LBN- Special Report- Wednesday

*Uninsured Percentage Reaches Historic Low:
The percentage of Americans without health-care insurance dropped to a new low in 2016, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study conducted between January and March of this year. Just 8.6 percent of respondents—translating to around 27 million people—said they do not have health insurance, down from 9.1 percent at the same time a year ago. Democrats point to the success of the Affordable Care Act in adding people to the insurance rolls. In 2010, the year the law was enacted, 16 percent of Americans did not have health insurance. The CDC sampled 24,317 people for its study.

Iran Vessel ‘Harassed’ U.S. Navy Ship: 
An Iranian “fast-attack” boat came within 100 yards of the USS Firebolt in the Persian Gulf on Sunday, another in the series of close calls that U.S. Defense officials on Tuesday declared “unsafe.” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the boat from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps sailed directly in front of the Firebolt, forcing the U.S. ship to suddenly change course. Seven Iranian vessels in total “harassed” the Firebolt, Davis said. This was the fourth such incident in the last month and the 31st within a year, officials said. “We don’t see this type of unsafe and unprofessional activity from any other nation,” an unnamed Defense official added.

*Dallas Morning News Endorses First Democrat for President Since WWII:

The Dallas Morning News has endorsed Hillary Clinton—the first Democratic presidential candidate backed by the Texas daily standard in more than 75 years. “Résumé vs. résumé, judgment vs. judgment, this election is no contest,” the editorial board wrote. While the paper acknowledged that Clinton’s party, in general, is “at odds with our belief in private-sector ingenuity and innovation,” the endorsement noted that her experience and record of service outweigh those differences. Notably, the Morning News wrote, “We reject the politics of personal destruction… Trump’s values are hostile to conservatism.” The editorial reads: “He plays on fear—exploiting base instincts of xenophobia, racism, and misogyny—to bring out the worst in all of us, rather than the best. His serial shifts on fundamental issues reveal an astounding absence of preparedness. And his improvisational insults and midnight tweets exhibit a dangerous lack of judgment and impulse control.”

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: The largest baby ever born weighed in at over 23 pounds but died just 11 hours after his birth in 1879. The largest surviving baby was born in October 2009 in Sumatra, Indonesia and weighed an astounding 19.2 pounds at birth.

*Obama Picks First-Ever Muslim to Be Federal Judge:
President Obama made history Tuesday evening by nominating the first Muslim American to the federal judiciary. The president selected Abid R. Qureshi, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer, to serve in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “I am pleased to nominate Mr. Qureshi to serve on the United States District Court bench,” Obama said in a statement. “I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.” Qureshi has been recognized by professional organizations for his work in public service, pro-bono work, and civil-liberties advocacy. However, because Senate Republicans have made it a point to stop confirming Obama’s judicial picks, with just four months left in his presidency, it is unlikely a hearing will take place to confirm Qureshi.


*Anjem Choudary Is Sentenced to Prison for Promoting ISIS: 
Anjem Choudary, one of Britain’s best known Islamist activists, was sentenced on Tuesday to five years and six months in prison after having been convicted in July of encouragingsupport for the Islamic State. Mr. Choudary, 49, had been found guilty of promoting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in speeches and messages posted online, which is a crime under Britain’s antiterrorism laws. Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, 33, an associate of Mr. Choudary’s, received the same sentence. Along with Mr. Choudary, Mr. Rahman was convicted on July 28 of having violated British laws after a four-week trial at the Old Bailey, London’s central criminal court. The verdict was not announced until mid-August for legal reasons. Mr. Choudary’s supporters shouted the Arabic phrase “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” as he was sent to jail in London.

*WHO READS LBN? Authors Chris Voss and Jimmy Steinfeldt

*Report: OPM Hack Could’ve Been Stopped:
A new report claims the breach of the Office of Personnel Management’s computer networks—one of the worst-ever hacks of the U.S. government—could have been stopped.Congressional investigators found personnel executives were warned about vulnerabilities and knew there were indicators that a malicious hacker was attempting to gain entry. The cyberattack was largely attributed to the Chinese government and led to the resignation of the OPM’s director. “We have literally tens of millions of Americans whose data was stolen by a nefarious overseas actor, but it was entirely preventable,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). “With some basic hygiene, some good tools, an awareness and some talent, they really could have prevented this.”

