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
For those of you still clinging to summer (like ourselves) keep an eye out for an email from us later today. It’s not over yet.
🦅 U.S. NEWS
That’s A Lot of Bison: Here’s who owns the most land in America
The 100 largest owners of private property in the U.S., newcomers, and old-timers together, have 40 million acres, or approximately 2% of the country’s landmass, according to data from the Land Report and reporting by Bloomberg. For context, this is just about the size of Florida. Why it matters: ten years ago, the top 100 had fewer than 30 million acres. Some interesting examples: Jeff Bezos has his own spread in the Lone Star State, where his company Blue Origin tests its reusable New Shepard rocket. Media Mogul John Malone, Subway co-founder Peter Buck, and five families have amassed so much forest in Maine that they collectively control a quarter of all the state’s land. Last but not least, Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, owns enough ranchland for 51,000 bison which makes up the largest private herd of the animals in the world. – Bloomberg
Cheating, Inc.: How Writing Papers for American College Students Has Become a Lucrative Profession Overseas
Cheating in college is nothing new, but the internet now makes it possible on a global, industrial scale. What’s happening: students in the United States and other countries are turning to an increasingly sophisticated, and fast-growing, essay-for-hire industry to write college papers for them. The result: Millions of such essays are produced every year, with writers in locations like Kenya, India, and Ukraine bidding for assignments on platforms that function similar to eBay or Uber. Here’s the thing: since many of these essays are original creations, it’s challenging for universities to spot such cheating. – LI / New York Times
Bernie Sanders: Pay College Athletes
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said college athletes should be paid, weighing in for the first time on a controversial issue that’s roiling the NCAA and college sports. Sanders’ statement came in response to California’s “Fair Pay to Play” Act, which would allow student-athletes to earn compensation in connection with the use of their “name, image or likeness.” Big picture: College athletics is a $14 billion industry with only about 12% of that being directed to students, almost entirely in the form of academic scholarships. The NCAA basketball tournament, known as “March Madness”, alone has nearly 100 corporate sponsors and generates more than $1 billion. Trivia Throwback: How much of the NCAA’s annual revenue comes from March madness? – U.S. News & World Report / Tag The Flag
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
Trump calls off secret meeting with Taliban, Afghan leaders
President Donald Trump said Saturday he canceled a secret weekendmeeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders after a bombing this week in Kabul that killed 11 people, including an American soldier, and has called off peace negotiations with the insurgent group. The Afghan government on Sunday praised President Trump ’s decision. Why it matters: the surprise summit at Camp David would have been a historic diplomatic gamble, on par with Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. Timing-wise the meeting was scheduled for today, just two days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which were plotted from Afghanistan and led to the United States’ invasion of the country. The takeaway: the announcement puts a major question mark on Trump’s longstanding hope to deliver on a campaign promise to withdraw American troops from the 18-year conflict. – Yahoo News
The Brexit Brain Buster
Okay, here’s one for you to start the week: Boris Johnson’s government is both falling apart and leading the polls. Wait what? Last week the prime minister lost control of Brexit policy to Parliament, which passed a bill forcing him to request a delay to Britain’s October 31st departure. That will become law today. Mr. Johnson wants an election but the Commons blocked the idea last week and will do so again today as well. Here’s the thing: despite all this, the Conservatives are polling ten points higher than the Labour party. The reason, courtesy of the Economist: that is because Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is a dud. Big picture: all things considered, the prime minister’s struggles are perhaps reinforcing his central message to voters: only he will stand up for an undiluted and on-time Brexit, against the elites who will do anything to frustrate it. – The Economist
Ukraine and Russia exchange prisoners in landmark deal
Russia and Ukraine completed a long-awaited exchange of prisoners on Saturday. Those freed include 24 Ukrainian sailors and – controversially – a “person of interest” over the downing of flight MH17 which killed 298 people. Why it matters: The swap is hoped to ease tensions between the two neighbors. Relations between the two countries deteriorated dramatically in 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and Russian-backed rebels began an insurgency in two regions of eastern Ukraine. More than 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Context: In April, Ukrainians elected a new president. Mr. Zelensky said his top priority was to end the conflict. – BBC
High Debt Levels Are Weighing on Economies
Global interest rates are low and may head lower, driven by slowing economies and the U.S.-China trade war. A less appreciated reason for lower rates is a mountain of debt built up during the past decade. By the numbers: Debt owed by governments, businesses, and households around the globe is up nearly 50% since before the financial crisis to $246.6 trillion at the beginning of March. The good: the borrowing helped pull economies out of the nasty recession. The bad: it’s also left them with high debt burdens that make it harder for policymakers to raise rates. The ugly: It also makes consumers and businesses more likely to pull back from spending money on new goods if economic conditions weaken. Related: so should the world worry about America’s corporate-debt mountain? The Economist explains. Keep this on your radar: J.P. Morgan Chase is close to winning the lead advisory role for the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco. – WSJ/ The Economist / CNBC
Sports Are Back
Man, what a weekend to be a sports fan. It’s nice to have almost too many games on after the late summer dead season. The weekend certainly didn’t disappoint either. Let’s start with Antonio Brown. The mercurial wide receiver was picked up by the New England Patriots on Saturday after being released by the Oakland Raiders. Here’s an interesting take on Belichek’s decision to acquire Brown through the lens of legendary investor, Warren Buffett. Meanwhile, in New York, Canada’s Bianca Andreescu’s 1st grand slam title at the US Open prevented Serena Williams’s 24th. It was quite the upset. On the men’s court, Rafael Nadal won, further cementing his legacy. Elsewhere around the country college football was in full swing with amazing overtime games from Michigan vs. Army and Colorado vs. Nebraska. To top it all off it was the first weekend of the NFL regular season. Why it matters: It’s hard to think of another country that can serve up that type of action. – AP / Forbes / Detroit Free Press / Denver Post
120 million workers will need to be retrained due to AI, says IBM study
Artificial Intelligence is apparently ready to get to work. Over the next three years, as many as 120 million workers from the world’s 12 largest economies may need to be retrained because of advances in artificial intelligence and intelligent automation, according to a study released by IBM. Why it matters: unemployment leads to discontent and largescale discontent oftentimes leads to political unrest, or at the very least frustration with the status quo. Two examples: Brexit & Trump’s election in 2016. Reality Check: AI can also help automate redundant tasks, which makes current jobs more efficient rather than non-existent. Connect the dots: On Friday we mentioned that despite societal talk about the future threat posed by technology, Americans believe that softer skills, such as adaptability, people management, and time management, will be most useful in the long term. – CNET / MarketWatch / Tag The Flag
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1956: Elvis Presley makes first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”
The King of Rock and Roll teams up with TV’s reigning variety program, as Elvis Presley appears on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for the first time. Why it matters: With 60 million viewers—or 82.6 percent of TV viewers at the time—tuning in, the appearance garnered the show’s best ratings in two years and became the most-watched TV broadcast of the 1950s.
True or False: Elvis’s manager came up with “I hate Elvis” badges to earn money from his haters…
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
Yesterday’s top tag was a #SundaySalute to the Florida police officers who safely brought down the American flag during Hurricane Dorian
How many Americans believe in climate change?