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
🦅 U.S. NEWS
Border wall talks break down ahead of the second possible government shutdown
With less than a week to go until another potential partial federal government shutdown begins on Friday, bipartisan compromise talkson funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall have completely broken down. Why it matters: The sudden development again raised the possibility that Trump will declare a national emergency to access previously appropriated funds to initiate construction on a border wall. Politico reported Sunday that the Democrats offered a deal to Republicans, though Republicans won’t negotiate until the Democrats rescind their demand to cap the number of detention center beds. – Fox News / Politico
Virginia State Leaders Hold On Tight To Office After More Than A Week Of Turmoil
In just 10 days, Gov. Ralph Northam has admitted to being in a racist photo — then denied it, then admitted to wearing blackface on a separate occasion. Meanwhile, Attorney General Mark Herring said he, too, had donned blackface. Last but not least, two sexual assault allegations have surfaced against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. Despite the political chaos, Virginia leaders dug in over the weekend, defying widespread calls to resign after a second woman stepped forward Friday to accuse the Democrat of sexual assault. Food for thought from the AP: “Before multiculturalism, blackface rampant in US pop culture.” – NPR / AP
Tax refunds down by 8 Percent this year
It’s been a full year since Congress overhauled the tax code, and early federal tax filers have found refund checks to be about 8% lower on average. Comparison: refunds for 2018 so far averaged $1,865, compared with $2,035 for the 2017 tax year, according to IRS data. Drivers: Experts expected the smaller refunds because many did not adjust their withholdings after changes in the tax code took effect. – CNN / IRS
Assault under way against last Islamic State stronghold in Syria
Fierce clashes took place yesterday on the eastern edge of Syria as US-backed troops battled to oust ISIS fighters from the last square mile of the group’s once-sprawling so-called caliphate. The pocket of land amounts to less than 1% of the area IS used to control after it declared a caliphate across large areas of Syria and Iraq in 2014. As more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the area, a few outlets reported that IS was using women and children as human shields there. – Sky News / The Telegraph
Are There Too Many People On Planet Earth or Not Enough?
The United Nation has predicted that the global human population will reach 9.8 billion people by 2050, putting significant strain on the world’s natural resources. Here’s the thing, however: the opposite may be the case according to research from Canadian journalist John Ibbitson and political scientist Darrell Bricker. Bricker alleges that the UN failed to take into account improved rates of female education (which can affect how women approach reproduction) and rapid global urbanization, particularly in developing nations. Big Picture: from Bricker’s perspective, it looks like the world may enter a spiraling population decline by around 2050. – WIRED / The Guardian
The place where 6 months off is Okay
Starting a company requires sacrifice, but if you live in Sweden it won’t mean giving up your job. A unique Swedish law allows employees to take six months off — to study, look after a relative, or even start a business — without losing job security. Program participation has risen in recent years, coinciding with growth in Swedish innovation. – BBC
Prepare to Pay More for Diapers, Clorox and Cat Litter
Makers of household staples from diapers to toilet paper are set to raise prices again this year after already hiking prices in 2018, hoping to offset higher commodity costs and boost profits. Drivers: this is all in response to higher costs of raw materials and transportation as well as unfavorable foreign-currency swings. Companies that don’t have a mix of high- and low-priced products find it harder to pull off price increases because they risk losing price-sensitive customers for good. – WSJ (subscription)
Bob Costas: NBC Dropped Me From Super Bowl For Talking Concussions
Former NBC sportscaster Bob Costas claims that a network executive told him “you’ve crossed the line” after he commented that football “destroys” some players’ brains, and was booted from hosting the 2018 Super Bowl shortly thereafter. Big Picture: Fewer than 1.04 million high school students played football in 2017. That’s 20,000 fewer athletes than in 2016, a 2 percent drop. In the past decade, football enrollment has declined 6.6 percent, according to NFHS data. – ESPN / The Washington Post
Amazon reportedly reconsidering New York headquarters after widespread backlash
Amazon’s proposed 25,000-employee office in Queens, New York, may not go forward after all. How come: local opposition from activist groups and politicians including US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, expressed concern ranging from skepticism to flat-out outrage at the prospect of giving one of the world’s most valuable companies substantial tax breaks to move into the gentrifying and fast-crowding borough of Queens. Proponents of the Amazon deal in Queens often say that another corporation will fill the void if Amazon pulls out, making no difference to the eventual effect on Long Island City. – The Verge
🤝 PRESENTED BY: STATE & LIBERTY
National White Shirt Day: This unofficial national holiday honors those who participated in the strike at General Motors in 1937. In a nutshell, these men and women helped the United Auto Workers (UAW) union become the sole bargaining agent for GM autoworkers, fighting for better working conditions, higher wages, and things we take for granted today, like being able to talk during lunch. Speaking of Detroit and the surrounding areas, today’s newsletter is presented by an Ann Arbor based clothing company, State and Liberty, which was founded by two University of Michigan Alumni who also took issue with the status quo. Simply put, they could not find an off-the-rack dress shirt to fit their athletic body types so they decided to do something about it. We’ll be telling you more about State and Liberty all week, but in the meantime click here to shop their selection of white shirts. Believe us, once you wear one you’ll never switch back.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1990: Nelson Mandela released from prison
Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years on February 11, 1990. Something not many people know: Nelson Mandela was only removed from the US terror watchlist in 2008.
The Tag that got the most love over the weekend was two of America’s finest carrying Old Glory between them. Take a look→