LBN Examiner 11/13/2022


You might’ve noticed something you didn’t order on your last dinner bill: a “service fee.” Not to be confused with a tip, the service fee ranges from 3% to 20% of the bill, and it’s becoming increasingly common around the country. But what exactly the fee represents … isn’t always clear. The fee can indicate a range of things, including: A mandatory tip that goes directly to the server. Pay for back-of-house employees like chefs and dishwashers. Funds to cover workers’ minimum hourly wage. Money for a restaurant’s credit card fees or owners. The fees also vary widely by state. In California, the fees go to the restaurants; in New York, they go to the service staff; and in Florida, they can be used for whatever the restaurant wants (feels right). The tab keeps growing.

In September, Americans spent ~$87B on dining out, up 11.4% YoY, while the price of food at full-service restaurants was up 8.8% YoY. Google searches for “service fee” and “service charge” have hit an all-time high with customers scrambling to make sense of their checks. With all the confusion, the fee can cause diners to tip less, mistakenly thinking the money is going directly to their server.

Frequent Elections:

The U.S. is an outlier in two ways: the frequency of its elections and the number of government positions that are elected, said Larry Jacobs, a political scientist who has analyzed election trends in the U.S. and other countries. In other countries, parliamentary democracies typically hold elections every four or five years. Those that have elections more frequently are typically suffering political crises. (Israel, for example, held its fifth election in less than four years last week and voted to restore the previous prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to power even as he faces corruption charges.) In the U.S., the federal government holds elections for Congress at least twice as often, every two years. More local and state elections are sometimes pegged to the federal races, but not in most cases. Americans elect more than half a million officials in total, from president to county coroner. (It’s hard to compare this number to other countries, which might put more legislative seats to a vote but not, say, mine inspector or county engineer.) One example that’s particularly odd in a global context: “No other democracy in the world uses elections to pick judges or prosecutors,” said Richard Pildes, an elections expert at New York University. Instead, other officials typically appoint a country’s judges and prosecutors.

An Optimistic Shift:

Five years ago, the journalist David Wallace-Wells explored a worst-case scenario for climate change: one in which the planet warmed by as much as 5 degrees Celsius by 2100 – causing widespread extreme weather, economic collapse, famine and war. Now, David sees that level of doom as much less likely, he writes in an essay for the climate issue of The New York Times Magazine, where he is a columnist. While 5 degrees of warming once seemed possible, scientists now estimate that the Earth is on track to warm by 2 to 3 degrees. That difference might not seem huge, but it translates to fewer record-breaking floods, storms, droughts and heat waves and potentially thousands or millions of lives saved in the coming decades. So how did we get to this point? There are three major explanations: First, the use of coal, which provides about 30 percent of the world’s energy, is expected to further decline. Second, renewable energy prices have plummeted since 2010 – solar power more than 85 percent, wind more than 55 percent – and that affordability has made them a viable alternative to fossil fuels. Finally, global powers have adopted serious plans to fight climate change.

Examiner – Lens:

A local resident walks past the body of a person killed by recent shelling near a damaged block of flats in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict in Makiivka (Makeyevka), Ukraine, November 4, 2022.

Lemon Drop – Don Lemon’s New Show ‘CNN This Morning’ Bombs In Debut:

CNN’s flashy new morning show co-hosted by Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins bombed in its debut episode on Tuesday. Despite heavy promotion from the network, “CNN This Morning’s” first show drew a mere 387,000 viewers and averaged 71,000 viewers in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 age demographic, according to Nielsen ratings. By comparison, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” amassed 793,000 viewers head to head from 6 to 9 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” came out on top, averaging nearly 1.5 million viewers. No show across CNN, MSNBC and Fox News ranked lower than Lemon’s program on Tuesday. Dubbed “CNN This Morning,” the broadcast was pitched as the left-leaning network’s re-entry into the competitive morning show landscape, and was heralded by Lemon as a “promotion” amid reports that he was being demoted. The anchor had been moved from his now-cancelled 10 p.m. primetime show to share the spotlight with two other hosts.

