The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - At loggerheads, Congress, White House to let jobless payout lapse


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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Thankfully, you made it to Friday (and the end of a tough July). We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 146,935. Tuesday, 148,056. Wednesday, 149,258. Thursday, 150,713. Friday, 152,070.

With at least 14 million Americans unemployed, Congress and the White House failed on Thursday night to reach agreement, either temporary or longer-term, to extend federal jobless benefits that expire tonight. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Trump announces opening of relations between Sudan and Israel Five takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference MORE (D-N.Y.) spurned multiple offers from Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Hillicon Valley: Treasury sanctions Russian group accused of targeting critical facilities | Appeals court rules Uber, Lyft must comply with labor laws | Biden: Countries that target US elections will 'pay a price' Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsSenate Health Committee chair asks Cuomo, Newsom to 'stop second guessing' FDA on vaccine efficacy Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Trump hasn't asked Barr to open investigation into Bidens, McEnany says MORE as negotiators remain far apart on a comprehensive deal. Among the offers made were a seven-day extension of the $600 weekly unemployment insurance provision, and another that would have coupled the temporary extension with eviction protections that also expire today. The two provisions were part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that Congress approved in March (The Hill).

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Meadows said the offers “were not received warmly.” Minutes later, Pelosi said a temporary benefits extension of existing law is “worthless” without significant bipartisan progress toward the overarching goal of a new relief package. 

"One-week extension is good if you have a bill and you're working it out, the details, the writing of it. … That's what a one-week extension is about,” Pelosi said. “It's worthless unless you are using it for a purpose” (Bloomberg News).

Schumer derided the GOP approach after a day of more posturing, which included multiple unanimous consent requests by GOP senators that were denied, along with one by Senate Democrats on the $3 trillion HEROES Act the House passed in May.  

“We just don’t think they really understand the gravity of the problem,” Schumer told reporters Thursday night. “We want to solve this and they want to do one small thing that won't solve the problem” (The Washington Post). 

The two sides are expected to speak again by phone today and meet in person once again over the weekend (The New York Times).

The Hill: Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock. 

Thursday’s offers capped off a week that yielded little progress toward a bill and was filled with internal divisions among Republicans, giving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (R-Ky.) a weakened hand as the administration took the lead for the GOP. In their initial proposal, Republicans sought to roll back the expiring $600 weekly unemployment payments to $200 per week for millions of recipients. 

The Washington Post: Senate Republicans, White House scramble on unemployment insurance as deadline looms. 

The New York Times: With jobless aid set to lapse, lawmakers fail to agree on extension.

> Lewis funeral: Former President Obama on Thursday endorsed an end to the Senate filibuster rule, calling it a "Jim Crow relic." The former senator reopened a long-simmering conversation among Democrats about how to pass legislation that would restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act swept away by the Supreme Court in 2013. The argument is that the strategic reliance on the 60-vote threshold in the narrowly divided Senate denies opportunities to adopt bills with the assent of a simple majority of the chamber. 

Marc Fisher, The Washington Post: Three presidents embrace the struggle for rights.

Obama made the comments during his eulogy of the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisHarry Reid: Biden should give GOP three weeks to see if they will work with him NY Times slammed for glowing Farrakhan op-ed: 'You would think he was a gentleman' Washington flooded with Women's March protesters ahead of Barrett confirmation vote MORE (D-Ga.), a civil rights icon, marking the most extensive public remarks the former president has made on the topic, which also come just over three months before a general election where Democrats are hopeful of retaking the upper chamber.  

"Once we pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, we should keep marching," Obama said. "And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster — another Jim Crow relic — in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that's what we should do" (The Hill). 

If former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Brad Pitt narrates Biden ad airing during World Series MORE wins in November, and Senate Democrats move to nuke the filibuster to pass legislation with 51 votes, they will likely need to attain at least 54 seats to take care of Obama’s wish. As of November, three Democratic senators — Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSusan Collins and the American legacy Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw MORE (W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterInterior says Pendley to remain at BLM despite 'dramatic tweets' from Democrats Overnight Energy: Barrett punts on climate, oil industry recusals | Ex-EPA official claims retaliation in lawsuit | Dems seek to uphold ruling ousting Pendley Democrats seek to block appeal of court ruling ousting Pendley, BLM land plans MORE (Mont.) — vowed that they will keep the 60-vote threshold intact. 

