Daily Digest: Dec. 21, 2020
You may have noticed that this Daily Digest looks different than the 158 or so that have come before it.
The reason: This is the first time I am doing the digest using the fancy, newfangled Newsletter Integration Thingy (N.I.T.) that comes with the new website.
Of course, seeing as this is the first time I am using the N.I.T., there’s about a 96.43 percent chance that I am going to mess something up. Therefore, please accept my sincere and profound apologies if, say, the formatting in this Daily Digest is messed up, or the text is too small, or you receive it seven times, or the text is in Swahili, or it has tentacles coming out of the screen or something.
I am using the N.I.T., because the technical folks assure me that 1) they are far smarter than I am when it comes to integration thingies, and 2) it will save me valuable time. They assure me this is the case even though I spent approximately 37 minutes getting the Palm Canyon Theatre ad above properly inserted, during which I used approximately 41 cuss words (nine of them unique). I may or may not have also spent eight of those 37 minutes whimpering in a corner of my office.
So, away we go. Thanks, as always, for reading.
From the Independent
By Kevin Fitzgerald
December 21, 2020
Over 3,200 home-bound seniors have been fed more than 1.25 million meals by the Great Plates Delivered program during the pandemic. However, Riverside County says […]
By Bob Grimm
December 21, 2020
Chadwick Boseman delivers an electric final performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the latest film adaptation of an August Wilson play.
And Now, the News
• As of this writing, Congress was allegedly getting closer and closer to actually approving, maybe, possibly, a $900 billion coronavirus aid package—as part of a massive overall federal spending bill. As The Washington Post explains: “The speed and scope of the legislative rush startled some lawmakers as details from the massive bill emerged on Monday. … Senate leaders announced the breakthrough agreement on a coronavirus relief package Sunday night after several weeks of negotiations. The legislation brokered by congressional leaders includes about $325 billion in business relief, including about $275 billion for another round of Paycheck Protection Program funding. It would also extend federal unemployment benefits of up to $300 per week, which could start as early as Dec. 27.”
• Meanwhile, the hospital situation in Southern California remains unbelievably bleak. The Los Angeles Times’ Gustavo Arellano told the gut-wrenching story of Kim and Billy Folsom. Kim died at Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree on Dec. 7. As Gustavo writes: “The coronavirus surge was going to kill her. And she didn’t even have COVID-19. She had woken up in a pool of blood earlier that day, so Billy had rushed her to Hi-Desert. The facility didn’t have the equipment to take care of Kim, he said. So the attending doctor began to call hospitals across the Inland Empire to see if Kim could be transferred to them. None could accept her. They were swamped with COVID-19 cases.”
• The three-week stay-at-home order is due to expire in a week. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom said today what anyone who’s been watching the state’s hospitalization numbers already knew: It’ll almost surely be extended.
• Things have gotten so nutso in California that, as NBC News explains, Apple has temporarily closed all of its stores in the state, in the days leading up to Christmas. Yeesh.
• However, more help is on the way: The Moderna vaccine started arriving and being given today at places around the country.
• Meanwhile, a Los Angeles restaurant owner is suing the governor over the outdoor-dining ban in federal court. Per the Los Angeles Times: “The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill in Sherman Oaks. The owner, Angela Marsden, was seen in a viral video fighting back tears over the ban, which had forced the closure of her restaurant even as an outdoor dining area was set up by a Hollywood movie crew a short distance away. The legal team, led by famed attorney Mark Geragos, seeks to overturn the ban, calling it an unconstitutional stretch of power by Newsom that is not supported by scientific evidence.”
• The U.S. surgeon general has asked people who have recovered from COVID-19 to please donate convalescent plasma. As Fox News (!) explains: “‘If you are among the millions of Americans who have had COVID-19, you may have a precious resource that can help save other lives,’ Adams said, in a statement released Monday. ‘Plasma donated by people who have recovered from COVID-19 may contain antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease. These antibodies may help suppress the virus and provide patients with clinical benefit.;”
• The Washington Post published an in-depth look at how the Trump administration has, more or less, given up on fighting the pandemic—and has instead been focusing its efforts on its baseless attempts to overturn the election results. Key quote: “’I think he’s just done with COVID,’ said one of Trump’s closest advisers who, like many others interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss internal deliberations and operations. ‘I think he put it on a timetable and he’s done with COVID. . . . It just exceeded the amount of time he gave it.’”
• The Post had one heck of a weekend; it also published a completely bonkers piece about a Texas far-right group that was so convinced there was a plot afoot to steal the election that it spent close to $300,000 to investigate … and came up with nothing. Their efforts were largely focused on air-conditioner installer David Lopez-Zuniga, who at one point was run off the road and ordered to the ground at gunpoint: “Police said that Lopez-Zuniga, 39, was the victim of a bogus conspiracy theory alleging he was involved in transporting 750,000 mail-in ballots fraudulently signed by Hispanic children whose fingerprints could not be traced. After an investigation into the Oct. 19 incident, authorities last week charged the SUV’s driver—who is a private investigator and former Houston police captain—with assault with a deadly weapon. The private investigator, 63-year-old Mark A. Aguirre, pleaded not guilty on Friday. His lawyer says the case is politically motivated.”
• AirBnB, fresh off a successful IPO, shut down a whole lot of party houses around the country. They emailed the Independent to say: “As a part of this effort, more than 30 listings throughout the City of Palm Springs that have received complaints or otherwise violated our policies on parties and events, have been suspended from the Airbnb platform. This follows Airbnb’s policy change to ban parties at Airbnb listings globally until further notice. The actions were communicated to the hosts over the past week.” OK then!
• If AirBnB is so concerned about things, one must wonder why they’re not offering refunds for reservations in the Tahoe area in the wake of the travel ban there. As the San Francisco Chronicle (subscription required) explains: “The pandemic presents a stress test of Airbnb’s peer-to-peer marketplace model, in which guests and hosts around the world are left to navigate unprecedented uncertainty on their own. … There are no signs the company will address challenges at high-demand locations like Lake Tahoe, where contention over short-term rentals has led communities to clamp down.”
• A professor of environmental and occupational health, writing for The Conversation, notes that older people tend to look at time differently than younger people—and as a result, they’re overall having an easier time dealing with the pandemic: “Many older people have redefined their experiences in terms of time left to live, and they focus on what is most meaningful now. They let go of what they can’t do anything about. Instead of looking back, older adults are motivated to enjoy the time they have left.“
• And finally … while I am not sure there are any meaningful takeaways, this piece in Elle Magazine about the married journalist who fell head-over-heels in love with Martin Shkreli, aka the pharma bro, sure is fascinating. If you can make it through it without shaking your head in disbelief at least a couple of times, you may be dead inside.
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