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Funny Money: Jury of Victims

A new kind of punishment for New Century. Plus, L.A.'s new sheriff, Sam Zell, and other hilarity.

Editor's Note: Welcome to "Funny Money," a feature written by New York-based comedian Jeff Kreisler. Lest there be any confusion, please note that this column is a work of satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy the weekend.

Samuel Zell won the bidding to buy the

Tribune Company

. Luckily, he sounds like an Old West barroom brawler, so when the

Los Angeles Times

challenges him, he can just pull out his six-shooters and yell, "You hippie editors! Dawn. Pistols. OK Corral and Alright Media Elite Country Club."

Tribune has faced issues with the

Los Angeles Times

. It's a culture clash between Chicago, with its deep dish pizza, and SoCal, with its shallow dumb people.

Many are concerned that Zell may not be good for the industry, since he's stated he has no interest in newspapers. Actually, that makes him just like the rest of America, so maybe he's onto something.

One neat effect of the privatization of Tribune is that, instead of hockey, the papers will cover Zell family canasta.

In other deal-making developments,


confirmed that it is considering selling its Chrysler division. But, but, but ... what will everyone do to make easy jokes about my name? Hardly anyone thinks of Kreisler-meth any more...

First Data

, processor of credit card payments, agreed to be bought by KKR for about $26 billion. KKR will pay with Visa and, if everything goes according to my plan, First Data will soon "lose" KKR's private information and months later, in a pure coincidence, I'll start buying small countries.

TheStreet Recommends

EMI Group

will provide online songs to


iTunes without copy protection. You mean, just like regular music? No way! But, see, we gave out these CDs to all our wedding guests and I liked it when friends would call and ask me to sing certain songs to them because they were locked.

Two Italian energy companies bought Yukos assets then promptly announced they'd sell to Gazprom. That's the difference between Russia and the U.S. At least here, companies like


have the decency to wait a few days before publicizing their power-grabbing moves. "Promptly announced."


Good luck controlling the future with that approach.

In other end-of-the-world news,

New Century Financial

, subprime lender to the stars, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The only way out is to pay off creditors with an adjustable-rate loan determined by a committee of the defaulted homeowners it created.

A judge overturned a jury verdict against


for cheating the government out of millions in oil and gas royalties. The legal reasoning: The judge's Swiss bank account was dangerously low.

The Justice Department tried to shut down

Jackson Hewitt

for allegedly falsifying tax returns.


The only acceptable form of tax fraud is lobbying, bribery and campaign donations.

Speaking of which, Justice is also pursuing an individual whose antitax movement has enabled followers to avoid millions in taxes. Lawyers for that man say he's innocent, or his name isn't George W. Bush.

In a related story, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA has the authority to regulate heat-trapping gases. First stop for excess hot air and gas: The U.S. Capitol.

The CEO of

Starwood Hotels

resigned in a dispute over adult movie charges on his bill. He first claimed he never watched, then said he was trying to order


, which creeped out everyone even more.


CEO claims selling TV ads will "add value to this important medium." I'm not sure that TV is an "important medium" or that advertising has much value, besides leading to the end of the world. Now, if everyone would just send me all their money to fund my agriculture- and free love-based cult, we'd all be saved.

Trust me.

A high-speed train in France broke the world rail speed record, and will join the Airbus A380 and a winged fellow named Icarus on a race to the Sun.

In other Euro-transport news,


made a bid for Italy's


. I've heard of "the blind leading the blind," but never "the drunk flying the drunk." Until now.

Thailand blocked YouTube for showing degrading video of its monarch. Always good to see Thailand, home of ping pong-ball based Puritanism, taking a stand for moral dignity.

The New York Times

ran an article about the difficulties facing female entrepreneurs in Alaska. The number one problem: They're in Alaska! Thus, investors can't help believing that they're dumb.

The FCC officially ended the possibility of in-flight cell phones. But, but, but ... how will I know whether the guy next to me or his wife is the



A lawsuit in New York claims that the state teachers union inappropriately accepted millions to endorse a firm's investment plans. Finally, teachers are being recognized. Take that, LeBron James. Who's getting the big bucks now, Mister?

Similarly, aid officers at prominent universities were charged with profiting from steering students towards certain companies. Loan companies: Sound, wise investments. Young American minds? Not so much.

A graduate of Princeton, Virginia Law School, and the fictitious College of Asparagus Lovers, Jeff Kreisler (

) is an accomplished comedian, writer, producer and person. He's the winner of the 2006 Bill Hicks Spirit Award for Thought Provoking Comedy, stars in the "Comedy Against Evil" tour, and is writing "Get Rich Cheating," a parody of corporate crime, for Prentice Hall Press. Jeff performs at clubs and colleges all over the known galaxy and has been featured at the Edinburgh Fringe, Freedom Cinema, and San Francisco Comedy Festivals. He plays blues saxophone, speaks French and Russian, was a sports broadcaster, taught English in Russia, helped start a non-profit dedicated to at-risk youth, and played college football. After extended stops in cities like San Francisco, Boston, and D.C., Jeff now lives in New York City from whence he is available for birthdays, circumcisions and bachelorette parties. Kreisler appreciates your feedback;

click here

to send him an email.