CVIndependent

Tue11242020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

It’s common practice for media organizations to prepare coverage of certain events before said events have actually happened.

Take obituaries, for example. The Associated Press, The New York Times and other large media organizations have files upon files of pre-written obituaries for prominent people. (Reporters once worked on them on what used to be called “slow news days,” a concept that the year 2020 has completely and totally obliterated.) This way, when a death does occur, all editors need to do is pull out the pre-written obit, add in a date and a cause of death, and perhaps update a few details before quickly publishing. This practice is sometimes called “preparedness.”

Sometimes, this preparedness can cause weirdness. The New York Times, for example, has a long and storied history of publishing bylined obituaries penned by writers who themselves have been dead for years.

Then there’s the problem of obituaries making their way to the wire or the internet before the subject has actually died. My favorite example of this happened back in 1998, when someone working for the AP hit the wrong button, more or less, and sent out Bob Hope’s obituary. The obit was clearly not complete—a bunch of x’s were in the places where Hope’s cause of death and his age would have been—but the story got the attention of an aide to then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey, which led to Hope’s death being announced on the House floor. Which led Reuters to report Hope’s death. Which led ABC Radio to report Hope’s death. And so on.

Hope would live five more years.

Today, in an effort to get things published online quickly after they happen, some news websites will pre-write stories, just in case something, which may or may not happen, actually happens. And this brings us to the big mistake Deadline made yesterday.

The background: Vice President Mike Pence cancelled an event scheduled for today in his home state. Even though a Pence spokesman said at the time that COVID-19 was NOT the reason for the change, the fact that the White House is now confirmed to have been the site of a super-spreader event led to all sorts of speculation—and apparently led Deadline to write up a piece announcing that Pence had tested positive for COVID-19, so it was ready to go in case that actually happened.

But then someone at Deadline actually published the piece. And then the piece was shared on Deadline’s Twitter page.

As with the AP’s premature Bob Hope obit, it was clear to anyone paying attention that the Deadline piece was published prematurely, given “PREP. DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THE NEWS CROSSES” was in the headline before the actual headline. But that didn’t stop people from jumping to erroneous conclusions —even though as of this writing, the vice president appears to be COVID-free.

Sigh. I miss slow news days.

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Today’s news:

The second presidential debate is officially cancelled. The Commission on Presidential Debates wanted to make the scheduled Oct. 15 debate a virtual event, because one of the two participants was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. However, that participant refused to participate in a virtual event, so the debate was cancelled. As of now, the Oct. 22 debate remains on the schedule, but who in the hell knows what the 13 days between now and then will bring.

And then there’s this headline from The New York Times: “Trump plans to hold a rally for thousands on the White House lawn Saturday, raising new concerns over possible virus spread.” He also has a rally planned in Florida on Monday. Yes, really.

Related, from Reuters: “U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of President Donald Trump’s most powerful allies in Washington, has avoided visiting the White House for more than two months because of its handling of the coronavirus, he told reporters on Thursday.” Holy cow!

• Oh, and the White House last month blocked the CDC from requiring masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation, according to the Times. My god.

• Hey, who needs a drink? We’re only the intro plus three stories into this Digest, but I sure do … and a Manhattan sounds amazing! But did you know the sweet vermouth you use in a Manhattan is just as important as the whiskey? So here’s a Thrillist piece on some good sweet vermouths.

• Before we get to more despair, let’s share some good news on the COVID-19 battle. First: Two drug-makers have requested emergency-use authorizations for antibody therapies to battle SARS-CoV-2—including the one the president received. Per NBC News: “The announcements from drug manufacturers Regeneron and Eli Lilly came within hours of Trump making public pleas to drum up support and enthusiasm for the medicines—referring to the antibodies as a ‘cure,’ despite a lack of evidence backing up such a claim.” Still, the therapies show promise.

Fingers crossed regarding this CNBC lede: “Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday the U.S. could have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for every American as early as March, a more optimistic estimate than President Donald Trump has publicly said.”

