Daily Digest: April 19, 2021
The fate of Derek Chauvin—the police officer accused of murdering George Floyd—is, as of this writing, in the hands of a jury.
Chauvin’s trial was just one of the related topics covered on last night’s HBO broadcast of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. His opening monologue on Derek Chauvin, and the recent killings of Daunte Wright, 20, and Adam Toledo, 13—both unarmed, at the hands of police officers—was one of the more powerful bits of TV I’ve seen in recent memory.
I highly recommend watching it if you have access to HBO. (Much of Last Week Tonight’s content is also posted on YouTube, but as of now, the monologue from last night does not seem to be there.) If you don’t, here’s a summary of it from The Guardian. A segment from that summary::
Over the course of seven years on air, Last Week Tonight has done stories on police militarization, their overuse of municipal violations and raids, their lack of accountability, and how the history of American policing is intertwined with white supremacy. “I could make the same arguments to you again now,” Oliver said. “I could describe the problem to you, but I think you know what and who it is. I could offer solutions, but I think you know what they are. I could offer you anger, but if you’re a sentient human being alive right now and you are not already full of that, I honestly don’t know what to say to you.
“Because the fact is, Black people continue to be mowed down by the police that they pay for,” he concluded.
“It’s once again been made painfully clear that we—and when I say we, I mean white America—have to stop talking about fundamental change in policing and actually make it happen.” He later added, “Because this cycle of state violence against Black lives has to be stopped. So put on your shoes, leave the house, march in the streets, and demand a better country—one in which Black people are treated with fundamental respect.”
Here’s hoping—for starters—justice is served in the Derek Chauvin case.
From the Independent
Vacation Rental Rebellion: Are Increasing Restrictions on Short-Term Rentals Needed to Protect Residents’ Quality of Life—or Unjust Attacks on the Rights of Property Owners?
By Kevin Fitzgerald
April 19, 2021
In 2018, Palm Springs Measure C, which would have phased out short-term rentals in the city, was overwhelmingly rejected by voters. Since then, however, STR […]
Live: Robyn and Linda’s Last Supper With Thrift Store All Stars and Queens of the Stone Age, Pappy and Harriet’s, April 12
By Guillermo Prieto
April 19, 2021
Pappy and Harriet’s is changing hands—but not before Nikki Lane, the Thrift Store All Stars and Queens of the Stone Age said goodbye to owners […]
Home Video Review: Two Great Cult Horror Performers Do Well With a Satirical Vampire Script in ‘Jakob’s Wife’
By Bob Grimm
April 19, 2021
Jakob’s Wife works, not only because of its creepy atmospherics and decent horror effects, but because of its satirical script
And Now, the News
• The country passed an important and encouraging vaccination milestone over the weekend. CNBC explains: “Half of all U.S. adults have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marking a major milestone in the country’s largest vaccine campaign. More than 129 million people ages 18 and older have received at least one shot, or 50.4% of the total adult population, according to the CDC. More than 83 million adults, or 32.5% of the total adult population, are fully vaccinated with one of the three vaccines approved in the U.S. The milestone comes one day after the global death toll from the virus topped 3 million people, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University, with global deaths averaging about 12,000 each day.”
• As of today, everyone in the U.S. age 16 and older is now eligible to be vaccinated. The New York Times takes a detailed look at the statistics of the vaccination effort so far: “As it stands now, older adults are the most vaccinated age group in America — quite likely because they have been eligible in most states for months. But about a fifth of those 65 and older, a group that is particularly vulnerable to serious complications and death from the virus, have not received even one shot. Among them are some residents of long-term care facilities, which have represented more than a third of overall coronavirus deaths in the United States for much of the pandemic.”
• Sort of related: While older people are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, it seems variants are making more younger people susceptible to serious disease. CNN says: “What used to be a mysterious new variant first detected in the UK is now the most dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S. And unlike the original strain of the novel coronavirus, the more contagious B.1.1.7 strain is hitting young people particularly hard. ‘(COVID-19) cases and emergency room visits are up, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘We are seeing these increases in younger adults, most of whom have not yet been vaccinated.’ Now doctors say many young people are suffering COVID-19 complications they didn’t expect. And it’s time to ditch the belief that only older adults or people with pre-existing conditions are at risk of severe COVID-19.”
