LBN Examiner 01/08/2023


Eggs are outta control, with prices up a whopping 49% this year. In perspective: Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the average U.S. price of a dozen large, Grade A eggs was ~$3.59 in November. Last November, you would’ve paid ~$1.72. Why? There are a few compounding factors scrambling up prices, but the biggest is bird flu. You can eat an egg laid by a hen with bird flu, but most chickens will die if infected. This year, 57.7m+ poultry birds have been infected, the worst outbreak in U.S. history. Additionally: The cost of chicken feed is up. People still eat eggs when prices rise, driving the prices even higher, Daniel Sumner, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of California, Davis, told Marketplace. BTW, if you look back at that BLS data, you’ll find egg prices also spiked in 2015. Why? Again, bird flu. It’s not just the U.S.; For example: In Britain, egg prices are up due to bird flu, plus the war in Ukraine driving up energy and chicken feed prices. Farmers, who say they lose money on egg production, are cutting back or quitting. In Japan, wholesale egg prices are up 31% YoY due to rising chicken feed costs and bird flu. Meanwhile … chicken meat prices – up 14.5% YoY in October due to decreased supply and increased demand – are starting to fall. Bird flu is less likely to impact broilers (birds used for meat) than layers (birds used for eggs) for one simple, if not morbid reason: they don’t live as long.

The $1.4B Prison Phone Call Industry Gets An Overhaul:

Recently, Congress passed the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act of 2022. The act, which now just needs President Biden’s signature, will allow the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the rates of prison phone calls. Here’s why that’s a big deal. The prison phone call industry generates ~$1.4B each year.

The Prison Policy Initiative pins the average cost of a 15-minute phone call from jail at ~$3. That doesn’t include all the other fees associated with these calls, including setting up and adding funds to required prepaid accounts. In 63% of cases, inmates’ family members shoulder these bills. Among them, 83% are women. According to the Ella Baker Center, over a third of paying families go into debt over the calls.

Historically, the FCC has limited the cost of cross-state phone calls to 21 cents per minute for prepaid calls. Problem is, 80% of these calls are made in-state. With the passing of this bill, the FCC will be able to cap in-state prices. “Today… the FCC will be granted the authority to close this glaring, painful, and detrimental loophole in our phones rate rules for incarcerated people,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said.

‘Libs Of Tiktok’ Founder Chaya Raichik Gives Tucker Carlson TV Interview:

Chaya Raichik, the founder of the controversial Twitter account “Libs of TikTok,” sat down for her first major TV interview, revealing her face for the first time. Raichik opened up about why she decided to finally disclose her identity to the public during her debut in-person appearance on Fox Nation’s Tucker Carlson Today. “I was doxxed, my name was shared, my location was shared, my photo was never shared though,” she said. “I have never done any in-person events. And I am choosing to do that now because I feel like over the past few months, I have done so much.” She added: “I’ve helped educate people, I know that I’ve helped create legislation to tackle some of these issues. And I think I have done all I can. And I am ready for the next step.” Raichik, a real estate agent from Brooklyn, built a 1.7 million-strong following on Twitter, with influential celebrities like podcaster Joe Rogan and pundit Meghan McCain tuning in to watch the videos she regularly shares exposing instances of “wokeness.”

Examiner – Lens:

Valentina, a refugee Ukrainian woman from Mariupol, after arriving at a registration center for internally displaced people during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, May 2.

Bail Group Shuts Down After Being Sued For Helping Release Serial Offender Who Shot Waiter:

A California bail reform group backed by A-list celebrities has shut down after being sued for releasing a serial criminal who less than a week later tried to murder a waiter in Las Vegas. The Bail Project – whose supporters include Danny Glover, John Legend and Richard Branson – announced it discontinued its operations due to restructuring in early December, 8 NewsNow reported. Its closure comes after it posted a $3,000 bond for burglary suspect Rashawn Gaston-Anderson in December 2021. Six days later, Gaston-Anderson shot Chengyan Wang 11 times in Chinatown, 8 NewsNow reported. In a plea deal, the 24-year-old was convicted of attempted robbery and mayhem, both with deadly weapon enhancements.

