Opening Bell: 9.26.07

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GM-UAW reach deal to end strike (CNN Money)
Well that was short and sweet. The GM and the UAW have come to an agreement, ending the two-day strike. That's barely long enough to qualify as a real strike in our book -- more like a long weekend, really. It's doubtful that the strike really helped much, although perhaps it resulted in longer "marathon" bargaining sessions, whereas previously the two sides would've stopped for the day at 5 pm. As for the details of the agreement, they're not completely known yet, but it does involve some sort union-controlled trust fund for healthcare. Anyway, good news all around. Now they can get back to the business of losing money on car production, which is much better than losing money from not producing cars.
Vonage Crashes After Losing Patent Case (Forbes)
The perpetually screwed-on-crack Vonage plummeted yesterday after losing yet another patent fight. This time it was against Sprint. Just a quick question: doesn't the fact that they're infringing on the patents of two separate companies suggest that the patents in question are overly broad? It would certainly seem that Sprint or Verizon is probably infringing on the other's patents in the same way, no?
Moody's, S&P Answer Critics Over Bond Calls (WSJ)
The model-builders at S&P and Moody's certainly deserve to take some heat, and we've never been crazy about the whole structure of these companies. All that said, we really don't know what good it will do to bring the companies up on capitol hill, only to get upbraided by politicians who think that the mortgage collapse is somehow a consumer-centric disaster, rather than something mainly causing pain to lenders. And we very much doubt that politicians will ever become introspective and wonder if the government-sanctioned ratings oligopoly is wise, from a regulatory perspective.
Bonanza of mining deals (Oligopoly Watch)
We've missed some of these, but Oligopoly Watch hasn't. This week saw three more deals in the mining sector -- one in gold, one in iron ore, and get this, one in the explosives sector, which is awesome. Orica, the world's #1 explosives maker, bought out Excel mining systems, which makes other mining support equipment. Sorry for missing those, we though there couldn't possibly be any other mining news worth knowing besides BHP Billiton's big gold find. We were obviously wrong.

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No Limit for Waits on Runways (NYT)
Seeing as we have to fly today, it's probably bad karma to say this, but the whole discussion about wait times on runways is a little silly. Obviously, nobody wants to be stuck out on the tarmac for six hours, but at the same time, passing laws limiting wait times isn't going to accomplishing anything. Well, it'll do something, but just create problems in other areas. There's an underlying problem that seems to be getting worse, wich is what needs to be addressed. If the Opening Bell has a different byline tomorrow, you can assume it's cause we're still stick on a plane.
U.S. Courts the Visiting President of Turkmenistan (NYT)
The strongman President of Turkmenistan is in the US this week, and get this, he got to visit the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. This is simply an outrage -- an affront to all of the traders there. For some reason, the media's been ignorant of his visits. Sorry, no Daily News covers for Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.
You Be The VC: Reality Programming Comes To Venture Capital (TechCrunch)
Unfortunately, the title is misleading. There's not really a venture capital reality show, though we'd love that. Investors haggling over valuations; investors writing up term sheets, pushing out the founders, etc. Anyway, not yet on that count. But a venture capital is announcing a You Be The VC competition, whereby startups will pitch their ideas, and the public will vote on them. The ideas will be presented online, though we really think G4 should pick it up. Anyway, sounds fun, though who has the time?
Midnight Madness: Benjamins for iPhones in Manhattan (GigaOM)
We'd been wondering how busy the 5th Ave. Apple store was in the middle of the night, but we've never had the gumption to set our alarm clocks for 2:30 AM and go check it out. Turns out, it's a madhouse. Crazy.
Credit Suisse to Lay Off 150 Workers (Dealbook)
Dealbook also heard the same rumors. Though at least they acknowledge that we reported on it first. The number they have is 150. If only the bankers there had a union; they could go on strike to prevent things like this from happening.

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