The other day I stopped by my local fortified drug store, which operates under the name CVS. I’m not certain if this is the case in states where there are still unpleasant consequences for stealing goods off the shelves of retailers, but here in California shoplifting is practically encouraged because under the law it’s akin to jaywalking, which is legal in the state due to racial sensitivities. Stores like CVS understandably need to protect themselves.

At my local CVS, pretty much everything I purchase is under lock and key, making CVS’s poor excuse for a retail experience even more unpleasant than its store designers intended. Virtually every item I want requires me to push a button, which triggers an intercom announcement that assistance is required in a certain aisle, and then a disinterested and typically miserable person with a slew of keys eventually appears to open a cabinet.

CVS stores are notoriously understaffed, and it can take a few minutes until an employee saunters over, so that buying a simple tube of toothpaste can easily become a 10-minute ordeal. Opening cabinets is an annoyance for CVS employees because it pulls them away from helping angry customers figure out the self-check-out machines, which at my local CVS has become mandatory.

I’m okay with CVS staffing its stores with only one or two employees even at peak times because CVS’s chief executive Karen Lynch was paid $21.6 million last year, and that’s a big nut to crack. Allowing Lynch to save a few bucks not hiring low wage employees hopefully means ethically challenged CVS and its Aetna and Caremark subsidiaries will be less inclined to rip-off their customers.

What prompted my CVS trip was Bloomberg’s recent story by Anna Edney and Peter Robison, with assistance from Fiona Rutherford, about the dangers of buying CVS’s OTC drugs, which I highlighted in this June 11 post.  I’m confident that anyone who reads Bloomberg’s story won’t continue buying CVS-branded OTC drugs, and for that matter, any CVS store-branded products.

(Reader note: As I’m always trashing the mainstream media, I’ve decided to call out the names of reporters who produce worthy and enterprising stories.  In due course, I imagine readers of this blog will be familiar with virtually Bloomberg’s entire news staff).

I still have a giant CVS bottle of ibuprofen that’s half full, but I don’t trust that it was manufactured properly. I wanted the real brand-named stuff, so I headed over to the OTC drug section looking to buy some Advil. As best I can tell, unlike countless CVS-branded OTC drugs, Advil hasn’t been repeatedly recalled because of manufacturing issues.

Advil and other branded OTC drugs were under lock and key, which hardly was a surprise.

But CVS-branded OTC drugs were on open shelves, just begging to be stolen.

When a store employee showed up to open the Advil cabinet, I asked her why the CVS-branded products weren’t protected.

“They don’t want it,” she said.

“Who doesn’t want it?” I asked.

“The people who steal,” she said. “They can’t sell it on the streets.”

My longtime dream job was to be the chief marketing officer for Toyota, Subaru, or Honda. Being head of marketing for Advil is now on my list. Think of the potential marketing slogans.

Advil: The Ibuprofen of Choice for Discerning Shoplifters

Advil: The Only Ibuprofen Worth Stealing

Advil: You Get What You Pay For

Bloomberg’s story about the dangers of CVS’s OTC drugs didn’t get much pickup, certainly not anything close to the cascade of media stories about how the Washington Post’s supposedly vaunted standards for fairness and balance were under grave threat because of its British publisher and the UK editor he wanted to install after the election. Days after I published my commentary about the Post newsroom’s delusions of grandeur, the UK editor understandably opted not to take the job.

This might come as a surprise to the Post’s woke newsroom, but I’m confident in saying that most Americans would be more concerned about the health risks of OTC drugs than the possible derailment of the Post’s DEI initiatives. If former editor Sally Buzbee understood this, the Post likely wouldn’t have lost half its readership under her leadership.

As for the Post’s exemplary standards for fairness and balance, the Washington Free Beacon’s Josh Simonson this past weekend provided some insight about the folks responsible for the Post’s virulent anti-Israel coverage. Turns out, at least six members of the Post’s foreign desk previously wrote for Al Jazeera, which is partially bankrolled by the government of Qatar, the country serving as a safe harbor for Hamas’s billionaire top leaders.

The Post’s Al Jazeera alum includes the publication’s Middle East editor, Jesse Mesner-Hage, who spent more than a decade as an editor at Al Jazeera’s English edition, London correspondent Louisa Loveluck, investigative reporter Evan Hill, visual enterprise editor Reem Akkad, WaPo Live host Libby Casey, and breaking news reporter Adela Suliman.

Al Jazeera’s anti-Israel bias is undeniable. The news service recently was revealed to have significantly edited a video of a Gazan doctor who claimed he was injured during the daring Israel raid in Gaza to rescue four hostages.

