Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: Sept. 1, 2022

My husband I are quite fortunate to have a primary-care doctor we like.

He’s responsive. He’s thorough. He’s knowledgeable. And he now will cost us about $1,000 more per year if we want to keep him as our doctor.

We’ve been Eisenhower Health patients since the Coachella Valley became our home, but our doctor recently moved to their Eisenhower Primary Care 365 program. The website for Eisenhower 365 says it “is a medical practice dedicated to continuous communication with our patients. … Your relationship with your Eisenhower Primary Care 365 physician will be unlike any you have had before, with regular communication and unprecedented access that allows you to build a trusted and valued relationship together.” The FAQ section of the site goes on to say: “Eisenhower Primary Care 365 physicians each take care of 850 to 950 patients. Most primary care practices take care of 2,000 to 3,000 patients.”

Sounds great … even though we already have a good relationship our doctor. And we can keep this relationship with our doctor for an extra $420 per person, per year—or $620 person if we’re 56 years of age or older.

I don’t blame my doctor at ALL for choosing to become an Eisenhower 365 physician. What good doctor wouldn’t want to be able to spend more time with their patients?

I do blame our country’s effed-up medical care system, where money—not people—is king.

As of this writing, we’re not sure what we’re going to do. A thousand dollars is a lot of money to us. I am leaning toward tightening our belts and forking out the money, because health care is important, and I don’t want to have to find and then get to know a whole new doctor—especially since I know how hard it can be to find caring, competent medical care. My husband is more on the fence, in large part because he’s ticked off (as am I) that this is the second time this has happened to us.

Yep: Five or six years ago, we had an Eisenhower doctor we really liked … who made the decision to move to Eisenhower Primary Care 365. At the time, we were in a financial position where there was no debate about the extra annual cost: We could not afford it, period. So we had to start the process of finding a new doctor—and we fortunately found our current one.

If we decide to start that process again … what’s to say the same damn thing won’t happen to us in another few years?

Health care is a business in the United States—and businesses, even if they’re not-for-profit, always have a bottom line. And that bottom line involves money, not people.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Music and Ministry: Rabbi David Lazar Leads the Jews Do the Blues Event to Raise Money for Or Hamidbar

By Matt King

September 1st, 2022

For the past few years, Rabbi David Lazar has been producing Jews Do the Blues, an event that benefits Or Hamidbar, a nonprofit group that celebrates Jewish spirituality.

September Astronomy: Jupiter Is as Close to Earth as It’s Been in Decades—and Our Planet Is Closing in on Mars

By Robert Victor

August 30th, 2022

A preview of the nighttime and early morning skies in September.

The Venue Report, September 2022: Il Divo, Joel McHale, Roberto Tapia—and More!

By Matt King

August 31st, 2022

It’s September, meaning temps will finally start getting cooler—and the entertainment is getting hotter. Here’s some what local venues have to offer during the month.

The Weekly Independent Comics Page for Sept. 1, 2022!

By Staff

September 1st, 2022

Topics addressed on this week’s comics page include schematics, Ginni Thomas, basket weaving, white nationalists—and more.

More News

• After we reported in this space on Monday that Palm Springs wastewater testing shows the amount of COVID-19 is finally on the decline—and we can report today that Indio’s Valley Sanitary District is also showing a decline, albeit one that’s less definitive—a reader wrote in to point out such is NOT the case in the Palm Springs Unified School District. As of this writing, the PSUSD dashboard shows 238 active cases in the district (201 students, 37 staff), with Palm Springs High leading the way with 32 cases (29 students, three staff). While the PSUSD dashboard doesn’t include historical data, the reader has been keeping track: On Monday—when the PSUSD case total was 226, eight cases lower than now—the reader said: “I’ve kept a log of the numbers in a Google sheet since Aug 16, when (the count was 58) it started to tick up. For perspective, the highest the total ever got was about 1,400 active cases in January 2022 during the first Omicron (BA.1) wave. So it’s only currently at 16% of that peak.” Still … eek!

Updated COVID-19 booster shots will start going in arms next week. CNBC reports: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent committee on vaccines recommended reformulated booster shots that target the latest omicron subvariants. The panel voted 13 to 1 Thursday in favor of the shots after reviewing the available safety and effectiveness data in an almost seven-hour-long meeting. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky still has to give the final sign off before pharmacies can start administering the boosters, but her OK is expected to quickly follow. Pfizer’s omicron boosters are for people ages 12 and older, while Moderna’s updated shots are for adults ages 18 and older. The eligible age groups can receive the boosters at least two months after completing their primary series or their most recent booster with the old shots.”

• While monkeypox cases continue to skyrocket in Riverside County—only one new case was reported today, but a whopping 32 were reported yesterday, bringing the total to 198—the number of cases elsewhere is beginning to wane. NBC says: “The number of new monkeypox cases in the United States has fallen by 40% since early August—a signal that the country’s outbreak could be abating. According to an NBC News analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day average of new reported cases decreased from a daily average of 465 on Aug. 10, to 281 on Aug. 31. The overall drop in cases is largely driven by falling case counts in big cities including New York City and Los Angeles. … Cases are also falling in European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday in a briefing. With the right public health messaging, vaccines and treatments, it’s possible, he said, that the virus can be eliminated, at least in Europe.”