As for Biden, a 36-year member of the Senate before becoming vice president, he has not supported the elimination of the filibuster. In a statement, Andrew Bates, a Biden spokesman, declined to comment specifically on Biden’s stance.  

“Congressional Republicans should turn their praise of Rep. Lewis into action and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act today by voice vote. No filibuster, no delay,” Bates told The Hill. 

The Hill: Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Trump mocks Joe Biden's drive-in rallies at North Carolina event Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE (I-Vt.) calls for the end of the filibuster following Obama's remarks.

CNN: Michael Jordan, Jordan Brand donate $2.5 million to three organizations to combat Black voter suppression.

> Campaign finance: The House Ethics Committee recommended sanctions for campaign finance violations by Rep. David SchweikertDavid SchweikertEnergized by polls, House Democrats push deeper into GOP territory Democrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade Healthcare, retirement security seen as top issues for older voters, lawmakers say MORE (R-Ariz.). The negotiated punishment of a reprimand and $50,000 fine was accepted on Thursday by the congressman, whose seat is considered vulnerable this year (The Hill). 

> Trump talk: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSexual assault case against Air Force general can proceed, judge rules House Democrat optimistic defense bill will block Trump's Germany withdrawal EPA gives Oklahoma authority over many tribal environmental issues MORE (R-Okla.) spoke by phone with Trump on Wednesday night while sitting in a Washington restaurant. The 85-year-old senator, holding his phone to his ear, had his device on speaker. The president’s comments were heard by other diners and recorded. Among topics on Trump’s mind: Preserving Confederate statues, monuments and Robert E. Lee’s name and handling issues surrounding a controversial nominee for a top Pentagon policy job (whose confirmation hearing was abruptly postponed on Thursday) (The New York Times). 




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CORONAVIRUS: Peaks, waves, worries: A secondary surge of COVID-19 cases appears to be ebbing in some of the hardest hit regions, such as Arizona, South Carolina and Idaho. But the coronavirus is rising in some regions and municipalities that initially appeared to sidestep the summer surge — including Washington, D.C. (The Hill). … Arizona, Florida and Mississippi on Thursday reported record-high new deaths in one day, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. Florida’s average daily death tally has set records for several days in a row, while another hot-spot state, Texas, has seen its average break records for weeks. Mississippi has been second only to Florida in new cases per capita and along with Texas and South Carolina lags just behind Arizona in deaths per capita.

Economists and the Federal Reserve continue to argue that COVID-19 is driving the U.S. economy and that a real rebound won’t be possible without getting the coronavirus under tight control in a country that has a patchwork approach to mitigation.

New economic data released on Thursday sent shivers through financial markets and corporate C suites, even if the reports reflected conditions in the rearview mirror. The economy was 9.5 percent smaller in the second quarter than it was in the first, shrinking a record-setting 32.9 percent on an annualized basis as the pandemic triggered shutdowns, layoffs and consumer caution in the spring and through June.

The labor picture continues to be gloomy as a direct result of the ravages from COVID-19. Initial weekly jobless claims for the week that ended July 25 were 1.43 million, or 12,000 more than the preceding week, according to the Labor Department (Bloomberg News).

The filings for unemployment benefits are a sign that the economic rebound is increasingly at risk with Congress poised to let supplemental $600 payments expire today after weeks of partisan posturing and one week of negotiations. Some 14 million people are without jobs and many more have had their hours, wages or salaries cut. 

Some analysts expect the unemployment rate heading into the new year to be around 10 percent, compared with the current 11.1 percent (and contrasted with February’s 3.5 percent). In June, 15 states had unemployment higher than the nationwide jobless rate, including in some states important to the results of the November elections, including Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. 

> Schools: The nation’s capital will begin the new school year with online instruction Aug. 31 to Nov. 6 for public pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced on Thursday. The decision, she said, was based on the coronavirus infection rate and other public health considerations for students, teachers, school administrators, staff and D.C. families. The city’s plan is to resume in-classroom instruction in the second term (The Hill)



> Research: Broken heart syndrome: Two German studies published this week in the Journal of American Medical Association Cardiology found that among lasting effects in COVID-19 patients who survive the infection are heart abnormalities (USA Today). … Dogs can sniff cancer in patients. Can canines smell COVID-19-infected people? Another German study suggests trained dogs can detect the coronavirus in 94 percent of 1,000 saliva samples using their noses. Scientists believe the canines respond to metabolic changes produced by the virus. The small study was published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases (WebMD).

