Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: May 15, 2023

The law also forbids public colleges from offering general education courses—those that are part of a required curriculum for all college students—that “distort significant historical events,” teach “identity politics,” or are “based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, or privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, or economic inequities.”

This paragraph is from a Washington Post story today headlined “DeSantis signs bill to defund DEI programs at Florida’s public colleges,” and when I read it, my jaw dropped—not because this latest move by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was a surprise, but because the language in this bill is so blatantly, transparently racist, sexist and beyond.

My college degree is in history, and let me tell you: It’s impossible to properly teach history without mentioning the country’s sins, past and present, when it comes to race, sex, oppression and privilege.

How can you teach the history of World War II in the U.S. without mentioning Japanese internment camps? How can you teach students about housing without mentioning redlining? How can you teach about anything involving business without a discussion of how women make less than men? How can you teach American history without talking about the after-effects of slavery?

Folks, this isn’t about politics. This has nothing to do with Democrats vs. Republicans, or differences in economic policy, or views on how to handle immigration, or anything like that.

This is, undeniably, an attempt to distort and whitewash history by telling colleges that whole portions of our country’s story—portions that are verifiably, scientifically true—are off limits. The only parts of our story that are allowed in Florida’s public colleges are the parts where nothing bad is said about white men.

This is incredible. This is not normal. This is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. This is historic—something that will be taught in colleges one day, hopefully even in Florida. And those history lessons will justifiably place the name DeSantis along side the names of other fascists, racists and tyrants.

It’s 2023, in the United States, and in some places, bigots are winning.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Local Beauty: Desert Rock Legend Tony Tornay Publishes ‘South of Ten,’ a Book of Photos and Essays

By Matt King

May 13th, 2023

South of Ten is a soon-to-be-released photography/essay book with words and photos by Tony Tornay, a Coachella Valley native and co-founder of the legendary desert rock band Fatso Jetson.

CV History: The Legendary Chi Chi Club Drew the Stars to Palm Springs

By Greg Niemann

May 12th, 2023

The Chi Chi Club opened under that name in 1935, beginning a 30-year run of success and fame in downtown Palm Springs.

A Great Guy: ‘Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie’ Shows How Talented and Fun Its Subject Is

By Bob Grimm

May 15th, 2023

Michael J. Fox allows the camera to come along for his therapy sessions and public walks—and though he is having a hard time, his incredible spirit shines through.

Caesar Cervisia: Chimay’s Beers May Be Mass-Produced—but They Remain Delicious and True to Their Heritage

By Brett Newton

May 14th, 2023

Chimay beer can now be found nearly everywhere, but that does not mean these beers should be taken for granted.

Not Quite a Hit: ‘The Muppets Mayhem’ Is Missing Something, but It’ll Make Muppets Fans Happy

By Bob Grimm

May 15th, 2023

Dr. Teeth, Animal and co. keep things in The Muppets Mayhem amusing, but the show feels like it’s missing something.

Left Behind: ‘Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant’ Is a Solid Thriller With a Strong Story

By Bob Grimm

May 15th, 2023

Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant is a solid rescue thriller based on real events—that nobody is seeing.

Artists Council Launches ‘Young Artists Exhibition’

By Suzanne Fromkin

May 15th, 2023

The Artists Council launched its second annual Young Artists Exhibition, presenting 83 juried artworks by students from 14 Coachella Valley high schools, on April 29.

More News

CNN takes a heartbreaking look at the rise of “sextortion” cases. It begins with an absolutely devastating anecdote about 17-year-old Gavin Guffey committing suicide. “For weeks, the grieving family searched for signs of anything they’d missed. Then they found out that scammers masquerading as a young woman had sent Gavin nude photos—and asked him for similar images of himself. Once Gavin shared photos with them, they blackmailed him with a threat to publicize them if he didn’t pay. Gavin had unwittingly become a victim of sexual extortion, or ‘sextortion,’ a crime the FBI warns is increasingly targeting underage boys. Sextortion cases have gone up in the past year, federal officials said in a recent safety alert issued in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The cases are contributing to an alarming number of suicides nationwide, the alert said.”

