LBN Examiner 01/01/2023


A nationwide shoplifting epidemic is crippling the finances of brick-and-mortar retailers, who warn that they may be forced to raise prices or even shutter stores in order to offset tens of billions of dollars in lost inventory. The National Retail Foundation is estimating that it lost $94.5 billion last year due to “shrink” – an industry term that means lost inventory – which is being blamed primarily on shoplifting. Shrink measures losses include theft by employees and product damage, but the greatest portion of shrink – 37% – came from external theft, including products taken during organized shoplifting heists, the trade group said. It also noted retailers, on average, saw a 26.5% surge in organized theft incidents last year. The $94.5 billion sum represents around 1.4% of retail revenue in 2021, according to the NRF, whose data shows significant year-over-year increases in “shrink” that accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Meddling Parents Hire Dating Coaches For Their Grown Children:

Dating coaches say pandemic lockdowns and their long aftermath have raised parent worries that their grown children will stay single forever. That has led to a surge of interest from mothers and fathers splurging on premium dating-app subscriptions, relationship classes and one-on-one sessions with dating experts for their children, said relationship psychologist and dating coach Christie Kederian.

San Francisco Taxpayer-Funded Open-Air Christmas Market A Dystopian Hellhole After Being Besieged By City’s Famed Druggies:

San Francisco’s taxpayer-funded open air Christmas market, hoped to be a wholesome holiday outing for families, is in fact a dystopian hellhole besieged by the city’s famed drug addicts. At least that’s what concerned residents living near the market have revealed, with one property owner filming and posting to social media what she’s described to be a “horrible decline” in the area. Her clip shows a homeless person under a blanket just a few yards away from the Winter Wanderland market in the sunken Hallidie Plaza, near City Hall.

The camera then pans down to the market itself, where two people dressed as cuddly characters perform on a small stage. The camerawoman then zooms off to the left, and films a man swigging from what appears to be a bottle of brown liquor. The Winter Wanderland has been set up at Union Square in downtown San Francisco, just minutes from the now closed Tenderloin Linkage Center. The footage filmed by the concerned mother of two is in stark contrast to promotional material posted by the organizers of the holiday market on social media channels, who described the event as “family friendly.”

Examiner – Lens:

Students at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center on Staten Island, New York.

JetBlue Won’t Hire The Unvaxxed, But Hired Violent Felon To Fly Planes:

Some JetBlue pilots are outraged after the airline hired a violent felon to fly planes even as it refuses to hire people who haven’t taken the COVID vaccine, citing safety. Two pilots told The Daily Wire that JetBlue has hired John Perrys, who served nine years in prison for breaking into the home of a judge and attacking his daughter as she left the shower. Perrys was released from prison in 2014 and is on felony probation until 2044, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. “Apparently JetBlue won’t hire unvaccinated pilots, but they will hire violent convicted felons to fly their airplanes,” one pilot said, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his job. In 2005, The Associated Press reported that Perrys, then an Air Force captain, was charged in Louisiana with burglary and assault with a deadly weapon while wearing a mask, and that he faced up to life in prison. Perrys allegedly entered the home of a judge and beat the judge’s daughter, who was his former fiancée, with a metal baton as she left the shower. Police said that when he was arrested, he was wearing a bulletproof vest and his vehicle contained knives, handcuffs, parachute cord, a shovel, and a mask, according to the AP.

Regular Exercise Protects Against Fatal COVID, A New Study Shows:

Men and women who worked out at least 30 minutes most days were about four times more likely to survive COVID-19 than inactive people, according to a study of exercise and coronavirus outcomes among almost 200,000 adults in Southern California. The study found that exercise, in almost any amount, reduced people’s risks for a severe coronavirus infection. Even people who worked out for as little as 11 minutes a week – yes, a week – experienced lower risks of hospitalization or death from COVID than those who moved about less. “It turns out exercise is even more powerful than we thought” at protecting people from severe COVID, said Robert Sallis, a clinical professor at Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine in Los Angeles and senior author of the new study.

Examiner – Lens:

London’s Kimberley Westgarth, an LBN Examiner reader, says she was so disgusted by Kanye West’s recent anti-Semitic comments that she is getting rid of her tattoo of him.

Wildly (Politically) Incorrect by George Vandeman:

** A children’s hospital in Wisconsin is getting backlash for hiring transgender activists to serve as chaplains and “spiritual care interns.” These folks believe that “God is transgender.”

** “It’s Heresy!” Worshippers left in tears as Cambridge dean claims Jesus was transgender, after a row over Christ’s wound having a “vaginal appearance.” Folks, I am not making this crap up!

** A U.S. Department of Education deputy director in the Biden administration has poked fun at Evangelical Christians. She has also claimed that democracy was based on “White Supremacy.” She also claims that fat phobia is based on White Supremacy.

** Here’s one for all of you who think the whole diversity thing hasn’t gone far enough. Researchers have looked at mannequins used in CPR training. What they found shocks the conscience! 90% of the mannequins were white. Only a sixth were women and none, repeat none, were of fat people. Only 10% were black or Asian.

Examiner – Lens:

Lockdown but Not Disconnected, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 2021.

Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** Wokeness functions as an alibi, a moral fig leaf. If you can tell yourself that you are really doing it to “make the world a better place” (the ubiquitous campus cliché), then the whole thing goes down a lot easier. —- William Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep, The Death of the Artist, and A Jane Austen Education and The End of Solitude: Selected Essays on Culture and Society

** How have we normalized the fact that innocent people in this country can step onto a subway car or go to a grocery store or a synagogue or a church or a concert or a baseball game or a party or a car show or to work and maybe they will just be gunned down? How have we gotten accustomed to – let’s call it what it is – child sacrifice? There is a deep sickness in this country. It goes beyond our addiction to guns. It’s an anti-social, anti-human disease that has gripped our society and our politics. A big part of that disease is how numb we have become to violence. The country has been experiencing the largest crime surge in decades. Armed robberies are up. Shoplifting is up. Road deaths are up. Car break-ins are so common in some cities that people leave notes on their windows to the thieves that nothing is inside. But the most devastating rise has been in murders. Since the FBI started tracking the data, 2020 marked the highest single-year increase in homicides. In 2021, it went up again. As of 2020, the leading cause of death among children in America is guns. Not cars. Not drugs. Guns. It was also the year that we had the highest rate of gun sales in American history. The social rot that’s come over America, the nihilism and hatred of each other, is part of the cause here. The dissolution of our social ties – and with them the accountability and responsibility that an actual community demands – has allowed insanity to fester unnoticed. Lockdowns accelerated the isolation, the purposelessness, the lack of meaning that was already overcoming us. —- Bari Weiss

** The world is going digital, we’re told, and someday there will even be digital real estate inhabited by people in digital clothes drinking digital orange juice extracted with digital juicers. People will play at the lives they once took seriously, lives that had once had heft and weight, and the juice content of juice will fall to zero. I suspect my old physical squeezer will still be working then, but the rest of my kitchen gear won’t. Not much of it. I might not last, either. I fear I won’t. The psychic toll of goods that don’t endure is that one loses faith the future will even come, and then one loses interest in it coming, for little that we own or use or cherish seems likely to be there with us to meet it. —- Walter Kirn

** In June 18, 1940, Churchill delivered his celebrated “Finest Hour” speech. The British Army had been evacuated from Dunkirk. France, under Pétain, had decided to surrender. “Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war,” Churchill told the House of Commons. “If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.” —- Bret Stephens

** The question is: Should universities be permitted to discriminate on the basis of race? Should they be permitted to “see race”? Not seeing race is the surest way, these days, to signal that you aren’t on the right side of this divide. Indeed, the term “color-blind” has become anathema to rightthink, and if you live in elite institutions – universities, corporate America, the mainstream media – the quickest way to demonstrate that you just don’t get it is to say, “I don’t see color” or “I was taught to treat everyone the same.” Once considered a progressive attitude, color-blindness is now seen as backwards – a cheap surrender in the face of racism, at best; or a cover for deeply held racist beliefs, at worst. But color-blindness is neither racist nor backwards. Properly understood, it is the belief that we should strive to treat people without regard to race in our personal lives and in our public policy. —- Coleman Hughes, The Free Press

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** Lawmakers unveiled a bill that, if passed, would ban TikTok in the U.S. The move comes after seven states recently banned the app on state devices. READ

** The SEC charged eight influencers with leveraging their social media followings to commit securities fraud to the tune of $100M. READ

** Pfizer plans to up the price of its COVID vaccine by 400% when it enters the commercial market next year – a 10K% markup from the estimated manufacturing cost. READ

** How to Mend a Broken Heart: A new therapy looks to block the negative memories associated with romantic betrayal. READ

** The U.S. posthumously reverses 1954 decision to strip U.S. physicist Robert Oppenheimer of his security clearance. READ

** Leader of the Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer had been accused of spying for the Soviet Union; read more here. READ

** New technique allows researchers to accurately map the genome of the tuberculosis bacteria; TB infects about a quarter of the world’s population and is responsible for 1.6M annual deaths. READ

** Yikes: U.S. consumers lost $931M to social media scams this year. READ

Disneyland Charges $185 For A Tiny Shot Of Booze Served In Waffle Cup:

You may need more than your holiday spending money to be able to afford this luxurious Disneyland drink. Visitors to the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa can purchase a $185 holiday drink that pairs nicely with the ever-soaring Mouse House admission prices. Featured on the hotel’s 2022 holiday cart, the “waffle shot” is presented in a waffle cone-like base that is lined with milk or white chocolate.


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Drug Prices Reach New High – In The Millions:

A new era of expensive drugs has arrived: medicines priced in the millions of dollars a patient. Since August, U.S. or European health regulators have approved four new products intended as one-time treatments for rare genetic diseases that carry list prices of at least $2 million a patient, including two from Bluebird Bio Inc. The most recent one approved in the U.S. set a price record: $3.5 million for CSL Ltd.’s Hemgenix, a treatment for the blood disorder hemophilia B.

Examiner – Lens:

Ten days after the Buffalo shooting, 19 children and two teachers were shot to death at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. A bullet ripped through a fourth-grade math notebook belonging to one of the victims, 10-year-old Uziyah Garcia.

Examiner – Business:

** Hertz will pay $168M to 364 customers wrongfully accused of stealing its rentals, some of whom were arrested and jailed. READ

** Good news, bad news: Package delivery time has improved by 47% YoY, but unfortunately, package theft is up 87% this month compared to last year. READ

** The free at-home COVID test program, shut down due to lack of funding in September, is back. Households can order up to four online. READ

** Walmart’s DroneUp service is now offering drone deliveries of up to 10 pounds for $3.99 in Arizona, Florida, and Texas. READ

** Wells Fargo will pay $3.7B to settle allegations that it caused people’s homes and cars to be wrongfully repossessed. READ

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