No P.C. – Sex Is Binary – Switzerland Rejects Gender Ideology In New Ruling:

The Swiss government has rejected the idea of introducing a “third gender” or “no gender” option for official records. Swiss residents will continue to be entered into the nation’s civil registry as male or female, with no exceptions. “The binary gender model is still strongly anchored in Swiss society,” the Swiss Federal Council said in response to two proposals from parliament. “The social preconditions for the introduction of a third gender or for a general waiver of the gender entry in the civil registry currently are not there,” it added. The Federal Council had said that including alternative options for gender markers would require “numerous” changes to the Swiss Constitution and to laws both at the national and state levels.

Examiner – Lens:

In Chicago, wealthy neighborhoods hire their own private police as crime rises. Armed patrols by off-duty police officers in marked security cars combat carjackings, robberies. It’s a little like a dystopian sci-fi movie when you see the flashing green lights go by,’ says a Chicago resident of private patrol cars in his neighborhood.

by Victor Davis Hanson:

In a famous exchange in the “The Sun Also Rises,” Ernest Hemingway wrote: “How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.” “Gradually” and “suddenly” applies to higher education’s implosion. During the 1990s “culture wars,” universities were warned that their chronic tuition hikes above the rate of inflation were unsustainable. Their growing manipulation of blanket federal student loan guarantees and part-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants always was suicidal. Left-wing indoctrination, administrative bloat, obsessions with racial preferences, arcane, jargon-filled research and campus-wide intolerance of diverse thought short-changed students, further alienated the public – and often enraged alumni. Over the last 30 years, enrollments in the humanities and history crashed. So did tenure-track faculty positions. Some $1.7 trillion in federally backed student loans have only greenlighted inflated tuition – and masked the contagion of political indoctrination and watered-down courses. But “gradually” imploding has now become “suddenly.” Zoom courses, a declining pool of students and soaring costs all prompt the public to question the college experience altogether. Nationwide undergraduate enrollment has dropped by more than 650,000 students in a single year – or over 4% alone from spring 2021 to 2022, and some 14% in the last decade. Yet the U.S. population still increases by about 2 million people a year.

by Robert Kotler:

The Pony rides in Los Angeles ceased operations. Another little joy of life subtracted by the often naive and misdirected “Animal Rights Movement.” Why should a tiny but loud-mouthed group of publicity-seekers have the power to deprive the great majority of Angelenos of a positive? Because the pony ride operator is fearful of lawsuits? Because they are tired of being harassed by these extremists? I sure wish all knew about this prior so perhaps the proprietor of the pony ride would have some allies. What is wrong with our current society is that a few radicals harboring unfounded beliefs can have such an influence on the lives of the great majority. This is diagnostic of an ill society.

Examiner – Lens:

Jerry West joins a long line of people who have felt wronged by Hollywood adaptations.

Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** A few things stick out in my mind to keep it in perspective: About once a decade, people forget that bubbles form and burst about once a decade. It’s always been like this and always will be. Optimism overshoots, bubbles burst, memories fade, and the process repeats. There are three legal investment strategies: You can be smarter than others. You can be luckier than others. Or you can be more patient than others. Know your edge and how hard it is to maintain. Few things are as valuable in investing as room for error. People who don’t have room for error in their investments may earn higher returns than you this year or next year. But they are more likely to be wiped out, or give up, when they come across an inevitable surprise. Your lifetime results as an investor will be mostly determined by what you do during wild times. Building wealth doesn’t require a lifetime of superior skill. It requires pretty mediocre skills – basic arithmetic and a grasp of investing fundamentals – practiced consistently throughout your entire lifetime, especially during times of mania and panic. —- Morgan Housel

** Many gyms and health clubs seem to be filling up again with people eager to return to their old routines and communities or get in shape for summer, at the same time that new Omicron variants are pushing COVID infections up. So, how safe is it to go back to the gym? Put another way, how many microscopic aerosol particles are the other cyclists in your spin class breathing out into the room? How many is the runner on the nearby treadmill spewing forth? A small study about respiration and exercise published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides some rather startling answers. The study looked at the number of aerosol particles 16 people exhaled at rest and during workouts. These tiny bits of airborne matter – measuring barely a few hundred micrometers in diameter, or about the width of a strand of hair, and suspended in mist from our lungs – can transmit coronavirus if someone is infected, ferrying the virus lightly through the air from one pair of lungs to another. The study found that, at rest, the men and women breathed out about 500 particles per minute. But when they exercised, that total soared 132-fold, topping out above 76,000 particles per minute, on average, during the most strenuous exertion. —- Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times

