LBN EXAMINER 2/9/2020

*OUT OF CONTROL GOVERNMENT SPENDING—WILD BUDGET DEFICITS


The U.S. budget deficit will top $1 trillion this year, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 

What that means: The government will spend $1.02 trillion more than it collects in 2020. The widening deficit is a result of the 2017 tax cuts and an increase in spending on federal programs.  

The historical context: We haven’t seen deficits of this size during periods of low unemployment since World War II, CBO Director Phill Swagel said. Public debt is projected to reach 98% of GDP by 2030—its highest percentage since 1946. 

The good news: “The economy is doing well,” Swagel stressed, thanks to strong job growth and consumer spending. The CBO projects GDP will expand at a “solid rate” of 2.2% in 2020. 
Which makes the current deficit more concerning; after all, deficits are supposed to shrink in a strong economy. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who we’ll hear from later today, said last year “the federal budget is on an unsustainable path.” 

*U.S. LIFE EXPECTANCY IMPROVES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOUR YEARS

Life expectancy in the U.S. ticked up by the slimmest of margins in 2018, from 78.6 to 78.7 years, reversing a trend that has seen the measure fall steadily from its all-time high in 2014. The improved numbers are being credited to a reduction in the number of fatal drug overdoses for the first time in 28 years and a decline in the death rate from cancer, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. However, according to The Washington Post, 2018’s life-expectancy figure is identical to 2010’s, so progress has stalled over the decade, and the U.S. is continuing to fall behind other wealthy countries. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, said: “It’s good news that there was an increase in life expectancy. That’s what we want to see, but it doesn’t really

*AMAZON’S RIDICULOUS HOLIDAY QUARTER: BY THE NUMBERS

$87.4 billion: Revenue that beat estimates. 
$3.3 billion: Net income that beat estimates.

798,000: Amazon’s global headcount after it added over 250,000 part and full-time employees over the holiday season. That’s more than the population of Vermont. 

150+ million: The number of Prime subscribers, up from 100 million in April 2018.  

Four: After Amazon’s 11% stock surge in after-hours trading, it will eclipse $1 trillion in market cap today. There will be four public U.S. companies worth at least $1 trillion (the others are Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft). 

$93 billion: The market cap of UPS at the close yesterday. We only mention it because Amazon’s market cap rose more than $110 billion after it reported earnings. So it gained a UPS plus lots of Morning Brews. 

Bottom line: Amazon’s heavy investments in shipping paid off during the holidays.

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*EXAMINER—INVESTIGATES:

  A random study by the EPA revealed that employees of bottled water companies are not tested for disease, nor are they required to avoid the bottling area if they are sneezing from colds or have open cuts or infections on their hands.

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*EXAMINER—A LOOK BACK:

July 7th, 1977, Ringo Starr’s birthday. Hollywood Hills.

*EXAMINER — BUSINESS:

  • Tesla shares cannot be stopped. They gained another 14% yesterday, one day after they rose ~20%.
  • Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is doubling his already gargantuan TV ad spend following the Iowa caucuses.  
  • Instagram recorded about $20 billion in ad revenue last year, reports Bloomberg. That’s more than a quarter of Facebook’s 2019 revenue.

*DID YOU KNOW?

Did you know that the President of Macy’s has been reading this LBN Examiner for over four (4) years?

*EXAMINER – HISTORY: DO YOU KNOW?
Alfred Stieglitz (1864)

Stieglitz was the first art photographer in the US. More than any other American, he compelled the recognition of photography as a fine art. After editing a series of photography magazines, he established the famous gallery “291” in New York City. The gallery soon broadened its scope from fine-art photography and introduced to the US works by members of the modern French art movement, including Cézanne and Picasso.

*EXAMINER – INVESTIGATES:

Women who give birth to a baby with Down syndrome have an increased chance of having a second child with the same condition (from 1 in 700 to about 1 in 100).

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LBN Examiner 2/2/2020

*CORONAVIRUS ORIGIN TRACED TO ANIMAL MARKET IN WUHAN,TESTS CONFIRM

Experts have confirmed that the deadly coronavirus outbreak began at a wholesale animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, a report said. Scientists with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said tests show the pneumonia-like virus initially jumped from animals to humans at the Huanan Seafood Wholesales Market, News.com.au reported, citing China’s state-owned Xinhua news agency. The now-shuttered market — which sold live animals including wolf pups, foxes, rats and peacocks — had previously been reported as the epicenter of the virus.“Thirty-one of the 33 positive samples were collected from the western zone of the market, where booths of wildlife trading concentrated,” the CDC said, according to the news outlet. “The result suggests that the novel coronavirus outbreak is highly relevant to the trading of wild animals.”

