LBN Examiner 05/01/2022


At the University of California, Los Angeles, students are being offered free medical materials. School paper Daily Bruin reports: In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill requiring public schools and colleges to provide free menstrual products beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. To increase the accessibility of basic needs, UCLA has equipped campus bathrooms with complimentary menstrual products, according to a campuswide email sent March 17. UCLA’s going all-out: As the first institution in the University of California system to provide free menstrual products, UCLA is stocking them in more than 50% of restrooms – above the amount recommended by the bill. Not only will access be lent to ladies; the public land-grant research college is also being generous toward gentlemen: The university is providing these products in men’s, women’s and gender-neutral restrooms, the email stated.

The New Tipping Fatigue:

You buy a coffee and a muffin, and the barista directs you to a touch screen that asks how much you’d like to tip: 15, 20, 25 percent? The growing prevalence of automated checkouts has made prompts like this so common that some customers say they have gratuity fatigue. Many people increased tipping early in the pandemic, acknowledging the heightened risks for food workers. But as the world returns to a semi-normal state, and as inflation pushes prices up, some customers feel as though employers are passing the responsibility of caring for workers onto them.

“It is our social duty to make sure that the person that is feeding us feeds themselves,” Gabriel Ramirez, a smoke shop employee in Los Angeles, said. “Employers shouldn’t be looking at the tip jar and saying, ‘This is how my employee is going to make it this month.’” Everyone in the N.Y. Times article expressed support for tipping in places where it’s customary, like sit-down restaurants. But the touch screens are also bringing tipping to businesses where they make less sense. How much should you give at, say, a self-service food counter or when picking up takeout?

Half of Parents Still Financially Support Their Adult Children, Study Shows:

Throughout the pandemic, many adults turned to a likely safety net: their parents. From buying food to paying for their cell phone plan or covering health and auto insurance, half of parents with a child over 18 provide them with at least some financial support, according to a report by These parents are shelling out roughly $1,000 a month, on average, on such expenses, the report found. Young adults just starting out have faced significant financial hurdles over the last few years, including an uneven job market, hefty student loan bills from school and soaring housing costs. In 2020, the share of those living with their parents (often referred to as “boomerang kids”) temporarily spiked to a historic high. And yet, 62% of adult children living at home don’t contribute to household expenses at all, found. Now, inflation poses new challenges for achieving financial independence.

Examiner – Lens:

A view of at least three rows of new graves for people killed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at a cemetery in Irpin, Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 18.

Disney is Worst Performing Dow Jones Stock of Past Year:

The Walt Disney Co. is the worst performing stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the past year, plummeting 31% in the last 12 months. Of the 30 companies that comprise the Dow, Disney has seen its stock drop the most on a percentage basis, followed by 3M, which is down 25%, and Home Depot, down 23%. Disney shares were down more than 5% Wednesday as investors remained skittish on streaming entertainment companies following Netflix’s disastrous first quarter results. Disney+ subscription results recently disappointed Wall Street when the company reported quarterly results in November, causing the stock to tumble. The Mouse House also faces difficulties in Florida, where the state senate voted to pass a measure that would deprive Disney World in Orlando of its self-governing status.

Kindness Strengthens the Brain:

Doing an act of kindness can make you feel good about yourself, and a new study suggests it also benefits the brains of everyone living under one roof. Researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas report that teaching and practicing kindness at home improved parents’ resilience and children’s empathy. Because both resilience and empathy use different cognitive skills such as responding well to stressors or considering different perspectives, the researchers suggest kindness can improve a person’s cognition. The Children’s Kindness Network is an online kindness training program that enrolled 38 mothers and their 3- to 5-year-old children. The program included “Kind Minds With Moozie” with five modules featuring a digital cow who explained creative exercises parents can use with their kids to learn about kindness.

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 30, a referendum in Pakistan overwhelmingly approved the Presidency of Pervez Musharraf for another five years.

** In April 2002, French President Jacques Chirac faced a reelection challenge from Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of presidential voting, and later defeated him to win a second term.

