Immigration bill fading fast: At least in its current form. The same employers who worked on the compromise legislation that will be debated in the Senate this week don't like the final result, especially the part about establishing a point system to determine who gets to the front of the line. Itís obviously skewed in favor of higher skilled and educated workers, who aren't the ones filling low-income jobs. Another impossible-to-enforce provision would require employers to not only ask for someone's papers, but to make sure they're legit. Right Ė Iím sure some contractor picking up day workers at Santa Monica and Sawtelle will be running to the government's database to check everybody out. From the NYT:
Supporters, including the White House, had hoped that senators would finish work on it this week, before the Memorial Day recess. But leading members of Congress said today that the bill would take more time and could face significant hurdles. The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the immigration bill ďcanít possibly be completed before Memorial Day.Ē On the ABC News program ďThis Week,Ē Mr. McConnell said the Senate would need at least two weeks to digest and amend the bill, which he described as ďa big, complicated piece of legislation.Ē At the same time, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, expressed concern about a central element of the bill, under which the government would establish a point system to evaluate would-be immigrants, giving more weight to job skills and education and less to family ties.
More on Pelicano: The NYT just won't leave this story alone. It got a hold of the voluminous case file and laid out in chart format some of the folks who presumably asked the private eye to investigate their legal or personal enemies. The chart is the most interesting part of the story. What's missing - frankly what's been missing in much of the Pelicano coverage - is determining what Pelicano actually found out and whether he put the squeeze on those targeted individuals. The Times telegraphed high up in its story: "Perhaps the case has not lived up to its advance billing as the biggest Hollywood scandal in decades." So what's it doing on the front page? The paper's vague justification is that the documents are "a rich sourcebook of show-business manners, mores and argot, a vicarious tour through the dysfunctional heart of Hollywood." Translation: They didnít get the goods.
Page Six scandal: NY is still buzzing over unsavory disclosures by a former writer of the NY Post's infamous gossip column - including how Page Six Editor Richard Johnson accepted money from a restaurateur and had a $50,000 bachelor party in Mexico thrown for him by Joe "Girls Gone Wild" Francis. Oh, and there was this: An unflattering item on a Chinese diplomat was supposedly spiked because Rupert Murdoch, who happens to own the Post, was trying to do some sort of deal with the Chinese. Well, you can see where this is going. The Post isn't exactly the WSJ when it comes to integrity, but those opposing Murdoch's bid for Dow Jones are using it as evidence of what would happen if he bought the Journalís parent company. NYT
Higher freight rates?: Shipping lines want to charge more to carry goods from Asia to North America (much of it landing right here), and before you turn the page just know that the ongoing negotiations could determine how much that shirt or TV costs you down the line. Rates fell last year because of overcapacity, and higher fuel costs made things even worse for the shippers. How much worse? Good question. The shipping lines almost never disclose rates, which are now being worked out in a series of secretive annual negotiations. From the WSJ:
The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Hong Kong to the U.S. can range from $1,750 to the West Coast, to $3,300 to the East Coast via the Panama Canal, to $4,100 to the East Cost using a faster overland rail connection from a West Coast port. Rates from Asia to Europe tend to be set for a period of just three months, so adjustments are more frequent than on trans-Pacific routes. Predicting freight rates is a challenge that defies a straightforward analysis of the supply and demand for shipping. Unlike shipments of iron ore and other bulk goods, there is no spot market for containerized freight. And freight rates, like futures prices for oil and other commodities, hinge on market sentiment.
L.A. firm gets investment: Itís called Gorilla Nation Media LLC and it's getting $50 million from Great Hills Partners, which will receive a substantial minority position. Gorilla Nation is another one of those successful but little watched online marketing companies. Started in 2001 by Aaron Broder and Brian Fitzgerald, the company provides advertising technology development, online marketing services and web content publishing. Late last year, Gorilla Nation sold its teen girl-oriented Web site Quizilla.com to MTV Networks. TheDeal.com
Growth forecast: L.A. County will do better than Socal as a whole for the rest of this year and into 2008, according to a new forecast by Cal State Long Beach. One reason is that the county's housing boom was never as strong as other areas, like Riverside and San Bernardino, so the current downdrafts arenít as noticeable. Still, job growth in the county will slow to 1.3 percent in 2007 and 1.2 percent in 2008, compared with 1.7 percent in 2006. Business Journal
Another home auction: And it drew a crowd: more than 1,800 people showed up at Los Angeles Convention Center over the weekend as 92 L.A.-area homes, condos and apartment buildings went on the auction block. One Malibu condo - all 895 square feet of it - had a starting bid of $399,000 and sold for $570,000. But a 784-square-foot, three bedroom home in Lakewood that had been previously valued at $420,000 went for $380,000. In general, there were savings to be had but nothing like the 90s, when banks were desperate to unload homes. LAT
Mexicans do deal: Universal Pictures and Focus Features have cut a five-picture $100 million agreement with a group led by Mexican filmmakers Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The three directors came up with the partnership idea and have been shopping the package to several studios. Universal will share ownership of all five films with the three directors. THR/Reuters