*TOO WHITE-ART HISTORY DEPARTMENT TO SCRAP SURVEY COURSE

Yale will stop teaching a storied introductory survey course in art history, citing the impossibility of adequately covering the entire field — and its varied cultural backgrounds — in one course.

Decades old and once taught by famous Yale professors like Vincent Scully, “Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present” was once touted to be one of Yale College’s quintessential classes. But this change is the latest response to student uneasiness over an idealized Western “canon” — a product of an overwhelmingly white, straight, European and male cadre of artists.

*CIA PSYCHOLOGIST: I TOLD 9/11 MASTERMIND I’D MURDER HIS SON

A CIA psychologist has testified that he told Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11—that his son would be murdered if any more terror attacks were carried out against the United States. James Mitchell designed and occasionally carried out the CIA’s brutal interrogation program in the months and years following the 2001 attacks. Mitchell said the threat was made in late March 2003 at a secret prison in Poland, three weeks after KSM was captured in Pakistan.

Mitchell said he wanted to use extreme tactics to get the detainee to give up information on more planned attacks, and told the terror suspect: “If there was a catastrophic attack on the United States and I find out that you had information… and if another child dies, then I will cut your son’s throat.” According to sources, Mitchell said the threat was probably poorly judged in hindsight, but added: “I wanted him to remember it.”

*LEE HARVEY OSWALD LAST PAYCHECK IS UP FOR GRABS…DO WE HEAR $43.37?!

Lee Harvey Oswald — the man some believe acted alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy — never cashed his final paycheck … on account of being dead, we’re assuming. Oswald’s check from the Texas School Book Depository is now up for auction … and it’s likely to fetch a lot more money than what it was originally worth to him. It was issued to Oswald on December 3, 1963 — 11 days after he killed JFK, and 9 days after he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby.

As you can see, it’s handwritten other than the stamped amount of “$43 and 37 cts” and includes a note at the bottom left that reads, “4 Days. Lee Harvey Oswald for Nov ’63.” This implies he was paid for 4 days that week, but not a fifth day … possibly Friday, November 22, the date of the assassination. Of course, Oswald was seen working at the book depository that morning … before climbing into a 6th-floor window, and taking aim at Kennedy’s motorcade in Daley Plaza.

Oswald fired 3 shots at 12:30 PM. The check ended up in the possession of Marina Oswald‘s lawyer, John Thorne. He apparently paid Lee’s wife the cash in order to keep the check, which he obviously realized would become historic memorabilia. When Thorne died, it was transferred to his widow … who’s passed it along to Heritage Auctions to put it on the block. We’re told it could haul in thousands, as it’s comparable to checks signed by John Wilkes Booth … which can sell for up to $10k. The auction’s scheduled for February 22-23, and will also include Oswald’s high school yearbook and a photo of him getting shot by Ruby.

*AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS WASTE NEARLY A THIRD OF THEIR FOOD

To the rest of the world, Americans are often thought of as excessive and wasteful in their eating, and overall consumption, habits. A recent study is lending some credence to that belief. According to research led by agricultural economics professor Edward Jaenicke of Penn State University, the average American household wastes nearly a third of its food. The value of that waste is estimated at $240 billion annually. When divided among the 128.6 million American households, that’s an average of $1,866 being wasted per household on a yearly basis.Jaenicke says all that wasted food has far-reaching consequences, and negatively impacts overall American health, food marketing, climate change, and food security.

“Our findings are consistent with previous studies, which have shown that 30% to 40% of the total food supply in the United States goes uneaten — and that means that resources used to produce the uneaten food, including land, energy, water and labor, are wasted as well,” Jaenicke says in a university release. “But this study is the first to identify and analyze the level of food waste for individual households, which has been nearly impossible to estimate because comprehensive, current data on uneaten food at the household level do not exist.”

*SHADY-RING APP SHARES YOUR PERSONAL DATA WITH FACEBOOK AND OTHERS

Ring, the Amazon.com Inc.-owned maker of high-tech doorbells and home security cameras, markets itself as protection from the world outside users’ homes. But its app collects data from users’ phones and shares that information with multiple third-party trackers, a report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed this week.  
The information includes users’ full names, email addresses, IP addresses, mobile network carriers and data about sensors installed in the phone, according to the civil liberties group, whose work focuses on privacy and other digital rights. The EFF said it parsed web traffic on Ring’s app for Android devices and found that the company distributes customer data mainly to four analytics and marketing firms: Facebook, Branch, AppsFlyer and Mixpanel. Google-owned Crashlytics also receives data from Ring, according to the report.

*EXAMINER–INVESTIGATES:

Ingredients in two leading plant-based burgers are almost identical to that in dog food brands. Both contain 20 highly processed ingredients.

