We're saved! Yankees bail out New York City!

Don't worry if you've been laid off, your kid's school has closed, your neighborhood's community center has had to shut down, your bank (revitalized by your tax money) is pestering you to turn over your home, the prices of booze and cigarettes have gone up again, subway fares are soaring, you couldn't afford to buy more than lumps of coal for your Christmas stocking, Bernie Madoff stole your gelt.

Taking the sting out of that: The Yanks signed Mark Texeira for $180 million in guaranteed money.

The local rags reported the great news as breathlessly as any hometown hack hinterlands newspaper would. From the Daily News:

In bagging free agents Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett, the Yankees have committed a guaranteed $423.5 million to those three contracts at a cost that will average $62 million a year. ...

Teixeira's contract pays him $22.5 million a year and includes a $5 million signing bonus as well as a no-trade clause. Together with Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter, the Yankees have the four highest-paid players in baseball.

Rodriguez will make $32 million this year and (for now) gets to fuck Madonna.

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You — and ordinary New Yorkers like you — helped make it all possible with hundreds of millions of dollars in public subsidies and free land. Take some pride in that. Even if you can't afford tickets to the games. Give yourself a pat on the back.

You also made New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon happy; the Mets got public money for their new stadium, making it possible for them to afford their new players.

But Wilpon wasn't as lucky as Alex Rodriguez. Fred got fucked, but it was Bernie Madoff who turned the trick and it cost Fred $500 million.

Aside from that, more good news for the rich people you subsidize: If you're one of those people who rents from city slumlord Isaac Toussie, raise a toast to him: George W. Bush just granted him a pardon.

Put a bucket under those drips and click on these ...


Washington Post: 'The Dispirit of Christmas Present'

It's beginning to look a not like Christmas, everywhere you don't go.

Slate: 'Bogus Trend of the Week: Booming Evangelical Attendance'

A Gallup editor punctures a religion bubble at the New York Times. ...

Ordinarily when the Times traffics in a trend story, it indemnifies itself by quoting a skeptic on the other side of the issue or it tosses off a "to be sure" paragraph noting the weakness of its anecdotal evidence. Not here. Given this leap of faith, let's hope the Times isn't looking into the existence of Santa Claus. Imagine the headline: "Despite Naysayers, Hundreds of Millions Believe in St. Nick."

McClatchy: 'Salmon-tracking network upends some sacred cows'

Slate: 'Blago's Legal Eagles'

They're the guys who defended R. Kelly. Can they get the Illinois governor off the hook, too?

Wall Street Journal: 'Madoff Scheme Takes New Toll'

A sharper picture is emerging about the investigation into the alleged fraud by Madoff, how it evolved to ensnare bigger clients and how long it went on. ...

Earliest suspicions now date back to '91.

Slate: 'Cheney Fought the Law. Cheney Won.'


A former securities broker was charged yesterday with helping disgraced lawyer Marc Dreier trick hedge-fund managers into making more than $380 million in bogus investments, authorities said.

Kosta Kovachev, who lost his broker's license after being implicated in a time-share Ponzi scheme, is accused of impersonating various real-estate execs as part of Dreier's elaborate scam to sell hedge funds phony promissory notes, according to the feds.

Kovachev, 57, and Dreier reportedly sneaked into the Manhattan offices of Solow Realty to meet with hedge-fund representatives in October. During that meeting, Kovachev pretended to be the company's controller, according to a Manhattan federal court complaint.

L.A. Times: 'Chinese seek to pull cats from the menu'

Wall Street Journal: 'Obama, Two Aides Questioned in Probe'


Washington Post: 'SEC Chair Defends His Restraint'

Christopher Cox says agency's measured response to crisis has been his greatest contribution.


N.Y. Daily News: 'Suicide not a shock to other Madoff victims'

Washington Post: 'Madoff Investor Found Dead in Office'

Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet was found sitting at his desk at about 8 a.m. with both wrists slashed ... A box cutter was found on the floor along with a bottle of sleeping pills on his desk. No suicide note was found. ...

His fund enlisted intermediaries with links to the cream of Europe's high society to garner clients.

Among them was Philippe Junot, a French businessman and friend who is the former husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco.

De la Villehuchet, the former chairman and chief executive of Credit Lyonnais Securities, also was known as a keen sailor who regularly participated in regattas and was a member of the New York Yacht Club.


American Forces Press Service: 'Commander in Chief Recalls His "Great Days"'

McClatchy: 'California will see clout increase at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue'


Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver yesterday strongly suggested that Gov. Paterson reject Hillary Rodham Clinton's replacement - because she might be more loyal to Mayor Bloomberg than to the governor.

McClatchy: 'Flaunting, sales of luxury goods down'

BBC: 'Cocoa prices hit a 23-year-high'

... Cocoa traded in the US has also been rising, although not as strongly because of the strength of the dollar.

BBC: 'Dung souvenir based on holy phrase'

BBC: 'Sopranos actor cleared of murder'

BBC: 'NY Times admits to fake letter'

Washington Post: 'Shoe-Thrower Is Called Defiant'

Telegraph (U.K.): 'Pope says humanity needs "saving" from homosexuality'

N.Y. Times: 'Betrayed by Madoff, school adds lesson'

Jurist: 'Russia upper house gives final approval to presidential term extension amendments'

Jurist: 'Australia government lifts control order on ex-Guantanamo detainee Hicks'

Guardian (U.K.): 'Animal rights activists still target lab'

Four guilty of six-year campaign against companies linked to Huntingdon Life Sciences knowledge

L.A. Times: 'Afghanistan's President Karzai laments coalition use of "thugs"'

The leader of Afghanistan faults U.S.-led forces, saying they have hired warlords who have then been sent to mistreat ordinary Afghans.

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