Monthly Archives: October 2021

LBN Examiner 10/17/2021

YIKES! – REAL COST OF INFLATION TO AVERAGE AMERICAN HOUSEHOLD: AN EXTRA $175 A MONTH:

Over the past couple of months, Allison, a wife and mother of a toddler and teenager in Chicago, says she’s been spending about $50 more each week on groceries to feed her family — and that’s at a discount supermarket chain, Aldi’s. “I used to spend $70 a week, but all of sudden this summer, I noticed that I couldn’t leave the store without spending at least $120,” said Allison, who works in education. Like millions of Americans whose income has not kept pace with inflation — up 5.3% in August compared with a year ago — Allison and her family are feeling the pinch of the rising cost of living and giving up some things just to make ends meet. Her family is scrimping now. “There are no more splurges like going to Home Depot to buy an extra plant or eating out,” Allison said.  

Smoking Marijuana Could Lead to Breakthrough COVID Cases, Study Finds:

Heavy marijuana users who are also vaccinated may be more susceptible to breakthrough cases of COVID-19, a new study found. The study, published last Tuesday in World Psychology, found that those with a substance use disorder (SUD) — a dependence on marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, opioids and tobacco — were more likely to contract the coronavirus after receiving both of their vaccination shots. Those without an SUD saw a 3.6% rate of breakthrough infections, compared to a 7% rate in those with an SUD. At 7.8%, those with marijuana use disorder were most at risk for breakthrough infections, the study found. Among other substances, the risk disappeared when considering issues such as underlying health conditions and socioeconomic status. The difference has not been linked directly to marijuana use but could be linked to the behavior of those dependent on marijuana.

Old N.Y. Mobsters Reportedly Fear Handing Over Reins to Phone-Obsessed, Soft Millennials:

The yutes ain’t alright. Seasoned New York mob bosses are reluctant to make made men out of millennials, who they worry lack the street smarts and ruthlessness of their predecessors — and are too obsessed with their cellphones. The five families fear handing over the reins to the new generation of mafiosi because they’re softer and dumber, having grown up in the suburbs rather than city streets — and are too attached to technology, sources said. “Everything is on the phones with them,” a former made member of the Colombo family told the paper. Court records even show one Colombo associate completely eschewing the code of silence while threatening a union official over extortion collections — all in easy-to-prove text messages, the outlet said. “Hey this is the 2nd text, there isn’t going to be a 3rd,” the associate wrote, according to court records. “I am sure that is frowned upon in mob circles,” former FBI agent Richard Frankel said of the apparent incriminating texts.

Alleged School Shooter in Texas Released from Jail on Bond Day After Shooting Multiple People:

An 18-year-old high school student in Texas who is accused of gunning down multiple people at his school has been released from jail on bail. “The student accused of injuring four people in a shooting at Timberview High School in Arlington on Wednesday was released on bail from the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday,” The Star Telegram reported, adding that the suspect was charged “with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.” The suspect had been transferred from Arlington jail to the Tarrant County facility before being released after posting a $75,000 bond. Video posted online showed the suspect being released. The alleged school shooter, who is a black male, turned himself into law enforcement hours after the shooting, which sent multiple people to the hospital.

Examiner – Lens:

As rare as it might be for high-school sweethearts to end up spending their lives together, Tucker Carlson and Susan Andrews have had no problem doing it! They met each other when they were both students at St. George’s School, and Susan was even the headmaster’s daughter! They ended up getting married at their school’s chapel in 1991, and today, they have four beautiful children together. It’s safe to say that if Tucker did not have Susan in his life, he wouldn’t have had all his success. The TV presenter is now earning a $6-million annual salary by hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News Channel. 

Examiner – Investigates:

New Nobel Prize Winner is a LBN Examiner Reader:

New Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, shown here at his home in Canterbury, England, is the author of novels including “Gravel Heart,” “By the Sea,” and “Paradise.” He is a weekly LBN Examiner reader.

Examiner – Lens:

“The only thing that we want is for people to understand that we’re human,” said Jillian Mercado about the work of her and her colleagues on Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q.”

Examiner – A Look Back:

April 9, 1953. Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Civil Defense air raid drill, Highland View School.

Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** We are in a new era of mass migration, and the US government is demonstrating in real time that it has no idea how to control it. From January through July, well over a million undocumented migrants were intercepted at the border — Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians, Romanians, among others — and the pace is accelerating. If those intercepted in the first half of this year formed a city, it would be the tenth largest in the US. We don’t like to confront this ugly reality. But the moral hazard of easing the path of migrants into the US, and showing the rightful level of compassion and care, is that it incentivizes many more to come. And indeed the Biden administration was warned by both the Mexican and Panamanian governments, and by their own experts, that ending “Remain in Mexico” would trigger a flood of new migrants, because they knew if they could just get to the other side of the border, the odds of being deported are increasingly small. Biden ended the policy anyway. —- Andrew Sullivan.

Examiner – Lens: 

Eve Jobs, the 23-year-old daughter of Apple founder Steve, made her runway debut at Coperni’s show during Paris Fashion Week on Thursday, strutting her stuff in a neon green mock turtleneck top, navy embellished miniskirt, platform flip-flops and shield-style sunglasses.

The Real Story by Sarah Garcia

Critical race theory has taken our nation by storm.  For a long time, it had been mostly isolated to colleges and universities. But in recent years, it has invaded our K-12 schools, workplaces, state and federal governments, and even the military.  There’s a good chance that you — or your children — have encountered it. And there’s an even better chance that you didn’t realize it. That’s because critical race theorists are really good at disguising their indoctrination. They use words like “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion” because those words sound harmless. And it can be easy for busy citizens — especially parents — to overlook such terms.

Examiner – Lens: 

Adrian James, 2, who tested positive for the coronavirus, breathes with the help of a ventilator at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, October 5.

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Examiner – Lens:

“Maybe I’ll be remembered as the Grumpy Bond,” Daniel Craig said. But, he added, “I’m quite satisfied with that.”

Examiner – Investigates:

Baseball umpires are more accurate in calling balls and strikes when the stakes are high, according to research released by four economists just in time for Major League Baseball’s playoff season. Umpires’ attention seems to lapse a bit after they’ve made an important call, the study found. The analysis is based on more than three million decisions made by 127 home plate umpires in 26,523 games between 2008 and 2018. “This finding is consistent with a model of a depletable budget of decision resource, such that more attention devoted to one decision depletes availability for subsequent decisions,” write the authors, James Archsmith of the University of Maryland, Anthony Heyes of the University of Ottawa and Matthew Neidell and Bhaven Sampat, both of Columbia University.

“Intel for Influencers” – Who Reads the LBN Examiner?

Olaf Scholz, Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) candidate for chancellor along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3 Nobel Prize winners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 US Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners. Now you can invite your friends and family to sign up for free (if they’ve got the guts):  www.LBNExaminer.com

Examiner – Lens:

Salt Bae performs his signature sprinkle. How did Nusret Gökçe, known to all as Salt Bae, turn a flick of the arm into a multi-million-dollar restaurant empire serving gold-encrusted meat?

Examiner – Investigates:

Giraffes give birth while standing up. Their babies must drop more than five feet (1.5 meters) to the ground as they’re born.

Examiner – Lens:

Luis Felber, who performs and records under the name Attawalpa, photographed this month at the London home he shares with Lena Dunham.

Who Reads LBN Examiner?

Nine members of the Carnegie Hall staff along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3 Nobel Prize winners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 US Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners. Now you can invite your friends and family to sign up for free (if they’ve got the guts): www.LBNExaminer.com

Examiner – Lens:

Researchers have found that hair loss from aging results from stem cells escaping hair follicles.

Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** “When I was about six, my sister, Chandrika, and I were assigned daily chores. The most relentless began near dawn, when, on many days, one of us climbed out of our shared bed at the first sound of a grunting, bawling water buffalo at the front door. A local woman would arrive with the big, gray animal and milk her for the day’s supply. Our job was to make sure she didn’t bulk up the milk by adding water.” —- Indra K. Nooyi, former chief executive of PepsiCo, in “My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Future” (2021)

** “TikTok is a brand-safety fiasco. Conspiracy theories, disinformation, and hate run rampant on the platform.” —- Claire Atkin, co-founder of the consultancy Check My Ads

Examiner – Lens:

Chucky, a doll possessed by a serial killer, was inspired in part by fights over Cabbage Patch Kids that his creator saw in the 1980s.

