LBN Examiner 04/10/2022


Forty-year-old Stephen Knittel has been a Disney fan “since diapers.” His parents took him to Disneyland as soon as he could walk, he says, and he used his season passes to Disneyland California to take his five-year-old and two-year-old to the theme parks before COVID-19 shut down the country. When Disney parted ways with actress Gina Carano, he began to reconsider supporting the company. He became even more skeptical when Disney announced the film Turning Red, a movie that touches on themes of sexual maturation and puberty. (Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for children’s entertainment content.) But it was Disney’s stance on Florida’s bill banning classroom conversations on gender and sexual orientation for young children that pushed Knittel over the edge. “It saddens me to think that the magic that was part of my life (and my wife’s too) will not be part of theirs,” the Orange County, California, resident said of his children in an email to The Daily Wire, “because the only way we can effectively voice our opinion to a company like Disney is to refuse to do business with them.” “For us that means canceling Disney+, canceling Disney Movie Club, deleting Disney Insiders memberships, and boycotting any and all creative works put forth by Disney,” he continued. “I’m not sorry for our decision and can’t even pity a company for making such a poor decision when they have enough clout to do whatever the hell they want and this is the direction they’ve decided upon.”

Traffic Safety Crisis Marked by Spike in Hit-And-Run Deaths:

U.S. roads saw the largest increase on record in deaths per mile traveled in 2020, including a 26% increase in hit-and-run fatalities that outpaced the increase in overall deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the data earlier this month. Hit-and-run deaths have grown steadily in the last 15 years as a share of traffic deaths. Victims of hit-and-runs are also increasingly pedestrians and cyclists. In 2020, 69.6% of hit-and-run deaths were either pedestrians or cyclists, compared with 61.1% in 2006. Roughly one in four pedestrian deaths in 2020 was a hit-and-run. “The [hit-and-run] statistics are bad. But it’s all part of the larger problem of pedestrian safety. That’s a crisis,” Julia Griswold, a traffic safety researcher focused on pedestrians and bicyclists at the University of California-Berkeley.

ICE Force-Installed Suicide-Prevention App on Employees’ Phones:

ICE automatically installed a suicide prevention app on employees’ government-issued smartphones this week, staffers told The Washington Times, calling it a grim sign of just how far morale has sunk at the immigration agency. The app poses a series of questions designed to spot troubling mental health and spur awareness. In an email to employees, the acting deputy director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement urged employees to report any colleagues they believe are disposed to take their own lives.

Examiner – Lens:

Local residents sit on a bench near a destroyed apartment building in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, March 25.

Positive Drug Tests in the Workplace Have Surged:

More people are going to work with a buzz in the U.S. now than in the last two decades, according to new data that says worker shortages and loosening restrictions have driven the increase. Nearly 4% of more than 6 million workers who were randomly urine tested in 2020 for marijuana use tested positive, a 50% increase over 2017. The data, from Quest Diagnostics’ annual drug-testing index, may reflect the fact that 10 more states have legalized marijuana since then, when recreational use was legal in eight states. Many companies have stopped random testing for marijuana and some states where pot is legal are not allowed to use test results in hiring decisions.

1950 Census Data Unveiled:

The U.S. National Archives yesterday released a batch of census records from 1950, shedding light on the life of more than 150 million Americans at the midpoint of the 20th century and after World War II. The records were kept private under federal rules, restricting public access for 72 years. The 1950 census is one of the last of its kind, with more than 20 detailed questions asked of every person. The data spans 6.4 million digitized pages and include names, ages, addresses, as well as answers to questions about ancestry, the kinds of toilets and kitchen sinks families had, and more. Census forms from later decades were eventually changed to ask fewer questions, with the 2010 census asking 10 and the 2020 census asking only nine. The detailed questions give historians and genealogists an unprecedented look at the personal dynamics, relationships, and sentiments of society at the time. About 26 million Americans living in 1950 are still alive, according to online genealogy platform My Heritage.

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 11, an attempted coup d’état took place in Venezuela against President Hugo Chávez.

** On April 13, Pedro Carmona, interim president of Venezuela, resigned one day after taking office.

Examiner – Lens:

Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of the New York Times.