Examiner – Commentary by Nellie Bowles:

** The polls for Biden are getting worse: A new Quinnipiac poll shows that only 33% of Americans approve of how the president is doing his job, while 54% disapprove. Looking closer: only 18% approve strongly while 43% disapprove strongly. Meanwhile, how is it looking among Hispanics, a traditionally reliable Democrat-voting demographic? According to a new CBS/YouGov poll, 54% of Hispanics disapprove of Biden. That is very bad news for Democrats. Here, Dems called them Latinxes, as they all wanted, and still they flee? The polls for Democrats right now are so bad that a liberal senator from New Hampshire went down to the US-Mexico border to argue for more “physical infrastructure to secure our borders.” As in … a wall.

** A terrorist in the subway: Frank James, the man in custody for shooting 10 people in a New York City subway car this week, posted at times in favor of Black Supremacist ideology and raged against Jews. He posted about how “blacks and whites should not even be in the same hemisphere,” at times celebrated the Nation of Islam, posted a meme praying for the death of whites, and discussed how upset he was that Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson married a white man. (This is the same ideological mush that the Waukesha parade killer ascribed to, though James appears to have engaged in more of a mish-mosh of these conspiratorial rants.) James had 12 prior arrests.

** A generational divide over Ukraine: Young Americans are less sympathetic to Ukraine than older Americans, according to a new YouGov/Economist poll. “Whereas 92% of those aged 65 and over said they sympathize more with Ukraine, just 56% of those aged 18-29 did – a difference of 36 percentage points.” Part of the reason for this could be that feelings toward NATO are changing on both the left and the right. Here’s the Washington Post this week with the lefty take: “NATO was founded to protect ‘civilized’ people. That means White.” And on the right, a small bloc of Republicans voted against a bill reaffirming support for NATO, citing their discomfort with vague language about “democratic principles” and a new “Center for Democratic Resilience.” Some of these people should spend a little more time outside of NATO countries.

** Philanthropy laws are “unsafe,” says BLM founder: Patrisse Cullors says America’s laws around philanthropies are “unsafe” and “triggering,” which actually is accurate if you broke those laws and are looking at potential criminal charges. Laws around stealing are indeed unsafe for thieves. “It is such a trip now to hear the term ‘[IRS Form] 990.’ I’m, like, ugh. It’s, like, triggering,” said BLM-founder Patrisse Cullors during a talk last week. “This doesn’t seem safe for us, this 990 structure – this nonprofit system structure. This is, like, deeply unsafe. This is being literally weaponized against us, against the people we work with.” She said all of this on Vashon Island – average home price around $1 million, which is cheap now compared to where Patrisse Cullors bought her personal compound in Topanga Canyon, where the average home price is $1.75 million. Philanthropies are tax-exempt entities. The deal is you post a lot of financial information about all the good you did with that money and don’t have to give the IRS their usual cut. But let’s say, as BLM did, you spend $6 million on a party house that your friend bought a week earlier for $3 million and don’t post any details at all. Well, the IRS gets curious. Not for any moral reason, really, just: The IRS wants its cut. Death and taxes being inevitable, etc.


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Texas Reminded Motorists to Drive Safely – It Didn’t Work Out as Planned:

Scientists studying highway collision data from Texas found that motorists who passed a message board announcing annual traffic fatalities were actually 4.5% more likely to get into an accident over the next 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) than drivers unburdened by the information.

Examiner – A Look Back:

New York City in the springtime, April 13, 1962.

Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** A new lawsuit claims Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot gummed up a deal between the city’s park leaders and an Italian-American group who wanted a Christopher Columbus statue for their annual Columbus day parade. The Columbus had been removed during the 2020 George Floyd protests, but the Italian Americans wanted to later display it for their parade, and the city’s park managers had agreed to this. The lawsuit claims the Chicago mayor, a petite female, said something to the city parks team that is so funny I can only offer my respect: “You make some kind of secret agreement with Italians, what you are doing, you are out there measuring your d— with the Italians seeing whose got the biggest d—, you are out there stroking your d— over the Columbus statue, I am trying to keep Chicago Police officers from being shot and you are trying to get them shot.” “Get that f— statue back before noon tomorrow or I am going to have you fired,” the mayor allegedly said. “My d— is bigger than yours and the Italians, I have the biggest d— in Chicago.” —- Bari Weiss.

