Indy Digest: May 5, 2022
The links in the “More News” section below are usually found by one of two people: Yours truly, or the husband of yours truly.
Over the last couple of weeks, however, the news stories listed in that space have mostly been found by me, and me alone. The reason? The hubby—who is normally a voracious news-reader—says he’s just not in the mood for news right now.
While he’s not sure of the reason for his news funk, I suspect part of the reason is the fact that so much of the news right now is really depressing.
As of this writing, at The New York Times website, top four stories all have to do with the war in Ukraine. The next several involve abortion, and what’s happening in the wake of the late-Monday leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft decision tossing out Roe v. Wade.
Then comes stock-market volatility. Then COVID-19 deaths (with an added piece saying COVID-19 may cause impotence!). Then an attack in Israel that’s killed at least 3. Only after all of that comes the first piece that could be considered positive: A story on Karine Jean-Pierre being named White House press secretary—”the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to serve in the role.”
The Los Angeles Times’ website offers a similar slate of sadness. Going down the page as of this writing, the stories are on abortion, the war in Ukraine, a murder trial, and the onstage attack of Dave Chappelle. Then, mercifully, we come to a piece headlined “All hail the drag queens raising L.A.’s tight-knit families.”
This is not a criticism of these newspapers in any way: These are all obviously important stories, and I am grateful for the reporters who are tackling these rough topics.
Instead, this is a reminder to you, our dear reader, to make sure you don’t get caught up in the negativity of all the sad news out there. These are weird and, in many ways, difficult times, yes. But instead of doom scrolling on social media, seek out happier stories, too … even if they’re awfully hard to find sometimes.
In that spirit, you’ll see that all of the pieces in the “From the Independent” section below, outside of the comics page, deal with lighter, happier things—food, wine, cocktails and good streaming TV. Enjoy!
From the Independent
By Katie Finn
May 3, 2022
Your personal sommelier has assembled a list of wines that are party-perfect—and will make you, either as the host or the guest, look like a wine savant!
By Kevin Carlow
May 4, 2022
Whatever cocktail you make for your friends, make sure you do it with thought and care.
By Bill Frost
May 5, 2022
These nine TV series dropped in recent months, and they’re all worth a look.
By Jimmy Boegle
May 3, 2022
Yeah, it’s small, but where else could you get an amazing steak for $19?
May 5, 2022
Topics addressed this week include beer, cancel culture, the end of the pandemic, lockers—and more!
• The number of known deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. has passed the 1 million mark. As NBC News reports: “The number—equivalent to the population of San Jose, California, the 10th largest city in the U.S.—was reached at stunning speed: 27 months after the country confirmed its first case of the virus. ‘Each of those people touched hundreds of other people,’ said Diana Ordonez, whose husband, Juan Ordonez, died in April 2020 at age 40, five days before their daughter Mia’s fifth birthday. ‘It’s an exponential number of other people that are walking around with a small hole in their heart.’ While deaths from COVID have slowed in recent weeks, about 360 people have still been dying every day. The casualty count is far higher than what most people could have imagined in the early days of the pandemic, particularly because then-President Donald Trump repeatedly downplayed the virus while in office.”
• The FDA has more or less forbidden use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine The Washington Post says: “The FDA said only people who are unable to receive other vaccines because they are not accessible or clinically appropriate should receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been associated with a rare, but potentially deadly blood clotting and bleeding syndrome called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS. The condition usually occurs within one to two weeks of vaccination, and a commonly used treatment to treat clotting, heparin, can cause additional harm.” The story goes on to say “there were 60 confirmed cases of the blood-clotting syndrome, including nine that resulted in death” through March 18.
• So the White House Correspondents Dinner has become a mass-spreader event. CNN says: “In the days since WHCD weekend, reporters and staffers from CNN, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, Politico, and other participating news organizations have tested positive for the virus. Most notably, ABC’s Jon Karl, who shook hands with President Biden and who sat next to Kim Kardashian, has fallen ill, as Politico’s Maxwell Tani first reported. There is no exact data to indicate precisely how many people have caught the virus from the weekend. But, anecdotally speaking, much of Tuesday afternoon seemed to consist of attendees trading text messages and emails about colleagues and friends and people they had seen who had tested positive. That’s almost certainly going to continue in the days ahead.”
• A professor of law, writing for The Conversation, breaks down the chances of Congress doing anything to “codify” Roe v. Wade into law … and then have that stand. A snippet: “Should Congress be able to pass a law enshrining the right to abortion for all Americans, then surely some conservative states will seek to overturn the law, saying that the federal government is exceeding its authority. If it were to go up to the Supreme Court, then conservative justices would presumably look unfavorably on any attempt to limit individual states’ rights when it comes to abortion.” So there ya go.
• As if you didn’t have enough to worry about … the Poynter Institute brings us this headline: “The world food supply is at risk due to a global fertilizer shortage.” Some explanation: “This is a story that may seem to only affect farmers, but you will feel the effects of it. There is a global shortage of fertilizer that will drive up food prices and lower crop sizes. This won’t resolve quickly or easily. Prices for the ingredients that go into synthetic fertilizers have in some cases tripled since the start of the pandemic. Several compounding problems contribute to the shortage, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, supply chain issues caused by storms and high natural gas prices.”
• In keeping with the theme of the day, let’s end with a couple pieces of good news. First: Another piece from The Conversation, this one written by two professors of pharmaceutical science, explains why new vaccines that are (likely) on their way will work better against SARS-CoV-2 variants: “Looking at the pros and cons of each vaccine type, we believe virus-based vaccines could play an important role in generating a long-lasting, broad immunity against a rapidly mutating virus. But easily updated mRNA or protein-based approaches that can be fine-tuned to the latest variants can also be key in containing the spread of the pandemic. With vaccines of all types in the works, public health officials and governments around the world will have more tools at their disposal to deal with whatever the coronavirus brings next.”
• And finally … some big news regarding the potential for the lithium extraction efforts going on at the Salton Sea, which the Independent reported on last year. CNBC reports: “The Biden administration on Monday announced it will begin a $3.1 billion plan to boost domestic manufacturing of batteries, in a broader effort to shift the country away from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles. The electrification of the transportation sector will be critical to mitigating human-caused climate change. The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, representing roughly one-third of emissions each year. The funding will support grants aimed at building, retooling or expanding manufacturing of batteries and battery components, as well as establishing battery recycling facilities, according to the Department of Energy. The grants will be funded through President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, which includes more than $7 billion to bolster the country’s battery supply chain.”
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