LBN Examiner 04/03/2022


New York County, which is the borough of Manhattan, and San Francisco County, which is the City of San Francisco, led the nation with the highest percentages of population decline from April 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, according to data published by the Census Bureau. New York County had a population of 1,694,251 as of April 1, 2020. By July 1, 2021, it had dropped to 1,576,876 – a decline of 6.9%. San Francisco County had a population of 873,965 as of April 1, 2020. By July 1, 2021, it had dropped to 815,201 – a decline of 6.7%.

57% of U.S. Households Paid No Federal Income Tax Last Year as COVID Took a Toll, Study Says:

More than half of American households paid no federal income tax last year due to COVID-relief funds, tax credits and stimulus, according to a new report. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that 57% of U.S. households paid no federal income taxes for 2021, up substantially from the 44% before the pandemic. Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said COVID-related job losses, a decline in incomes, stimulus checks and tax credits were largely responsible for the increase. The expanded child tax credit was a large factor. It substantially reduced “the income tax liability of more than a hundred million households and temporarily turned many from payers of small amounts of federal income tax to non-payers,” Gleckman wrote. With many of the tax programs ending, Gleckman forecasts the number of nonpayers will decline to 42% in 2022 and 38% by 2029. “We predict it will go back down and remain fairly low relative to historical standards,” Gleckman said.

Harvard Academic Debunks Woke Orthodoxy:

Roland G. Fryer is a tenured professor of economics at Harvard – an anointed member of the elite by most definitions. He is also black, widely published and the recipient of numerous awards, including a MacArthur “genius” grant for his work on the black “achievement gap” in grade school. Fryer was a student of Nobel laureate Gary Becker and a close associate of other economists who focus on rigorous analysis of empirical data. That’s led him to observations that were a bit unsettling to higher-education orthodoxies. For example, Fryer found that the academic achievement gap accelerates between kindergarten and eighth grade. He also found that, controlling for a few variables, the initial disparity disappeared. “Black kindergartners and white kindergartners with similar socioeconomic backgrounds” achieved at similar levels. “Adjusting the data for the effects of socioeconomic status reduces the estimated racial gaps in test scores by more than 40% in math and more than 66% in reading.”

The number of books in a child’s household also made an appreciable difference. “On average, black students in the sample had 39 children’s books in their home, compared with an average of 93 books among white students.” Adjusting for that “completely eliminates the gap in reading” as children progress through first grade. These findings contradicted the standard view that black children are already locked into academic last place before they even reach school. This is good news, in that it means the problem is not as intractable as it seemed. Or rather, it would have been good news to anyone who wants the racial disparity to disappear through interventions that are known to work. But it was terrible news to activists who are invested in the idea that “systemic racism” explains everything. Socioeconomic standing and household reading, after all, can be improved.

Examiner – Lens:

Slow-Motion Suicide in San Francisco. The city is carrying out a bizarre medical experiment in which they are helping homeless drug addicts use drugs. “It’s handing a loaded gun to a suicidal person.” Homeless men sleep on Larkin Street, San Francisco in June 2019.

You’re Eating a Credit Card’s Worth of Plastic Every Week, and It’s Altering Your Gut Makeup:

How much plastic is sitting on your gut? If you think the answer is zero, think again. A recent review suggests people consume about five grams of plastic particles per week – the equivalent of the weight of a credit card. Nanoplastics are any plastics less than 0.001 millimeters in size. Microplastics, on the other hand, are 0.001 to 5 millimeters and on some occasions still visible to the naked eye. Most microplastic and nanoplastics find their way to the human food chain from packaging waste. Plastic particles can enter the body through seafood, sea salt, or drinking water. One study referenced in the review found people who drank the recommended 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day from plastic bottles takes in 90,000 plastic particles per year from this way alone. People who opt for tap water reduce their ingested amount to about 40,000 plastic particles.

Junior Goldman Sachs Bankers Threaten to Quit Over ‘5 Days a Week’ Office Rule:

Junior bankers at Goldman Sachs are threatening to quit over demands that they show up to the office five days a week as the pandemic wanes – and some gripe that their bosses have been quietly checking attendance. As bonuses across Wall Street hit record highs, underlings at Goldman – headed by hard-charging Chief Executive David Solomon – are nevertheless stepping up complaints of “hellhole” working conditions that have notoriously included 100-hour weeks. Most recently, some junior Goldmanites claim that they are being “bullied” into showing up in person “5-0” – meaning five days working in the office, zero from home – and that the bullying is being orchestrated by top managers armed with spreadsheets.

