Indy Digest: Feb. 28, 2022
Some interesting things I have come across as I’ve watched the coverage of the war in Ukraine:
• I, like many people, have mistakenly been calling the country “the Ukraine” for years.
Here’s an explanation on why using “the” is a no-no, from a 2019 article in The Washington Post:
The country’s embassy in Washington says its simply Ukraine, not “the Ukraine.”
“Let us kindly help you use words related to #Ukraine correctly,” the Ukrainian embassy in Washington D.C. wrote on Twitter Saturday. It’s “Ukraine, not ‘the’ Ukraine,” the embassy wrote. And the capital city, it said, is spelled “Kyiv, not Kiev.”
“These are the only politically correct terms that express respect to the country and its nation. Be smart and avoid Soviet style clichés,” the tweet continued, before the embassy signed off with a curmudgeonly emoji, scowling and wearing a monocle.
As for those “Soviet-style cliches” the article later explains:
Adding the definite article to Ukraine is offensive, recalling a time when it was a territorial part of Russia rather than an independent state.
“Without the article you refer to Ukraine as an independent country as opposed to a region or province,” said Serhii Plokhii, a professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University.
In Russian, “Ukraina” means “borderlands,” so to call the country the Ukraine would imply the country, which has been independent since 1991, is part of the Russian borderlands, Nina Jankowicz, a fellow at the Wilson Center, explained to The Washington Post.
Of course, using “the” right now would be REALLY offensive. So don’t do it.
• War during these days of ubiquitous information technology can lead to some mind-blowing strangeness.
I found this tidbit in a New York Times recap of the various war news yesterday:
Google has disabled some live traffic data for Ukraine in its Google Maps service, a company spokesperson confirmed on Monday, saying the decision was made in consultation with people on the ground for the safety of the local community.
The data that is suspended includes live traffic volumes and information about crowds in public places. Some researchers found last week that it also showed the movement of Russian convoys, which were displayed as heavy traffic.
That last sentence is amazing: Invading convoys looked like traffic jams on Google Maps. Can you imagine?
• Jose Andres is a true hero. He’s a celebrity chef worth millions. He could easily be spending his time running his restaurant empire, racking up Michelin stars and making TV appearances.
Instead, he’s in Poland feeding Ukrainian refugees via his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen.
Over the years, World Central Kitchen—often with Andres participating in person—has showed up during or after tragedies to help people in need, in places from earthquake-stricken Haiti, to Hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico, to COVID-stricken New York City.
If you’re looking for some small, tiny way to help out Ukraine, you can’t go wrong with a donation to World Central Kitchen.
From the Independent
A Pioneertown Homecoming: Rosie Flores Returns to Pappy and Harriet’s—a Place She’s Been Playing for More Than 35 Years
By Matt King
February 28, 2022
Rockabilly/country singer-songwriter Rosie Flores’ career has spanned more than 40 years—and she was frequenting Pappy’s back when her single “Crying Over You” was on the Billboard charts in 1997.
Design as Art: The Desert Oasis Show House Shows Off the Work of Renowned Builders, Architects and Designers
By Cat Makino
February 27, 2022
Over the course of 10 days, organizers expect the Desert Oasis Show House to attract more than 5,000 visitors.
The Venue Report, March 2022: Kevin Hart, Pink Martini, Marie Osmond—and More!
By Matt King
February 27, 2022
A look at the varied Coachella Valley entertainment options in March, ranging from Paul Anka, to REO Speedwagon, to the Ladies of Knots Landing!
March Astronomy: The Month Brings Daylight Saving Time, Spring, and a Fantastic View of Three Planets
By Robert Victor
February 26, 2022
A look at what the skies have to offer in March 2022.
A Classic One Day: Peter Dinklage’s Musical ‘Cyrano’ Is Not Getting the Accolades It Deserves
By Bob Grimm
February 28, 2022
Audiences aren’t flocking to Cyrano. but it will find its audience in due time—because it has all the makings of a classic.
The Indy Endorsement: The Truffle Pasta at Gigi’s Restaurant + Bar
By Jimmy Boegle
February 28, 2022
Gigi’s Restaurant + Bar, the newish restaurant at V Palm Springs, not only does al fresco dining right; Gigi’s patio is one of the loveliest outdoor restaurant spaces in the entire Coachella Valley
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• As predicted in this space on Thursday, the city of Palm Springs has lifted its mask and vaccination mandates, effective today. Our friends at the Palm Springs Post explain: “Palm Springs will align with state coronavirus guidelines starting Monday, City Manager Justin Clifton announced Thursday evening, resulting in the removal of mandates requiring masks be worn inside by vaccinated individuals and that proof of vaccination be presented for indoor restaurant dining. … Clifton and Council members were informed during the City Council’s regular meeting that current COVID-19 levels in the city are at their lowest point since October and are lower than most other cities in Riverside County and the state. In addition, testing of the city’s wastewater shows there are an estimated 550 cases of coronavirus in the city. Just one month ago, there were an estimated 40,000 cases in the community.”
