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
Exactly two months before the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union, Parliament is expected to vote today on Prime Minister Theresa May’s fallback plan for the departure. Word on the street: if a deal isn’t reached by February 26 (basically a month before when Brexit is supposed to happen) there might be cross-party consensus on backing an amendment for a nine-month extension.Here’s a longer explainer as well.
It’s rare that we lead with weather, but it’s cold as H-E-double hockey sticks in parts of our country right now. A major snowstorm that lashed parts of the Midwest on Monday will give way to record-smashing cold this week as a powerful Polar Vortex drives a deep freeze across the eastern half of the nation, forecasters say. Parts of the south can expect snow today and the bitter cold will bring below-zero temperatures to a quarter of the continental U.S. In Chicago, the coldest temperatures of the year will arrive midweek with the Tribune calling them “life-threatening“. Accuweather said there’s risk for hypothermia and frostbite could “occur in minutes“. Get this: A few spots in Minnesota and eastern North Dakota may see wind chills in the 60s below zero. – USA Today / Chicago Tribune / Accuweather / Weather Channel
The government shutdown cost the economy $11 billion, including a permanent $3 billion loss
The federal government shutdown cost the economy $11 billion, according to a new analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, reflecting lost output from federal workers, delayed government spending and reduced demand. $3 billion of that is unrecoverable. Larger Impact: growth in GDP will slow to 2.3% this year, from 3.1% in 2018, as the effects of the new tax law wear off and the economy absorbs the impact of the shutdown. Big Reveal: what the government shutdown really did was expose Americans’ deep savings crisis. – CNBC / Fox News
The Fyre Effect: More questions are being asked of influencer marketing in wake of documentaries
Influencer marketing in the U.S. and around the world is under renewed scrutiny after the release of two documentaries about the Fyre Festival — “the greatest party that never happened”, which was marketed by high-profile social media accounts. Why it matters: celebrities and personalities using their personal social media accounts have blurred the worlds of marketing and their personal lives, making it hard for consumers to know the difference between an ad and something more genuine. One interesting thing: while some think the Fyre fiasco will cause a rethink of the influencer economy, others think that it may lead to its rebirth simply because it was so successful. – Digiday / Financial Times
+Trump Administration Begins Production Of A New Nuclear Weapon
+ Pelosi re-invites Trump to deliver State of the Union
+A 30-year-old orca has died at SeaWorld’s Orlando park.
US, Taliban agree to draft peace framework
The United States and the Taliban have drafted the framework of a deal which could pave the way for peace talks with the Afghanistan government, Washington’s main negotiator was quoted as saying. It’s worth reiterating the most important piece of the puzzle: the U.S. and the Taliban have already been talking – there’s been a months-long diplomatic push to convince the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government, but the group has steadfastly refused, dismissing authorities in Kabul as “puppets”. Apparently, the Taliban acceded on one major issue for the US: safe havens. Why this matters: the U.S. and other countries don’t want Afghanistan to harbor groups like ISIS or Al Qaeda. – Al Jazeera
At Least 3 Dead and 172 Injured After Tornado Hits Havana, Cuban President Says
A tornado and pounding rains smashed into the eastern part of Cuba’s capital overnight, toppling trees, bending power poles and flinging shards of metal roofing through the air as the storm cut a path of destruction across eastern Havana. Context: it was the strongest to hit Cuba since Dec. 26, 1940. Immediate Impact: More than 200,000 people lost water service. – TIME
Denmark builds anti-pig border fence amid swine fever fears
Denmark has started building a 43-mile fence along its border with Germany in an effort to control the migration of wild boar. Why? There are fears that African swine fever, which has been found in two dead wild boar in Belgium, could threaten Denmark’s huge pig industry. Why it matters: If the disease spreads, it could jeopardize almost $1.7bn in pork-product exports from Denmark. – BBC
U.S. Levels Criminal Charges Against China’s Huawei
The Trump administration unveiled a sweeping set of criminal charges against China’s Huawei Technologies in its latest salvo against the telecom giant. Timing: the announcement came as U.S. officials are scheduled to meet with representatives of the Chinese government this week to try broker an elusive trade agreement and end the prolonged tariff war between the two economic giants. Big Picture: apart from the trade dispute, the U.S. and China are also competing for control over 5G infrastructure, which both countries believe is key to their economic and military success. – CBS
Guaranteed money could be key to avoiding NFL lockout
Though the next labor fight between the NFL and its players is more than two years off, one issue is already clear: avoiding a work stoppage in 2021 could depend on whether players can secure more guaranteed money in the next collective bargaining negotiations with the league. Why it matters: some players are already expecting a lockout that could be even worse than the one that lasted 132 days before the previous agreement was signed in 2011. Examples: contract holdouts by Le’Veon Bell and Earl Thomas this season put the issue into vivid focus. Connect the dots: this mirrors the NHL in a sense. That league also has a CBA that doesn’t expire until 2022, but negotiations could officially be prompted by either the league or the players as soon as 2020. Why: The players feel like they have given up a lot in the last two CBAs. Their share of the league revenue was dropped from 57% to 50% last time around, and 13% of their paychecks currently go to teams around the league that are under performing financially. Keep reading. AP / Pregame Skate
Now Hiring: Internet Bodyguards: A Big Problem for Tech in 2019 – Too few cybersecurity professionals
Although the year has gotten off to a relatively good start with fewer major cyber attacks, the good tidings are fleeting according to Tech Crunch’s Robert Ackerman, and 2019 could be the worst year yet. This bad news is compounded by the harsh reality that there are not nearly enough cybersecurity pros to properly respond to all the threats. Ackerman says the technology industry has never seen anything quite like it: seasoned cyber pros typically earn $95,000 a year, often markedly more, and yet job openings can linger almost indefinitely. According to one study, there is now a gap of almost 3 million cybersecurity jobs globally. The fall back: Companies are trying to cope in part by relying more aggressively on artificial intelligence and machine learning, but this is still at a relatively nascent stage. Bottom line: if you have a bachelor’s degree in programming, computer science or computer engineering you’ll find a job in the world of cyber security. – Tech Crunch
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1936: U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame elects first members
On January 29, 1936, the U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame elects its first members in Cooperstown, New York: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson and Walter Johnson.
Mini trivia: which one of these players was not a unanimous choice for the Baseball Hall of Fame? ANSWER →