*LBN-SEE IT: Renée Zellweger, returning to the screen after a six-year absence in “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” in London.

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: How many veterans, among a population of more than two million eligible for federal higher-education benefits, wind up at America’s most elite colleges? It appears on the website Inside Higher Ed, and this is from the first paragraph of his November 2015 tally: Yale, four; Harvard, unknown; Princeton, one; Williams, one. Harvard didn’t grant request for information. The tally noted just two veterans among undergraduates at Duke, one at M.I.T., one at Pomona and zero at Carleton.

*Zika Funding Vote Fails Yet Again:
After returning from a seven-week recess, the Senate was gridlocked once again Tuesday as attempts were made to get a bill passed to fight the spread of the Zika virus. Democrats blocked taking up bills from the GOP to pay for a public-health response to the virus. That and an agreement to fund the Pentagon next year were not reached, meaning the government could shut down on Sept. 30 if there isn’t a resolution. Democrats blocked the Zika bill because they say it included a provision to prevent funding for Planned Parenthood and that it no longer included a provision to ban Confederate flags from veterans’ cemeteries.

*MY COMMENT: “I respect the independence of LBN.” —– Dr. Christina K, an LBN reader from Milan, Italy.

*With Koch Brothers Academy, Conservatives Settle In for Long War:
The rise of Donald J. Trump, with his hostility toward free trade and vow to protect entitlements, is a sharp rebuke to the free-market principles long championed by the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch. But if the Koch brothers have lost the battle for conservative values in 2016, they are also quietly preparing for a long war. Their secret weapon is the Grassroots Leadership Academy: a training program dreamed up by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the political education arm of the Koch network, and intended to groom the next generation of conservative activists to shape the future of the Republican Party. Taking inspiration from icons of the left like Saul Alinsky, the Marxist-inspired Frankfurt School, and even President Obama’s Organizing for Action, the academy offers classes like “Messaging to the Middle” (about reaching not just the conservative base but also persuadable voters), community organizing and how to wage a successful public protest, complete with costume.


*LBN-HEALTH WATCH:   ***Loneliness, which Emily Dickinson described as “the Horror not to be surveyed,” is a quiet devastation. But in Britain, it is increasingly being viewed as something more: a serious public health issue deserving of public funds and national attention. Working with local governments and the National Health Service, programs aimed at mitigating loneliness have sprung up in dozens of cities and towns. Even fire brigades have been trained to inspect homes not just for fire safety but for signs of social isolation.

*LBN-MUSIC INSIDER:   ***Bob Dylan has taken on many non-musical pursuits over the past five decades, from acting and directing to painting and boxing. One of his more unexpected passions is sculpting enormous iron gates, which were first displayed to the public at the Halcyon Gallery in London in 2013. Now, a new 26-by-15-foot custom archway entitled “Portal” will be permanently displayed at Maryland’s MGM’s National Harbor Casino when it opens to the public later this year. “Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow,” Dylan said in a statement. “They can be closed, but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways, there is no difference.”

