The Wider World

Biden slams Russian invasion of Ukraine in “State of Union”

AN ESTIMATED 26.9 million people watched the “State of the Union” address on television.

President Joe Biden vowed in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would “pay a price” for the invasion of Ukraine.

Devoting the first part of his address to the crisis in Eastern Europe, Biden declared that America and its allies – along with most of the world would stand firm.

“Six days ago … [Putin] sought to shake the very foundations of the free world, thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways,” said Biden. “But he badly miscalculated. He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead, he met with a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined. He met the Ukrainian people.”

Biden detailed the efforts that America is making – short of direct military intervention – to support Ukraine’s struggle against the invader. That nation’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova was honored with a standing ovation.

The president also lauded what he felt were his administration’s successes in reviving the economy and in battling the coronavirus. He also called on Congress to pass several of his key initiatives including voting rights protections and measures to improve and expand health care.

He appealed to his audience – both in the Capitol and those watching on TV – to “stop seeing each other as enemies.”

Generally, those present applauded much of what Biden said in defense of Ukraine, but on certain domestic policy issues, some Republican members of Congress shouted out objections.

In the official Republican response to Biden’s speech, Kansas Gov. Kim Reynolds criticized the president for “weakness on the world stage” and termed his domestic policies as “instead of moving America forward, it feels like President Biden and his party have sent us back in time.”

An instant poll by CNN indicated that 73 percent of those watching the speech felt that Biden’s plans would “move the country in the right direction” and that 71 percent felt that they were now more optimistic.

However, supporters of the incumbent president generally represent a larger portion of the viewing audience than those of the rival party, skewing the results somewhat to the Democrat’s favor.

Russians ramp up attacks in Ukraine

RUSSIAN attacks in Ukraine continue, and more economic sanctions are unveiled (Shutterstock).

Three Ukrainian cities – Kharkiv, Kherson, and Mariupol – are encircled by Russian troops on the sixth day of the Russian invasion of the neighboring nation of Ukraine.

Here are some major developments on the war, according to Associated Press and other major new organizations:

  • At least 11 people were killed and others injured in Kharkiv in Russian shelling in that city, Ukraine’s second-largest.
  • Shells hit the main TV tower in the capital city of Kyiv (Kiev).
  • President Biden announced at the State of the Union address that the U.S. will ban Russian airplanes from American airspace. Canada and members of the European Union have already taken that action.

Sports: Baseball season pared down

The first two series of the 2022 Major League Baseball season – if there ever is one – have been cancelled.

According to, commissioner Rob Manfred made that announcement on Tuesday as negotiations between owners and the player’s union failed to reach enough agreement to end the lockout.

For local fans, that means that the spring training games for the Angels and Dodgers will also be pushed back or cancelled as well.

Weather: Heat will peak, then it’s cool

Our last taste of premature summer weather will be on Wednesday in the West Orange County area. The daytime high is forecast to hit 82, with an overnight low of 51. The thermometer will take a U-turn on Thursday, the daytime high plunging to 70 (52) as clouds begin to move in. Friday is expected to be wet, with an 85 percent chance of rain and a daytime high of 58 (48).

Business: Ford vehicles do the splits

A reorganization of Ford Motor Co. into separate businesses – one for electric vehicles and one for vehicles with internal combustion engines – is expected to be announced on Wednesday.

According to the move is intended to facilitate an eventual transition away from vehicles that burn fossil fuels. There are no present plans to “spin off” one of those businesses, but that’s not ruled out.

The move would follow a recent decision by French automaker Renault to create separate division for its electric and gasoline engine vehicles.

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