🇺🇸 DeSantis Deescalating

Plus, goose seeking goose.

The Flag


Good morning, and happy Thursday!  A refugee in British Columbia is reunited with her dog after fleeing Afghanistan nearly a year earlier.

Plus, an Iowa cemetery staff shares a Facebook ad to find a 'life partner' for a recently widowed goose.

Also, want a truly good afternoon? Skip the second shot of espresso and try a clean cup of NoonBrew.


📉 Wednesday, March 15, President Biden Job Approval: Approve 39, Disapprove 55 (Quinnipiac)

📉 Wednesday, March 15, President Biden Job Approval: Approve 49, Disapprove 50 (Rasmussen Reports)

📉 Wednesday, March 15, President Biden Job Approval: Approve 45, Disapprove 52 (Economist/YouGov)

📉 Wednesday, March 15, Congressional Job Approval: Approve 24, Disapprove 51 (Economist/YouGov)


Right: Doug Emhoff likens frustrated parents at school board meetings to Holocaust: 'Hate' Ryan King, Washington Examiner

Right: Trump’s Allies File an Ethics Complaint against Ron DeSantis Jim Geraghty, National Review

Right: Biden admin buckles to environmental groups, makes sudden reversal on key decision Thomas Catenacci, Fox News

Left: Manchin now says bank deregulation isn’t great despite “yes” vote on 2018 repeal Sharon Zhang, Salon

Left: This Man Could Steer Evangelicals From Trump to DeSantis. Will He? Molly Olmstead, Slate

Left: Wisconsin Republicans Propose Abortion Ban Exceptions Scott Bauer, HuffPost


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Credit Suisse Crumbling? Fire and Fraud? Rodgers Not Retiring

Economy: Stock market news today: Stocks, yields fall amid Credit Suisse turmoil (Yahoo Finance)

World: Russia-Ukraine war: US general says drone crash part of Moscow's increasing aggression (Reuters) + Russia to try recovering downed US drone, as US vows to 'protect our equities' (Fox News)

US: Federal judge in Texas hears case that could force a major abortion pill off market (NPR)

US: Who is Guo Wengui? A Steve Bannon ally and billionaire just got indicted. (Vox) + NYC fire: FBI investigating after blaze at Upper East Side hotel where Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui arrested (Eyewitness News)

World: Iran says 110 arrested over suspected schoolgirl poisonings (ABC News)

Entertainment: 'What You Won't Do for Love' singer Bobby Caldwell dies at 71 (NBC News

Sports: Rodgers says he wants to play for Jets in 2023 (ESPN)


DeSantis Deescalating

Earlier this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis indicated getting “further entangled” in the war between Russia and Ukraine is not a vital US national interest. While DeSantis has yet to declare himself a candidate for president, opinion polls place him as the closest challenger to former President Trump for the GOP nomination.

Reporting from the Left: DeSantis saying Ukraine support is not 'vital' national interest sparks backlash in GOP (CNN)

Reporting from the Right: Ron DeSantis rips Biden's 'blank-check' Ukraine policy as US announces additional aid: 'Not acceptable' (Fox News)

From the Flag: With the war between Ukraine and Russia now past its one-year mark, there are varying opinions as to how important it is for the West – and specifically the US – to be involved. The Biden administration has already sent weaponry and committed over $37 billion in funding. Here’s more from both sides.


The Fog of War: Is DeSantis Running Afoul of Republicans?

  • DeSantis just stepped in it by refusing to fully back Ukraine’s fight to preserve its independence, and it will harm his campaign.
  • While commentary is quick to paint DeSantis’ position as controversial and divisive, Americans’ opinions vary on the issue.
  • DeSantis is choosing to align himself with Tucker Carlson, former President Trump, and the more isolationist wing of the GOP.

“Ron DeSantis Gets Ukraine Wrong” Noah Rothman, National Review: “The statement Florida governor Ron DeSantis provided Fox News host Tucker Carlson regarding his outlook on Russia’s war against Ukraine… potentially represents a significant liability for his campaign. ‘While the US has many vital national interests… becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.’ DeSantis cites the urgent threat posed by the ‘economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party,’ which is presumably going unmet because of the West’s commitments in Europe. This weak and convoluted statement is likely to haunt DeSantis in both the primary campaign and, should he make it that far, the general election. Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is a ‘dispute’ over territory in the same way a bank robber and depositor have a ‘dispute’ over money.”

