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Monday's Mini-Report, 8.17.20

Today's edition of quick hits.


Today's edition of quick hits:

* Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has "agreed to testify before Congress next week." That'll be interesting.

* Answering a common question: "United Parcel Service and FedEx on Friday shot down social media calls that they step in to deliver mail-in ballots from the U.S. Postal Service, which is warning states of potentially 'significant' delays. 'State ballots must be postmarked to be considered valid and only the USPS has lawful postmarking status. Therefore UPS, FedEx and other private parties cannot technically be involved in shipping ballots,' UPS told Reuters in a statement."

* Kids aren't immune: "Health experts say children make up more than 7% of all coronavirus cases in the US -- while comprising about 22% of the country's population -- and the number and rate of child cases have been 'steadily increasing' from March to July. The data was posted alongside updated guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for pediatricians that also includes what is known about the virus in children."

* Testing: "For months, public health experts and federal officials have said that significantly expanding the number of coronavirus tests administered in the United States is essential to reining in the pandemic. By some estimates, several million people might need to be tested each day, including many people who don't feel sick. But the country remains far short of that benchmark and, for the first time, the number of known tests conducted each day has fallen."

* How is it possible that access to PPE is still a problem? "Surgical gowns, gloves, masks, certain ventilators and various testing supplies needed to respond to the coronavirus pandemic are on the FDA's first-ever list of medical devices in shortage."

* A needless step backwards: "The Trump administration on Monday finalized its plan to open up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas development, a move that overturns six decades of protections for the largest remaining stretch of wilderness in the United States."

* I guess he's not worried about appearances: "President Donald Trump has told aides he'd like to hold an in-person meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the November election, according to four people familiar with the discussions."

* Asylum seekers: "The Trump administration has drafted a new rule that would take effect immediately and treat those seeking protection from persecution at a US land border as security threats if they had been in Mexico or Canada within the last two weeks of their arrival, according to a draft obtained by BuzzFeed News."

* Ugliness in Georgia: "State Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson) has been removed as chairman of the House Retirement Committee after a radio interview came to light where he praised Confederate leader Alexander Stephens and disparaged the late Rep. John Lewis."

* What's McConnell up to? "Every few years since Congress passed the Patriot Act to bolster F.B.I. surveillance powers after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, parts of it came up for renewal and national security hawks darkly warned that even briefly letting them lapse would unacceptably endanger America. This year is different. Those provisions expired months ago, but one of the biggest surveillance supporters in Congress, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has single-handedly brought the process of extending them to a halt."

* Whenever an official abruptly resigns late on a Friday, I take note: "HHS' chief information officer, José Arrieta, resigned unexpectedly Friday. Arrieta told senior leaders that he would stay on for up to a month to help with the transition, said two individuals with knowledge of his plans. He departs just four months after the department stood up the public data sharing hub HHS Protect, and a little over a year since he took over as chief information officer."

* Trump used to endorse Edward Snowden's execution. Evidently, he's changed his mind: "President Trump said on Saturday that he would consider pardoning Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who faced criminal charges after leaking classified documents about vast government surveillance."

See you tomorrow.