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September 18, 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

 

 

September 18, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

“From FDR to JFK to Clinton, something like the tea party fluoresces every time a Democrat wins the presidency. The only difference: This time they’ve taken over the GOP”Mother Jones

BRIBING POLITICIANS was something this column mused about some weeks ago, specifically suggesting how useful would be a list revealing how much each pol would charge to do your bidding. Now the invaluable Mother Jones has begun to clarify matters with  six-pages of charts illustrating WHO OWNS CONGRESS.
     California’s Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer tops the list with $75million raised largely from lawyers,  lobbyists, and Hollywood sources including Time Warner and Disneyland; New York’s Democratic Senator Charles Schumer raised $62.2million mostly from banks, finance, insurance and real estate; which were also the major donors to more than half the senators especially Scott Brown (R-Mass), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Harry Reid (D-Nev), half of whose top donors were gambling interests. In Congress, too, it was fire, insurance and real estate interests (which donated $2.4 billion  to legislators between 1989 and this year) who helped 159  candidates, among them  Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), Eric Cantor (R-Va), Jim Hines (D-Conn), and Ron Paul (R-Tex).
    Capitol Hill’s top three corporate sponsors were AT&T, the National Association of Realtors and Goldman Sachs, the last-mentioned also being among the top donors to both Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008 and to Michael McMahon (D-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind).
   Although the MJ list is not a complete breakdown of how much each individual legislator received—and where from—it includes some fairly obvious matches between them and their major donors, such as Wal-Mart being the number one donor to Arkansas Republican John Boozman and second biggest donor to Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln.
  Under the subtitle Having trouble raising money? Shoot your mouth off and watch the cash pour in, the mag pointed out that Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn) had raised $4.1 million (51% from out of state) after her defense of BP and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C) the same amount after shouting “You lie” to President Obama.

IN ADDITION TO the hundreds of millions of dollars that BP pledged or spent publicly over its recent disaster in the Gulf, the oil behemoth also leaped into the top rank of Google advertisers, spending $3.6million on the web company in the month of June alone. Most of this took the form of ”search results”, the term used to describe payments for each click on the advertiser’s site;  to direct traffic to its site, BP bought up dozens of keywords associated with the disaster (such as oil spill or leak). “Google has become the remote control for the world; it’s the first stop, not TV” ad executive Will Margiloff told Advertising Age. “More than any other media…people (sought) BP’s answers as opposed to waiting to be told”.

IT’S NAÏVE TO BELIEVE that anybody who deeply respects his religion (and one where women don’t count) does not want his religion to prevail.  But the politically correct types will do us in with their belief that the religion of Muslims is just like any other. Their devout dream is that sharia law will finally become dominant and women will be firmly kept in their place.
   Communism and fascism were not against the law either but some people had the wisdom to foresee that allowing their unfettered spread, without fighting back, was not beneficial t our much-freer society. Does the phrase ‘useful idiots” ring a bell?  Do some research, folks. Check out what sharia law actually means, what it stands for and how antithetical it is to the U.S. Constitution (which both sides like to quote).
     “The debate in Europe now” writes Claire Berlinski, “concerns primarily the burqa…and all forced veiling is not only an abomination but contagious…a symbol of a dynamic, totalitarian ideology (that) will not be content until every woman on the planet is humbled, submissive, silent and enslaved.
    Calling for a ban on the burqa, because unchecked it will spread to many European cities, Ms. Berlinski writes in the National Review,  eventually “no unveiled woman will walk comfortably or safely. Islam’s conception of women is directly tied to gender apartheid and the subjugation and abuse of women throughout the Islamic world, the greatest human-rights problem on the planet, bar none”.
   Although some women adopt the veil voluntarily, she writes, most veiling is forced. “Our responsibility to protect these women from coercion is greater than our responsibility to protect the freedom of those who choose to veil. Why? Because this is our culture, we do not veil because we do not believe that God demands this of women, or desires it; nor do we believe that unveiled women are whores, nor do we believe that they deserve social censure, harassment or rape.
       “Europe’s Muslim population is growing, many cities will soon have Muslim majorities.  If the conception of Islam that the veil represents is allowed to prevail in Europe these cities will no longer be free”.


End the Impossible War

EXCESS PROFITS AREN’T the reason why organic food is priced so high even though that might sometimes seem to be the case. It’s more likely the labor-intensive costs of keeping the fields free of bugs and weeds without spraying, and keeping cattle pastured much longer without feeding them through the industrial mass-slaughtering system explains Heather Rogers. In The American Prospect she bemoans the way Obama gives lip service to the concept of nurturing organic farming “but his policies don’t offer meaningful support for the people who grow it”. The mag points out that almost all of last year’s $15 billion subsidies went to just 10% of the farms, mostly to industrial agriculture and factory food. “While the public and organic advocates may be wooed by feel-good photo-ops, the fact is that Obama has yet to get his hands dirty and truly commit to reforming the industry”.