“Ron DeSantis, in the mainstream on Ukraine” Byron York, Washington Examiner: “... a New York Times headline, (reported) that DeSantis had ‘sharply broken with Republicans who are determined to defend Ukraine against Russia's invasion’ and had moved ‘in line with (Trump)’ … Some critics quickly linked DeSantis not just to Trump but to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the man who attacked Ukraine. … There were lots of tweets echoing those themes. But read what DeSantis wrote. Are his positions somehow out of line with national security? Do they conflict with fundamental human decency? Do they side with Putin over the West? The answer to each question is no. In fact, DeSantis's answers to the Carlson questions fall into the broad middle of American views on US support for Ukraine. They are...reasonable. … There is a range of opinion on what the US should do in the Ukraine matter, and DeSantis occupies an entirely legitimate position, no matter what his more excitable critics might say.”

One last opinion piece from the Right: DeSantis Sends Putin a Message Charlie Sykes, The Bulwark


Following the Numbers, DeSantis Refuses To Stand By Ukraine

  • DeSantis is falling in line with polling that suggests Republican voters are growing leery of continuing to fund Ukraine’s war with Russia.
  • Although DeSantis gave himself an out, his soft stance on the issue sends a signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • DeSantis' comments tick all the boxes on right-wing nationalist rhetoric, putting a focus on border security and China.

“Why the 2024 shadow campaign between Trump and DeSantis should worry Ukraine” Stephen Collinson, CNN: “Donald Trump says he’d end the war in Ukraine in one day and avert World War III, while Ron DeSantis is keener on waging a culture war than a proxy one to save a foreign democracy. The ex-president and the Florida governor’s escalating shadow campaign for the 2024 Republican nomination is likely to exacerbate the already growing antipathy among grassroots conservatives for being Ukraine’s arsenal of democracy. This should worry the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has profusely thanked Americans for their multi-billion dollar generosity while warning he will keep asking for more. … Recent polling helps explain the GOP positioning on Ukraine. Support for the US providing weapons to the country has decreased compared with last spring, according to an AP-NORC survey conducted in late January, and that decline was sharper among Republicans – down to 39% from 53% in May 2022.”

“Ron DeSantis Thrills Tucker Carlson by Taking Pro-Russian Stance” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine Opinion: “A few weeks ago… onetime hawk Ron DeSantis surprisingly sounded a Trump-y line, dismissing the Russian threat and presenting American support for Ukraine as a distraction from ‘real’ problems. On Monday night, DeSantis presented a statement to Tucker Carlson expanding his position. … Supporters of Ukraine’s independence can console themselves with some good news. First, because DeSantis adopted this position so recently, it is a transparent matter of pandering that he might well walk back if elected. And second, despite all his signals of disinterest in deterring Russia, DeSantis did not call for an immediate end to military assistance, giving himself a little bit of wiggle room. But the downside is that his signals will be heard loud and clear in Moscow, where Carlson’s commentary is a regular feature of state television. Putin now has every reason to believe he simply needs to hang on until the Republicans take office again.”

One last opinion piece from the Left: DeSantis tells Tucker Carlson and the GOP base what they want to hear on Ukraine Zeeshan Aleem MSNBC


Republicans and Democrats Hold Similar Views Toward Russia

A poll released this week found 9 in 10 Americans have an “unfavorable view” of Russia. Just 9% hold a “favorable view” – which is down from 15% in 2022.

Along party lines, an identical 6% of Republicans and Democrats say they hold a “favorable view” toward Russia, while 11% of Independents say the same.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of Americans say they view Ukraine favorably.

Russia joins Iran, North Korea, and Iraq as nations that receive nearly universal disapproval from the American public (Gallup).


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Father of the Constitution, Polar Bear Jail, Dad-Bod Gladiators

Madison as a student at Princeton, portrait by James Sharples

On March 16, 1651: James Madison, drafter of the Constitution, recorder of the Constitutional Convention, author of the Federalist Papers and fourth president of the United States, is born on a plantation in Virginia.

Atlas Obscura: Inside Canada’s Polar Bear Jail

Outside: It’s Okay to Be Good and Not Great

Atlas Obscura: Here’s Why Your Brain Won’t Let You Remember New Passwords

Today I Learned Roman gladiators were overweight – not muscle-bound – and ate mostly vegetarian diets.