☕ Cover Shot: Happy Presidents Day: Mount Rushmore National Memorial
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
Happy President’s Day: On this day in 1801, Thomas Jefferson was elected the third president of the United States. Why it mattered: The election constituted the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in the United States.
🦅 U.S. NEWS
House Democrats are grappling with whether to pursue further investigations of President Trump following his acquittal in the Senate, facing both an election in nine months and fresh White House actions that they say demand scrutiny, Andrew Duehren of the Wall Street Journal reports.
- On one hand, Democrats want to look into whether the president improperly influenced the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, casting Mr. Trump as emboldened by the end of the impeachment process.
- On the other, party leaders are eager to focus on pocketbook issues for voters, such as health care, and Democrats are wary of launching another drawn-out fight with the White House that could backfire in November.
So what’s their solution? Public hearings. In the wake of the Stone controversy, Attorney General William Barr agreed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31, and Democrats are set to ask him about the case. Big picture: “With impeachment done, some Democrats said that current oversight efforts should be aimed at releasing new information to the public that will inform how they vote in November, rather than attempting to remove Mr. Trump from office again.” Related: Over 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials have signed an open letter calling for Attorney General Bill Barr to resign after senior department officials intervened to reduce a sentencing recommendation for Donald Trump’s friend Roger Stone. – WSJ / Vox
For decades, Japanese American activists have marked Feb. 19 as a day to reflect on one of the darkest chapters in this nation’s history, Gustavo Arellano writes for the LA Times. How come? On that date in 1942, during World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized the forced removal of over 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent from their homes and businesses. What now? On Thursday, the California Assembly is expected to approve, with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s endorsement, a formal apology to all Americans of Japanese descent for the state’s role in policies that culminated with their mass incarceration. Big Picture: this not the first time California politicians have pushed residents to reckon with past sins against Japanese Americans, with previous efforts dating back to the 1980s. – Los Angeles Times
As Flooding Spreads in Mississippi, Officials Say the Worst Is Still Ahead
Water continued to rise and spread in Mississippi on Sunday in what threatened to be one of the most severe floods in decades to hit the central part of the state, Rick Rojas writes for the New York Times. Background: The swollen Pearl River has already spilled into parts of Jackson, the state capital, and other communities along its banks because a reservoir just upstream has been filled to capacity by days of torrential rain. Today the river may crest as high as 38 feet, a mark not seen since 1983. – New York Times
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
44 Americans On The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Diagnosed With Coronavirus
Another 70 cases of the coronavirus infection have been confirmed aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, currently quarantined in Japan, according to Japanese health officials. Why it matters: This brings the total number of cases aboard the vessel as of Sunday to 355, the largest confirmed cluster outside mainland China. The Diamond Princess is reported to have around 3,700 passengers and crew members, 400 of which are Americans. Of those, 44 have been infected with the outbreak, but not all are sick. Figures from China, released on Sunday, showed 68,500 cases of the coronavirus and 1,665 deaths. – NPR
Royal Bank of Scotland Gives Itself a Rebrand
One of the world’s oldest banks is moving away from a name that stretches back almost three centuries. After the global financial crisis that saw the Royal Bank of Scotland receive a £45.5 billion ($59.3 billion) bailout from British taxpayers to prevent it collapsing, the bank has decided it needs a fresh moniker. The choice? NatWest Group PLC. How come? RBS bought London-based NatWest in 2000 and branches in England still go by that name. Pretty bland, but according to new Chief Executive Alison Rose its a more trusted brand that the lender will adopt later this year. Branches in Scotland will retain the RBS name. – WSJ (subscription)
Time For T-Shirts in Antarctica
This past week a weather research station on Seymour Island in the Antarctic Peninsula registered a temperature of 69.3 degrees. Why it matters: the nearly 70-degree reading is considered the hottest temperature yet recorded on the planet’s coldest continent. Big picture: The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest-warming parts of the world. The rapid warming there has led to more consistent scientific monitoring, as researchers’ concerns about ice loss shift to include virtually the entire continent. – The Washington Post
Biz Bullets: Tesla, Delta, and Boeing
On Friday, Tesla priced its secondary offering at $767 per share, a 4.6% discount from its closing price the day before. The company hopes to raise more than $2 billion, saying the proceeds will be used “to further strengthen its balance sheet.” The electric vehicle maker also announced that CEO Elon Musk will purchase $10 million and Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison will buy $1 million worth of stock in the offering. Elsewhere, Delta Air Lines announced plans to go fully carbon neutral starting March 1. The airline will also dedicate at least $1 billion over the next decade to reducing its environmental impact. And lastly, the all-out production freeze on Boeing’s 737 MAX jets could lead to a 0.4% drop in GDP growth according to analysts at the New York Fed. Given the fact that the average quarterly GDP growth is 2%, this is a significant blow. – CNBC / Axios
Colin Kaepernick to Release a Memoir and Start a Publishing Company
This past week Colin Kaepernick announced that he will release a memoir through a new publishing company he has founded, Kaepernick Publishing. Audible, the audiobook company owned by Amazon, will release an audio version of the memoir, as well as other Kaepernick Publishing projects. Big Picture: Kaepernick is an extremely polarizing figure who crops up in news feeds every couple of months for some reason. In November the N.F.L. arranged a workout for Kaepernick and invited all 32 teams, but it fell apart amid a dispute between Kaepernick and the league. ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith had an animated summary of the event. – NYT
Facebook Takes Aim At Pinterest
Facebook’s experimental projects group, referred to as the NPE Team, released its latest application last week. Dubbed “Hobbi”, the app is designed as a way to let you document your personal projects and hobbies. Why it matters: it’s taking direct aim at Pinterest, but notably, there is a lack of a social networking component. Big picture: Facebook has said that apps created by the NPE Team might “change very rapidly and will be shut down if we learn that they’re not useful to people.” – 9to5Mac
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1947: Voice of America begins broadcasts to Russia
With the words, “Hello! This is New York calling,” the U.S. Voice of America (VOA) begins its first radio broadcasts to the Soviet Union. Why it mattered: The VOA effort was an important part of America’s propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.