*EXAMINER – A LOOK BACK:

Just in time for Christmas, 1970: Eight years after the Detroit-based architect Minoru Yamasaki’s contribution to the World’s Fair landed him the job of designing the new World Trade Center—then the tallest buildings in the world—the north tower was topped out. A cloud-shrouded ceremony at 1,368 feet marked the milestone.

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*EXAMINER – CARTOON:

“Sara, have you seen Ken?”

*EXAMINER – BUSINESS:

News out of Las Vegas: the city is changing its slogan from “What happens here, stays here” to “What happens here, only happens here.” 

  • American Express said it has reached “virtual parity” in coverage with Visa and Mastercard in the U.S.
  • Boeing is reportedly weighing another production cut for its 787 Dreamliner jets.
  • Intel stock jumped to a dotcom-era high yesterday after the company reported strong cloud computing demand in Q4 on Thursday. “Analysis of Van Gogh’s severed ear reveals evidence of gauges”
  • Ben & Jerry’s will no longer claim that its ice cream comes from ‘Happy Cows’ amid lawsuits”
  • Singer Akon has finalized plans to build a 2,000-acre city in Senegal that’s powered by his cryptocurrency, Akoin.

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*EXAMINER–A DIFFERENT VIEW:….


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LBN Examiner 1/26/2020

*HOLY CRAP! NEARLY 4 IN 10 AMERICAN WOULD BORROW MONEY TO COVER A $1K EMERGENCY

Many of us would be in trouble if we had to foot the bill for an unplanned expense. A new survey reveals that just four in 10 U.S. adults (41 percent) would cover the cost of a $1,000 car repair or emergency room visit using savings. The findings echo what previous Bankrate studies and others — including the Federal Reserve and the Pew Charitable Trusts — have found about Americans’ lack of rainy-day savings. The higher your household income, the more likely you would be to use savings to pay for unanticipated costs. That’s true for nearly six in 10 (59 percent) households earning $75,000 or more annually.

Men (45 percent) were more likely than women (38 percent) to say they would draw from savings when faced with the unexpected. And when their backs are against the wall, just 36 percent of younger millennials would turn to emergency funds to pay $1,000 (compared with 41 to 44 percent of older folks who would say the same).

Key findings:

  • Bankrate reports indicate that the percentage of U.S. adults who would use their savings to cover a $1,000 emergency room visit or car repair has remained within the range of 37 to 41 percent since 2014.
  • Nearly four in 10 Americans (37 percent) would borrow money in some capacity if hit with an unexpected bill.
  • Among respondents who reported that they or a close relative paid for a major unanticipated expense in the past year (28 percent), the average cost was $3,518. 

*GALLUP: AMERICANS’ IDEOLOGY, 37% CONSERVATIVE, 24% LIBERAL. 35% MODERATE

  Polling data from 2019 show that America is “center-right” politically, with 37% describing themselves as “conservative,” 35% saying they are “moderate,” and only 24% stating they are “liberal.” Gallup reached its conclusions based on 21 telephone surveys encompassing over 29,000 interviews with U.S. adults.  Gallup asked, “How would you describe your political views — very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal or very liberal?” In response, 37% said conservative, 35% said moderate, and 24% said liberal.  “The percentage identifying as conservative in 2019 was up two points from the 35% measured in 2018, while the percentage liberal was down two points from 26%,” said Gallup. 

(Gallup)
“[C]onservatives and moderates remain closely matched in U.S. ideological preferences, as they have been since 2015,” added the polling firm.  Gallup further reported that 73% of Republicans identified as conservative — 21% said they were moderate and 4% said they were liberal Republicans. Among Democrats, the survey showed that 49% identified as liberal and 36% said they were moderate — 14% of Democrats said they were conservative.

*IN LAWLESS STRETCH OF MEXICO, CHILD SOLDIERS AS YOUNG AS 6 ARE BEING DRAFTED TO FIGHT CRIME

In a lawless stretch of western Mexico, children as young as 6 years old are taking up arms against organized crime. On Wednesday, 19 children were inducted into a vigilante group that for years has been battling drug gangs in a restive Guerrero state. Local journalists published photographs and videos of the induction ceremony — in which uniformed, rifle-wielding children performed military-style exercises — that drew outrage across Mexico, with human rights officials condemning it as child abuse.

But the leader of the vigilante group said in a phone interview Thursday that a dramatic spike in violence in the region and an absence of government intervention have left the community no choice but to arm even its children. “They must be prepared,” said Bernardino Sanchez Luna, the founder of the vigilante group known as the CRAC-PF. “If they are afraid, the criminals will kill them like little chickens.” Two of the children who were trained were 6 years old, he said. The oldest members of the group were 15.

