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January 30, 2010
John Wilcock - January 5, 2008

 

  The column of lasting insignificance  
       


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2011
November 26 2011
November 19, 2011
November 12, 2011
November 5, 2011
October 29, 2011
October 22, 2011
October 15, 2011
October 8, 2011
October 1, 2011
September 24, 2011
September 17, 2011
September 10, 2011
September 4, 2011
August 27, 2011
August 20, 2011
August 13, 2011
August 6, 2011
July 30, 2011
July 23, 2011
July 16, 2011
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July 2, 2011
June 25, 2011
June 18, 2011
June 11, 2011
June 4, 2011
May 28, 2011
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May 14, 2011
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April 30, 2011
April 23, 2011
April 16, 2011
April 9, 2011
April 2, 2011
March 26, 2011
March 19, 2011
March 12, 2011
March 5, 2011
February 26, 2011
February 19, 2011
February 12, 2011
February 5, 2011
February 5, 2011
January 29, 2011
January 22, 2011
January 15, 2011
January 6, 2011

2010
December 25, 2010
December 18, 2010
December 11, 2010
December 4, 2010
November 27, 2010
November 20, 2010
November 13, 2010
November 6, 2010
October 30, 2010
October 23, 2010
October 16, 2010
October 9, 2010
October 2, 2010
September 25, 2010
September 18, 2010
September 11, 2010
September 4, 2010
August 28, 2010
August 21, 2010
August 14, 2010
August 7, 2010
July 31, 2010
July 24, 2010
July 17, 2010
July 10, 2010
July 3, 2010
June 26, 2010
June 19, 2010
June 12, 2010
June 5, 2010
May 29, 2010
May 22, 2010
May 15, 2010
May 8, 2010
May 1, 2010
April 24, 2010
April 17, 2010
April 10, 2010
April 3, 2010
March 27, 2010
March 20, 2010
March 13, 2010
March 6, 2010
February 27, 2010
February 20, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 6, 2010
January 30, 2010
January 23, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 9, 2010
January 2, 2010

2009
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 12, 2009
December 5, 2009
November 28, 2009
November 21, 2009
November 14, 2009
November 7, 2009
October 31, 2009
October 24, 2009
October 17, 2009
October 10, 2009
October 3, 2009
September 26, 2009
September 19, 2009
September 12, 2009
September 5, 2009
August 29, 2009
August 22, 2009
August 15, 2009
August 8, 2009
August 1, 2009
July 25, 2009
July 18, 2009
July 11, 2009
July 4, 2009
June 27, 2009
June 20, 2009
June 13, 2009
June 6, 2009
May 30, 2009
May 23, 2009
May 16, 2009
May 9, 2009
May 2, 2009
April 25, 2009
April 18, 2009
April 11, 2009
April 4, 2009
March 28, 2009
March 21, 2009
March 14, 2009
March 7, 2009
February 28, 2009
February 21, 2009
February 14, 2009
February 7, 2009
January 31, 2009
January 24, 2009
January 17, 2009
January 3, 2009

2008
December 27, 2008
December 20, 2008
December 13, 2008
December 6, 2008
November 29, 2008
November 22, 2008
November 15, 2008
November 8, 2008
November 5, 2008
November 1, 2008
October 25, 2008
October 18, 2008
October 11, 2008
October 4, 2008
September 27, 2008
September 20, 2008
September 13, 2008
September 6, 2008
August 30, 2008
August 23, 2008
August 16, 2008
August 9, 2008
August 2, 2008
July 26, 2008
July 19, 2008
July 12, 2008
July 5, 2008
June 28, 2008
June 21, 2008
June 14, 2008
June 7, 2008
May 31, 2008
May 24, 2008
May 17, 2008
May 10, 2008
May 3, 2008
April 26, 2008
April 19, 2008
April 12, 2008
April 5, 2008
March 29, 2008
March 22, 2008
March 15, 2008
March 8, 2008
March 1, 2008
February 23, 2008
February 16, 2008
February 9, 2008
February 2, 2008
January 26, 2008
January 19, 2008
January 12, 2008
January 5, 2008

