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Opening Bell: 4.15.08

Delta, Northwest Agree to Merge; May Start Trend (WSJ)
Well, it finally happened. Delta and Northwest. At least they've come to an agreement. Now we'll see if they can pull it off (merging), and then we'll see if they can pull that off (making money). So just the first start in a long, long road to recovery. We wish 'em luck. Oh, speaking of Delta. Has anyone else noticed those ads in the subway where they talk about how Delta can bring you change? IE, you achieve change by flying from New York to Beijing or whatnot. Question: are they making change their slogan because their name is delta? If so, very clever, though your average subway rider probably isn't getting it.
Time's up: Taxes due today (Joliet Herald)
It's April 15, so you know what that means. Time to file your first tax extension. Yeah, no shame in procrastinating on this one, unless your entitled to a big, fat refund, in which case its practically criminal to file for an extension... or even to have waited until mid-April to file anything. For those of you whose hearts bleed more than most, especially around this time of year, here's the website of the national war tax resisters.
Retailing Chains Caught in a Wave of Bankruptcies (NYT)
Something about bankruptcies, whatever. The author really buried the lede on this one: At least 140 foot lockers are going to close in the next year. We're of two minds of course. On the one hand, we love sneakers, so any reduced channels to buy sneakers isn't good. On the other hand, Foot Lockers need some help to regain their luster. They're a little on the sterile side, and while you can find a good, standard Nike AF1 there, sure, it's not where you'd go for anything more interesting. Maybe they can work on that for the next time the consumer is strong.
As other staples soar, potatoes break new ground (Reuters)
Sort of depressing when you think about it. With all these concerns over the global food supply, a renewed interest in the potato? The beginning of the article gets it half right: "As wheat and rice prices surge, the humble potato -- long derided as a boring tuber prone to making you fat -- is being rediscovered as a nutritious crop that could cheaply feed an increasingly hungry world." It does make you fat. What's wrong with broccoli or cauliflower or cabbage? Why eat a bland potato? What's the world coming to?
Putin Becomes Head of Pro-Kremlin United Russia Party (Bloomberg)
What a selfless guy... Vladimir Putin, who already has plenty of work to do in running Russia, "has agreed" to assume yet another post, as Chairman of his party, which currently dominates Russian politics. Too bad he hasn't modeled himself after Clinton and gone out and made $140 million in speaking fees post-presidency.

Roy Bostock’s Other Merger Gets Done (All Things D)
Delta-Northwest has a Microsoft-Yahoo connection, since Roy Bostock is chairman of both Delta and Yahoo. Pretty impressive, no? As Kara Swisher suggests... if he manages to ink a deal for Yahoo by the end of the week, he certainly deserves a medal or a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Here We Go..Northwest/Delta Deal is Official (PlaneBuzz)
Lots of folks out there talking about how this deal will actually work well, because of all kinds of overlap and synergies and whatnot. And the companies say the combo is so compelling that they won't even need layoffs or hub closures. Planebuzz offers up some reasons to be concerned, and of course it goes back to pilot politics -- in particular the way Northwest pilots were treated during the negotiations. Oh, and here's the website of the new company. The name: Creative.
Continental, United ready if others merge, sources say (Reuters)
Even though Delta-Northwest did eventually come through, we'll stick to our standard skeptical posture.So for now, we won't put too much weight into this Continental-United merger story. But, we've been proven wrong in the past so. Who knows. It could always happen.
Payin’ Taxes, Feelin’ Good (Matrix)
A good thing about tax day. Freebies, apparently. So file your delay, but collect your free donuts.