Thursday morning headlines

Market keeps falling: Brand new quarter, same sour results. Dow is down 130 points in early trading (rise in jobless claims isn't helping).

Port clerks walk off jobs: Picket lines were set up this morning after 900 clerical workers at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach couldn't come to terms with shipping companies. Longshore workers have pledged to honor picket lines at the twin ports, so the strike could have an impact on container traffic. (wires)

Republicans hold off jobless bill: Another filibuster prevents Senate action on legislation to extend benefits for 1.3 million workers. From AP:

Republicans offered to support the unemployment bill if it was paid for with unspent money from last year's massive economic recovery package. Democrats rejected the offer, saying the money was needed for jobs programs. "The only reason the unemployment extension hasn't passed is because Democrats simply refuse to pass a bill that doesn't add to the debt," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Layoff reprieve fails: City Council fell two votes short of a last-minute plan to delay job cuts for three months. More than 200 city employees are scheduled to lose their jobs today as part of the new budget. From the LAT:

Opponents of Thursday's layoffs, which coincide with the start of a new fiscal year, contend they will cost the city $3 million more than they will save in salaries. Under its salary agreement with the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, the moment a single member is pushed out, the city must pay an estimated $27 million in raises to coalition members who remain on the payroll. Matt Szabo, deputy chief of staff to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, said those numbers are accurate but predicted there probably would be more salary savings in the coming months after a second round of layoffs occur.

Where's the state budget?: For the 19th time in the last 25 years, California begins a new fiscal year without one. Good news is that Democratic leaders in the Assembly and Senate appear to have resolved their differences. Bad news is they still must work out a deal with the governor. From the Sacramento Bee:

The Democratic plan rejects Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed cuts to welfare, In-Home Supportive Services and Medi-Cal. To help pay for those programs, Democrats propose a new tax on oil production and delaying a series of corporate tax breaks. They also would shift some public safety and welfare functions to local governments.

GM sales up: But June's 10.7 percent increase from a year earlier isn't that big a deal since no one was buying cars a year earlier. From May to June, sales fell about 13 percent. (AP)

Movie site crackdown: Federal authorities seized the domain names of nine websites accused of letting users watch on-demand versions of first-run movies. It's part of an ongoing effort to crack down on intellectual piracy. From the WSJ:

Referring to the sites as "among the most popular" websites for distributing illegal copies of movies, the government highlighted copies of films currently in theaters, such as "Toy Story 3" and "The A-Team," for evidence to obtain the warrant. The nine sites had registered their domain names via U.S.-based registration services, allowing authorities to take control of their site addresses. Some were run on computers based in the U.S.--in Colorado, Florida and Illinois. But others used computers based in Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the Czech Republic.

SEC tightens "pay-to-play" rules: Investment managers who make political contributions to officials with influence over public pension funds will be barred from managing those funds for two years. From the NYT:

The S.E.C. has brought enforcement actions against investment advisers in pay-to-play schemes involving public pension funds in states including California, Illinois, Ohio and Florida. Most recently, the commission filed a civil lawsuit asserting that illegal kickbacks had been paid in connection with investments by the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Latest "Twilight" takes off: "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" sold a record-setting $30 million in tickets for 12:01 a.m. shows. That surpasses the previous record, set in November by the studio's "Twilight Saga: New Moon." (The Wrap)

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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