** For actors, it is the most gripping, feared line ever written. “It is the Mona Lisa of literature,” said Simon Godwin, the director of the Shakespeare Theater Company here. “It is something we’re so deeply familiar with, it is hard to bring new context to, and to make it live again.” So it was stunning when an actor not known for classical performance spoke the opening of Hamlet’s soliloquy with more dramatic weight than Gielgud, Burton, Olivier or Cumberbatch. “The question for us now is to be or not to be,” Volodymyr Zelensky told the British Parliament in a video call on Tuesday, speaking in Ukrainian. “This is the Shakespearean question. For 13 days, this question could have been asked. But now I can give you a definitive answer. It’s definitely yes, to be.” As Godwin noted of the TV sitcom actor turned Ukrainian wartime president, “He has become, in a way, the world’s greatest actor engaged with the world’s deepest truth, using a piece of poetry to express this truth in a forceful context.” —- Maureen Dowd, New York Times

** The average price of gasoline has jumped over $1 since Vladimir Putin moved his army to the border of Ukraine. One dollar. And change. Nationally, the average price of regular gasoline is now $4.30 a gallon. Kid stuff. In California, we pay much more. The Golden State charges gold for gasoline. Good luck getting change for your hundred-dollar bill. It won’t be enough to buy a sandwich. —- Susan Estrich

** Every war brings surprises, but what is most striking about Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine – and indirectly against the whole democratic West – is how many of the bad surprises, so far, have been for Putin and how many of the good surprises have been for Ukraine and its allies around the world. How so? Well, I am pretty sure that when Putin was plotting this war, he was assuming that by three weeks into it he’d be giving a victory speech at the Ukrainian Parliament, welcoming it back into the bosom of Mother Russia. He probably also assumed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would be in exile in a Polish Airbnb, Russian troops would still be removing all the flowers from their tanks thrown by welcoming Ukrainians, and Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping would be high-fiving each other for having shown NATO and Sleepy Joe who’s going to set the rules of the international system going forward. Instead, Ukrainians have given Russians a tutorial on fighting and dying for freedom and self-determination. Putin appears locked into his own germ-free isolation chamber, probably worrying that any Russian military officer who comes near may pull a gun on him. Zelensky will be addressing the U.S. Congress virtually. And, rather than globalization being over, individuals all over the world are using global networks to monitor and influence the war in totally unexpected ways. With a few clicks they’re sending money to support Ukrainians and with a few more keystrokes telling everyone from McDonald’s to Goldman Sachs that they must withdraw from Russia until Russian soldiers withdraw from Ukraine. —- Thomas L. Friedman

Examiner – Bookkeeping:

$960,000: The selling price of a long-lost medal honoring a Revolutionary War hero.

~20,500: The number of car seats recalled due to a choking hazard.

12,272: The number of noise complaints one person filed against Dublin Airport in 2021.

Examiner – Readers Speak:

Should there be a maximum age limit for serving in Congress?

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

Examiner – Lens:

In a new book, Healing: Our Path From Mental Illness to Mental Health, Dr. Thomas Insel, who led the National Institute of Mental Health for 13 years, chronicles failures at nearly every level of the United States’ mental health system.

Examiner – Investigates:

Digits: Bookstores, Dungeons, and Italian Jewels:

1) There are now ~32k jobs for travel nurses, up from ~8k in early 2020, with the average weekly pay standing at $3,334 per week. In just 6 months, some travel nurses earn the entire median pay that non-travel nurses do in a year.

2) Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast unit, which oversees Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, accounted for ~46% of the company’s $1.31B in annual earnings.

3) Bookstore sales were up 28% in 2021 after a major dip in 2020, hitting $9.03B, up from $6.5B. That’s much better than the 19.3% rebound seen across retail generally.

4) A former Italian royal family is suing the government over ~$342m in crown jewels they claim are theirs. Interestingly, none of the royal family members have ever seen the jewels in person.

5) Francis Ford Coppola, the 82-year-old Godfather director, will spend up to $120m of his own fortune on Megalopolis, which no Hollywood studio will fund. The film’s cast is rumored to include Zendaya, Cate Blanchett, Oscar Isaac, Jon Voight, Forest Whitaker, and more.

“Intel for Influencers” – Who Reads the LBN Examiner?

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Examiner – Humankind:

** A runner and cancer survivor on track to run 102 marathons in 102 days. READ

** Community fridges could change the way people take care of each other. READ

** An anonymous winner of $216M lottery creates environmental charity. READ

** A first-grade teacher gets a surprise visit at school from her military mom. READ

** An ER nurse pampers patients on her days off. READ


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Examiner – Reader Question:

Should death row inmates be allowed religious rites during the execution?

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