Indy Digest: Jan. 17, 2022
On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day of 2022, I’m pissed off.
If I were to somehow able to rummage through my brain and come up with a list of things that make me angry, bigotry and hypocrisy would be near the top. And so would government censorship.
This brings us to the subject of my anger today: politicians who are using a bogeyman to make a racist play to remove books from schools and libraries.
NBC News recently led off an article with an anecdote about Black children’s author and illustrator Jerry Craft. As NBC reports, “In October, the Katy (Texas) Independent School District made headlines for temporarily yanking two of Craft’s books, which tell the stories of Black boys who experience racism in schools, from school libraries and postponing (Craft’s) virtual visit.”
The books were being removed because they allegedly taught critical race theory. That NBC News piece later continues: “While the Texas school district reinstated the book and rescheduled his visit, Craft is among dozens of Black authors whose works are being pulled from school libraries under the pretext that they’re teaching critical race theory. (Most of the books that are targeted for bans don’t teach critical race theory but are written by and about people of color.). The American Library Association said its Office for Intellectual Freedom reported 273 books were affected by censorship attempts in 2020, many with content that highlighted race, gender and sexuality. Since September alone, there have been at least 230 challenges, the organization said in an email.”
A recent Newsweek article that covers similar ground explains: “CRT is the academic framework that racism has existed in many structures and systems throughout American history, including in the justice and political system. However, Republican lawmakers appear to have given the term a broader meaning, applying it to any education that involves teaching about race and intersectionality. Dozens of bills are in motion or have passed that prohibit the theory from being taught in schools and Republicans have also cracked down on texts they deem as too controversial to be taught or read. A disproportionate number of authors who appear to have been impacted by these moves are writers of color and authors from LGBTQ+ backgrounds.”
And now for the aforementioned hypocrisy: A Washington Post column from November covers a variety of these aforementioned GOP efforts, including this one: “In Virginia, GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin has seized on the anti-CRT hysteria, producing an ad featuring a White mother in Fairfax County who campaigned to have Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel ‘Beloved’ removed from her son’s curriculum.”
Youngkin went on to win and become Virginia’s governor. Today, he tweeted: “We honor and reflect on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., not only today, but everyday. His leadership brought us together and chartered a new path forward. I thank God for his service to our nation.”
From the Independent
Fiber Future: The City of Indio Starts the Process of Building Its Own Broadband Network
By Kevin Fitzgerald
January 15, 2022
Indio’s leadership intends for the city to be the first in the Coachella Valley to establish a secure broadband future for its population.
Lez Laugh! Comedian Mina Hartong Offers a Forum for Women Performers With Her ‘Lez Out Loud’ Series
By Jimmy Boegle
January 16, 2022
Mina Hartong’s Lez Out Loud performance series is a forum to give stage time to up-and-coming women performers.
Metal With Masks: The Band Grins and Lies Offers Bad-Ass Music—With a Little Funk, and a Little Theatricality
By Matt King
January 17, 2022
Grins and Lies, a band that started crafting a mix of metal and melodic in late 2019, is hard at work on a much-delayed debut album.
Unconventional Comedy: HBO Max’s ‘Peacemaker’ Is a Success Thanks to John Cena and Writer/Director James Gunn
By Bob Grimm
January 17, 2022
The intro credits offer a nice hint at what to expect when watching Peacemaker—comedy that doesn’t care to be anything routine.
The Indy Endorsement: The Chicken Korma at Its Taste of India
By Jimmy Boegle
January 15, 2022
Clearly, there is a demand for Indian cuisine in the Coachella Valley—and Its Taste of India is doing its part to meet that demand. Just be sure to get your order in early!
• The latest announced closures, cancellations and postponements include the Artists Center at the Galen (closed until Feb. 9 due to COVID-19 and a roof leak); the Plaza Theatre portion of the Oasis Music Festival (postponed from January to May 11-15); and the Desert Town Hall talk by Cristina Mittermeier
and Paul Nicklen (postponed to March 30).
