Another rich putz gets bailout money

Desperate after a season of utter failure from their bullpen bailout corps, the Mets have traded for J.J. Putz.

It's not our fault that he pronounces his name "puts." This is New York City. Maybe he's not a jerk, but P-U-T-Z is "putz."

And the former Seattle relief pitcher's numbers back that up. He'll make $5 million in 2009 and — while the city will be suffering through a full-on depression in 2010 — he'll rake in $8.6 million.

The guy pitched 46 innings last season, so at that rate the Mets will be paying him about $100,000 an inning.

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That makes him Putz with a capital P.

There could be a bright side to this deal. Now that he's a Met, stores will carry New York baseball jerseys adorned with his name. If Bloomberg wanted to do something other than try to make us stop smoking, he could require any Wall Street execs whose companies are receiving bailout money to wear those "PUTZ" jerseys.

All jokes are wearing thin ...

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

N.Y. Daily News: '17,000 kids have no school library'

More than 17,000 students in at least 42 schools in the poorest sections of the Bronx lack library access due to budget cuts and overcrowding, the Daily News has found.

N.Y. Times: 'Massacre Unfurls in Congo, Despite Nearby Support'

The Age (Australia): 'Flaccid economies lead to lay-offs in Europe's brothels'

Now 40 brothels in [the small Czech town Dubi] have shrunk to just four — the others have turned into golf shops or goulash restaurants.

"Two or three years ago, we would get 1,000 men coming here for sex on a Friday night, which is a lot for a town of 8,000 people," said Mayor Petr Pipal. "The one good thing about the economic crisis is that it has impacted so severely on the sex trade."

Jan-Phillip Buergermann, a brothel owner in Frankfurt, said: "I have offered free Viagra, free porn and cut the rates of the girls by 40 per cent, but business is down 45 per cent — it's really terrible."

N.Y. Post: 'COPS SLAY "BAT" DAD IN BX.'

A Bronx father defending his stepdaughter's honor was shot to death by a plainclothes cop after he ignored repeated orders to freeze and came at the officer with a raised baseball bat, the NYPD said yesterday.

The wife and stepdaughter of victim Alex Figueroa, 40, witnessed the bloodshed Tuesday night and disputed the police account, saying ...

Bloomberg: 'Foreclosure Storm Will Hit U.S. in 2009 as Loan Changes Fail'

N.Y. Times: 'Carbon Dioxide (No SUV's) Detected on Distant Planet'

Times (U.K.): 'Tesco slashes prices 50 percent in pre-Christmas sale'

UK's biggest supermarket will axe prices tomorrow, fuelling speculation it is losing cash-strapped shoppers to rivals.

N.Y. Times: 'Scandal Is an Early Test for Obama Team'

Register (U.K.): 'Is filming someone in the street a breach of privacy?'

A 40-year-old woman is suing a Croatian TV station after it filmed her in public and then featured her in a documentary about obesity. Gordana Knezic was shopping in Zagreb and did not know that she was being filmed, Ananova reports.

N.Y. Times: 'Officials Say Jackson Was "Candidate 5" in Blagojevich Case'

Washington Post: 'Candidate 5 Stumps for Senate Seat From Hot Seat' (Dana Milbank)

Move over, Client No. 9. The capital has a new man of mystery: Senate Candidate 5.

Not since Eliot Spitzer did his business at the Mayflower Hotel has there been so much excitement over an unnamed person in a federal criminal case. Client 9 may have paid for sex, but Candidate 5 was willing to pay for a Senate seat -- or so claimed Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, according to the feds.

The guessing game didn't last very long yesterday before Candidate 5 more or less outed himself. ...

The son of the civil rights leader performed all the usual rituals for a man suddenly in the middle of a scandal. He professed his innocence ("I am not a target of the investigation"), his humanity (he choked up while speaking of a supportive text message from his sister), his willingness to cooperate with "the hardworking men and women of the United States attorney's office," and, of course, his refusal to take questions on advice of counsel.

N.Y. Post: 'METS LAND PUTZ, SHIP HEILMAN IN 3-TEAM TRADE'

Times (U.K.): 'Cholera ravages population weak with hunger in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe'

Times (U.K.): 'Mugabe: "There is no cholera in Zimbabwe"'

Washington Post: 'Nobel Winner to Energy Dept.'

Physicist Steven Chu chosen as energy secretary; Browner, two others get climate posts.

Scotsman (U.K.): 'PM mocked for "we saved world" gaffe'

Gordon Brown was mercilessly mocked yesterday by MPs after a blundering boast that he had "saved the world."

The Prime Minister was defending his economic rescue plan before MPs during Prime Minister's Questions.

A red-faced Mr Brown was shouted down by heckling MPs and was forced to sit down until the Speaker of the Commons could restore order.

N.Y. Daily News: 'Federal prosecutors eye N.J. capo from Genovese family in 2005 trial rubout'

Washington Post: 'Bailout Clears House, Faces Hurdles in Senate'

Bill speeding $14 billion to domestic automakers next goes to Senate, where approval is dicey; many in GOP doubt aid will save Detroit.

Washington Post: 'Chuck E. Cheese, Beer and Violence'

Washington Post: 'Illegal Workers in Chertoff Home'

Secret Service missed cleaning firm's illegal workers at Homeland Security Secretary's home.

Register (U.K.): 'Bollywood to remake The Italian Job: "Lots of singing and dancing"'

Washington Post: 'Gates: More brigades to Afghanistan by summer'

Washington Post: 'U.S. Troops Mistakenly Kill Six Afghan Policemen' (Candace Rondeaux)

U.S. Special Forces troops in southeastern Afghanistan killed six Afghan policemen and wounded 13 Wednesday in an incident that Afghan and U.S. officials said was a case of mistaken identity.

The Age (Australia): 'Strikes and violence: Greece paralysed'

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