Examiner – Commentary by Nellie Bowles

** City crime keeps rising (even I’m getting sick of this item): Many who would like to suggest that the rise in crime is just a figment of some hypersensitive people’s imagination sound a lot like those insisting that inflation is really just a spike in greed. Often, it’s the same people making those spurious arguments. But the statistics speak for themselves. In New York, the stats from this week mirror what’s happening across the country and they are appalling. Rape in New York is up 31% from a year ago. Robbery is up nearly 45%. Grand larceny auto is up 94%. It would be great for solutions to start and fast. Here’s a little slice of life (h/t Emily Yoffe): Harvey Marcelin murdered a girlfriend years ago. While out on parole, Marcelin murdered another girlfriend. While out on parole for that murder, our killer, now 83, dismembered a woman, according to police who this week arrested Marcelin, who seemed to be in possession of the murdered woman’s head. (Oh, and the murderer now identifies as transgender. Welcome to women’s prison!)

** Sex, kids, and Florida: Rage continues to grow against what the left is calling Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This week, it passed the Florida senate. The right has fully lost the messaging battle here. The thing does not, in fact, ban people from saying “gay.” What it does ban is elementary school teachers in kindergarten through third grade discussing gender identity and sexual orientation during class. The chyrons on Fox News that insist liberals are somehow trying to “groom” children are offensive and harken back to the homophobia of decades ago that insisted all gay people were pedophiles. At the same time, it is understandable that parents would want to teach their very young children about sexuality and gender in ways that work for them. The left does itself no favors by introducing five-year-olds to the idea that they can be any gender they feel and then being shocked that some parents might be a little upset over this.

Examiner – Did You Know:

** DID YOU KNOW? The LBN Examiner is read in all 50 of the United States and 26 foreign countries by independent thinkers who choose not to be part of an intellectual mob. Fearlessly independent and unbiased news and information since 2002.

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Examiner – Bookkeeping:

> 161,692: The estimated pounds of Skippy Peanut Butter recalled because some jars may contain stainless steel from a piece of manufacturing equipment.

> 170: The number of times a Japanese robot jumped rope in a minute. Ricoh, an imaging and electronics company, won the Guinness World Record for most skips by a robot in 60 seconds.

Examiner – Lens:

Is the cinematic sex scene on the decline? Paul Verhoeven thinks so. In an interview with Variety late last year, the 83-year-old director of kinky classics like Basic Instinct (1992) diagnosed a “general shift towards Puritanism” in the movies, not to mention in the culture at large. (If this is the case, Verhoeven is surely not to blame; his latest film, Benedetta, set in a seventeenth-century Italian convent, features a copious amount of nun-on-nun love.) Others agree. John Cameron Mitchell, whose 2006 movie Shortbus revelled in depictions of unsimulated sex, recently decried “a certain sex panic in the air”; in Playboy, the writer Kate Hagen reports that the percentage of feature-length films depicting sex is at its lowest point since the 1960s.

Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** Many Americans, even in liberal places, seem frustrated by what they consider a leftward lurch from parts of the Democratic Party and its allies. This frustration spans several issues, including education, crime and COVID-19. Consider these election results from last year, all in politically blue places: In Minneapolis, voters rejected a ballot measure to replace the city’s Police Department with an agency that would have focused less on law enforcement. In Seattle, voters elected Ann Davison – a lawyer who had recently quit the Democratic Party because she thought it had moved “so far left” – as the city’s top prosecutor. Davison beat a candidate who wanted to abolish the police. In New York, voters elected as their mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat who revels in defying liberal orthodoxy. As a candidate, Adams promised to crack down on crime. Since taking office, he has signaled his frustration with Covid restrictions. In the Democratic-leaning suburbs of both New Jersey and Virginia, Republican candidates for governor did surprisingly well. Several postelection analyses – including one by aides to Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s Democratic governor, who narrowly survived – concluded that anger over Covid policies played a central role. —- David Leonhardt, N. Y. Times

** Democracy has been on the decline worldwide for more than 15 years. One major reason is the growing ruthlessness of authoritarian leaders, particularly Russian President Vladimir Putin. Today, I will walk through how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fits into the broader geopolitical trends of the past decade and a half. Putin has spent more than two decades consolidating power, rebuilding Russia’s military and weakening his enemies. He has repeatedly undermined democratic movements and popular uprisings, including those in Syria and Belarus. He has meddled in Western elections. And he has deployed Russian troops to enforce his will, including in Georgia and Crimea. —- German Lopez, N.Y. Times

