Opening Bell: 7.25.08

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Schools eye four-day week to cut fuel costs (Reuters)
This is probably the best idea we've heard yet for solving the fuel crisis... some schools are planning on going back to a four-day school week. It's mainly in rural areas, where kids might have to drive 50 miles by SUV to come on. Not only should this save fuel, but every less day kids spend in schools is a good one for their mental, emotional and physical well being. Plus, on Fridays they can work around the farm.
Fragile by Design (American)
Just love the sub-headline of this article: "If we could start from scratch, we would not create a mortgage finance system dominated by an enormous duopoly." Gee, well when you put it that way, it looks pretty clear cut in retrospect.
A Cause for Applause? (Cafe Hayek)
Another one liner here. Don Boudreaux discusses the increase of the minimum wage from $5.85-$6.55: "In other words, Uncle Sam today arbitrarily increases the cost of employing low-skilled workers by 12 percent." Also on the minimum wage front, we're amused by this story, which says that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to pay all state employees the minimum wage until a budget is reached, at which point he'll retroactively institute their full pay. Given that most state employees probably aren't in the legislature and thus unable to help pass the budget, we're not quite sure what we think of holding innocent third parties hostage like this is. But... we like it anyway.
Cleveland-Cliffs' Fateful Flaw (WSJ)
We don't know too much about iron pellet producer Cleveland Cliffs, except that a few months ago, when we were in our favorite Chinese joint in Chinatown, all the waiters asked us for stock quotes on the company (we had our laptop on the table). First assumption: this must be something Cramer talks about. The company has a great name and it's been on a killer stock run, though that's moderated somewhat lately. Anyway, the company recently announced its attempt at an acquisition, but that's upset Harbinger its big shareholder, who now wants the company to sell itself. Anyway, we're mainly writing this as a reminder to ourselves to go back to the restaurant and see what they all think (and get some more intestine and hot peppers).

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