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the column of lasting insignificance: May 19, 2012
by John Wilcock

“The Republican platform is about deregulation, drill baby drill, frack baby frack, cut that wood, lay that pipe, mine that coal, ditch the EPA...ditch standards…global warning is a hoax,,and that every man is entitled to any amount of money he’s able to amass, no matter what the consequences to ‘his’ human worker bees or the planet.”
—Chris Jensen in the VCReporter

SAME SEX MARRIAGE is beginning to have unexpected consequences, just as some critics foretold. The latest response is from the Muslim community who see it as a justification for the polygamy that their religion has always favored. “Islam sanctions polygamy—more specifically, polygyny—allowing Muslim men to keep up to four wives at once” says the National Review, pointing out that in France there are estimated to be as many as 20,000 polygamous families, and in the UK, men with extra wives receive extra benefits. “The opportunity presented by the redefining of marriage make it very likely that direct appeals for official recognition will ramp up over the next decade, as more Muslims join vocal non-Muslims already laying out the case that polygamists deserve no fewer rights than gays” writes David J. Rusin of the Middle East Forum. “Almost nine in ten Americans still see the practice as morally wrong. However, neither bureaucratic obstacles nor public exposure of the social ills accompanying polygamy will deter polygamous Muslims from seeking what they desire”.

THE CURRENT CRAZE for comic book superheroes might at first seem surprising says the Philadelphia Trumpet. “Superheroes have taken charge of the theaters; vampires, like Star Trek’s Tribble creatures, are multiplying so quickly they threaten to overwhelm the whole enterprise. The common thread is that these characters all possess superhuman abilities. Why are they so massively popular?” Actually, the phenomenon isn’t new, the mag explains. “After all, how is the Marvel Comics universe different from the pantheon of Greek gods and goddesses?" It’s common for modern comic authors to lift characters directly from the pantheon of ancient cultures. And “during the interval between gods and superheroes, Eastern culture invented Samurai and Ninja myths in which heroes could control weather, walk on water, become invisible and so on”.

IT’S RIDICULOUS how few people accept that this country will NEVER have a health system that it can afford until it can eliminate the forprofit insurance companies from the system. It’s obscene that people should devote themselves to making money out of other people’s sickness. A callous industry that depends on the more innocent victims the better. Obviously, with billions of dollars at stake, the insurance vultures will never let go until they meet with sufficient opposition, but when, oh when, will that opposition start to appear? Forbes May issue admiringly profiles two healthcare billionaires, Cerner’s Neal Patterson and Epic’s Judith Faulkner who in a saner world might be expected to show some shame for making their fortunes off sick people…

“We the People, those freedom-loving, liberty-worshipping, government-hating, go-it-alone, do-it-yourself denizens of what our politicians call ‘the greatest country on the face of the earth’, really want a National Health Service just like the Brits have, but we are afraid to say so because it would destroy our cherished self-image as the cowboy who rides off into the distance alone, like Shane, like Randolph Scott, like all those grimly self-sufficient sociopaths we call heroes.”
–Florence King in the Spectator

MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS—“fearless and with no regard for authority”—are already established in hundreds of American cities according to the Philadelphia Trump which claims they have teamed up with local gangs to distribute their wares. A national survey by the US Department of Health last year estimates that roughly 12 million Americans were regular drug users who, together, hand over at least $8bn a year to the cartels. “Right now, it’ s in the best interests of the cartels operating in the US to lie low” the mag says. “With so much money at stake they try to avoid local and federal authorities, resorting to violence only when necessary. But how long can we expect it to remain like that?...The goal of the cartels is to take over”.

BRITAIN’S STREETS are littered with discarded elastic bands, the result of the postal service’s habit of bundling letters together for delivery. The organization Keep Britain Tidy reveals that Royal Mail has spent $8million buying the rubber bands over the past five years, contributing to the postal service’s annual $60 million loss.

