Skimm'd while listening to our new podcast

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MARCH 14, 2019


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Skimm'd while listening to our new podcast


"They can be quite tenacious when they are in a pack" – Chickens ganged up to attack a fox that broke into their barn. Don't get too comfortable. We could be next.


The Story

Boeing 737 Max planes have been grounded until there are answers as to why two deadly plane crashes happened in a span of a few months.

Where's this coming from?

Earlier this week, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff – killing all 157 people on board. The investigation is ongoing. But the pilot reported "flight control problems" and asked to return to the airport but then lost contact. The plane – a Boeing 737 Max 8 – was the same model as the Indonesian Lion Air flight that went down minutes after takeoff a few months ago and killed all 189 people on board.

So the plane is basically banned?

Yep. Yesterday, President Trump said all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 planes would be grounded due to safety concerns. The US was the last major country to hold out on grounding the Max 8, with the FAA saying as early as Tuesday that there were no "systemic performance issues" with the planes. Yesterday, both Canada and the FAA said new satellite data shows there's reason to put the planes on standby until there are more answers.

When you say standby…

As in, you won't be flying on a Boeing 737 Max anytime soon. Airlines will likely be shifting planes or schedules to make up for it.

Will this affect a lot of people?

It'll mostly affect people in North America and China. That's where many of these planes are used. China was actually the first country to make the call to ground the Boeing plane model. The country has looked to the FAA to make many of its calls regarding aviation in the past. Now, it's asserting itself in the conversation over airline safety. Much to the US's dismay.

Why did the US take so long to act? What's the deal there?

Ah. The elephant in the room. Here's the thing...this whole ordeal is bringing up the deep connection between Boeing, Capitol Hill, and the White House. President Trump is close with the company's CEO, and his acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan worked at Boeing for more than 30 years before joining the Pentagon. There are ongoing ethics questions over whether Shanahan promoted Boeing since he started working for the gov. Oh, and Boeing has spent millions over the years lobbying DC lawmakers.

So what's being done to fix this?

Investigators are looking into whether the same problem caused the two crashes. Boeing said it has "full confidence" in the planes but supports the decision to temporarily ground them. Worth noting that following the Indonesia crash, Boeing started working on tweaking its system. And before this grounding, it had been promising to upgrade some flight-control software in the coming weeks.

I can only imagine the meetings going on at Boeing right now...

Yeah...the 737 Max planes are its current bread and butter. And this crisis could cost the company billions. Case in point: Norwegian Air has already made clear it expects Boeing to write it a check at the end of all this.


Boeing is a leader in the aircraft industry – both with commercial planes (like the 737 Max) and military planes. This safety crisis is a huge liability for the brand. And it's making people take a closer look at this billion-dollar industry to make sure that safety in the skies is the number one priority.

Skimm More: We've got your Skimm on what airlines do to prevent crashes, what you can do as a consumer, and more.


What to say when someone's being indecisive during a breakup…

The UK is saying 'hold my tea.' Yesterday, lawmakers voted not to leave the EU without a plan in place for how to do it. Might be a good idea, because a no-deal Brexit could lead to chaos on everything from travel to trade. The problem: the UK automatically leaves the EU on March 29 (15 days from now) unless lawmakers vote to delay it...and unless the EU signs off on it. Today, the UK votes on whether to do just that. Because almost three years of trying to figure things out worked out so well.

Who people are talking about…

Francesco Cali, the suspected boss of the Gambino crime family. Last night, the 53-year-old was shot and killed outside his home on Staten Island. You may know the Gambino family because of former leader John Gotti, who was a major mafia figure in the late 80s and early 90s before going to prison for murder and other charges. Cali is the first alleged mob boss to be killed in New York in decades. An investigation is ongoing.

What people are talking about…

School tragedies. Yesterday, a building with a school in it collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria. Building collapses are not uncommon in Nigeria since developers sometimes use low-quality materials and ignore building codes – and a lack of robust regulation lets them get away with it. In this case, the gov is reportedly being blamed for neglecting issues with the building. At least eight people were killed and an unknown number are still missing. Rescue efforts are ongoing. Meanwhile, tragedy also struck in southern Brazil. Two masked men targeted a school, killing at least eight people, including five students. The attackers were former students but the motive hasn't been determined yet. Brazil has the world's highest murder rate but mass shootings are rare there and it's unclear how the attackers got a gun. This attack comes after the country's new president Jair Bolsonaro recently signed a decree making it easier for the public to arm themselves.

What to say when you're too busy to do laundry so you have to make it work 'til the weekend...

Have you met DC? Here's what happened yesterday alone: Paul Manafort got a few extra years tacked onto his prison sentence while New York charged him with 16 more counts a presidential pardon can't get him out of. The GOP-controlled Senate voted to end US military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen...for the second time. It now goes to the House. Also getting a second chance in Congress: the Equality Act. If passed, it would add LGBTQ criteria into the 1964 Civil Rights Act...and be the first nationwide law protecting them from discrimination. Speaking of, the Pentagon issued its policy preventing many transgender people from serving in the military – it goes into effect next month. And Beto O'Rourke is on the cover of Vanity Fair, and looks to be getting ready to make an official 2020 presidential bid today. Now go do your laundry.

What to say when you can't check Insta or Facebook...

Maybe I'll read a book, speak to another human being, or just listen to music. On the music front: yesterday, Spotify said it filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the EU, accusing The Fruit of giving itself an "unfair advantage" with the App Store. The two companies are competing for users in the music streaming space. Although Spotify is in the lead, Apple Music is coming in hot. Now, Spotify is claiming that Apple is doing competitors dirty by doing things like charging companies up to 30% to sell subscriptions in the App Store and punishing the ones that try to skimp. It's unclear if the EU will follow up with an investigation. But it comes as agencies and politicians in the US and UK are also taking a microscope to antitrust laws and the tech industry. Speaking of tech, 5G. Verizon is set to become the first network to publicly unleash 5G tech for US smartphones. Next month, it's rolling out the tech for users in Chicago and Minneapolis...but they'll have to have the gear for it and pay an extra $10 a month.

Skimm More: Read up on why no one can go two sentences without saying '5G' these days.

What to say to your friend who thinks their kid is God's gift to this universe…

Meet, Lola June.

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Shoutout to…Ana H (VA). She's the 18-year-old who won top prize at the Regeneron Science Talent Search – a prestigious science and math competition for high-school seniors. She developed a mathematical model to figure out the possible locations of planets outside the solar system. She's getting $250k and is the first Hispanic first-place winner in 20 years.

Spotlight Our podcast, Skimm This, is celebrating a new "Woman of the Week" for Women's History Month – and we want to hear from you. Which woman do you think killed it this week and should be featured? Leave a voicemail to let us know: 646-461-6370. Then tune in on Friday at 5pm ET and you might hear your voice.

(Some) Birthdays...Nat Gryll (DC), Shelley Greebel (NY), Thomas Karageorgiou (MO), Emmie Shapiro (QC), Natalie Holzkopf (IL), Tyree Stewart (TX), Emma McAfee (GA), Enzo Franze (NJ), Evan Hansen (OH), Martyna Skalna (CA), Peter Hassinger (CO), Tracey McKee (MI), Tyria Naspinski (NC), Whitney Chen (ON)

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