LBN Examiner 3/7/2021


A national educators organization is telling schools to avoid reading Dr. Seuss because the children’s books allegedly have “racial undertones.”  For more than 20 years, March 2 has been recognized as Read Across America Day in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. The reading recognition day was founded by the National Education Association — the nation’s largest labor union — in 1998. This year’s theme is “Create and Celebrate Diversity.” Learning for Justice — a left-wing educators group — is demanding that Dr. Seuss be canceled. A prominent Virginia school district has taken marching orders and ordered its schools to avoid “connecting Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss.”  Loudoun County Public Schools, one of the nation’s most affluent school districts, announced that it will no longer recognize Dr. Seuss on his birthday. In an announcement obtained by The Daily Wire, the school district said that Dr. Suess’s children’s books contain “racial undertones” that are not suitable for “culturally responsive” learning. 

“Realizing that many schools continue to celebrate ‘Read Across America Day’ in partial recognition of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, it is important for us to be cognizant of research that may challenge our practice in this regard,” the announcement reads. “As we become more culturally responsive and racially conscious, all building leaders should know that in recent years there has been research revealing radical undertones in the books written and the illustrations drawn by Dr. Seuss.” Learning for Justice was formerly known as “Teaching Tolerance,” which has promoted radical views on teaching “social justice” and “racial justice” to students as young as five-years-old. Learning for Justice is the education arm of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). In a magazine article titled, “It’s Time to Talk About Dr. Seuss,” Learning for Justice cites a study from St. Catherine University that claims Dr. Seuss’s children’s literature is rife with “orientalism, anti-blackness, and white supremacy.”  The researchers surveyed 50 Dr. Seuss books and concluded that there is not enough diversity in the children’s books, many of which were written in the 1950s.

Are you someone who stays up late into the night, or do you rise with the sun each morning? A new study finds that a person’s sleep preferences may actually reveal how well they do their job. Researchers in Finland say “night owls” are twice as likely to say they struggle to perform at work. Even more concerning, people who stay up late also have a higher risk of retiring due to disability than their “early bird” co-workers. A team from the University of Oulu looked at over 12,000 people taking part in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study during this project. The group (6,169 boys and 5,889 girls all born in 1996) was surveyed about their work life and health once they reached the age of 46. Researchers also asked each participant about their sleep patterns to gauge which chronotype they belong to.

The Finnish team split the group into three chronotypes, “morning larks” (or early birds), an average or intermediate group, and night owls. Morning chronotypes, your early risers, tend to function better early in the morning. Night owls on the other hand are sharper during the evening and generally stay up later. Unfortunately, owls usually don’t go to bed early enough to get the recommended amount of rest (at least seven hours) on work nights. Researchers say this leaves them with a “sleep debt” and a need to catch up on sleep during their off days. The results find this preference not only impacts work performance throughout a person’s career, but can also negatively affect health due to lack of sleep.

Previous studies have also discovered that sleep deprivation can lead to poor physical and mental health. During the surveys, participants also rated how they feel they perform at work on a scale of 0-10. Researchers linked all this data with the country’s registries for social security and pension payments. Out of the 12,058 people at the beginning of the study, researchers had full details on 2,672 men and 3,159 women working in 2012. Using that group, the Finnish team examined their health over the next four years to see who had stopped working and needed to claim a disability pension. Over that span, 84 participants started receiving disability. Seventeen people died, although only three were part of the disability group.


The petition claims the statue “perpetuates white supremacy and preserves its historical imposition,” because George Washington owned slaves. The offending statue is part of the university’s history: It is the product of a years-long campaign by the Daughters of the American Revolution, which raised $6,000 by “encourag[ing] schoolchildren from all over the state to contribute their pennies, no more than five cents apiece.” The statue has stood on campus since 1909.  The petition also proposes cutting ties with the Seattle Police Department, disarming the university police, increasing funding for the American Ethnic Studies Department, and hiring more Black faculty members, among other policies.

University leadership responded with incremental measures at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, including cutting the campus police force by 20 percent and reiterating existing hiring initiatives aimed at bringing diverse talent to campus. But it did not pledge to remove the statue – and the BSU isn’t backing down. The university “commissioned a group of faculty experts to recommend wording for a plaque or other such display that would provide a broader context on the life and impact of George Washington,” which “would include an explicit acknowledgment of his role as a slaveholder.” The BSU says a plaque isn’t enough. The University did not comment further on if, and how, it will respond to increasing calls to remove the statue


Former Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard equated being in Congress to being in high school during a recent interview with Megyn Kelly. Gabbard said on Kelly’s podcast “The Megyn Kelly Show” that there are “well-intentioned members” from both parties in Congress who want to work together but that ultimately partisan interests corrupt genuine intent. “If that is not in line with what the party wants, then you have threats of, if you do this, we’re not gonna back you up with any money or support in your re-election,” Gabbard said. “If you do this, you’re not going to get the committee you want or you’ll get yanked off the committee that you’re on.” “If we’re being serious it’s like high school.”