• Dr. Anthony Fauci made the talk-show circuit on Sunday, and said he expects the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to be again cleared for use, probably with restrictions, on Friday. According to Bloomberg News, via SFGate: “It would be surprising ‘if we don’t have a resumption in some form by Friday,’ Fauci said on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation.’ ‘One of those possibilities would be to bring them back, but to do it with some form of restriction or some form of warning.’ U.S. health officials paused use of the J&J COVID-19 shots while they seek more data on a rare side effect. Six U.S. women who received the shots developed a severe form of blood clotting six to 13 days after vaccination.”
• The latest results from Palm Springs’ testing of its wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 continue to be encouraging. Here’s the latest report, featuring results from April 12 and 13. Key quote: “The latest samples from April 12 and 13, 2021 shows a decrease in the number of copies per liter found in the wastewater. The data from GT Molecular estimates the number of cases can be anywhere between 91 to 405 cases, which represents a prevalence rate between 0.21% and 0.92%. Based on the sample taken on April 13, 2021, the model estimates about 174 cases, which is down from the 327 cases estimated on April 7, 2021.”
• While California’s COVID-19 outlook remains comfortingly decent, other areas, both in the U.S. and abroad, are facing awful surges. Keep in mind when you read this, from Michigan Live, that Riverside County’s latest reported test-positivity rate is 2.5 percent: “After weeks of unnerving increases in new coronavirus cases and positivity rates in Michigan, there are a couple signs the numbers may be cresting. The most hopeful sign: The statewide positivity rate on coronavirus diagnostic tests is dropping. It was 12.1 percent for test results reported Friday, April 16, with a seven-day average of 14.3 percent. The former was the lowest one-day rate since March 26, and the latter was the lowest since April 1. The number of daily new cases also seems to be plateauing: The seven-day average rose only 2.8 percent last week, April 11-17, compared to the week before.”
• And abroad, this is happening in India, as reported by The Associated Press: “New Delhi imposed a weeklong lockdown Monday night to prevent the collapse of the Indian capital’s health system, which authorities said had been pushed to its limit amid an explosive surge in coronavirus cases. In scenes familiar from surges elsewhere, ambulances catapulted from one hospital to another, trying to find an empty bed over the weekend, while patients lined up outside of medical facilities waiting to be let in. Ambulances also idled outside of crematoriums, carrying half a dozen dead bodies each. In an effort to combat crisis, India announced that it would soon expand its vaccination campaign to all adults.”
• The unemployment rate in California is down … but that isn’t necessarily good news. As our partners at CalMatters explain: “It’s a troubling trend: For two out of three months in 2021, California’s unemployment rate shrank partly from thousands of people dropping out of the workforce. The Golden State’s unemployment rate hit a pandemic low of 8.3% in March, down from 8.5% in February, according to figures released Friday by the Employment Development Department. But the decline was largely caused by the nearly 40,000 Californians who stopped looking for work altogether, even as employers added 119,600 new jobs. Similarly, California’s unemployment rate improved 0.3% between December and January, partly because 36,500 people dropped out of the job market. February is so far the only month in 2021 that saw an increase in the civilian labor market.”
• Apple is giving Parler a second chance. Variety reports via SFGate: “Apple said it will allow Parler, the social app popular among conservatives as a so-called ‘free speech’ alternative to mainstream services, to be published again in the App Store—citing Parler’s improved ability to remove hate speech and posts inciting violence. ‘Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become available immediately upon Parler releasing it,’ Apple said in a letter sent Monday to members of Congress.”
• And finally … this bonkers news came in just after we sent the Friday Daily Digest: “A Riverside County-run coronavirus vaccination clinic in Beaumont (was) closed for the rest of Friday, April 16, after a fight between two female nurses, county officials said,” as reported by The Press-Enterprise. “The incident, which affected 245 appointments, occurred at the Albert A. Chatigny Senior Community Recreation Center, 1310 Oak Valley Parkway. … The fight, which was reported about 10:16 a.m., involved a ‘personal issue between the two nurses,’ said Marcedes Cashmer, a Beaumont police spokeswoman.”
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