In the video, the doctor is seen crying and screaming about the casualties, saying: “It is true that we are steadfast,” but then the video suddenly cuts, and the man is seen crying again.

An uncut version of the video found its way online, and here’s a comment the injured physician made that Al Jazeera edited out:

This rotten leadership will end up blaming us that we… it is true that we are steadfast, however, our leadership is scum. Our leadership got used to this bloodshed, may Allah reckon with them!… Swear to me that this video will reach the Palestinian leadership. This massacre at Nuseirat – we could have prevented it!

Of course, I’m relying on information reported by the Jerusalem Post, which the media’s legions of Israel haters no doubt will argue is a biased source. So, here’s another detail: An Egyptian court in 2019 deemed three Al Jazeera journalists as terrorists. Moreover, an Egyptian criminal court last year reinstated the names of some Al Jazeera journalists on the country’s newly crafted terrorism list.

Al Jazeera journalists aren’t trusted on or welcomed by Israel or Egypt, which both border Gaza, but they are welcomed and embraced by the Washington Post.  

Speaking of censorship, CNN this morning channeled its inner Al Jazeera and reportedly cut the microphone of Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt after she began highlighting host’s Jake Tapper’s long history of criticizing Trump. Tapper is scheduled to co-anchor Trump’s scheduled debate with President Biden on Thursday.

“It is really shocking just how triggering the truth is to CNN,” Leavitt said after the incident, explaining that she was trying to highlight for viewers that Trump would be at a decided disadvantage during the debate.

Like the Washington Post, some of whose misinformed reporters regularly appear on the network, CNN is hemorrhaging viewers, despite the Gaza conflict and this being an election year. For the week of June 10, CNN averaged a mere 477,000 total viewers in prime time and a paltry 80,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic that advertisers covet.

There are some influencers on TikTok who would kill themselves if their videos attracted an audience of less than 500,000 viewers.

Turns out Gretchen Whitmer is an even bigger failure than I captured in my recent commentary about Michigan’s governor and presidential aspirant.

When Whitmer first ran for office, she vowed to “to fix the damn roads,” which in Michigan are among the worse in the nation. More than six years later, Lauren Gibbons of nonpartisan Bridge News reports Whitmer hasn’t made good on that promise.

There are a host of reasons, but Gibbons says one of them is a shortage or workers. Nevertheless, according to a Bridge analysis, Whitmer spent $1 billion to create 200 of what she called “good paying” factory jobs, which works out to $5 million per job. I don’t need Cousin Rob’s mathematical wizardry assistance to figure out that it would be a lot cheaper for Michigan to subsidize its road crews and fix its roads rather than divert taxpayer monies to GM and Ford, who keep cutting jobs in Michigan and moving the high paying ones to California.

Fortunately for Whitmer, the New York Times is smitten by Whitmer, publishing yet yet another softball interview with her this past weekend that didn’t mention her legions of failures. The Times understandably didn’t mention any of her major accomplishments because I’m unaware of any. The Times published this ode to Whitmer in February and columnist Bret Stephens recently encouraged President Biden to step aside so that Whitmer or Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro could run in his place.

The Times’ most recent interview noted that Whitmer by her own admission was “wild” in high school and college, and once threw up on her principal who found her passed out in the parking lot. No doubt Michigan AG Dana Nessel can relate to that story.

Nessel nearly three years ago had to be carted away in a wheelchair at a Michigan football game to avoid “puking on her constituents.”

Michigan’s Dana Nessel

Since the inception of this blog, I’ve attempted to educate readers about the Starkman Approved Theory, which holds there is an inverse relationship between companies and individuals that profess the highest ethics and morals and the values they actually live by.

Some academics have validated my theory.

Companies using trust words were also about 15% more likely to receive a comment letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission asking them to clarify information on their annual reports than companies that didn’t use trust words, according to a study published in the Journal of Business Ethics and cited by the Wall Street Journal‘s Lisa Ward. The SEC often uses comment letters to communicate its concerns with the annual report. 

“Companies likely use trust words to project a positive image and better manage information within the annual report, but it seems that no one is really fooled,” Gopal Krishnan, a professor of accounting at Bentley University, told the Journal.

The authors used a computer program to search for the 21 words in the annual filings of 3,595 companies between 1995 and 2018. In their sample, 1,659 firms used trust words and 1,936 didn’t.

Had the authors simply subscribed to Starkman Approved, they could have saved themselves the time and cost of their study.

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