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More Than 1 Million Without Power as Ida Heads to Mississippi



Flash floods and storm surges could continue in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama while Tornado warnings remain in place across parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

Ida Hits Louisana

Hurricane Ida was downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday but continues to pose a serious threat to much of the South after battering Louisana as a category 4 hurricane the day before. 

Search and rescue crews are still assessing the damage and helping those in need. So far, one person has been confirmed dead after they were struck by a falling tree. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) warned Monday that the death toll is expected to rise “considerably” as rescue efforts continue.

Videos and photos from southeastern parts of the state show destroyed homes, and mandatory evacuation orders were given in some parishes, as well as in parts of Mississippi.

Roadways are flooded, trees have fallen, and powerlines have been downed. The dangerous conditions have prompted officials to urge people to stay where they are and keep off the roads.

Meanwhile, in New Orleans, the system of levees, barriers, and pumps that were expanded after Hurricane Katrina appears to have passed their most dramatic test so far.

Sweeping Power Outages

The same, however, cannot be said for all of the city’s infrastructure. Ida has left virtually all of New Orleans without power, with the only power in the city coming from personal generators. 

The utility company Entergy has said that all eight of the electric transmission lines that feed the city were knocked out, including one that fell into the Mississippi River.

As of Monday morning, over 1 million people were left without power in Louisana. Entergy warned that it could be days or even weeks before parts of New Orleans and the surrounding suburbs get power back.

The utility also said some customers may not get power back for three weeks, though 90% will get it restored sooner.

In other parts of the state, Jefferson Parish emergency management director Joe Valiente told NPR it will take at least six weeks for power to return to a large section of the coast.

“There are about 10 parishes that the electrical grids are completely collapsed and damaged, smashed, out — however you want to put it,” he said.

Southern U.S. Remains Alert as COVID Concerns Grow

Officials have warned that the damage will continue as Ida moves north, bringing dangerous weather conditions to much of the south.

While the storm has been downgraded, forecasters have said storm surges and flash flooding may continue today in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Tornado warnings are also in place in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

The storm is expected to travel towards the Middle Tennessee Valley Monday night before moving through the Upper Ohio Valley by Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center has warned that flooding could hit parts of both regions, including areas in Tennessee that are still recovering from devastating flash floods that left more than 20 people dead earlier this month.

President Joe Biden has already approved emergency declarations for Mississippi and Louisiana, which will help provide federal assistance and funds for those impacted.

Still, serious concerns remain about providing care and shelter in a part of the country that has found itself at the epicenter of the recent COVID surges driven by the Delta variant.

Mississippi and Louisiana are currently reporting the second and fourth highest new cases in the U.S. respectively, while other potentially impacted states like Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama all rank among the top seven.

Now, not only is Ida expected to overwhelm hospitals that are already maxing out their capacity, but it could also increase the spread of the virus as more people are forced to leave their homes for shelters or the homes of family members. 

See what others are saying: (NPR) (The Weather Channel) (The Washington Post)


White Supremacist Propaganda Reached Record High in 2022, ADL Finds



 “We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.

White supremacist propaganda in the U.S. reached record levels in 2022, according to a report published Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center of Extremism.

The ADL found over 6,700 cases of white supremacist propaganda in 2022, which marks a 38% jump from the nearly 4,900 cases the group found in 2021. It also represents the highest number of incidents ever recorded by the ADL. 

The propaganda tallied by the anti-hate organization includes the distribution of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic flyers, banners, graffiti, and more. This propaganda has spread substantially since 2018, when the ADL found just over 1,200 incidents. 

“There’s no question that white supremacists and antisemites are trying to terrorize and harass Americans with their propaganda,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash.” 

The report found that there were at least 50 white supremacist groups behind the spread of propaganda in 2022, but 93% of it came from just three groups. One of those groups was also responsible for 43% of the white supremacist events that took place last year. 

White supremacist events saw a startling uptick of their own, with the ADL documenting at least 167, a 55% jump from 2021. 

Propaganda was found in every U.S. state except for Hawaii, and events were documented in 33 states, most heavily in Massachusetts, California, Ohio, and Florida.

