Indy Digest: Oct. 6, 2022
You may have seen a headline today about President Biden pardoning people convicted of marijuana offenses,such as this headline from Politico:
It sounds like a big deal, and it is. But it may not be as big of a deal as you think.
Many other headlines explained that Biden was pardoning people convicted federally of marijuana possession, not trafficking or other marijuana-related crimes. CNBC reported: “More than 6,500 individuals with prior convictions for simple marijuana possession were impacted by the pardons, a White House official said, and thousands more through pardons under D.C. law.”
That’s a lot of people. But vague headlines like Politico’s gave many readers the impression that Biden was issuing a lot more than 6,500 federal pardons. The New York Times offered some much-needed context:
Only 92 people were sentenced on federal marijuana possession charges in 2017, out of nearly 20,000 drug convictions, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Udi Ofer, a Princeton University professor and former deputy national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said simple possession of marijuana is a crime “almost entirely prosecuted by the states.” The federal government tends to more commonly prosecute marijuana trafficking crimes, he said.
“This is an important political statement, it’s an important value statement, it’s progress but this is a drop in the ocean of injustice,” Mr. Ofer said.
Let me reiterate: I am NOT trying to say these pardons are not a big deal, because they definitely are. It will change, for the better, the lives of 6,500 people (plus the people being pardoned in the District of Columbia) and their families. Arguably, some other things Biden did today—including opening the door to removing cannabis from the Schedule I drug list, and calling on governors to issue similar pardons—are even bigger deals. This represents a huge shift in federal policy, after all.
I AM trying to say that it’s important to read beyond the headlines. They don’t always tell the whole story—and in some cases (I’m looking at you, Politico), they can even be misleading.
From the Independent
By Matt King
October 4th, 2022
Take political lyrics, and mix them with a hybrid of punk, ‘70s rock and blues—all with lo-fi production—and you’ve got Sheer Mag.
By Brett Newton
October 5th, 2022
What does our beer scribe love about San Diego? Friends, the beaches, the weather, the food—and, of course, the brews.
High Desert Harmonizers: The Band Flames of Durga Celebrates Desert Rock With Its Self-Titled Debut LP
By Matt King
October 6th, 2022
After moving from Los Angeles, Flames of Durga—identical twin sisters Béah and Cecilia Romero, and Nate Million—found a new home in the high desert.
October 6th, 2022
This week’s comics page touches upon: medical quiz bowls, Lindsey Graham, free food, Adderall, and much more!
• We aren’t looking at another four years of Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin and Sheriff Chad Bianco; we’re looking at six. The Press-Enterprise explains why: “Barring recalls or resignations, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco and District Attorney Mike Hestrin will be in office at least through 2028—two years after their current terms were set to expire—under a new state law that reschedules elections for the public safety leaders. Gov. Gavin Newsom late last month signed AB 759, which shifts sheriff and district attorney elections in most California counties to presidential election years. The new law doesn’t appear to affect San Bernardino or Los Angeles counties but does appear to cover Orange County, which has a charter that doesn’t specify when elections for the district attorney or sheriff must be held.” Sigh.
• It’s rare for pretty much everyone—Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals and everyone in between—to endorse the same candidate … but that’s basically what’s happened in the county’s auditor/controller race: Wildomar Mayor Ben Benoit has the endorsements, while incumbent Paul Angulo does not. With that in mind, I present to you this piece, also from The Press-Enterprise, headlined “Foe has hands ‘like a little girl,’ Riverside County auditor says.” Some details: “Angulo’s remarks follow a scathing written response in late August to a grand jury report that criticized his office’s performance. Comparing the jury to ‘high priests of the Gestapo,’ he called the jury’s findings ‘misleading, defamatory and (a) waste of money’ and wrote in all caps: ‘THE DAY WILL COME WHEN I AM GONE AND YOUR DISHONOR WILL REMAIN.’ Every year, Angulo, the county’s elected fiscal watchdog, delivers to the board a report on departments’ overtime spending. In the past, he’s sounded the alarm on spending he describes as uncontrolled and unsustainable. … ‘As you know, my opponent has no experience,’ Angulo told supervisors from the podium. ‘Never had a real job. Just look at his hands. It’s like a little girl. But I’m not here to talk politics and the campaign.’ (Supervisor Jeff) Hewitt interrupted, telling Angulo to ‘keep it to the issue here.’”
