Today's edition of quick hits:
* Day One at the Judiciary Committee: "Senate Democrats came to the first day of the Supreme Court hearings Monday with a singular message: Health care coverage and protections for millions of Americans are at risk if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed."
* This was every bit as ridiculous as it sounds: "White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Monday refused to keep his face mask on when speaking to reporters at the Capitol during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett."
* Pandemic: "Once the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the United States, New York has seen its hospitalizations jump by 77 percent compared to the same period last month.... Meanwhile, Idaho, South Dakota and Wisconsin have the top three highest rates of new infections in the country, and Texas is close to eclipsing California as the state with the most confirmed coronavirus cases."
* Quite a statistic: "COVID-19 cases in Arizona spiked 151% after a statewide stay-at-home order expired and dropped 75% following local mask mandates, a new report says. The report, published this week by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was authored by officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services, including director Dr. Cara Christ."
* Not subtle: "The Justice Department suspended all diversity and inclusion training for its employees and managers this week, complying with President Trump's recent executive order to eliminate any training that suggests that implicit racial and gender biases exist in the workplace, according to a memo distributed to the department's executive officers."
* Nuclear diplomacy: "President Trump is looking to Vladimir Putin to close the deal on a pre-election nuclear agreement, a timetable that's an October surprise even for senior Republicans and some in the White House. Trump and Putin have discussed arms control in a string of phone calls over the last six months, and they've dispatched envoys to negotiate in Vienna. But talks appeared stalled until just a few days ago."
* On a related note: "President Trump's long rants and seemingly erratic behavior last week -- which some doctors believe might have been fueled by his use of dexamethasone, a steroid, to treat Covid-19 -- renewed a long-simmering debate among national security experts about whether it is time to retire one of the early inventions of the Cold War: the unchecked authority of the president to launch nuclear weapons."
* I've been meaning to flag this: "Missouri Gov. Michael Parson (R) vowed on Wednesday to pardon Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the white couple who drew national attention over the summer after footage of them pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home went viral, after the pair was indicted on charges related to the incident the day before."
* A story of interest: "Microsoft has taken legal steps to dismantle one of the world's largest botnets, an effort it says is aimed at thwarting criminal hackers who might seek to snarl state and local computer systems used to maintain voter rolls or report on election results."
See you tomorrow.