Cover: College Graduates. See second story in U.S. News section.
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
The US Navy just confirmed these UFO videos are the real deal
🦅 U.S. NEWS
U.S. Abortion Rates Plummet to Lowest Levels Since Procedure Became Legal
The number and rate of abortions across the United States have plunged to their lowest levels since the procedure became legal nationwide in 1973, according to new figures released Wednesday. Specifics: The report from the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, counted 862,000 abortions in the U.S. in 2017. That’s down from 926,000 tallied in the group’s previous report for 2014, and from just over 1 million counted for 2011. Why it matters: abortions are decreasing in all parts of the country, whether in Republican-controlled states seeking to restrict abortion access or in Democratic-run states protecting abortion rights. Big picture: One reason for the decline in abortions is that fewer women are becoming pregnant. – TIME
College Drop-Ins: New Mexico governor announces free college tuition plan for residents
In one of the boldest state-led efforts to expand access to higher education, New Mexico unveiled a plan on Wednesday to make tuition at its public colleges and universities free for all state residents, regardless of family income. Why it matters: The move comes as many American families grapple with the rising cost of higher education and as discussions about free public college gain momentum in state legislatures and on the presidential debate stage. Funding: Long one of the poorest states in the country, New Mexico plans to use climbing revenues from oil production to pay for much of the costs. Details: The program still requires legislative approval and would apply to all 29 of the state’s two-and four-year public institutions. – NYT / NY Post
America’s lead-pipe danger lurking underground
Households across the country may be at risk of drinking lead-tainted water as lead pipes age underground and municipalities struggle to balance high replacement costs with a slew of other urgent infrastructure projects. Why it matters: Exposure to any amount of lead is highly dangerous, especially for children. The public health disasters in Flint and Newark have dominated headlines, but more than 6 million lead service pipes are buried beneath U.S. cities — and the Government Accountability Office believes that’s a low estimate. Big picture: 12 states have more than 200,000 lead pipes in their water systems and altogether research estimates that 15 million to 22 million people nationally have lead service lines supplying water to their homes. – Axios
🤝 PRESENTED BY: OUTERKNOWN
11 time World Surf League Champion, Kelly Slater and acclaimed designer, John Moore founded Outerknown with the belief that we have a responsibility to make clothing that respects the world around us. They asked: What if we could design the kinds of clothes we love to wear in a more conscious way? That’s the question they’re answering every day. They founded Outerknown to change the game and create clothing that not only reflects their style but also their values. Click here to shop→
🌎 WORLD NEWS
Saudi Arabia Implicates Iran in Oil Attacks
Saudi Arabia said it holds Iran responsible for attacks that debilitated Saudi oil facilities, directly implicating Tehran for the first time but stopping short of explicitly accusing it of conducting the strikes. Meanwhile, President Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that he has ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran in the wake of the attacks. Why it matters: First and foremost this raises the prospect of a hot war between a U.S.-Saudi led Coalition and Iran. More broadly, the failure of Saudi and American air defenses to stop Saturday’s attack has raised alarms about the security of facilities that are a key component of the world’s oil supply. Either way, the Saudi strikes are a critical test for Trump. – WSJ / The Hill
Trump emphasizes US relationship with Israel after election doesn’t favor Netanyahu
President Trump on Wednesday emphasized the United States’ relationship with Israel as partial election results from the country show that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close Trump ally, may not win the race. With over 90% of the votes counted late Wednesday, challenger Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party captured 33 seats in the 120-seat parliament, to 32 seats for Netanyahu’s conservative Likud. Why it matters: Looming over the campaign were Netanyahu’s legal woes. Netanyahu had hoped to capture a narrow coalition of hard-line parties that would grant him immunity from prosecution. – AP / RealClearPolitics
Justin Trudeau Wore Brownface at 2001 ‘Arabian Nights’ Party While He Taught at a Private School, Canada’s Liberal Party Admits
The re-election campaign of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada was thrown into turmoil on Wednesday when a photograph surfaced of him wearing brownface makeup at a 2001 private school party. Why it matters: Trudeau has made fighting racism a central pillar of his politics — he’s increased Canadian immigration levels, and included numerous visible minorities in his Cabinet. Timing: The first-term prime minister is running neck-and-neck in a tough campaign, with a Canadian federal election scheduled for Oct. 21. The incident risks damaging Trudeau’s already fragile brand. – TIME / Politico
Fed approves quarter-point rate cut but is divided on further action this year
The Federal Reserve approved a quarter-point interest rate cut Wednesday, something that almost everyone was expecting. Details: Seven of 10 officials voted in favor of lowering the short-term benchmark to a range between 1.75% and 2%. The New York Fed also injected $75 billion in cash into money markets, following a $53 billion infusion on Tuesday. Here’s the thing: the central bank offered few indications that further reductions are ahead as members are split on what to do next. Why this matters: Well, for one the President certainly would like rates to be cut even further. And in reality, so would investors seeing as how “cheap money” has helped fuel what some think are bubbles across multiple asset classes. Further Reading: Why is the NY Fed pumping billions into the money market? – CNBC / AFP
Sex-abuse reports on rise; SafeSport Center seeks more money
The U.S. Center for SafeSport is fielding 55% more reports of sex abuse and other misconduct in 2019 than it did last year according to the AP. Background: The U.S. Center for SafeSport is a 2½-year-old center tasked with investigating sex-abuse claims in Olympic sports. Why it matters: the increase is leading to an increasingly urgent debate over who should provide the lion’s share of money to an organization struggling to manage its caseload. By the numbers: the organization is now receiving an average of 239 reports a month. On another note, Antonio Brown is back in the spotlight after some “intestinal” issues at the doctor’s office. – AP / Business Insider
Facebook enters the streaming race
Facebook has thrown its hat into the video-streaming ring, with a new streaming device that also brings smart video chat to your television. Why it matters: The company joins an increasingly competitive field, squaring up against veterans such as Amazon and Roku. Facebook’s Portal TV is part of a line of smart home products, which feature end-to-end encrypted video calls amid rising privacy concerns. Separately, the tech giant is partnering with Luxottica, the owner of Ray-Ban, to develop augmented-reality glasses, according to CNBC. In other smart home news, you’ll be able to contribute to 2020 presidential campaigns via Alexa. Heads Up: be sure your friends don’t troll you when they come over by asking Alexa to donate to a candidate you despise. – LI / CNBC / Engadget / The Verge
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1957: Nevada is site of first-ever underground nuclear explosion
On September 19, 1957, the United States detonates a 1.7 kiloton nuclear weapon in an underground tunnel at the Nevada Test Site, a 1,375 square mile research center located 65 miles north of Las Vegas. The test, known as Rainier, was the first fully contained underground detonation and produced no radioactive fallout.
Fast Forward: In 1996, the U.S signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits nuclear detonations in all environments.