Today's edition of quick hits:
* Pandemic: "On June 1, Florida officials announced 667 new coronavirus cases. On July 1, they added more than 6,500. Today they reported over 10,100, a record. In Texas, there were 1,100 new cases at the start of last month. On Wednesday, more than 8,100. In Georgia, it went from 700 to 2,300. And in California, where some newly reopened businesses were again being shut down, new cases went from about 2,500 to 7,600."
* This unexpected news out of Texas is effective tomorrow afternoon: "Gov. Greg Abbott issued a nearly statewide mask mandate Thursday as Texas scrambles to get its coronavirus surge under control. The order requires 'all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions,' according to Abbott's office."
* This guarantees no revelations before the elections: "The U.S. Supreme Court said Thursday it will decide whether House investigators can get access to grand jury material gathered by Robert Mueller's special counsel team. The court agreed to hear the case during its new term that begins in the fall."
* The Russia-bounty controversy: "Rahmatullah Azizi stands as a central piece of a puzzle rocking Washington, named in American intelligence reports and confirmed by Afghan officials as a key middleman who for years handed out money from a Russian military intelligence unit to reward Taliban-linked fighters for targeting American troops in Afghanistan, according to American and Afghan officials."
* On a related note: "First President Trump denied knowing about it. Then he called it a possible 'hoax.' Next, the White House attacked the news media. And now an unnamed intelligence official is to blame. The one thing Mr. Trump and his top officials have not done is to address the substance of intelligence reports that Russia paid bounties to Taliban-affiliated fighters to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, or what they might do in response."
* And yet: "The White House is not planning an immediate response to intelligence reports of Russian bounties given to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan because President Trump does not believe the reports are true or "actionable," according to two senior administration officials."
* Capitol Hill: "The House on Wednesday easily passed a temporary extension of a subsidy program for small businesses slammed by the coronavirus, speeding the measure to President Donald Trump. Approval by voice vote without debate came after Democrats pushed the legislation through the GOP-controlled Senate late Tuesday as spikes in coronavirus cases in many states led to renewed shutdowns of bars and other businesses."
* Moscow: "Russian President Vladimir Putin secured his political future on Wednesday after a wide majority of voters supported a controversial national referendum that paved the way for the former KGB agent to stay in power until 2036."
* Mary Trump book: "A New York state judge closed one chapter on an attempt to block a book by President Donald Trump's niece, which paints a harsh portrait of Trump and their family's history, ruling Wednesday that it can hit store shelves."
* Looking out for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman: "Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) will block more than 1,000 military promotions from going through until the Defense Department confirms that a key impeachment witness will not suffer from retaliation for speaking out last year."
* In apparent reference to the coronavirus, Trump told reporters this morning, "It's like life; it's got a life. And we're putting out that life, because that's a bad life that we're talking about." Good to know.
Have a safe holiday weekend.