> Masks and goggles?: Anthony FauciAnthony FauciScience seeks truth, Trump denies it Fauci says US may want to mandate masks amid COVID-19 surges Trump, Biden final arguments at opposite ends on COVID-19 MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adds a new precautionary thought to the transmissibility of COVID-19 and community spread. “Eye protection may be recommended at some point,” he said (StreetInsider, subscription). In May, virologist and researcher Joseph Fair, an NBC News contributor, said he thought people should wear eye protection to prevent transmission just as masks cover pathways through the nose and mouth. Other researchers have noted that new studies suggest COVID-19 can infect humans by gaining access to cells in eyes (WebMD). At a Thursday event at the American Red Cross headquarters with Fauci and other disease specialists, Trump expressed surprise at suggestions to add goggles or face shields to everyday coronavirus protective equipment. “I only heard of goggles for the first time about an hour ago,” the president said. … Meanwhile, Pelosi’s new mandate for masks on the House floor and adjacent House office buildings faced its first test of compliance on Thursday when her colleagues risked removal by the sergeant-at-arms for non-compliance. They complied (The Hill). …Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Thursday issued a mask mandate for indoor activities through September. The order goes into effect on Saturday (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

The Associated Press: Fauci is back on Capitol Hill today to testify as the U.S. virus surge drives new fears.

> Vaccine: The eventual eureka moment might not accompany the cure we’ve envisioned for the last few months. Vaccines could be more like therapies than 100 percent-surefire preventatives (Los Angeles Times). … When asked what the national coronavirus strategy entails at the moment, Trump on Thursday said it will eventually include a vaccine “delivery system,” when one or more drugs is ready for the public. “We’re all set to march when there is a vaccine,” he explained, offering praise for the work of the Food and Drug Administration. “When we have it, we’re all set up with our platform.” … This year, hackers backed by the Chinese government targeted biotech company Moderna Inc., a U.S.-backed coronavirus vaccine developer, seeking to steal data. The FBI got involved. China denied the accusations on Friday (Reuters).

> Testing: Results in 15 minutes or results in 15 days? Virus testing turnaround times reveal a wide disparity across the United States. Some people complain that long delays in learning infection results render tests useless for the purpose of effectively preventing community spread (The Associated Press).

> Prisons: Up to 20 percent of New Jersey’s inmate population may be released from prison because of coronavirus risks behind bars. The state’s legislature was expected to vote on Thursday but was delayed by new amendments. The legislation, seen as the first of its kind, proposes to release about 3,000 inmates, excluding sex offenders, who are within a year of serving their sentences (The New York Times). 

> Deaths: Former presidential candidate, businessman and Tea Party member Herman CainHerman CainFrom HBCUs to Capitol Hill: How Congress can play an important role 'Saturday Night Live' spoofs fly on Pence's head at debate Trump's illness doesn't absolve him of responsibility MORE died on Thursday from COVID-19 after being hospitalized with the virus on July 2. He was 74 (The Hill and The Associated Press). Trump praised Cain as a friend and offered his condolences during a Thursday news conference. 

> Sports: Major League Baseball is definitely experiencing contagion problems. The Philadelphia Phillies vs. the Toronto Blue Jays series was postponed on Thursday after Philadelphia announced two staff members (a coach and home clubhouse staffer) tested positive for COVID-19. No Phillies players have tested positive. The team played the Miami Marlins in the city of brotherly love last weekend before Miami's coronavirus test results yielded at least 17 positive results on Monday (CBS Sports).


POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: The president raised eyebrows across the political spectrum on Thursday as he publicly wondered if the November general election can be delayed, citing the expected massive influx of mail-in ballots due to the novel coronavirus and prompting backlash from all corners of the Republican Party.  

Prior to Thursday, speculation cropped up throughout the Democratic Party, including with Biden, about whether Trump would attempt to make such a move as the president had yet to float the possibility. But all that changed on Thursday, flipping the conversation to the GOP side as lawmaker after lawmaker criticized the president for pushing the idea. 

