Monthly Archives: December 2018

December 30, 2018

*GOING ROGUE – Lonely Parrot Goes Shopping Online With Alexa While Owners Out:

Talk about a captive audience. Rocco, an apparently lonely and, uh, peckish African Grey parrot in Berkshire UK, has become so used to hearing his owners talk to Amazon’s Alexa, he started doing it himself when they were out of the house. So far, the feathered fowl has ordered watermelon, strawberries, raisins, ice cream and even broccoli. The bird has also commanded the home robot to tell him jokes and play love songs. Rocco’s owner Marion Wischnewski toldThe Times of London that she often comes home to Rocco dancing to romantic music, which she says is indicative of his “sweet personality.”

Because of a parental lock feature, none of the orders for food have so far gone through, but his owner always has to check that he hasn’t scheduled events or added to her online grocery lists. “Rocco and Alexa chat away to each other all day,” she said. “Then I have to check the shopping list and cancel all the items he’s ordered.”

*Iranian Officials Called ‘Hypocrites’
for Sending Their Families to Study and Work in ‘Great Satan’:

Denouncing the “hypocrisy of the regime” in Tehran, the State Department’s special representative for Iran says it is “working on” the issue of relatives of senior regime officials living and studying in the country which the mullahs deride as the “great Satan.”

In a video posted on the department’s Persian-language Twitter feed this week, Brian Hook read out one of more than 5,000 questions which he said had been submitted by Iranians.

“Why doesn’t the United States revoke the visas or deport the relatives of the regime officials who live in the United States?” a questioner asked.

“I have to admit, this is another example of the hypocrisy of the regime,” Hook replied. “While regime officials chant, ‘Death toAmerica,’ they send their families to the so-called ‘great Satan’ to live and study here – using the resources of the Iranian people.”

*Asbestos Opens New Legal Front in Battle Over Johnson’s Baby Powder:

The memos were concise and direct. An executive at Johnson & Johnson said the main ingredient in its best-selling baby powder could potentially be contaminated by asbestos, the dangerous mineral that can cause cancer. He recommended to senior staff in 1971 that the company “upgrade” its quality control of talc.

Two years later, another executive raised a red flag, saying the company should no longer assume that its talc mines were asbestos-free. The powder, he said, sometimes contained materials that “might be classified as asbestos fiber.”

The carcinogen, which often appears underground near talc, has been a concern inside the company for decades. In hundreds of pages of memos, executives worried about a potential government ban of talc, the safety of the product and a public backlash over Johnson’s Baby Powder, a brand built on a reputation for trustworthiness and health.

Executives proposed new testing procedures or replacing talc outright, while trying to discredit research suggesting that the powder could be contaminated with asbestos, according to corporate documents unearthed by litigation, government records obtained by The New York Times through theFreedom of Information Act, and interviews with scientists and lawyers.


Now you can invite your friends, family, and associates (if they’ve got the guts) by telling them to go


Famous people who worked at McDonald’s include Sharon StoneShania TwainJay LenoRachel McAdams, and Pink.


Avocados are toxic to horses; they can cause respiratory distress, heart failure, and death.

*EXAMINER–SEE IT: Two Examiner Readers Marry:

Skye Curtin, 20, and Austin McCormick, 22, met in college. They spent their first two years together tending to Ms. Curtin’s parents and her siblings. They were married Dec. 1 in Hickory Flat, GA.

Gail Thackray, Female Sex Biz Mogul, Plays Men at Their Own Game: Releases Book Detailing Her Life as a Playboy Model

Gail Thackray shocks the world with her sexy tell-all book, “Running with Wolves, a Woman’s Memoir of Sex, Scandal and Seduction.” The book gives an inside look into all aspects in her life: From her time as a Playboy model, to theHollywood Casting Couch, to a business mogul running a phone sex biz for the mob, to amassing the largest erotic library in the world valued at over $50 Million Dollars.

