Coachella Valley Independent

Daily Digest: March 22, 2021

There’s a member of my family—someone I adore—who has been driving me crazy lately.

Why? This person is a borderline anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorist.

I say “borderline,” because she is genuinely conflicted. Some people in her life have completely bought into some of the most bonkers anti-vaxxer rhetoric out there, and they keep sending her videos, stories, etc., some of which are from the fringiest of those on the fringe. She then 1) gets the living you-know-what scared out of her, and 2) sends the video/story/etc. to me, partially for reassurance, and partially for a counter-argument she can send along to the anti-vaxxer “friend.”

Shockingly, the crazy crap from the discredited doctors and whatnot doesn’t bother me that much. Because it’s simply, well, crazy.

Conversely, the stuff that drives me up a FREAKING WALL comes from legit media sources that are factually—but not contextually—reporting on something that happened to someone after getting vaccinated.

This brings me to a recent piece in The Atlantic that’s worth reading. The headline: “Don’t Be Surprised When Vaccinated People Get Infected.” The even-more-important subheadline: “Post-immunization cases, sometimes called “breakthroughs,” are very rare and very expected.”

After referencing the types of news stories (about things that AREN’T ACTUALLY NEWS) that are driving me up that figurative wall, writer Katherine J. Wu says:

Since mid-December, when the rollout of the newly authorized vaccines began, nearly 40 million Americans have received the jabs they need for full immunization. A vanishingly small percentage of those people have gone on to test positive for the coronavirus. The post-shot sicknesses documented so far seem to be mostly mild, reaffirming the idea that inoculations are powerful weapons against serious disease, hospitalization, and death. This smattering of cases is a hazy portent of our future: Coronavirus infections will continue to occur, even as the masses join the ranks of the inoculated. The goal of vaccination isn’t eradication, but a détente in which humans and viruses coexist, with the risk of disease at a tolerable low.

The verdict is in: The vaccines work. They’re not perfect … but they’re far closer to perfection than we had a reasonable right to expect.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

On Cocktails: Raise Your Glass—Preferably Containing a Hanky Panky—to Bartending Legend Ada Coleman

By Kevin Carlow

March 22, 2021

Get to know arguably the most famous woman bartender of all-time.

Home Video Review: ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Is Much Better Than the Original—but It’s Still Not Great

By Bob Grimm

March 22, 2021

The 2017 original was widely panned. Zack Snyder’s 2021 cut of Justice League is a lot better—but it’s just so-so, at best.

The Indy Endorsement: Willie’s Shepherds Pie at 1501 Uptown Gastropub

By Jimmy Boegle

March 22, 2021

With food like Willie’s shepherds pie, it’s no wonder 1501 Uptown Gastropub is the hottest restaurant in the valley.

And Now, the News

• Sign No. 49,038 that the pandemic ain’t over yet: The amount of SARS-CoV-2 found in Palm Springs wastewater again rose last week. Here’s the report, posted earlier today on the city’s website. There’s no cause for panic here—the numbers are still very low compared to where they were for most of the last several months—but the fact the numbers are headed in the wrong direction AND the fact that variants were detected drive home the point that we all still need to be masking up, taking precautions, and getting vaccinated as soon as we’re eligible.

The Washington Post comes to the Coachella Valley to a look at the efforts of Indio High School Assistant Principal Rich Pimentel to track down students who have disappeared since the pandemic arrived. The piece is excellent and heartbreaking. Key quote: “During the past several months, he’d found students who slept in tents, students who lived in homeless shelters and students who took their school-issued laptops along as they harvested dates in the sunbaked groves outside of cell range, but the home visits that haunted him most were the ones where he discovered nothing at all.” This is a must-read, folks.

• Sigh. As of this writing, details are just starting to come in regarding yet another possible mass shooting, this one at a Boulder, Colo., grocery store. Here’s the CNN live-updates page.

• The head of the Palm Springs Art Museum is stepping down. According to the Los Angeles Times: “Palm Springs Art Museum Executive Director Louis Grachos has resigned after a nearly two-year run and is heading to New Mexico, where he will return as executive director of the contemporary arts organization SITE Santa Fe, which he led from 1996 to 2003.” He is slated to stay on the job until this summer; the museum is scheduled to reopen April 1.

