Indy Digest: Dec. 20, 2021
President Biden is scheduled to speak tomorrow about the steps the country is taking to deal with the latest COVID-19 surge—which, you may have heard, is causing quite a ruckus.
Delta’s running amok. Omicron’s starting to run amok—and is now the dominant strain in the U.S. (More below.) Happy holidays!
Here’s what I wish would happen when Biden speaks tomorrow. It certainly won’t happen, for all sorts of reasons, but if this DID happen, it would do the world sooooo much good:
I wish President Biden and former President Trump would do a joint speech—and urge people to get vaccinated and boosted.
Over the weekend, President Trump revealed that he had received a booster shot. Here are the details, according to The Washington Post:
At a joint event in Dallas, conservative political commentator Bill O’Reilly noted that both he and Trump had been vaccinated.
“Both the president and I are vaxxed and — did you get the booster?” O’Reilly asked Trump.
The former president paused slightly before responding, “Yes.”
Some in the crowd began booing, prompting Trump to wave his hand disapprovingly.
“No, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t … ” Trump said. “That’s all right. It’s a very tiny group over there.”
While, again, there’s no chance it would happen, such a joint appearance would do amazing good. Would it convince all, or even most, of the unvaccinated and unboosted to go get their shots? Heavens no. For one thing, people decide against vaccinations for all sorts of reasons that don’t have to do with Donald J. Trump. For another, a lot of people who do follow Trump’s lead would find a conspiracy-theory reason to disregard the joint appearance—they’d declare it to be a deep fake, or claim there was some sort of hidden message in what Trump said telling true believers to NOT get vaccinated … or something. (Remember: People have been hanging around Dallas waiting for the late John F. Kennedy Jr. to show up and return Donald Trump to the presidency.)
But a not-insignificant number of people would heed the advice. A joint appearance of Biden and Trump will never happen … but it would be one of the best things to happen to the country in 2021 if it did.
From the Independent
Photography Legend: An Exhibit With Michael Childers’ Works—Both Old and New—Christen a New Yucca Valley Gallery
By Cat Makino
December 18, 2021
A chat with Michael Childers as the new Joshua Tree Gallery of Contemporary Art features some of his iconic works.
Spidey Supreme: ‘No Way Home’ Is Fun and Original, Representing the Best of Marvel Movies
By Bob Grimm
December 20, 2021
Spider-Man: No Way Home astounds frame after frame—and reminds you that fun, original movies, featuring worlds of constant possibilities, can still be made.
The Indy Endorsement: The Peruanas Empanada at Mi Cultura
By Jimmy Boegle
December 20, 2021
Mi Cultura’s Peruanas empanada has everything one could possibly desire in a savory hand pie—meatiness, saltiness, earthiness and spice.
Caesar Cervisia: The Coachella Valley Continues to Be a Frustrating Place for Lovers of Craft Beer
By Brett Newton
December 17, 2021
The good news: Most of the Coachella Valley craft beer scene has weathered the pandemic thus far. The bad news: It still needs some help.
DIY and Determination: Blue Sun Hopes Debut Album ‘Worst Case Scenario’ Helps the Band Move Beyond the Backyard Scene
By Matt King
December 18, 2021
Blue Sun released debut album Worst Case Scenario on Nov. 27—and will be performing at The Hood on Jan. 14.
Best of Coachella Valley Winners’ Advertising Spotlight!
• While the pandemic news coming in around the country is horrible, so far, the Coachella Valley news is not terrible. First, the results of the Palm Springs wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2 done last week are in … and the levels are up, but only slightly—with omicron likely present. A graph on the report showing a comparison of this year compared to last is striking. as you can see below. The blue line is testing through Dec. 15 in 2021; the red line is testing during the same dates last year.
• Meanwhile, local hospitalizations as of yesterday were at their lowest point in almost a month. According to Kevin Duncliffe, 45 COVID-19 patients were in our three local hospitals. Let’s face it: An omicron spike is probably inevitable here … but the lower the case and hospitalization base level is, the better.
• Related (as for as the omicron part): Congrats to the variant, which has overtaken delta as the U.S.’ top SARS-CoV-2 type! The Associated Press terrifyingly reports: “Omicron has raced ahead of other variants and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials said Monday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers showed nearly a six-fold increase in omicron’s share of infections in only one week. In much of the country, omicron’s prevalence is even higher. It’s responsible for an estimated 90% of new infections in the New York area, the Southeast, the industrial Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.”
