I feel as if the 2nd Great Depression has finally hit me personally, as Nikki Finke is reporting that Variety columnist and reporter Anne Thompson — an excellent reporter and commentator, and one of my oldest friends in this racket — is among the Variety staffers who were laid off today.

Anne will keep her blog, Thompson on Hollywood, and is now talking with Variety about some kind of freelance revenue-sharing deal with them. Or she may tough it out and run her own site and sell her own ads, like myself and David Poland and others are doing. She will will continue teaching film criticism at USC and hosting Sneak Previews at UCLA Extension.

Film Festival editor Mike Jones has also felt the kiss of steel; ditto Jeff Sneider (i.e., “the Jeff”), Alys Marshall, Phil Gallo, Andrew Barker, Byron Perry, Lisa Weinstein, Martha Hernandez, Diane Garrett and Ben Fritz.

This is a terrible time we’re living through. May Barack Obama find and deploy the wisdom, strength and heavenly guidance to get us through this. Shame on the Republican ay-holes who are fighting Obama on the stimulus package, and whose lying, loathsome rationales were identified today by N.Y. Times columnist Paul Krugman. And remember this list of 25 people who brought us to this place.