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LBN Exainer 2/23/2020

*WTF? HALF OF AMERICANS FACE OBESITY, DIRE PROJECTIONS SHOW:

  By 2030, nearly one in two adults will be obese, and nearly one in four will be severely obese. Climate change is not the only source of dire projections for the coming decade. Perhaps just as terrifying from both a health and an economic perspective is a predicted continued rise in obesity, including severe obesity, among American adults. A prestigious team of medical scientists has projected that by 2030, nearly one in two adults will be obese, and nearly one in four will be severely obese. The estimates are thought to be particularly reliable, as the team corrected for current underestimates of weight given by individuals in national surveys. In as many as 29 states, the prevalence of obesity will exceed 50 percent, with no state having less than 35 percent of residents who are obese, they predicted.

Likewise, the team projected, in 25 states the prevalence of severe obesity will be higher than one adult in four, and severe obesity will become the most common weight category among women, non-Hispanic black adults and low-income adults nationally. Given the role obesity plays in fostering many chronic, disabling and often fatal diseases, these are dire predictions indeed. Yet, as with climate change, the powers that be in this country are doing very little to head off the potentially disastrous results of expanding obesity, obesity specialists say

*GENDER PRONOUNS CAN BE TRICKY ON CAMPUS. HARVARD IS MAKING THEM STICK:

For generations of future diplomats and cabinet officials educated at Harvard’s renowned John F. Kennedy School of Government, orientation day has come with a name placard that the students carry from class to class, so their professors can easily call on them. When Diego Garcia Blum, 30, got his placard last fall, the first-year graduate student immediately took a Sharpie to it, writing “He/Him” next to the big block letters of his name. Other students did the same thing, writing “She/Her” and “They/Them.” “Yup! Day 1,” Mr. Garcia Blum, recalled, adding, “That’s when I thought, the students are ahead of the school. “But despite its reputation as a bastion of the establishment, the Kennedy School followed the students’ lead, agreeing to provide clear plastic stickers this semester with four pronoun options that students could apply to their name cards: “He/Him,” “She/Her,” “They/Them” and “Ze/Hir.”

*JORDAN PETERSON’S YEAR OF ‘ABSOLUTE HELL’ – PROFESSOR FORCED TO RETREAT FROM PUBLIC LIFE BECAUSE OF ADDICTION:

Jordan Peterson is recovering from a severe addiction to benzodiazepine tranquilizers and was recently near death in an induced coma, his daughter Mikhaila said. He is being treated at a clinic in Russia after being repeatedly misdiagnosed at several hospitals in North America, she said. The University of Toronto psychologist who became an intellectual hero to a global audience by aligning self-help theory with anti-progressive politics was first prescribed the medication a few years ago to treat anxiety after what Mikhaila described as an autoimmune reaction to food. His physical dependence on it became apparent to his family last April when his wife Tammy was diagnosed with cancer.

The last year, which saw him retreat from public life after swiftly becoming one of the most famous authors in the world, has been an “absolute hell,” said Mikhaila, also a well-known speaker on diet, who advocates eating only beef. In November, he went to a rehabilitation center in New York. He has previously discussed his long history of depression. Jordan Peterson writes a column for the National Post, most recently in November. His conditioned worsened through the winter, Mikhaila said. He was driven to thoughts of suicide by a movement disorder called akathisia, a well-known side effect of various drugs for mental illnesses. It is a sense of restlessness and an inability to sit still.

“It became apparent that he was experiencing a paradoxical reaction to the medication, meaning the benzos did the opposite of what they’re supposed to do. These reactions are rare but are not unheard of,” Mikhaila said in the script for a video shared with the National Post. She said the family sought alternative treatment in Russia because they found North American hospitals had misdiagnosed him and were prescribing “more medications to cover the response he was experiencing from the benzodiazepines,” Mikhaila said. “He nearly died several times.” She and her husband took him to Moscow last month, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and put into an induced coma for eight days. She said his withdrawal was “horrific,” worse than anything she had ever heard about. She said Russian doctors are not influenced by pharmaceutical companies to treat the side-effects of one drug with more drugs, and that they “have the guts to medically detox someone from benzodiazepines.”

