Stocks on hold: The House passes an auto rescue plan, but many Senate Republicans are balking. Meantime, markets are in limbo land. (AP)
Big jump in claims: Way more folks filed new claims for jobless benefits last week than economists had expected. The number of claims reached a 26-year high. (AP)
Foreclosures still up: California saw a 6 percent increase in November from the previous month and a 51 percent increase from a year earlier. But foreclosures in Riverside County fell for the third consecutive month. Part of the drop is due to a new state law that requires lenders to try contacting defaulting borrowers about ways to avoid foreclosure. (SD Union-Tribune)
SAG vote set: The Screen Actors Guild will send out strike authorization ballots on Jan. 2 and reveal the results Jan. 23. That saves the Golden Globes in the event of a walkout, but sets the stage for a potential Oscars boycott. From Variety:
If a strike comes in February, it would probably be more disruptive to feature production than to primetime since studios have been planning to ramp up activity in coming months. Primetime series would be near the end of their seasonal production cycle at that point, and with producers of many pilots having opted to go with AFTRA deals, those pilots would not be affected.
Speaking of the Golden Globes: Nominations came out this morning. Guess it's time to start paying attention to all the movies we have yet to see. (NYT)
Arena football in trouble: Mounting losses and the sour economy might prompt league officials to suspend the 2009 season. For now, they're looking for ways to economize the operations. From the LAT:
The AFL isn't the only football league taking a hard look at its bottom line. Even the ultra-successful NFL, whose average franchise valuation has topped $1 billion for the first time, is looking to cut costs. Sports Business Daily says the league will offer a "voluntary separation package" to 150 staffers over the next 60 days. It quoted an e-mail from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying the league intended to reduce its staff of 1,100 by at least 10% to 15% and salaries will be frozen at least through 2009.
Ovitz home for sale: The one-time superagent has his Brentwood estate on the market for $14.95 million. The house has 13,000 square feet of living space and views of mountains and nearby canyons. (LAT)