Finally, a COVID vaccine for toddlers; Climate change threatens Sriracha-Coachella Valley Independent’s Indy Digest: June 20, 2022

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• Today, the United States marks June 19 as a federal holiday. A historian, writing for The Conversation, explains why the holiday is celebrated today, but notes that Juneteenth is just one of 20 different Emancipation Days in the United States., and that “emancipation” has not always meant what we think of today: “In my opinion, as a scholar of race and colonialism, Emancipation Days – Juneteenth in Texas – aren’t what a lot of people think, because emancipation didn’t do what most of us think it did. As historians have long documented, emancipations did not remove all the shackles that prevented blacks from obtaining full citizenship rights. Nor did emancipations prevent states from enacting their own laws prohibiting black people from voting or living in white neighborhoods. In fact, based on my research, the emancipations were actually designed to force blacks and the federal government to pay reparations to slaveholders – not slaves – thus ensuring that whites retained advantages in the accumulation and transmission of wealth across generations..”

• While Juneteenth is indeed a national holiday, it is not yet observed in a large number of states. NPR explains why: “When Juneteenth became a federal holiday last year, South Carolina organizer Jamal Bradley was thrilled it was finally getting the recognition it deserves. But his enthusiasm was quickly dashed when he learned that heads of state had decided not to follow suit in observing the party. “It just lets me know there’s still work to be done in South Carolina,” said Bradley, who started a petition to make Juneteenth a holiday. … While every state has at some point recognized June 19 as a day of observance, 26 states have yet to adopt June 19 as a paid holiday, including seven former Confederate states, according to the Pew Research Center. The reasons for the delay vary from state to state. In some places this is due to a lagging bureaucracy. In other places it is due to disputes over when to actually celebrate the holiday.

• NBC News reports that the right-wing threats against LGBTQ events we covered in this space a week ago are causing many event cancellations: “California State Senator Scott Wiener said he was in a supermarket… when he was alerted by a staff member not to go home before calling the police.. Wiener, who joked on Twitter about bringing “Drag Queen 101 into the K-12 curriculum” in response to a tweet last week from a Texas state representative announcing a bill to ban drag shows in the presence of minors, had received an e-mail saying that there was a bomb in his house. Bomb-sniffing dogs had to clear Wiener’s apartment before he got home. “There is a highly orchestrated network of right-wing accounts and figures to coordinate on the current attack message and who is going to be targeted. And they have an army of social media trolls who amplify their messages,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s a highly orchestrated attack machine.” The bomb threat directed at the state senator’s home was just one of many threats and intimidation tactics aimed at LGBTQ activists last week, just hours after the high-profile arrest of 31 members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front in Idaho on Saturday. . The threats were mainly aimed at shutting down transgender rights events and drag shows, which have become frequent targets of extremists, militias and far-right figures in June, which is Pride month. They come as more than 200 bills targeting LGBTQ people have been introduced in the United States this year.”

One reason everything is so expensive these days, according to ProPublica: Huge, and possibly illegal, fees charged by some shipping carriers. An excerpt, involving a case where a company selling bananas was forced to pay ridiculous fees to get the fruit to customers before it rotted: “In the first quarter of 2022, the operating margins of the largest transporters reached 57%, according to an industry study. firm, after hovering in single digits before the pandemic. The carrier who wanted $12,000 per container to transport the bananas told One Banana’s logistics specialist that he needed the money to cover a host of fees that shipping carriers charged on freight bills. Hapag-Lloyd, the German shipping giant that owned the containers the bananas were in, had become particularly notorious in the freight industry, prompting multiple complaints to the Federal Maritime Commission. In normal times, charges, known as detention and demurrage, make a lot of sense. Importers who do not collect their goods on time are charged demurrage for storage at marine terminals. Truckers who do not return an empty container on time pay a late fee or hold. The purpose of penalties is to incentivize the various actors in the supply chain to keep goods flowing. … But as supply chains collapsed last year, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles ran out of space and became cluttered with shipping containers that importers, often retailers and big-name brands surface, could not recover. Trucking yards and surrounding streets were flooded with empty containers, temporarily dumped by trucking companies who were unable to secure appointments to bring them back to ports. Hapag had made it “extremely difficult” to return empty containers, the trucking company said, and it often held them for a month, while Hapag continued to charge the company $400 a day for each container that was not not returned in time..”

Aaaand now climate change… affecting the supply of sriracha? ! Yeah. NPR explains: “The company that makes the sriracha, Huy Fong Foods, wrote in an email to customers in late April that it will have to stop making the sauce for the next few months due to “severe weather conditions affecting the quality of the chillies”. … The shortage is due to a poor chili crop in northern Mexico, where all the chilies used in Sriracha come from, according to Guillermo Murray Tortarolo of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, which studies climate and ecosystems. “Sriracha is actually made from a very special type of pepper that only grows in the southern United States and northern Mexico,” says Murray Tortarolo. “These red jalapeños are only grown for the first four months of the year, and they need very controlled conditions, especially constant irrigation.” Irrigation, of course, requires a lot of water, but northern Mexico is in its second year of drought. … As a result, the spring chilli crop has been almost non-existent this year. Murray Tortarolo thinks it’s very likely that climate change is a factor, although this needs further study to confirm this.

• And finally, let’s end on a happy note: we are just weeks away from seeing some probably amazing, and certainly scientifically significant, images taken by the new James Webb Space Telescope: The Conversation worked with a scientist involved in the project to explain: “NASA is set to release the first images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope on July 12, 2022. They will mark the start of the next era of astronomy as Webb, the largest space telescope ever built, begins collecting scientific data that will will help answer questions about the earliest moments of the universe and allow astronomers to study exoplanets in greater detail than ever before. But it took nearly eight months of travel, setup, testing and calibration to ensure this most valuable telescope is ready for prime time. Marcia Rieke, an astronomer at the University of Arizona and scientist in charge of one of Webb’s four cameras, explains what she and her colleagues did to bring this telescope into use.

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