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Wednesday's Mini-Report, 12.9.20

Today's edition of quick hits.

Today's edition of quick hits:

* Hospitalizations: "More than a third of Americans live in areas where hospitals are running critically short of intensive care beds, federal data show.... Hospitals serving more than 100 million Americans reported having fewer than 15 percent of intensive care beds still available as of last week, according to a Times analysis of data reported by hospitals and released by the Department of Health and Human Services."

* Even now, the PPE problem hasn't been resolved: "The federal government has fallen well short of its goal to shore up an emergency stockpile of respirator masks and some other personal protective equipment for health workers amid the current surge in Covid-19 cases."

* Madness: "An Idaho public health meeting ended abruptly Tuesday evening after protesters converged around the city's health department building and outside the homes of multiple health officials."

* Facebook: "The Federal Trade Commission sued to break up Facebook on Wednesday, asking a federal court to force the sell-off of assets such as Instagram and WhatsApp as independent businesses."

* The pro-pollution position: "The Trump administration finalized a rule Wednesday that could make it more difficult to enact public health protections, by changing the way the Environmental Protection Agency calculates the costs and benefits of new limits on air pollution."

* On a related note, this relates to the EPA, among other agencies: "Loyalists to President Trump have blocked transition meetings at some government agencies and are sitting in on discussions at other agencies between career civil servants and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s transition teams, sometimes chilling conversations, several federal officials said."

* An update on an interesting story out of Florida: "A Sarasota lawyer resigned his appointment to the panel that picks judges on Tuesday to call attention to the way Gov. Ron DeSantis has handled 'public access to truthful data' and the raiding of a data analyst's home."

* Afghanistan: "As the Taliban and the United States were finalizing their February deal, Taliban leaders were in frequent communication with al-Qaeda, consulting with their counterparts on the terms of the agreement and assuring them that they would not be betrayed, according to U.N. monitors."

* Ideally, we would've had a working FEC before Election Day, not after it: "The Senate on Wednesday confirmed three members to the Federal Election Commission, restoring the agency's ability to conduct official business after months without a voting quorum and bringing the panel to its full slate of six members for the first time since 2017."

* We can probably guess which country: "FireEye, a major U.S. cybersecurity company with extensive government contracts, has been hacked by a foreign country, it said Tuesday. In a company blog post, CEO Kevin Mandia called it 'an attack by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities.'"

* He's right: "Senator Tom Udall urged his colleagues on Tuesday to kill the legislative filibuster that he said had helped turn the Senate into a 'graveyard for progress,' using his farewell speech to point up a state of dysfunction in Congress that had become painfully obvious to most everyone listening to him."

See you tomorrow.