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Meet Microsoft's ‘Gatekeeper of Funding’

FINANCE • Now that Yahoo rejected Microsoft's $44.6 billion bid, it's up to Microsoft's self-described "gatekeeper of funding" Christopher P. Liddell to plot the company's next chess move. [DealBook/NYT] • Fearful that 90 percent of TheStreet.com's franchise revolves around Jim Cramer, today the finance-driven Website launched Mainstreet.com, which will revolve around celebrities and personal finance. You think Britney's psychological drama is intense? Wait until you hear about her bond portfolio. [NYP] • France's rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel might have had an accomplice. How did police find out? By sifting through 2,000 pages of instant-message traffic. Bet that was a gr8 time. [NYT]

Jeff Bewkes Starts Cleaning House at Time Warner

MEDIA • At least 75 Time Warner layoffs are expected to be announced today. The layoffs are among CEO Jeff Bewkes's first public tasks since taking the helm of the company from Dick Parsons last month. Earlier today, Time Warner announced a 41 percent decline in fourth-quarter earnings. [MSNBC & AdAge] • Maybe some of those Time Warner folks can hang their hats over at Condé Nast. The Observer evaluates Portfolio's recent spending spree, during which it recruited top talent from The New Yorker, the Post, and the Times. [NYO] • (Product)Red, the love child of Bono, iPod, and the Gap, has raised more than $22 million for fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa. But considering the big advertising bucks spent during the Super Bowl and elsewhere, some are arguing that it's not enough. [NYT]

Bush Says State of the Union Will Mostly Address Economy; Guest List Begs to Differ

Bush State of the Union
Are you guys as excited for President George Bush's State of the Union Address tonight as we are? Hoo-ah! Wait. You realized there still is a president, even though everybody's busy trying to pick who the next one will be, right? We know, it's hard to remember. And even though there are primaries tomorrow, tonight belongs to current president George Bush. Early reports say that his address will largely focus on the economy, which is probably what most ordinary citizens are hoping he will talk about. "Expect few surprises and no big initiatives," says the Associated Press. Housing reform will come up, press secretary Dana Perino says, as well as health care and veteran's care, alternative energy sources, climate change, faith-based initiatives, and conditional troop withdrawal in Iraq. But today the list of Presidential guests has been released for the event. These are the people who sit up with Laura Bush in the balcony, who are generally alluded to in the text of the speech (to much unilateral applause). In addition the lovely Bush twins and that sexpot Lynn Cheney, we've summarized the guest list for you.

City Free of 'Sex and the City' Movie! ...For Now

SJP
Mets pitcher John Maine asked an attractive clubgoer at Touch if he could try on her black dress in the bathroom. Sex and the City wrapped up shooting in New York with a party at the Royalton Hotel. Bill Clinton swapped seats with Oscar de la Renta so he could sit next to Penélope Cruz instead of Anna Wintour at the Spanish Institute Gold Medal Gala. Lame duck Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is annoyed that his name wasn't included in a recent Post article about 2009 gubernatorial contenders. Tommy Hilfiger made $8.5 million when he sold the East Hampton home he bought a year and a half ago for $26.5 million. Bobby Cannavale dropped his 47-year-old girlfriend for 22-year-old Alison Pill. Fans of Law & Order: SVU are annoyed that Richard Belzer doesn't have as much screen time as he once did.