Today's edition of quick hits:
* A potential breakthrough: "Drugmaker Merck asked U.S. regulators Monday to authorize its pill against Covid-19 in what would add an entirely new and easy-to-use weapon to the world's arsenal against the pandemic. If cleared by the Food and Drug Administration — a decision that could come in a matter of weeks — it would be the first pill shown to treat Covid-19."
* The closer one looks at the details, the more striking this story becomes: "Federal prosecutors asked Monday that a Navy engineer remain locked up as they press forward with charges that he tried to sell submarine secrets to a foreign country."
* The latest from Afghanistan: The Taliban on Saturday ruled out cooperation with the United States to contain extremist groups in Afghanistan, staking out an uncompromising position on a key issue ahead of the first direct talks between the former foes since America withdrew from the country in August."
* The newest whistleblower: "A former high-ranking Capitol Police official with knowledge of the department's response to the Jan. 6 attack has sent congressional leaders a scathing letter accusing two of its senior leaders of mishandling intelligence and failing to respond properly during the riot."
* Good for him: "President Joe Biden on Friday issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day, lending the most significant boost yet to efforts to refocus the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus toward an appreciation of Native peoples."
* This guy remains a controversy magnet: "Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) was reportedly seen carrying what looked like a switchblade dagger while he was at an event at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina on Tuesday."
* Quite an opening paragraph in Eugene Robinson's latest column: "T.S. Eliot wrote that the world ends 'not with a bang but a whimper,' but I fear our great nation is careening toward a third manner of demise: descent into lip-blubbering, self-destructive idiocy."
See you tomorrow.