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Opening Bell: 12.30.10

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Goldman Sachs Bonuses at Near-Record Lows? (Deal Journal)
So sayeth Credit Suisse: “We expect full year comp expense to be accrued at 40.4% of revenues, the second lowest level since Goldman has been a public firm, reflective of both mgmt discipline and the impact of new hires over the past year.”

An Interview Question From Goldman Sachs (HP)
“If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?”

Three Hedge Funds Got Inside Data From Consultant, US Says (Bloomberg)
Anyone want to take a gander on which funds used Winifred Jiau's info about Nvidia Corp. and Marvell Technology Group?

Business Schools Add Mock Trading Floors (Dealbook)
Students “learn to speak the language of Wall Street,” said Mr. Riley, who donated $100,000 to establish the trading operation at Adelphi, his mother’s alma mater. “When you’re in an environment like this, the first thing you learn is whether this turns you on or not.”...“These days it’s a bling factor at many schools,” said Richard D. Holowczak, who runs the trading floor at Baruch College in New York, which started its trading room in 2000. “It looks sexy, and it’s a great way to have a donor’s name literally in lights.”

Bloomberg's Katrina (TCL)
Professor Krugman thinks Hizzoner's snow blowing efforts this week were "a major fail," not unlike Bush's in New Orleans that time.

Vatican Outlines Rules To Fight Money Laundering (WSJ)
Job opening alert: "The Vatican is creating a financial watchdog, called the Authority of Financial Information, to control suspicious transactions that could involve financing terrorism as well as market rigging, insider trading and market abuse. The chairman of the Vatican authority will be named by the Pope and his mandate will expire after five years. He will also head a five-member executive committee named by the Pope. According to press reports, Cardinal Attilio Nicora is going to be the chairman of the authority."

Weekly Jobless Claims Slip Below 400,000, At 29-Month Low (Reuters)
High-fives all around.

Wussy White House Could Use A Snow Ball Fight (Bloomberg)
"Pre-wussification, we were an economic powerhouse, and our children were the best-educated in the world, until we decided to sheathe our little princes and princesses in bubble wrap. We give them graduation ceremonies for getting through nursery school, a trophy just for showing up at soccer. We’ve removed play from the playground to keep them from scraping a knee. We intervene like lawyers in every dispute."

Chinese Could Become Richer Than Americans, Says Economist (CNBC)
Are you quaking in your boots?

Hedges Clipped (NYP)
In 2010, the number of hedge funds to close their doors permanently declined 32 percent to just 585 firms through the end of the third quarter, according to fund tracking outfit Hedge Fund Research. But fund watchers say the recent downturn in closures may just represent a lull in the storm.

Governors To Be Turn Down Mansions (WSJ)
In New York, departing Gov. David Paterson was caught red-faced in 2009 by allegations that friends of his daughter were planning a party in a section of the mansion they dubbed, "FDR's Polio Poolhouse," while her parents were away. The governor called a posting on Facebook about the event a joke.

Steve Young: From The NFL To Private Equity (Fortune)
When will Brett Favre make the jump?

Who Talked To New York Fed Chief Dudley Last Year? (Dealbook)
Bank chiefs, AIG execs, lawyers, global finance officials, hedge fund reps (from SAC and Citadel), private equity guys (from KKR, Carlyle, and Blackstone), Jeff Immelt and Lady GaGa.

Khodorkovsky gets six more years in Russia jail (BBC)
The former oil tycoon now faces imprisonment until 2017. He could "only be reformed by being isolated from society", the judge's verdict said. As sentence was passed, Khodorkovsky's mother shouted at the judge: "May you and your offspring be damned!"

Pimco Says U.S. Will Keep Reserve-Currency Status (Bloomberg)
“Rising powers such as China are not yet ready to absorb the $9 trillion in reserve assets the world holds, particularly because their bond markets are immature,” Anthony Crescenzi, a money manager at Pimco wrote in a report yesterday. “Europe, amid all of its financial woes, isn’t even close to ready to take the mantle.”

Donald Trump Has His Own Way Of Measuring His Success (Daily Intel)
It's based on the number of (reality TV) stars approaching The Don to kiss his ass.

Police: Man stole from boy’s casket (TD)
"A 37-year-old man has been charged with desecrating the casket of an 11th-grader by reaching in and stealing two handheld video systems and three games. Jody Lynn Bennett of Mentcle was arrested and jailed Wednesday. State police in Indiana said Bennett stole the goods about 9:30 p.m. Monday at the Rairigh Funeral Home. Viewing for Bradley D. McCombs Jr. of Clymer had been scheduled to conclude at 9. McCombs's uncle, Robert McCombs Jr., approached Bennett after Bennett got in his vehicle and was about to drive away. He asked Bennett about a missing Game Boy. “The defendant told the uncle that he did not have the Game Boy,” according to the affidavit of probable cause. “The uncle then told the defendant that he could see the Game Boy inside the vehicle. The defendant then produced the Game Boy and returned it to the uncle.”

Governor Paterson Calls For Snow Slowdown Probe (NYP)
Outgoing Gov. David Paterson called this morning for a criminal investigation into allegations that a slowdown by budget-squeezed plow operators contributed to the city’s blizzard woes.

Programming Note: We’re on an abbreviated vacation-esque schedule ’til Monday (opening/closing wraps and very limited updates whenever the urge to reach out and touch you moves us). We still want to hear from you, though, so if someone gets nailed for insider trading, Tim Geithner announces he’s quitting to tour with Phantom of the Opera, or anything else happens that you think might tickle our fancy, do not hesitate to let us know.