Also from CNBC comes the news that the FDA has granted emergency authorization for a rapid test that can screen patients for both the flu and COVID-19—plus other viruses and bugs.

• Hey, another silver lining! COVID-19 is making us filthy Americans wash our disgusting hands more frequently.

The New York Times today published yet another piece regarding portions of President Trump’s taxes where the numbers don’t really add up. This story involves a mysterious $21 million in payments to Trump in 2016 that largely “went through a company called Trump Las Vegas Sales and Marketing that had little previous income, no clear business purpose and no employees.”

Yet another NFL team was in limbo today after a positive COVID-19 test. (It turned out that the test was apparently a false positive.) As CNBC points out, the NFL is likely to keep playing, no matter what—because too much money is at stake.

• Did you know that the rich have access to private firefighting crews? The Los Angeles Times points out that not only does this raise serious questions about societal inequities; “when private, for-profit groups come in and don’t follow protocol, they can confuse residents, get in the way of firefighting activities or even require assistance themselves.”

• Why in the world are rolling blackouts still a thing in 2020? According to our partners at CalMatters, the preliminary results of an investigation into the blackouts earlier this year show the state did a bad job at planning and preparing.

Also from CalMatters, via the Independent: Proposition 24 is one of the most confusing questions on the ballot this year. It’s supposed to protect citizens’ privacy on the internet … but leading privacy advocates disagree on whether the proposition would actually do that.

Happy Friday, everyone. We made it through another crazy week! Be safe, and have a great weekend. The Digest will return Monday.

Published in Daily Digest

On this week's sunblock-covered weekly Independent comics page: The K Chronicles sings to Roseanne, with apologies to The Police; This Modern World looks at the Nazification of America; Jen Sorenson discovers a security flaw in American brains; Red Meat chats with Wally about his trip to the beach; and Apoca Clips takes a belated knee for Memorial Day.

Published in Comics

On this week's nutmeg-tinged weekly Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson goes shopping at the Bunker Bunker; The K Chronicles celebrates a touchdown; This Modern World ponders sexual harassment; Apoca Clips goes back to campaign greatest-hits; and Red Meat knocks out some hummingbirds.

Published in Comics

New: So Cal-Based Chain Luna Grill Opens Its Doors in Palm Desert

Luna Grill claims to be “one of the country’s hottest fast-casual concepts.” While we are not sure exactly what that means, we are sure that the 39th and newest Luna Grill is located in Palm Desert, at 73405 Highway 111, in Palm Desert—and we’re also sure that the Mediterranean-style food being served there is pretty darned delicious.

Independent contributor Kevin Fitzgerald and I were fortunate enough to attend a pre-opening training-day lunch at Luna. I ordered the chicken kabob and gyros plate ($14.95) while Kevin had the chicken wrap ($9.50), and we split the handcrafted spinach pie ($5.25) as a starter. While we had minor quibbles—the chicken in Kevin’s wrap was a little dry, and the rice on my plate needed a bit more flavor—everything was delicious (especially that gyro meat!).

The first Luna Grill opened in 2004, and there are now locations across Southern California, as well as in the Dallas, Texas, area. The company is in a “strategic growth push,” according to a news release, so don’t be surprised to be more locations popping up.

For more information, or to order food online, visit lunagrill.com.


Roc’s Firehouse Grille Cancels NFL Sunday Ticket in Protest of the Protests

On Oct. 4, ROC’s Firehouse Grille, located at 36891 Cook St., in Palm Desert, made an announcement on Facebook: Owner Roland O. Cook was cancelling the restaurant’s subscription to DIRECTV and NFL Sunday Ticket due to the ongoing player protests, during which some players are kneeling during the national anthem.

In the lengthy announcement, Cook—a former firefighter—said that he supported the rights of the players to protest, but that cops and military officers are his friends, and he thinks political divisions are “killing” the country.

“It’s a sure recipe for destroying our children's future,” he wrote. “Damn, can’t you leave politics out of football and just play the game on Sunday? Emphasis on ‘play’ and ‘game.’”

The announcement was followed by hundreds of comments both in support of and opposition to ROC’s decision. The public comment chain is at times moving, at times horrifying (with some definite ignorance and racism here and there), and completely fascinating.