In the era of #metoo, Thackray emerges as a strong woman who manages to play the game in a man’s world and use it to her advantage. This is not about a woman as a victim, dishing out the dirt on powerful men in Hollywood and the Sex Industry, it’s actually a light-hearted, often hilarious look at the real inner workings of a male-dominated-industry and how a young girl is able to pull the strings.

“Sometimes real life is so absurd, it’s hilariously funny, and you just can’t make this stuff up,” explains Thackray.


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Four members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s staff along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3 Nobel Prizewinners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 U.S. Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners.
*EXAMINER–COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman:
Ever since World War II, the liberal global order that has spread more freedom and prosperity around the world than at any other time in history has been held up by two pillars: the United States of America and the United Nations of Europe, now known as the European Union.

Both of these centers of free markets, free people and free ideas are being shaken today by rural and beyond-the-suburbs insurgencies of largely white working-poor and anxious middle classes, which have not generally benefited from the surges in globalization, immigration and technology that have lifted superstar cities like LondonParis and San Francisco and their multicultural populations.

Having just seen the shocking sight of Parisian stores boarded up right before Christmas to protect against rioting along theChamps-Élysées by some of France’s yellow-vested protesters; after being told in Rome a few days earlier that Italy, a founding member of the E.U., could conceivably shuck off both the E.U. and the euro one day under its new bizarre far-left/far-right governing coalition; after watching Britain become paralyzed over how to commit economic suicide by leaving the E.U.; and after watching President Trump actually cheer for the breakup of the E.U. rather than for its good health, it is obvious to me that we’re at a critical hinge of history.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about America’s future? I’m optimistic. I say that because there have been many moments in our history when old ideas and old arrangements stopped working and people chopped them up. Those transition moments were bumpy, and it was easy to lose hope, but then people figured it out. Never underestimate the power of human ingenuity.

The same process is happening today. Americans have lost faith in the big institutions of society. Many fly off to extremes, to the Donald Trump right or the Bernie Sanders left. Most of the rest of us feel adrift, gloomy and politically homeless.

But people figure it out. New ideas emerge. Old ideas are put together in new ways. Today, I offer you just one example — theNiskanen Center, which has become one of the most creative think tanks in America today.


December 26, 2018

*FREE MONEY – Consequences of Exploding National Debt Are Far-Reaching:

In some sense, the national debt and its drivers represent the most predictable crisis in U.S. history. The Congressional Budget Office has been ringing the alarm bells loudly and clearly for several years. U.S. public debt is projected to exceed 100 percent of gross domestic product in the next 10 years and continue growing on a rapid, upward trajectory from there.

The consequences are far-reaching, from higher interest rates to lower economic growth, and the potential for a severe fiscal crisis and a reduced ability to meet national security demands to keep America and its allies safe. And yet, instead of engaging in crisis prevention efforts, legislators are still looking the other way and further worsening the dooming fiscal outlook by voting for big spending packages that fuel already heightened deficit spending.

The 2018 “cromnibus” package, which busted the budget caps by $300 billion over just two years, is merely the latest example.The sad part is that this overspending is wholly unnecessary for the federal government to carry out its constitutional responsibilities.

The coming crisis is one of Congress’ own making. Starting decades ago and repeatedly since, Congresses have promised far more in benefits than they ever made provision for the American people to pay for. Legislators concerned primarily with getting re-elected, and meeting immediate desires of constituents, tend to be shortsighted when it comes to addressing big challenges for which they are unlikely to reap much credit.

Reforming programs that drive the debt today would unleash greater prosperity and economic growth in the future. Today’s legislators would face the political costs, while future legislators might get the credit for a stronger economy during their terms in office.

The spending crisis that fuels the growing deficit and debt is a glaring example of politicians’ myopia.

*Google CEO Explains Why Trump Images Are ‘Best Results’ for ‘Idiot’ Inquiry:

Asked how an image search for the word “idiot” produced pictures of President Donald TrumpGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai defended his company’s search results at a House hearing on Tuesday.

Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) told Pichai that she had just performed a Google image search for “idiot,” which produced a picture of Pres. Trump, and asked why that happened:

“Manipulation of search results. I think it’s important to talk about how search works. Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot,’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that. How would that happen? How does search work so that that would occur?”

Pichai explained that Google’s analytical process “tried to rank and find the best results for that query,” which were then evaluated by the company’s “external rankers”:

“We provide search for any time you type in a keyword. We, as Google, we have crawled, we have gone out and crawled and stored copies of billions of pages in our index and we take the keyword and match it against the pages and grant them based on our 200 signals; things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it, and based on that, you know, at any given time, we tried to rank and find the best results for that query.

“And, then, we evaluate them with external raters to make sure that, and they evaluate it through objective guidelines, and that’s how we make sure the process is working.”

*CBP: Illegal Families Crossing Border at a Rate That Will ‘More Than Double Last Year’s Record Number’:

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin Aleenan said Tuesday that at the rate that illegal immigrant family units have entered the U.S. in the last 30 days, they will more than double last year’s record number of family units.

“At the border, we face changing trends in illegal crossings that impact security, exploit our laws and challenge our resources and personnel. To put this aspect of our mission in context, one day of crossings, last Monday, December 3rd highlights the trends that we are confronting,” McAleenan said in his opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“On that day, we saw the highest numbers of arrivals at our southwest border in years – 3,029 illegal entries in inadmissible persons arrived at our border last Monday. Eighty-five percent of them crossed illegally. CBP apprehended or encountered 1,731 members of family groups and 350 unaccompanied children,” he said.

“This means that the illegal crossings and inadmissibles last Monday included over 1,100 children in a single day. This snapshot is emblematic of the steady trends that we’ve been seeing for many months – increasing crossings overall with a dramatic surge in a percentage of family units and a growing proportion of Central Americans coming to our border,” McAleenan added.

*Pakistan, With Its Severe Blasphemy Laws, Says It’s ‘A Multi-Religious and Pluralistic Society’:

Pakistan – whose prime minister said recently there was “no mention of Jesus in history” while calling for greater global awareness of how much Muslims revere Mohammed – said Wednesday it was “a multi-religious and pluralistic society.”

Condemning the Trump administration’s decision to blacklist the country for religious freedom violations, the foreign ministry said there were “serious questions on the credentials and impartiality of the self-proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise.”

“Pakistan is a multi-religious and pluralistic society where people of diverse faiths and denominations live together.”

The world’s second most-populous Islamic nation enforces blasphemy laws that have disproportionately targeted non-Muslim minorities. Consecutive governments have refused to rescind or amend the laws, which make insulting Mohammed a capital offense.

*‘Bringing Home The Bacon’ Is Now Offensive. Guess Who It Offends?:

The common phrase “bringing home the bacon” may now be offensive to some. According to the Independent, phrases like “bringing home the bacon” and “putting all your eggs in one basket” aren’t merely “harmless quirks of the English language,” but actually phrases that “could be offending vegans and vegetarians.”

The Independent article is based off another article from a researcher who wrote in the Conversation that meat is not just a “form of sustenance,” but “a source of societal power.” Throughout history,Shareena Z. Hamzah wrote, meat was something only the wealthy could afford, while peasants had to subsist on a “mostly vegetarian diet.”


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CIA agents during the Cold War used a method of communication based on how their shoelaces were tied. The shoelace patterns could convey messages such as “I have information,” “Follow me,” or “I have brought another person.”


Episode 2 of the revealing TV interview show – “Without Notes” – With acclaimed attorney Robert Shapiro—-


Simcha Rotem, the last surviving fighter of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, died in Jerusalem on Saturday at the age of 94. Rotem, was only 15-years-old when World War II broke out and Nazi Germany invaded his home of Poland. As a teenager he was active in Zionist youth movements, where he became committed to armed resistance against the Nazis. In April of 1943, the Nazis circled in on the Ghetto, leading to the outbreak of violent resistance.

