A new era
June 30, 2020

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed a bill on Tuesday retiring the state's flag — the last one in the U.S. to feature a Confederate battle emblem.

"This is not a political moment to me but a solemn occasion to lead our Mississippi family to come together, to be reconciled, and to move on," he said in a statement. "We are a resilient people defined by our hospitality. We are a people of great faith. Now, more than ever, we must lean on that faith, put our divisions behind us, and unite for a greater good."

The flag was adopted in 1894, and for years, there have been calls from Black leaders and activists to change it. With renewed interest in the matter due to the anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, the Mississippi state House and Senate passed legislation on Sunday to retire the flag.

Reeves had refused to take a position on the flag, The Associated Press reports, saying only that it's up to voters to decide whether or not to adopt a new one. A commission will now work on creating a new flag, and the design will go before voters in November. Under the new law, this flag can't have any Confederate emblems, but must include the words "In God We Trust."

"We are all Mississippians and we must all come together," Reeves said. "What better way to do that than include 'In God We Trust' on our new state banner. The people of Mississippi, Black and white, and young and old, can be proud of a banner that puts our faith front and center. We can unite under it. We can move forward — together." Catherine Garcia

March 28, 2020

The novel coronavirus pandemic has shown that governments have the ability to do a lot more with their financial resources, said Michael Marmot, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University College London, per The Guardian.

Marmot, who is also the chair of the commission of the social determinants of health at the World Health Organization, told reporters at a virtual meeting organized by Plan B and Extinction Rebellion, that "with COVID-19 everything went out the window" and that it turns out lack of government spending in the past was a choice (and not a good one, he argues), rather than a necessity. "The government can spend anything," he said, referring specifically to the United Kingdom in this instance.

Marmot said the pandemic has shown how swiftly governments can respond, but his hope is that such action continues going forward, which he argues has not been the case for other long-term crises like climate change. "Coronavirus exposes that we can do things differently," he said. "We must not go back to the status quo ante."

David King, who served as the U.K.'s chief scientific adviser between 2000 and 2008, agreed, calling for governments to address similar recovery plans to restructure the global economy, so it better fits a fossil fuel-free world. Read more at The Guardian. Tim O'Donnell

June 28, 2016

Someone other than Donald Trump will now be overseeing his campaign messaging and press interactions. Bloomberg Politics reports the presumptive GOP nominee known for speaking on the fly has hired Jason Miller — once the senior communications adviser for Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) presidential campaign — to be his senior communications director.

Until now, media requests fell almost entirely on Trump's press secretary, Hope Hicks, and paid surrogates were appearing on Trump's behalf on cable news. Trump himself was often behind his tweets and sometimes his speeches, in which he's been known to veer "off message," Talking Points Memo reports.

However, with the convention fast approaching, Republicans are pressing Trump to move towards more traditional, more responsive campaign messaging. "I think he'll be helped greatly by having a communications team who can get these messages out in a timely fashion," Tony Perkins, president of the Christian advocacy organization Family Research Council, told Bloomberg.

Will Miller keep Trump's signature exclamation points in his tweets? Only time will tell. Becca Stanek

June 25, 2015

Netflix is, unsurprisingly, poised to overtake television within the next year, an analyst said Wednesday. The online streaming company is currently growing its audience at a rate of about 40 percent per year and is expected to soon surpass audience numbers of the four biggest networks on television: ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox.

Already within just the first quarter of this year, Netflix reported 10 billion hours of streaming. And a ClearVoice Research poll taken by the same analyst just a few months ago should leave the major networks even more worried — 57 percent of respondents said they would rather pay for Netflix than for television.

Netflix is expected to gain 174 million subscribers by 2020. Becca Stanek

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