Cover: Washington D.C.
Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
Donald, Duck: Happy National Rubber Ducky Day, America. Get this: Sales of the iconic yellow rubber ducky soared in Britain in 2001. Why? A British Tabloid, The Sun, reported Queen Elizabeth II had a rubber duck in her bathroom that wore an inflatable crown.
🦅 U.S. NEWS
Duck, Donald: What to Watch in the Week Ahead on the Impeachment Front
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday ended weeks of speculation surrounding the Democrats’ impeachment effort, announcing the House would vote as early as this week to send a pair of articles to the Senate. Yesterday Pelosi defended her decision to temporarily hold the articles from the upper chamber by claiming the decision forced “the public to see the need for witnesses.” What’s next: If the House sends its slate of impeachment managers to the Senate on Tuesday, it would trigger the trial the following day. Why it matters: the timing comes just as Democratic presidential contenders, including several sitting members of the Senate, make their final push ahead of the Iowa caucuses. With three weeks to go until then, Bernie Sanders is leading the pack causing some to think that if he is pulled away from the campaign trail it could create a pathway for Joe Biden to surge at just the right time. So how’s it playing?
- On the right: Kevin Williamson of National Review says that “The Democrats would have been far better off simply telling the truth about Trump’s failings and challenging him at the polls rather than presenting this as an apocalyptic drama that cannot wait for an election and resolution on ordinary democratic terms.
- On the Left: The LA Times op-ed section adds that it’s time to “get this over with and prepare for the election, which will be a close battle in the familiar swing states. The people will have the final say.”
Women Now Make Up the Majority of the U.S. Labor Force
Women have replaced men as the majority of jobholders, and the roles they’re choosing signals a labor-market shift, Bloomberg writes. By the numbers: Women held 50.04% of nonfarm payroll positions in December, the highest share since 2010, according to Labor Department data Friday. While this is being celebrated, “there’s also a darker flipside: women’s increasing role in this data has coincided with a decline for men. Economists cite multiple reasons: lower demand and wages for unskilled uneducated workers, retiring baby boomers, and an opioid crisis that disproportionately affects men.” – Bloomberg
America’s College Wealth Premium Has Collapsed
Is college worth it? As the cost of American higher education soars, inequality widens, and wages stagnate, millions of Millennials and Gen Zers have asked themselves that question, The Atlantic’s Annie Lowrey writes. While economists widely agree that the answer is “yes”, citing studies like this which show that college graduates earn nearly twice as much as their peers without a college degree, there are other studies that show that college boosts earnings, but doesn’t help build wealth as much as it used to. In fact, the wealth premium—meaning how much more a person with a college diploma makes and owns than an otherwise similar person—has collapsed precipitously over the past 50 years. So what’s causing the collapse? There are three main culprits. 1) increased asset prices such as homes 2) increased consumer debt and 3) the cost of college. More and more students have taken out heavy debt burdens to be able to go to school, burdens that then eat away at their earnings, month after month, for years on end, which brings us back to the first point, is college worth it? Keep reading.
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
Thousands of protesters gathered Saturday in Iran, furious at their government’s admission that it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people. Why it matters: The public anger puts further pressure on Iran’s leaders, already challenged by the U.S. sanctions that have prompted an economic crisis and helped trigger public protests. As domestic anger simmered, Iran faced more criticism for its handling of the protests abroad.
- From Ukraine: President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in his first reaction to Iran’s announcement, said his country would “insist on a full admission of guilt” by Tehran.
- From Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, home to many of those aboard the destroyed jetliner, demanded a “full and complete investigation” and said “Iran must take full responsibility.”
- From the U.S.: Later Mr. Trump, in his own Twitter message, warned against what he called “another massacre” of protesters in Iran, an apparent reference to the deadly repression of demonstrators there in November.“ – WSJ / The New York Times
China will not change its position that Taiwan belongs to it, Beijing said on Sunday, after President Tsai Ing-wen won re-election and said she would not submit to China’s threats. Quick Catch Up: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen won re-election by a historic landslide on Saturday, a decisive result widely seen as a rebuke to Beijing’s efforts to gain control over the island democracy. What’s next: With the election behind her, Tsai now faces the challenges of keeping economic growth on track and delivering on promises to improve the lives of Taiwan’s people. Tsai Ing-wen met Sunday with the de facto U.S. ambassador to Taipei, which presumably did not make China happy. – Reuters / AP
A decade after the earthquake, Haiti still struggles to recover
More than 300,000 people were killed, several hundred thousand were injured and nearly 1.5 million were left homeless when a magnitude 7 earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. Why it matters: ten years later, Haiti hasn’t recovered from this disaster, despite billions of dollars being spent in the country. Big picture: Two main factors explain the magnitude of this tragedy: the weakness of Haitian public institutions and the disorganization of international aid, particularly from NGOs. Read more on Tag The Flag. Speaking of natural disasters, half a world away authorities in the Philippines have warned that a “volcanic tsunami” may be possible after a small volcano near the country’s capital erupted on Sunday, shutting down the main international airport and causing tens of thousands to evacuate.
The Week Ahead Plus a Spooky IPO
After the United States and Iran backed away from the brink, all three major U.S. indices marched towards record highs last week. Here’s everything you may have missed last week. In regards to the week ahead, All eyes will be on the U.S and China’s decision to sign the phase one trade agreement on Wednesday. Earnings season also kicks off and there is a bevy of economic data to monitor. We have a full overview here. Plus, Casper, the mattress company, has fired the starting gun on a long-awaited stock market launch, hoping public market investors will want a stake in what it describes as a “sleep revolution”, the Financial Times writes. The Takeaway: This is yet another instance of a high-profile startup, operating at a heavy loss, trying to convince the public that it’s been disruptive enough to completely own one space. In this instance, it’s sleep, rather than transportation (Uber) or work (WeWork). – Tag The Flag / The Street Sheet
Americans Tune into the College Football Playoff championship
Tonight Americans will tune into the College Football Playoff championship game between No. 1 LSU (14-0) and No. 3 Clemson (14-0). The AP has a great read about how the increased emphasis on the passing game has given rise to a Golden Age of wide receivers. Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post also has something to think about: the two schools competing in tonight’s national title game boast coaching staffs that will be paid more than $27 million for this season alone. The players, on the other hand, will earn $0. Last but not least, keep an eye out for President Donald Trump. The commander in chief plans to be in attendance. On our radar: in the professional ranks, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was arrested after allegedly jumping on car over the weekend. – ESPN / AP / Washington Post
Google AI System Could Improve Breast Cancer Detection
According to a new study, a Google artificial intelligence system was as good as expert radiologists at discovering which women had breast cancer. Why it matters: Breast cancer affects one in eight women around the world. Moreover, the American Cancer Society says radiologists miss about 20 percent of breast cancers in mammograms, and many women who get the tests have a false positive result at some point. Big picture: the study results represent a big step toward the possibility of early breast cancer detection. – Voice of America
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1968: Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison
In the midst of depression and a steep decline in his musical career, legendary country singer Johnny Cash arrives to play for inmates at California’s Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968. The concert and the subsequent live album launched him back into the charts and re-defined his career. Take a look…
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
Friday’s top tag: That’s one way to reenlist…
When was it decided that women prefer some types of food – yogurt with fruit, salads, and white wine – while men are supposed to gravitate to chili, steak, and bacon? Keep reading: How steak became manly and salads became feminine…