Gabbard said after being sworn into Congress, newly elected representatives were given a brief orientation and were able to spend time with fellow representatives. However, representatives were soon “separated into camps.” “Democrats went here and started meeting in different places,” Gabbard told Kelly. “Republicans met in different places, and very directly the narrative and the directive was kind of set from the leadership that hey, this is about winning the next election.” Gabbard said members were told to limit their work with politicians from the other side of the political aisle out of fear that the opposing side would use bipartisan-passed bills to win the next election.


For some, social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are avenues for connecting more closely with relatives and friends. For others, they’re ego-boosters fueled by the showering of praise via “likes” and comments from one’s followers. According to a new international study, however, social media users who chase “likes” have thinking patterns similar to lab rats seeking food. Data from last year shows that four billion people worldwide spent several hours each day on social media platforms prompting comparisons to addiction. In the hopes of finding out what drives social media junkies to spend so much of their waking day online, researchers analyzed more than a million posts from over 4,000 users. Their findings suggest that the behavior of many users was consistent with “reward learning.” This is a long-established psychological concept which says actions may be driven and reinforced by rewards. Those who receive more likes seem to be driven to post even more frequently. Meanwhile, others people who don’t receive the same positive feedback post less.

To be more sure, researchers asked people to post memes and receive likes as feedback on an Instagram-style platform. Just like their analysis of posts, the experiment shows that people posted more often when they received more likes. The researchers now say social media use appears to be driven by similar principles that lead rats to maximize their food rewards in lab tests like a “Skinner box.” For such an experiment, animals are put in a box where they are dispensed food by completing specific actions like pulling a lever. The team behind the research now hope their findings could help come up with ways to combat excessive and dysfunctional social media use.

“These results establish that social media engagement follows basic, cross-species principles of reward learning,” says co-author David Amodio, a professor at New York University and the University of Amsterdam, in a statement. “The findings may help us understand why social media comes to dominate daily life for many people and provide clues, borrowed from research on reward learning and addiction, to how troubling online engagement may be addressed.”


Viral video footage shows a California teachers union president who led school closures dropping his daughter off at a private school. Footage posted by the group Guerilla Momz shows Berkeley Federation of Teachers President Matt Meyer dropping his two-year-old daughter off at a private preschool. Meyer’s daughter’s face is blurred out. “Meet Matt Meyer. White man with dreads and president of the local teachers’ union,” the group tweeted Saturday. “He’s been saying it is unsafe for *your kid* to be back at school, all the while dropping his kid off at private school.”  The video was filmed by Berkeley area parents who did not give their names out of fear of retaliation, according to KQED. “We’d heard for a while that he sent his kid to private preschool and we’ve been hearing him make crazy claims at the school board meetings — it was ‘too dangerous’ for schools to open because kids wouldn’t wear masks. Meanwhile, his kid is wearing a mask at school,” Guerilla Momz said in a written statement, according to KQED.


Globally, Covid-19 has affected us all, many in personal ways, yet the creative industry has been one the hardest hit. As I listened intently to the 2021 Creative Economy Report presented by Otis College of Art & Design, I couldn’t help being blind-sided by the tremendous financial impact the pandemic had on Arts related industries in California alone. Having previously served on the Board of Governors of Otis, I am continuously proud of the contribution this Fine Arts Institution makes, providing valuable statistics and insight used in state legislature. Unlike the previous decade of growth, there was a staggering “$140.6 billion dollar loss from the total Creative Economy output for 2020”. Notably, with the film industry, Los Angeles County counts for more than half of the state’s figure with a $78.9 billion loss. Berman adds, “There has never been one solution to rectify this issue. We must foster a collaborative respect for our creatives and inculcate an artology mindset.” Berman agrees with Panelist Jason Foster, of the new 1.3 mile outdoor museum, Destination Crenshaw: “We need to view artists as a bankable business”. Thankfully, many of Berman’s clients understand the tremendous impact the pandemic has had on the livelihood of artists and have responded enthusiastically to be part of the solution by supporting the arts with their buying power. Some positive accounts of this below, offer a bit of a silver-lining to our challenging time.

For many, art is a very private experience. Where and how people engage in this experience is the enticing elixir of art. Lisa M. Berman, founder of Berman Arts Agency, understands this complex concept and authentically applies her signature “art of connecting” with her clients, while managing her established and museum quality artists. Accurate and intuitive placement of the right piece in the right place in just the right way is key to honoring this visual and often visceral journey. Cultivating good relationships between artists and collectors are the binding factors for Berman building longevity and a good reputation. Berman has placed artwork in museum collections such as: LACMA, The GETTY, Smithsonian, M.A.D, FIDM, National Comedy Center, and private collections such as Daniel Greenberg Photography, Resnick Collection and Lynn K. Altman Trust.


A dog with blue fur is pictured inside a cage at a veterinary hospital where it was taken for examination in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, February 16, 2021. A pack of stray dogs with bright blue fur was found earlier this month near an abandoned chemical plant in the city of Dzerzhinsk.


Home Depot sales increased 25% in the fourth quarter of 2020, capping a year in which it raked in a record $132 billion in sales.


Empathy, as author Sherry Turkle thinks of it, is “the ability not only to put yourself in someone else’s place, but to put yourself in someone else’s problem.”