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Examiner – Reader Comment:

** “John Rosemond clearly declares his autocratic arrogance with his three-step formula for establishing who is boss when applied to children fortunate enough to reach age two. Capping this threesome with, ‘You will do what I say because I say so.’ Leaving out only, ‘You little punk-ass,’ from his admonishments. Who is this guy? This authority? None other than a not-so-kindly, right-wing conservative, religiously indoctrinated authority who is still living comfortably in dinosaur days. Not a practicing psychologist. Just a little blogger spouting self-righteous, discarded, spare-the-rod, harmful parenting advice. Advice that minimizes, disheartens and damages children all in the guise of establishing positive authority through intimidation and fear. Throw this arrogant SOB to the dogs and his advisements in the shredder.” —- Edward Blackoff

Examiner – A Different View:…

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Special Report LBN Examiner 10/13/2021

THE SURPRISING BENEFITS OF TALKING TO STRANGERS:

So many of us have been raised to see strangers as dangerous and scary. What would happen if we instead saw them as potential sources of comfort and belonging?

Nic spent most of her childhood avoiding people. She was raised by a volatile father and a mother who transferred much of the trauma she’d experienced onto her daughter. The combination left Nic fearful and isolated. “My primitive brain was programmed to be afraid of everybody, because everybody’s evil and they’re gonna hurt you,” she told me. (Nic asked to be referred to by only her first name to protect her privacy.)

Nic’s fear isn’t uncommon in a country where valid lessons about “stranger danger” can cast all people you don’t know as threats to be feared, but she recognized it was unhealthy, so she took steps to engage with the world. As she grew older, she began to travel to seek new people out. At 17, Nic visited Europe for 10 days with her high-school classmates and noticed that people began starting conversations with her. “If people in Europe randomly talked to me, then maybe I’m not so bad,” she figured. “Maybe I’m not gonna die if I randomly talk to them.” So she took more trips and connected with more people. She was anxious about these encounters, wired for fear and expecting the worst, but they always went well. She found that, contrary to what she’d been raised to believe, these strangers weren’t dangerous or scary. They were actually sources of comfort and belonging. They expanded her world.

Today, Nic has a name for these types of conversations: “Greyhound Therapy.” As she uses it, the term literally refers to talking with your seatmate on a long-haul bus but can apply to talking with strangers anywhere—at a restaurant, at a bus stop, in a grocery store. This form of connection changed her life. When times got hard, she found herself turning to strangers for comfort and “to stave off the loneliness,” she told me.

“And it worked?” I asked.

“Oh God, yes,” she said. “I would go home with some amazing stories—granted, nobody to share them with—but I still had the stories. They were mine.”

Nic’s experience is telling. A hefty body of research has found that an overwhelmingly strong predictor of happiness and well-being is the quality of a person’s social relationships. But most of those studies have looked at only close ties: family, friends, co-workers. In the past decade and a half, professors have begun to wonder if interacting with strangers could be good for us too: not as a replacement for close relationships, but as a complement to them. The results of that research have been striking. Again and again, studies have shown that talking with strangers can make us happier, more connected to our communities, mentally sharper, healthier, less lonely, and more trustful and optimistic. Yet, like Nic, many of us are wary of those interactions, especially after the coronavirus pandemic limited our social lives so severely.

These days, Nic is a successful nurse with an uncanny gift for connecting with her patients, and is happily married to a kind and sociable man. She still loves to travel, and on her trips, she’ll size up her seatmate, or someone sitting alone at a table or the bar. If they have headphones on or appear uninterested, she’ll leave them alone. But if they seem receptive, she’ll say, “Hi, I’m Nic,” and see where it goes. She’s not reckless or naive, and she knows how to read people and detect trouble. But the conversations tend to go well, reassuring her that there is goodness in the world, and the possibility of belonging. She tells me that these experiences have taught her something invaluable: “Never underestimate the power of even the most minute positive connection.”

In psychology, the sorts of exchanges Nic is talking about are known as “minimal social interactions.” The psychologist Gillian Sandstrom had a similar epiphany about them about a decade ago.

She was raised in Canada by extroverts who loved talking with strangers. One day, Sandstrom, who had always considered herself an introvert, realized that she always looked down when she walked along the street. “I thought, Well, that’s dumb,” she says. So she started holding eye contact with people and found that it actually felt pretty good. Before long, she was talking with strangers too. She was surprised at how easy and fun it was. Once, on the subway, she saw a woman holding a box of elaborately decorated cupcakes and asked about them. “I don’t know how the conversation got there, but she taught me that humans can ride ostriches,” Sandstrom says. “I was sold. That was just a delightful conversation. I wanted to do it again.” Later, during a stressful period in grad school, Sandstrom took solace in an even smaller routine interaction: waving and smiling at a woman running a hot-dog cart, whom she passed every day. “I realized that when I saw her, and when she acknowledged me, it made me feel good. I felt like, Yeah, I belong here.”

Sandstrom decided to study this phenomenon. She and her Ph.D. supervisor at the University of British Columbia asked a group of adults to chat with the barista when they got their morning coffee. They had the idea that by not engaging with counter workers—by essentially treating them as insensate service modules and not, say, actual humans—we may be denying ourselves a potential “hidden source of belonging and happiness.” As it turns out, they were right. The participants who talked with their barista reported feeling a stronger sense of community and an improved mood, as well as greater satisfaction with their overall coffee-buying experience.

Other researchers have come to similar conclusions. In a different experiment devised by the University of Chicago psychologist Nicholas Epley and his then-student Juliana Schroeder, a group of people instructed to speak with strangers on mass transit reported a significantly more positive, enjoyable commute than a group of those who didn’t. On average, conversations lasted a whopping 14.2 minutes, and the talkers overwhelmingly liked the strangers they’d spoken with. People of all personality types had a good time.

By now, skeptics among us are thinking the same thing I was when I first read these studies: Sure, talking with strangers might be enjoyable if you’re the one who started the conversation. But is the other person enjoying it? After all, every one of us has at one time or another been trapped in an enclosed space by a talker who proved agonizingly impervious to social cues that you’re not in the mood. So to test whether both parties were enjoying these interactions, Epley and Schroeder created another experiment. Between tasks unrelated to the research at hand, participants took breaks in a waiting room. Some of these subjects were told to talk with the other person in the room and others were told not to talk; the people they were with were given no instructions. The ones who talked—both the people who started the conversation and the people they talked with—reported having a significantly better experience than those who did not.

If talking with strangers is so pleasant—and so good for us—why don’t people do it more often? That’s a big question, informed by issues of race, class and gender, culture, population density, and decades of (sometimes valid) “stranger danger” messaging. But the core answer seems to be twofold: We don’t expect strangers to like us, and we don’t expect to like them either.

In a study by Epley and Schroeder, participants who were asked to talk with strangers during their commutes worried that the strangers wouldn’t enjoy the conversations. They predicted, on average, that less than half of the people they approached would talk with them. They expected that starting the conversation would be hard. But people were interested in talking with them, and not a single one was rejected.

A similar phenomenon has shown up in Sandstrom’s work with another group of psychologists, led by Erica Boothby, called the “liking gap.” Their research has found that experiment participants (especially the shiest ones) believed that they liked the stranger more than the stranger liked them. This misperception deters people from seeking out these interactions, and in turn deprives them of not only short-term boosts of happiness and belonging but also more lasting benefits, such as meeting new friends, romantic partners, or business contacts.

But a deeper force is at play here too. Participants in these studies expected very little from the conversations themselves. When Epley and Schroeder asked commuters to imagine how they would feel if they talked with a new person versus remaining solitary, those who imagined talking with a stranger predicted that their commutes would be significantly worse. That prediction is telling. Why did it come as such a surprise that a stranger could be approachable, cordial, and interesting?

Part of the inspiration behind the subway experiments, Schroeder told me, was the idea that “it’s fundamentally dehumanizing to be surrounded by people and then never interact and engage with them.” It’s dehumanizing to me because I lose an opportunity to be a social being—which is my nature—and it’s dehumanizing to the stranger because I never experience more than a superficial glimpse of their full humanity. In cities especially, people tend to treat strangers as obstacles, Schroeder said, so we don’t talk with them; because we don’t talk with them, it never fully occurs to us that they are, in fact, really people.

This is the “lesser minds problem,” so dubbed by Epley and the psychologist Adam Waytz in 2010. The theory is this: Because we can’t see what’s happening in other people’s heads, we have “what appears to be a universal tendency to assume that others’ minds are less sophisticated and more superficial than one’s own,” Epley writes in his 2014 book, Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want. Perhaps this is why we expect interactions with strangers to go poorly: because we subconsciously believe they just don’t have much to offer.

Sandstrom had a different (and simpler) explanation of why we don’t talk with strangers: She believed people just didn’t know how to do it. So she set out to teach them.