• The levels of SARS-CoV-2 in Palm Springs wastewater were more or less level last week when compared to the week before. Testing done on Feb. 21 and 22—the results of which were released today—showed an average of 113,974 virus copies per liter, down so, so slightly from 116,688 copies the week before. Also worth noting: A small number of that more-contagious omicron subvariant was found in the Feb. 21 samples.
• School masks will no longer be required in the state as of March 12—though they will still be recommended. The Associated Press reports: “Schoolchildren in California, Oregon and Washington will no longer be required to wear masks as part of new indoor mask policies the Democratic governors of all three states announced jointly on Monday. ‘With declining case rates and hospitalizations across the West, California, Oregon and Washington are moving together to update their masking guidance,’ the governors said in a statement. There are more than 7.5 million school-age children across the three states. The new guidance will make face coverings a recommendation rather than a requirement at most indoor places in California starting Tuesday and at schools on March 12, regardless of vaccination status.”
• You know those free at-home COVID-19 tests that the Biden administration belatedly made available? Well, a whole bunch of them are still available. Time magazine says: “Nearly half of the 500 million free COVID-19 tests the Biden administration recently made available to the public still have not been claimed as virus cases plummet and people feel less urgency to test. Wild demand swings have been a subplot in the pandemic, from vaccines to hand sanitizer, along with tests. On the first day of the White House test giveaway in January, COVIDtests.gov received over 45 million orders. Now officials say fewer than 100,000 orders a day are coming in for the packages of four free rapid tests per household, delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.”
• Our partners at CalMatters examine the toll COVID-19 continues to take on Black Californians: “African Americans, who have a litany of historical reasons to mistrust public health officials and doctors, have the lowest vaccination rate in the state, at 55%. COVID-19 has become deadlier for Black Californians since the widespread availability of vaccinations, and vaccine hesitancy could be among the reasons why. Other races, which have higher vaccination rates, have seen death rates rise, but not as dramatically. A CalMatters analysis shows since last summer, the rate of Black Californians dying from COVID-19 has increased tenfold—from one death per 100,000 people last July to 10.4 deaths this week. That surpasses Latinos and all races except Pacific Islanders, who are dying at the rate of 14.7 per 100,000, according to state data.“
• Back to Ukraine news for a moment: When the Swiss are taking sides, that’s DEFINETLY saying something. The New York Times reports: “Switzerland, a favorite destination for Russian oligarchs and their money, announced on Monday that it would freeze Russian financial assets in the country, setting aside a deeply rooted tradition of neutrality to join the European Union and a growing number of nations seeking to penalize Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. … Switzerland said it was departing from its usual policy of neutrality because of ‘the unprecedented military attack by Russia on a sovereign European state,’ but expressed a willingness to help mediate in the conflict. It also joined European neighbors in closing its airspace to Russian aircraft, except for humanitarian or diplomatic purposes. But said it would evaluate whether to join in subsequent E.U. sanctions on a case-by-case basis.”
• Whackadoo conspiracy theories are wreaking political havoc in some more rural parts of California. SFGate tells the tale of the effort to recall the entire Nevada County Board of Supervisors: “Recall organizer Calvin Clark explained to SFGATE that ‘prescribing remdesivir is a crime against humanity’ because patients are ‘not given an option that’s worked for years in ivermectin.’ (Remdesivir is an antiviral drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19; ivermectin is an anti-parasite drug that has repeatedly been disproven as a treatment for the virus, including in a recent large-scale study.) … Clark told SFGATE that his son was ‘vaccine-injured’ by routine childhood vaccinations and that COVID-19 could be a ‘repeat of when they created HIV in a lab and the [World Health Organization] and [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] used it to promote the tainted smallpox vaccine in Zaire.’”
• And finally … on this final day of Black History Month, Mitchell S. Jackson, a former inmate, points out in Esquire (via Yahoo!) that, as the Esquire subheadline says, “Oregon and 19 other states still use language from the 13th Amendment to govern working conditions for inmates—some of whom still pick actual cotton. The rules are changing, but not without resistance.” Key quote: “Research also attests that I was a slave at the time. And I ain’t speaking hyperbolically or philosophically but literally and officially here. As proof, I submit Article I, Section 34 of the Oregon State Constitution: There shall be neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude in the State, otherwise than as punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. If that excerpt from my home state’s charter sounds familiar, that’s because it’s almost verbatim the infamous clause of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that banned slavery in all of the U.S., save one gaping-ass loophole: ‘except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.’”
Thanks, as always, for reading!
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