Touch Aware, the technology pairs with an Apple Watch and uses the device’s gyroscope to track how you move your hand. The app alerts users with vibrations and sounds when it detects the watch moving towards their face, with the hopes they will fight the urge. Developers hope it will help cut down the 23 times an hour the average person touches their face.

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission has logged a lot of flight miles since being lofted skyward on July 30: 146.3 million miles to be exact. Turns out that is exactly the same distance it has to go before the spacecraft hits the Red Planet’s atmosphere like an 11,900 mph freight train on February 18, 2021.

A North Carolina man earned more than expected in a single work day when he scored a $72,796 lottery prize at the store where he works. Adam Roberts of Burlington told North Carolina lottery officials he had just finished his shift as a customer service manager at a Harris Teeter store when he decided to try his luck with a scratch-off ticket. Roberts’ $2 ticket earned him $72,796.

In Ohio, Julie Travis was using the book drop at the Worthington Park Library when her wedding ring became snagged on a piece of metal and the diamond ripped free from the ring. Library manager Jeff Regensburger, who was nearby at the time, helped Travis search the sidewalk and surrounding area for the lost diamond, but after a thorough examination they concluded the diamond must have fallen into the book return bin.

… Regensburger said he then had to break some bad news to Travis — the book return bins have to be quarantined for 7 days after being filled as part of COVID-19 safety measures. Regensburger said Travis “took it like a champ.” Library staff marked the bin with a note reading “this may contain a diamond” and kept Travis’ contact information nearby. One week later, after the quarantine period had elapsed, staff carefully unpacked the bin, checked in materials, and, at the very bottom of the container, recovered the stone.

Nine-year-old Reese Osterberg lost all of her baseball cards in the Creek fire that hit her home city of Fresno County, California. After the firefighters assessed the damage and found that the cards she’d been collecting since she was in preschool were damaged, they teamed up to help her start a new collection. Kevin Ashford was made aware of this and sent Osterberg his collection, which contains 25,000 baseball cards that he’s collected over 20 years. Ashford lives in San Jose, California.   … He almost sold the cards but was glad he didn’t after hearing about Reese’s story.

A 47-year-old Houston man was seen on Facebook Live sipping a beer while behind the wheel. Minutes later, he reportedly crashed into another vehicle, and all three of his passengers, including his girlfriend, died. Camilo Morejon was being recorded by his girlfriend, who was sitting in the passenger seat, for Facebook Live Sunday morning. He’s seen on video saying, “I drive better when I drink.” Moments later his Honda reportedly crashed into a pickup truck. The video ended before the accident occurred. Morejon and the driver of the pickup truck he hit are both in the hospital in critical condition.

What is a 104-year-old woman to do if she wants to visit family members but can’t sit in a car for a long period of time? Margrethe Hansen, who lives in a Denmark retirement home over 100 miles from her 82-year-old son and her grandchildren, decided to go by helicopter. She told local TV: “I thought it was the fastest way to get away.” A grandson picked up Hansen from her retirement home and drove her to a nearby field where a private helicopter waited. He lifted his grandmother onto the aircraft and sat her next to the pilot, and then took a backseat together with a nurse. The flight took roughly one hour. Hansen saw her relatives’ houses from the sky and visited with them on the ground before taking the chopper home the same day.

A pack of cigarettes may set you back $8 to $12 in wallet money, but the true cost because of premature death is closer to $150 per pack. Smoking shaves an average of 7.13 years off the life expectancy of a man and 4.5 years for a woman. The study’s calculation relies on the Value of a Statistical Life (VSL). As an estimate of the tradeoff between monetary cost and safety, VSL can be used to describe the amount a person, or government, is willing to spend to reduce the cost of death.

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