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February 13, 2010
John Wilcock - January 5, 2008

 

  The column of lasting insignificance  
       


also posted:



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
July 9, 2011
July 2, 2011
June 25, 2011
June 18, 2011
June 11, 2011
June 4, 2011
May 28, 2011
May 21, 2011
May 14, 2011
May 7, 2011
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

 

 


February 13, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

impossible war
“For the cost of 10 DynCorp (personnel) I can put 30 Carabinieri trainers in and save money” said General Carmelo Burgio in charge of training the Afghan police, while complaining that the company (whose contract has not been renewed) was doing a lousy job. DynCorp’s appeal will be heard late March. If DynCorp wins, says Burgio, it will “set us back six to nine months”.

What it comes down to is that, even after paying a company ridiculously exorbitant sums, the U.S. is apparently unable to fire them for incompetence.

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

LAUNCHED A MONTH AGO by Arianna Huffington, the campaign to persuade people to take their money out of greedy big banks and put it into small ones is so successful that the website is getting 45,000 hits a day, the Nation reports. The site: moveyourmoney.info/find-a-bank just needs your zipcode to advise you of friendly smaller banks in your area. Calling it “a broad rebellion against the financial system”, the magazine suggests it shows people “how they can push back against the big dogs of banking”.

THE ERA OF RIP-OFF
televangelists is giving way to the age of phony yoga gurus who extort thousands of dollars from their willing acolytes to pay for ascension through the cult. Rolling Stone unveils the tale of one of them, Dahn Yoga, its god-like head  the Korean conman Ilchi Lee, 57, whose 127 nationwide fitness centers teach a head-shaking meditation known as “brain wave vibration”.  One 10-day workshop, costing $8,500 per person, began each day with each of its participants punching themselves repeatedly in the stomach while hollering “I am stupid” . (Well, they got that right). After one student collapsed and died on a trek up a Sedona mountain while carrying 25 lbs of rocks in her backpack, that particular discipline was dropped in favor of such exercises as drinking toilet water, licking each other’s feet and falling backwards into a pool.
       Needless to say,  the opulent Ilchi Lee spends much of his time jetting around the world visiting his three homes, screwing his female devotees and gambling in Las Vegas. He is currently being sued, says RS  for “breaking wage and immigration laws, evading taxes and sexually abusing female disciples”, but if you hurry you can probably still enlist in one of his $10,000 Sedona workshops.

SUPERMARKETS ARE FINALLY beginning to realize that offering customers too many choices might be as bad as not stocking the item in the first place. Procter & Gamble produces 110 variations on its Tide  detergent; Frito Lay offers 42 varieties of potato chips and eliminating any of them offers a dilemma because every variation is somebody’s favorite. But reality is setting in, with the Kroger chain about to slash its cereals selection by 30% and Walgreens and Rite-Aid trimming out 5,000 items.

FORMERLY used in x-rays but dropped because of its radioactive content, the mineral thorium is back in the mainstream because of the  price of uranium; thorium, which is abundant, offers an alternative fuel source. It’s a silvery white metal that oxidizes on contact with air, and has been in the ground pretty much forever. There are said to be a million tons of it under mountains in Idaho and Montana. The Kiplinger Letter  forecasts that within a few years nuclear reactors will be powered by thorium to produce emission-free electricity “less prone to cause accidents and can’t be used for dirty bombs”.

THE GREAT LAKES is not the only region where the voracious Asian carp is a  major threat to the supply of native fish. In the 24-mile-long Utah Lake, carp have now become 90% of the population, ripping up the vegetation and almost wiping out indigenous species. But here at least, authorities are considering a proposed solution: trawling for 20,000 pounds every day of the seven million carp in the lake and then liquefying them for fertilizer or pet food.

OBJECTIVE REPORTING IS the proud claim of tiny Qatar’s giant worldwide TV network Al Jazeera (AJE) which is belatedly gaining some outlets in this country. The Utne Reader relayed the news that a nonprofit educational broadcaster will carry the channel in Washington and 20 other cities. AJE is also due be see in Canada, where Walrus magazine claims it is “well situated to assume the sort of dominance it has already achieved” elsewhere in the world because Western media “have essentially abandoned foreign correspondence”. USC professor Philip Seib, author of The Al Jazeera Effect, said that the wide coverage of the channel—it has 70 bureaus—“has expanded the realm of discourse” and could help to break down American insularity. “I think you’’ find that those who criticize it have never seen it”.

THE WILCOCK WEB: The way that the CIA is naming and eliminating candidates on its Taliban Top Ten list actually makes good sense in that the jihadists may eventually run out of candidates for leadership…. China is spending as much ($45bn) on the forthcoming World Expo in March as it did on the Olympics. Shanghai is being transformed with new roads and an extended subway….. Streets and alleys, too narrow for cars in the Xiguan area of China’s Guangdong, have perforce resulted in dozens of village-type areas accessible only by bicycle or on foot.... More than 50 American cities are now committed to new streetcar lines, powered not by overhead electrical wires but propelled by hydrogen fuel cell technology...… Stimulus funds going to  a multitude of companies making batteries for electric cars may be working too well. At least one venture capitalist predicts that production of batteries this year may be three times the number of electric cars built…. “My whole life’ muses Tom Stoppard, “is waiting for the questions to which I have prepared answers “….To mate with an Australian red-back spider, says the Smithsonian (illustrating it with a photograph), a male spider “must vibrate the strings of a  female’s web. If he approaches too soon, she eats him” …. In his book, End the Fed,  Texas congressman Ron Paul charges that the Federal Reserve is responsible for America’s current financial problems and should be abolished ….The European Community’s current problems all stem from letting poorer countries into the club before they were financially stable….What will power-seeking gays go after when they have achieved same-sex marriage? ….Coconut water, described by Inc. as “a sort of natural Gatorade” is growing in popularity with the main marketer Vita Coco selling $20m worth last year and both Coca Cola and Pepsi starting distribution of the electrolyte-rich drink…. Student loan lenders announced they were seeking 12 senators they could bribe to help them keep their rip-off businesses….Classy bars around the world are adapting a new trend towards offering tables topped with pumps from which drinkers can pour their own beer which is measured by electronics…Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder …. According to something called the Center for Responsive Politics, 237 (out of 535) members of Congress are millionaires. Power to the people, eh?…. ….”Term limits” ought to mean “GTF out of politics” not just transfer to another sinecure on the public teat…Aiming to devote one page to each of the world’s 1.8 million species on his online Encyclopedia of Life (www.eol.org), Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson has so far compiled 170,000 entries, but warns that the Arctic polar bear among others is likely to be extinct before the project is finished… “You meet your destiny on the road you take to avoid it”--Carl Jung (1865-1961)

2/6/10

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