* Doug Kass: A contagion of black swans
* Ash Bennington: New York Fed prez does a mean Marie Antoinette impersonation
* Michael Hiltzik says we should get rid of the federal debt limit: “When a symbol becomes a fetish, you have trouble.”
* Morning Call: U.S. futures point sharply lower, London opens soft, European shares fall and Japanese shares plummet.
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* Aflac (AFL) needs a new duck, after firing Gilbert Gottfried
* Exchange merger madness: Nasdaq considers a hostile bid for NYSE
* Meir Statman: Why pension fund managers generate negative alpha
* Departing BoA M&A chief Jeff Kaplan says goodbye to being a deal guy
* John Carney: The SEC saw Rajat Gupta as a clear and present danger to shareholders
* Tweet of the Day: @zerohedge: It’s a day ending in Y, meaning another El-Erian Op-Ed has just hit the tape
* Daniel Mudd, CEO of Fortress Investment Group (FIG), may face civil charges related to his past stewardship of Fannie Mae
* James Surowiecki: “In a contest between millionaire athletes and billionaire socialists it’s the guys on the field who deserve to win.”
* Just asking: If outgoing Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt becomes Commerce Secretary, what becomes of his TomorrowVentures investment platform?