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Warren Buffett

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Buyout Exodus at ‘Newsweek’

A dating blogger seeks a book deal, trading desks think recession, and Jean Nouvel wins the Pritzker in our daily roundup of media, finance, law, and real-estate news.

Courtney Love Is Merely Eccentric

Love
The Wire's Dominic West celebrated the finale of the show at a party with a bunch of strippers. Warren Buffett dined at Michael's. Courtney Love claims she's "eccentric," not "bipolar," on her MySpace blog. A "Page Six" "insider" claims that Lindsay Lohan's new crop of friends are "leeches … trying to drag Lindsay down and use her for her fame." Meanwhile, Dina Lohan is excited about her new reality show on E!, which will probably debut around Memorial Day.

John McCain Brings All the Billionaires to the Yard

McCain
John McCain is coming to New York next Tuesday for a giant fund-raiser to power his national campaign, reports Elizabeth Benjamin at the Daily News. It sounds like it's going to be a doozy — the host committee includes Henry Kissinger, Alfonse D'Amato, Woody Johnson, Georgette Mosbacher, and Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain. Tickets are either $1,000 or $2,300 per person (get it? The most you can donate to one candidate?), and it will take place at the Plaza. So glamorous. But let's get down to business (literally). How many billionaires will be in attendance? And how many billions do they represent? From Forbes.com's most recent list, we count five: Henry Kravis (the world's 178th-richest man, worth $5.5 billion), Ray Dalio (worth $4 billion), Louis Bacon (worth $1.7 billion), Marc Rowan (worth $1.5 billion), and Robert Fisher ($1.4 billion). That's a total of over $14 billion in the room with the Republican presidential nominee. There are several dozen other multimillionaires on the list, plus Lord knows how many buying tickets — so we'll conservatively push that number over the $15 billion barrier. At first, we wondered how on earth any of the Democrats could get that much money into one room. And then we remembered that all Hillary needs to do is have Warren Buffet hold another fund-raiser, and she'd be in the company of quadruple that amount. Nobody else would even need to show up.

Reporters Pissed About Changes at ‘The Wall Street Journal’

MEDIAThe Wall Street Journal wants a cut in its reporters' book deals. Also, they fired their longtime First Amendment lawyer Stuart Karle. "We're pissed," one reporter says. [NYO, Ad Age] • Former Condé Nast execs James Truman and Mitch Fox are collaborating on a project that will combine "a green market and eco-technology with a Cirque du Soleil-like performance series." [WWD]

Scott Galloway Raises Stake, Prepares to Plunge It Into Heart of ‘NYT’

FINANCE • Ah, so that's where all the G5s on the Teterborough tarmac were headed! The private-equity world descends upon Munich for the annual spectacularly named Super Return conference. [DealBook/NYT] • Vagilante Scott Galloway and Harbinger Capital Partners raise their stake in the Times to just over 19 percent. [NYP] • Hey, everyone! Hedge funds are a risk to the entire financial system! No duh. [Business Week]

Print Organizations Band Together, But Who Will Remain on the Island?

MEDIA • Print organizations make like Survivor: The New York Times, Hearst, Tribune, and Gannet form an alliance to back a new online company called quadrantONE. [USAT] • Star magazine makes no apologies for paying sources for scoops. In fact, "right underneath [Candace] Trunzo's editor's note in the current issue is an unbridled pitch with dollar signs around the edges." [NYP] • Bad blood is brewing between Barron's and CNBC after the publication ran a critical story about Mad Money's Jim Cramer. [CJR]

Warren Buffett Will Save Us All

Buffet
Just now in a phone call to CNBC, warmhearted gagillionaire Warren Buffett said his Berkshire Hathaway would help out troubled bond insurers by offering a second level of insurance on up to $800 billion in municipal bonds. The holding company already made the offer of reinsurance, he said, to insurers Ambac, MBIA and FGIC, all of whom have had problems with subprime mortgages and other loans and are in danger of losing their AAA credit ratings. One firm rejected the offer, and he is still waiting to hear from the other two. The offer is designed to make Berkshire Hathaway money, he added; it's not just "a good deed." Warren Buffett Offers to Reinsure $800B in Municipal Bonds [CNBC]

Kent Brownridge Still Stealing Silverware From the House of Wenner

MEDIA • Kent Brownridge picked a new fight with his old boss Jann Wenner, poaching ten-year Rolling Stone vet Joe Levy for the top spot at Blender. Brownridge already stole Men's Journal editor James Kaminsky to take over Maxim. [Mixed Media/Portfolio] • The OK! issue with the Jamie Lynn–pregnancy exclusive sold only 900,000 copies on the newsstand, well short of the roughly 1.5 million the mag had predicted. [WWD] • Steve Cohn on the Condé shake-up following so fast on Steve Florio's death: "It sort of reminds me of The Godfather. They go to the funeral and then they blow everything up." [NYP]

Bush to Economy: ‘Hey, Did You Get a Haircut? Something's Different.’