2007
December 29, 2007
December 22, 2007
December 15, 2007
December 8, 2007
December 1, 2007
November 24, 2007
November 17, 2007
November 10, 2007
November 3, 2007
October 27, 2007
October 20, 2007
October 13, 2007
October 6, 2007
September 29, 2007
September 22, 2007
September 15, 2007
September 8, 2007
September 1, 2007
August 25, 2007
August 18, 2007
August 11, 2007
August 4, 2007
July 28, 2007
July 21, 2007
July 14, 2007
July 7, 2007
June 30, 2007
June 23, 2007
June 16, 2007
June 9, 2007
June 2, 2007
May 19, 2007
May 12, 2007
May 5, 2007
April 28, 2007
April 21, 2007
April 14, 2007
April 7, 2007
March 31, 2007
March 24, 2007
March 17, 2007
March 10, 2007
March 3, 2007
February 24, 2007
February 17, 2007
February 10, 2007
February 3, 2007
January 20, 2007
January 13, 2007
January 6, 2007

2006
December 30, 2006
December 23, 2006
December 16, 2006
December 9, 2006
December 2, 2006
November 25, 2006
November 18, 2006
November 11, 2006
November 4, 2006
October 28, 2006
October 21, 2006
October 14, 2006
October 7, 2006
September 30, 2006
September 23, 2006
September 16, 2006
September 9, 2006
September 2, 2006
August 26, 2006
August 19, 2006
August 12, 2006
August 5, 2006
July 29, 2006
July 22, 2006
July 15, 2006

 

 


January 30, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

impossible war
If I had my wish we would be on our way out of Afghanistan not in, we would be letting Pakistan figure out which Taliban they wanted to conspire with and which ones they want to fight…If they’re not ready to take the lead, to speak out and fight the madness in their midst, for the future of their own societies, there is no way we can succeed…Al Qaeda threatens: ‘We will bankrupt you’. And they will.

--Thomas L Friedman in the New York Times.

************************************************

A LOT OF PIOUS TALK about how peasants in Third World countries are exploited while stitching garments for rich  U.S. companies, hasn’t actually produced much change, according to a Harper’s piece titled ‘Shopping for Sweat’. The magazine quoted a Chinese jeans exporter that American buyers were “getting more and more tough on bargaining for lower prices”. Pay for Cambodia’s 350,000 apparel workers has stagnated at 33c per hour (only Bangladesh, at 22c, is lower) and there is scant chance of them bettering themselves. “The entire model” Harper’s explains, “depends on weak unions, few labor rights and persistent autocracy”. One solution,  offered by Singapore economist Richard Duncan, is a “trickle-up” philosophy establishing a $5-per day minimum , raising the wage $1 a year, for ten years. “If you sell a pair of tennis shoes for $101 instead of $100, no consumer in Chicago will notice the difference, but it will totally transform villages in Vietnam”.

FERAL GANGS of young girls, some only 10 years old, are becoming a nationwide epidemic in England reports the Spectator  creating “a Clockwork Orange  environmentperceived by the youthful gangsters as glamorous and edgy”. The magazine says that crimes committed by young girls have soared by 25% in the past three years. Surrounding innocent victims on the street, “they routinely carry knives and are prepared to use them”.

WITH AN ECONOMY that exceeds that of 19 countries, the virtual world Second Life has produced  several millionaires  out of hucksters selling “virtual goods’, i.e. things that don’t really exist. A predictable result is that “trouble breaks out in paradise” according to the New Scientist which reports that some entrepreneurs are suing each other for allegedly copying intellectual property. (In other words, things with no reality). US citizens alone spent $621million in virtual worlds last year, estimates financial analyst Piper Jaffray.  Second Life’s founder Philip Rosedale is about to launch a new company which, he predicts “takes the concept of virtual life a lot further”.

“Ex-reality TV people are the weirdest American tribe going: they’re like people who’ve been hit by lightning, zombies of the Zeitgeist, attention-hungry ghosts. They all seem to forget how to live any way except performatively, as if they’ve internalized the genre’s drama-cultivating mandate”—Alex Pappademas writing about the Gosselins in GQ.