While I disagree in principle with Cook’s decision, I admire his willingness to take a stand for something in which he believes. Beyond that, I’ll leave the pros-and-cons discussion of these player protests—started by Colin Kaepernick, regarding the disproportionate number of deaths of minorities at the hands of law enforcement in this country—for other sections of this newspaper, and simply refer you to www.facebook.com/ROCsFirehouseGrille, where you can read Cook’s announcement and the many, many comments that follow.


In Brief

So long, Appetito. The “Cal-Italian Deli” at 1700 S. Camino Real, in Palm Springs, has closed its doors. A sign went up saying the place would be closed for deep cleaning … and then everything inside disappeared. … Also closed: Palmie French Restaurant, which was located at 44491 Town Center Way in Palm Desert. … And now some good news: Numerous new restaurants continue to open along Highway 111 in Palm Desert. In addition to Luna Grill, the second valley location of Dragon Sushi will soon be opening—if it hasn’t already—at 72261 Highway 111. The original Dragon Sushi, at 82451 Highway 111, in Indio, is wildly popular. Let’s hope this new Dragon Sushi location lasts longer than a short-lived Cathedral City incarnation did three years ago. Search for Dragon Sushi Palm Desert on Facebook for more info. … Just down the street, the second Pokehana is open, at 73405 Highway 111, following in the footsteps of the original location in La Quinta. Learn more at www.pokehana.com. … Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, has hired Alen Badzak as the new executive chef. Badzak’s resume includes stints at the Europa Restaurant at the Villa Royale Inn, The Nest and The New York Company Restaurant. He replaces Jennifer Town, who moved over to Melvyn’s/Ingleside Inn. Learn more at purpleroompalmsprings.com. … Local wine-seller and social club Mood Wine is holding a red-wine tasting at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Tipper’s Gourmet Marketplace, at 276 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Food bites will be paired with the wines on offer; tickets are $57.30. Find more information and a ticket link at www.facebook.com/moodwinellc. … Mark your calendars: The Palm Desert Food and Wine festival will return March 23-25, 2018. Get tickets or sign up for updates at www.palmdesertfoodandwine.com. … If you don’t want to wait until March for local food-fest fun, no worries: The Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival is slated for Feb. 17, 2018. Head to www.ranchomiragewineandfoodfestival.com for tickets and details.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

On this week's fall-tinged weekly Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson looks behind the conspiracy theories; The K Chronicles takes a survey; This Modern World talks to a gun nut; Apoca Clips listens in as Trumpy and Pence talk strategy; and Red Meat gets ready for bed.

Published in Comics

Dear Mexican: I’m very bothered by the fact that football player/coach Tom Flores is not in the Hall of Fame.

I could go on and on as to why Mr. Flores should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but I will provide you and your readers with only three incontrovertible facts. First, Tom Flores coached the Raiders for nine seasons and won two Super Bowls. John Madden coached the Raiders for 10 seasons and won one Super Bowl. (John Madden is in the Hall of Fame.) Next, Tom Flores is the only person to win a Super Bowl as a quarterback, an assistant coach and a head coach. Lastly, Tom made it from a small town in the San Joaquin Valley. He never had any alcohol, drug or womanizing problems. He is a role model for all people in our country.

My question for you is this: Let’s say that Tom Flores was not your Tío Tomás, but rather your Uncle Tom. Do you think that he would have already been voted into the NFL Hall of Fame? I have heard through the grapevine that there is occasionally a bias against Latino excellence. (I’m being sarcastic here.) I realize that the Tío Tomás/Uncle Tom line may be a bit controversial even for you. Feel free to change this as you wish. Here are some ideas. Let’s say that Tom Flores was African American, Asian or Caucasian. Let’s say that Tom Flores was not Mr. Flores, but Mr. Flowers. I like the original line better, but I am aware of the times in which we live. I’m looking forward to your response.

