Daily Digest: Jan. 8, 2021
On the morning of Jan. 8, 2011, I started out the day like I did most Saturdays back then—by playing racquetball with my now-husband, Garrett, at LA Fitness.
I’d just returned to my home in central Tucson, Ariz., and was about to take a shower when my boss, Tucson Weekly publisher Tom Lee, called my cell phone.
I’d been the editor of the Tucson Weekly at that point for eight years, and I am pretty sure that was the first time Tom had ever called my cell phone, so I knew something serious was happening. I answered the phone; Tom said something unintelligible and hung up.
I was about to call him back, but for some reason, I decided to check my e-mail first. I saw this message from Tom: Twitter feeds are coming in that Congresswoman Giffords and eight other people were shot this morning in Tucson.
What followed was the most sad and surreal day I’ve ever experienced. (If you want to read more about that day from my perspective, you can do so here.) Six people, all of whom showed up to talk to their congresswoman at a “Congress on Your Corner” event in front of a Safeway, were killed that day by a madman; another 13 were shot and injured—including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who miraculously survived despite being shot point-blank in the head.
I’ll never forget the feeling I experienced that day—a sense of dread, shock, horror and anger, as my brain kept repeating: Is this really happening? This can’t really be happening.
I went nine years and 364 days without experiencing that feeling again. Then came Wednesday’s events in Washington, D.C.
I hope to God I never experience that feeling again.
From the Independent
By Matt King
January 7, 2021
Record Alley—long the Coachella Valley’s most beloved music store—is closing for good.
January 7, 2021
This week’s alternative comics look at the joys of Dutch cinema; the fact that Donald Trump is on a surprising list; and much more.
And Now, the News
• Twitter today followed in the footsteps of Facebook and Instagram by indefinitely banning Donald Trump. Why? “Due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Key quote from the announcement: “Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.”
• Dr. Raul Ruiz today joined the growing chorus of voices calling for President Trump to be removed from office before his term ends on Jan. 20. Key quote: “America is at risk. He must be removed immediately.”
• In fact, one Republican senator has called on the president to resign—and is even questioning her future in the Republican party.
• Forgive me if you’ve heard me say something similar before … but I never thought I’d see a sentence like this in the United States in my lifetime: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House members Friday that she called Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley to ask what was being done to prevent President Donald Trump from accessing nuclear launch codes, calling the president ‘unhinged.'”
• As the dust settles following the insurrection attempt on Wednesday, more and more questions are being raised about what happened. A criminologist and 27-year police veteran, writing for The Conversation, ponders many of these questions, including this one: Would the response been different if the protesters hadn’t been, for the most part, white people? Key quote: “There can be little doubt that there were pronounced differences Wednesday in the levels of violence and excess that the police have been all too willing to engage in when protesters are calling out police violence, racism and brutality, especially when those protesting are Black. The evidence of this disparity is overwhelming and is indicative of the institutional and endemic racism that has characterized much of American policing throughout a history that goes back to the 19th century.”
• ABC’s News’ stats-focused FiveThirtyEight covers similar ground while coming to this conclusion: “Authorities are more than twice as likely to break up a left-wing protest than a right-wing protest.“
• In Wednesday’s Daily Digest, I talked about the oh-so-true phrase that ran through my head all that day: Words matter. Considering the president has repeatedly bashed the media, going so far as to call us the enemy of the people, it’s no surprise, as The Hill points out, that journalists were the targets of his supporters’ ire during Wednesday’s mob.
• And, hey, given that we’re in a pandemic, and given that much of the insurrectionist mob on Wednesday was running amok unmasked, this headline from The Washington Post should surprise nobody: “Storming of Capitol was textbook potential coronavirus superspreader, experts say.”
• Thankfully, a whole lot of people who took part in the attack on the Capitol are being thrown in jail, including the ass who hung out in Nancy Pelosi’s office and stole a piece of her mail.
• Related: A professor of history, writing for The Conversation, offers a piece of perspective with this headline: “US Capitol protesters, egged on by Trump, are part of a long history of white supremacists hearing politicians’ words as encouragement.”
• Awww! Sen. Josh Hawley, one of the people who led the way in the baseless protests of electoral college votes, lost a book deal, the support of a mentor and much more following Wednesday’s debacle. According to The Washington Post: “In the span of about five hours on Thursday afternoon, Hawley was denounced by one of his top donors, dropped from a book deal and lambasted by several Missouri Republicans. Calls for him to resign poured in from the editorial boards of Missouri’s two major newspapers and students at the law school where he was once taught.”
• The White House’s coronavirus task force says that yet another new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus may be driving the spread of the virus here in the U.S. According to CNBC: “’This acceleration suggests there may be a USA variant that has evolved here, in addition to the UK variant that is already spreading in our communities and may be 50% more transmissible,’ the report said. ‘Aggressive mitigation must be used to match a more aggressive virus; without uniform implementation of effective face masking (two or three ply and well-fitting) and strict social distancing, epidemics could quickly worsen as these variants spread and become predominant.'”
• And now, a welcome speck of good news: Scientists are becoming increasingly confident that the Pfizer vaccine will work just fine against most of these variants. Yay?
• As COVID-19 cases continue to overwhelm hospitals, breaking another local record yesterday, oxygen supplies are running low. Therefore, the state has set up an oxygen depot to help beleaguered Riverside County hospitals. Key quote from the county news release: “‘Oxygen suppliers are having a difficult time meeting the high demand of area hospitals due to the COVID19 pandemic,’ said (county Emergency Management Department) Director Bruce Barton. ‘This isn’t limited to just one hospital. COVID patients need lots of oxygen and that’s taxing the entire healthcare system.'”
• Our partners at CalMatters break down what’s in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal. Key quote: “With his budget proposal today, the governor heralded what he framed as the beginning of the end (of California’s current streak of economic expansion). ‘We are on a much better fiscal footing than anyone could have imagined even a few months ago,’ he said—so much so that the state appears on track to be forced legally to issue tiny taxpayer rebates next year.”
• The organizers of Desert X—the renowned if controversial art biennial that takes place throughout the Coachella Valley—are delaying the start of this year’s festival until the coronavirus crisis calms down a bit.
• I was back on the I Love Gay Palm Springs Podcast this week, joining Dr. Laura Rush and hosts Shann Carr, John Taylor and Brad Fuhr to discuss the news of the week. Between the pandemic and the insurrection, there was much to discuss.
• As a Dodger fan, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the death of the skipper, Tommy Lasorda, at the age of 93. Here’s the Los Angeles Times’ lead piece on Lasorda’s life. I am very glad the writer, the great Helene Elliott, didn’t gloss over the complicated relationship Lasorda had with his son, Tommy Jr., a gay man who died in 1991 due to AIDS complications. Lasorda Sr. denied the facts that his son was gay and died of AIDS—but he was at Tommy Jr.’s side at the end, and was clearly rocked by his son’s death. People are complicated.
• And finally … holy crap, it’s been a scary week, following a frightening 10 months, with more alarming months ahead. Therefore, I strongly recommend this piece from The Conversation that shares strategies for cultivating hope.
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