FINANCE • Bush acknowledges slower economy, but he stops short of warning about recession. Still, will he go for another round of tax cuts? [NYT, NYT] • Financial titans Warren Buffett and Maurice Greenberg came under attack in the Gen Re trial. Neither stands as a defendant, but both were accused of being intimately involved in a fraudulent transaction worth $500 million. [NYT] • Now that Jimmy Cayne's out of the picture, which hedge fund will step in to buy Bear Stearns? [Deal Journal/WSJ]

The ‘Times’ Touches Upon Checkbook Journalism — With Two Fingers, Of Course

MEDIA • "OK!, the celebrity magazine, could not possibly have purchased all the attention it enjoyed in late December after it got the scoop that Jamie Lynn Spears, the younger and until then less sensational sister of the troubled pop queen Britney Spears, was three months pregnant. Or could it?" [NYT] • Josh Stein isn't actually leaving Gawker; Emily Gould will write for Jezebel; Choire Sicha will continue contributing columns; and recently departed Wonkette editor Ken Layne returned after just a few months off the job. Can anyone escape the tentacles of Nick Denton? [HuffPo] • The Writers Guild plans to picket Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, and Conan O'Brien as the three late-night hosts return to the air. Letterman gets off easy since he struck a deal with the writers and may get a big boost since big stars (like Robin Williams, natch) won't have to cross the pickets to go on his show. [NYO, NYT]

Cravath's Good Ol' Boys Miss the Good Ol' Days

LAW • One old lawyer reminisces about his time at Cravath in the fifties and speculates on why big law used to be — used to be? — such a man's world: "Obviously, male bigotry played a major role. But I think something else was involved — an attempt to protect certain values that mattered greatly to the practitioners of that time. They wanted a workplace free of the messiness of male-female relations. They liked to say, 'Yes, sir,' and 'No, sir,' and be done with it. Women might bring distractions: flirtations, gossip, dating. No more male bonding." Aw…! [American Lawyer] • Everyone's talking about Robert Morgenthau stepping down after 33 years as Manhattan D.A. — except Robert Morgenthau. [NYT] • NYU Law School listserv smackdown! First e-mail: "I decided to compile a list of the easiest professors at NYU Law for those of us who: 1. Want an easy A, and 2. Don't care about the grade and just want a B without doing a thing." Second e-mail: "Does your mom still teach here? Because I heard that she's REALLY easy." Third e-mail: "If you came to NYU Law school thinking to take shortcuts to get easy As as opposed to taking classes that you would find challenging and helpful to your understanding of law practices, here's my nugget of advice: save the money and go to a state law school." Fourth e-mail: "We come to NYU to take made-up classes like 'Jesus & the Constitution,' 'Inter-Animal Contracts,' and 'International Law.' Coming to NYU for anything other than intellectual masturbation or an easy job is a waste of money." [Above the Law]

John Mack Gives Zoe Cruz the Heave-ho

FINANCE • John Mack decided to can Zoe Cruz just three weeks after naming her as a strong potential successor at Morgan Stanley. Two execs, Walid Chammah and James Gorman, will take Cruz's place as overseeing the firm's trading and risk operations. [NYT] • Eddie Lampert has lost quite a bit of his luster: The star investor sometimes mentioned as the heir to Warren Buffett lost millions on a big investment in Citigroup, and the earnings debacle at Sears is only making things worse. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • A small local council in Scotland managed to trump the Donald's $2 billion plan to build "the world's greatest golf course." It was just never clear on where Trump's hair would fit in the course. [NYP]

Tony Blair Sells Out Rupert Murdoch

MEDIA • Tony Blair sold his memoir for $9 million to Knopf, something of a surprise since Blair has long been tight with Murdoch, known for offering advances so big they resemble campaign donations through HarperCollins. [Media Mob/NYO] • A democratic member of the FCC requested an investigation of Murdoch's Dow Jones deal, arguing the merger consolidates too many powerful outlets in one less than trustworthy hand. [B&C] • Bloggingheads, everyone's favorite lo-fi insider-y political fight club, reached a content-sharing agreement with the Times. [HuffPo]

Is Kate Beckinsale Too Hot to Play Judy Miller?

MEDIA • Matt Drudge cracked open The New Republic's Iraq fabulist controversy once again. Did the mag's Baghdad diarist really make up details about mass graves and troops ridiculing a disfigured female soldier? Franklin Foer complains that Drudge's docs could only have come from the Army. [Slate, NYO] • Chris Jones, the managing editor of Portfolio.com, announced his departure from the mag after giving notice over a month ago. High-level rumors also indicate Joanne Lipman may soon be relieved from command — but only for the Website. [WWD] • The Judith Miller movie is now filming in Memphis, and let's just say that Kate Beckinsale is way too hot to be a reporter. On the other hand, the Valerie Plame CIA character, played by Vera Farmiga, looks just about right. [WP]

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]

Oracle of Omaha Screws With Everyone's Head

FINANCE • Buffett to the rescue: The Oracle of Omaha may take a 20 percent stake in crisis-ridden Bear Stearns. If the deal goes through, Bear CEO Jim Cayne will have another new bridge partner to brag about. [NYT] • Goldman Sachs named Edward Forst as co-head of investment management, a troubled group with a mere $796 billion in assets. Forst takes the place of Eric Schwartz, who's retiring after 23 years with the bank. [NYP] • "The tears of Chuck Norris would supply enough liquidity to solve the credit crisis. Too bad he never cries." [Bloomberg]