Rotem and his fellow insurgents preferred to die fighting instead of in a gas chamber, where the Nazis had already sent more than 300,000 Warsaw Jews. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is the greatest incidence of Jewish resistance to the Nazis and is a monumental symbol in Jewish and Israeli lore. At a 2013 ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the uprising, Rotem said he and his comrades launched the uprising to “choose the kind of death” they wanted.


First Consumer Product Launches From California’s Most Comprehensive Cannabis Research Facility

From BigMike Straumietis — the Marijuana Don, King of Cannabis, founder and CEO of the world’s No. 1 cannabis nutrient company, and a High Times top 100 cannabis industry influencer — comes BigMike’s Blends. This range of complex, proprietary blends includes seven distinct formulations, each developed to deliver a specific outcome — accurate, reliable and safe.

BigMike’s Blends represent the next evolution of cannabis consumption, giving consumers targeted outcomes that are consistent, no matter where in the world you are, whether London,Lake Geneva or L.A..

“I am beyond excited to announce the launch of BigMike’s Blends. Not only do these pre-rolls contain the purest, safest and most potent cannabis on the planet, but they also provide the most refined, sophisticated cannabis consumption experience ever developed. There’s simply nothing else like them.” – BigMike

BigMike’s Blends are currently available in California dispensaries and will soon be at cannabis retailers nationwide.


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MSNBC host Chris Hayes 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.

I’ve only been around Phil Anschutz a few times. My impressions on those occasions was that he was a run-of-the-mill arrogant billionaire. He was used to people courting him and he addressed them condescendingly from the lofty height of his own wealth.

I’ve never met Ryan McKibben, who runs part of Anschutz’s media group. But stories about him have circulated around Washington over the years. The stories suggest that he is an ordinary corporate bureaucrat — with all the petty vanities and the lack of interest in ideas that go with the type.

This week, Anschutz and McKibben murdered The Weekly Standard, the conservative opinion magazine that Anschutz owned. They didn’t merely close it because it was losing money. They seemed to have murdered it out of greed and vengeance.

John Podhoretz, one of the magazine’s founders, reports that they actively prevented potential buyers from coming in to take it over and keep it alive. They apparently wanted to hurt the employees and harvest the subscription list so they could make money off it. And Anschutz, being a professing Christian, decided to close the magazine at the height of the Christmas season, and so cause maximum pain to his former employees and their families.

*EXAMINER–COMMENTARY by Jonah Engel Bromwich:
Tinder and Bumble are desperate to convince you that you’re not desperate. Dating, they promise, is fun, so fun, that when one date ends badly, it’s a barely disguised blessing: You get to stay on the apps and keep on dating!

Both companies are pushing this message with recent advertising efforts. Tinder has a new publication, Swipe Life, specializing in personal essays that reinforce the idea that dating misadventures are cool, or at least exciting, invigorating and youthful. (The site’s “About” page compares downloading Tinder to buying your first beer and losing your virginity.)

Bumble is selling itself as a means to personal betterment and greater sophistication. It is profiling good-looking, high-achieving New Yorkers on articles on its blog, The Beehive, and on bus stops and billboards around New York City. The dating-slash-friendship-slash-networking app is hoping to sell users on various types of upward mobility. The right romantic partner is surely on the app, but making other connections could serve you just as well.

Other dating apps are also getting into the content business. Grindr has its own news site, Into, on which it aggregates and comments upon reporting of the day; Hinge, as part of an advertising campaign last year, published short-form fiction on walls and billboards.


LBN Examiner Edited By:  Cedric Houle

December 23, 2018

*Putin Clamps Down On Rap
Music in Russia:

Vladimir Putin is apparently not a fan of rap. The Russian president told those in attendance at a conference with his cultural advisors in St. Petersburg on Saturday that the state needed to step in. “If it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it,” he said, according to the Associated Press. But he warned that banning the popular music genre might actually make it more popular.

“Rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest,” he said, noting that drugs and protest are the most worrying to him. “This is a path to the degradation of the nation.” Putin’s warning to his cultural envoys comes amid warnings of increasing censorship of the cultural scene in Russia.

