LBN Examiner 09/11/2022


In the dark hours before dawn, there’s no busier place than the Hunts Point produce market in The Bronx, where throngs of chefs, grocers and deli owners jockey each morning to snag the plumpest peaches and leafiest lettuce. But the bazaar, which handles as many as 30 million pounds of goods per day and is the largest produce outlet in the nation, also provides perfect cover for the importing of fentanyl, America’s deadliest drug, which smugglers sneak into New York amid boxes of fruits and vegetables, according to law-enforcement officials. Once fentanyl reaches the market, traffickers move it to nearby apartments where the drug gets chopped up and packaged into small glassine envelopes. The drugs are then sold on the streets of the city – and up and down the East Coast.

“It comes in with the produce,” said Bridget Brennan, who heads the city’s Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, noting that densely packed fentanyl bricks, hidden in box trucks and 18-wheelers, travel by highways from the border with Mexico to the Great Lakes region before coming east. Fentanyl is so potent that a dose just 2 milligrams in size – the same size as the powder next to the penny above – can prove fatal. Drug Enforcement Administration. “The drugs are offloaded in New Jersey and then into The Bronx, where they are milled into glassines. The mills pump out millions of these glassines and they get distributed all over the country.” Packaging operations inside apartments close to Hunts Point are staffed mostly by Dominican laborers decked out in full face masks, gloves and protective clothing to prevent them from being poisoned by the powerful narcotic, Brennan said.

The Pandemic Erased Two Decades Of Progress In Math And Reading:

National test results released showed in stark terms the pandemic’s devastating effects on American schoolchildren, with the performance of 9-year-olds in math and reading dropping to the levels from two decades ago. This year, for the first time since the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests began tracking student achievement in the 1970s, 9-year-olds lost ground in math, and scores in reading fell by the largest margin in more than 30 years. The declines spanned almost all races and income levels and were markedly worse for the lowest-performing students. While top performers in the 90th percentile showed a modest drop – three points in math – students in the bottom 10th percentile dropped by 12 points in math, four times the impact.

Summer 2022 Crime Surged In Nearly Every Major Category, NYPD Stats Reveal:

Crime didn’t take a holiday over the summer of 2022. Worries that warm weather would bring out the Big Apple’s bad guys proved true, with repeated examples of innocent New Yorkers falling victim to gunmen, crooks, perverts and violent maniacs. Official statistics show the NYPD tracked weekly spikes in almost every category of major crime except murders and rapes in June, July and August, compared with last year. The only exceptions were felony assaults, which declined twice, and auto thefts, which dipped once. As of last week, the rate of serious crimes was up 35.6% over 2021, with robberies, burglaries, grand larcenies and auto thefts rising between 32.6% and 46.6% each. The distressing situation in late July led Mayor Eric Adams to call in vain for a special session of the state Legislature to address his repeated requests for a rollback of the controversial 2019 bail-reform law.

Examiner – Lens:

Staff members get ready for the launching of the new coffee shop “Stars Coffee,” which opens following Starbucks Corp company’s exit from the Russian market, in Moscow, Russia, August 18.

Los Angeles Mocked For Offering COVID Tests To Animals In Contact With Virus – City Has Recorded Zero Cases In Pets:

Pet owners in Los Angeles County are being offered free COVID-19 testing to animals and pets, despite there being no recently recorded cases of the disease among animals in the area. Veterinary Public Health has received funding from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor evidence of the disease in animals. “Our goal is to test many different species of animals including wildlife (deer, bats, raccoons), pets (dogs, cats, hamsters, pocket pets), marine mammals (seals), and more,” L.A. Public Health tweeted. So far, 177 animals have been tested, including popular domestic pets such as dogs, cats, hamsters and rabbits. L.A. County has also taken to swabbing bats, rats, opossums, sea lions and squirrels – but none have tested positive for COVID. The publicly funded body says it is offering the animal testing to “learn more about the significance of COVID-19 in human, animal, and environmental relationships.” It is unclear what, if any, treatments will be offered to animals that do test positive, with L.A. County saying that COVID symptoms in animals are identical to those commonly found in human sufferers.

