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Tuesday, Nov 25th

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Bob Alexander: Like the Map at the Mall Says … You Are Here

cigarette corporationsIn 2012, Bonnie Herzog, leading tobacco analyst for Wells Fargo, predicted electronic cigarettes will overtake tobacco cigarettes within ten years. In 2013 she confirmed that projection and said Big Tobacco will take over most of the market.

A competitive free market was not going to determine the winners or losers in the e-cig industry. With this kind of money at stake it was going to take the participation of one of the United States federal executive departments, the FDA, to guarantee the takeover.

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Alex Baer: Opposites, Fence-Sitting, and Trekking

indecisionOpposites attract, it is said.  These days, I suspect opposites attract all right, and bunched up around their opposite poles, are two groups:  the totally apathetic and the absolutely certain.

The majority of us are less extreme, lumped in the middle somewhere, fence-sitters, undecided, waiting for more information to drift in and for the clouds of our doubt to clear -- waiting for something like clarity and confidence to bloom somewhere close to our decision-making abilities, our opinions, our beliefs.

Ignorance and apathy make mischievous, self-chasing twins that raise only dust clouds and smokescreens, when they can be persuaded to move at all.  Their opposite forces, ego and conviction, sweat buckets to ensure knowledge and action both corner the market and are locked all the way down.

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Alex Baer: A Bad Case of the -shuns

Bad case of shunsThere are still plenty of ripping, searing, wrenching, and devastating problems on this singular space ship which we call home, and equally important challenges all among its incredibly motley, and sometimes endearing, crew, too.  I get that.  This stuff is absolutely not news to me.  I learned to read quite a while back, using newspapers that -- dare I say it, even in irony? -- Adam and Eve used to cave-break their pet dinosaurs.

No, I have not slipped away in the night.  I have not yet been allowed to sublease my apartment at the Sanity Arms.  I have not yet checked out of the Human Hotel.  I am, by the way, still dawdling around here at the By-and-By B and B, hoping that someone will present a final statement and then, hang around long enough to help me make some sense out of the thing.

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Bruce Enberg: "Børk, Børk, Børk"

Swedish chefYou know how the right has been constantly complaining about Obama's ballooning deficit? They have of course been wrong about that since the day Obama inherited Bush's $1.5t annual deficit and immediately slashed it by getting rid of private crony contractors. There has been a steady decline in budget shortfall ever since, and the latest numbers have set new records.

The deficit for the first half of this fiscal year starting last October 1st was $413b, and this was a decline of $187 billion compared to the same time last year. These numbers were provided by the Treasury Department, so the Right will claim the numbers are fixed. They can't prove that, because math is just voodoo as far as the Right is concerned.

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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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