Musings & Thoughts for Wednesday, March 2, 2022, or: Biden Speaks, Ukraine Resists, and Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Streams

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s midday/early afternoon in Lithia, Florida, on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. It is a warm Florida spring day (meteorological spring began yesterday) in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 74˚F (23˚C) under sunny skies. With the wind blowing from the north-northeast at 9 MPH (14 KM/H) and humidity at 31%, the feels-like temperature is 72˚F (22˚C). Today’s forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 83˚F (28˚C). Tonight, skies will be clear, and the low will be 56˚F (13˚C).

Last night I watched most of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. I usually do not watch SOTU addresses – I find them to be somewhat tedious, self-congratulatory, and of course, political rather than factual. I liked Biden’s comments about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the outline of the everything-short-of-actually-fighting-Russia steps the U.S. has taken over the past week or so.

I was less impressed by his spiel about making sure that America’s multinational industries stop relying on overseas manufacturing facilities and supply chains, especially those in China, and bring back jobs to the United States. I agree with the President in principle, but I know how Big Business loves the relatively cheap labor in Mexico, East Asia, and other places compared to the more expensive-to-pay American labor pool. The “suits” that own Ford, GM, Apple, and other large “American” corporations love the bottom line and high profits more than they do the average American worker.

Also, American consumers – including me – are addicted to relatively inexpensive consumer goods made overseas. I don’t know about you, Dear Reader, but unless Apple, Ford, Chrysler, et al.  can offer us products that are as low as we get from China, Japan, or South Korea, I’m still going to buy Lenovo computers – made (sadly) in China – or Samsung TVs (made in Korea) because they are affordable, even for a person on a fixed income.

As I said, I watched most of Biden’s speech, so I missed the part where Republican Representatives Lauren Boebert (from Colorado) and Marjorie Taylor Greene got up and heckled Biden when he was talking about cancer victims – including his son Beau – who had died.

Both Boebert and Greene are first-term members of Congress who support former President Donald Trump. They both share an affinity for guns and the Second Amendment, spread conspiracy theories about QAnon and the “stolen” election of 2020, and spew nothing but hatred toward anyone who disagrees with the Trump “Make America Great Again” agenda.

So when I checked the news today and saw a video of Boebert and Greene getting up from their seats and yelling rude comments at the President, my reaction was, “Typically Trumpian behavior”

Regarding the war in Ukraine:

I have no illusions that Ukraine, by herself, can defeat Russia militarily. Right now, the Ukrainians have denied Putin’s invaders an outright blitzkrieg victory, and if they can inflict heavy casualties on Russian forces, maybe, just maybe, Ukraine can cause mass defections, surrenders, and even mutinies among the Russian forces.

In fact, according to the New York Times’ Eric Schmitt and Julian E. Barnes’ Some Russian Troops Are Surrendering Rather Than Fighting, Pentagon Says, this is already happening in some places in Ukraine:

WASHINGTON — Plagued by poor morale as well as fuel and food shortages, some Russian troops in Ukraine have surrendered en masse or sabotaged their own vehicles to avoid fighting, a senior Pentagon official said on Tuesday.

Some entire Russian units have laid down their arms without a fight after confronting surprisingly stiff Ukrainian defense, the official said. A significant number of the Russian troops are young conscripts who are poorly trained and ill-prepared for the all-out assault. And in some cases, Russian troops have deliberately punched holes in their vehicles’ gas tanks, presumably to avoid combat, the official said.

The Pentagon official declined to say how the military made these assessments — presumably a mosaic of intelligence including statements from captured Russian soldiers and communications intercepts — or how widespread these setbacks may be across the sprawling battlefield. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational developments.

 Of course, Putin might just decide to send more forces into Ukraine and overwhelm the defenders by sheer numbers and heavy firepower. The U.S. and NATO won’t intervene directly on Ukrainian soil – a point that Biden made clear last night – unless the war spills over to Poland or the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. I seriously doubt that Putin would be that reckless, though given how he has behaved over the past months re Ukraine, it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities, either.

In other news:

Today, subscribers to the streaming service Disney+ can watch Steven Spielberg’s reimagined film adaptation of West Side Story. It was released in theaters three months ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors prevented many people – including me – from seeing it there. 20th Century Studios – the post-Disney version of 20th Century Fox – will release West Side Story on home media in less than two weeks, but if you want to see the Jets, Sharks, Maria, Tony, Bernardo, Anita, Riff, and Chino in the timeless “Romeo and Juliet but in 1957 Manhattan” scenario as retold by one of America’s greatest filmmakers, you can “stream” it if you have a Disney+ subscription.

Aside from that, I have no personal news to share. So until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Source: Some Russian Troops Are Surrendering Rather Than Fighting, Pentagon Says, The New York Times, March 1, 2022

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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