• Our partners at CalMatters look at the increasing number of children being hospitalized with COVID-19. “COVID-19 hospitalizations among California’s children—especially those too young to go to school—are the highest they have been since the pandemic began. … The state has tallied nearly 850,000 cases of COVID among kids 0 to 17 since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those, 44 have died—equivalent to an entire school bus filled with kids. ‘The wave of delta and wave of omicron challenged some assumptions we had that kids would not get it and got spared,’ said Dr. Theodore Ruel, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health at UCSF. ‘Now we know that kids absolutely do get infections, and even though they are small numbers they do get admitted and some die.’ This peak in hospitalizations of kids across the state has surpassed records set during last winter’s surge, said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly last week. The state reached a high of 90 pediatric admissions in one day on Jan. 4, according to the California Department of Public Health. The previous high of 41 pediatric admissions in one day occurred in January 2021, a record surpassed earlier during the omicron surge on Dec. 29 with 50 admissions.”
• The nation is in the midst of a blood-shortage crisis—a fact that’s renewed calls for the FDA to rescind a policy that forbids men who have sex with men from donating blood unless they’ve refrained from sex for at least three months. NBC News says: “The limitations have long been criticized as discriminatory by advocates and seen by many in the medical community as unnecessarily obstructive to the nation’s crucial blood supply. The chorus of criticism intensified … after the Red Cross declared (last) Tuesday that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases had fueled the ‘worst blood shortage in more than a decade.’ ‘This is a crisis of the FDA’s own making,’ said Jay Franzone, an LGBTQ advocate who remained abstinent for a year to donate blood in January 2017, abiding by former and more stringent FDA restrictions for gay and bisexual men. ‘They can change the policy—even temporarily—and they can do so today. The only thing stopping them is bigotry and fear.’”
• Palm Springs City Councilman Geoff Kors announced recently he would not run for re-election this year—and Ron deHarte, the likely favorite to take Kors’ place, is officially announcing his run for the seat at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at Ruth Hardy Park. From a news release comes this quote from deHarte: “As a small business owner, gay, Hispanic, father of two, I want Palm Springs to forever be a great place to live, work, and visit. I am running because I am a resident who cares about Palm Springs and believes we can have safe streets, sound economic development, a robust tourism economy, and accessible housing while being a leader in sustainability. I am running for Palm Springs City Council to represent you and make decisions that will benefit the district and the city as a whole.” As for why I characterized deHarte, the longtime leader of Greater Palm Springs Pride, as the likely favorite: The list of endorsements on the release includes three-fifths of the current council, including Kors, Christy Holstege and Lisa Middleton.”
• After that politics respite from pandemic news, now back to the COVID-19 stuff: Time magazine, using some helpful charts and graphs, shows how even in this (hopefully subsiding soon) omicron era, the virus is, by far, hurting unvaccinated people the most. A snippet: “In New York, one of the first states to get slammed by the Omicron wave, both vaccinated and unvaccinated have seen an uptick in serious COVID-19 cases—but the gap in hospitalization rates between the two groups is effectively widening. Before mid-November, unvaccinated New Yorkers were hospitalized for COVID-19 at about 10 times the rate as their vaccinated neighbors. But since then, they’ve been about 14 times more likely to wind up in the hospital.”
• As a follow-up, of sorts, to last Thursday’s Indy Digest, we present to you this piece from The Press-Enterprise, headlined “Ken Calvert, one-time foe of same-sex marriage, wants to represent LGTBQ haven Palm Springs.” Key quotes: “Calvert, R-Corona, has voted ‘against every bill that has come before Congress that would advance equality for LGTBQ Americans,’ said Lisa Middleton, a Democrat and Palm Springs’ first transgender mayor. ‘That in and of itself … is something that’s going to make it extremely difficult to work with a number of individuals in our community.’ In an emailed statement, Calvert said he ‘simply reject(s) any notion that I’ve attacked LGBTQ people.'”
• And finally … Did you know that there is, sorta, a national digital COVID-19 vaccine card? NBC News explains: “The digital pass known as the SMART Health Card is voluntary and minimal by design to protect personal information. It has a person’s name, date of birth and the dates and brands of vaccination doses, all contained within a type of scannable bar code known as a QR code. … Rather than a single app, the SMART Health Card is open-source computer code that anyone can use to ping a verified source of health data and produce the unique QR code. The digital cards are now widely available from more than 400 sources including states, pharmacies and health care organizations.”
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