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February 27, 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
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September 10, 2011
September 4, 2011
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August 20, 2011
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April 2, 2011
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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
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July 31, 2010
July 24, 2010
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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 27, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

“While hot lobbyists are expensive—Heather Podesta’s six-person firm is reported to have made $3.4m (last year)---they are worth every penny. A recent study by University of Kansas professors…found that lobbying expenses on one 2004 tax provision provided $220 worth of benefits for each dollar spent”—National Review

CREATING LOCAL BANKS instead of bailing out Wall Street is the way to restore this country’s financial health writes Eric Utne, pointing out that everything started to go wrong when the British banned colonial script ordaining that people borrow from British banks to pay their taxes. Since then, “private banking interests in the U.S. have usurped the public’s power to issue money and have captured the nation by debt” he says in the Utne Reader. His text is a book, Web of Debt, by Ellen Hodgson Brown who maintains that California has enough assets to create its own bank, charge interest rates as low as 2% and finance its entire budget out of the profits.

ALMOST EVERY RELIGIOUS FLOCK from Christians to Mennonites to Muslims now has its own mutual fund, says Smart Money, in a piece headed ‘Faith and Finance’. “People are waking up and saying. ‘What I do with my money ought to reflect my values’”,  Princeton University scholar David Miller told the magazine, which revealed that religious funds now control more than $27bn in assets, reflecting “a growing hunger among religious people for financial guidance”.

THE EVOLUTION OF VAMPIRES, grinches and witches is “a variation on the theme of defining deviancy down” writes John J. Miller in an essay claiming that they were once creepy and haunting, but by now they’ve become “yawn-inducing bores”. Writing under the heading ‘Defanged’ in the National Review, he comments that “vampires can survive a certain level of familiarity as long as thy remain menaces who want to puncture our necks and steal our souls. Lately, however too many vampires have taken a kinder, gentler turn”. Today, they’ve become “just alternative lifestyles”.

IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT that you fall out of a plane at 33,000 feet you might like some advice about how to survive it, which is what the February issue of  Popular Mechanics  offers in a feature, “Taking  a Fall”. Your best chance is to stay with the aircraft, or at least some part of it, which will cushion your impact when you hit the ground, but failing that try to land feet first (never on your head) and into grass, marshes or trees (not into water). The odds of any such accident are very small, PM adds, but “as a courtesy to the next passenger consider leaving (this magazine) in the seat back pocket”.

MILLIONS OF PEOPLE have never heard of Yelp but for millions of others, it affects their choices every day. Founded in San Francisco  four years ago by two people who “wanted to make it easier for consumers to find good businesses and avoid bad ones”, according to Inc. which describes the result as “an online Yellow Pages with attitude”. Most Yelp reviews are positive, the mag says, but some are “painfully negative”. And many businesses claim to have been damaged or shaken down, especially if they failed to back up their listing with advertising, although others have claimed that positive reviews have saved their stores from collapsing. Yelp employs more than 300 people, has $15m in the bank and forecasts that it will be profitable before the end of this year.

Jean-Claude
Credit:photo W. Volz

Jeanne-Claude, the longtime wife and much-admired partner of Christo who died in November will be celebrated with a memorial at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art on April 26.

IT’S BEEN OBVIOUS for years that law enforcement doesn’t have the remotest chance of stopping drug use and last week’s five-part series in the Los Angeles Times about the influx of cheapo black tar heroin into small town America is more proof that only legalizing drugs will end the kind of Prohibition that in the last century led to the origin of organized crime. Obviously it’s not a satisfactory solution but legalization, along with all the restrictions that are enforceable seems inevitable sooner or later.

impossible war
     Nearly 80% of Afghans regard corruption as their biggest worry, surpassing concerns about the insurgency and joblessness. Afghans said they were asked to pay a bribe in 40% of their encounters with senior politicians, typically to cut through red tape or avoid poor service
                   -- from a report last month by the UN Office     
                                of Drugs and Crime

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ALTHOUGH THE ACLU
has won previous battles to force displays of the Ten Commandments off public land, they’ll be powerless to act against a group called Project Moses which now plans to install 1,000 a year engraved marble versions on private property such as churches and synagogues. Newsmax reports that the organization has already positioned several hundred of the 5ft4” tall stones across 42 states and two Canadian provinces.

THE WILCOCK WEB: Suppose that instead of bailing out Goldman Sachs, AIG, Morgan Stanley etc with multi-billion taxpayer $$$ they’d been allowed to collapse, how much worse would it have been for taxpayers? Consider that next time the Wall Street crooks demand another bailout, as they inevitably will….More congressmen resigning because they’re fed up? Gee, why don’t we kick them all out and replace them with lobbyists and then there’d be no secret about who was being paid by whom and for what….And, bayh the way, did Indiana’s Evan Bayh quit to become a (better-paid) lobbyist?…. Asked by the New York Times about America’s mixed-race future, Henry Louis Gates Jr. replied: “I’m looking forward to the time when we all look like Polynesians”…. Soon to be available is a portable switch able to turn  on lights in any room after a radio transmitter has been installed in one of them….Channel Four is working on a reality show about the ordinary people of London’s Notting Hill district, planning to avoid those who seek to use the program as a “fame vehicle”…. “Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses” quipped Quentin Crisp. “Always drag them down to your level. It’s cheaper” …..Phosphorescent highways warmed by the sun to glow in the dark will be commonplace in a few years predicts Popular Science…. Right from when it first entered the European Community in 2001, Greece was accused of fraudulent claims over its agriculture policy…Sydney-born Hugh Jackman, 41, described by People as “the sexist man alive” is studying magic in preparation for portraying Harry Houdini on Broadway this year in a show whose music is by Danny Elfman who composed the theme for Desperate Housewives.. Good news for rabbits, whose eyes are often used to test cosmetics, is that scientists have managed to produce corneal tissue from human stem cells…..Xerox just celebrated the 50th anniversary of its paper copying machine but the first (smaller) office machine’s 50th birthday isn’t till 2013….Engineers at UC Berkeley claim that individual air-conditioning vents at each workers’ desks instead of cooling the entire room could cut a building’s energy costs by 50%….. Wouldn’t a would-be terrorist wash his hands before having them swabbed at the airport?….The whole concept of hospitals-for-profit in a society that regards itself as civilized, is so preposterous that only monumental greed heads could have envisaged it in the first place…. Virtue has never been as respectable as money.—Mark Twain (1835-1910)

2/20/10

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