Daily Digest: Feb. 15, 2021
Happy Presidents’ Day, everyone.
Living in the Coachella Valley has both weather advantages and weather disadvantages—but I am of the opinion that the pluses far outweigh the minuses.
Yes, yes, I know … the summers. I think all of us who have lived in the valley for more than a year or two have seriously questioned our life choices on a hot July day as we’ve tried to buckle our seat belt, but instead suffered second-degree burns.
And yes, on occasion, we’ll have floods—like we did on Valentine’s Day two years ago. On occasion we’ll have a bonkers windstorm—like we did on Valentine’s Day this year.
However … have you taken the time, on this 70-degree mid-February day, to check out what’s going on in much of the rest of the country? These are the honest-to-goodness headlines on the live-updates page CNN has going regarding today’s weather—from just the last two hours:
Millions without power as winter weather blasts the US
San Antonio postpones COVID-19 vaccine appointments for tomorrow due to winter storm
Illinois Transportation Department: “Roads are an absolute mess just about everywhere”
Kansas governor pleads with residents to conserve energy
Texas governor deploys National Guard to conduct welfare checks
How this Texas family is trying to stay warm during rolling power outages
Kentucky transportation secretary tells residents: “Don’t travel at all if it can be avoided”
More than 400 weather-related traffic incidents have been reported in Mississippi since Sunday
Yeah … I’ll take the Coachella Valley weather over THAT anytime, thank you very much!
From the Independent
Freedom Isn’t Free: An Indio Man Displayed a Social-Justice Flag Outside His Home for Months—and Then His Homeowners’ Association Got Involved
By Kevin Fitzgerald
February 15, 2021
Chris Wilson, who lives in Indio’s Desert Collection neighborhood, asked his HOA for a copy of the published rule his flag violated. As of this […]
Third Restaurant’s the Charm: The Owners of Bubba’s Bones and Brews and Barrel District Open a Bubba’s in Palm Desert
By Andrew Smith
February 14, 2021
After success in Cathedral City, Rene and Adelle Alcala take over the former Louise’s Pantry space in Palm Desert.
Caesar Cervisia: Our Latest Virtual Beer Trip Takes Us to Germany, the Home of Hefeweizen—and So Much More
By Brett Newton
February 14, 2021
Euch ist bekannt was wir bedürfen, wir wollen stark Getränke schlürfen. When I was 20, I was offered the opportunity to spend two months in […]
Home Video Review: Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield Amaze in HBO Max’s ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’
By Bob Grimm
February 14, 2021
Director and co-screenwriter Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah features two great actors, Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield, totally on fire. Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), […]
And Now, the News
• As you’ve probably heard by now, President Trump was acquitted by the U.S. Senate on the charge of inciting an insurrection on Saturday. As NPR dryly explained: “A majority of senators voted to convict Trump—57 to 43, including seven Republicans. But two-thirds, or 67 votes, was needed to convict. It was the second time Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial.”
• Related: A history professor, writing for The Conversation, offers up a piece titled “Why the British abandoned impeachment – and what the US Congress might do next.” Key quote: “Originally intended to prevent former Confederates from returning to power after the Civil War, Section 3 (of the 14th Amendment) bars people who have ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion’ against the U.S. from serving in state or federal governments, including in Congress or as president or vice president. The language in the amendment could justify barring Trump from future office—and the resolution to do so may require only a majority vote in both houses of Congress, though enforcement would likely also need a ruling from a judge.”
• The acquittal-by-minority does not mean that Congress is done examining the horrors of Jan. 6. As CNBC explains: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Congress will establish an independent, Sept. 11-style commission to look into the deadly insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol. Pelosi said the commission will ‘investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex … and relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power.'”
• The vaccines are working! “Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine appears to reduce symptomatic coronavirus infections by more than 90% in the real world, Israeli researchers said Sunday,” as reported by CNN. “The findings, while preliminary, suggest that the vaccine remains remarkably effective in a mass vaccination campaign—outside the carefully controlled conditions of a clinical trial. The Clalit Research Institute, part of a large Israeli health system, analyzed data on 1.2 million people, about half of whom had received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Researchers compared patients who received the vaccine with similar individuals who hadn’t.”
• COVID-19 rates continue to fall—at a rate most models failed to predict—pretty much everywhere in the Lower 48 … and scientists aren’t in agreement on why that’s happening. However, as The Washington Post reports, they do agree on one thing: “Every explanation is appended with two significant caveats: The country is still in a bad place, continuing to notch more than 90,000 new cases every day, and recent progress could still be imperiled, either by new fast-spreading virus variants or by relaxed social distancing measures.”
• Speaking of, uh, “relaxed social distance measures” comes this head-shaker of a story from SFGate: “A California tech executive has admitted his ‘COVID Immunity Bubble’ turned into a superspreader event, infecting over two dozen conference-goers in the process. In a blog posted on his personal website, Peter Diamandis, who co-founded several space companies and the Silicon Valley business incubator Singularity University, says he didn’t want to nix the in-person portion of his yearly business conference. Instead, despite California’s guidance against doing so, he put together a hybrid event for his annual Abundance 360 Summit, with some attendees watching sessions virtually and a number flying in to attend in person.” Sigh.
• Parler, the Twitter alternative loved by Trump fans and banned from the servers of large hosting companies after the insurrection, is back online. The New York Times explains: “On Monday, for the first time since Jan. 10, typing parler.com into a web browser returned a page to log into the social network—a move that had required weeks of work by the small company and that had led to the departure of its chief executive.”
• This sounds like the start of a creepy-as-hell horror film, doesn’t it? CNN says: “The accidental discovery of strange life forms on a boulder beneath the ice shelves of the Antarctic has confounded scientists. Researchers were drilling through 900 meters of ice in the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, situated on the southeastern Weddell Sea, when they stumbled upon unexpected creatures “firmly attached to a rock,” living in the darkness and subzero temperatures. A collection of stationary animals—sponges and potentially several previously unknown species—were among the discoveries.”
• These days, people often take to social media to complain about crappy service from a business. Then there’s Aaron Epstein, who decided to go old school. Ars Technica reports: “When 90-year-old Aaron Epstein bought a Wall Street Journal print ad to complain about his slow AT&T Internet service, the impact was immediate. Reporters like me called him and wrote articles, talk of his plight went viral on the Internet, his ad made an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, TV networks interviewed him for nightly news broadcasts, and AT&T executives sprang into action to minimize the public-relations damage. Now, barely a week later, Epstein’s home in North Hollywood, California, has AT&T fiber service with unlimited data and advertised speeds of 300Mbps in both directions.”
• Finally … hooray! The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will be reopening on Thursday! The tramway’s website explains all the limitations and precautions that are in place to COVID-19. Note that advance tickets are required, for starters.
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