“The sheer volume of white supremacist propaganda distributions we are documenting around the country is alarming and dangerous,” Oren Segal, Vice President of the ADL’s Center on Extremism said in a statement. “Hardly a day goes by without communities being targeted by these coordinated, hateful actions, which are designed to sow anxiety and create fear.”

“We need a whole-of-society approach to combat this activity, including elected officials, community leaders, and people of good faith coming together and condemning this activity forcefully,” Segal continued. 

See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (The New York Times)

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Adidas Financial Woes Continue, Company on Track for First Annual Loss in Decades



Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company. 

Yeezy Surplus 

Adidas’ split with musician Kanye West has left the company with financial problems due to surplus Yeezy products, putting the sportswear giant in the position to potentially suffer its first annual loss in over 30 years. 

Adidas dropped West last year after he made a series of antisemitic remarks on social media and other broadcasts. His Yeezy line was a staple for Adidas, and the surplus product is due, in part, to the brand’s own decision to continue production during the split.

According to CEO Bjorn Gulden, Adidas continued production of only the items already in the pipeline to prevent thousands of people from losing their jobs. However, that has led to the unfortunate overabundance of Yeezy sneakers and clothes. 

On Wednesday, Gulden said that selling the shoes and donating the proceeds makes more sense than giving them away due to the Yeezy resale market — which has reportedly shot up 30% since October.

“If we sell it, I promise that the people who have been hurt by this will also get something good out of this,” Gulden said in a statement to the press. 

However, Gulden also said that West is entitled to a portion of the proceeds of the sale of Yeezys per his royalty agreement.

The Numbers 

Adidas announced in February that, following its divergence from West, it is facing potential sales losses totaling around $1.2 billion and profit losses of around $500 million. 

If it decides to not sell any more Yeezy products, Adidas is facing a projected annual loss of over $700 million.

Outside of West, Adidas has taken several heavy profit blows recently. Its operating profit reportedly fell by 66% last year, a total of more than $700 million. It also pulled out of Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which cost Adidas nearly $60 million dollars. Additionally, China’s “Zero Covid” lockdowns last year caused in part a 36% drop in revenue for Adidas compared to years prior.

As a step towards a solution, Gulden announced that the company is slashing its dividends from 3.30 euros to 0.70 euro cents per share pending shareholder approval. 

Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company. 

“Adidas has all the ingredients to be successful. But we need to put our focus back on our core: product, consumers, retail partners, and athletes,” Gulden said. “I am convinced that over time we will make Adidas shine again. But we need some time.”

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNN)

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Immigration Could Be A Solution to Nursing Home Labor Shortages



98% of nursing homes in the United States are experiencing difficulty hiring staff. 

The Labor Crisis 

A recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper has offered up a solution to the nursing home labor shortage: immigration. 

According to a 2022 American Health Care Association survey, six in ten nursing homes are limiting new patients due to staffing issues. The survey also says that 87% of nursing homes have staffing shortages and 98% are experiencing difficulty hiring. 

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) outlined in their paper that increased immigration could help solve the labor shortage in nursing homes. Immigrants make up 19% of nursing home workers.

With every 10% increase in female immigration, nursing assistant hours go up by 0.7% and registered nursing hours go up by 1.1% And with that same immigration increase, short-term hospitalizations of nursing home residents go down by 0.6%.

The Solution 

Additionally, the State Department issued 145% more EB-3 documents, which are employment-based visas, for healthcare workers in the 2022 fiscal year than in 2019, suggesting that more people are coming to the U.S. to work in health care. 

However, according to Skilled Nursing News, in August of 2022, the approval process from beginning to end for an RN can take between seven to nine months. 

Displeasure about immigration has exploded since Pres. Joe Biden took office in 2021. According to a Gallup study published in February, around 40% of American adults want to see immigration decrease. That is a steep jump from 19% in 2021, and it is the highest the figure has been since 2016.

However, more than half of Democrats still are satisfied with immigration and want to see it increased. But with a divided Congress, the likelihood of any substantial immigration change happening is pretty slim. 

See what others are saying: (Axios) (KHN) (Skilled Nursing News)

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