The Hitchhikers Guide was wrong, it's not harmless.
Falling Leaves: Existing house sales fell 2.2% m/m and 25.9% y/y in October. The inventory of existing houses for sale was up 8.4% y/y. The total months supply of unsold houses was 23 months in August - six months used to be the norm.
Consensus, Redefined: The Ministry of Truth has decreed that the recent election was a referendum on debt and that Washington received a mandate from the people to cut Social Security, gut Medicaid and Medicare, reform the tax code so the middle class and poor pay more and the rich pay less, abolish health care, and to stop pandering to the long term unemployed. Isn't that what your vote meant? Apparently 'consensus' still means “made up by the Republicans”.
All You Need To Know: From the horse's mouth: “Greed Beats Fear in US...” Common sense ran last.
Cry havoc … When the government wants to extend its grip on the population it applies the always successful 'be afraid, be afraid' card. No evidence is required, just the repeating the mantra “terrorists, terrorists”. As my mother used to say, it's for your own good.
Perception: The markets don’t seem impressed by the Irish bailout.
Plan B: Relentless budget shortfalls are prompting states to consider dropping out of Medicaid. Not that any state is actually considering total abandonment of the program, but a series of severe 'what if's' are being examined. The most popular is rejecting federal funds (57% of the cost) so the state can dramatically redefine eligibility and coverage – starting with nursing home payments.
Cousins: Researchers now report that fish shrink during cold weather. I know the feeling.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey: The BEA's second guess at 3Q2010 GDP was raised from 2.0 to 2.5% growth, with the increase stemming mostly from an increase in state and local government expenditures, net exports, and personal consumption. Non-residential structural investment dropped from a 3.9% increase to a 5.7% decrease.
Free Enterprise: An impostor posing as a top Taliban commander held secret talks with Afghan and NATO officials, was paid a lot of money and then disappeared. One bag, or two?
Then We Went to War: Our casualties and loss of troops and expenditures of wealth in Afghanistan do not contribute to our national security. Remember that just before we invaded Iraq we declared victory in Afghanistan? Why are the neoconservarives who told these fabulous lies still in control in Washington? The “war on terror” is now in its tenth year. When will it end? Never? What is it really all about? Is the “war on terror” designed to create enough fear in the US to allow continued expansion of the police state?
Chasing Cars: Animal rights activists are seeking good homes for a thousand rats. See, it's the old problem of what do you do once you've caught the car.
Windsock: To gauge the general nature and direction of the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission's proposals, note that its proposals would lead to an average $7000/year tax cut for the top 1% of America’s richest and about a $600/year tax increase for the working and middle classes. See the chart.
Clarification: The headline, “FBI Widens Insider Trading Probe”, has nothing to do with air travel.
Dog Days: Here's some filler on a slow news day: TV personality, wilderness guide, author, taxation guru and would-be
governor vice-president president politician Sarah Palin has lobbied ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" on behalf of perennial Senate candidate, witch, evolutionary expert and sometime sex adviser Christine O'Donnell. Palin pointed out that Bristol's success shows that neither talent nor ability is required – much like Tea Party politics.
Unclear on the Concept: A defrocked Catholic priest has been arrested for hiring a hit-man to kill a teenager he is accused of abusing.