Daily Digest: Jan. 22, 2021
Happy Friday, everyone.
Am I the only person who feels like he/she/they is no longer drinking from a figurative firehouse of news? Yeah, there’s still a lot to report regarding the pandemic and the actions of the new presidential administration, but things seem decidedly calmer over the last 48 hours.
Hmm. I wonder why.
Anyway, before I get to today’s news links, I need to apologize for something: I accidentally sent Wednesday’s Daily Digest to the incorrect mailing list. Lemme explain.
Pre-Daily Digest days, we sent out an Independent newsletter just once a week. When we started the Digest, we imported everyone from that weekly mailing list into a new Daily Digest email list—which we’ve been using ever since. That is, until Wednesday, when I screwed up and used the old weekly-newsletter list. As a result, everyone who’s subscribed since mid-March didn’t get the Wednesday Daily Digest … and all sorts of people who had unsubscribed since mid-March DID get it.
Oops. To make sure I don’t do that again, I’ve deactivated/archived that old list.
Here’s a link to Wednesday’s digest if you missed it. (FYI, we always post these at CVIndependent.com, so you can go look there if one doesn’t show up, for some reason.) Please accept my apologies for the mistake.
From the Independent
Central Valley Concerns: Palm Desert Mayor Kathleen Kelly Says Her Top 2021 Priority Is Helping the City Get Through the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Kevin Fitzgerald
January 21, 2021
The newly re-elected Palm Desert City Council member talks about battling COVID-19, getting much-needed help to restaurants and renters, and the proposed new hockey arena.
By Matt King
January 22, 2021
We talked to three recording-studio owners about the artistic renaissance the pandemic is forging.
January 21, 2021
This week’s batch of alternative comics addresses the divisions in America today—and deals with a cursed dimensional dark portal.
By Matt King
January 22, 2021
Get to know the guitarist for Avenida Music and one of the people behind Indio’s Little Street Studio.
And Now, the News
• In Wednesday’s Daily Digest, we mentioned that the county would, starting Thursday, offer signups for another 3,900 vaccine does. Well … that didn’t go well. The county’s site crashed, and when it did come back online, all the appointments were snapped up within a half-hour. As a result, the county decided to ditch its own reservation system in favor of a brand-new state-operated system.
• To read more on the statewide vaccinate debacle, we suggest this story from our partners at CalMatters.
• Oh, and you should check out this other piece from CalMatters on the technical messes the state keeps enduring—including a growing backlog of unemployment claims.
• So PLEASE keep this all in mind when we tell you that the county announced today that another 10,000 or so appointments will be available starting tomorrow (Saturday) at noon. People who are in Phase 1A and tier one of Phase 1B (including people 65 and older) are eligible to sign up at www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. Be patient; expect problems; and if you don’t succeed, remain calm in the knowledge that more doses are a’comin’.
• Remember those Moderna vaccine doses the state told providers not to use after a series of allergic reactions at a San Diego vaccination clinic? Well, good news: Those does can now be used. As explained by the Los Angeles Times: “California’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Erica Pan, said late Wednesday that an expert panel’s review of apparent allergic reactions believed to be tied to a specific lot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine found ‘“no scientific basis’ for continuing to withhold the doses.“
• The Biden administration has announced a goal of 100 million vaccination shots in 100 days. Well, a lot of experts say that goal is not ambitious enough. Per The New York Times: “The nation’s vaccine supply in the first three months of the year is expected to substantially exceed what is needed to meet the administration’s goal. According to a senior administration official, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have been ramping up and are now on track to deliver up to 18 million doses a week. Together, they have pledged to deliver 200 million doses by the end of March. A third vaccine maker, Johnson and Johnson, might also come through with more doses. If all of that supply were used, the nation could average well over two million shots a day. Asked Thursday afternoon by a reporter if one million shots a day was enough, Mr. Biden said: “’When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible. Come on, give me a break, man. It’s a good start.'”
• And to prove that fact-checking is not just a thing involving the former president, here’s CNN’s fact-check of Biden’s statement above. Spoiler alert: Biden’s exasperated statement was not accurate.
• Meanwhile, concerns about the various SARS-CoV-2 variants continues to increase. The New York Times explains that the vaccination effort is racing the spread of these variants in the U.S., while The Washington Post discusses worries in Europe over the more-contagious British variant—which U.K. Prime Minster Boris Johnson now says could be deadlier, too.
• A whole bunch of members of Congress are quite ticked off about whatever happened here, as broken down by NBC News: “National Guard troops were allowed back into the Capitol to rest after some had been moved to a nearby parking garage, officials said. Senators expressed outrage Thursday evening after Politico reported that Capitol Police had asked the troops to move their rest area and some ended up in the garage at the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building adjacent to Union Station, just outside the Capitol grounds.”
• The Senate has decided to delay the start of former President Donald Trump’s trial for inciting an insurrection until Feb. 9. “A delay serves the former and current presidents: Trump has struggled to assemble a legal team and muster a defense, and President Biden needs the Senate to confirm most of his Cabinet appointees,” says The Washington Post.
• A professor of global studies, writing for The Conversation, says that right-wing extremists are finding another communication medium after the crackdown by social media: “Encrypted messaging platforms like Telegram, which was launched in 2013, have become places for violent extremists to meet up and organize. … In these private chats, violent extremists can share tactics, organize themselves and radicalize, something I’ve observed in my research of hate and extremism.”
• Instacart is laying off a bunch of folks. CBS News says: “The 1,877 people are among the relatively few Instacart workers legally classified as employees, rather than contractors. They are paid hourly, are eligible for benefits and work within a single store picking up and packing orders that others proceed to deliver. Among them are Instacart’s only unionized employees.” Ugh.
• I was again a guest on the I Love Gay Palm Springs podcast this week. I joined Dr. Laura Rush and hosts John Taylor, John Taylor and Brad Fuhr to chat about … optimism? Yes, optimism.
• Finally … rest in peace, Hank Aaron. If you don’t know how amazing this man who was once the home-run king truly was, you should do some learnin’.
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