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Daily Digest

08 Jun 2020
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Before we get into the news of the day, I have one simple little request for some of you out there in social-media land: Can everyone please stop with the posts in which you’re rooting for the reopening effort to fail? I get it: A lot of people, including many smarter than I am, think that the state is reopening too fast, too soon. I also understand that many humans have a burning desire to, when proven right, gloat and say, “I told you so.” However … using just one example I saw recently, it does nobody any good to—on a business page announcing reopening plans—comment with a “Coronavirus likes this” image. We know sooooooo very little about this virus and this disease—we’ll be getting…
05 Jun 2020
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Two quick notes before we launch into the day’s news (and, boy, there’s a lot of it): • A plea to journalists and public officials who keep citing the number of reported COVID-19 cases, sans context: Please stop it. Without knowing other data points—such as the number of total tests, with which we can determine the positivity rate—knowing the number of cases (aka positive COVID-19 tests) doesn’t tell us much. Locally, given the much larger number of testing sites now—run by the county, the state, CVS, local health organizations, etc—we should expect the number of cases to rise somewhat. More testing means finding more cases (including asymptomatic ones). When looking at data reports, look for the positivity rate and the number of hospitalizations; that information…
04 Jun 2020
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We have more than 25 news links today—a new Daily Digest record—so let’s get right to it: • On the I Love Gay Palm Springs podcast this week, I joined hosts Brad Fuhr, Shann Carr and John Taylor to discuss the various news with Dr. Laura Rush; The Standard Magazine publisher Nino Eilets; and Clifton Tatum and Andre Carthen from Brothers of the Desert. Check it out. • Protests force change! Some members of Congress are developing “a sweeping package of police reforms,” according to NBC News. • Unfortunately, the Trump administration, showing a clear inability to “read the room,” doesn’t seem too interested in reforms. “Apart from supporting a federal civil rights investigation into Floyd’s death, the president has offered no proposals for changing…
03 Jun 2020
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We hit 115 degrees today, and it’s only June 3. Meanwhile, the country remains a mess … although we got some good news today. Let’s get right into the links: • The big national news of the day: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that Derek Chauvin—the Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, resulting in Floyd’s death—would be charged with second-degree murder; and that the other three officers involved in the incident—Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao—would be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Chauvin had previously been charged with third-degree murder; the other three officers had not yet been charged. • Ellison, however, also offered a warning: He said that getting a conviction…
02 Jun 2020
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There are so many things that could be said right now, but instead, I am simply going to share some numbers with you, from our friends at FatalEncounters.org, which tracks people killed during interactions with law enforcement. According to Fatal Encounters, as you can see in the graphic above, May 2020 is believed to be the first time—going back to 2000, when Fatal Encounters’ data set begins—that the number of deaths with police involvement cracked the 200 mark. And 863 people have died so far this year, which is a record-setting pace. Something’s wrong here … and as we mentioned yesterday, it starts at the top. More news: • Maddenly related: More than 120 journalists covering the protests around the country have been attacked by…
01 Jun 2020
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Welcome to June! Things are a mess! Here’s the latest: • All of Riverside County is under a curfew starting at 6 p.m. today. Yes, all of it—including the Coachella Valley. The curfew lasts through 6 a.m. tomorrow. But you probably already know this because of an alert screamed by your phone earlier this afternoon. Some of the details, according to the county: The curfew is in response to several areas of rioting and looting in Southern California over the weekend, as well as planned protests set to occur today in Riverside County. “We want the community to be able to peacefully assemble and exercise their first amendment rights,” said (County Executive Officer and Director of Emergency Services George) Johnson. “We must also take action…
29 May 2020
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Back on May 1, we wrote: “Welcome to May 2020—which should be one of the most fascinating months in American history.” Well, May sure lived up to that statement, didn’t it? It’s now May 29. Here in the Coachella Valley, retail stores, restaurants, some casinos and—as of this afternoon—some vacation rentals are again open for business. So far … so OK, I guess. Nationally, however, the country is in crisis—but not because of COVID-19, though the virus remains as deadly as ever. No, the culprit is good ol’ fashioned police brutality and racism. As of this writing, protests are continuing to grow in cities including Atlanta; Washington, D.C., Chicago; San Jose; and beyond, after rough nights last night in Minneapolis, Louisville and other cities. I…
28 May 2020
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While this Daily Digest is (for now, at least) dedicated to news about COVID-19 and the resulting societal and economic mess, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what’s going on in Minnesota. Unfortunately, murders like that of George Floyd, at the hands of police officers, are nothing new—and until recently, police-involved deaths weren’t even properly tracked. This is something my friend and fellow journalist D. Brian Burghart discovered when he was the editor of the Reno News & Review newspaper. So he did something about it: He started tracking them—and, with grant funding, donations and a team of volunteers, created a national database of deaths, going all the way back to 2000, called Fatal Encounters. The Independent covered Fatal Encounters back in 2016, when…