Here's another deleterious side effect of moving quickly during a pandemic: new brands of hand sanitizers with high levels of carcinogens. The online pharmacy Valisure filed a petition with our FDA last week finding that at least 15 brands of hand sanitizer contained the carcinogen benzene at levels above 2 ppm -- a level our FDA set a year ago, probably to encourage production. Benzene is one of the worst carcinogens, per our Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization. The link above provides a list of the brands Valisure identified; I haven't heard of any of them, suggesting that brand name recognition has some utility.
You've heard of Joe Biden's American Families Plan? Well, the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy finds that the plan's tax hikes would fall almost entirely on the top 1 percent of taxpayers. Specifically, it'd bring back the 39.6% tax bracket on income over $400,000 (but why not go higher?), while also subjecting capital gains and dividend income over $1 million to the same tax rate (it's currently 20%). It'd do other things, too, like finally end the "carried interest" loophole that lets hedge fund managers pay less on their unearned millions than you do on your hard-earned thousands.
Amanda Marcotte at Salon writes that President Biden has "turned the tables" on Republicans, partly by speaking plainly (which I wasn't sure would be a strength with him!), partly by embracing actually-popular ideas (though not enough of them, not yet!), and partly because Republicans don't even talk policy anymore, but just talk about whatever diddles the Batshit Insane 25%'s rage glands. I just hope her assessment isn't premature, even though he's done a good bit better than I thought he would. And I'm ashamed to say I didn't realize that the Republicans' Kamala's-in-charge trope is all about stoking racist and sexist rage. I mean, I can't explain it any other way!
In a peripherally-related note, Chris Walker at TruthOut reminds us that Republicans demand "unity" but that most voters like President Biden's policy prescriptions thus far. Far from being "catnip for their liberal base," as Mob Boss Mitch put it, the American Rescue Plan enjoyed 63% support in polling, while the For the People Act, putatively a "Democrat power grab," also in Mob Boss Mitch's words, garners 68%, which is actually a bit lower than the 70% of Americans who think Republicans should find common ground with President Biden, a cunning reversal of the usual "liberal" media formulation. Thus we are reminded that, just as "healing" meant "forget the hurt we caused you," "unity" means "submit to our will."
Sen. Scott's Republican response to the Biden address got all the ink, but Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) also delivered a response to the Biden address -- for the Working Families Party, and from the left. The WFP has been a fixture of New York state politics for over 20 years, though it has run or endorsed candidates in other states. I sure hope nobody from the right whines about "the liberals" getting two responses to the Biden address, lest I remind them that it wasn't that long ago that both the Republican party and the Tea Party -- the latter of which existed more in fever dreams and fundraising drives than in reality -- gave responses to numerous Obama State of the Union addresses.
Finally, Sen. Ted Cruz (E-TX) declares he won't be taking any more corporate PAC money. Not because corporations redistribute worker income upward to executives or pollute the planet or make unsafe products, but because they "run away" when the "left's digital pitchforks come out." In other words, Ted Cruz is as much a friend to the American worker as Marco Rubio, who infamously supported the Amazon union drive only because Amazon no longer sells some of his favorite right-wing screeds. Well, Ted Cruz is nothing if not cunning, so he might get a few new votes by pretending to hate corporate power without actually hating corporate power. And rageheads won't notice the difference.