NEWS AND OPINION:
So we already know that President Biden’s budget is $6.9 trillion. The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, has delved into what’s in this budget — and what’s to come.
“Biden’s budget puts U.S. national security at risk. The budget would shortchange America’s military, with defense funding failing to keep pace with inflation,” the analysis said, citing a pertinent quote.
“For defense, this is a pretty substantial step backwards,” said Mark Cancian, a senior adviser for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in an interview with The Hill.
“In the midst of a border crisis, Biden’s budget also would cut funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Biden’s budget allocates funding to hire just 350 new Border Patrol agents — a far cry from the 18,000 agents Republicans pushed for (and Democrats voted against) last year,” the analysis said.
“Organizations across the political spectrum have criticized Biden’s budget,” it continued.
The organizations that were cited include the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the Business Roundtable.
A PASTOR HAS A SAY
The Rev. Franklin Graham recently held an evangelistic event in Vietnam, and, on his return to the U.S., stopped in Alaska — just as the Biden administration approved a ConocoPhillips proposal to drill in the National Petroleum Reserve.
Mr. Graham praised the decision in brief statements on Twitter and Facebook as “good news and common sense” and offered a thank-you to President Biden for the decision.
Mr. Graham also offered another thought.
“I believe we should be using the resources God has given us and striving for energy independence, as we were when President Trump was in office. There’s no reason we can’t do this. And I’m all for exploring alternate sources of energy for the future. As Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said, it is ‘national security suicide’ to be dependent on countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for oil. Pray for our country,” Mr. Graham said in his statement.
A MATTER OF RECORD
There is a cultural moment of sorts underway in the popular listening world. Old-school vinyl records are outselling CDs, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, an industry group that has released the financial particulars of the recording world for 2022.
“Revenues from vinyl records grew 17% to $1.2 billion — the sixteenth consecutive year of growth – and accounted for 71% of physical format revenues. For the first time since 1987, vinyl albums outsold CDs in units (41 million vs 33 million). After a 2021 rebound versus the Covid pandemic impacted 2020, revenues from CDs fell 18% to $483 million in 2022,” the organization said in its report, which was released last week.
For those who might wonder, Ronald Reagan was president in 1987 and “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles was No. 1 on the Billboard year-end chart as the most successful single of the year.
Meanwhile, recorded music revenue in the U.S. in 2022 continued to grow for the seventh consecutive year, according to the aforementioned industry report. Total revenue jumped 6% to a record high $15.9 billion, the organization said.
THE DRONE COVERAGE
A Russian jet took out a U.S. drone during an encounter over the Black Sea on Tuesday, and media coverage got jittery about the implications of the event in the aftermath. Here are some headlines from the last 48 hours:
“Russia warns U.S. to stop ‘hostile’ activity near its borders after drone incident over the Black Sea” (NBC News); “U.S. will continue drone flights after Russian jet incident” (The New York Times); “Russia blames U.S. for ‘hostile’ flights near its borders after forcing down U.S. drone” (Fox News); “U.S. relations dire after drone crash, says Russia” (Al Jazeera); “U.S. drone may not be recovered from Black Sea after Russian interception” (Reuters); “What’s known and not about U.S. drone-Russian jet encounter” (The Associated Press); and “Russian downing of U.S. drone marks escalation of confrontation near war zone” (The Guardian).
POLL DU JOUR
• 47% of U.S. adults think their life will never return “to the ‘normal’ that existed before the coronavirus pandemic”; 33% of Republicans, 49% of independents and 53% of Democrats agree.
• 42% of men and 51% of women also agree.
• 20% think their life is “not back to normal, but will eventually be normal”; 18% of Republicans, 18% of independents and 23% of Democrats agree.
• 21% of men and 19% of women also agree.
• 33% overall think their life is “completely back to normal”; 50% of Republicans, 33% of independents and 24% of Democrats agree.
• 37% of men and 30% of women also agree.
SOURCE: A Gallup poll of 5,167 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 21-28 and released Tuesday.
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