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The GOP, as anybody who witnessed the Alabama Senate race well knows, has problems. Now a few Republicans could torpedo their party's last best hope for a first-year legislative achievement. That would make 2018 even more crucial if they want to hang onto Congress—and if Paul Ryan wants to achieve his grand goal of overhauling social programs. —Sam Schulz
Disney to become "Walmart of Hollywood" with Fox studio deal. The $52.4 billion deal, if approved by regulators, will make Hollywood’s most successful studio even more powerful and could pressure rivals to consolidate, squeeze theater chains, and intensify the vogue for blockbusters and sequels. The deal will leave just five big studios. Through a spinoff, Rupert Murdoch will keep running Fox News Channel and the Fox broadcast network in the U.S.
Net neutrality is no longer. The FCC voted to end Obama-era rules that barred internet providers from blocking web traffic, slowing it, or demanding payment for faster passage via their networks. The changes, which won’t take place for at least two months, will let broadband providers begin favoring certain sites. The 3-2 vote by the Republican-led commission will probably land net neutrality in court.
Disney will rue its merger with Fox, Joe Nocera writes for Bloomberg View. “[Disney chief executive Robert] Iger better hope this deal isn't his legacy,” he writes. “Over the long haul, as subscribers continue to abandon cable TV, having all those networks is more likely to become an albatross.”
Sen. Marco Rubio says he won’t vote for the tax bill without a broader expansion of the child tax credit. He and his GOP colleague Susan Collins have both also criticized a last-minute tax cut for top earners. “I do not believe the top rate should be lowered for individuals who are making more than $1 million a year,” Collins told Bloomberg. The bill can’t afford to lose both their votes.
These guys want to lend you money against your bitcoin. How to make money off your bitcoin without selling? Use it as loan collateral. That’s what some lenders are pitching to early bitcoin investors. (The crypto-evangelist known as Bitcoin Jesus, for one, is interested.) One problem: Bitcoin’s wild price swings make it risky for lenders to hold, so the terms can be steep.
Employers struggling with sexual harassment rethink the holiday party. Uber ditched it entirely. NPR considered doing the same but didn’t. Vox Media is keeping the party, but without its open-bar policy—a decision one staffer felt wrongly blamed harassment on alcohol. While the company party is an entrenched event, employees would overwhelmingly prefer other perks, according to a survey by HR service firm Randstad.
How to rebuild Puerto Rico. Nearly three months after Hurricane Maria, more than one-third of Puerto Rico is still without power, and thousands of businesses remain closed. But the island’s future depends on more than simply mending what Maria destroyed. It needs self-sustaining industries, a revival in sectors as basic as agriculture, small businesses, and most of all a stable, educated workforce that can weather even more adversity.