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Bill Keller: Unleashed

• Bill Keller on Rupert Murdoch: “I don’t know Rupert Murdoch, he is a combative 76-year-old newspaper guy with a tabloid soul and more money than God. With those resources at this stage it looks like he will do whatever the hell he wants to do. I don’t think he is going to be constrained by some strategic planning consultant telling him what he can do. That makes him very hard to predict.” [Media Mob/NYO]
• Meanwhile, the Times gave Sam Tanenhaus still more power, expanding his purview beyond the Book Review to the halcyon halls of “Week in Review.” It’s hard to tell if this is Keller’s endorsement of Tanenhaus’s talents or just an absurd overselling of some serious cost savings. [Radar]
• Jon Stewart shows he’s a real mensch and begins paying his staff just like all the other late-night hosts (Even though Stewart is paid far less himself.) Daily Show staffers never even missed a check. [Mixed Media/Portfolio]

• Eddie Lampert, worst CEO of the year! Too bad Chuck Prince was already fired — otherwise there’d be no competition. [MarketWatch]
UBS followed up their October $3 billion loss with a new $10 billion profit wipeout, which the market is somehow greeting as good news. Subprime or subhuman? [Forbes]
• Steve Schwarzman is supposedly planning an audacious $110 billion breakup bid for mining company Rio Tinto, one of the largest corporations in the world. One problem: The Times calls the rumors “rubbish.” Maybe they were just talking about Schwarzman’s social skills? [Telegraph, DealBook/NYT]

• Remember the personal-injury lawyer who allegedly told a client last year he’d be happy to represent her, just with a few conditions: “He said I’m going to want oral sex from you. I’m going to want it twice before the case begins, then I’m going to want it every week after if I get you a very good result.” Looks like his threats have shown up on YouTube! [Above the Law]
• Queens judge Duane Hart, who liked to intimidate lawyers appearing in court by threatening them with jail, opened his remarks in the judicial-misconduct hearings against him with a less-than-sophisticated plead for sympathy: “I can say, I’ve had better birthdays than today.” Where’d you learn that one, first year at Podunk Law? [New York Law School]
• Skadden partner Sheila Birnbaum is standing up to indicted Dicke Scruggs with coyness and a strong Bronx accent. [Law Blog/WSJ]

• Tiffany Trump (spawn of Marla Maples and The Donald) wants to be a fashion designer. [Fashionista]
• Surfer Laird Hamilton is doing a sports line for Steve & Barry’s. Okay, we get the sports line, but Steve & Barry’s? Really? [DNR]
• Phillip Bloch and Jane Pratt are teaming up to do a reality show called American Ugly. [NYP]

Bill Keller: Unleashed