Prosecutions ‘Nonexistent’ In Majority Of Hate Crimes Cases Against Jews In New York:

Since 2018, hate crimes against Jews in New York City have resulted in only one perpetrator spending just a single day in jail, according to a report. An in-depth Sunday piece in the Jewish-centric online magazine Tablet mentioned a report by the group Americans Against Antisemitism that, as the publication put it, “found that of the 118 adults arrested for anti-Jewish hate crimes in New York City since 2018, only one has been convicted and sent to prison.” Year after year, among religious groups, Jews are the leading target of hate crimes annually in the United States, according to the FBI.

Examiner – Commentary by Nick Gillespie:

(Host of Reason Interview pod, editor at large at Reason, coauthor of Declaration of Independents, literature Ph.D.)

** Student Loan Forgiveness, Including for Many, Many Wealthy People: I’ll give President Joe Biden this much credit: He knows how to get people to stop talking about inflation, at least for a few minutes. Between the Mar-a-Lago raid by the F.B.I., which honestly seems like it happened a decade ago, and this latest gambit, generalized price hikes seem about as pressing right now as Hunter Biden’s body dysmorphia. However constitutionally iffy, Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan may be in the first place (in July, Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted the president does not have “the power for debt forgiveness”), the actual nuts and bolts of it are terrible all on their own. The plan’s top-line takeaway is that borrowers making up to $125,000 – almost twice the median household income – will be eligible to wipe out $10,000 in debt, with poorer borrowers able to walk away from twice as much. The total price tag could be around $330 billion over the next 10 years, or the equivalent of more than $2,000 per taxpayer.

** Three Cheers for Free Speech: When Salman Rushdie was attacked on stage on August 12 by a knife-wielding maniac, we were reminded that however awful our partisan politics can be, there’s something much, much worse out there in the world. If anything good can come out of the completely unprovoked and indefensible attack on the 75-year-old novelist, it’s that it seems to have galvanized intellectual opinion more in favor of free expression. A week after the attack, PEN America – the organization that rightly gave an award to the staff of Charlie Hebdo in 2015 after a dozen of its employees were murdered (and 11 injured) by Islamic terrorists – staged a rally for Rushdie on the steps of the main branch of the New York Public Library. Actor Aasif Mandvi read this passage from Rushdie’s forthcoming novel, Victory City, to a crowd of hundreds: “I myself am nothing now. All that remains is the city of words. Words are the only victors.” NPR ran an interview with Iranian-American writer Azar Nafisi, who wrote about teaching banned literature in the theocracy whose leader sentenced Rusdhie to death. She tells the dark, strange story of the chief censor for theater in Iran, who was literally blind: “He would sit in on rehearsals, and somebody would sit beside him and tell him what the actors are doing, and he would censor them.” Nafisi tells NPR’s audience, “both on the far left and far right, there is this danger of becoming like a blind censor.”

** CALIFORNIA: California actually lost some population in 2020 and has coughed up a congressional seat, too, for the first time since entering the Union. Three stories, two from San Francisco and one from Los Angeles, help drive home why California is struggling to keep people. In L.A., a town I’ve been proud to call home on two different occasions, the City Council unanimously voted to include on the March 2024 ballot a measure that would “require hotels to accept the placement of homeless persons in vacant rooms.” At least they’re not insisting that paying customers share their rooms. Yet. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, which is rapidly approaching the caricature of it as a lawless hellhole in the old Dirty Harry movies, the owner of Jade Chocolates Teahouse and Café is training its employees in kung fu in response to thefts and assaults. Such a report casts a darker light on the opening of a fully robotic restaurant in the city’s Mission Bay district. Mezli will serve up personalized Mediterranean-style bowls from a next-gen vending machine, no human staff required. What might have been a fun tech story instead seems like a way of minimizing one more possible crime scene.

Examiner – Look Back:

When Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up 50 years ago this fall, they were critically respected, hugely influential, and popular almost beyond belief. Billboard credits the band with nine Top Ten singles in just two and a half years, from early 1969 to the summer of ’71 – an amazing stat, but one that still undercounts the band’s success.

Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** “It is far, far better and much safer to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.” —- John Kenneth Galbraith, “The Affluent Society,” 40th anniversary edition (1998)

** Is making the right kinds of friends the secret to upward mobility? Did having friends who – like me – grew up in poor and dysfunctional environments lead me to make bad decisions in my own early life? And if I had remained friends only with my childhood cohort would I remain poor? A new book called Friends: Understanding the Power of our Most Important Relationships, by the evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, and some recent studies about how one’s childhood friends influence one’s income later in life, have caused me to look at why my earliest friends once meant so much to me – and to reflect on why we have drifted so far apart. Now in his 70s, Dunbar has an almost melancholic sense of the nature of our friendships. Most friendships are “fickle things,” he writes but “special friendships are very few in number.” They are “the ones with whom we shared the ups and downs and traumas of early adult life, whose advice we sought in those moments of deep crisis, the ones we sat up with late into the night,” he says. “It’s as though this small number of special friendships are carved in stone into our psyches precisely because we engaged in such intense, emotionally passionate interactions.” —- Rob Henderson

** Nearly three years into COVID, the U.S. is still not ready for the next pandemic. The CDC is moving to remedy some of the problems plaguing the country’s public health system. Those changes, along with the broader lessons from COVID and monkeypox, could be the difference between another deadly pandemic and a crisis averted. —- German Lopez, New York Times

** Here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship – be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles – is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. —- David Foster Wallace

** “The road to hell is not paved with good intentions. It is paved with lack of intention.” —- Dr. Gabor Maté

Examiner – Readers Have Spoken:


We asked Examiner readers in all 50 of the United States and in 26 foreign countries for their thoughts. The Examiner readers had spoken.


** Mapping where the next 1,000 babies will be born. READ

** Hundreds of ducks encircle a car. WATCH

** Slow-Motion Insects Video At 6,000 frames per second, slowed 200 times the normal speed, these videos of insects launching into flight couldn’t be more delightful. WATCH

** You can now buy hot-dog-flavored ice cream. READ

** A 90s instructional video on how to dance. WATCH

** About three million Americans – or almost 1% of the population – speak with a stutter.

** Taking a field sobriety test in style. READ

** In medical first, doctors successfully rehab a damaged liver inside a machine mimicking the human body before transplanting it into a cancer patient; patient has recovered and survived for at least 12 months post-surgery. READ

** New class of antibiotics shown to be effective in treating drug-resistant tuberculosis; the disease kills an estimated 1.5 million people annually. READ

** Turn your drawings into music. READ

** Gun-control measures could have prevented nearly one-third of mass shootings since 1999. READ

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Trinity School Staffer Admits To Sneaking Political ‘Agenda’ Into NYC Classroom, Video Shows:

A New York City private school administrator has been secretly recorded confessing that she sneaks her liberal political “agenda” into the classroom and complaining about “really awful” white Republicans. Jennifer “Ginn” Norris, who works at the Trinity School on the Upper East Side, was filmed by conservative outlet Project Veritas saying that she tries to “disrupt” wherever she can and that she and other teachers have been “sneaking” their activism in through the cracks. “There’s always groups of teachers who want to do these [activist] things but the administration just wouldn’t let us,” Norris says in the clip. “So, we’ve been just sneaking things in [through] the cracks.” Norris, who is listed as the director of student activities at the $60,000-a-year school, said she has the opportunity to bring in guest speakers twice a week and that she told her boss she would be “100% Democratic” with the kids. Asked by Project Veritas if she would ever let a Republican voice on campus, Norris said: “I won’t.”


Witness Here:

Muscadine Naturals Examines Antioxidants People Need to Eliminate Free Radicals Making Them Sick:

Muscadine Naturals Inc. began in the summer of 2001, like many businesses do, with a question from one of the founding owners: “Why don’t Japanese beetles eat Muscadine Grapes like they do French Grapes?” They had a nerdy scientist in the neighborhood, of course, who swiftly responded, “It’s because the grapevine, like many plants, produces polyphenolics that protect it.” Naturally, the next inquiry was, “What is a polyphenolic?”

These basic questions led to more questions and the founding of the company to develop a series of all-natural dietary supplements made from the grape skins of the Muscadine grape, North Carolina’s State Fruit. MuscadinePlus, a dietary supplement, was invented and made available for purchase in March of 2005.


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Examiner – Cartoon:

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 September 10, Switzerland joined the United Nations.

** On September 16, The talk show “Dr. Phil” first aired.

Examiner – A Different View:…

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