For Viacom Freelancers, Neither Happiness Nor Health for Christmas

MEDIA
• Viacom screws over its army of freelancers by rolling back benefit programs drastically. Merry Christmas! [MixedMedia/Portfolio]
• The Washington Post is sending veteran reporter and inveterate partier Keith Richburg to town to take over the paper's New York bureau. He's well known for throwing parties with, get this, as many as 30 people! Will Manhattan will be able to handle it? [NYO]
• No holiday party at Time Inc. or the New York Times. Suckas! [Radar]

FINANCE
• Andrew Cuomo proved that he can pick up where Spitzer left off, subpoenaing Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, and Deutsche Bank for information regarding the banks' huge subprime losses. [DealBook/NYT]
• Josef Ackerman, the CEO of Deutsche, is the latest high-flying financier to turn down Chuck Prince's old job at Citigroup. At this rate, maybe the bank really will be forced to break up, simply because nobody's willing to run it. [Daily Briefing/Fortune]
• Still more good news in the mortgage meltdown: The toxic mortgages that started crippling state pension funds in Florida and Connecticut may have crept into New York's $155 billion state fund. [NYP]

LAW
• After a few hard-hitting stories on his law firm's allegedly insufficiently anti-terrorist activities, Giuliani announced he will be stepping back from direct management in the firm. But he'll still draw his $5 million paycheck, and we doubt the press will start running the occasional hit piece, so it's hard to see the point. Meanwhile, one intrepid reporter discovered that deceased Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmum, whose papers are on file at the Library of Congress, gave Giuliani a mere five out of ten when he appeared before the Supremes in 1983. [The Caucus/NYT, Legal Times]
• Ever wonder how Robert Barnett, the Williams & Connolly partner well-known for securing multi-million-dollar book deals for Teddy Kennedy and the Clintons, manages to beat out top talent agencies like ICM? It's because he charges only a standard $900-per-hour rate for his services and refuses big-time commissions. Next up: Karl Rove's memoir. [NYO]
• Binghamton is considering opening its own little law school. One charitable blogger asks: "SUNY is chronically underfunded; does New York need another fourth tier law school?" [Law Blog/WSJ]

FASHION
• Karl Lagerfeld calls himself a whore. We remain in love. [British Vogue]
• The gift wrappers at Marc Jacobs are dressed in tutus. We remain unsurprised. [Shophound]
• Vera Wang has settled a lawsuit with a scarf company called Vera. We remain afraid of marriage. [Houston Chronicle]