Indy Digest: Oct. 21, 2021

The country is currently in the midst of at least two (unfortunately complementary) pandemics.

One is COVID-19. The other is selfishness.

We just spent four years with Donald Trump as president—and it’s quite possible Trump is one of the most selfish people who ever walked the planet.

As evidence (as if any were needed), I present to you the statement Trump issued following the death of Colin Powell: “Wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media. Hope that happens to me someday. He was a classic RINO, if even that, always being the first to attack other Republicans. He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace!”

“Selflsh” is quite possibly the kindest thing I can think of to say about that statement.

Trump is one symptom of the selfishness pandemic that’s gripping the United States. Another is opposition to vaccine mandates.

I consider myself to be something of a libertarian. I think a person should be able to pretty much do whatever he, she or they want, as long as they’re not negatively impacting anyone else—so I completely understand the impulse to feel squicked out by a government or a company telling an individual that he/she/they MUST do something to their bodies.

However, the problem with SARS-CoV-2 is that it doesn’t care about individual freedoms and liberties—it just “wants” to spread itself around as much as possible. Therefore, a choice by someone to not get vaccinated can very much impact someone else.

This is the thing that the NBA players, and pilots’ unions, and football coaches, and etc. who are refusing to get injected with an effective and almost-always safe vaccine are choosing to ignore: Their actions are putting others at more of a risk.

I could not wait to get the vaccine. But even if I weren’t concerned about the threat COVID-19 posed to my personal health, I would have chosen to get vaccinated because I want to minimize the chances that I could spread the virus to others. It’s about being a good husband, son, friend and colleague. It’s about being a caring member of society.

Vaccine mandates are, of course, nothing new. They helped wipe out small pox, and almost eliminated cases of polio and measles in the U.S. An article published today by The Conversation points out that even George Washington himself issued a vaccine mandate:

In 1777, during the American Revolution, Washington had his officers and troops inoculated against smallpox. The procedure was risky. But for Washington, the pros outweighed the cons. It was an order, an actual mandate, not an option that individuals could discuss and eventually decide.

“After every attempt to stop the progress of the small Pox,” Washington explained to the New York Convention, “I found, that it gained such head among the Southern Troops, that there was no possible way of saving the lives of most of those who had not had it, but by introducing inoculation generally.”

Kyrie Irving, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, Nick Rolovich and the like aren’t taking stands for individual liberties and personal freedoms. They’re being selfish jerks.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Collecting History: The LGBTQ+ History and Archives of the Desert Holds an Inaugural Exhibition During Pride Weekend

By Kevin Fitzgerald

October 19, 2021

About a dozen Palm Springs residents have started establishing an historical archive of the LGBTQ+ community in the Coachella Valley, and an inaugural exhibition of the “archive-in-progress” will take place during Greater Palm Springs Pride weekend

Hiking With T: The Canyons Around Desert Hot Springs Offer Amazing Adventures

By Theresa Sama

October 20, 2021

Abandoned cars. Spooky caves with religious iconography. A giant rock horse/dragon. The rugged trails near Desert Hot Springs are never boring.

Cannabis in the CV: Evidence Shows That Some Cannabis Products Can Improve Sexual Experiences

By Jocelyn Kane

October 19, 2021

The body’s own natural systems can work with cannabis to enhance pleasure—and therefore cause greater sexual satisfaction.

Notable but Unknown: Andy Cahan’s ‘The Most Famous Musician You’ve Never Heard Of’ Documents His Long and Storied Music Career

By Matt King

October 20, 2021

Keyboardist and Coachella Valley resident Andy Cahan has, for more than 50 years, collaborated and had dealings with an incredible list of stars, musicians and bands.

The Lucky 13: Spade Ferrer, Bassist for the Ill Eagles, Performing at the Concert for Autism on Nov. 20

By Matt King

October 21, 2021

Get to know Spade Ferrer, the grooving bassist for reggae band the Ill Eagles

The Weekly Independent Comics Page for Oct. 21, 2021!

By Staff

October 21, 2021

On this week’s congressional-subpoena-ignoring Independent comics page: Claytoonz has bad news for trick-or-treaters; The K Chronicles reveals a secret ingredient in some pumpkin-spice blends; This Modern World shows off a terrifying Halloween costume; Jen Sorensen fails to avoid “forever chemicals”; and Red Meat has business problems.

More News

The latest Riverside County District 4 COVID-19 report contains a mixed bag of news. (District 4 = the Coachella Valley and rural points to the east.) The bad news: During the week ending Oct. 17, hospitalizations were flat (with 44 COVID-19 patients at week’s end … which, while nowhere near the horrifying triple-digit numbers during the worst moments of the pandemic, is still a LOT of people), and at least two deaths. The good news: The positivity rate was down to 4 percent.

Yet more groups are becoming eligible for booster shots, as The New York Times reports. All the different rules are confusing, but here’s a summary: If you got Pfizer and Moderna shots at least six months ago, and you’re either 65 or older, or you have certain medical conditions, you’re eligible. If you got a Johnson and Johnson shot at least two months ago, you’re eligible regardless of age. If you’re not in these categories, talk to your doctor, as things are kinda wishy washy beyond the aforementioned rules.