Examiner – 20 Years – A Look At 2002

The LBN Examiner was founded on June 1, 2002, an incredible 20 years ago. Let’s take a look back at what was going on in 2002:

** On April 1, “Stop to Love,” a compilation album by Luther Vandross was released.

** On April 9, more than a million people lined the streets for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, at Westminster Abbey, U.K.

Examiner – Lens:

Audrey Hepburn at a Horn & Hardart restaurant. The dining chain is the subject of the documentary “The Automat.”

Examiner – Commentary by Nellie Bowles

** Never good when you find yourself arguing to jail your adversaries: On The View … one host called for criminal investigations of people like Tulsi Gabbard who are advocating against U.S. military engagement in Ukraine. Anna Navarro said: “I think the DOJ, in the same way that it is setting up a task force to investigate Russian oligarchs, should look into people who are Russian propagandists and shilling for Putin.” Whoopi Goldberg agreed and upped the ante: “They used to arrest people for doing stuff like this. If they thought you were colluding with a Russian agent or putting out information or taking information and handing it over to Russia, they used to investigate stuff like this. And I guess now, you know, there seems to be no bars. And people are not being told to hate Putin. Putin doesn’t need a reason to be hated. It’s pretty much clear.” Also … the former co-chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Ethnic Council, Alexandra Chalupa, tweeted that Tucker Carlson should be sent to the Hague.

** Nice of them to clarify: Amnesty International, which previously declared Israel an apartheid state, has helpfully clarified this week that the organization does not believe in the Jewish state’s right to exist at all. “It is not Amnesty’s position, in fact we are opposed to the idea – and this, I think, is an existential part of the debate – that Israel should be preserved as a state for the Jewish people,” said Amnesty USA head Paul O’Brien in a talk this month with the Woman’s National Democratic Club. Jewish Insider asked: “So Israel shouldn’t exist as a Jewish state but Israel is a Jewish state.” And Paul O’Brien again was good and clear: “It shouldn’t exist as a Jewish state.” There are those who are shocked – shocked! – that Amnesty would say such a thing. We’re not. And we actually think it’s helpful that the mask is now off.

** T.R. must be melted: It’s not enough that the statue of President Theodore Roosevelt outside the American Museum of Natural History in New York be removed, which it was in the dead of night earlier this year. Now that same group of academics who got it taken down are arguing it can’t be given to the Roosevelt Library, either. It must be melted. “The city should reject the transfer of its undesirable waste elsewhere. In this case, the monument’s bronze content could be melted down or recycled for a better purpose or simply disposed of.” But what to do with the molten metal? Send it to space?

** Amazon moving office from downtown Seattle: Amazon says it is temporarily relocating 1,800 employees out of its downtown Seattle office after a spate of shootings. “Given recent incidents near 3rd (Ave) and Pine (St), we’re providing employees currently at that location with alternative office space elsewhere,” an Amazon spokesman told KOMO-NEWS. “We are hopeful that conditions will improve and that we will be able to bring employees back to this location when it is safe to do so.” Meanwhile, the city council keeps working hard to defund the police department (the new moderate mayor is not on board).

Examiner – Did You Know:

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The Real Story by Sarah Garcia:

** So now we know the laptop containing Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings is real because the New York Times finally admitted it after 18 months of suppressing the story. Not that we didn’t already know that Hunter grifted a number of foreign nations using his father’s position as vice-president – we did. Honest Americans definitely realized that. We also understand that the corporate media, including the giant internet operations, cancelled a legitimate news story that might have influenced voters in the 2020 presidential election.

Examiner – Lens:

Deborah Koenigsberger, who has worked in retail for three decades, said thefts and break-ins at her two clothing stores drastically increased during the pandemic.

Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** My peers and I are often told that we are the future leaders of America. We may be the future decision makers, but most of us aren’t leaders. Our principal concern is becoming members of the American elite, with whatever compromises, concessions and conformity that requires. The inability of Harvard students to question or oppose these irrational bureaucratic excesses bodes ill for our ability to meet future challenges. —- Ms. Julie Hartman is a senior at Harvard. In March, she will begin a weekly podcast with Dennis Prager, “Dennis and Julie,” produced by the Salem Podcast Network.

