You’ve successfully made it through another week of work, putting in the time at your nine-to-five just to take some time to yourself on the weekend. But alas, there’s no better way to start your next week than reading through a quick recap of the biggest headlines from the previous week, as well as a sneak peek of what to expect for the week to come. Welcome to your first “Weekly Recap.”

And A Lump Of Coal For President Trump

This year’s UN COP24 clime talk was chock full of incredible keynote speakers, informative break out sessions, and a significant amount of chatter on coal, mostly emanating from the American delegation. I find it hilarious but also incredibly embarrassing that representatives from the US came to a climate talk conference and presented fossil fuels as a reusable source of energy for the future. In fact, the Americans were openly mocked by other delegations present at the event.

A spokesperson from the US State Department attempted to justify fossil fuels to the attendees of the conference:

“These job-creating innovations have contributed traducing U.S. emissions while also growing our economy and providing reliable and affordable access to energy. All energy sources are important, and they will be utilized unapologetically. The important piece is to utilize them in the most cleanly and efficient way, and that’s something I think all countries are committed to.”

-A spokesperson from the US State Department

Even Lawyers Sing The Jailbird Blues

I hope that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, looks sexy in black-and-white stripes because he’ll be rocking those threats for thirty-six months in prison following his sentencing on Wednesday. Back in June, about a month before special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation started heating up, President Trump fired Michael Cohen after his residences and homes were raided by the FBI. Lying awake in anguish every night, Cohen couldn’t stomach his relationship with Trump and eventually decided to cooperate with Mueller.

According to several sources present at the trial, Cohen started crying after he received his sentence, in hopes that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would potentially help him post bail, but there’s no award for Worst Supporting Criminal in a Presidential Election.

“I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen I deeply admired. Today is one of the most meaningful days of my life. The irony is that today I get my freedom back.”

-Michael Cohen

Cohen is expected to pay $1.4 million in restitution, as well as a $50,000 fine, and forfeiture of $500,000 before his March 6 prison lease begins, according to Fox News.

Remember That Online Game? You Know, Farm Bill? 

Oh, it was Farmville? Forgive me, I have the game confused with a remarkable piece of legislation that Congress voted to pass on Wednesday. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the farm bill, has within its scriptures many legislative policies that will be enacted once the bill is signed into a law, but perhaps the most interesting is the legalization of hemp. Hemp, derived from the cannabis plant, has countless uses including utilizing its fibers to make food, paper, cardboard, rope, and other products, but most importantly, it doesn’t get you high.

“In the long run, it’s all going to be managed and controlled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just like corn, soybeans and everything else. It will also become an agricultural commodity, which in turn will allow crop insurance and Wall Street will be able to invest institutional funds into the hemp industry.”

-Chris Boucher, Chief Executive Officer, Farmtiva

Virgin Galactic Spacecraft Say What? 

Walk, don’t run, sports fans! The rumors are true! Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, and specific to this update, Virgin Galactic, successfully completed the fourth test for his commercial spaceship known as the VSS Unity or SpaceShipTwo by certain experts.

According to reports, the aircraft took at 7:30 am on Thursday morning, climbed over 52 miles of altitude and hit a top speed of Mach 2.9, or 2225.08 miles per hour for you non-aerospace plebeians. Continuing the brief aerospace lesson for a hot moment. When reports say SpaceShipTwo reached the “edge of space,” they are referring to the internationally recognized Karman line. Referencing the always faithful Wikipedia definition, the Karman line “lies at an altitude of 100km (62 miles, 330,000 ft) above Earth’s sea level and commonly represents the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.” So, to put it nicely, the two astronauts aboard Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft didn’t quite reach space just yet.

“Incremental flight test programs are by definition open-ended and, to a great extent, each test depends on the data from the test that precedes it. There is no guarantee that everything will work perfectly the first time and, like all programs seeking to take  bold steps, we will inevitably have times when things don’t go as planned.”

-Official statement from Virgin Galactic regarding VSS Unity test flight

Looking Forward

Perhaps the most anticipated event for next week falls on Wednesday, December 19 when the Federal Reserve announces its final monetary policy decision before the new year. According to several sources, many economists and analysts expect the Fed will raise the target range for its benchmark interest rate by 25 pints, marking the fourth rate increase for FY 2018. 

“The consensus overwhelmingly expects a rate hike next week. Looking at the Bloomberg News economics consensus, just three of the 60 economists surveyed, just 5%, expect the Fed to hold this month…This conviction feels a bit too strong for our liking…”

Niel Dutta, Economist, Renaissance Macro 

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