Earlier this month, the popular musical group Nastya Kreslina and Nikolay Kostylev, who bill themselves as “dark rave” were arrested as they got off a train to perform a concert in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. They were released after spending several hours in a jail cell, during which their concert venue cancelled their gig. The new wave of censorship is reminiscent of the 2012 jailing of members of the punk band Pussy Riot.

*MONSTER – Charlie Hebdo Terror Suspect Arrested in Djibouti:

A long-sought suspected mastermind behind the 2015 massacre at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was arrested Friday in DjiboutiThe Guardian reports. French national Peter Cherif will now be transferred to Paris, as authorities probe the allegation that he was linked to the attack in which 12 staff members were slaughtered.

On Jan.7, 2015, after the paper repeatedly depicted cartoon versions of the Prophet Muhammed, Cherif’s associates Chérif and Saïd Kouachi broke into the offices, and left behind what one survivor called a “sea of blood.”

The Kouachi brothers were tracked down and killed by police two days later. Cherif has been on the run from French authorities since as early as 2011, following decades of of alleged terror activity. French Defense Minister Florence Parly lauded authorities for the arrest Friday: “It shows the fight against terrorism is a long-haul action,” he said, “and if you stay committed, then you obtain results.”

*SURGE – Vaping Rate Doubles Among High-School Students:

Twice as many high-school students used electronic cigarettes this year compared with the year before, according to an annual study of teen smoking, drinking, and drug use. It was the largest single-year increase in the survey’s 44-year history, far surpassing a 1970s surge in marijuana smoking.

The federally funded survey released Monday was conducted by University of Michigan researchers and has been operating since 1975. The findings are based on responses from some 45,000 students in grades 8, 10, and 12 in schools across the U.S.

It found one in five high-school seniors reported having vaped nicotine in the previous month. However, usage of alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, heroin, and opioid pills all declined. Marijuana smoking is at about the same level as it was the past few years—but vaping of marijuana rose. About one in four students said they’d used marijuana at least once in the past year.

*U.S. Tech Giant Cloudflare Provides Cybersecurity For At Least 7 Terror Groups:

American tech firm Cloudflare is providing cybersecurity services to at least seven designated foreign terrorist organizations and militant groups.

The San Francisco-based web giant is one of the world’s largest content delivery networks and boasts of serving more traffic than TwitterAmazonAppleInstagramBing and Wikipedia combined. Founded in 2009, it claims to power nearly 10 percent of Internet requests globally and has been widely criticized for refusing to regulate access to its services.

Among Cloudflare’s millions of customers are several groups that are on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Shabab, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestineal-Quds Brigades, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Hamas— as well as the Taliban, which, like the other groups, is sanctioned by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). These organizations own and operate active websites that are protected by Cloudflare, according to four national security and counterextremism experts who reviewed the sites.

*POWDER KEG – Johnson & Johnson Knew Its Baby Powder Was Tainted With Asbestos:

For over 30 years, Johnson & Johnson failed to disclose that some of its popular baby powder was tainted with asbestos, a deadly carcinogen, according to a Reuters report. Talc—the main ingredient in the company’s baby powder—and asbestos often occur together in the earth, so mined talc can be contaminated with the carcinogen.

Exposure to asbestos can cause many types of cancer, including mesothelioma, a rare and painful cancer that usually only afflicts people who were exposed to asbestos while working in mines. Johnson & Johnson has denied accusations that its trusted product was ever tainted.

But thousands of pages of company memos, internal reports, and other confidential documents Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to share reveal that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, the company’s powder sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos, Reuters reports. Executives failed to disclose that information to regulators or the public. Johnson & Johnson now faces 11,700 lawsuits from victims claiming that use of the company’s talc caused them to develop cancer.


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•    Nearly 10 million females and 1 million males have a form of anorexia or bulimia in the United States. Millions more are struggling with compulsive eating disorder. Additionally, over 70 million people worldwide struggle with an eating disorder.

