Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: Sept. 29, 2022

Let’s do a quick monkeypox recap, shall we?

• Monkeypox has been a problem for years in Africa, but the Western world basically ignored it, and didn’t do anything to stop it, or help the countries dealing with it.

• Monkeypox became a problem in the Western world.

• Fortunately, the U.S. had a stockpile of monkeypox vaccine … but the feds let them expire, meaning the U.S. had just 2,400 does on hand when the U.S. outbreak started.

• Apparently having learned nothing from the COVID-19 debacle, the U.S. stumbled in getting the vaccine out, and getting more vaccines made.

• As the U.S. started finally making progress, the feds decided to start administering the vaccine in a way that was NOT suggested by the manufacturer.

And then we learned that nobody really had any idea how effective the vaccine was—and some of the early indicators were not at all encouraging.

In summary … the United States’ monkeypox response has been nothing short of an embarrassing debacle. Well, we finally got some good news this week: As we learn more about the vaccine, the more it appears that it’s working, despite the government’s best efforts to screw things up. As ABC News reports:

New—though limited—data released on Wednesday morning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people who haven’t been vaccinated against monkeypox were 14 times more likely to get infected than vaccinated people.

The data is drawn from people who were eligible for a monkeypox vaccine in their states, which mostly includes men who have sex with men or people who have multiple sexual partners. The numbers provide the first sense of real-world effectiveness on the JYNNEOS vaccine, the leading inoculation against monkeypox.

“These new data provide us with a level of cautious optimism that the vaccine is working as intended,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a White House briefing on monkeypox on Wednesday.

Dr. Demetre Daskalaskis, the monkeypox deputy response coordinator for the White House, urged people to share the “early good news.”

“This knowledge is power—and allows people to make more informed decisions about their health and build confidence in this important two dose vaccine,” he said.

So … yay?

Meanwhile. the current number of confirmed and suspected monkeypox cases reported in Riverside County is 284. At least 208 of those are people in the Coachella Valley.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

For Autism Awareness: Josh Heinz’s Concert for Autism Blends Music and Charity for a 15th Consecutive Year

By Matt King

September 28th, 2022

The Coachella Valley is rich with musical icons, bands and charities—and the Concert for Autism melds all of those together each year into one of the area’s cornerstone events.

Restaurant News Bites: R.I.P., Sam Pace; Jake’s Has New Owners; and Much More!

By Charles Drabkin

September 27th, 2022

The latest local food news, including the closure of Salt Flats; the opening of Bread and Flours; and more!

On Cocktails: A Book From 2007 Shows Just How Much Craft Cocktails Have Evolved in 15 Years

By Kevin Carlow

September 29th, 2022

It’s pretty crazy how far recipes and cocktail history have come since Eric Felten’s book How’s Your Drink was published in 2007.

The Indy Endorsement: The ‘Mac and Cheese-ZA!’ at Billy Q’s

By Jimmy Boegle

September 28th, 2022

I thought the menu description of Billy Q’s “Mac & Cheese-ZA” sounded gimmicky. I was wrong.

The Weekly Independent Comics Page for Sept. 29, 2022!

By Staff

September 29th, 2022

On this week’s fired-via-tweet Independent comics page: (Th)ink reflects on the late, great Nina Simone; Claytoonz boards up the house for protection; and more!

More News

Related to the monkeypox news above, via a news release from the Human Rights Campaign: “This week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) penned a letter to elected leaders calling for more funding and action to help stop the MPXV outbreak. Over 100 LGBTQ+, health and religious advocacy organizations—including PrEP4All and the National Coalition of STD Directors—signed on to the letter which was sent to the Biden Administration and Congress. This letter comes at a time in which Congress has decided not to include funding for MPXV in the Continuing Resolution to fund the government into December. This decision will only hamper ongoing efforts to end MPXV at a critical moment when the outbreak can still be contained.” The groups are asking for some $4.5 billion to fight monkeypox.