• Story No. 284,204 about Something That Is Really Expensive and Will Remain So for a Long Time, from CNBC: “As we enter the holiday baking season, one key ingredient will be harder to find: butter. And the lack of supply is already driving prices up. In January, the average price of butter was $3.67 per pound, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In September, it was up to $4.70 per pound. ‘Prices are not going to come down,’ says Scott Grawe, a professor of supply chain management at Iowa State University. Milk production in January 2022 was down 1.4% from the previous year, according to a USDA report. Due to the increasing cost of feed and an ongoing labor shortage, buying and maintaining cows is more expensive for farmers than in previous years.”
• Wired reports on a spate of fake reports of school shootings across the nation: “At 1:15 p.m. on September 15, a man who identified himself as Tom Gomez called Sangamon County Central Dispatch in Illinois to report that two gunmen had shot a dozen students at Springfield High School. According to audio of the call obtained by WIRED, the man was specific. The caller, breathing heavily, told dispatchers that he was locked inside a math classroom with other students and that the two men, both dressed in blue pants and green jackets, were killing students in the adjacent classroom: room 219. Within five minutes, Springfield Police were at the high school’s second floor, descending on the room where they were told a mass murder had occurred. The problem is that, according to police records, Springfield High doesn’t have a room 219. In fact, there was no shooting at all. The dangerous hoax call was one of more than 90 false reports of active shooter incidents at US schools made during the second half of September, WIRED found. From Lincoln High in Dallas, Texas, to Lincoln High in Des Moines, Iowa; McArthur High in Hollywood, Florida, to Hollywood High in Los Angeles, these false reports are part of a disturbing spree of recent swatting incidents that crisscross the United States. While experts who study violence at schools say that false reports of shootings inspire copycats, state and local law enforcement officials say that many of these swatting attacks seem to stem from a single person or group.“
• The CDC has released yet more data showing how awful and pervasive long COVID can be. ABC News says: “Most people suffering from long COVID are experiencing some trouble performing day-to-day activities, new federal data shows. As of Sept. 26, 81% of adults with ongoing symptoms of COVID lasting three months or longer—or four out of five adults—are experiencing limitations in their daily activities compared to before they had the virus. Additionally, 25% said they were experiencing significant limitations. The data was published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. … Young adults between ages 18 and 29 had the highest share of people currently with long COVID who have trouble performing daily tasks, at 86.3%. Meanwhile, those between ages 40 and 49 had the lowest share, at 76.1%.”
• The Palm Springs Post details the reasons why a lot of eastbound drivers on Interstate 10 have been missing the Highway 111 exit lately: “Concrete barriers create a ‘lane split’ several miles before the exit to Highway 111 (which eventually runs into the city). Unless you know to get in the far right lane at just the right time, the barriers actually keep you from exiting to 111. And if that happens, the next exit isn’t until Indian Canyon Drive, roughly eight miles away. If you’ve missed signs alerting you about this, you’re not alone. Reports are most of your neighbors are in the same boat (car?). Visitors are also missing the exit and missing a chance to shop at many businesses along North Palm Canyon Drive. ‘That closure starts way too long and is not marked enough,’ Palm Springs Police Capt. Mike Kovaleff said Tuesday. ‘One-eleven inbound is an absolute ghost town right now.’”
• And finally … country legend Loretta Lynn died on Tuesday at the age of 90. A professor of music, writing for The Conversation, explains how her influence transcended music: “Lynn’s songs defied societal expectations by connecting her musical representations of working-class and rural women to broader social issues affecting women across the U.S. She aimed for her music to articulate the fears, dreams and anger of women living in a patriarchal society. It railed against those who idealized women’s domestic roles and demonized outspoken feminists. Specifically, for a generation of predominantly white women in the 1960s and 1970s who did not identify as urban or college-educated feminists, Lynn’s music offered candid conversations about their private lives as wives and mothers. As Lynn stated in her autobiography, her audience recognized her as a ‘mother and a wife and a daughter, who had feelings just like other women.’”
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