  ***You going to need a chiropractor after all the head-shaking this story has caused. Hasbro’s “half-baked” idea (potato pun intended) has certainly brought a sackful of media attention to the 70-year-old toy — although, not all of it was positive. Shortly after the outrage swarmed social and traditional news media, the company told everyone Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head were safe, only the packaging was changing. I wonder if we should start worrying about “Mr. Clean?”


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Remember when Mark Zuckerberg battled the Winklevoss Twins to determine who created Facebook? The legal process uncovered messages from Zuckerberg that said he wanted to do something (we can’t print here) to the ears of the Winklevoss Twins. Based on a recent drop of unredacted court filings, it looks like Zuckerberg has been doing the same unprintable actions to advertisers.

The remarks come from a 2018 California lawsuit…
… which claims that Facebook “knowingly overestimated its ‘potential reach’ metric for advertisers,” writes The Verge. The core of the lawsuit is that the social media giant didn’t adjust for fake and duplicate accounts. In one nugget from the filing, Facebook told advertisers it could target 100m people aged 18-34 years old in the US even though there are only 76m people in that age group.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg knew about the issue
Per The Verge, one Facebook product manager told Sandberg that some revenue should “never [have been] made given the fact that it’s based on the wrong data.” Another employee added the process was “deeply wrong,” but Facebook neglected to make a fix, saying it would have a significant impact on revenue.

3rd time’s the harm
Antitrust expert Matt Stoller notes that Facebook has already been busted on 2 separate occasions for lying to advertisers:

· “Pivot to video”: In 2016, Zuckerberg told the world that Facebook was going all in on video, and it misled advertisers about video metrics to boost the program.
· Measurement tool: At the end of 2020, Facebook told advertisers that its “conversion lift tool” (which measures ad performance) overestimated campaign results.
While Facebook has largely avoided major repercussions for its activities, Stoller believes the tide is turning:
· Australia is taking a tough (albeit flawed) position against Facebook in regards to hosting publisher content
· Canada and the UK have called Facebook a bad-faith actor for blocking Australians from seeing news
· In the US, Facebook faces an antitrust suit

In sum, Facebook is facing attacks on its  business from regulators the world over.

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Former US Vice President Aaron Burr Arrested for Treason (1807)

Nearly three years after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, former US Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested on unrelated charges of treason. Though the exact details of his plan were a mystery even then, he was accused of plotting to establish an independent country of his own, possibly in the American Southwest. He was treated well while imprisoned at Fort Stoddert and was eventually acquitted, but his political career was destroyed. *THINK FREELY – BE INDEPENDENT – MAKE UP YOUR OWN (DAMN) MIND: READ LBN EXAMINER

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Living a long and healthy life depends on the unique combination of bacteria in our gut, according to a new study. Patterns in a person’s microbiome — the organisms living in the gut — could determine whether a person is going to age well or die early, say scientists.The gut contains mostly healthy bacteria and immune cells, which help ward off infections and diseases. Although a vital component of the body’s immune system, its importance in the aging process has remained unclear. Now, researchers at the Institute for Systems Biology in the United States show that the gut microbiome continues to evolve, but only among healthy people.“Prior results in microbiome-aging research appear inconsistent, with some reports showing a decline in core gut genera in centenarian populations, while others show relative stability of the microbiome up until the onset of aging-related declines in health,” says co-author Dr. Sean Gibbons in a statement. “Our work, which is the first to incorporate a detailed analysis of health and survival, may resolve these inconsistencies. Specifically, we show two distinct aging trajectories. One, a decline in core microbes and an accompanying rise in uniqueness in healthier individuals, consistent with prior results in community-dwelling centenarians, and two, the maintenance of core microbes in less healthy individuals.”

Researchers analyzed the gut microbiome of 9,000 people aged between 18 to 101 years old for the study. In particular, the team tracked survival rates for a cohort of 900 older individuals aged 78 to 98. Their work shows that gut microbiome became increasingly unique as participants got older. Core bacteria, known as bacteriodes and common to all humans, start to decline in mid-to-late adulthood. “Interestingly, this uniqueness pattern appears to start in mid-life — 40 to 50 years old — and is associated with a clear blood metabolomic signature, suggesting that these microbiome changes may not simply be diagnostic of healthy aging, but that they may also contribute directly to health as we age,” says study co-author Dr. Tomasz Wilmanski. “For example, indoles are known to reduce inflammation in the gut, and chronic inflammation is thought to be a major driver in the progression of aging-related morbidities.”


Legendary singer-songwriter Neil Young along with 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.
In response to What’s Up by Sarah Garcia. “I agree that the “cancel culture” has gone overboard. However, opposing organizations like “The Free Speech Movement” are disingenuous at best. The website clearly states that their agenda is to “expose all corporations who support cancelling voices they don’t agree with.” In the very same breath they pronounce their mission is to “cancel the cancel culture”. Really? You don’t see the hypocrisy? Freedom of speech gives you the right to express an opposing point of view, not to oppress the point of view of someone else.”
  – Kevin Miller Independent Citizen *EXAMINER – A DIFFERENT VIEW:….

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