Oh, and you can mix-and-match booster shots too. In other words, if you got, say, a J&J shot, you can get, say, a Moderna booster. (Of course, some ahead-of-their time folks have already been doing this.)

If you like to worry, check out this story from CNBC, about a new SARS-CoV-2 variant that could be a problem: “U.K. medical professionals have issued an urgent plea to the British government to reimpose some COVID restrictions due to the increased level of infections and hospitalizations in the country. … Making matters worse, potentially, is a new mutation of the delta variant that British experts are watching closely. Last Friday, the U.K.’s Health Security Agency issued a report in which it said ‘a delta sublineage newly designated as AY.4.2 is noted to be expanding in England’ and that it was monitoring the subtype. … This new descendent of the delta COVID variant, AY.4.2, has being identified in an increasing number of U.K. COVID cases, with some suggesting it might be another possible factor in rising case numbers, although it is too early to tell for sure.”

• If you live in California, you are officially living under a drought-emergency declaration. Our partners at CalMatters report: “Gov. Gavin Newsom (on Tuesday) declared a drought emergency for the entire state of California, as conservation efforts continue to fall far short of state targets. Newsom also authorized California’s water regulators to ban wasteful water use, such as spraying down public sidewalks, and directed his Office of Emergency Services to fund drinking water as needed. But he stopped short of issuing any statewide conservation mandates. … (The) announcement extends drought emergencies, already declared in 50 counties, to the eight remaining counties where conditions had thus far not been deemed severe enough: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Imperial, San Francisco and Ventura.” 

• Related: Congratulations! You’ve lived through California’s driest year in more than 100 years: According to the Los Angeles Times: “In a year of both extreme heat and extreme drought, California has reported its driest water year in terms of precipitation in a century, and experts fear the coming 12 months could be even worse. The Western Regional Climate Center added average precipitation that had been reported at each of its stations and calculated that a total of 11.87 inches of rain and snow fell in California in the 2021 water year. That’s half of what experts deem average during a water year in California: about 23.58 inches. The climate center tallies rainfall by averaging all of the measured precipitation in the state at the end of a water year, which runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.”

Also from our partners at CalMatters: Gov. Newsom yesterday issued an executive order to “help unclog the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, outside of which a record 100 ships idled on Tuesday as they waited to unload their cargo.” However, some of the state’s most powerful business groups are also blaming state “overregulation” for supply chain issues: “In a Tuesday letter to Newsom, the business groups asked him to declare a state of emergency at the ports. They also demanded he suspend numerous controversial state laws, including one that requires developers to mitigate their projects’ environmental impact and another that forced many companies to reclassify independent workers as employees. The business groups wrote: ‘The supply chain crisis at the ports is the inevitable culmination of … a series of state, regional and local mandates forced upon every aspect of the goods movement economy.’”

• Meanwhile, from the medical-news department comes a story that, at first glance, seems odd, but could actually be a pretty big deal. The NPR headline on an Associated Press story: “In a major scientific advance, a pig kidney is successfully transplanted into a human.” A bit more: “Scientists temporarily attached a pig’s kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for life-saving transplants. Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.”

• And now, from the social-media news department, we have two items that, frankly, are both a little crazy. First up: Facebook is planning on changing its name next week. Yes, really. From The Verge: “Facebook is planning to change its company name next week to reflect its focus on building the metaverse, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter. The coming name change, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about at the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28, but could unveil sooner, is meant to signal the tech giant’s ambition to be known for more than social media and all the ills that entail. The rebrand would likely position the blue Facebook app as one of many products under a parent company overseeing groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and more.”

• Second: Donald Trump is making progress in his quest to launch a new social-media platform of his own. However, things are not necessarily going smoothly. Here’s a Washington Post report, which I swear I am not making up: “Former president Donald Trump and his team declared Wednesday night that they would soon launch a ‘media powerhouse’ that would help them triumph in their long-running war against Big Tech. But within hours, pranksters found what appeared to be an unreleased test version and posted a picture of a defecating pig to the donaldjtrump’ account. The site, called Truth Social, has since been pulled offline, evidence that Trump is likely to face a daunting challenge in building an Internet business that can stand on its own.”

• And finally, let’s end on some good, local news: Palm Springs’ Plaza Theatre took a big step toward coming back to life yesterday. Our friends at the Palm Springs Post explain: “Backers of the effort to refurbish the historic Plaza Theatre in downtown Palm Springs announced Wednesday they received a $5 million donation from a private donor, immediately putting them halfway toward their fundraising goal. David Lee, an award-winning producer, director, and writer best known for his work on Frasier and Cheers—who is also a city resident—wrote the check. An initial $3 million will be donated immediately, and an additional $2 million will follow as matching funds to encourage further contributions.”

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Jimmy Boegle

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...