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NYSE to Close in Ford's Honor (WSJ) We grew up believing that Gerald Ford was at best a joke and at worst an enemy. It's still hard to not think of Chevy Chase's pratfalls when we hear his name. And his choice of liberal Republican plutocrat Nelson Rockefeller as vice-president marked him as not only on the wrong side of history but on the wrong side, period. In the years since he exited the stage of national politics the best thing that can be said is that he stayed off stage, no small feat in the age of ex-presidents as global superheroes. But we'll give this to him: the man knew when to die. The NYSE, the America Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the CBOE Futures Exchange have all announced they will be closed on Tuesday in observance of a national day of mourning for Ford. And now the banks are sending out memos giving everyone the day off as well. Which means we hit this New Year's Eve weekend with four days off—and an extra day to recover from the damage we plan to do to ourselves, our loved ones, our livers and our souls on Sunday night. So here's to Ford. In the end, not such a bad guy.

Apple Probe Finds Jobs Recommended Some Grants
(WSJ) Here's an Apple commercial you won't see—the one where Hodgeman comes on asking why the hell the Mac guy is always so effin smug, and the Mac guy replies that not only did he get backdated options but he's totally getting away with it. Look, we've said again and again that, for the most part, backdating was a phony scandal. And nothing illustrates this better than what happened with Steve Jobs' backdated options grants. You see, Jobs got two grants that were pegged to earlier dates, essentially giving him options that would be priced cheaper than if they were dated on the correct date. But these were later cancelled when the company gave Jobs a bunch of restricted stock. Now if you keep in mind that restricted stock is basically an option with an exercise price of zero, you can understand why scandalizing backdating is so silly. A cheaper option is a crime but a free grant isn't? It's a wonderful world.

Hedge Hogging
(New York Post) The limits of the insider trading laws are a bit fuzzy, in part because so few of those charged actually go to trial. Except for the most obviously criminal enterprises—such as this year's Plotkin Plot—the SEC settles most insider trading cases out of court, which means that there actually isn't much in the way of legal precedent testing the limits of the laws. So you can bet on some legal fireworks in the case of John Mangan, a co-founder of Mangan & McColl Partners, who was accused by the SEC yesterday of insider trading. Mangan is accused of gaming a PIPE of CompuDyne stock, and plans defend himself by claiming it was just a bureaucratic mix-up. The outcome of the case could provide guidance for how banks and hedge funds can be held liable for screwing up trading executions.
Bringing Back The Brick (GrooveKing) Nothing says classic Wall Street like the old brick cellular phone. Now someone has gone and figured out how to get one of these babies working again by tearing out the insides and using Bluetooth technology to bring it up to date. Bess, we finally found a Hanukah gift for you.

And That Was 2006:
The entire DealBreaker team wishes you a happy New Year. We'll be back on a full schedule next week. See you in 2007.