Daniel Larison, writing at Common Dreams (which is odd!), asks "Could Western Media Hysteria Lead to War With Russia?" There are so many laugh lines in this article I think I'd actually get tired of highlighting them, but the depths to which our "liberal" media will sink to keep this drama going is no laughing matter. How many folks will try to tell me tomorrow at the water cooler that our withdrawal from Afghanistan, or China's possible interest in taking over Taiwan, are "causing" this "crisis," even though folks who argue that can't argue it for shit? If Mr. Putin really tries to annex the Ukraine, it will become his Iraq, and his rule will be yet another cautionary tale to future generations. And though I'd hate to see good Ukrainians suffer either fighting his rule or living under it, let's not expend yet more blood and treasure just to keep him from destroying himself.
In a related note, Donald Trump goes on some dude's podcast to assert that Vladimir Putin is "very savvy" to go into those eastern, pro-Russian areas of the Ukraine, but why is he "savvy"? You'll never learn from Mr. Trump -- he just keeps repeating the same point over and over again, and his votaries will call that "logic" or "analysis," and worse, our "liberal" media will pass it along as such without calling the Emperor out for being naked and swinging his balls in our faces as he does every time he opens his mouth.
A CDC report informs us that scientists have found an extraordinary number of ticks in a Pennsylvania park tested positive for deer-tick virus -- 92% of the 25 sampled, almost four times higher than reported anywhere else in America, ever. Scientists aren't finding this level of deer-tick virus in other areas of the state, so we may find out it's something unique to Lawrence Township Recreational Park. But deer-tick virus is about five times as lethal as COVID, and as the planet keeps warming, we're going to have a lot more ticks. I wouldn't say deer-tick virus will be the next pandemic, at least not yet, but we ought to keep an eye on it.
In my hurry to lambaste Sen. Rick Scott for proposing higher taxes on a hundred million Americans, I forgot to remind everyone that the whole idea that 47% of Americans "don't pay taxes" and need more "skin in the game" is complete bullshit. These people who "pay no taxes" all pay payroll taxes, Medicare taxes, state taxes, sales taxes, and in some cases city wage taxes, and previous studies found that folks in the lower economic brackets actually pay a comparable percentage of their income in taxes when you figure all those things in, so feel free to tell everyone that Republicans want to raise taxes on the people who can least afford it, because it's absolutely true no matter how many Republicans try to distance themselves from the Scott platform in the coming days.
When I hear that 65% of rural voters view Democrats "unfavorably" -- with 48% of voters viewing them "strongly" unfavorably -- all I can say is that it doesn't have to be this way! Polling has also told us that rural Americans like things like Medicare-for-All, taxpayer-funded community college, and treatment for drug addiction rather than incarceration; seems like Democrats could make inroads in rural America by actually fighting for these things, as well as fighting for the small farmer who'd otherwise get trampled by big ag. The article makes other good points -- support for rural hospitals and expanding rural broadband would also get Democrats a long way with rural folks -- and I'll concede that rural voters are more hostile to "defunding the police" particularly when it's put like that, but I'd discard the finding about immigration. Nobody cares about immigration unless they're already regularly-enraged -- which, again, fighting for the things mentioned above would fix!
Finally, a CBS News/YouGov poll tells us that 80% of Americans oppose banning books "for discussing race and criticizing U.S. history, for depicting slavery in the past or more broadly for political ideas they disagree with." It really should be 100%, but 80% suggests that opposing book banning should be a layup for Democrats, until we remember that 80% of Americans also support Medicare drug price negotiation, and Democrats can't deliver that even when they don't have a filibuster to stop them. Then Republicans reframe the issue as "parents' rights," and Democrats give up, instead of saying by "parents' rights" you really mean "book banning." Seriously, they should make "book banning" their two favorite words for the next eight months, though I can't shake the feeling that they've already psyched themselves into losing Congress.