The Senate overwhelmingly approved a sweeping free trade deal yesterday, passing the administration's US-Mexico-Canada Agreement by a vote of 89-10. The package governs an estimated $1.2T in economic activity and its passage comes just one day after President Trump separately signed a partial trade agreement with China. An overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the deal updates restrictions on autos, provides enforcement for labor standards, and more (details here). It also updates provisions around digital services and goods - NAFTA was enacted in 1994, at the dawn of the internet. The deal is projected to raise US GDP by $68B (a 0.35% increase) and add about 180,000 jobs (a 0.12% increase).
A Sober Centennial
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the 18th Amendment, which gave federal and state governments the authority to ban the production and sale of alcohol nationwide and kicked off the Prohibition era in the US. Its enactment represented the culmination of a decadeslong grassroots push (see timeline), whose supporters believed alcohol was a primary contributor to social ills like poverty, promiscuity, and declining public morals. The law itself didn't ban the consumption of alcohol - just making and selling it - and lacked an effective centralized enforcement mechanism. While the ban likely contributed to the rise of organized crime, researchers point out that alcohol consumption declined significantly, as did alcohol-related health problems. The law was eventually voided by the 21st Amendment in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression. Americans now drink more booze than they did before Prohibition, consuming on average 2.3 gallons annually.
Watchdog Dings White House
The Government Accountability Office found the White House broke budget laws by suspending military aid to Ukraine, according to a report yesterday. The issue is the same as the one at the center of the current impeachment trial; however, the charges differ. Congressional Democrats allege the funds were withheld to force an investigation into domestic political opponents. The GAO, whose responsibility is to ensure funds are spent according to congressional intent, concluded that the administration effectively substituted its own policies for statute by failing to obligate $214M to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (read the eight-page report). In doing so without notifying Congress, the Office of Management and Budget violated the Impoundment Control Act, which sets strict limits for how the executive branch can spend or withhold funds.
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In the Know
Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Tennessee Titans visit Kansas City Chiefs Sunday in AFC Championship (3:05pm ET, CBS); Green Bay Packers head to San Francisco to take on 49ers in NFC Championship (6:40pm ET, Fox) (More) | Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. issued warrant for simple assault after altercation with security guard at college football championship game (More)
> NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, will launch July 15 with pricing tiers ranging from free to $10/month (More)
> Grammy CEO Deborah Dugan placed on administrative leave just a week before Grammy Awards; the move came after allegations of misconduct (More)
Science & Technology
> Surprising study observes some wolf puppies with innate understanding of how to play fetch, even with a human handler they've never met; suggests wolves may have a genetic disposition to being domesticated (More)
> Supercomputer mining of fossil record database reveals the rise and fall of specific species within mass extinction events that occurred 540 to 250 million years ago with an accuracy of about 26,000 years (More)
> Microsoft pledges to be carbon negative, removing more CO2 from the atmosphere than it emits, by 2030 and launches $1B climate innovation fund focused on carbon capture technologies (More)
Business & Markets
> Alphabet Inc. (Google) becomes fourth US company to reach $1T market value, joining Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft (More)
> Toyota invests $590M in flying taxi startup Joby Aviation (More) | Kia and Hyundai invest $110M in Arrival, an electric commercial van startup (More)
> Short video social media giant TikTok was second-most downloaded app worldwide in 2019, following Facebook’s WhatsApp (More) | TikTok 101 (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Rule change for Iowa caucuses will reveal two vote tallies and one delegate county, potentially allowing multiple candidates to claim victory; the Feb. 3rd caucuses are the first vote of the primary season (More)
> Ukraine opens investigation into possible illegal surveillance of former US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch; move follows release of documents showing Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas discussing her removal (More)
> Fourth Annual Women's March scheduled Saturday in cities around the US; 10,000 expected in Washington, DC, down from an estimated 100,000 last year (More)
The Craigslist of Guns
The Verge | Colin Lecher, Sean Campbell. A look at the never-ending online gun show that is Armslist, where almost anyone can flip guns for profit, with or without a license. (Read)
A Letter to My Mom
Player's Tribune | Jeff Okudah. Three years after enrolling at Ohio State University as a highly rated cornerback - and three years after his mother passed away from lymphoma - Okudah reminisces as he prepares for the NFL draft. (Read)
Watch The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
Netflix | Geno McDermott. A gripping and intimate look at how Hernandez went from playing in the Super Bowl for the New England Patriots to dying by suicide in a jail cell as a convicted murderer. (Watch, $$)
Your Worst Office Romance Was Never This Bad
Quartz | Justin Rohrlich. Not all relationships have a fairytale ending but very few end in such a nightmare. (Read)
Excellent historical returns, no jargon.
The Motley Fool is a true family business: founded by brothers Tom and David Gardner out of their garage in Alexandria, Va. Since then, they’ve grown remarkably, thanks in part to some life-changing stock recommendations. Some highlights: > Netflix in 2004 (200,000% returns to-date) > Amazon in 2002 (13,000% returns to-date) > Tom’s average recommendation: 200% returns > David’s average recommendation: 600% returns Today, they have a “double down” report to share with 1440 readers. Check it out now!
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Historybook: Benjamin Franklin born (1706); Capt. James Cook is first person to reach Antarctic Circle (1773); Muhammad Ali born (1942); UN Security Council holds its first meeting (1946); HBD Michelle Obama (1964).
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