*ICE ISSUES LIST OF ‘FUGITIVE’ ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FREED BY NEW YORK CITY’S SANCTUARY CITY POLICIES

Art Spiegelman’s “A Warm Welcome,” 2015. Portrait by Phil Penman
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Friday increased the pressure on New York City’s sanctuary policies — putting out a list of illegal immigrant fugitives who have been released into the city despite requests from ICE to hand them over for deportation. Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence presented the list to reporters at a press conference in New York where he spoke of the dangers of sanctuary cities — in which jurisdictions ignore detainers issued by ICE for arrested illegal immigrants.

Those detainers are requests that ICE be informed of an illegal immigrant’s pending release from custody so they can be transferred to deportation proceedings. While the Trump administration has been warning of the dangers of such policies for months, it’s a fight that has been brought into the spotlight by the murder of a 92-year-old woman, allegedly by an illegal immigrant sprung from custody in November after New York ignored an ICE detainer.

“Make no mistake – it is this city’s sanctuary policies that are the sole reason this criminal was allowed to roam the streets freely and end an innocent woman’s life,” Albence said. The list of fugitives put out by ICE includes suspected illegal immigrants from Nigeria, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guinea, Spain, and El Salvador. Those released have arrests for assault in the first, second and third degrees, attempted robbery, criminal possession of a weapon, gang assaults and other violent offenses.

*TIRED NATION: AMERICANS NOW AVERAGING LESS THAN 6 HOURS OF SLEEP PER NIGHT

As the years press forward, sleep is becoming a frustratingly harder challenge for many Americans. That’s the main finding of a recent survey consisting of 2,000 adults that asked about sleeping habits, satisfaction, and frequency. Perhaps the most stunning result of all is the drop in total average sleep time for Americans. It seems logging six hours is a struggle for many. Consider this finding: In 2018, the average respondent reported about six hours and 17 minutes of sleep per night. By 2019, however, that average shrunk to only five-and-a-half hours each night. If the trend continues, 2020 will be even worse for many in search of some shuteye.

Those numbers are a far cry from the recommended eight full hours of sleep, but apparently these disturbing dips in sleep patterns aren’t for a lack of trying; respondents said they do their best to attain the “perfect night’s sleep” whenever possible. In fact, in 2019 the average respondent said they would pay $316.61 for just one night of perfect sleep. That’s quite an increase over the $290 respondents said they would be willing to pay in 2018. All in all, the survey, which was commissioned by Mattress Firm, found that one in four Americans consistently slept poorly in 2019. Additionally, respondents had an average of 105 “terrible” nights of sleep last year, comparedto 99 in 2018. With these numbers in mind it also makes sense that Americans took more naps last year too, averaging 115 afternoon snoozes in comparison to 93 in 2018. Of course, many naps never actually get started either. Respondents reported roughly 102 failed naps in 2019.

*EXAMINER – CARTOON:

“Next, I will attempt to escape a sentence that begins ‘I’m not racist, but…’”

*EXAMINER – INVESTIGATES:

Nonalcoholic spirits are bubbling up around town, satisfying a growing demand for alcohol alternatives. According to the World Health Organization, the number of booze drinkers has fallen by 5 percent since 2000. Wellness-obsessed millennials and Gen Zers are shying away.

*EXAMINER–BUSINESS INSIDER:

Dolittle has all the makings of a box office flop. It cost more than $180 million to make but is expected to gross only $22–$25 million in its opening weekend. U.S. safety regulators are looking into complaints that all three of Tesla’s electric models can unintentionally accelerate on their own. Deutsche Bank is cutting the bonus pool at its investment bank by roughly 30%. Disney is dropping the “Fox” brand from the Fox assets it acquired last year. Get ready for 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures

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*EXAMINER—A LOOK BACK:

Five people were injured during an attack at Secretary of State William Seward’s home on the night of the Lincoln assassination: Secretary Seward, his sons, Frederick and Gus, soldier Private George Robinson and State Dept. messenger Emerick Hansell. Miraculously, all survived. But, six weeks later, Secretary Seward’s wife Francis died. Fanny Seward, who had protected her father during the attack, died of tuberculosis not long after. She was not yet 22. The Washington Republican noted, “Truly it may be said that the assassin’s blow passed by the father and the son and fell fatally on the mother and daughter.

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*EXAMINER–A DIFFERENT VIEW:….

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LBN Examiner Edited By: Aurora DeRose 

LBN Examiner Disclaimer: 1.) The LBN Examiner accepts no liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. The LBN Examiner is not associated with any commercial or political organization and is transmitted via the web for the sole benefit of its subscribers. 2.) Unfortunately, computer viruses can be transmitted via email. The recipient should check this mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses.