🌞 Fake Christmas Trees – November 30 2020


Happy Cyber Monday. Did you know that Cyber Monday dates back before The Civil War when brave frontiersman, and women, used to order their wares from Ye Olde Amazon General Store? Back then Ye Olde Prime delivery used to take 4 months via Pony Express and usually arrived broken. We’ve come a long way since then.

In Today’s Newsletter:

  • Beware of fake Christmas trees

  • COVID vaccines could earn you $1,000

  • President-elect Joe Biden fractures an ankle

In Case You Missed It

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🌋volcano erupted in Indonesia, forcing 26 villages to evacuate. 

☕️ Drinking hot cocoa could help boost brain function. 

🐍 Snakes can fly, and not just in my nightmares. 

🏈 Sarah Fuller made history as the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game on Saturday. 

👩🏻‍💻 A New Jersey school board member was forced to resign after she took her Zoom call into the bathroom and did her business. 

🐱 The Biden’s are said to be adopting a cat to live with them in the White House. The President-elect may be walking with a boot for the next few weeks after he twisted his ankle playing with his dog this weekend.  

Coronavirus Update: 🗣 Total confirmed U.S. cases as of 9 a.m. ET Sunday: 13,247,384 — Total deaths: 266,074 — Total recoveries: 5,024,365


Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 2.80%  0.10% 2.85% 0.10%
15 year 2.52% 0.16% 2.61% 0.17%

Lead Story: Let’s Make a COVID Deal

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Would you consider taking the Covid vaccine if someone paid you $1,000? If you were apprehensive before, does money make a difference?

Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that 80% of the U.S. population should take the vaccine in order to end the pandemic. Yet 35% of Americans say that they don’t want to. That means that even with a successful vaccine, we would be 65% short of a vaccinated population.

Robert Litan, a Senior Fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, proposes that the government pay each person $1,000 to take the vaccine as an incentive, meaning a family of 4 would receive $4,000. By his calculations, this would cost the government $275 billion but boost the vaccine rate to 80%. That might seem like a lot but if you compare it to the trillions of dollars in rescue packages that Congress is fighting over, it really isn’t.  

Beware Of Fake Christmas Trees

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Beware of counterfeit Christmas trees! A Wisconsin tree producer is claiming that Home Depot, Whole Foods, and other retailers tried to pass off cheap knockoffs of Fraser firs last year.

In 2019, Evergreen East sent Home Depot a notice that it was settling falsely-labeled trees. The court complaint says that the company did not fix the error and now seeks damages, attorneys fees, and an account of every Christmas tree they sold in 2019 labeled or sold as Fraser Fir.

Fraser fir trees are known as top-of-the-line, with dark green needles that are silver on the underside. They can sell for nearly $700 on Manhattan sidewalks but last year chain retailers marketed them for just $80. Evergreen President Kevin Hammer says that sometimes trees are cut early in the year in Canada, shipped to North Carolina, and then labeled Carolina trees.

Home Depot said that it did move to correct the labeling error and Whole Foods has made a motion to dismiss the case for failure to prove harm.

“Home Depot is not Canal street where you buy a fake Gucci bag,” Hammer said. “People go in there and see a tree from Canada and [don’t realize] it’s second or third-rate,.” 

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The Great 2020 Baby Bust

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Demographers are warning that the opposite of a baby boom could happen due to the pandemic. More like a baby bust.

Normally, when unusual events force people to stay home, birth rates soar. Examples include the great northeast blackout of 2003, hurricanes, big snow storms. We have a baby as a result of 2011’s Hurricane Irene and can attest to women giving birth in the hallways 9 months later.

But Covid is something different. Yes, people have to stay home, but they are staying home in fear of an apocalyptic world. Who wants to bring a child into a world with record unemployment and raging disease?

Another problem is not just the estimated 15% drop in birth rates, but the demographic that does go ahead with conception. Upwardly mobile people who think they’ll be okay will conceive but lower socioeconomic status populations will suffer with fewer births and more “unintended births.”

The good news is that birth rates are typically resilient and recover quickly after natural disasters such as the SARS outbreak or Hurricane Katrina. The grandparent population to help out may not, but the babies will find their way in eventually. 

News By The Numbers

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13 feet. That is how long an alligator is thought to be that was caught on camera eating some ducks by hunters. And this is why you don’t go in the water in Florida! 

10,500. That is how many turkeys will have to be killed due to an outbreak of bird flu at a farm in the UK. 

6,000 years old. That is the age of a group of arrows that were found in Norway in a melting patch of ice. They were found with reindeer bones and antlers, suggesting that the area was used for hunting thousands of years ago.

87. That is how many more votes Joe Biden received in Wisconsin than originally thought after the Trump campaign paid $3 million for a recount

$106. That is how much a hamburger costs in Gordon Ramsey’s new restaurant. It does not come with fries.

Trump Is For The Birds

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The Trump Administration is removing a longstanding protection for birds. 

The 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act gives federal prosecution rights to authorities against industry that threatens birds, such as electrocution on power lines, wind turbines, and oil field pits where birds die in toxic water. The Trump administration wants to repeal this and began the process last week because they believe that the act should only apply to birds harmed intentionally, not as collateral result of business.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that somewhere between 450 million to 1.1 billion birds are killed by industry per year. 

There’s a Three-Foot Long Rat On Your Arm

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The African giant-pouched rat can grow up to 3 feet long. It can also sniff out landlines and tuberculosis.

A rat called Magawa in Cambodia can sniff out unexposed landlines in an area the size of a tennis court in about 30 minutes. This big of an area would take a human four days to search.

The same breed of rat is being used in Tanzania to sniff out tuberculosis. They can sniff 100 samples in less than 20 minutes, which would also take humans 4 days. Apparently, the common house rat can do this too but they don’t live long enough to be trained. The African rat can live up to 7 years. Maybe we have misunderstood ROUS’es all this time! 

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