Wednesday morning headlines

Market heading higher: Portugal has managed to raise money to deal with its debt woes. Dow is up about 90 points.

Opposition to debt ceiling increase: Bad news: More than 70 percent of those surveyed in a Reuters/Ipsos poll oppose raising the nation's debt limit, even though the failure to do so could put the country in default. Only 18 percent support an increase.

The poll underscores the tough task ahead for U.S. lawmakers as the debt nears its current ceiling of $14.3 trillion. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week warned that a failure to raise the borrowing limit in the coming months could lead to "catastrophic economic consequences."Republicans, who won control of the House of Representatives in November on a promise to scale back government, hope to pair any debt-ceiling hike with a commitment from President Barack Obama to reduce long-term spending.

Oil pipeline restarts: Crude prices fell this morning on word of a temporary fix on the Trans Alaska pipeline. Most Alaska oil production has been shut in since Saturday. (WSJ)

Brown's cell phone order: The governor figures the state could save about $20 million a year by collecting 48,000 phones that were issued to employees - starting with himself. From the Sacramento Bee:

Political analysts described Brown's executive order as largely symbolic but important in sending a message to voters as he pushes for extension of temporary tax increases that would raise about $11 billion in the next 18 months. "He knows that the voters are cautious, cynical and suspicious that there's waste, so his job is to show that wherever waste is, it will be rooted out in a Brown administration," said Larry Gerston, political science professor at San Jose State University.
Job bias complaints increase: Accusations of some sort of workplace discrimination jumped 7.2 percent for the year ended Sept. 30, to 99,922, the highest number ever recorded. From the NYT:
Experts say the chief reason for the increase in accusations of prejudice is most likely tied to the broad layoffs of the last few years. "The uptick in E.E.O.C. complaints is directly correlated to the downtick in employment," said Michael J. Zimmer, a professor of employment law at Loyola University in Chicago. "The people who think they're discriminated against when they're not terminated really think twice about whether they should file a charge or not because of the hassle and possibility of retaliation. But once they're terminated, then for most of the private sector employees in this country who are at-will employees, the only way they can challenge their dismissal is by bringing a discrimination claim of some sort."

Demand Media prices IPO: The Santa Monica-based online content publisher set the price range for its offering at $14 to $16 a share. Company is looking to raise 138 million. (DealBook)

State looks into health care hikes: Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has called on insurers to delay pending increases by 60 days while he reviews the requests. Jones can only block them if companies spend less than 70 percent of their premiums on health care expenses. (LAT)

Colony Capital bets on Sam Nazarian: The investment firm led by L.A. billionaire Tom Barrack is investing $35 million in the hotelier's SBE. From Bloomberg:

Few hoteliers provide their guests unique experiences, Barrack said. He said he expects SBE to follow in the footsteps of companies that do, such as Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Amanresorts, Four Seasons Hotels Inc. and Kerzner International's One&Only chain. Colony owns the Raffles Hotel in Singapore and is part of a group that purchased Kerzner in 2006. "We're looking for unique sectors that tie back eventually to scarcity, that wrap around an individual expertise and differentiating vision," Barrack, Colony's founder and CEO, said in a telephone interview.

More by Mark Lacter:
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Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
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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
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