Have You Heard? There's a New Economic Freak-out Happening!

FINANCE
• William A. Ackman of Pershing Hedge Funds got everyone freaking out about bond insurers by issuing a report yesterday afternoon predicting that MBIA and the Ambac Financial Group might just lose $24 billion on mortgage investments. “Here comes Ackman at the 11th hour upsetting the apple cart,” Douglas M. Peta, chief market strategist at J.& W. Seligman & Company, told the Times. “I don’t think anybody has really thought it all through, but we all understand the implications of real trouble in the bond insurers could be far reaching.” [NYT] Related! MBIA announced a $3.5 billion write-down this morning. [CNN]
• Wharton is still the number-one place in the universe to pick up an MBA.
[FT]
• Following in the steps of other CEOs with giant mortgage-related losses, Merrill won't give its top brass any bonuses. But they will give them stock options "to promote the continuity of the management team as they continue to navigate through challenging market conditions in 2008." That's one way to hang on to staff. [Reuters]

MEDIA
• MTV "permalancers" will soon become either permanent or, uh, lancers.
Related: Gawker's Josh Stein will also become a lancer. [Gawker]
• New York Times made a profit in the third quarter, but its ad revenue dropped 25 percent, as it is wont to do at this time of year and when the economy is melting. [Forbes]
• Beauty bloggers get just as much swag as magazine editors; some even get more. [NYT]

LAW
• And the lawyer of the year is … Loyola 2L!! Who's that, you ask? He's an anonymous Internet agitator who became famous for complaining of the plight of students at second-tier law schools: “I’m in massive debt and have been taught a hard lesson," he wrote. "Students from tier 2 schools aren’t allowed to have good jobs, despite all the money and work we put into the education.” [Above the Law]
• Partners and older associates "lament" the "abysmal" attire of new firm hires, who may not even dress up properly for client meetings. [WSJ]
• Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel co-founder Arthur Kramer, who also happened to be gay activist Larry Kramer's brother, has died. [NYT]

FASHION
• Tara Subkoff is designing for Bebe. [Fashion Week Daily]
• Breaking: Pop-up shops are all the rage. [FT via Racked]
• Max Azria keeps growing and growing. First it was Hervé Léger. Now, a beauty line. WWD]