FAA Issues Safety Call to Action Following Several Narrowly Averted Disasters
The move also comes as the agency — which has not had a permanent leader for nearly a year — is facing increased scrutiny for a widespread systems failure that grounded all flights nationwide last month.
A Series of Close Calls
The acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a rare safety call to action for the industry Tuesday, following a string of near-misses with airliners in the past few months.
In a memo, Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said he would form a safety review team, convene a safety summit, and order a review of aviation safety data “to see whether there are other incidents that resemble ones we have seen in recent weeks.”
Nolen did not flag any specific examples, but there have been multiple that made headlines recently.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are both currently investigating a handful of events that an NTSB spokesperson described as having presented a “significant risk of a catastrophic outcome.”
This first took place at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on Jan. 13 when an American Airlines jet crossed a runway right in front of a Delta Air Lines plane that was getting ready to take off.
Then, just under two weeks ago, a FedEx cargo plane almost landed on top of a Southwest Airlines passenger flight at Texas’ Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after an air traffic controller had cleared the FedEx jet to land on the runway where the Southwest plane had been cleared to take off.
The NTSB said that the two planes came within 100 feet of each other.
According to The Washington Post, the NTSB also confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating two other situations involving United Airlines flights at airports in Hawaii.
One of those incidents took place in Honolulu and involved a cargo jet operated by the company Cessna and a United passenger plane. Few details are available, but, according to The Post, the FAA “said an air traffic controller told the United crew to stop on a taxiway before reaching the runway, but the aircraft crossed instead. The Cessna stopped about 1,170 feet from the United jet.”
The other episode the NTSB just announced it is probing took place in December, but there has only been extensive news coverage of it in the last few days following the publication of an article by The Air Current.
According to the outlet, a United flight full of passengers took off from the Maui airport, climbed for about a minute, and took a sudden nosedive at a rate of 8,600 feet per minute. The aircraft did not crash, but it descended until it was only 775 feet above the Pacific Ocean.
All Eyes on the FAA
The safety call to action comes as the FAA is facing growing scrutiny. In addition to the near-misses, the FAA also faced criticism last month when a key safety bulletin system went down, prompting the agency to ground all flights nationwide for the first time since 9/11.
Last week, representatives on the House Transportation Committee expressed their concern that the FAA has not responded quickly enough to safety and management issues that have existed for a while.
Nolen’s memo also comes just one day ahead of his scheduled testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation regarding the safety bulletin system outage. Committee leaders have said they expect him to address questions regarding these near misses and other safety concerns.
Unfortunately, it remains unclear how much can really be done because the agency still lacks stable leadership. Many federal lawmakers have argued that the biggest obstacle the FAA faces is the fact that it has not had a permanent leader since the last administrator stepped down in March.
President Joe Biden has nominated Phillip Washington, chief executive of Denver International Airport, to head the agency, but senators have not confirmed him because of concerns about his qualifications.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Axios) (NBC News)
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)
Adidas Financial Woes Continue, Company on Track for First Annual Loss in Decades
Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company.
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.
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)
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%.
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.