COVER BOY Putin
• Putin gets the nod: Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named Time magazine's person of the year—the theory either being that Al Gore's got too much shine or that the mag's editor, Rick Stengel, has a thing for Viggo Mortensen look-alikes.
• Law dogs: Surprising nobody but the back-dealing lawyers who believed they'd never be caught, deposed Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, White House Council Harriet Miers, and several other high-ranking Bush Administration lawyers are now known to have held discussions with the CIA over the now-destroyed interrogation tapes of captured Al Qaeda operatives.
• Rove tome: Dispelling rumors of a stalled bidding war for Bush's Brain Karl Rove's memoir, reports now claim that one of two Simon and Schuster imprints will be publishing the book.
&bull Un-mellow Poncharello: The son of onetime Latino sex symbol Erik Estrada, Brandon, threw a conniption fit last night aboard a plane and was subsequently manhandled by undercover police. Apparently, they didn't have the brand of CHiPs he wanted! (Sorry.)
• Magna cum laude: A copy of 12th century document the Magna Carta—"the birth certificate of freedom"—was purchased at auction in New York yesterday for $21.3M by the Carlyle Group. That's the same Carlyle Group of Bush family dynasty fame. There's a human rights and personal liberties joke here somewhere, isn't there?
• Backburner: Outshined by massive news last night of Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy, 22-year-old songstress Lily Allen is getting little attention for her own pregnancy announcement. Buck up, dearie, and rest easy knowing your child will reap the rewards of your glorious third nipple while little Spears goes largely ignored and/or dropped.