In collaboration with the now-defunct London group called Talk to Me, Sandstrom ran a series of events that aimed to show people how enjoyable talking with strangers could be—and to learn more about why people were so hesitant to do it. She has since developed some techniques to help allay these fears. For instance, she tells people to follow their curiosity—notice something, compliment a person, or ask them a question. Generally, though, she just lets people figure it out themselves. Once they get over the initial hump, they find it comes to them quite naturally. “You can’t shut them up,” she says. “By the end they don’t want to stop talking. It’s fascinating. I love it.”

While Sandstrom has found success in these isolated events, she’s run into a more insidious obstacle in her pursuit of lasting change: a social norm against talking with strangers—a belief that this is simply not done. In her experiments, participants would unfailingly have positive experiences, but “when you ask people about the next conversation, they’re really worried again,” she says. So she tried to engineer a situation in which talking with strangers, through sheer repetition, would become natural enough to people that they would simply begin to do it out of habit, free of all the usual fears. The trick, she believed, was “to get people to have a lot of conversations.”

Using an app called GooseChase, Sandstrom created a scavenger hunt with a list of types of people with whom to strike up conversations: people who were smiley, people who looked “artsy,” people trying to carry a lot of things, people who looked sad, people who seemed nice or fashionable or who were tattooed or wearing a “striking tie.” The results, again, were undeniable. Participants found it was much easier to start and maintain a conversation with a stranger, and the conversations lasted three times longer than they predicted. About 80 percent said that they learned something new. Forty-one percent said that they exchanged contact information with someone. Some participants made friends, went on dates, got coffee. And true to Sandstrom’s prediction, their pessimism about the prospect of talking with strangers was eased. A week after completing the scavenger hunt, participants were more confident of their conversational abilities and less afraid of rejection. And the way they thought about other people changed as well. As one student wrote in their survey response: “Strangers are generally friendly and helpful.”

As I read through the other responses from Sandstrom’s study, I kept coming upon what seemed like a subtle undertone of relief—which I recognized, having wondered myself Why do I feel a sense of relief after a pleasant exchange with a stranger? When I asked Sandstrom about this, she said something that took me back to the story of Nic, her fearful childhood, and her experience with Greyhound Therapy. “I think that relief might just be the feeling that we’re sold this message that the world is a scary place,” Sandstrom said, “and then you have a chat with someone, some random person, and it goes well, and it’s sorta like, Maybe the world isn’t so bad after all.

As originally seen in The Atlantic

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EXAMINER – A DIFFERENT VIEW:

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LBN Examiner 10/10/2021

FREE-RANGE AFGHAN REFUGEES ARE JUST WALKING OUT OF MILITARY BASES – MORE THAN 700 AFGHAN EVACUEES HAVE LEFT U.S. MILITARY BASES WITHOUT COMPLETING RESETTLEMENT, REPORT SAYS:

Hundreds of Afghan evacuees have left U.S. military bases on their own without completing the resettlement and transition process. “The number of ‘independent departures,’ which top 700 and could be higher, has not been previously reported. But the phenomenon is raising alarms among immigration advocates concerned about the risks to Afghans who give up on what is now an open-ended, complex and completely voluntary resettlement process,” Reuters reported. “In the speed and chaos of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August following 20 years of war, many evacuees were brought into the United States under a temporary status of ‘humanitarian parole.’ Once transferred to U.S. military bases, refugee resettlement groups and U.S. officials have been trying to connect people with services for a smooth transition to the United States.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declined to comment on the information Reuters received, but told the outlet that the evacuees who had left the military bases “generally” had ties to the U.S., “such as family members or friends, and resources to support themselves as they settled” into new communities. The spokesperson also told Reuters that many of those who were first evacuated from Afghanistan were U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or had Special Immigrant Visas. As Reuters noted, “leaving early could cost other Afghan evacuees critical benefits – like expedited work permits – and create a slew of legal problems down the road, given the complexities of the U.S. immigration system.” One official, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, called the situation “a giant can of worms,” adding that it “could lead to years and years of terrible immigration status problems.”

Prof Sues UCLA ‘Over Suspension for Not Grading Black Students More Leniently’:

A UCLA professor is suing the school for putting him on involuntary leave and allegedly threatening to fire him because he refused to grade black students more leniently than whites in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. “Recently, I was suspended from my job for refusing to treat my black students as lesser than their non-black peers,” wrote Gordon Klein in an op-ed on Bari Weiss’ “Common Sense” newsletter on Substack. The dean of UCLA’s business school launched an investigation into Klein’s actions, put him on leave and tried to terminate him, wrote the professor, who has taught at the university’s Anderson School of Management for 40 years.