*LBN-COMMENTARY by Erica Rhodes (Comedian) : I am trying out a new thing. Social Media free Sundays. Lately, I have really come to terms with my own addiction to the constant checking of every social media platform, even to Snapchat, which I swore I would never join. I realize it’s an important part of my career, to network, book shows, self-promote, get press, touch base with fans, etc. But also, what about the other things that are also important?  My own self-care. My creativity. My time.  Today, my first Sunday free of social media, I caught myself checking things mindlessly by accident on three separate occasions. This is three times too many of mindlessly doing something. That’s just as bad as mindlessly grabbing a bong, or a wine bottle, or my vibrator…well, maybe not as bad as the vibrator. 😉
I just want to do things with more thought and purpose in my life. It’s definitely difficult. I feel slightly empty. Like I’m supposed to be doing something. Like I might be missing something.  But what HAVE I done today? I had an uninterrupted breakfast with my manager. I didn’t once check my phone and we had a very good conversation about my act and our goals for the next few months.  I spoke on the phone with my Aunt and felt very connected the entire conversation, not distracted by trying to multi-task.  I cleaned up my room a little, something I am constantly avoiding and procrastinating by my use of social media.  I thought about some new jokes. Since I’m not just mindlessly filling the void in my mind, I feel space for creativity and fresh ideas.  I feel more aware of the passage of time. I don’t look at the clock and think, “WTF…where did the past 3 hours go?” I’m more aware of what I did with them.  Now, I’m not trying to preach or anything. But I just wanted to share this in case anyone else wanted to join me in my Social Media free Sundays. I plan to keep on trying this.  I hope at some point to do entire weekends, but starting small! The first step is admitting you have a problem, and I realize I do.  As for my stand-up, I am trying to work on larger chunks in my act, so I can do longer sets without having to remember so many one-liners. And also, I want to try and write some lighter stuff since the past few weeks I wrote a ton of jokes about death. Now, maybe something lighter like tacos…no I’ll never do taco jokes.  I have been getting up more at Comedy and Magic club, which I love. They treat their comics so well. And the audiences are great there. I feel lucky for the opportunity to be part of such a great club. Though, I feel that comedy keeps getting harder. I love the process, but also sometimes it’s such a puzzle! The second I feel like I finally “get” it, it eludes me once again!  I am enjoying being single right now and not dating at all. I sometimes think I get too distracted by the idea of a new person in my life. And right now, I should focus on my stand-up and cleaning my room and stuff.  I’ve been slightly homesick lately. I miss my parents. I wish I could see my sister and my niece and nephew more. Everyone is so spread out. And time does go….as you know. I want to keep better track of it. My Grandmother is not doing great. She’s 94 and maybe in her last days. My Aunt said she said she wished she had done more sailing and cross country skiing in her life. I’m trying to think of what I wish I would have done more of, if I were 94 looking back.  Let’s log off and ask ourselves these questions once in a while.

*LBN-SPOTLIGHT: Do You Gift Wrap Your Business?:

*LBN-COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman: Robert Macfarlane, in his book “Landmarks,” about the connection between words and landscapes, tells a revealing but stunning story about how recent editions of the Oxford Junior Dictionary (aimed at 7-year-olds) dropped certain “nature words” that its editors deemed less relevant to the lives of modern children. These included “acorn,” “dandelion,” “fern,” “nectar,” “otter,” “pasture” and “willow.” The terms introduced in their place, he noted, included “broadband,” “blog,” “cut-and-paste,” “MP3 player” and “voice-mail.” While this news was first disclosed in 2015, reading it in Macfarlane’s book still shocks me for what it signifies. But who can blame the Oxford editors for dumping Amazon words for ones? Our natural world is rapidly disappearing. Just how fast was the major topic here last week at the global conference held every four years by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which I participated in along with some 8,000 scientists, nature reserve specialists and environmentalists. The dominant theme runningthrough the I.U.C.N.’s seminars was the fact that we are bumping up against and piercing planetary boundaries — on forests, oceans, ice melt, species extinctions and temperature — from which Mother Nature will not be able to recover. When the coral and elephants are all gone, no 3-D printer will be able to recreate them. In short, we and our kids are rapidly becoming the Noah generation, charged with saving the last pairs. (This is no time to be electing a climate-change denier like Donald Trump for president.)


*LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***“Jersey Boys,” the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical based on the Four Seasons’ career and harmonies, has finally hit a sour note — it’s closing in January after 11 years. Producers said Tuesday the show will hold its final performance on Jan. 15 after 4,642 shows at the August Wilson Theatre. It is the 12th-longest running show in Broadway history.   ***The flesh-colored, skin-tight beaded gown Marilyn Monroe wore during her breathless rendition of “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy is going on the auction block this fall. Julien’s Auctions is offering the sequined stunner at a sale in Los Angeles on Nov. 17. The auction house believes the gown could fetch $2 million to $3 million.   ***Rosie O’Donnell’s long-troubled daughter was reportedly checked into a Long Island hospital after overdosing on drugs. Chelsea O’Donnell, who has struggled with mental illness and drug abuse, was rushed to the emergency room lateMonday according to sources.   ***A team of lawyers, architects and consultants for mogul David Geffen have been negotiating with the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals over a proposed $1.9 million renovation to the mogul’s new $70 million Lily Pond Lane mansion. Geffen wants to turn a patio into a “cellar screening room” and add a 1,045-square-foot garage with roof terrace, plus new walkways and patios, the East Hampton Star said.

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