Through a secretive, sneaky, back-door approach, banks that issue the cards, along with Visa and MasterCard, have figured out yet another way to suck money from our pocketbooks without our ever even knowing about it.
Two events jolted the Israeli/Palestinian arena this past week. There will be difficult days ahead. Getting the parties to "Go" is just the start, since, as Secretary Kerry has noted, the hard work has just begun.
That an issue of this importance is being virtually ignored by our press is mind-boggling to say the least, and one has to wonder what nefarious influences the oil industry and its moneyed interests are able to bring to bear.
The money that cigarettes have paid the two men makes them understandably sensitive to the well-being of their donors and they have expressed their gratitude by letting Europe know that it can't follow in Australia's footsteps and impose restrictions on how its donors are portrayed to the public.
The IMF threw Greece under the bus. In particular, it ludicrously downplayed the damage its recommended austerity measures would do to the Greek economy, which is in the grips of a prolonged and deep recession.
Is speedier air travel more important than lunch for senior citizens or early childhood education for pre-schoolers? How about cancer research, heating assistance, police protection, or special education? All have lost funding to the sequester.
If invested with popular legitimacy, Europe's success will depend on balancing it with long-term focused meritocratic governance and avoiding capture by short-term and particular special interests. A middle Way between West and East is indeed necessary.
While some hope of a miracle occurring in the coming months remains, so does the question of whether the new Slovenian government is willing to invest enough political capital to push through the necessary reforms before the capital markets decide to lock Slovenia out once again.
While the proposal focuses predominantly on tobacco, it also extends the directive's scope to include products that do not contain tobacco, but nicotine, such as electronic and herbal cigarettes. Their marketing material must now carry health warnings.
For sure, these talks won't be easy, as past spats over airplanes, hormone beef or chlorine chicken illustrated. But they will be a hell of a lot easier than any serious free trade talks with China or other Pacific nations.
In a well-intentioned move earlier this year to promote science to girls, the European Commission produced a video "Science:It's a Girl Thing." Ironically, the result was an appalling mix of female stereotypes.
Let's face it -- the number of women on boards is a problem, and everyone knows it. Even old-school companies with homogenous leadership understand the business case for increasing the number of women on boards.
Buyers would stop buying contemporary artists, because they will refuse to pay the royalty at some point in the future; British sellers of this art would look to sell in Switzerland or the United States, where there is no royalty to be paid.
Greek officials should certainly hope that collective European action will succeed in stabilizing these other two countries' economies. But they should also realize that too great a success could, ironically, map into a higher probability of a Grexit.