Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: March 6, 2023

The march toward fascism continues …

From Time Magazine:

Tennessee became the first state to explicitly ban drag shows in public spaces on Thursday after Gov. Bill Lee signed the provision into law hours after the measure passed in the state Senate.

Drag shows have become the latest target of conservative criticism, as a slew of other anti-drag bills have been introduced in at least fourteen other states—including Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and others. Language across the numerous bills is similar to the Tennessee bill, which prohibits “adult cabaret performances” in public places where minors could watch. In Tennessee’s bill, “adult cabaret” is defined as “adult-oriented performances” that include “male or female impersonators.”

While the law does not make all drag shows illegal across Tennessee, advocates still worry about the broader effects of the bill across the queer community. “We are concerned that government officials could easily abuse this law to censor people based on their own subjective viewpoints of what they deem appropriate, chilling protected free speech & sending a message to LGBTQ Tennesseans that they are not welcome in our state,” the ACLU of Tennessee tweeted.

From Vice:

A speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference inspired an eruption of cheers after he called for the eradication of “transgenderism” on Saturday—yet another escalation amid the seemingly nonstop legislative push from Republicans across the U.S. to cut trans rights.

“If transgenderism is false—as it is—if men really can’t become women—as they cannot—then it’s false for everyone,” the Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles said at CPAC. “If it is false then for the good of society and especially for the good of the poor people who have fallen prey to this confusion, transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.”

From Politico:

The Biden administration Friday called Republican efforts to dissuade pharmacies from distributing abortion pills “dangerous and just unacceptable.”

The statement follows Walgreen’s decision, first reported by POLITICO, to not dispense the pills in nearly two-dozen states where GOP attorneys general have threatened them with legal action under the 19th century Comstock Act.

“This is all a part of a continued effort by anti-abortion extremists who want to use this arcane law to impose a backdoor ban on abortion,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at the White House daily briefing, adding that the drug in question, mifepristone, “has been on the market for more than two decades, and is regularly used for both miscarriage management and abortion and is used in more than 60 countries.” …

Abortion pills are the most common way to end a pregnancy in the United States and have become a focus for anti-abortion groups and Republican officials seeking to block access in their states.

From the Miami Herald:

Gov. Ron DeSantis has targeted one political enemy after another, from removing a top state prosecutor in Tampa who disagreed with him on abortion rights to promoting an “anti-woke” agenda that limits teaching about racism in public schools and diversity hiring programs at universities. He even went after business behemoth Disney when its CEO opposed an educational bill, dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Now, Florida lawmakers—with the support of the governor—are taking aim at the media, pushing legislation that would dramatically weaken legal standards in place for more than a half century that protect the freedom of the press to report on politicians and other powerful public figures.

The bill would make it easier to sue media outlets for allegations of defamation and make it harder for journalists to do their jobs by undermining the use of unnamed sources, an important reporting tool — particularly for media trying to pull back the curtain on the dealings of elected officials. Many First Amendment advocates and legal experts say it is clearly intended to muzzle reporters who serve as watchdogs for the public. …

Given the governor’s clout in Tallahassee, it stands a solid chance of passage this spring in the Republican-controlled state Legislature and would likely spur more defamation cases in Florida, legal experts say. Because of the clear-cut constitutional questions, the legislation could eventually be appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where at least two justices have already signaled they are interested in revisiting libel law and press protections.

Drag shows. The transgender community. Women who want to use abortion pills—and the pharmacies that distribute those pills. Newspapers and other media sources who report on politicians.

What group will they target next?

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Love, Laughs, Life and Death: Dezart Performs’ ‘A Funny Thing Happened’ Brings Humor and Emotion to a Hospital Room

By Bonnie Gilgallon

March 5th, 2023

Dezart Performs’ A Funny Thing Happened … reminds us that even in the face of grief and enormous loss, love and human connection can pull us through.

Big Band, Big History: The Glenn Miller Orchestra Brings Vintage Hits to the Palm Springs Cultural Center

By Matt King

March 3rd, 2023

The Glenn Miller Band is still going strong, touring up to 48 weeks out of the year. The band is headed to the Coachella Valley for a show at the Palm Springs Cultural Center at 7 p.m., Monday, March 13.

Behind the Curtain: The Desert Open Studios Tour Has Returned to Bring Artists and Audiences Closer Together

By Matt King

March 4th, 2023

The free, self-guided Desert Open Studios tour will feature 150 artists at 60-plus studios over two weekends—Friday and Saturday, March 18-19 and 25-26.

Snapshot: The 36th Annual City of Palm Springs Black History Month Parade and Town Fair

By Grant McMillan

March 6th, 2023

February was first celebrated as Black History Month in 1976—and in Palm Springs, this year’s Black History Month culminated in the 36th Annual Parade and Town Fair.

Rushed Outside of the Ring: Excellent Boxing Sequences Can’t Quite Redeem ‘Creed III’

By Bob Grimm

March 6th, 2023

Creed III had everything it needed to survive in the Rocky-verse without Sylvester Stallone. Unfortunately, it makes the mistake of trying to be both a Rocky film and a deeper, more-nuanced Creed film.

A Note From the Editor: The Independent Offers Something for Everyone—for Free

By Jimmy Boegle

March 4th, 2023

Whether one picks up the Independent in print, or someone reads all of our great coverage at, we don’t charge anything. But we need your support.