Rising Nearly 10% in a Single Year, Almost 77% of Venezuelans Now Live in Extreme Poverty:

A new study reveals that 76.6% of Venezuelans now live in extreme poverty — rising nearly 10% in a single year. In 2020, the National Survey of Living Conditions — completed by researchers at Andres Bello Catholic University — had found that 67.7% of Venezuelan residents lived in extreme poverty. When income alone is considered, 94.5% of the population lives in poverty. “It is the absence of opportunities,” Andres Bello Catholic University sociologist Pedro Luis Espana told Reuters. “It is sitting in front of the door of the house, doing nothing, not because you do not want to do anything, but because there is nowhere to do it.” A host of economic problems currently plague the oil-rich South American nation, including hyperinflation, power outages, and shortages of food and medicine. According to the BBC, more than 5.6 million Venezuelans have fled the country in recent years. The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom finds that Venezuela is the 177th freest nation in the world — underperforming every other country with the exception of North Korea.

The Beatles in the Classroom:

Would you get a master’s degree in the Beatles? In the band’s hometown, a postgraduate program aims to turn fans into students of the Fab Four’s legacy by studying their sociological, historical and economic impact.

As a new semester began last week at the University of Liverpool, 11 eager students, ages 21 to 67, trooped into class to start the program. One wore a Yoko Ono T-shirt, Alex Marshall reports in The Times , while another had a yellow submarine tattooed on his arm. Two had named their sons Jude, after one of the band’s most famous songs.

Academics have studied the Beatles for decades, and the program is the latest example of that. The Beatles are big business locally as well: Liverpool’s association with the band was worth over $110 million a year, a 2014 study found. Tourists visit sites named in the band’s songs and venues where the group played.

Two professional tour guides in the course said they hoped the program would help them attract customers. “The tour industry in Liverpool is fierce,” one said.

Another student, Alexandra Mason, recently completed a law degree but decided to change track when she heard about the Beatles course. “I never really wanted to be a lawyer,” she said. “In my mind, I’ve gone from the ridiculous to the sublime.”

Examiner – Lens:

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer, in Sun Valley, Idaho, in July. They have been publicly quiet about Instagram’s negative effects on teenagers.

1 in 8 Say Loved Ones with Opposing COVID Views Won’t Get Holiday Gifts:

If you disagree with mom or dad on COVID-19 vaccines, maybe don’t expect much in your stocking this year. A new survey, commissioned by CoinStar, finds one in eight Americans plan on skipping holiday shopping for family and friends who do not share the same COVID-19 opinions as them. Meanwhile, nearly two in three Americans (64%) say they’re looking forward to the holiday season this year, despite many planning on buying fewer gifts in general over budget constraints and others complaining of COVID-related uncertainty. More specifically, 39% of the 2,007 respondents can’t afford to buy as many gifts as usual. Another 34% blame their tight holiday budget on either being unemployed or working a low-paying job. It seems not everyone is lighter in the wallet this year, though. In comparison to 67% in 2019, only 59% of Americans say they have a strict holiday budget this year.

Examiner – Investigates:

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Examiner – A Look Back:

A LOOK BACK: 1971. “World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki (1912-1986) with model of twin towers.

Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:


**Right here in America, right now, it is possible to meet people who have lost everything — jobs, money, friends, colleagues — after violating no laws, and sometimes no workplace rules either. Some have made egregious errors of judgment. Some have done nothing at all. It is not always easy to tell. – Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian.

**The only way to allow for growth collectively is to allow for growth individually. The stakes are high. Modern technologies have made it harder to act with intention about our attention. But we can still choose to focus on what really matters in people’s lives, instead of being endlessly distracted from making progress on the multiple four-alarm fires we have raging (including actual fires). There is a huge cost to our culture of outrage. And unfortunately, it falls disproportionately on those most vulnerable and most in need of our energy and attention. It’s time to say: enough is enough, and turn our attention to alleviating the suffering of real people. – Arianna Huffington

Examiner – Lens:

Welcome to the iconic MacArthur Park in Los Angeles (made famous by a song of the same name in the 1960s). October 2021, during a pandemic.

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