WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Blue Smoke and Mirrors: Tobacco Bond Meltdown Heralds Worse. “The tobacco mess is a classic of blue dysfunction at work: with one hand the states are busy throttling the cow which their other hand is trying to milk. Currently, affected states are threatening to sue tobacco companies for $8 billion in withheld payments which the tobacco companies claim they are unable to pay. Cue the desperate fiddling as state governments work frantically to get themselves and their investors out of this mess.”