More News

Lake Arrowhead and other communities in the nearby-ish San Bernardino Mountains have been dealing with the effects of lots of snow—and a lack of governmental preparation—for more than a week. The Los Angeles Times says: “As crews hustled to clear snow-covered roads in the San Bernardino Mountains, many residents remained stranded Monday, frustrated after being cut off for more than 10 days and running low on food and medicine. The San Bernardino Mountains received more than 100 inches of snow over the past several days, stranding an unknown number of people. State and local agencies are working to clear mounds of snow using heavy machinery, including road graders, front-end loaders, dump trucks, snowplows and snow blowers. … The slow pace of clearing roads has become a source of growing anger in mountain communities. Making matters worse, residents have endured gas leaks, fires and roof cave-ins due to the snow, and authorities have struggled to give aid. Firefighters have used snowmobiles they typically deploy for back-country rescues to respond to emergency calls in residential neighborhoods.”

The Palm Springs Post looks at the worsening shortage of primary-care physicians in the Coachella Valley: “Rancho Mirage resident Angela Farmer has long struggled with a common problem: finding a doctor’s appointment in the Coachella Valley. Despite having a desirable PPO plan through Anthem Blue Shield, one of the nation’s most well-known health insurance providers, Farmer said she has been unable to find a primary care doctor who accepts her insurance. ‘I tried (to find an appointment) starting last year, but then I realized how difficult it really was even just to find a doctor,’ she said recently. ‘Every doctor I called was a dead end.’ … Farmer isn’t alone; most Americans are feeling the impact of staffing shortages across all healthcare fields. Some places, however, have been hit harder than others. The Coachella Valley is one of them. The number one barrier to care is the length of time it takes to get an appointment, according to a report released Feb. 28 by Health Assessment and Research for Communities (HARC), a nonprofit based in Palm Desert.”

An ongoing shortage of a drug used to treat breathing problems just got a lot worse thanks to the closure of a plant that made a lot of it. CNN explains: “Liquid albuterol has been in short supply since last summer, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. It has been on the US Food and Drug Administration’s shortages list since October. The news of the plant shutdown worries some doctors who work with patients with breathing problems such as asthma. … The manufacturer that recently shut down, Akorn Operating Company LLC, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2020. It was the only company to make certain albuterol products used for continuous nebulizer treatment. It’s a staple in children’s hospitals, but had been out of stock since last fall. Without that particular form of the product, hospitals have had to scramble to find alternatives.”

There will likely not be a salmon fishing season in California this year. The North Bay Business Journal says: “Leaders of three California recreational and commercial fishing organizations called Friday for a complete closure of the salmon season this year, saying recent reports of low chinook salmon stocks leave no choice but to conserve what’s left. … After being presented with reports this week from state and federal scientists showing only an estimated 169,767 adult fish are believed to be in the ocean available to catch, it’s clear something is wrong, (said Rick Powers, president of the Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association). Adding to the alarm in California’s salmon fleet: Less than 62,000 adult fish were estimated to have returned to the Sacramento River last year to reproduce. ‘We’re just trying, as stewards of the resources, to protect the species for future generations,’ Powers said.”

For an update on how things are going at Elon Musk’s Twitter, let’s turn things over to the BBC: “Twitter insiders have told the BBC that the company is no longer able to protect users from trolling, state-coordinated disinformation and child sexual exploitation, following layoffs and changes under owner Elon Musk. Exclusive academic data plus testimony from Twitter users backs up their allegations, suggesting hate is thriving under Mr. Musk’s leadership, with trolls emboldened, harassment intensifying and a spike in accounts following misogynistic and abusive profiles. … (An engineer granted anonymity) thinks for Mr. Musk it’s about money. He says cleaning and catering staff were all sacked—and that Mr. Musk even tried to sell the office plants to employees.”

• And finally … farewell to Julie Makinen, the person who had the nearly impossible task of running The Desert Sun for the last 4 1/2 years. The publication ran her goodbye column yesterday; she’s heading to the Bay Area and a newish online publication called the San Francisco Standard. Here’s an excerpt from her farewell, in which she discusses what happened after she arrived in 2018 with “a great sense of optimism and fanciful plans”: “I had little inkling of all the challenges that would soon come thundering down: A corporate merger laden with more than $1 billion in debt. The COVID-19 pandemic. A shift to all-remote work for nearly two years. Declines in advertising amid long shutdowns. Inflation. Labor shortages. Furloughs. Buyouts. Layoffs. Benefit cuts. The ‘great resignation.’ The sale of our building and shutdown of our printing press. Not to mention a broad trend toward hostility to media—or simply ‘news avoidance.’ Far from making me soft, Palm Springs has, quite unexpectedly, toughened me up.” The Indy Digest sincerely wishes Kate Franco, who will be taking Makinen’s place, the best of luck—because, as I am sure Kate knows, she’s gonna need it.

Support the Independent!

Thanks for reading us! Please, if you like what we do, click the button below and become a financial Supporter of the Independent. We have no paywalls; we don’t ask for subscription or single-copy fees. All of our coverage is free to everyone, in print and pixels—and we depend on reader support to help us continue doing so.

Read this Indy Digest at!

Avatar photo

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...