•    The number of reported cases of anorexia in young women between 15 and 19 has risen each decade since 1930.

•    Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS), under which binge eating disorder falls.

•    A normal, healthy amount of food for an average teenager or adult is about 1,800- 2,600 calories a day. During a bingeing episode, it is not unusual for someone to eat 20 to 25 times that amount, which is more than 50,000 calories—which is roughly equivalent to an entire extra-large pepperoni pizza, a tub of ice cream, a package of cookies, a bag of potato chips, and an entire cake. Bulimics might engage in this type of eating several times a day.

•    Bulimics almost always binge on “forbidden food,” such as junk food or fast food. They often feel powerless to stop eating during binges.


China’s consumers and businesses are losing confidence. Car sales have plunged. The housing market is stumbling. Some factories are letting workers off for the big Lunar New Year holiday two months early. China’s economy has slowed sharply in recent months, presenting perhaps the biggest challenge to its top leader, Xi Jinping, in his six years of rule. At home, he faces difficult choices that could rekindle growth but add to the country’s long-term problems, like its heavy debt. On the world stage, he has been forced to make concessions to the United States as President Trump’s trade war intensifies.

How badly this hurts him could depend on the extent to which Chinese workers like Yu Hong find their jobs disappearing. On a recent afternoon, Mr. Yu, 46, was boarding a train home, to Hubei Province in central China, for a nearly three-month unpaid holiday. The lamp factory in Dongguan where he works had drastically reduced pay and cut hours.


Clay Clark, Founder of the Thrivetime Show, Sees Packed Audience at Thrivetime Show Conference

Clay Clark, founder of Thrive15 and creator of the “Thrivetime Show – Business School Without the BS,” recently celebrated the two-year anniversary of his podcast November 5th, 2018 with over half a million monthly downloads. The team’s latest achievement? Seeing a packed audience at the annual Thrivetime Show Conference in Jenks, Oklahoma.

The Thrivetime Show 2-day, 15-hour business conference at the 20,000 square foot Thrivetime Show world headquarters had one of its most enthusiastic receptions this year. The conference was held on December 7th and 8th, and attending guests were able to learn proven strategies that Doctor Zoellner and Clay Clark have used to start and grow 13 multi-million-dollar businesses.

“Our business conference is the highest and most reviewed business conference in the world,” explains Clay Clark, “because we focus 100% of the conference on implementation. Our conference is business school without the B.S. We focus on results, not feelings. There is zero upselling, and we teach practical action steps business owners can use immediately to start or grow a business.”


Now you can tell your unique story to the “influential” Examiner readers in all 50 of the United States and 26 foreign countries.

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Congressman Adam Schiff 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.
Here is my concern: Politics is part theater, part showbiz, it’s always been emotional, but we’ve gotten too emotional, both parties. It’s too much about feelings and how moved you are. The balance is off. We have been electing magic ponies in our presidential contests, and we have done this while slighting qualities like experience, hard and concrete political accomplishment, even personal maturity. Barack Obama, whatever else he was, was a magic pony. Donald Trump too. Beto O’Rourke, who is so electrifying Democrats, also appears to be a magic pony.

Obama and Trump represented a mood. They didn’t ask for or elicit rigorous judgment, they excited voters. Mr. Trump’s election was driven by a feeling of indignation and pushback: You elites treat me like a nobody in my own country, I’m about to show you who’s boss. His supporters didn’t consider it disqualifying that he’d never held office. They saw it as proof he wasn’t in the club and could turn things around. His ignorance was taken as authenticity. In this he was like Sarah Palin, another magic pony.

Earlier this year, the retired astronaut Scott Kelly posted a harmless tweet quoting Winston Churchill’s famous line, “In victory, magnanimity.” Left-wing Twitter went berserk, and Kelly felt obliged to grovel.

“Did not mean to offend by quoting Churchill,” he wrote. “My apologies. I will go and educate myself further on his atrocities, racist views which I do not support.”

We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists.


LBN Examiner Edited By:  Cedric Houle