Jordan Peterson has only just come out of an intensive care unit, Mikhaila said. He has neurological damage, and a long way to go to full recovery. He is taking anti-seizure medication and cannot type or walk unaided, but is “on the mend” and his sense of humor has returned. “He’s smiling again for the first time in months,” she said.

*METH IS BACK AND FLOODING THE STREETS OF OHIO AND KENTUCKY AND IT’S UGLIER THAN EVER:

This new wave of meth is causing police and parents of users and even government officials to shift their focus from opioids to this stimulant – a drug that used to be common, then faded, but is resurging. This time, with much more purity, coming directly from Mexico, not backyard cookeries or houses or sheds. The fresh attention to meth matters. After all, the rise in meth tested at law enforcement crime laboratories across Ohio and Kentucky is staggering.

Just one example of that rise: The 23 drug task forces (including Northern Kentucky’s) that are funded through the Ohio High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area agency saw a 1,600% jump in meth seized from 2015 to 2019 (and the 2019 numbers are incomplete). Read that again: 1,600%. But as shocking as that number is, some addiction experts say that we are missing the point behind the new meth wave. The point: Addiction. The United States has an addiction crisis.

*UNLIKE AIRLINES, 2019 AIR TRAVEL STATS WERE ON TIME:


Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation released its annual report on air travel for 2019. Let’s dive in.

On-time arrival rate: 79%, down from 79.2% in 2018. Despite operating on island time, Hawaiian Airlines was the most punctual carrier. Frontier was the least.  Cancellations: Airlines canceled 1.9% of scheduled domestic flights last year, all of which interrupted an important family gathering. In 2016, the cancellation rate was 1.2%.

Animals: Carriers reported 11 animal deaths and eight injuries. The good news? Zero animals lost.

Tarmac delays: This is a fun one as long as you weren’t on board one of the 302 domestic flights that waited on the tarmac for more than three hours last year. The longest tarmac delay was a United flight that spent 5 hours and 32 minutes on the Newark tarmac before taking off for Milan, Italy.

*EXAMINER – INVESTIGATES:

  Most modern American millionaires today (about 80%) are first-generation millionaires. Usually, the fortune they build will dissipate by the second or third generation.

*EXAMINER–BUSINESS:

  • Groupon and Blue Apron shares tanked 44% and 18%, respectively, as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models.
  • Forever 21’s new owners are hoping to keep as many U.S. stores open as possible when the retailer emerges from bankruptcy in the coming weeks.
  • Founders Fund, an investment firm led by Peter Thiel and other Silicon Valley heavyweights, has raised $3 billion across two new funds.
  • Larry Tesler, the influential computer scientist who coined the terms “cut,” “copy,” and “paste,” died Monday.

*EXAMINER- DID YOU KNOW?: DEBATE MODERATOR, CHUCK TODD WAS AMY KLOBUCHAR’S LANDLORD IN ARLINGTON:

MSNBC host Chuck Todd — who helped moderate Wednesday night’s Democratic debate — is likely more familiar with one candidate than any other. He was Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s landlord. Klobuchar and her husband, lawyer John Bessler, rented a 3-bedroom home owned by Todd in Arlington, Virginia, sources said. The Minnesota Democrat and Bessler apparently began renting the house in 2008. Klobuchar and Bessler are not currently living at the home anymore — but it’s unclear when they moved out. A 2008 report by the Star Tribune on where Minnesota reps live said at the time that Klobuchar and Bessler moved into a 3-bedroom Arlington rental home from a smaller apartment to accommodate family visitors. They were renting the house for “$3,200/month, plus utilities.” The report added at the time that, “Before moving in May to provide more room for ‘visiting grandparents,’ Klobuchar and her family rented a two-bedroom apartment in northern Virginia for $2,800 a month.” The article said that Klobuchar and Bessler still had a Minnesota home, but that her workweek consisted of, “Four to five days in D.C., with one family weekend each month in Arlington.”

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The motto of the LBN Examiner remains the same —— “Intel for Influencers”, consistently ranked one of the most influential weekly digital news sources.

