Cheaper gas: Just in time for the long weekend, the average price of regular in the L.A. area is $3.897 per gallon, according to the latest Auto Club survey. That's down 7.9 cents from last week, but still $1.15 above last year. It's the 10th straight week that pump prices have fallen, though oil is up this morning (over $118 a barrel at last check) on growing concern about a hurricane disrupting production in the Gulf of Mexico.
Spending slows: Bye, bye economic stimulus. Consumer spending was down 0.4 percent in July when adjusted for inflation, and disposable personal income, which measures how much money Americans have to spend after taxes, fell 1.7 percent. Most of the tax rebate checks were sent in May and June and then tapered off in July. (NYT)
Valley home sales increase: Well, sort of. The median price in July was $435,000, up from $431,000 the previous month but way down from $630,000 a year earlier. Home sales jumped 16 percent from a year earlier, with much of the action focused on foreclosures. (Daily News)
Linens 'n Things reorganizes: The new plan involves closing as many as a third of the stores, according to the NY Post (no details on locations). The company is on life support, with same-store sales way down. To get merchandise flowing for the holiday season, Linens 'n Things has secured a $100 million letter of credit.
FDIC adds space: The federal agency that insures deposits and disposes of failed banks will add 125,000 square feet to its Dallas office and hire about 300 staff members. Dallas is the headquarters of the agency's Division of Resolution and Receivership, the unit that handles failed banks. (Bloomberg)
Blogger charged with felony: Kevin Cogill, who posted nine leaked songs from an unreleased Guns N' Roses album, faces up to three years in prison under a federal anti-piracy law that makes it a felony to distribute a copyrighted work on computer networks before its release. From the LAT:
Cogill, 27, was arrested Wednesday and released on $10,000 bond. He was not required to enter a plea. His public defender, Anthony Eaglin, declined to comment. "I hope he rots in jail," said Slash, the former Guns N' Roses lead guitarist. "It's going to affect the sales of the record, and it's not fair. The Internet is what it is, and you have to deal with it accordingly, but I think if someone goes and steals something, it's theft."