“Never in the history of the Congress, through wars, depressions and the Civil War have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3,” McConnell said in reaction (The Hill). 

Multiple key allies, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRocky Mountain National Park closed due to expanding Colorado wildfire Trump is out of touch with Republican voters on climate change The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Iran, Russia election bombshell; final Prez debate tonight MORE (R-Calif.) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Lou Dobbs goes after Lindsey Graham: 'I don't know why anyone' would vote for him  MORE (R-S.C.) followed suit. Nevertheless, Trump defended the tweet during a Thursday evening press conference. 

"Do I want to see a date change? No, but I don't want to see a crooked election. This election will be the most rigged election in history if that happens,” Trump told reporters in the James S. Brady Briefing Room (The Hill).

Despite floating the idea, Trump has no ability to unilaterally delay the election. The only way to make the change is through a constitutional amendment, which would require the support of two-thirds of each Congressional chamber or a constitutional convention called by two-thirds of state legislatures, with an amendment needing to be ratified by three-fourths of all states.  

Congress could also make the move, but will not as Democrats control the House. As The Washington Examiner’s Jim Antle pointed out in April, Election Day is set by statute. 

The Hill: Federal Election commissioner to Trump: “No. You don't have the power to move the election.”

NBC News: “Constitutionally impossible”: Experts say Trump can't postpone the November election.

Steven G. Calabresi, Federalist Society co-founder: Trump might try to postpone the election. That’s unconstitutional. He should be removed unless he relents. 

At a fundraiser in April, Biden told attendees that he expected Trump to attempt to move the general election.

“Mark my words, I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” Biden said at the time, comments that were derided on the right as a “conspiracy theory.”

The Hill: Trump tests GOP loyalty with election tweet and stimulus strategy.

Niall Stanage: The Memo: Trump's real target is election's legitimacy.

Peggy Noonan: Burn the Republican Party down?



> Veep Watch: When it comes to choosing a running mate, Biden has different reasons to consider each contender as he nears decision day for what will be among his biggest moves before Election Day.  

As The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Alexander Bolton write, the former vice president likes Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWhat do Google, banks and chicken salad have in common? Final debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit Biden defends his health plan from Trump attacks MORE's (D-Mass.) ideas and proposals. He admires Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTrump knocks idea of a 'female socialist president' Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Watch live: Biden participates in HBCU homecoming MORE's (D-Calif.) lawyerly straightforwardness and moxie, while he appreciates the work he did alongside Susan Rice in the White House and saw her in action up close.  

However, Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthAmy Coney Barrett's extreme views put women's rights in jeopardy Trump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes McConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled MORE (D-Ill.) represents something close to Biden’s heart: She's a soldier. Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran and purple heart recipient, is on Biden's shortlist, and some in Bidenworld who know the former VP well say Duckworth embodies exactly the kind of partner well-suited to the former vice president.  

"Anyone who knows him well knows what the United States military means to him," said one confidant. "And the fact of the matter is, she doesn't just check the boxes, she has an incredible story and it represents not only who the vice president is at his core but the narrative he's been talking about since his campaign began."

The New York Times: Republicans and White House at odds over Kansas Senate race.

NBC News: Trump campaign hits pause on TV ad spending for “review” of messaging strategy.

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 


Together, you can redeem the soul of our nation, by the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who asked The New York Times to publish his opinion essay on the day of his funeral. He was buried in Atlanta on Thursday. https://nyti.ms/39Rycrn

Sorry, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE. The 2020 presidential election is on, by David Brinkley, opinion contributor, CNN. https://cnn.it/3ghAoKV



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The House meets at 9 a.m. to work on a six-bill package of fiscal 2021 spending proposals covering executive departments. Pelosi will hold her weekly press conference at 10:45 a.m. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis meets at 9 a.m. to hear from Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for Health and Human Services, on the question of whether there should be a national strategy to combat the pandemic. Information HERE

The Senate will meet Monday at 3 p.m. and resume consideration of the nomination of Mark Menezes to be Energy Department deputy secretary.

