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Opening Bell: 12.24.08

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With Roots in '70s, Madoff Scheme Takes New Toll (WSJ)

From time to time Mr. Gettinger would try to engage Mr. Madoff in talk about his investment strategy. "I asked him about it several times and he wouldn't talk," said Mr. Gettinger. "Anytime you would talk to him about his business he would tell you he wasn't going to make any disclosures, he had a proprietary trading system and he wouldn't tell."
Suspicions about Mr. Madoff's trading also go back further than whistle-blowers have alleged. In 1991, a consultant hired to review a corporation's investments with Mr. Madoff made in the late 1980s grew suspicious about his returns. According to client statements and other information gathered by the consultant and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, between 1980 and 1990, the consultant found that Mr. Madoff claimed to his client to have earned 22.6% per year, double the average return on the Dow Jones Industrial Average during that time.

Also the Smothers Brothers, i.e. Mark and Andy, have yet to be contacted by prosecutors because apparently even entertaining the thought of family members testifying against one another is just too awkward.

L'Oreal Heiress Bettencourt Said to Have Invested With Madoff
Given that he scammed 8 billion people it shouldn't come as a shock that we've got some pretty good stats in there, like his victims included "the world's richest woman" and the first-known talking dog, who resides in Boca.
Layoffs Watch '08: Glenview (NYP)
L-train has laid off a bunch of staff, and will probs cut compensation for existing employees significantly next year. This makes some sense.
SEC chief defends response to economic turmoil (Reuters)
Chris Cox: Orator (If you missed it, Track 1 can be found here.)

What we have done in this current turmoil is stay calm, which has been our greatest contribution -- not being impulsive, not changing the rules willy-nilly, but going through a very professional and orderly process that takes into account unintended consequences and gives ample notice to market participants," Cox told The Washington Post.
This caution "has really been a signal achievement for the SEC," said Cox.
"When these gale-force winds hit our markets, there were panicked cries to change any and every rule of the marketplace: 'Let's try this. Let's try that.' What was needed was a steady hand," he said.

He Can't Speak Worth A Damn, But This Is Good (WaPo)
"Cox said the biggest mistake of his tenure was agreeing in September to an extraordinary three-week ban on short selling of financial company stocks. But in publicly acknowledging for the first time that this ban was not productive, Cox said he had been under intense pressure from Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to take this action and did so reluctantly. They "were of the view that if we did not act and act at that instant, these financial institutions could fail as a result and there would be nothing left to save," Cox said."
You are getting one 'Don't Short Me, Bro' t-shirt and a matching thong, on the house, Mister!

Jamie Foxx and Terrence Howard: Sing Off?
Gary Busey apparently entered a celebrity lip syching contest and lost. That is some bull shit.
Programming Note: We're on an abbreviated vacation-esque schedule 'til '09, or the urge to reach out and touch you moves us. Off for the big birthday tomorrow, with opening/closing wraps today, Friday, next week. We still want to hear from you, though, so if Bernie Madoff slips in the shower and you've got pics, do not hesitate to let us know.
Oh, and Geoffrey Raymond has finally completed his Madoff/Tony Bennett, which he couldn't have done without your help.

Red are Dealbreaker readers, Green are drinkers at the Peter McManus Cafe.

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