TURNING PROFITS INTO LOSSES, the renowned ‘Hollywood accounting’ process, is explained  by essayist Rob Long in relation to the blockbuster film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which grossed just under one billion dollars but somehow came to be defined as a loss of $167 million when it came to paying investors. How do they get away with this? asks Long in National Review, answering: “The same way Congress does, by simply redefining words such as ‘profit, net, loss and gross’”. Examples are the ‘distribution fee’ that the studio pays to the distributor (which it owns); “interest” (which the studio pays to itself for the cost of using the money);  and “advertising and publicity” (the movie studio buying spots on a network that it owns). “You don’t have to be a Dumbledore to turn a cash mountain of One Billion Dollars into a loss of $167 million” Long concludes. “The federal budget. like the movie studio Distribution Report, is a nonsense document, filled with swindles and lies and hidden fees”.

CHURCH AND STATE is traditionally what publishing, especially newspapers, have called editorial and advertising-- which ideally are not supposed to mix. But this may be changing says Advertising Age, presumably because of current ad cutbacks, although the mag doesn’t explicitly say so. What it does complain about, is the current issue of Scholastic Parent and Child whose ad page composed in collaboration with  its editorial department was declared  to be “(in) defiance of industry norms...simply shameful”. The quote comes from Sid Holt. ceo of the American Society of Magazine Editors who added that “confusing editorial and advertising is a betrayal of the best interests of both readers and advertisers.” Media watchdogs might complain, AdAge comments, but  this sort of collusion is likely to happen more and more.

VERTICAL FARMING is the concept of a Columbia University professor who envisages 30-story buildings with  crops and even animals nurtured on every floor and, especially in cities, no transportation costs. Environmental prof. Dickson Despommier envisages soil being eschewed in favor of plants grown hydroponically (in a liquid) or aeroponically  (in the air. Britain-based Valvent Products Inc., maker of racks holding the plants, says it is negotiating with entrepreneurs in more than a score of countries.

vertical gardens
Vertcal Gardens concept drawing
photo credit: Smithsonian
   

THE WILCOCK WEB: Following the revelation that Supreme Court clerks are picked solely for their Republican or Democrat leanings, why shouldn’t the Supremes be elected for finite terms like all other biased politicians?….Quoting a report from the spookily-named Bedbug Advisory Board that there had been a 240% rise in complaints against landlords, Advertising Age offered advice to companies that had encountered infestations from the creepy creatures: “speedy honesty” is mandatory in today’s age of social media, declared an exterminator. “If you try to cover anything up, or spin or sugarcoat the situation, the public is going to see through it”…..Even non-conspiracy theorists are  beginning to realize that a lot more happened on 9/11 than we were ever told about—or ever will be…..Those ubiquitous expensive SmileTrain ads flaunting kids with cleft palates seem more and more suspicious all the time. The charity’s founder and ceo, Brian Mullaney, btw, is reported to pay himself nearly $700,000 a year…..“Not unlike the chimps featured on the Discovery Channel In an unconscious effort to outdo female rivals”, women buy sexier clothing during the handful of days when they are ovulating, reports the Journal of Consumer Research.….Surely you weren’t surprised to learn that Dan Quayle’s son Ben, running for Congress in Arizona, is even dumber than his father….. “Borrow money from pessimists”, quips Steven Wright, “ they don't expect it back”.….The over-the-top praise for the works of the late author Robert Bolano (writes Benjamin Percy in Esquire) is because reviewers “mistake a fascinating life for fascinating fiction”….ONE LINE REVIEW: “The covers of this book are too far apart”—Ambrose Bierce….. Even if that Florida pastor drops his plan to burn the Koran, it’s inevitable that somebody will do it eventually…What’s Dirty Little Word all about? It’s an event scheduled to take place on September 28 at NYC’s Nokia Theater starring Sir Richard Branson and Mary J. Blige but the website offers no explanation…. Considering how heartily disliked Russell Brand is in England, it’s surprising how quickly he’s been accepted as a viable star on this side of the Pond…..The list of producers for TV’s The Office seems to be even longer than that of the cast…..Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion….. Avoidr.com allows web users to list their non-friends and always be warned on how not to find yourself in places they’re likely to be…. “Some cause happiness wherever they go” quipped Oscar Wilde,  “others, whenever they go”…. Cities stuck with exorbitant pensions (from over-inflated salaries), should just refuse topay them and let the corrupt complainants sue at their own expense…..London department store Selfridges designated classic brands to fill “The Forever Shop”, stocked with items which encouraged customers to “rethink our obsession with fast fashion and embrace the idea of buying pieces that we can wear until our old age and then hand down to our children”…. Deft definition: Osteopornosis -- a degenerate disease…… Originally the old barcodes were comprised of only 14 characters, but recent advances have upped the number to 71 characters, enabling the inclusion of product reviews that can be read by smartphones….When you’ve read this, please email me (see below) simply saying ‘yes’ and I’ll send you an amusing 1963 column….“In the fight between you and the world, back the world”—Franz Kafka (1883-1924).



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