L.A. Woman Suffers Brain Injury After Homeless Man Stabs Her With Garden Shears In Head:

A 24-year-old Los Angeles woman is recovering from a traumatic brain injury after a homeless man stabbed her in the head with a pair of gardening shears in an unprovoked attack, authorities said. Kyli Watts was walking along Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood around 11:30 a.m. October 10 when the grisly assault took place. The suspected stabber, 30-year-old Johnathan Cole, rammed a pair of gardening shears with 4-inch blades into the back of Watts’ head as they passed while walking down the street, police said. Watts ran to a nearby restaurant with the weapon still embedded in her skull and begged for help before collapsing. Staff at the restaurant were able to call 911 and Watts was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Examiner – Lens:

Ants are surprisingly sinister looking under a microscope.


** Actually, wait a second: It turns out China is operating secret police stations across five continents. Want to leave the Communist Party, blow the whistle on something you saw, and find safety in Europe? Or want to be a vocal, dissident student at a European university?

** But seriously WTF is going on in New York’s subways: This year so far, at least 25 people have been pushed into the New York City subway tracks, and two of those shoves were fatal. I used to think they were just aiming for petite people in vulnerable spots close to the edge, but the latest, a father of three, is a normal-sized man being body slammed into the tracks.

Examiner – Lens:

Matan Gavish, a former Israeli special-ops officer, teaches subway-self-defense classes to counter track shovings, hammer attacks, and random-violence swarms.

Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** “Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.” —- Mae West

** “Let’s start with a test: Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers? If the answer is no, you might want to stop and think about that. If everything you believe is something you’re supposed to believe, could that possibly be a coincidence? Odds are it isn’t. Odds are you just think whatever you’re told.” —- Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Paul Graham

** “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.” —- Explorer and travel writer Freya Stark

** China’s leader, Xi Jinping, is surely the greatest person alive today, at least if one takes seriously the coverage by China’s official news service, Xinhua. Its website has a channel called Xi’s Time that is devoted to extolling him. A few headlines: “Xi Jinping – Champion of Disabled Rights, Prospects,” “Xi Jinping’s Bond With a Tibetan Village” and “Xi Jinping and His Loving Care for China’s Giant Pandas Overseas.” Xi controls Xinhua, so essentially, he is looking in the mirror and praising his own magnificence. To most people living in democratic nations (though perhaps not all), such self-promotion seems ridiculous and self-defeating. But Xi clearly doesn’t agree. He is building up a cult of personality that he’s betting will help him rule China unchallenged. —- Peter Coy, New York Times

** To this day, the CDC advises Americans who were exposed to Covid to wear a mask in their own home for 10 days around others. It’s no wonder that the CDC has badly lost credibility with many Americans. In 1998, the Lancet published a deeply flawed study that should never have appeared claiming vaccines were linked to autism. Eventually it was found to be fraudulent. Nevertheless, parents and activists ran wild with it. It has taken decades to fight the false connection between vaccines and autism – and it is still a battle not fully won. We need the public to believe in medically essential vaccines and be willing to give them to their children. To add an unnecessary and controversial vaccine to this list – at the risk of some states or local actors mandating it – undermines the broader good of public health. —- Vinay Prasad (Hematology Oncology Medicine Health Policy Epidemiology Associate Professor)

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 have spoken.


