Delay And Cancel. Independence Day.

The FAA – A Harvard Case Study. Freedom Comes At A Cost.

  • I find it interesting, maybe ironic, how U.S. air travel is now in a state of chaos. One would think, coming out of the pandemic, which obviously affected worldwide airlines’ bottom line, air carriers would be fully engaged and staffed with handling the pent-up demand of U.S. air travel. Sure, there were weather issues last week, but tell me the last time there were not weather issues in the U.S. in the late Spring and early Summer? According to FlightAware’s website, there were 8,000 flights canceled between June 24 and June 28…a staggering number that does not just line up with weather issues. In what I will call a most insensitive decision by an airline CEO, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby issued an apology Friday for chartering a private jet at the height of the nationwide travel disruptions last week. In the understatement of the week, Kirby issued an apology and said it “was the wrong decision” to charter a jet “because it was insensitive to our customers who were waiting to get home.” The epitome of insensitive, to say the least.

Where and what is the real issue? It is our infamous Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a vast and complex federal agency. We could debate the dismal state of the FAA for days, but their systemic failures include not modernizing their technological systems and not hiring enough air traffic controllers and safety specialists. I am not going to go politics but the FAA’s oversight is obviously under the Department of Transportation. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, who has been on the job for over two and one-half years, is Pete Buttigieg. Just as a level set, his background before becoming the Secretary of Transportation included two terms as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and seven years in the U.S. Navy Reserve. I am in no way diminishing Buttigieg and his service to the United States. What I am saying is that Secretary of Transportation’s C.V. should include a vast background relating to transportation and logistics. Enough said.

Last Monday at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.

Things I Think To Start Off July:

  • People hiring phone bots to torment telemarketers = fantastic idea.
  • Have you watched “The Bear” on Hulu? So far, it is two seasons of great writing, casting, and acting.
  • I find it interesting how the banking ‘crisis’ of just a few months ago is no longer news. Some good news from the banking front, direct from the Federal Reserve: “The 2023 stress test shows that the 23 large banks subject to the test this year have sufficient capital to absorb more than $540 billion in losses and continue lending to households and businesses under stressful conditions.” My question: what about small to midsize banking institutions, including community banks?
  • Headline of the Week: “Every person in South Korea suddenly becomes at least a year younger after law changed.” Seriously, what a great idea!
  • Are you going to see the new Indiana Jones or Mission:Impossible movies?
  • Will Thursday’s Supreme Court decision lead to less-diverse student bodies?

  • Freedom and independence, based on history, come at a high cost. Along with a few other countries, Ukraine is top of mind for me on this Independence Day weekend. Sometimes, it is interesting to take a look back at different perspectives regarding freedom and independence.
  • “Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.” – Bob Marley
  • “Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.” –Moshe Dayan
  • “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” –Ronald Reagan
  • “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” – Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf
  • “Freedom and democracy are dreams you never give up.” – Aung San Suu Kyi
  • “We hold our heads high, despite the price we have paid, because freedom is priceless.” –Lech Walesa
  • “The American flag is the symbol of our freedom, national pride and history.” –Mike Fitzpatrick
  • “We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants–everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.” –Franklin Roosevelt
  • “No other date on the calendar more potently symbolizes all that our nation stands for than the Fourth of July.” – Mac Thornberry

  • A happy 4th of July weekend to you and yours.  I hope that no one takes our Independence with a grain of salt, especially in light of some of the chaos and terrorism happening at home and abroad. I was surprised that Independence Day was only declared a federal holiday in 1941, considering the United States is celebrating our 247th birthday.  On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later, on July 4, delegates from the thirteen colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted by the one and only Thomas Jefferson. If you have a flag, fly it. If you do not have one, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware have flag kits for under $15.00. Buy a flag and fly it proudly. To our Canadian friends: you celebrated Canada Day yesterday….and my experience with Canadians tells me most of you are still celebrating one day later!

An interesting rendition of Lee Greenwood’s salute to America seems to be appropriate for this weekend:

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a great July 4th weekend!

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