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Thursday's Mini-Report, 3.4.21

Today's edition of quick hits.

Today's edition of quick hits:

* The latest from New Zealand: "Several powerful earthquakes hit near the coast of New Zealand Thursday night and Friday morning, prompting tsunami warnings for New Zealand and tsunami watches for Hawaii. The most powerful was an 8.1 quake that hit some 600 miles northeast of New Zealand on Friday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said."

* That's a good number, which should get better: "The average number of vaccine doses being administered across the United States per day topped two million for the first time on Wednesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A month ago, the average was about 1.3 million."

* The process is now underway in earnest: "The Democratic-controlled Senate voted Thursday to begin debate on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package in a party-line vote that sets the stage for a contentious process with Republicans."

* A patchwork model isn't helpful: "Some governors across the United States are taking widely diverging approaches to mask mandates, as federal officials, including President Biden, warn that despite a drop in coronavirus cases, it is too soon to stop wearing masks. On Thursday, Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama, a Republican, extended her state's mask mandate for another month."

* He's right: "Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) on Wednesday asserted that it's on ex-President Donald Trump to help quell the threat of a potential second attack on the Capitol on Thursday by telling his extremist supporters to stand down. 'Leaders should be very vocal in condemning all forms of extremism,' McCaul tweeted with a clip of his CNN interview in which he urges Trump to speak out."

* This story won't go away anytime soon: "Defense Department leaders placed unusual restrictions on the National Guard for the day of the Capitol riot and delayed sending help for hours despite an urgent plea from police for reinforcement, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response."

* In Texas, the wrong decision, made the wrong way: "The state's top health official said Wednesday he did not speak with Greg Abbott before the governor announced Tuesday he would end his mask order and 'open Texas 100%,' a decision criticized by public health experts, city and county leaders and President Joe Biden.... Two of the other medical advisers also said they were not consulted before the governor's decision."

* The global picture for democracy could be better: "The health of American democracy is in rapid decline, India is no longer a free country, and at most 20 percent of the world's population lives in a liberal democracy. These are a few of the sobering conclusions in the 2021 Freedom in the World report, an annual quantitative measurement of the state of democracy globally. The latest findings, released today, show a nearly unprecedented decline in the health of democracy in countries around the world — one of the biggest 'we've ever recorded,' according to Freedom House President Michael Abramowtiz."

See you tomorrow.