As we reported last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein is back in Washington, D.C., after missing months of votes due to illness. Now that she’s back, however, her frail appearance is causing even more people to question whether she should continue in office, the Los Angeles Times reports: “After seeing news coverage of Feinstein’s return to the nation’s capital last week, in a wheelchair and still weak after a nearly three-month absence from Washington as she recovered from shingles, (Democrat Donna) is more concerned than ever about the 89-year-old senator’s ability to represent 39 million Californians. ‘I don’t want to be like that, right? I’m getting ready to turn 65. I want somebody to say, “Hey, Donna, you know what? It’s time to pass the torch.” It’s sad, but it’s not fair either,’ said Perkins, 64.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week held up a California ballot proposition in a 5-4 vote last week—and the justices who wound up on each side of the issue will almost surely surprise you. Our partners at CalMatters report: “In 2018, California voters approved the ballot measure to ban the sale of meat and egg products from farms that did not raise their ‘veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens’ in spaces that give them room enough to stand up and turn around. The proposition was supposed to go into effect in 2022, but two out-of-state organizations, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation, sued to stop the measure. The Supreme Court sided with California voters in a 5-4 ruling that didn’t follow the typical conservative-liberal split. In the majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that rather than California regulating out-of-state businesses unconstitutionally, it is the businesses that are attempting to restrict a state’s ability to ‘regulate goods sold within their borders.’ He was joined by Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas. … In their partial dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Ketanji Brown Jackson and Brett Kavanaugh said that the measure would place a ‘substantial burden against interstate commerce.’”

Epinephrine—the stuff in life-saving epi pens, carried by people who have some severe allergies—may soon be available as a nasal spray. CBS News says: “The majority votes (by a committee of the Food and Drug Administration’s outside advisers) backing the spray for both adults and kids followed a daylong meeting of the agency’s Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee, picking apart an application from ARS Pharmaceuticals for their proposed epinephrine spray, branded as Neffy. Neffy is designed to deliver a 2 milligram dose of epinephrine, which can reverse the symptoms of a life-threatening allergic reaction. The company is seeking the FDA’s approval for anyone weighing at least 30 kilograms—around 66 pounds—and is working on future studies for smaller children.”

Our partners at Calmatters ask the question: “California is losing population and building new houses. When will home prices come down?” The answer? “Does this California exodus mean the state’s perennial housing shortage is finally coming to an end? The long answer is ‘it’s complicated.’ Though many analysts have tried, no consensus exists on just how many more homes the state would need to build (or how many more people would need to leave) before we can call an end to the crisis and start to see rents and home prices fall within reach of working and middle class Californians. But the short answer is ‘almost definitely, no.'” Dang it!

And finally, let’s return to an aspect of the topic with which we led off—the importance of accurate and comprehensive history education. A journalism professor, writing for The Conversation, is worried about what he’s seeing: “The Florida Department of Education announced on April 10, 2023, that it had rejected 35% of the social studies books publishers submitted for approval and use in the state’s public schools. … It was just the latest in a series of efforts around the country to limit students’ access to books, lessons and courses about certain historical and societal topics, often dealing with race. … I direct Penn State programs—the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative and the Hammel Family Human Rights Initiative—that give my colleagues and me a real-time glimpse into the vulnerable state of K-12 instruction about difficult topics. Many educators have been shying away from sensitive issues. The 2022 American Instructional Resources Survey, a survey about teachers’ views on what they can teach, by Rand Education and Labor, which focuses on school and education issues, shows the new and proposed state laws restricting the instruction of difficult topics made a quarter of the country’s 4 million teachers hesitant or downright scared to teach those subjects. … After a rough-cut university screening of my forthcoming documentary ‘Cojot,’ which tells the story of Holocaust survivor Michel Cojot’s 1970s quest to kill his father’s Nazi executioner, two college students approached me apologetically, saying, ‘We’ve never heard of this.’”

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Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...