Hallmark in trouble


  • D.C.: Lawmakers are procrastinators just like you. Before the year's out, Congress will try to squeeze in votes on impeachment, spending bills, and the USMCA trade deal.
  • Global economy: Two major question marks clouding the economy-Brexit and the trade war-were at least partially addressed last week, Bloomberg reports.

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Climate Talks Go to Extras, No One Wins

The longest UN climate discussions in history concluded Sunday. But more doesn't always mean "holy cow we're making such great progress."

It was just the opposite. Delegates from nearly 200 countries left the COP25 in Madrid openly frustrated about the lack of consensus on how to meet the targets set by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. This, from UN Secretary-General António Guterres, is as close to a rage tweet as you can find in global diplomacy.
"This COP did not deliver all we came here for," admitted the EU.
What they came there for

Countries were hoping to hammer out an agreement on carbon trading. Carbon trading essentially turns CO2 into a commodity in which emissions credits can be bought and sold by polluters.

  • Emissions permits can either be doled out to companies or bought at an auction. These tradeable permits effectively give companies the "right to pollute."
  • The idea is to reduce emissions by limiting the number of available permits over time, forcing polluters to invest in cleaner technologies. Advocates say carbon trading could save $320 billion in efficiency gains, per Bloomberg.

If that sounds complicated laid out in the Brew, think how difficult it is to implement across the globe, especially given the tensions between developed nations (which have contributed to climate change for decades) and developing nations (which have only recently industrialized and must bear the consequences).

That's why some environmental activists are glad a carbon trading deal hasn't worked out. Many don't believe financial markets can encourage the sorts of emissions reductions required to, well, save the world.

What is required: Countries are working to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, ideally 1.5 degrees.

Looking ahead...the summit is headed to Glasgow, Scotland, next year.


The Man Who Saved New York City Dies

Felix Rohatyn, a European refugee turned Wall Street legend, died at 91 on Saturday.

Rohatyn pioneered the M&A advisory business in the 1960s. Working with companies like GE, Revlon, and AT&T, he earned the nickname "Felix the Fixer" for brokering some of the deals that created today's corporate landscape.

  • His take on the industry: "Investment banking is not a business; it is a personal service where bankers work hand in hand with their clients."

With deep thoughts like that, Rohatyn was tapped to help NYC stave off bankruptcy in 1975, when lenders cut off the city from additional short-term credit.

  • You might not realize it from walking around Manhattan today, but 1970s-era New York was in a deep financial manhole. It had an annual deficit of $1.5 billion a year on a budget of roughly $12 billion.
  • But Rohatyn engineered an emergency plan that was painful but effective.

In his later years, Rohatyn became the U.S. ambassador to France, an author, and a finance sage.


What Makes Hallmark Family Friendly?

TFW you try to do something to avoid controversy then end up being the subject of a boycott during your busiest season.

Last Thursday, the Hallmark Channel pulled four TV ads from the wedding planning website Zola that featured two brides kissing.

A spokesperson for Hallmark confirmed to the AP that the conservative group One Million Moms complained about the spots to Bill Abbott, the CEO of Hallmark parent Crown Media Family Networks. "The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive. We don't want to generate controversy," the spokesperson said at the time.

But pulling the ads in which a lesbian couple kissed while not rejecting the spots featuring a heterosexual couple did just that. Prominent figures from Ellen Degeneres to presidential candidates criticized Hallmark. And Zola said it would stop advertising with Hallmark entirely.

Facing calls for a boycott, Hallmark said late last night it made a mistake in pulling the ads. The channel also pledged to reach out to Zola to reinstate the commercials. "We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused," said Mike Perry, the president and CEO of Hallmark.


China Puts Nationalism Over Sports...Again

In most parts of the world, football Sunday yesterday meant watching Arsenal lose to Manchester City in a big English Premier League clash.

But not in China. The Chinese state broadcaster CCTV pulled the game because of comments made on social media by Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil over the Chinese government's internment of Uighur Muslims.

  • The comments upset many soccer fans in China, where Özil is a BFD. His fan community of over 100,000 said it was shutting down as a result: "As Chinese people we cannot accept this," a statement read.

Arsenal went into clean-up mode. It posted on Chinese social media that Özil did not speak for the club and that "Arsenal always adheres to the principle of not being involved in politics"...

...especially in China, where the club opened a sports bar and restaurant in 2018.

Having déjà Brew? In October, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey sparked an international firestorm when he tweeted support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, drawing retaliation against the NBA from the Chinese government.


The Week Ahead

It's Star Wars week, so pretty much nothing else matters.

Monday: Empire State Manufacturing Survey

Tuesday: Housing starts for November; Wright Brothers Day; earnings (FedEx)

Wednesday: International Migrants Day

Thursday: Existing home sales; Democratic debate in Los Angeles; earnings (Nike, Accenture, Darden Restaurants, ConAgra Brands)

Friday: GDP estimate for Q3; November personal income and outlays; Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is released


  • Boeing is debating whether to suspend or cut back production of the grounded 737 Max, per the WSJ.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected PG&E's bankruptcy reorganization plan.
  • Jumanji: The Next Level brought in an impressive $60 million at the North American box office this weekend.
  • The Vatican spends as little as 10% of its Peter's Pence charitable funds on charitable works, the WSJ reports.
  • Major League Baseball's fight with Minor League Baseball escalated in a big way Friday night.


You had to know this was coming: Besides Frozen 2, what are the other five Disney movies that made $1 billion at the global box office this year?

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Captain Marvel, Aladdin, The Lion King, Avengers: Endgame, and Toy Story 4

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