• The Palm Springs International Festival’s Film Awards gala has been cancelled. Here’s a statement from the PSIFF: “The Palm Springs International Film Society has announced that the Film Awards will not take place this year on Thursday, January 6, 2022. We are taking this action due to the recent spike in COVID cases and out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of the honorees, patrons, and staff. The Palm Springs Film Awards are one of the largest events in the film world with 2,500 guests and more than 1,000 staff in the room. The screening portion of the Palm Springs International Film Festival will take place January 7 through January 17, 2022 and will require proof of vaccination and the wearing of a mask. The Film Awards will partner with Entertainment Tonight to celebrate this year’s honorees with details to follow. Those who purchased tickets for the Film Awards will be reimbursed. We hope to return to the Film Awards to an in-person event in 2023.
• Procter and Gamble has recalled several brands of shampoos and conditioners, because they may contain benzene, which, last I checked, is not something one wants in shampoos and conditioners. CBS News has the details. A snippet: “The recall involves products produced in the United States from the P&G brands Aussie, Herbal Essences, Pantene and Waterless, the Cincinnati-based consumer goods conglomerate said Friday in a notice posted by the Food and Drug Administration. Previously discontinued aerosol dry shampoo products from its Hair Food and Old Spice brands are also included in the recall. Exposure to benzene—classified as a human carcinogen—can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow, as well as life-threatening blood disorders. ‘Daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences,’ P&G stated.”
• And now for some depressing California focused news: Our partners at CalMatters report that a lot of people who received unemployment benefits may have to pay back some of that money: “The state (Employment) Development Department began issuing notifications of the proof-of-work requirement last month to one-third of California’s 2.9 million Pandemic Unemployment Assistance recipients. The federal program, which ran from March 2020 and ended in September, was aimed at helping people who don’t usually qualify for unemployment benefits because they are freelancers or small-business owners. The state is asking them to prove, retroactively, that they were working, or planning to work, prior to filing their unemployment claim. If they can’t provide documentation, they would be ineligible and asked to give the benefits back.”
• The new College of the Desert president—whose time in the job is off to a rocky start, to say the least—has admitted that a study she said needed to be done before work started on the new Palm Springs COD campus … has already been done. Our friends at the Palm Springs Post report: “COD President Dr. Martha Garcia made the revelation in an email to Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton late Thursday, providing a 36-page document that outlines the need for a satellite college campus in the city that was written in 2016. ‘The emerging demographic and economic circumstances of the western Coachella Valley communities, and the broader valley and region in general, help define the need for educational and vocational programs offered by the West Valley Campus,’ the document concludes. … Late Friday, the city released an email response to Garcia written by Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton. In it, she thanked Garcia for her correspondence and for acknowledging the study existed. Still, Middleton warned Garcia that public support for the college was at risk.”
• Bacon may be very hard to come by as of Jan. 1. However, a bunch of California restaurants and stores are suing to stop the chaos. The Sacramento Bee explains: “A coalition of California restaurants and retailers is suing the state to block a law scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 that they argue could drive up the cost of bacon and create supply chain backlogs for the pork industry. The lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court centers on Proposition 12, a 2018 ballot measure that prohibits the production or importation of pork raised from pigs kept in confined spaces. It requires in part that breeding sows be kept in a space no smaller than 24 square feet. … The lawsuit argues that while the liability portion of the Prop. 12 provision is set to go into effect in the new year, the state has yet to implement clarifying regulations that were supposed to be final in September 2019.”
• And finally … if we can’t have bacon, at least we can have fruitcake. (Sorry. That statement was neither helpful nor reassuring. Folks, I am doing the best I can here.) Anyway, a professor of hospitality management, writing for The Conversation, breaks down how the fruitcake came to be so iconic: “Credit for the fruitcake’s popularity in America should at least partially go to the U.S. Post Office. The institution of Rural Free Delivery in 1896 and the addition of the Parcel Post service in 1913 caused an explosion of mail-order foods in America. Overnight, once rare delicacies were a mere mail-order envelope away for people anywhere who could afford them. Given fruitcake’s long shelf life and dense texture, it was a natural for a mail-order food business.”
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