☕ Cover Shot: The Iowa Flag
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
And we’re back: We hope everyone had a great weekend and a solid start to the week. ICYMI, an artist tried to create a fake traffic jam on Google Maps by dragging a bunch of phones around in a red wagon. Plus, was this the best Super Bowl commercial?
🦅 U.S. NEWS
The Senate battle for impeachment has boiled down to a fight over the votes of a handful of centrists who could give either President Trump or his Democratic opponents a victory heading into the general election, Alexander Bolton of The Hill writes. The votes of three Democrats and two Republicans appear to be in play: Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah). On the newsstands, the dramatic atmosphere surrounding the trial at the Capitol has faded slightly from the headlines in the wake of the Iowa caucuses and Trump’s State of the Union address. In addition, after Friday’s Senate vote against hearing new witnesses, much of the drama seems to have evaporated. That being said, Democrats are trying to keep the pressure on Republican senators ahead of Wednesday’s votes on conviction and in reality, the drama could flare up with one mildly vague or interesting comment from any one of the five above. Here’s how it’s playing:
- Further Reading From the Right: Why Dems Failed to Overthrow the 2016 Election Bennett & Kennedy, FOX News
- Further Reading from Left: Trump Will Be Acquitted. American Politics Will Be Convicted. Ezra Klein, Vox
After more than a year of campaigning, the first votes of the 2020 Democratic presidential race were cast last night in Iowa. Heading into the night former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders were virtually tied for first in state polls, followed by former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. What you need to know: the most important ramification is the narrative. As Vox’s Dylan Scott says it’s about “who comes out of the caucuses looking like a winner, rather than who wins outright.” What’s confusing is that this year there will be three sets of numbers released from the caucuses, which could scramble the storyline. Therefore, if there isn’t one clear winner the “bounce” it normally gives the winner could be less impactful than in years past, as Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight points out. To make it even more confusing, the Iowa caucuses were thrown into chaos late Monday after the state Democratic Party said it found “inconsistencies,” delaying results and causing widespread confusion across the state. State of Play: The Iowa Democratic Party said early Tuesday that it would release the results of the Iowa caucuses later Tuesday after “manually verifying all precinct results.” Cover Kings: The New York Post had the best cover to sum up the delay. – Vox / NPR / FiveThirtyEight / NBC News / NY Post
Empty mall spaces are being transformed into kitchens
Property developers are building kitchens in empty mall space and parking lots to fill food-delivery orders, a new approach in the fast-growing business of shuttling meals to customers, Heather Haddon of the Wall Street Journal reports. Why it’s so interesting: The plan to make restaurant food for delivery in former retail space melds two industries that have been upended by e-commerce. Restaurants are struggling to find a cost-effective formula for meeting the growing demand for delivery of online food orders. Meanwhile, developers say “ghost” kitchens can create new interest in retail and warehouse space vacated by merchants that have struggled to compete with e-commerce. Big picture: Delivery now accounts for roughly 9% of the $282 billion U.S. fast-food sector and is growing faster than dine-in and drive-through sales. – WSJ (subscription)
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
Coronavirus: The death toll in China now exceeds that of the SARS outbreak
The death toll from the new coronavirus has exceeded that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2002 and 2003 in mainland China according to the New York Times. That being said the number of people who have recovered nationwide has also risen in recent days, suggesting that the new virus’s fatality rate is relatively low. Two takeaways: The virus is straining the global economy and it has become a major test for the Chinese government. Global oil prices are collapsing as producers brace for falling demand and even though Chinese officials are erring on the side of caution, there are still experts warning that it could turn into a pandemic. Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceutical firm with an experimental drug called remdesivir that is used to treat the Ebola virus, said late Friday it is working with Chinese health authorities to see if the medication can combat the symptoms of coronavirus. Shares of the company were up 5% on Monday but as of now, there is no cure. – NYT / CNN
ISIS claims responsibility for London stabbing attack that left 3 injured
The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility Monday for the knife attack in London over the weekend that left three people injured. Background: a 20-year-old perpetrator strapped on a fake bomb and stabbed two people on a busy London street Sunday before being shot and killed by police. The attacker had been recently released from prison after being convicted of publishing graphic terrorist videos online and stockpiling instructions on bomb-making and knife attacks. Immediate Fallout: The British government said Monday it will introduce emergency legislation to stop people convicted of terror crimes being released after serving half their sentences, following this recent attack and a similar stabbing spree late last year. – Fox News
Global Going Ons: France, Spain, and Mexico
Here are some other headlines making waves around the world. Police shot and wounded a man armed with a knife after he attacked officers inside a police barracks in eastern France on Monday. An Air Canada Boeing 767 with 128 passengers on board made an emergency landing in Madrid due to technical problems after taking off from the city’s Barajas airport. The plane spent nearly four hours flying in circles near Madrid to burn off fuel before its emergency landing. And lastly, the body of a second butterfly conservationist and activist was found in Mexico. Raúl Hernández Romero is the second butterfly activist to be found dead in less than a week. – The Guardian / Reuters
Stocks Bounce Back, Tesla Keeps the Party Going, and The Feds Cut a Shaving Deal Short
After last week’s decline, U.S. stocks rebounded on Monday thanks to robust U.S. manufacturing activity and a strong performance from a few high profile technology companies. Tesla specifically rallied for its fifth straight day. After Panasonic reported the first quarterly profit in its U.S. battery business with the electric vehicle maker, Tesla’s stock surged past $700. That being said, oil prices dropped and Chinese stocks tumbled as investors try to calculate the potential economic impact of the coronavirus. Elsewhere the Federal Trade Commission sued to block a deal in which the maker of Schick razors was seeking to buy upstart rival Harry’s for $1.37 billion claiming the acquisition would limit competition in the shaving industry that’s traditionally been controlled by two companies – Edgewell Personal Care and Procter & Gamble. – Reuters / Vox
Just under 100 million people watched the Super Bowl on Fox
The Super Bowl put a halt to a four-year decline in viewership, with an estimated 99.9 million people watching the Kansas City Chiefs come back to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in what is annually the most-watched television event of the year, David Bauder reports for the Associated Press. Why it matters: Super Bowl viewership had been slowly eroding since its peak in 2015, when 114.4 million watched a thrilling finish between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. Last year 98.5 million tuned in. Big picture: An exciting game that featured a fourth quarter comeback and two teams that haven’t been in the ultimate game lately most likely helped drive public interest. – AP
Goldman Eyes Offering Small-Business Loans in Deal With Amazon
Goldman Sachs is in talks to offer small business loans to merchants on Amazon’s sprawling e-commerce platform, according to CNBC. The Details from Quartz: “Goldman Sachs is reportedly developing technology to provide lending through Amazon’s lending platform, potentially reaching thousands of enterprises that sell through the e-commerce giant. The project could go live as soon as March.” Why it matters: The deal, if closed, would mark the second tech giant using Goldman as a back-end provider of bank-regulated services, after the firm helped launch the Apple Card last year. – CNBC / Quartz
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
2004: Facebook launches
On February 4, 2004, a Harvard sophomore named Mark Zuckerberg launches The Facebook, a social media website he had built in order to connect Harvard students with one another.
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
Yesterday’s top tag was a beautiful drive-by of the George Washington bridge to start the week…
Why do we knock on wood?