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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.

Dan Rather Rails Against ‘Corporate Overlords’ Colluding With ‘Powers in Washington’

Dan Rather
Part of what Dan Rather was hoping for, in his $70 million lawsuit against former employer CBS, was the ability to open to public scrutiny the company's actions that led up to his ouster in 2005. So it's no surprise that when the network asked Manhattan Supreme Court to keep documents concerning Memogate private, the former anchor got a bit upset. CBS originally said it would keep things public, but they have backed off that. Rather, who wanted the public to see all the information involving the media giant's investigation into the origins of disputed memos about President Bush's National Guard Service, railed against network execs. "It is a fact that corporate overlords working in secret collusion with the powers in Washington are intruding far too often in far too many newsrooms," he said. "Corporate overlords? "Secret collusion"? "Powers"? What is this, a Wachowski movie? Whether or not he is right, Rather isn't doing himself any favors in the battle to rescue his reputation. He, of all people, should know how much phrasing matters. Rather: CBS Bosses Hiding Truth [NYDN via Jossip]

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]

Alone in the Crowd

It Happened
New Yorkers watching Will Smith walk through the ruins of an uninhabited Manhattan onscreen in I Am Legend knew just how he felt; it was a week for contemplating loneliness. Rudy Giuliani, indulging in fantasy population control of his own, envisaged a city in which he’d deported 400,000 illegal aliens. (“I would have had fewer problems,” he’s quoted as saying in a new book.)