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Russell Rebalance Climax - The Busiest Trading Day Of The Year





Today will almost certainly be the busiest trading day of the year, as the Russell indexes go through their annual rebalancing/reconstitution. But, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, Friday’s close will be the end of a trade that began almost 2 months ago, as traders began handicapping which equities would be included for the first time or swapped between various Russell indices. Since the beginning of May, for example, the stocks that will be added to the Russell 2000 are up 11%, and those being deleted from the same index are down 2% over the same time period.  In short, for one day – and this is the day - every U.S. equity market participant, no matter what their investment mandate, needs to think like a trader.  Throw in a little Greek drama going into the weekend, and it could be quite a day...

 
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Junk-Rated Chicago Has A Billion Dollar Pension Problem





In downgrading the city, Moody’s said it expected “Chicago's credit challenges will continue, both in the near term and in the long term [as] unfunded liabilities of the Municipal, Laborer, Police, and Fire pension plans grow and exert increasing pressure on the city's operating budget.” That looks to have been an accurate assessment, because as Bloomberg reports, Chicago’s budget gap is set to triple by 2017.

 
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Thousands Gather At McDonald's Headquarters Demanding Higher Wages





"Protesters hailing from as far away as Kansas City and New York City participated in a demonstration at McDonald's Oak Brook headquarters Wednesday, urging that hourly wages for the burger giant's front-line workers be increased to $15 an hour", the Chicago Tribune reports. Police estimated the crowd at about 2,000 people. Organizers had projected that upward of 5,000 would participate in the demonstration.

 
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Chris Christie Calls Snowden Supporters "Civil Liberties Extremists" In His Latest Desperate Neocon Diatribe





“When Edward Snowden revealed our intelligence secrets to the world in 2013, civil liberties extremists seized that moment to advance their own narrow agenda." Well the founding fathers were also “civil liberties extremists” with a narrow agenda. That agenda was laid out in a little something called the Constitution. The most dangerous part of Christie’s language is calling Snowden defenders “extremists.” Christie knows exactly what that term has come to mean, and he deliberately used it.

 
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Chicago "Junking" Triggers $2.2 Billion Payment, Deepening Financial Crisis





Following an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that struck down a pension reform plan aimed at closing a $100 billion funding gap, Moody's downgrades Chicago to junk, giving the city the dubious distinction of being the only major city "in recent history" to carry such a low rating other than Detroit. Chicago now faces accelerated payments to creditors of more than $2 billion.

 
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Meet The FBI's Secret 'Eye In The Sky' Overseeing The Baltimore Riots





The FBI provided "aerial support" to the Baltimore Police Department during last month's riots, The Washington Post reports. The operation, uncovered accidentally by a man sitting in his backyard and one of his Twitter followers, involved two small planes flying "precise formations" over West Baltimore over the course of three nights. Did Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems provide the 'eye in the sky'?

 
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Massive Fire Rages After Another Buffett-Owned Oiltrain Derails In North Dakota, Town Evacuated





Exactly two months after the latest Warren Buffett-owned BNSF train derailed near the spot where the Galena river meets the Mississippi, resulting in a huge fire and the evacuation of all homes in a one mile radius, moments ago another of Buffett's BNSF oil trains derailed, this time near the town of Heimdal, North Dakota, resulting in the same outcome.

 
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California Diaspora





California is an interesting place.  Probably something like California never existed before.  A barren state with no substantial natural resources, with cities constructed mostly directly over major fault lines, no water, the highest per capita immigrant population of any US state, and of course, also the state with the highest population per capita of lawyers.  "Land of fruits and nuts."  or "La La Land" according to the LA Times:

 
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Beyond Iran And Pakistan: 7 Nuclear Wannabes





While fear still lingers of a nuclear catastrophe on a similar scale as Fukushima, or earlier accidents such as Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, that hasn’t stopped a slew of countries from moving forward on plans to develop nuclear plants as an adjunct to existing power sources like hydro, coal, natural gas and good ol’ oil. Especially in developing countries that lack access to fossil fuels, nuclear is seen as a viable and cost-effective form of baseload power.

 
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"See No Evil?" - Meet Jason Villalba: The Texas Rep. Who Wants To Criminalize Citizens Filming Police





“Don’t mess with Texas.” Unless of course you are a thieving, violent cop; in which case Jason Villalba wants to make it open season on citizens by denying them their First Amendment rights.

 
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Is Keystone Still Viable Amid Low Oil Prices?





“Right now with oil prices down and a glut of oil on the global marketplace, the answer is no, we don’t need Keystone right now...”

 
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Woman Killed Following Black Friday Shooting In Downtown Chicago Nordstrom





For most people "a deal to die for" is just a saying, but tragically for a 22-year-old woman who was working in a Chicago Nordstroms off North Michigan Avenue it became all too real when she shot during Black Friday shopping and died a day later, in what according to initial reports was a domestic-related incident leading to a panicked stampede out of the store by holiday shoppers who were convinced they were caught in the latest Chicago consumerism-gone-wild crossfire.

 
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Caught On Tape: Car Ploughs Into Demonstrators During Ferguson Rally In Minneapolis





Suddenly the countrywide Ferguson protests, which had progressed peacefully at least until now, took a turn for the ugly, when as the Star Tribune reported moments ago, A vehicle plowed through a group of demonstrators in Minneapolis several hours ago during a march and rally in the wake of last night's grand jury decision.

 
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The Economic End Game Explained





Throughout history, in most cases of economic collapse the societies in question believed they were financially invincible just before their disastrous fall. Rarely does anyone see the edge of the cliff or even the bottom of the abyss before it has swallowed a nation whole. This lack of foresight, however, is not entirely the fault of the public. It is, rather, a consequence caused by the manipulation of the fundamental information available to the public by governments and social gatekeepers.

 
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