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The Tide Is High, But the Downturnaround Is Holding On

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By Hugo Lindgren

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The writer predicts "the end of capitalism," and may be right; Ariana Huffington talks about her beef with Tim Russert; and a Manhattan lawyer does due diligence with the Other Side, all in our daily rundown of weird, wonderful finance, media, law and real-estate news.

Going Postal

20070316heds_small.jpg • So, yesterday's Village gunman was an ex-Marine and, um, a journalist: he wrote for the Mohave Valley Daily News, a newspaper so small that even its Village-gunman coverage comes from AP. Also, he was a stringer for the Wall Street Journal. [MVDN] • The suspense is killing them: New Jersey is moving its presidential primary to February 5 from February 26 (a year after moving it up from June). So are 25 other states. Oh, let's just have the damn thing right now. [NYT] • A sick nurse exposed an astonishing 700 patients to tuberculosis at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. Anyone who's been in the maternity, nursery, or psychiatric wards between November and February are well-advised to swing by for a free test. [NYP] • We Only Fly When it's Nice Out: In what is fast becoming an expected occurence, the temperature drops, a little snow comes down, and JetBlue cancels 215 flights, almost all of them to or from JFK. [amNY] • And, this is the lameness that transpires when the U.S. Postal Service tries to do something fun: mailboxes painted to resemble Star Wars' R2-D2, coming to Times Square. "It's not Jabba the Hutt, honey, it's a tourist." [NYDN]

When Did Big Companies Turn Into Big Companies?

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As a natural and somewhat hilarious result of the sixties values trickling up to the boardroom, our leading goody-goody megabrands are suddenly, and seemingly all at once, beset by crises of conscience. JetBlue is spraying mea culpas and defying its own industry's lobbyists by hastily jerry-rigging a customer bill of rights. The weekend brought a soul-searching memo from Starbucks chairman Howard Schulz, bemoaning, of all things, the "commoditization" of his brainchild. (As we already noted, wasn't that the whole point?) Today, to complete the trifecta, the Times is ringing the alarm over the perceived "straying" of Whole Foods.

But How Does He Feel About Trans Fats?

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• In the no-brainer firing of the year, the Health Department has divested itself of the inspector who gave a passing grade to the famously ratty KFC–Taco Bell. The shuttered place, meanwhile, became a locus for some fun public art. [NYT] • Underreported amid the possible culprits of yesterday's Wall Street carnage — China, Cheney — were horrendously timed technical glitches at the NYSE: At some point, trades were done via paper tickets. [NYP] • Add a federal investigation to the list of JetBlue's headaches: The U.S. Transportation Secretary is calling for an official look-see into the recent snowstorm stranding of passengers on the JFK tarmac. American Airlines will get its own probe for a similar incident in Austin. [amNY] • The Thurmond-Sharpton Roots-on-acid miniseries continues to play out: The senator's biracial daughter, Essie Mae Washington Williams, is reprimanding the reverend for "overreacting," saying "[my father] did many wonderful things for black people." [NYDN] • And meet Gerard Mortier, new director of the New York City Opera, whose farewell production on his previous job was a staging of Die Fledermaus with cocaine, incest, suicide, and Nazis. Welcome!!! [CBS News]