Auto executives make case: They're testifying on Capitol Hill this morning about their desperate need for a bailout – and admitting to a bunch of mistakes. Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli said: "I can tell you in my 38 years in business, I've never attended a more important session where more is reliant upon both the House and the Senate." (AP)
Retailers take huge hit: November was even worse than analysts had expected. Only Wal-Mart escaped the bloodshed. Keep in mind that the numbers were made worse by fewer shopping days in November compared with 2007. (AP)
Wall Street lower: More weak economic numbers and big layoffs at AT&T and DuPont. But trading seems pretty muted. After an hour, the Dow is down about 25 points.
Bearish housing bets: Traders see housing prices in L.A. and OC dropping another 18.7 percent by November 2009. The projections were made by TFS Derivatives, which makes a market in home-price contracts that trade at the Chicago Merc. If they're right, prices will have fallen 43 percent below their peak in September 2006. (Lansner on Real Estate)
Farmer Bros. buys rival: L.A.'s venerable coffee company is acquiring the Superior Coffee brand and sales network from Sara Lee for $45 million. You find both brands in restaurants, mini-marts and hotels. The deal gives Farmer annual revenue of $500 million. (LAT)
Selling Palmdale land?: City Councilman Bill Rosendahl called for a review of the city's plans for 17,000 acres near Palmdale's airport. L.A. has had the land for 40 years, with a long-running pipedream that it could become the site of a new airport. But nothing remotely has come of it. From the Daily News:
"It's time to get real," Rosendahl said during a meeting of the City Council's Trade, Tourism and Commerce Committee. "Should we just get out of the phoniness that we are planning something out there? We should look at the value of the land we have there and what we could get if we sold it."
Golden Globes appear safe: The world can rest easy - members of the Screen Actors Guild won't be getting their ballots for a strike authorization vote until the end of the month, with the results not finalized until mid-January at the earliest. That means the Jan. 11 Golden Globes will go on! Meanwhile, the union infighting continues. From Variety:
With the stakes heightened by the economic crisis, deep divisions have already emerged within SAG. Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, former SAG VP Mike Farrell and national board member Mike Hodge have come out against the guild's strike authorization vote. Farrell announced his opposition in a bitter email Wednesday, ridiculing SAG's Membership First faction for its conduct over the past five years. He said the leaders' tactics have included "misinformation, tough talk, over-promising and ineptitude -- that have run our union into the ground." SAG president Alan Rosenberg told Daily Variety that Farrell's criticism was unwarranted.