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Opening Bell: 4.3.08

Euro Falls Against Dollar, Yen on Surprise Retail Sales Decline (Bloomberg)
Pack the bags honey... we're going to Paris to buy luxury goods. Ok, not quite, but the Euro did drop slightly against the dollar over night, so it's a start. Another two years of moves like this and it'll be safe to venture on the other side of the pond again. Actually, we look forward to that day with some dread. Apparently the drop was precipitated by a fall in retail spending of .5 percent continent-wise and 1.6 percent in Germany. That's what they say, anyway.
Bill to Regulate Tobacco Moves Forward (NYT)
The longstanding dream of many -- for tobacco to be a substance controlled by the FDA -- looks like it's moving closer to reality. We're not sure how much of a chance it has of being passed and signed, our gut says it's still a long way, even with the Democrats controlling both houses and a weak kneed President, but hard to say. A version passed the Commerce commitee in the house, so that's a start. It's a question many others have asked: how could tobacco -- as awesome as it can be in some forms -- be approved by the FDA, tasked with ensuring the safety of products in the market. Then again, it's not really worse than sugary products, which the FDA doesn't do anything about.
A Second Trip Through Lufthansa's First Class Terminal in Frankfurt (View from the Wing)
You don't need to do much travel to write the Opening Bell, but in theory, we find the ins and outs of the aviation sector to be pretty interesting. We've read Gary Leff's "View From The Wing" for a long time and always enjoyed it, so should you. Lately he's been doing photo tours of all the various first class lounges he sets foot in on his global travels. Here's Lufthansa's. He recently did some in South East Asia, which looked pretty sweet, so click around and check those two.
Perfect Logic (CrossingWallStreet)
We're pretty much undecided on this whole commodity bubble question. On the one hand, we bristle at the overuse of the word bubble. On the other hand, anytime an asset goes up fast and a log, you want to get a sense of its "prickability", for lack of a better word. And we're increasingly wondering whether, if conditions were to change slightly, commodity prices would move sharply downward. What we don't subscribe to: any suggestion that this is all the new normal and that all of these resources are in some permanent state of heightened scarcity that will be with us for generations. As Eddy realizes though, these debates are tough to have. Just look at the logic of the gold bug, shocked that anyone would question the long-term upside for the yellow stuff.
2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee (Intrade)
We sorta wish they would hurry up and get it over. This waiting game is just going on far too long. If it doesn't end after Pennsylvania, and we don't think it will, we're gonna be very irritated. Anyway, Barack has had a good couple weeks, rebounding from all the controversies. He's up to almost $.84 on the dollar now, which is basically as high as he's ever been.

A Stormy Decade for Citi Since Travelers Merger (NYT)
Saturday will be the 10-year anniversary of the day the deal was announced. Do you remember where you were? We do. We were watching CNBC at that very moment.
On Lacrosse Fields, A Battered Bank Is Still a Player (WSJ)
Apparently it's time to explore the lighter side of the Bear downfall. Been waiting for that. At issue: the fate of the company's lacrosse team, which happened to be league defending champions (we had no idea, at least hear at the Opening Bell). Read the whole thing, but the goal is to keep the team together somehow. Said one Lehman Laxer: "I had a couple buddies [at Bear Stearns] who gave me a hard time... guess I got the last laugh now." From his lips to gods ears.
Links and Referrals (Tao of Poker)
As mentioned before, we're huge fans of Pauly, the author of Tao of Poker, cause in our other life he life the life we'd be living (does that make sense?). Anyway, it looks like he has pretty good taste in blog reading, especially the non-poker stuff he's into.
Is that Macy's CEO in the armored Hummer? (Footnoted)
It sounds funny, but don't laugh at the Macy's CEO being whisked around in an armored Hummer. It's a rough game out there.