Opening Bell: 8.19.08

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Russian Troops Seize Georgian Port (WSJ)
Well sure, Russia is on its way out of Georgia. But you know how you sometimes grab a piece of mind from the candy bowl next to the door at the Chinese Restaurant? Yeah, it's like that. Except its a port not a mint. And apparently it's an "economically vital" port, even though we haven't heard of it (suspicious). The port of Poti? Ring a bell? Another twist: apparently the port is being occupied by Russian "peacekeeping" forces.
Obama appears ready to announce running mate (IHT)
Check your inbound texts. You did sign up for the alert, right? You know, the Obama text alert where he's going to announce his running mate. Assuming The Politico doesn't break it first, you can have it before anyone else? But who will it be? Evan Bayh? Jim Webb? John Kerry? Hillary!?! Over at Intrade the top choice is Bayh, who's trading at .20 on the dollar. Next is Tim Kaine at .13.
Olympic Star Is Sidelined. Will His Ads Be, as Well? (NYT)
When it comes to each event, we're kind of on the ABC (Anyone But China) bandwagon, mainly because we're obsessed with the medal count -- not that we have anything against the Chinese or the Chinese athletes. Which is why we were sort of sad to see that Chinese hurdlist who had to pull out of his event due to injury. Apparently he's the 2nd biggest athlete in the country after Yao Ming. And of course, he's got endorsements out the wazoo. Anyway, interesting NYT article on what happens to all of those now that his games ended as a dud.
Lehman examines Neuberger Berman sell-off (FT)
Multiple reports this mornings that Lehman is talking to various prospective buyers about selling Neuberger Berman, the company's "lucrative" (always lucrative) asset management business. One analyst pegged the value of the unit at $10 billion, which is not bad, considering the company paid $2.3 billion for it in 2003 (but what about those taxes?). The report notes that unlike Merrill, which had the Bloomberg stake, Lehman doesn't have any non-core assets at his disposal that are natural sale opportunities.


`Busharraf' Fall May Boost Pakistani Support for War on Taliban (Bloomberg)
"Busharraf"? Oh that is a good one.
Oil drops below $112 as storm threat eases (AP)
Ah yes, it must be the easing of a storm threat that caused oil to fall again. Surely it's that and nothing to do with the broader economy or slowing demand. Not that we're complaining. Next time we have to rent a car this will save as a few bucks.
Sure, It's a Depression. Could Be Worse. (Infectious Greed)
Good news: even if the economy really tanks, you know, like really really tanks, we probably won't die an emaciated peoples. While a cataclysmic depression would suck, even in the worst of time, people can usually manage to maintain their bodyweight, according to an economics paper. Paul Kedrosky points to this paper, whose abstract includes this: "Nutritional status is very resilient to short-term variation in household resources. Gross energy intake, adult weight and child stature change very little as expenditure deviates from its long-run average. Longer-run resources have a substantively large, positive and significant effect on energy intake, diet quality, adult weight and child stature. The evidence indicates that individuals and households are able to weather short-term fluctuations in economic resources, at least in terms of maintaining body mass and energy intake."
Why is lobster getting cheaper? (Marginal Revolution)
Any ideas folks?

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