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
Oink Oink: Lunar New Year began at midnight. We’ve all heard about the Year of the Pig—but what does this celebration really represent? Here are the top 10 things to know about Chinese New Year.
In today’s State of the Union Address, President Trump is expected to issue a plea for bipartisanship at a moment of deep partisan divisions. He has hinted at using a national emergency to secure border wall funding, which would let him spend money on the wall without approval from Congress. Trump has also said that his next meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un “is set” and that he will likely reveal details like the date and venue tonight. Last but not least, Trump plans to use tonight’s State of the Union address to promise an end to the HIV epidemic in America by targeting U.S. communities with the most HIV infections and work to reduce transmissions by 2030. – AOL / Politico
Party in the City Where the Heat is On: Out-of-State Buyers Flock to Miami
A growing list of public officials in high-tax states are expressing alarm that big earners are bolting to low-tax states as new data suggests some home buyers are moving in response to the year-old change in the federal tax law. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo became the latest on Monday when he blamed a $2.3 billion state shortfall on the new federal tax law that he said is driving people to leave the state. Florida had the highest level of net domestic migration from July 2017 to July 2018, according to U.S. Census data released in December. New York was the largest overall population loser, followed by Illinois. Miami is seeing one of the largest influxes. – WSJ / Fortune
Fastest-growing job in your state
The fastest-growing job across eight U.S. states is solar panel installation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a median annual salary $34,490 as of 2017. Statisticians, earning an average $84,060, are the fastest growing — as opposed to the most plentiful — in four. Farming is on the upswing in Alaska, while animal trainers are in demand in Oregon. Big picture: The unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.0% in January 2019, while the labor force participation rate hit its highest mark since 2013. Overall, the report indicated that the U.S. labor market is still chugging along. – Yahoo Finance
Iraq angered by Trump idea to watch Iran from US base
President Donald Trump said U.S. troops stationed in Iraq could “watch Iran,” which was apparently news to Iraq’s president, who said the U.S. didn’t have permission to do that. Background: There are an estimated 5,000 US military personnel in Iraq authorized to train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces in their fight against IS, which has not fully controlled any territory in the country for more than a year. – BBC
Venezuela Struggles to Pump, Ship Oil After U.S. Sanctions
Venezuelan crude exports are declining sharply as new U.S. sanctions push the country’s oil industry closer to collapse, threatening a bigger impact on global markets than many experts anticipated. What’s happening: oil storage is filling up in the country as President Nicolás Maduro’s regime struggles to line up buyers. Why it matters for Venezuela: the crude shipments are Maduro’s only real source of income. Why it matters for the world: tankers carrying products linked to Russia’s PAO Lukoil, Spain’s Repsol SA and U.S. oil giant Chevron Corp. have been delayed, halted or redirected in the past week as payment problems cloud trade with Venezuela. – WSJ (subscription)
Pope and grand imam sign historic pledge of fraternity in UAE
The pope and the grand imam of al-Azhar have signed a historic declaration of fraternity, calling for peace between nations, religions, and races, in front of a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths. Historical Context: it was the first ever visit by a pontiff to the Arabian peninsula. Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb said that the Middle East should embrace its Christian population, and that Muslims should strive to integrate in Western countries. – The Economist / The Guardian
Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders call for restricting corporate share buybacks
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of New York and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont are proposing legislation that would prevent companies from buying back their own shares unless they first pay workers at least $15 an hour and offer paid time off and health benefits. Context: Buybacks shattered a record in 2018, surging to $1.04 trillion and doubling 2017′s output, largely driven by corporate tax cut. From the left: progressives believe companies should be doing more with their cash than rewarding shareholders and putting money in the pockets of executives who ultimately benefit from higher stock prices. From the right: conservatives don’t think it’s the government’s job to tell companies how they can spend money, saying a significant slowdown in buybacks would have a significant impact on markets. – CNBC
Super Bowl ratings hit a 10-year low as live TV events continue to bleed viewers
The New England Patriots’ competitive but action-starved Super Bowl victory over the Los Angeles Rams was seen by 100.7 million people on television and streaming services, the smallest audience for football’s annual spectacle in a decade. Last year, Nielsen said 103.4 million people watched the game, whereas this year the game was seen by 98.2 million people. Big picture: Televised events have been declining in ratings in recent years, and not even the Super Bowl is immune. Examples: Last year’s Emmys dropped 11% from 2017. Last year’s Oscars telecast hit an all-time low with 26.5 million viewers, down 19% from 2017. Last year’s NBA Final took a ratings hitcompared to 2017. And last month’s “Rent” on Fox was the lowest-rated live television musical ever. – Business Insider / Variety / Deadline
Alphabet topped revenue targets in Q4 but rising costs spook Wall Street
Alphabet topped Wall Street revenue targets in its final three months of 2018. However, rising losses in its “other bets” and swelling costs to partners spooked investors. Google’s stock was down 3.5% in after-hours trading. Here are some of their projects that are considered “other bets”. Food For Thought: Amazon also invests heavily in “other bets” (i.e. health care, brick-and-mortar, India, and whatever else Bezos feels like) yet their stock gets rewarded. Just last week, despite somewhat lackluster results a Goldman analyst raised his 12-month Amazon price target to $2100 saying “We continue to believe Amazon represents the best risk/reward in Internet.” Bottom Line: it’s interesting Alphabet doesn’t receive the same treatment. – The Verge / CNBC
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1937: Roosevelt announces “court-packing” plan
On February 5, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt announces a controversial plan to expand the Supreme Court to as many as 15 judges, allegedly to make it more efficient. Critics immediately charged that Roosevelt was trying to “pack” the court and thus neutralize Supreme Court justices hostile to his New Deal. Flash Back to Last Week: Why Do Supreme Court Justices Serve for Life?
Yesterday’s top tag: In honor of the Patriots winning the Super Bowl here’s a Flag outside of one of the smallest houses in Boston compliments of one our favorites, @brianmcw.