*EXAMINER – CARTOON:

 “Sorry, but once all that white entitlement permeates the fabric, you really can’t get it out.”

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LBN EXAMINER 2/16/2020

*YIKES – NEARLY 1 IN 3 AMERICAN WORKERS RUN OUT OF MONEY BEFORE PAYDAY—EVEN THOSE EARNING OVER $100,000

Going extra light at the grocery store. Cutting down on medical supplies. Buying clothing and household supplies secondhand. These are just some of the many ways many Americans are making it work when money is tight. For about a third of Americans, this is a regular financial stress, with 32% running out of money before their next paycheck hits, according to a new survey fielded by Salary Finance of over 2,700 U.S. adults working at companies with over 500 employees.

Amy,* 36, is intimately familiar with running short on cash and using these workarounds, especially during tax season. That’s in spite of the fact that she and her husband make about $50,000 a year, just short of the average household income in the U.S. “Tax time hurts for us because we don’t get a refund, we get a bill,” she tells CNBC Make It. Her husband, the primary earner, works for a company in a different state, so state income taxes aren’t taken out, she says. While they typically get a federal refund, they end up owing the state more than the federal refund.

*ZUCKERBERG’S WAKE


Imagine filing your taxes online, pressing submit, and seeing that you owe $9 billion. That’s the bill Facebook is facing when it takes on the IRS in a made-for-Hollywood tax case beginning this week.  Maybe that’s a stretch, but the nine-year odyssey has been great theater: When former Google exec Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008 to guide a 23-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, she reportedly steered him in one particular direction: Dublin, Ireland. Many U.S. tech companies have established operations in Ireland for the friendly tax rate and proper Guinness pours. To rev the profit engine in Ireland, Facebook created an Irish subsidiary that licensed tech from the U.S. parent company. Yes, two parts of the same company are technically allowed to do business with each other but only at a fair price for the assets. The IRS alleges that the Irish Facebook paid the American Facebook less than it should have because it wanted to avoid paying 35% in taxes—then the U.S. corporate tax rate.  The IRS calculated that Facebook owes it about $9 billion, roughly equal to FB’s global tax bill in 2018 and 2019 combined.  What Facebook argues
It’s tried to paint a portrait of the company as young and risky. Facebook had “no mobile advertising revenue, its international business was nascent, and its digital advertising products were unproven,” a spokeswoman said. The low value represented the uncertainty of the company’s future.

What the IRS argues
In 2010, Facebook’s trajectory was up and to the right and the assets were worth at least double what Facebook calculated. It also says it has evidence (internal emails) that shows execs set up the Irish operation mainly to take advantage of the tax benefits. 

Bottom line: Despite being gutted by budget cuts, the IRS is mounting a last-gasp charge to rein in the many U.S. corporations sprinkling profits around the world. We’ll have to wait for months to find out whether it’s successful.  

*MACAULAY CULKIN EXONERATES MICHAEL JACKSON IN NEW INTERVIEW: “RIGHT NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO SPEAK UP…HE NEVER DID ANYTHING TO ME”

Macaulay Culkin exonerates Michael Jackson from all rumors concerning possible or alleged child molestation in the new issue of Esquire. But let’s cut to the chase. Culkin spent a lot of time with Michael when he was a child. Former Neverland employees made up all kinds of stories of things they said they saw concerning the older pop singer and the child star. But Culkin testified in 2005 at Michael’s trial that nothing untoward happened between them. He attended Jackson’s private funeral in 2009. And he’s remained close to Jackson’s daughter, Paris.

Now Macaulay says in Esquire that nothing happened between them except friendship. I believe him. In light of the one-sided documentary Leaving Neverland, and lawsuits from Wade Robson and James Safechuck, Mack could just verify their stories and end all the speculation. But he doesn’t. Quite the contrary. I don’t think the Jackson Estate put him up to this. Culkin is very outspoken and not manipulated. “Look,” he says in the magazine. “I’m gonna begin with the line—it’s not a line, it’s the truth: He never did anything to me. I never saw him do anything. And especially at this flashpoint in time, I’d have no reason to hold anything back. The guy has passed on. If anything—I’m not gonna say it would be stylish or anything like that, but right now is a good time to speak up. And if I had something to speak up about, I would totally do it. But no, I never saw anything; he never did anything.”