** Netflix is cracking down on sharing passwords as its subscriber growth wanes, The Verge reports. READ

** 485%: The global increase in the number of Duolingo users who are studying Ukrainian. Most of the spike came from those in the U.S., the language-learning company said. READ

** Earth’s poles simultaneously show significant jumps in temperature, despite being in opposing seasons; Antarctica (entering the autumn season) hits 70 degrees above average, while the Arctic hits 50 degrees above average. READ

** The sights and sounds from streets around the world. READ

** Alcohol-related deaths rose 25% year-over-year during the first year of the pandemic, study finds. READ

** More than a century of baby name trends. READ

** Breakthrough COVID-19 hospitalizations found to be rare (less than one in 1,000 cases) for both fully vaccinated patients and patients who previously tested positive, large-scale Mayo Clinic study suggests. READ

** In medical first, new brain implant allows patient suffering from locked-in syndrome to communicate with family and doctors via thoughts; condition, often arising from neurodegenerative diseases, leaves fully conscious patients unable to move or speak. READ

** Hacker group Lapsus$ claims to have released 37GB of stolen data, including source codes to major Microsoft products, such as Bing and Cortana. READ

** Mapping the world’s most (and least) polluted cities. READ

** A drone scavenger hunt of San Francisco. WATCH

** Alcohol-related deaths jumped 25.5% in 2020 compared to 2019 from 78,927 to 99,017.

** Pepsi, Pizza Hut and other symbols of Western culture are leaving Russia. READ

** Argentina was the first country to use fingerprinting in order to determine if a person was guilty of a crime. The first known example of fingerprinting occurred in June, 1892, when police used a bloody fingerprint left on a door to match Francisca Rojas to the killing of her two children.

** A $1.5M house resembles Snow White’s home. READ

** The queen of crime-solving and her fears about the forensic industry. READ

** “Citizens of Kyiv,” in portraits. READ

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

Liv Boeree is one of the UK’s most successful poker players, winning both European Poker Tour and World Series of Poker championship titles during her professional career 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.

Now you can invite your friends and family to sign up for free (if they’ve got the guts):

Susan McCauley, Award-Winning Author, Debuts Her New ‘Trooper’ Book With Rave Reviews:

Susan McCauley (Author) and Darlee Urbitondo (Illustrator) bring you a wonderful story set in the glamorous and grand Beverly Hills Hotel. The real-life dog Trooper and his best friend, Hollywood agent Andrea Eastman, get through tough times with love on their side.

Examiner – Airlines:

In the 1970s, the average airplane seat measured 35 inches long (including legroom) and 18 inches wide. Today, they’re 31 inches long and 16.5 inches wide. The FAA is now sorting through 24k+ public comments on the issue, 98% of which support minimum seat size regulations.

Woke NYC Judge Mulls Handing Gangbanger Sweetheart Plea Deal – If He Apologizes:

A controversial Brooklyn judge is secretly considering cutting a deal that would give a gangbanger a slap-on-the-wrist sentence in an attempted murder case – as long as he says he’s sorry. Acting Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Laura Johnson has been weighing sentencing accused gunman Donte Simpson to just five years behind bars for the May 2021 shooting that left the 17-year-old victim paralyzed for life, law enforcement sources said. That’s as long as Simpson – an alleged member of the violent street gang “Focus On Paper” – writes a letter expressing remorse, according to the sources. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said prosecutors are seeking a 15-year sentence in the case, but declined to comment further. “This is the Montessori School version of the criminal justice system,” one law enforcement source fumed. “Shoot a 17-year-old and write an apology.”

The Last Waltz:

Pieces Of Life-Long Wisdom
In An Age Of Nonsense

Examiner – Business:

** CVS and Walgreens agreed to pay about $5 billion each to settle thousands of lawsuits over the opioid crisis.

** Apple is now worth $2.307T, just ahead of Amazon, Alphabet, and Meta’s combined value of $2.306T.

** Twitter’s daily user growth has reportedly hit all-time highs under Elon Musk, according to documents obtained by The Verge.

Examiner – Reader Poll:

He’ll turn 82 in 2024.

Send your reply to:

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 November 13, Eminem released the single “Lose Yourself” from soundtrack of “8 Mile” – the first rap song to win Academy Award Best Original Song.

** On November 14, the film “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” was released, based on the second book of the series by J. K. Rowling.


1. “Without Notes” TV Show With Elliot Mintz

Examiner – A Different View:…

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