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Milberg Weiss

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Chairman Cox Bans Naked Short-Selling

Heh. Naked short selling. Sounds like something a frat boy would do, right? Well … it sort of is. Read all about the SEC's bold move to crack down on market manipulators and more, in our daily roundup of finance, media, law, and real-estate news.

Steve Schwarzman Takes the Fun Out of Buybacks

FINANCE • Steve Schwarzman found yet another way to stiff his investors, using the GSO deal as an elaborate cover to buyback shares of Blackstone without the typical benefit a buyback program gives to other shareholders. No wonder the Chinese, who have lost $1 billion on Blackstone, hate him. [DealBook/NYT] • Bank of America bought Countrywide Financial, the huge mortgage company teetering at the edge of bankruptcy, for $4 billion in stock. Some observers worry the deal will take the bank down, but considering Countrywide was worth $30 billion before the mortgage meltdown, it may yet make B of A CEO Ken Lewis a king. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • Merrill Lynch will likely take a $15 billion write-down next week, far in excess of the $12 billion some already bearish analysts had predicted. John Thain is looking to rescue the bank with still more foreign investment capital, but with the Senate getting anxious, that stream dry up. [NYT, NYP]

Al Gore: Cashing In on His Big Year

FINANCE • Al Gore, venture capitalist? The Nobel laureate and Apple board member is taking a hands-on role at Kleiner Perkins, the leading Silicon Valley venture firm. His goal: Save the world. And annoy GE's Jeff Immelt as much as possible. [Fortune] • Harvard picked Robert S. Kaplan, a former Goldman Sachs vice-chairman, as the new steward for the $35 billion endowment. Something tells us his kids won't have any trouble getting in. [Reuters via NYT] • A few management consultants with nothing better to do gave the Times its newest buzzword: CEO version 3.0. With the departures of Stan O'Neal, Chuck Prince, and Richard Parsons, it's now time for leaders "who can assemble a team that functions as smoothly as a jazz sextet." Because, as James Cayne showed, the old CEOs were way too bebop. [NYT]

Editors Give Zinczenko Bombast an ‘F’

MEDIA • Participants at the American Magazine Conference revolted against "The Magabrand Revolution," the ostensible theme name cooked up by Men's Health editor David Zinczenko. One editor commented, "I usually have to use 'magabrand' with a modifier in front of it, and that modifier starts with the letter 'F.'" [Mixed Media/Portfolio] • Jeff Zucker can't stop denying those NBC sale rumors. Wethinks the lady… [Reuters] • When they ran into each other at the Jessica Seinfeld book party, Rupert Murdoch asked Arianna Huffington how many hits HuffPo was getting. Huffington told him 3 million a month; Murdoch politely noted that MySpace, which he owns, ran closer to 70 million. [Fortune]

Falling Glass a Metaphor for Bank of America's Finances?

FINANCE • The debris falling off the new Bank of America tower at 42nd Street may have been metaphoric. The firm just reported steep losses, and their wannabe investment-banking unit, set to anchor the new tower, performed the worst. [MarketBeat/WSJ, Deal Journal/WSJ] • Congrats, James Cayne — nobody wants anything to do with Bear Stearns. Contrary to reports, both Warren Buffett and China's Citic Bank denied any interest in the bank. [DealBook/NYT] • Today's the real anniversary of the 1987 stock-market crash, but at least one veteran thinks parallels to the present are overblown. "The market is just like generals — everyone prepares for the last war." [MarketBeat/WSJ]

Surprising No One, Rupert Murdoch Says Death of ‘Times’ Would Be ‘Nice’

MEDIA • Rupert Murdoch minces words: "When asked whether he was aiming to kill the New York Times, Mr. Murdoch replied simply: 'That would be nice.'" Meanwhile, isn't this a fun graphic in Murdoch's Post? [Guardian] • Murdoch may get a little help thanks to Morgan Stanley, who sold off their entire 7 percent stake in the Times. But one analyst says Morgan Stanley is the real loser, since the firm completely failed to change the Times' structure and took a big hit on the sale. [NYP, NYO] • n+1 continues its campaign to corrupt young minds, slipping pamphlets under the doors of unsuspecting Columbia freshmen. [NYS]

Air America Host Randi Rhodes Mugged?

MEDIA • Air America talk-show host Randi Rhodes was assaulted on Park Avenue last night while walking her dog? [Gawker] • Jack Shafer investigates the billionaires behind ProPublica, the newly established New York–based investigative-journalism nonprofit led by former Journal managing editor Paul Steiger. Surprise, they're big Democratic donors. [Slate] • Howard Kurtz took the nonstop promotion of his gossipy new book to its logical conclusion, interviewing himself on his own CNN show. [HuffPo]

Rupert Murdoch and the ‘Journal’ Eye Washington

MEDIA • Murdoch's WSJ plans to take on the Times' Washington bureau. What's next, Hollywood? [NYO] • Jeff Zucker and NBC bought Oxygen, the cable network for bored housewives, at the bargain-basement price of $925 million. [NYT] • CNN's Rick Sanchez has one big skeleton in his closet. After drinking a little too much at a Dolphins game, the eight o'clock anchor did a hit-and-run on a pedestrian who later died from his injuries. "It could have happened to anybody … There were probably a lot of other people leaving the stadium that had had a couple of beers as well." No wonder he was nicknamed Miami's "Least Credible News Personality." [NYO]

Murdoch Mulls the Liberation of WSJ.com

MEDIA • Murdoch is hinting heavily that he'll take WSJ.com free, but Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino doesn't think it's such a great idea. [WSJ] • Well, we'll be — Portfolio pulling down pretty good ad pages. [NYP] • Roger Ailes, former CNBC president now with Fox Business Network, making many CNBCers interested in switching teams. It may be many things, but it won't be boring! [NYO]

Jeffrey Goldberg Wants a Pony

MEDIAAtlantic owner David Bradley sent ponies to Jeffrey Goldberg's kids to help lure him away from The New Yorker. Seriously. [WP] • Just before the Dow Jones deal went through, the Bancrofts voted to double this quarter's dividend for themselves [NYP] • Murdoch and Ailes's next move? All-out war? (Wait, they're not at war with everyone else already?) [Newsweek]

It's Expensive Being Rupert Murdoch

MEDIA • Did Dow Jones cost Rupert Murdoch an extra $1 billion just because he’s Rupert Murdoch? [Slate] • Rik Hertzberg to blog for The New Yorker. From YearlyKos. And without fact-checking. [WWD] • Doug Henwood feels guilty about enjoying The Nation’s cruise. Because liberals always feel guilty. [The Nation]