AFTER WAITING FOR most of the past century for work to begin on the 2nd Avenue subway, New Yorkers have finally got their wish—along with something else to complain about. In addition to the excavation underground have come huge, windowless utility buildings--up to nine stories tall, eight of them sited on Upper East Side streets. Thirteen properties have been seized by eminent domain and 75 residents and business owners evicted to make room for them. "These are buildings that are going to last forever; they should be contributing to the street scene" architect Stanford Eckstut told The Real Deal magazine. "They should not be just a wrapping to hide mechanical things".

IN A SECTION ON “Smart Collecting”, Forbes explains that when art collector Charles Saatchi, 66,  says he is too sensitive to do interviews, what he really means is “I’m too vain, touchy and controlling”. The Baghdad-born former adman is worth $165million, the mag estimates, much of it through such stunts  as buying Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde-encased shark for $84,000 and selling it to hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen for $13 million. (What gullible jerks hotshot financiers are).  Forbes  reveals that Saatchi, unlike other creative ad agency directors, always refused to meet with clients and says that his elusiveness worked as a kind of performance art.

POOR OLD SCOTLAND has not fared well in the last 12 months comments the Spectator with the demise of its two banks, as well as “a cheerless, luckless, moody Scottish Prime Minister…and other stains on the brand”. The PM, of course, is the British one, Gordon Brown: “unattractive, unfathomable and with a dangerous temper”. Following the bank crisis, the mag says, the job is to re-establish Scotland’s credibility and rebuild its confidence and self-belief as a nation.

WHEN HE WAS A KID recalls Jay Leno in his Popular Mechanics column, his father used to call a Fiat or a Mercedes-Benz ‘those foreign jobs’. “To the day he died (he) thought Japanese brands like Honda and Sony were like the little bamboo umbrellas that come in your drink. To him, those countries had lost the war and they made crummy products. Eventually, that generation moved on”.

THE WILCOCK WEB: Shouldn't those unelected Supreme Court Justices be interviewed on Meet the Press to explain their controversial decisions just like the other politicians?....Does USPS really need to waste money on advertising? Is there somebody who doesn’t know it’s there?… If that greedy twerp Conan O’Brien  is being paid $30million+ to go quietly, you’d think he could afford a few bucks to pay off his employees…. The Year of the Tiger, which begins on February 20,  nothing to do with the golfer,  refers to the Chinese New Year……. Optimism can keep a fool from accepting failure” quoth Ernest Hemingway….  Newsmax says that street crime has become so prevalent in Mexico that vigilante groups are springing up all over. “The government is failing to provide security and people are turning to some brutal alternatives” observes Guadalajara crime  expert Rossana Reguillo….. Big companies should be prohibited from hostile purchases of other companies if they have to go into debt to do it. (Yes, Kraft, that means you)….New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s bank-size bonuses to his already-overpaid assistants, only confirm the adage that he has more money than sense….California’s Second Sight company has developed a retinal implant that converts video images into electrical images that help the blind to see….. He thought he saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian….. Star Analytical Services, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are developing  a doctor’s telephone that will enable diagnosis of a cough from the sound….. Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? asks Phil Proctor. “Are they afraid someone will clean them?”Pope Benedict thunders about “the obsessive search for the perfect child” after genetic researchers predict it won’t be long before in vitro fertilization techniques enable potential parents to choose such traits as skin color, intelligence or even an aptitude for sports….. Do  members of Congress ever refuse bribes?…..”Floor tiles made by the US company PowerLeap, generate electricity when people walk over them…. UC Santa Cruz is seeking a trained archivist to oversee its collection of Grateful Dead memorabilia…..The female equivalent of Viagra may turn out to be flibanserin on which tests will continue for another year….“Love is the answer, but while you’re waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty interesting questions quipped  Woody Allen…… More than half of the citizens of Jordan are Palestinian, so why is that not the long-desired Palestinian homeland? Apparently because the Jordanian government (i.e. King Abdullah II) manipulates things to ensure that the majority never takes control….“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable” - –Seneca the Younger (c.4BC to AD 65)Jan 30

1/23/10

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