The president participates in a meeting with representatives of the National Association of Police Organizations in the Cabinet Room at 11:30 a.m. Trump flies to Tampa, Fla., in the afternoon to headline a campaign event at 3:30 p.m. with Florida sheriffs. Twenty minutes later, he is scheduled to depart Tampa for Belleair, Fla., to join a roundtable about COVID-19 and storm preparedness at the Pelican Golf Club at 4:30 p.m. At 5 p.m., the president joins a campaign roundtable in Belleair with supporters. At 6 p.m., Trump is scheduled to speak to donors and fundraisers at a political dinner in Belleair. Trump returns to Washington tonight.

Economic indicator: The government’s report on U.S. consumer spending in June, released at 8:30 a.m., is expected to show a bounce last month that does not reflect an apparent slowdown in July as caution about the coronavirus crept back into states and regions experiencing surges in coronavirus infections and new health-related restrictions. 

The Hill’s Coronavirus Report has updates and exclusive video interviews with policymakers emailed each day. Sign up HERE!

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Mars: NASA’s Perseverance rode a mighty Atlas V rocket on Thursday into a clear morning sky in the world’s third and final Mars launch of the summer. China and the United Arab Emirates got a head start last week, but all three missions should reach the red planet in February after a journey of seven months and 300 million miles (The Associated Press).

Administration vs. journalists: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) compiled “intelligence reports” about the work of American journalists covering protests in Portland, Ore., in what current and former officials called an alarming use of a government system meant to share information about suspected terrorists and violent actors, reports Shane Harris at The Washington Post. Targeted: Mike Baker, a reporter for The New York Times, and Benjamin Wittes, the editor-in-chief of the blog Lawfare. DHS noted they had published leaked, unclassified documents about DHS operations in Portland. Trump, speaking about federal efforts to stop what he called “anarchists” who have staged demonstrations, some violent, in Portland, said on Thursday that federal agents were instructed “to clean out this beehive of -- of terrorists. And if they do it, I'm going to be very happy.”

International: Twelve pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong were disqualified from running in an upcoming election over opposition to the newly-installed national security law by China and collusion with foreign forces (Reuters). … The United Kingdom reimposed restrictions across Northern England that affect roughly 4 million people on Friday. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that people from the Greater Manchester area have been asked not to convene indoors at households (The Associated Press). .… Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced an extension of restrictions on mass gatherings until Aug. 13, citing a rise of new coronavirus cases (Bloomberg News). … Vietnam reports its first coronavirus death amid another outbreak (The Associated Press). 

Movies: What’s old is new again in the movie theaters as blockbuster hits that were released decades ago have held the No. 1 spot at the box office throughout the summer. With only 1,000 cinemas open because of precautions about COVID-19, roughly one-sixth of theaters nationwide (300 are drive-ins) have been forced to go retro. Favorites from the wayback catalog, including “Ghostbusters,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” topped box office charts this summer as theaters await new releases, perhaps in August or September (The Associated Press).



And finally … Congrats to the smart guessers and Googlers who completed this week’s Morning Report Quiz! 

We asked about recent events that made news in gardens, parks and outdoor spaces and here’s who aced our puzzle: Ki Harvey, Joe Ford, Gary Kalian, Craig Comins, Anita Bales, Patrick Kavanagh, Jim Dykstra, Rick Pilon, Amy Dolan Strano, Adam Darr, Bill Copeland, Karen Kovar, Phil Kirstein, Mike Roberts, Gary Breakfield, Charles McClintock, Terry Pflaumer, Donna Minter, Pam Manges and John Donato. 

They knew that the White House Rose Garden is receiving a summer facelift, a project that will take about three weeks to complete.  

Disneyland Park in California remains closed as the pandemic drags on. (A few readers thought Six Flags was closed, but locations in Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Maryland and New Jersey are open, as is Six Flags’s animals-only marine amusement in Vallejo, Calif.)

A woman who was fleeing a charging bison in Yellowstone National Park was advised to “play dead,” according to a video clip reported in the last week. (She complied, was momentarily sniffed by a hulking bison and she walked away with a little help from witnesses.)  

A shark attack by a great white made headlines on July 27 near beautiful Bailey Island in Maine. A 63-year-old New York woman who was swimming with her daughter died from her injuries. It was the state’s first recorded fatal shark attack.