Ho hum, states are rushing to cut taxes, using money from the American Rescue Plan Act as an excuse, though that money was a one-time expenditure. They'll use any excuse to cut taxes! And remember: when they cut taxes, usually they cut taxes a lot for their cronies and only a little, if any, for regular folks. At least the Nebraska Senate is currently filibustering one of the more nakedly pro-wealthy tax cuts out there. Some of these states have proposed cutting sales taxes, and I approve of that in a general sense, but most of them have not addressed how they're going to raise the resulting shortfall, and every state but Vermont, you may recall, has passed balanced-budget amendments to their constitutions.
Kamil Galeev argues, convincingly I think, that Vladimir Putin will lose his war with Ukraine. Long story short: Russia's more concerned with strutting its stuff than doing the hard work victory would require. Long story somewhat longer: Mr. Putin wanted to basically blitzkrieg the hell out of Ukraine without planning very much for what would happen if that didn't work -- and his blitzkrieg wasn't going to work, since he didn't even plan that well. There's even more to the story -- Russia made its military more efficient until the mid-2010s, when it turned to making its military look more impressive, and Ukraine basically went in the opposite direction. And hate to sound like a broken record, but a lot of this will sound familiar to those who followed our adventure in Iraq closely.
Samuel L. Boyd at The Conversation discusses "Why Translating 'God's Law' to Government Law Isn't Easy." The answer has nothing to do with woke mobs or deep states, of course, and more to do with the fog of passed time: what we, in retrospect, conceive of as "laws," like the Code of Hammurabi and a lot of laws described in the Torah, weren't actually laws -- Hammurabi issued plenty of decrees at odds with his Code, and how many folks during the time of Deuteronomy stoned their kid to death for drinking and rabble-rousing? Not when there was choring to be done on the farm, I bet! In addition, folks may have come up with the concept of a code of law that comes from God, as in Exodus, in order to fight the Kings who oppressed them with their laws. Folks who insist on punishing transgender folks as often as they draw breath won't be swayed by any of these notions, but the folks who would see Leviticus more as a book about universal precautions will. Note well that the latter crowd is considerably larger than the former crowd.
When I read that "Activists push Biden to Expand Renewables for Energy Independence From Russia" -- and entirely reasonable plan we would already have implemented if not for the intransigence of Joe Manchin -- I'd still be happier to read "Americans push Biden to expand renewables," not just because that's generally true of how Americans feel, but also because I'd like us all to think of ourselves as activists, since that's what defending democracy and defending civilization requires. I'd like us all to think of ourselves as activists even though some Americans only discovered their love of activism because they didn't want to wear masks at Costco. I'd also prefer to read that "big energy corporations push Biden to expand renewables," since they're the biggest obstacle to a more renewable energy grid. The article's still very good, though, namely for its lengthy refutation of the notion that fracked natural gas will solve our energy problems. I mean, gosh, you've got sun and wind everywhere.
Our Centers for Disease Control (or CDC) finds, after analyzing over 70,000 blood samples, that over 140 million Americans, including a majority of our nation's children, have had COVID through late January. That's way more than official reports give -- Worldometers.info counts a little over 80 million infections total in the United States, which doesn't even mean 80 million people infected -- and it also maps on to The Lancet's finding from January that official sources have way, way underreported COVID infections.
Finally, President Biden delivered his State of the Union address on Tuesday night -- it was a good speech, a little heavy on solutions, if anything -- but Republicans didn't waste any time acting like idiots about it. Sen. Marco Rubio (E-FL) boycotted it because he'd have to take a COVID test beforehand, and because "I only take a test if I'm sick." Why, it's like he hasn't learned after two years that some 40 percent of all COVID infections come without symptoms! I spy something that's going to wind up in Val Demings's campaign ads; she might even call it "Where's Marco?" Meanwhile, Reps. Boebert (Q-CO) and Greene (Q-GA) heckled Mr. Biden while he was talking with a "build the wall" chant; if Democrats have any brains/guts at all, they'll run at least the photo accompanying the story in campaign ads. Ain't nothing an independent voter likes less than a person shouting on TV.