Outside the Outbreak: Barrett hearings begin, Lakers win NBA championship

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Graham, Harris share spotlight as Barrett hearings begin

FILE – In this Oct. 1, 2020, file photo Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, meets with Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, at the Capitol in Washington. Hearings before the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee will begin Monday, Oct. 12, for Barrett. (Erin Scott/Pool via AP, File)

Senate Republicans are vowing a quick confirmation for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, as the party — undeterred by coronavirus infections or other distractions — rushes to put conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the high court before the Nov. 3 election.

The process starts Monday with hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearings are likely to be a hybrid of in-person questioning and some participation via video after three GOP senators — including two on the committee — contracted the virus.

The GOP-led panel has held more than 20 hearings during the pandemic as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues his drive to confirm conservative judges. The hearings have all had a combination of in-person and remote questioning.

Bubble Kings: Lakers run past Heat for 17th NBA championship

The Los Angeles Lakers players celebrate after the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of basketball’s NBA Finals Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

This season, for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, had it all. And it ended in the only fashion that they deemed would be acceptable, with them back atop the basketball world.

For the first time since Kobe Bryant’s fifth and final title a decade ago, the Lakers are NBA champions. James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday night to win the NBA Finals in six games.

Anthony Davis had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who dealt with the enormous anguish that followed the death of the iconic Bryant in January and all the challenges that came with leaving home for three months to play at Walt Disney World in a bubble designed to keep inhabitants safe from the coronavirus.

Trump administration targets diversity hiring by contractors

FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2019 file photo, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks during a company event in New York. Nadella said in June 2020 that the tech company would double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

American companies promising to hire more Black employees in leadership roles and teach their workforce about racism are getting a message from President Donald Trump’s administration: Watch your step if you want to keep doing business with the federal government.

Trump’s Labor Department is using a 55-year-old presidential order spurred by the Civil Rights Movement to scrutinize companies like Microsoft and Wells Fargo over their public commitments to diversity. Government letters sent last week warned both companies against using “discriminatory practices” to meet their goals.

Microsoft has brushed off the warnings, publicly disclosing the government inquiry and defending its plan to boost Black leadership.

‘We can’t lose our momentum:’ Louisiana vows to rebuild

Soncia King holds onto her husband Patrick King in Lake Charles, La., Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, as they walk through the flooded street to their home, after Hurricane Delta moved through on Friday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Back-to-back hurricanes in the space of six weeks left parts of Louisiana blanketed Sunday with tarpaulins, mangled metal and downed power lines — but not necessarily despair.

Utility crews fanned out across the battered southwestern part of the state to restore electricity in the wake of Hurricane Delta, and residents began returning home along roads lined with debris and houses missing roofs. Some were grateful that the damage was not as bad as it could have been.

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