• Our friends at the Mississippi Free Press have been doing an amazing job of covering the water crisis in Jackson, Miss. And if you have not heard about that crisis … wow. Here’s a bit of a story headlined “‘A Can Kicked Down The Road’: Water Crisis Strains Daily Life In Capital City“: “Willie Hart, 72, has been warning about the capital city’s water system since he was as young as his 30-year-old son. ‘They need to do something about that water before it gets bad,’ Kendrick Hart said, speaking with a deeper tone as he quoted his father’s recollection of his own words from four decades ago. Now, the crisis the elder Hart foretold is undeniable. Despite city leaders spending years attempting to plug holes in the aged water system, a series of catastrophic failures has left 180,000 people in Mississippi’s 83% Black capital city with no access to safe, running water. … Jackson’s latest water crisis is the latest incident in a decades-long infrastructure breakdown with few answers in sight for the people left boiling water and praying for a solution.”

Gannett—the parent company of The Desert Sun—finally revealed the number of layoffs and other cutbacks the company recently made. Poynter reports: “Gannett CEO Mike Reed told staff in a companywide Q&A session Wednesday that Gannett laid off 3% of its U.S. workforce, or roughly 400 employees, in August, according to three people who attended the meeting. The announcement comes more than two weeks after Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain with more than 200 papers, executed a round of layoffs starting Aug. 12. Though employees and reporters had repeatedly asked Gannett for information about the scope of the layoffs, the company declined to provide that information until now. CFO Doug Horne, who was also present at the meeting, told staff that in addition to the layoffs, Gannett would not fill 400 open positions. Executives said the company slashed its marketing budget and made other non-payroll cost reductions, according to two people at the meeting. Gannett also reduced its executive team from 10 members to seven as part of a restructuring announced in June.” Yeesh. Oh, and here’s a friendly reminder that the aforementioned Gannett CEO was paid $7.74 million in salary, bonuses and stocks last year.

• The California Legislature has finished its work for the session. Gov. Gavin Newsom has not. Our partners at CalMatters look at what’s next: “High-profile measures headed to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom aim to establish California as a progressive leader on abortion access, on measures to counter climate change and on transgender health care for minors. These votes took place as campaigns ramp up for 100 of the 120 seats in the Legislature. On several bills, the governor not only signaled his support, but lobbied lawmakers to approve them. … Now Newsom has until the end of September to either sign or veto the bills that did pass—and his choices will likely be more closely watched than ever as speculation builds about whether he is positioning himself to run for president.”

If you bought animal crackers at Target recently, please heed this story from CBS News: “Animal cookies sold at Target stores nationwide are now being recalled because the snacks may contain pieces of metal wire. The company that makes the sugary glaze- and sprinkle-covered treats, D. F. Stauffer Biscuit of Pennsylvania, announced the recall last week after someone found ‘metal (wire) inside a portion of the cookies,’ according to the company. The recall impacts 44-ounce clear bear-shaped jugs of Market Pantry White Fudge Animal Cookies with a best-by date of February 21, 2023, lot number Y052722 and UPC code 9589334921, all of which can be found on a label on the back of the bear jug below the nutritional panel, according to the announcement.”

• Hackers are using a James Webb Space Telescope image to sneak malware onto Windows computers. Yes, I really just typed that sentence. PC Mag reports: “The malware-laden image is not currently detected by antivirus programs, according to cybersecurity firm Securonix, which obtained a sample of the program. The hacker is targeting victims through phishing emails containing a malicious Office document, which is designed to automatically download the malware on a victim’s PC. During the process, Securonix noticed the software includes an image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. The image itself is a jpg file and looks like the iconic photo of a region of space called SMACS 0723, which the space telescope captured earlier this year. But according to Securonix, the file contains hidden computer code, which can be viewed when the image is inspected with a text editor.”

• Evidence entry No. 394,205,255 that social media can be terrible comes via this ProPublica piece, headlined “Real Money, Fake Musicians: Inside a Million-Dollar Instagram Verification Scheme.” A bit more: “Since at least 2021, at least hundreds of people—including jewelers, crypto entrepreneurs, OnlyFans models and reality show TV stars—were clients of a scheme to get improperly verified as musicians on Instagram, according to the investigation’s findings and information from Meta.” It’s a fascinating read about how shaky social media “verification” can be.

And finally … airline travel sucks these days. And it can be made even worse when people start sending nude pics to fellow passengers. CNN explains: “The pilot of a Southwest Airlines flight threatened to cancel takeoff after someone on the plane sent a naked photograph to other passengers. The incident, involving Apple’s AirDrop file transfer service, involved a flight from Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. ‘So here’s the deal, if this continues while we’re on the ground I’m going to have to pull back to the gate, everybody’s going to have to get off, we’re going to have to get security involved and … vacation is going to be ruined,’ the pilot could be heard saying in a video that’s been seen about 2.7 million times on TikTok. ‘So you folks, whatever that AirDrop thing is, quit sending naked pictures and let’s get yourself to Cabo.’ Passenger Teighlor Marsalis shot the video and told CNN that she and her friends had just boarded the plane when she and the people around her received notification of files being shared via AirDrop. Marsalis said she had declined the file, but two women in front of her accepted it and showed her the photo. ‘It was a nude man that had AirDropped himself to everyone,’ she said.” God bless people.

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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...