Waltz With Bashir, a movie that sprang from a previous Israeli invasion of Lebanon, won Best Picture from the National Society of Film Critics. A free Madoff Watch T-shirt to the reader who suggests the best title for the first movie spurred by Israel's current invasion of Gaza.
On an overseas trip while Rome burns, Mike Bloomberg is acting as if term limits remained intact and he couldn't run for another term.
The mayor's in Israel, having a "blast," as the Post puts it, during the invasion of Gaza.
While the rest of the city's inhabitants are facing an onrushing New Depression, Bloomberg is occupied with the occupiers. Focusing primarily on getting his aides to make sure he stays alive, the mayor's not exactly concentrating on the crisis back home. How does a New York City mayor keep schools, health clinics, transit service, and libraries from being slashed? He dunno.
It has been a year of record misery: the largest bankruptcy, bank failure and Ponzi scheme in U.S. history; $720 billion in writedowns and losses by financial institutions; $30.1 trillion in market valuation wiped out.
In the past year, The New York Times Co. has slashed the dividend it pays investors by 75%, cut the companywide head count by 8%, raised the newsstand price of the flagship paper while merging its sections, and consolidated two New York area printing plants into one.
Big steps, but apparently not big enough. The world's foremost newspaper brand ended 2008 with its stock price down more than 60%. To raise $225 million to pay down long-term debt, the company is planning a sale-leaseback of part of its Renzo Piano-designed headquarters. It is also actively shopping its minority stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team.
Like every other newspaper publisher, the Times Co. is grappling with an unprecedented collapse in print advertising and a dramatic slowdown in online ad growth. In the first nine months of 2008, revenues fell 7%, to $2.2 billion. Meanwhile, net income--which was boosted in the year-earlier period by the sale of the company's broadcast unit--plunged 92%, to $27.3 million. The company, which has roughly $1 billion in debt, is negotiating with lenders over the more than $600 million in loans that are coming due this year and next.