FROM “WOKE” TO BROKE:
Before it was closed by federal regulators, Silicon Valley Bank donated more than $70 million to various social justice initiatives that sought to advance the Black Lives Matter agenda. According to a database tracking corporate contributions and pledges that go to the Black Lives Matter movement or related social justice causes, the database found that the Silicon Valley Bank made $70.6 million pushing race-based hiring practices, race-based subprime voter initiatives, and diversity equity and inclusion efforts commonly abbreviated as DEI.
Attack On Congressional Staffers:
Two staff members who work for Rep. Gerry Connolly (D, VA-11) were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries yesterday after a person wielding what appeared to be a metal baseball bat walked into the congressman’s northern Virginia office and struck the staffers. The suspect, identified as 49-year-old Xuan Kha Tran Pham and a constituent of Connolly, is in police custody. He faces charges of aggravated malicious wounding and malicious wounding. He had entered the Fairfax, Virginia, district office, asking for Connolly, who was not there. A senior aide and an intern were hit in the head and side, respectively, according to authorities. A motive for the attack is unknown. The attack follows a series of threats against lawmakers, their families, and associates. Last year, the U.S. Capitol Police recorded more than 9,000 threats, up 400% in the past six years, and investigated 7,501 cases, including the intruder attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-11).
The Data Examiner – Lens:
Horrific footage shows the devastating toll the “tranq” drug epidemic has had on addicts in Philadelphia. The Kensington neighborhood – made infamous by its open-air drug market – is seen completely packed with the slumped-over and passed-out drug users in the video posted to TikTok by urbanvisuals2.0. The harrowing clip comes as the “City of Brother Love” struggles with the rising use of the drug Xylazine, or “tranq,” which is a deadly sedative used to enhance the effects of heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.
** I got a little emotional voting this year. First, I went to the wrong neighborhood school, where a poll worker carefully searched for my name and then explained that I was registered at the Bethesda elementary school down the road. When I got there, a team of volunteers – my neighbors, from eager 20-somethings to gray-haired retirees – patiently explained how to mark the paper ballot. When my cellphone suddenly rang, they practically strangled me: “Shut that off!!!” This was the best of America – these people, this process, carried out with integrity and solemnity. What a privilege to be able to vote this way. —- Thomas L. Friedman
** Iran, long a state sponsor of terrorism, engaged in a plot to assassinate senior American officials earlier this year. Hatred of America has long proven a galvanizing force in Iran. The regime, out of desperation, could precipitate a crisis with the United States. A simple way to do this would be to assassinate a U.S. official. Our retaliation, if clumsily handled, could allow the regime to rally the Iranian people around a besieged flag. It might also lead the Iranians to accelerate their nuclear weapons program, something a nuclear-armed Israel would not tolerate. —- James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman. Their new book is called “2034: A Novel of the Next World War.”
** In a Maryland suburb I covered long ago, a fire chief and his deputy were accused of arson. “Firefighter arson” is actually a term, with its own Wikipedia entry, because it happens more often than you might think. That’s what Trump sounded like, in his announcement speech, when he said he would “bring back honesty, confidence, and trust in our elections.” The arsonist seeking a job as a firefighter. He is the liar and con man who undermined confidence in our elections. All that baloney about rigged voting has only hurt Republican participation and swung independents and even some Republicans who were sick of Trump to Democrats. But he doesn’t care, so long as he can deflect the blame for his loss. —- Maureen Dowd
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** Feds recently busted a massive underground diploma scheme that sold 7.6K+ fake diplomas and transcripts for $10K-$15K each, raking in $100M+ between 2016 and 2021. Through the scheme, 2.8K+ customers reportedly received fraudulent nursing degrees.
** Cassette sales keep winding up. U.S. sales last year reached 440K, up 443% from 81K in 2015. Everyone from Taylor Swift to Megan Thee Stallion to Dr. Dre has reportedly seen nice cassette runs – though quite unlike what they might’ve seen in 1988 when 450M tapes were sold.
** AI can turn anyone into a porn star without their knowledge. That reality should frighten us all.
** A majority of Democrats now think one term is plenty for President Joe Biden, despite his insistence that he plans to seek reelection in 2024. That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that shows just 37% of Democrats say they want him to seek a second term, down from 52% in the weeks before last year’s midterm elections.
** China says 80,000 people died in its recent COVID wave, but a survey of top academics’ obituaries suggests the toll may be larger.
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The Data Examiner:
Swiss neuroscientists have successfully utilized a brain-spine interface to enable a paralyzed man to walk using his thoughts, according to a study released yesterday. The breakthrough development expands on recent innovations using spinal implants to generate movement in patients with immobilizing spinal injuries.
Gert-Jan Oskam, a Dutch 40-year-old who was paralyzed 12 years ago (see documentary), received two brain implants and one on his spine, creating a so-called “digital bridge” across the injured nerves. A portable computer decodes his brain’s electrical signals and relays them to a spinal pulse generator, resulting in the perception that his lower body movements are voluntary. Combined with regular therapy, the procedure allows Oskam to walk and climb stairs with a natural gait aided by a walker, at times without the digital bridge activated. The procedure further opens the possibility for victims of paralysis to regain control of their legs, with researchers hoping to reduce the size and invasiveness of the implants.
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THE LAST WALTZ:
Wisdom In An Age Of Nonsense
** The absolutely iconic white suit worn by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever nabbed $260K at auction.
** Forbes’ billionaire list got its annual update, with fashion magnate Bernard Arnault’s $211B topping the board. New additions include Tiger Woods, LeBron James, and Jimmy Buffett.
** For decades, scientific studies suggested moderate drinking was better for most people’s health than not drinking at all, and could even help them live longer. A new analysis of more than 40 years of research has concluded that many of those studies were flawed and that the opposite is true. The review found that the risks of dying prematurely increase significantly for women once they drink 25 grams of alcohol a day, which is less than two standard cocktails containing 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, two 12-ounce beers or two 5-ounce glasses of wine. The risks to men increase significantly at 45 grams of alcohol a day, or just over three drinks.
** CNN host Don Lemon accused of misogyny, sending threatening texts to female colleague in Variety exposé.
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