** There are two clashing arguments about whether the threat of economic sanctions can be effective now in deterring Russian aggression in Ukraine. One is that sanctions against Russia following the 2014 invasion of Ukraine didn’t prompt any improvement in behavior, nor did sanctions promote good behavior when imposed against Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Venezuela. So it’s unrealistic to expect sterner sanctions to work against Russia this time. The contrary view is that sanctions would be effective now because they could cause real economic pain. It’s the Russians themselves, oddly enough, who have expressed this view most prominently. In 2014, Alexei Kudrin, a former finance minister who is close to President Vladimir Putin, said that cutting off Russia’s access to Swift, a bank messaging network that proponents of sanctions have contemplated using as leverage, could cause Russian gross domestic product to fall 5%. In 2019, according to the Moscow-controlled broadcaster RT, the prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev, said that cutting off Swift access would be regarded as virtually a declaration of war. After poking around this question for a couple of days I’ve concluded that the predictions of harm to Russia from a Swift cutoff are overblown, but sanctions can be at least somewhat effective. And even though sanctions are far from a perfect solution, they’re the only alternative to either armed conflict or acquiescence to Russian aggression. A war in Ukraine could be the biggest in Europe since 1945. —– Peter Coy, N.Y. Times

** Not long ago, Jerry Seinfeld shared one of his secrets to developing great comedy. “It’s a very scientific thing to me,” he said. “You run the experiment, then the audience just dumps a bunch of data on you. … Then it’s back through the rewrite process.” Seinfeld is not alone. “In Think Again”, I covered striking evidence that learning to think like a scientist improves your ability to learn. You start to see your opinions as tentative hypotheses waiting to be tested, and your decisions as experiments without a control group. You get faster at recognizing when you’re wrong and iterating to improve on your mistakes. —- Adam Grant, Wharton University

** Switzerland yesterday said it was departing from its usual policy of neutrality and freezing Russian assets in its banks, which many oligarchs use. The Biden administration, similarly, said that it was freezing the Russian central bank’s assets in the U.S. “The move on the central bank is absolutely shocking in its sweeping wording,” Adam Tooze, the director of the European Institute at Columbia University, told The N.Y. Times. —- David Leonhardt, N.Y. Times


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Inflation Hits Another 40-Year High as Consumer Prices Surge to 7.5%:

Inflation ran red-hot again in January, with consumer prices surging to a fresh four-decade high of 7.5%, the feds. The latest spike – which jumped past economists’ expectations for a 7.2% jump – marked the highest annual increase since February 1982 for the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, a closely tracked inflation gauge that details the costs of goods and services such as food, gas and rent. “Increases in the indexes for food, electricity, and shelter were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a release. On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased 0.6% compared to December, according to the BLS. The core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and gas prices, rose 0.6% in January and 6% over the last 12 months. The latest figures will only heighten scrutiny of the Federal Reserve’s plan to tighten monetary policy following a lenient approach during the COVID-19 pandemic. The central bank is expected to enact its first interest rate hike in more than three years in March, with several more hikes expected throughout the year as the Fed seeks to curb inflation.

Examiner – Readers Speak:

Should racial diversity be considered in Supreme Court appointments?

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

Examiner – Lens:

In January, Billie Eilish’s music reached a billion streams on Spotify.

Examiner – Investigates:

** Clinical trials suggest pegcetacoplan, a drug used to treat a rare blood disease, may slow the onset of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. READ

** Charting the age at which mothers have their children. READ

** VR headsets are causing insurance claims to spike. READ

** Not every moment is Instagrammable. READ

** Nevada man donates kidney, gets billed $13K. READ

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Prominent historian Erin L. Thompson 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:

** Police are forced to protect a conservative debater at a Yale Law School free speech event. The students were screaming profanities at the debater. After being removed, they began to stomp, shout, clap, sing and pound on the walls. The protesters claimed that their actions were free speech, despite violating Yale policies regarding free speech.

** A Stanford doctor found out that someone had fraudulently listed her house on Airbnb. When she reached out to have the listing removed, she was offered the option to rent her own home.

** The recent $1.5T spending bill has $3M for a Gandhi museum in Texas; $1.6M for Rhode Island shellfish “equity;” $800,000 for artists’ lofts in California; $600,000 for Schumer’s greenhouse; $10B dedicated to 5,000 pet projects across the country and $570,000 to remove “derelict” lobster pots in Connecticut.

Examiner – Reader Question:

Should the U.S. impose penalties on China if it continues to trade with Russia?

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Examiner – A Different View:…

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