** We’re here to put a dent in the universe. —- Steve Jobs, entrepreneur and inventor (1955-2011)

** As Barack Obama once insisted, that Russia will always care much more about Ukraine than we do; and China will always care much more about Taiwan than we do. In those cases, the last thing we should do is promise support that we do not seriously – truly seriously – intend to provide. The vague pledge by the Western powers not to rule out future NATO membership for Ukraine was the worst of all worlds: poking the bear, with no serious intention of fighting it. —- Andrew Sullivan

** What has surprised me most about the history I have lived through is how often we get dragged on demented, destructive rides by leaders who put their personal psychodramas over the public’s well-being. And it always feels as though we are powerless to stop the madness of these individuals, that we’re trapped in their ego or libido or id or delusion. Now comes the insanity of Vladimir Putin, the former K.G.B. officer who has been feeling humiliated and furious ever since the red banner of the Soviet Union came down from the Kremlin 30 years ago. This demonic little man with the puffy Botoxy face has been watching too many episodes of “The Americans” during his COVID isolation. —- Maureen Dowd

** The seven most dangerous words in journalism are: “The world will never be the same.” In over four decades of reporting, I have rarely dared use that phrase. But I’m going there now in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Our world is not going to be the same again because this war has no historical parallel. It is a raw, 18th-century-style land grab by a superpower – but in a 21st-century globalized world. This is the first war that will be covered on TikTok by super-empowered individuals armed only with smartphones, so acts of brutality will be documented and broadcast worldwide without any editors or filters. On the first day of the war, we saw invading Russian tank units unexpectedly being exposed by Google maps, because Google wanted to alert drivers that the Russian armor was causing traffic jams. —- Thomas L. Friedman


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Why Are Tobacco Stocks Performing So Well:

Tech stocks have taken a beating in 2022, driven in part by fears of rising interest rates. Where have investors gone for refuge? Some have piled funds into very non-tech assets: Tobacco stocks. While the tech-heavy Nasdaq index is down 13% this year, some smoky names are doing well, per The Wall Street Journal:

  • Philip Morris International (which sells Marlboro cigarettes outside the U.S.) is up 14%
  • Altria (which sells Marlboros in the U.S.) is up 6%
  • British American Tobacco is up 20%

These assets have lagged in recent years. Why? Asset managers that control $12T+ have pledged, on ethical grounds, to not invest in tobacco firms. Why the turnaround? Tobacco firms, peddling addictive wares, generate predictable cash flows. This lights up investor interest because it means juicy dividends that hedge against higher inflation. Per WSJ, Philip Morris and Altria will need to make progress in “less-risky” products (AKA e-cigarettes, vaping) to drive real gains. It’s much easier said than done: Altria backed one-time e-cigarette darling Juul, only to see the startup mired in lawsuits for marketing to minors. Longer term, regulators will decide the fate of the tobacco industry. The current uptick may very well burn out.

Examiner – Readers Speak:

Are sentences for violent offenders too lenient in America?

Examiner readers from all 50 of the United States and 26 foreign countries have spoken.

Examiner – Lens:

The traditional showbiz entertainer is a disappearing breed, but Michael Bublé, an exceptionally congenial singer, is built in this classical mode.

Examiner – Investigates:

** Currently, there are seven (7) states in America that have no specific laws on abortions, even allowing late-term abortions including the last day of pregnancy.

** Lessons from someone who faked being a billionaire to gain access to NYC’s exclusive high-rises. WATCH

** In 1936, the German government paid about $25M USD, raised through taxes, to stage the Olympics in Berlin. In 1972, when the Olympics were held in Munich, it cost almost 70 times that amount.

** Unraveling the mystery of the “never COVIDs.” READ

** When freezing fire hydrants explode. READ

** Tinder is taking dating back to the pre-smartphone era, adding a blind date feature. READ

** Why does New York City have so many rats? WATCH

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29 members of the Harvard University facility along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3 Nobel Prize winners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 U.S. Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners.

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Wildly (Politically) Incorrect by George Vandeman:

** In making the case for mandates, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor first noted that COVID cases were surging and hospitals were near capacity. She then turned her attention to children: “We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition and many on ventilators.” That last sentence is simply untrue.

PolitiFact called it “way off.” Khaya Himmelman of The Dispatch described it as false and misleading. Daniel Dale of CNN wrote that Sotomayor had made “a significant false claim.” Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post’s fact checker, called it “wildly incorrect.”

Fewer than 5,000 U.S. children were in the hospital with COVID … and many fewer were in “serious condition” or on ventilators. Some of the hospitalized children probably had incidental cases of the virus, meaning they had been hospitalized for other reasons and tested positive while there.

Examiner – Reader Question:

Should racial diversity be considered in Supreme Court appointments?

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