** The cameras mostly focused on Volodymyr Zelensky during his address to Congress on Wednesday night, but I focused my attention as much as I could on the audience in the room. There was fervor, admiration, yelling and whooping. In a divided nation, we don’t often get to see the Congress rise up, virtually as one, with ovations, applause, many in blue dresses and yellow ties. Sure, there were dissenters in the room, but they were not what mattered. Words surged into my consciousness that I haven’t considered for a while – compatriots, comrades, co-believers in a common creed. —- David Brooks

** Vladimir Milov, a Russian opposition politician who favors strong sanctions against Russia to stop the war in Ukraine, asked me this week to imagine I’m in the Amazon rainforest when a giant anaconda coils itself around me. What I should do, he said, is try to strangle the anaconda before it strangles me. “You don’t stop every five minutes and release your grip to see if it’s working. You just do it until the job is done.” Likewise, Milov told me, the United States, the European Union and other allies should squeeze Russia with economic sanctions for as long as it takes to stop the Russian war machine in Ukraine. —- Peter Coy

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** Good morning, my pretties. The hourglass used by The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch to inform Dorothy of how much longer she has to live was sold at auction for $495K.

** YouTube removed 5.8M channels in Q3 2022, the most ever in a single quarter. Over 91.2% were booted for being misleading, spamming, or scamming. READ

** New blood test detects a biomarker linked to Alzheimer’s-related neurodegeneration; the test may replace costly and time-intensive imaging and cerebral spinal fluid tests. READ

** Ninety-six fascinating discoveries this year. READ

** Food and Drug Administration officials broke protocol, collaborated inappropriately with Biogen executives during the approval process of the company’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, congressional report finds. READ

** 25 videos that went viral. READ

** The whole year in seven minutes. WATCH

** In 2020, Americans bought more than twice as many electric bikes as electric cars.

** The average U.S. household wastes nearly a third of the food it buys.

Time Magazine Roasted For Article Suggesting Exercise Has Racist Origins:

Time magazine is getting mercilessly mocked over an article about “the white supremacist origins of exercise” that claims racism was the motivator for the fitness movement. The mag ran the eye-catching headline Wednesday based on a chat with history professor Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, whose lessons at New York’s The New School often focus on Black Lives Matter protests. In the interview, the self-styled “scholar, writer, teacher and activist” insisted that being fat used to be “desirable” – and the push to work out in the 20th century was racism at work. The idea “that women should be lifting weights and gaining strength” started because racists thought that “white women should start building up their strength because we need more white babies,” she claimed.

Manhattan’s Trendiest Neighborhoods Terrorized By Thieves, NYPD Stats Show:

Manhattan’s trendiest tourist-packed neighborhoods have become increasingly terrorized by brazen thieves who are leaving shop workers stymied and scared. Grand larcenies, or thefts of $1,000 or more, have soared up to over 60% in Gotham precincts in the past year, according to the latest NYPD stats – and some business owners blame the state’s lax bail laws for dumping suspects back on the streets to strike again. “There’s a true belief out there among criminals that they’re going to get away with it,” Jim Giddon, whose Rothmans men’s clothing store in Gramercy was once robbed twice in about a week by the same gang. The grand-larceny crisis is so bad that Mayor Eric Adams held a “summit’’ with business leaders at Gracie Mansion earlier this month to deal with the spike in retail thefts, although sources said he left the two-hour powwow after about 20 minutes.


Examiner – Business:

** Amtrak’s Airo trains, coming in 2026, have panoramic windows and upgraded seating. Some are electric-diesel hybrids. READ

** The U.S. Postal Service will replace its aging fleet of 220k+ vehicles with even more electric ones than previously planned as part of a $9.6B project. READ

** Yikes: Two men were indicted for allegedly hacking Ring cameras to livestream swattings – making false calls to police to get them to send a SWAT team. READ

Can Southwest Airlines Buy Back Its Customers’ Love?

The most immediate question: How far will Southwest go to do right by passengers seeking reimbursement and other compensation for their travel trouble? It has repeatedly pledged to cover all reasonable expenses, including flights, hotels, car rentals and other costs incurred by those whose travel plans were messed up, some repeatedly. Southwest has refused to publicly define reasonable, arguing that individual circumstances vary widely. That leaves a lot of room for interpretation – and potential for stinginess and bureaucracy. Anyone who has ever submitted receipts for a lost or delayed bag on any airline knows resolving it can be as painful as an IRS audit.

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