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More Like ‘Vianocomment’Viacom Inc. and its chairman,...

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Viacom Inc. and its chairman, Sumner Redstone, are embroiled in a high-profile war to snatch Paramount Communications from the clutches of QVC Network and its chairman, Barry Diller.

You’d never know it from the latest “Viacomments,” Viacom’s in-house newsletter.

The just-published issue heralds Viacom’s agreement last month to buy Paramount with a two-page supplement, including a lengthy profile of Paramount and a long history of the Paramount Pictures studio. No word about the rival bid that emerged from QVC and the uncertainty over which bidder will win.

A spokesman for Viacom says that although the newsletter was only recently published, its early deadlines prevented the latest developments involving QVC from getting into the publication.

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Uncivil Conduct?

Has Nolo hit a new low? Los Angeles lawyer Harvey Saferstein, former California Bar Assn. president, thinks so.

The Berkeley-based publisher of legal books and lawyer jokes included in its latest catalogue a stinging criticism of a recent public appeal by Saferstein for people to ease up on lawyer jokes and bashing. The Irell & Manella partner made the plea after a man went on a shooting spree that left eight people dead at the San Francisco law firm Pettit & Martin.

What Saferstein really didn’t like were Nolo’s drawings accompanying the piece that showed bullets with lawyer jokes inscribed on them. Saferstein says the drawings are “callous and inappropriate” in the wake of the shooting.

“I think it’s in particularly bad taste, especially after the Petit & Martin situation. Bullets and death and lawyer jokes are inappropriate,” Saferstein says.

Nolo has never been kind to lawyers. The company pictures attorneys as sharks, and offers such books as “200 Reasons Not to Go to Law School.”

Nolo President Linda Hanger said she can see how someone might be offended but calls the bullet drawings satire.

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“The point we are making is that jokes don’t kill people, and jokes aren’t to blame for what’s going on here,” Hanger said.

Maybe He’s Ready Now

Last fall, Los Angeles magazine profiled hamburger king Carl Karcher as one of eight Orange County “movers and shakers.”

The piece mentions that Karcher is shying away from running for public office. Why? Because “he’s having too much fun” running his huge Carl’s Jr. burger empire.

No doubt the fun is over now that Karcher has been ousted as head of Carl’s Jr. in a bitter, highly publicized feud with the company’s directors.

Briefly . . .

Forbes says former Treasury Secretary William E. Simon was knocked off its 400 richest Americans list when federal authorities seized Western Federal Savings & Loan in Marina del Rey from his investment group. . . . A North Carolina record company’s motto is “Alternative reality.” . . . Consider the paper clip: A Redondo Beach company boasts its redesigned paper clips can be used more than 5,000 times without losing shape.

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