Raider/Nader/Vader Fan

Dear Pocho: Man, you were funny with your Tío Tomás/Uncle Tom line, but then you became unfunny when you tried to explain it, and then you became straight CHAVALA when you tried to take it back because you’re afraid of PC pendejos. Fuck them!

Your idiocies aside, it’s not racism that keeps Tom Flores out of the Hall of Fame; it’s his lack of bona fides. Sure, he won two Super Bowls in nine seasons—but George Seifert won two in six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, and he’s not going in. The only other person besides Flores to win a Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and head coach was Mike Ditka—but he got in as one of the greatest tight ends in history, not for his coaching career. And while Flores is an inspiring story, that means Brian Piccolo should be in—and he’s not going in.

Don’t get me wrong; it would be awesome to have Flores in the Hall, as he’d be just the third Latino in there after the half-Mexi Tom Fears and full Chicano (with bad rodillas) Anthony Muñoz. But Flores is a lost cause, just like his quarterback, Jim Plunkett, another Mexican who isn’t going into the Hall of Fame despite two Super Bowl victories. Unfair? Tell that to Peyton and Eli Manning.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: With all these NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, how do the Mexicans feel about this? Do they still resent the United States for robando their territory, or do they appreciate the U.S. and its oportunidades?

Jerry Juero Jones

Dear JJJ: Both—but none of those feelings have anything to do with how we feel about Colin Kaepernick and the movement he inspired.

Frankly, Mexicans LOVE those kneel-downs, because we’re all about inconvenient protests that make gabachos angry. Whether it’s undocumented students chaining themselves together while shielding their handcuffs with PVC pipe and laying down in busy intersections, or hundreds of thousands of us taking to the streets in 2006 to demand amnesty, or hundreds of our youth waving around the Mexican flag in the face of good liberals who beg them to wave the Stars and Stripes, Mexicans know the power of pissing off the powers that be. Sure, you’re going to be unpopular in the short run, and even turn off potential supporters, but it’s all about the long game. And the juego largo is to bring pride to your side—to let the world know you’re no longer content with being peons or house slaves, and to inspire others to be unafraid of your minority status.

Besides, Mexicans are a forgiving lot: All our sports stars have to do is win, and all is forgiven. Hell, gabachos are worse—what else explains all the fans who go see the Penn State Nittany Lions football squad? Or the continued popularity of R. Kelly?

Dear Mexican: Is there such a thing as “reverse racism” anymore? Or have you and other “minorities” gained enough clout, sympathy and numbers in this country to admit that it is just called blatant racism now? 

Pinche Gringo

Dear Gabacho: Donald Trump is president, and he’s killing Puerto Rico. Oh, and #fucktrump.

Dear Mexican: Why is that Mexicans put every cheap accessory from Pep Boys or Kragen on their trucks? I mean, the cars that they drive started the lowrider thing, and those are so cool—but the trucks look like a JC Whitney catalog gone crazy. There’s no style, rhyme or reason: Turbo stickers on a truck with a straight-six motor. Fiberglass fender flares of different colors with chrome edges added as an afterthought.

You know exactly what I am talking about. Not that I disapprove—to each their own on customizing … just wondering.

TC in South OC

Dear Gabacho: Don’t forget the bull stickers, or the bull huevos hanging from the rear, or the silhouette sticker of Chalino loading one of his guns, or—for our Central American hermanos—that sticker of a cherubic boy wearing baggy pants and a floppy backward baseball cap who is waving the flag of a particular country. To each their own on customizing, indeed.

But ain’t it funny how when gabachos do haphazard decorations on their vehicles, it’s called Kustom Kulture, and gets books and museum retrospectives—but when Mexicans do it, the cops pull them over? Typical gabacho hypocrisy. Besides, Rat Fink don’t got nada on Calvin pissing on “LA MIGRA,” cabrón.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

On this week's taking-a-knee weekly Independent comics page: Red Meat has a discussion in the mirror; Apoca Clips listens to Trumpy ramble about the NFL; This Modern World offers a parable involving a cliff; Jen Sorenson looks back at the ... not-good-but-better old days; and The K Chronicles examines the consequences of "But Mom!"

Published in Comics