Few see a shrinking population as part of the solution.
A Little Off The Top: The current European demi-plan includes forcing banks to voluntarily take a 50% loss on Greek bonds. This will cut Greece's debt by about €100 billion. It also puts a new twist on the meaning of 'voluntary'. Why won't others – Portugal, Spain, Italy – figure out that if they foul up as bad as Greece, they too can dump half their debt on somebody.
Old News: The Fukushima disaster released nearly double the amount of radiation the Japanese government has claimed, even after several upward revisions. Golly Gee.
Credit Event? In response to queries asking if the current Eurozone plan is “a credit event”, The ISDA said: 1) We won't know until we decide. 2) We won't decide until the plan is “formally signed” and someone asks us for our opinion. 3) In that the restructuring is a voluntary restructuring and not a default, our best guess is that it is not “a credit event” affecting CDS contracts. And 4) No, we do not know what value the CDS contracts ever had.
Some Numbers Are Prettier Than Others: NAR reports that September's pending house sales fell 4.6% from August's level. The decline was, like the Spanish Inquisition, “unexpected”.
Estimate Nr. One: The BEA's first guess at 3Q11's GDP growth is 2.5%, way above 2Q's 0.7%. With a 2.5% GDP growth rate, full employment becomes a matter for the tooth fairy.
Maybe It's A + B: GDP's up, with a lot of credit given to consumer spending (PCE), yet consumer sentiment is very gloomy. How can that be? Utilities and healthcare spending were big contributors to PCE, while the savings rate fell. Breaking the piggy bank to pay the doctor, that'll do the trick.
College Entrance Exam: If you knew that no matter how much you borrowed to go to school and how little you earned afterward, you would only have to pay 10% of your 'discretionary' income above $16,000 a year for 20 years and then be debt free, you would a) skip college because its too expensive. b) borrow just enough to get the degree. c) borrow every possible dime, knowing you'd never pay most of it back.
At the Margin: The Department of Labor reports 402,000 seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment. La-di-dah.
This Week In Surveillance: New streetlights are being rolled out that will not only provide light (except in Harrisburg), but will “harvest data and digital media” through proximity sensors that record both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. In Tennessee, Homeland Security is setting up Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response centers at highway rest stops, weigh stations and bus stations and is recruiting truckers to act as informants. This, officials said, was not in response to any particular threat, they just felt like doing it. And in and around Flint, Michigan, the Sheriff is pulling over people at random and searching for drugs. This has already been ruled illegal, but the Sheriff doesn't seem to mind. And those shoes with the GPS tracking chip in them – designed to locate Alzheimer patients who wander off – have other potential uses...
Essay Question: In 10 words or less, explain why 2,511 Occupy protesters have been arrested and not a single banker.
Hey, Look! In a big change from cooperating with despotic governments from Beijing to Washington, Google has refused to take down the YouTube videos of the Oakland cops beating the crap out of peaceful #Occupy protesters.
Porn O'Graph: Happy Days (Limited edition)!