Are all the ads for those sports-betting propositions confusing the heck out of you? If so, you’ll want to read this fact-checker from our partners at CalMatters: “The ads are ‘oversimplified to a point of not being fully accurate,’ said Mary Beth Moylan, an associate dean and professor at the McGeorge School of Law at University of the Pacific who oversees a journal dedicated to California’s initiatives. Proposition 26 would legalize sports betting at tribal casinos and at California’s four private horse race tracks. It is being paid for by about a dozen Native American tribes. It would also allow tribes to begin offering roulette and dice games. Proposition 27 would legalize online sports betting across the state and is being paid for by a handful of large gaming companies. Under Proposition 27, both gaming companies and tribes could offer online and mobile sports betting. But how truthful are the ads? Here’s what you need to know about some of the often-repeated claims.”

Gov. Newsom yesterday signed a big-deal farmworker union bill, after being pressured by labor groups and President Biden. CalMatters says: “Farmworkers in California will have an easier process for forming unions for the next five years under AB 2183, which Newsom signed on Wednesday. The bill lets farm workers vote by mail in union elections, shielding them from potential intimidation from their bosses, says the United Farm Workers, the bill sponsor. Newsom struck a deal with the UFW and the California Labor Federation to support new legislation next year that would do away with mail in elections, leaving farmworkers with the simpler option to unionize commonly called card check. It is a victory for labor groups after the governor vetoed similar legislation last year. … Newsom earlier this year announced his opposition as well. In response, the UFW staged weeks of advocacy efforts that turned the bill into a rallying point for political progressives at the same time the governor was seeking to elevate his national political profile. Newsom said Wednesday his concerns about the bill were addressed in the agreement about next year’s legislation.”

Gas prices are on the rise again in the state. The Los Angeles Times explains: “The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the Los Angeles region reached $6.26 on Thursday morning, just 20 cents shy of the area’s record high, set earlier this summer when fuel prices continued to soar. On Wednesday, the average price was $6.108. Gas prices were already ticking upward this week amid supply issues at refineries across the West Coast and Midwest, following an almost 100-day streak of falling gas prices nationwide. ‘Planned and unplanned refinery maintenance issues have tightened fuel supply in (California),’ said Anlleyn Venegas, a spokesperson for the Automobile Club of Southern California. ‘West Coast fuel inventories are at the lowest level in about a decade, according to (the U.S. Energy Information Administration).’ … The majority of California counties are looking at prices above $6 a gallon Thursday, according to AAA.”

• The news about Hurricane Ian is awful, and will probably get a lot worse as it heads toward South Carolina. A professor of meteorology, writing for The Conversation, explains one of the deadliest aspects of hurricanes—the storm surge: “Storm surge begins over the open ocean. The strong winds of a hurricane push the ocean waters around and cause water to pile up under the storm. The low air pressure of the storm also plays a small role in lifting the water level. The height and extent of this pile of water depend on the strength and size of the hurricane. As this pile of water moves toward the coast, other factors can change its height and extent. The depth of the sea floor is one factor. If a coastal area has a sea floor that gently slopes away from the coastline, it’s more likely to see a higher storm surge than an area with a steeper drop-off. Gentle slopes along the Louisiana and Texas coasts have contributed to some devastating storm surges. Hurricane Katrina’s surge in 2005 broke levees and flooded New Orleans. Hurricane Ike’s 15- to 17-foot storm surge and waves swept hundreds of homes off Texas’ Bolivar Peninsula in 2008. Both were large, powerful storms that hit in vulnerable locations.”

And finally … great news for lovers of books and bookstores, from the Palm Springs Post: “What would happen if you took two highly respected writers and media entrepreneurs accustomed to competing in the rat race of Silicon Valley, offered them a serene life in Palm Springs, and told them they could now create their dream? You would get something many here have been yearning years for – a bookstore. But it won’t be just any bookstore. Using a touch of marketing savvy they picked up while building successful careers, Paul Bradley Carr and Sarah Lacy are naming the new venture ‘The Best Bookstore In Palm Springs.’ ‘We named it that so our ambition won’t outgrow it,’ Lacy said, adding that in the corporate world, they are often expected to scale their companies massively in order to appease investors. This venture has only one simple goal: ‘We hope to delight in ways other bookstores can’t.’” It will go in the space formerly home to Interstellar Comics, on Tahquitz Canyon Way, with a planned late-November opening. Yay!

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Jimmy Boegle

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...