Somewhat good news, everyone! Our Supreme Court has rejected pleas from Republicans to overturn state Supreme Court-ordered districting maps in both Pennsylvania and North Carolina. While consistent with Justice Alito's refusal to reconsider Pennsylvania state Supreme Court-drawn Congressional map in 2018, it's not good news that four of the nine Justices (including Mr. Alito, of course!) wanted to take the suits, and may want to limit state courts' jurisdiction over legislative redistricting. Even in states which give the courts a role in redistricting by law? I wouldn't put it past them.
Ho hum, gas prices are going up all over America, ostensibly because of Russia, but turns out we only buy 3% of our oil from Russia to begin with! So why are gas prices so high? The economist interviewed in the article makes fairly unconvincing arguments -- if Russia's imports to the Northeast were already down, why are New Jersey gas stations selling gas a few cents above the national average? We learned in 2005 that a state with major oil refineries (in Paulsboro and Elizabeth) shouldn't have that problem. I smell price-gouging here, just as a lot of us do almost everywhere else.
Read Stanislav Markus's explanation of why Russia's oligarchs -- targeted by Western sanctions over Russia's invasion of the Ukraine -- are "a Group of Men Who Won't Be Toppling Putin Anytime Soon" and you'll likely be quite depressed at all the post-Soviet corruption it describes, a matter about which right-wingers have never seemed terribly concerned. The 1990s and 2000s waves of privatization (first of parts of the Soviet state, then of public services) were so irredeemably corrupt it's heartbreaking; this is the same civilization that produced Tolstoy and Chekhov. Anyway, the oligarchs have a lot of money now but no power, by Mr. Putin's design, and the oligarchs who do speak out (Mr. Markus says there'll be more of them) don't play well together.
Idaho state Senate passes an anti-abortion bill modeled on Texas's notorious S.B. 8, though Idaho's bill narrows who can sue -- it specifically allows women who get abortions, the men who impregnated them, and their immediate family members to sue. That difference clearly represents an attempt to circumvent the obvious issue with the Texas law, which is the standing issue, and while I still don't see how a family can have standing to sue over another family member getting an abortion (particularly if they're not parents of a minor!), I can all too easily see the right-wing supermajority on our Supreme Court deciding this (and not the Mississippi or Texas laws) is the back-door abortion ban they've been looking for all their lives.
As I contemplate the way in which the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation into Donald Trump has, in the New York Times's words, "unraveled," I am reminded that rich folks just don't go to prison very often. I've argued with co-workers many times about this -- they see Donald Trump as someone who's so obviously bad at crime that surely anyone with eyes to see can see it. And they're right! He is pretty brazen and awful! But almost anything that happens during the course of an investigation creates an opportunity, and folks with money can exploit those opportunities better than the rest of us can imagine. Cyrus Vance's departure as Manhattan D.A., and his replacement by Alvin Bragg, created just such an opening. We may not learn what happened here until the historians take up the matter.
Finally, ITEP evaluates how much Rick Scott's Get Skinned by the Game plan will cost poorer working families across America. These folks already have "skin in the game" because they pay payroll taxes and Medicare taxes (not to mention state income taxes, property taxes, city wage taxes, and sales taxes), but ITEP's analysis provides even more fodder for Democrat attack ads, if they have the guts to run them. If Democrats were to air ITEP's finding that Mississippi residents could face 50 percent tax hikes under the Scott plan, they might even win a couple of races there. (Hate to pile on, but people's lives are not a "game." Only an irredeemable asshole like Rick Scott would call it a game.)