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Wednesday, Oct 01st

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Alex Baer: Deep Blue Reservations

Deep blue reservationsA funny thing happened on the way to the reservoir...  Not.

In fact, a lot of unfunny things have been happening on the way to absolutely everywhere, not just to the water supply.  But we might as well start there, especially as someone else led the way -- someone whose cup runneth over, so to say.

The musical question here, for which there are no chairs available on which to sit or catch one's breath, once the music stops, is this:  How much does 38 million gallons of water cost?  Another question tends to come up right away:  Why would anyone want to know?  Other questions follow, flowing right along from these initial queries.

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Robert Parry: Ukraine, Through the US Looking Glass

east ukraineThe acting president of the coup regime in Kiev announces that he is ordering an “anti-terrorist” operation against pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine, while his national security chief says he has dispatched right-wing ultranationalist fighters who spearheaded the Feb. 22 coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

On Tuesday, Andriy Parubiy, head of the Ukrainian National Security Council, went on Twitter to declare, “Reserve unit of National Guard formed #Maidan Self-defense volunteers was sent to the front line this morning.” Parubiy was referring to the neo-Nazi militias that provided the organized muscle that overthrew Yanukovych, forcing him to flee for his life. Some of these militias have since been incorporated into security forces as “National Guard.”

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Alex Baer: All Aboard the Thought Train, Cosmic to Mundane

trainIt was a night like any other.  I simply wasn't expecting to lose sleep.  It just turned out that way.  See, I wasn't out for blood -- hadn't even thought about it until the Internet brought it up in our evening exchanges, smug as ever, buffing its know-it-all buffer on my server, simultaneously pouty and coquettish, impossible to ignore.

Sometimes, you take a chance and you hop a thought train, not knowing where you might end up, or how you might feel when it's all over.  I was restless.  I took a chance.  And now, having ridden that train of thought all up and down the line, I'm still not sure how I feel about it -- how it all worked out, I mean.

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Alex Baer: Cupid's Calling Cards, Kiss Kiss.

Cupid droneFirst, there was unorganized barbarism for the species, down to the individual, very-personal level.  It was very hands-on.  It was very messy.  There was a lot of complaining about the workaday dry-cleaning bill for the yak furs, and some wisecracks from the laundry about the stains on the goatskin leisure suits as well.

Then, in a burst of ingenuity usually reserved for the plunder of goods and riches from others, humanity figured out a way to step back a bit from the mess of mayhem-making, if not the abyss of going with our worser instincts:  We watched volcanoes fling great chunks of rock onto hapless hunter-gatherers in our midst, and, inspirationally thunderstruck, we immediately started building catapults, trebuchets, and other means of decimating people at a distance, such as telemarketing calls.

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Alex Baer: Note to a Friend

happy and sadFor some insane reason, I am still able to find occasional laughter, and am not always intensely angry.  Usually, but not always.

Like those who realized they would not live to witness Dems appoint sane people to The Supreme Court, once Bush slid in, both times, I have the distinct feeling I will not be around when the historical cycle shifts, and allows the U.S., whatever is left of it, to move away from the extreme right wing psychosis of the last 30 years, sharpened to a hurtful point, from 2000 to 2008, and from which we have yet to recover.

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Leonard Pitts Jr.: Again, Christianity the last to get it right

Christianity last to get it rightEleven years ago, Richard Stearns went to Washington.

Stearns - president of World Vision, the billion-dollar Christian relief organization - joined other faith leaders in lobbying Congress to spend $15 billion combating AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. He acknowledged he and his fellow evangelicals were late to the fight against this pandemic and explained their tardiness with remarkable candor.

At first, he said, Christians perceived AIDS as a disease of gay people and drug users and so, "had less compassion for the victims." This, from followers of the itinerant, first-century rabbi who said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened ..." So Stearns' words offered stark illustration of one of the more vexing failings of modern Christianity: its inability to get there on time.

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Alex Baer: Out of Sight, Out of Shut-Eye

Drone deathsThere'd be no telling what's really bugging us, second-to-second, without all the constant, helpful reminders from our talking-head gadgets, sound sources, headline services, downloaders, and assorted cultural pulse-takers.

The media does our thinking for us, so we can continue our sleepwalking, and our sleepdriving, and our sleepworking, and our sleepeating, and our sleepsleeping, in uninterrupted bliss.

It is now possible, for example, to go from coast to coast in this country, one of outlandishly enormous land mass and huge distances, and never once hear any local programming on the radio.  Instead, we can hear just one, long, steady drone, not unlike the long, steady drone heard just before an actual drone drops from the sky, a split second before the sky itself drops out of the sky, and right onto you.

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