• From the “very important vaccine news” file: According to AstraZeneca, the results from an ongoing trial of its unfairly maligned vaccine are very good: It’s 79 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infections, and excellent at preventing serious illness. Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, on the the PBS NewsHour, explains why this is very important: “If the FDA’s evaluation holds up the data that we’re seeing today, it’s good news because it adds a fourth candidate to the U.S. fight at a time that we’re rushing to cover our population with immunity, but it’s been called the vaccine for the world, because, as you said, it is making up the lion’s share of vaccines distributed by COVAX, the WHO’s utility to try to get the vaccines out to the most of the rest of the world.”

• Related: This piece from The New York Times is kinda infuriating, as it explains why poorer countries are waaaaay at the back of the vaccine line: “Growing numbers of health officials and advocacy groups worldwide are calling for Western governments to use aggressive powers—most of them rarely or never used before—to force companies to publish vaccine recipes, share their know-how and ramp up manufacturing. Public health advocates have pleaded for help, including asking the Biden administration to use its patent to push for broader vaccine access. Governments have resisted. By partnering with drug companies, Western leaders bought their way to the front of the line. But they also ignored years of warnings — and explicit calls from the World Health Organization—to include contract language that would have guaranteed doses for poor countries or encouraged companies to share their knowledge and the patents they control.”

• Also infuriating is this piece in The Conversation, penned by a law professor. The question posed by the headline: “Why can’t the IRS just send Americans a refund–or a bill?” The answer: “As an expert on the U.S. tax system, I see America’s costly and time-consuming tax reporting system as a consequence of its relationship with the commercial tax preparation industry, which lobbies Congress to maintain the status quo.”

• In the wake of new CDC guidelines, the state has decreased the amount of space mandated between school desks. The Los Angeles Times explains: “Students in California are now allowed to sit three feet apart in classrooms—instead of four or six feet—in guidelines state officials issued over the weekend, a major change in policy that will exert pressure on local officials to consider a faster and more complete reopening of campuses that have been closed for over a year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Local education leaders, however, will have the final say—and Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner said Sunday that the L.A. Unified School District would keep the six-foot rule.”

• Wow. According to a new study, as reported on by The New York Times: “A very small study using objective measures—weight measurements from Bluetooth-connected smart scales—suggests that adults under shelter-in-place orders gained more than half a pound every 10 days. That translates to nearly two pounds a month, said Dr. Gregory M. Marcus, senior author of the research letter, published on Monday in the peer-reviewed JAMA Network Open. Americans who kept up their lockdown habits could easily have gained 20 pounds over the course of a year, he added.”

• The Biden administration is working on one humdinger of an infrastructure and jobs plan—to the tune of possibly $3 trillion. The Washington Post reports on the ideas: “Although no final announcement has been made, the White House is expected to push a multitrillion-dollar jobs and infrastructure plan as the centerpiece of the president’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda. That effort is expected to be broken into two parts—one focused on infrastructure, and the other focused on other domestic priorities such as growing the newly expanded child tax credit for several years.”

• California’s unemployment system remains to be a figurative pile of hot garbage. The latest, as explained by the San Francisco Chronicle (subscription required; sorry, but the paper has been killing it on its EDD coverage): “About 2.4 million Californians will have to wait weeks to receive new extended jobless benefits, according to the state Employment Development Department, which has struggled throughout the pandemic to handle a deluge of unemployment claims. The new delays apply to self-employed people and those on a federal extension plan.”

• And finally … if you’re a fan of record stories, I have some very good news for you: Amoeba Records’ LA store is reopening in its new digs. The Los Angeles Times says: “On Monday, the California music retailer announced that it would open its new 23,000-square-feet Hollywood Boulevard location on April 1. Located across the street from the Frolic Room and the Pantages Theatre, and a block west of concert venue the Fonda, the new Amoeba is situated within the El Centro residential and retail development at the corner of Argyle Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard.”

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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...