*ALZHEIMER’S SETBACK

The uphill climb to treat Alzheimer’s disease got even steeper yesterday. Drugs from Eli Lilly and a Roche subsidiary disappointed in a highly anticipated trial that averaged up to five years. The results were “really crushing,” principal investigator Dr. Randall Bateman told the NYT. Neither of the drugs slowed cognitive decline in the 104 trial participants who took medication.  The participants all have a rare genetic mutation that essentially guarantees they’ll develop Alzheimer’s in their 30s–50s.  After the trial, Bateman admitted there is no way to treat patients with the mutation. His team doesn’t have a quick way to notify the volunteers of the results, either.  Scientists will keep trying. In October, Biogen shocked the medical community by reviving aducanumab, an Alzheimer’s drug it had shelved months earlier. The next step is submitting the treatment for regulatory approval. 

Zoom out: In 2018, Alzheimer’s affected about 5.7 million people in the U.S. Current treatments only ease symptoms temporarily; they do not slow memory loss or the deterioration of thinking skills.

*WHAT’S NEXT FOR ANGELINA JOLIE?

While Brad Pitt was the toast of awards season — winning his first Oscar Sunday night for his supporting role in “Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood” — his ex, Angelina Jolie, has been planning to step out in an even higher-profile capacity as an advocate for humanitarian causes. Jolie just signed with WME following stints with rival agencies CAA and UTA. Sources say Jolie’s plan is to create more documentaries, books and other initiatives around the projects she cares about, including protecting refugees and education for kids in conflict zones.

Insiders say that while recent Jolie movies such as “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” haven’t done as well as expected at the box office, she plans to continue acting. She has two films, “Eternals” and “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” set for release this year. But a source said Jolie, 44, wants to simultaneously step out in a new direction: “Angelina has been looking for a global company to support her global ambitions . . . She wants to diversify and to grow. This is all about helping Angelina create a platform to use her knowledge of international humanitarian causes . . . She has been asking, ‘How do I use my platform to get more people involved and invested in the causes?’ The discussions have been about documentaries, events, speeches, books, cause-driven movies.”

*EXAMINER – READER QUESTION:

Has pet obsession gone too far? Treating pets as humans is increasingly common. Clothes, gourmet food, pet spas, etc. Has it gone too far?

Vote Yes or No. Send your vote to LBNExaminer@TimeWire.net

*EXAMINER—INVESTIGATES:

Amish men take about 18,425 steps per day. Amish women take about 14,196. The average American adult takes about 4,000 steps per day. Only 4% of Amish are obese, compared to 31% of the general population.

*LBN EXAMINERWE HAVE MANY READERS IN BRAZIL:

In addition to being read in 50 of the United States, this LBN Examiner is currently read in 26 foreign countries per week. Here is a photo of some of our fans in Brazil sent to us by one of our loyal readers.

*EXAMINER – A LOOK BACK:

Richard Avedon at 61st Street and Amsterdam Avenue, New York City, May 1963.

  *EXAMINER – BUSINESS:


WeWork is phasing out free beer and wine taps at its U.S. and Canada locations, Business Insider reported Monday. While WeWork Chairman Marcelo Claure has been on a cost-cutting charge for months, WeWork told BI this wasn’t a financial decision.  The company wants to keep tenants happy during work hours by adding a wider selection of beverages including cold brew, kombucha, seltzer, and cold teas.  WeWork will continue to offer booze at on-site happy hours.  “As former patrons of WeWork’s finest hops dispensers, we’ll be pouring one out tonight for the symbolic end of the OG WeWork era.” As Bisnow writes, “alcohol was once a pillar of WeWork’s identity, from bottomless-drink member parties to CEO Adam Neumann’s infamous penchant for shots of tequila.”

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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.

*EXAMINER – READER COMMENT:

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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 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.