SACRAMENTO HAS BEEN pinpointed as the country’s most wasteful user of water, reported to be squandering almost 300 gallons per person each day, double the national average. (Londoners use 42 gallons per day, the Dutch 33 gallons). “Water is just too easy to take for granted” says Tom Gohring, whose Sacramento Water Forum searches for solutions. In the book Blue Revolution, Cynthia Barnett writes that water is much more important to our future than oil because, unlike the latter, there is no substitute. And we’re using it with no thought about the consequences, guzzling nationally about 410 billion gallons a day, more than the daily flow of the entire Mississippi River. Another mind-boggling figure is the 19 trillion gallons a year that is used merely to irrigate what the book calls out “51st state”—the hundreds of square miles of turf comprising lawns, gold courses, highway medians, sports fields. All this in a world where more than a billion people have no access to clean drinking water, where consumption per person is four times what it was in the mid-20th century. There’s only one possible way we’ll be able to survive someday and that’s when we start desalinating the oceans, by whatever means.

DOomSDAY APARTMENTS are being built into a former missile silo in Salina, KS, by, Kansas property developer, Larry Hall who expects Earth to be devastated by a solar flare. An indoor swimming pool, hydroponic lake for growing food underground and wind and solar power sources will all fit into the 170ft complex.

This mutt lives in the apartment of an opera singer and watches her rehearse.

THE WILCOCK WEB: There ought to be a stronger word than greedy for people like multiple-mansion lovers Paul and Janice Crouch whose Trinity Broadcasting Network, a so-called ministry”, pulls in almost $10 million a year from pathetically gullible suckers. And, of course, even phony religions don’t pay taxes; a law that’s long overdue for a change…. Visible only in Western states (on May 20) is the last solar eclipse that can be observed in the U.S. until 2017… Almost all bonuses should be abolished. If people are paid (well) to do a job why should they get extra when they do the job properly?.... Judging by its colorful catalog you’ll never find a more complete set of books about revolution, radical action and anarchy than at pmpress.org….. A cyber company called Genius is about to introduce a cordless mouse….Scotland’s Tourist Board is spending $15m to help promote Pixar’s Bravo, starring red-haired Kelly Macdonald as a fiery medieval princess…. … Boring, Oregon (pop: 12,000) is considering a request from the Scottish village of Dull, Perthshire, for the pair to become “twin cities”….There’s a full page ad in Art in America for the National Weather Center Biennale which offers $25,000 in prizes for “art about the weather and the role it plays in shaping our lives”. The deadline for entries is October 1….. A report from Cisco Systems claims that spam messages fell by two-thirds last year—but they still numbered 124bn a day… Britain’s most odious pol, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw who exonerated Chile’s Augusto Pinochet after his European arrest, is being investigated for his suspected role in sending a terrorist suspect off to be tortured….Times columnist Hugo Rifkind predicts that despite the $1bn paid by Facebook for Instagram, the “fad’ will last only six months….London’s newly re-elected mayor, Boris Johnson, plans to bring back the famous red, double-decker buses that were phased out a few years ago…..All three Dancing With the Stars judges are such drama queens…. Can’t remember your password? Use the unique serial number of a dollar bill and make sure to keep it in your pocket….Good judgment comes from experience” says The Ol’ Farmer, “and a lotta that comes from bad judgment ….Winner of the month’s a-hole award: the condo Kimberly Bois association board in Portsmouth, N.H. who seek to fine a tenant $5,800 (cumulative daily penalties) for planting flowers beside her front steps….The federal government takes in about $7,000 in taxes from each American every year then spends nearly $12,000 per American, writes Joel Hilliker. “To ‘budget’ yourself to go $1.5 trillion deeper in debt each year simply isn’t sustainable. It’s lunacy …. If you don’t know where you’re going, quoth Yogi Berra, you’ll end up somewhere else….Long-term use of statins can cause memory loss warns Bottom Line…..Sooner or later some foreign enemy will identify some American as an enemy to be taken out, and will use a drone to do it….Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel berates readers for their stupidity in declaring war on foreign visitors by deliberately giving them false directions and wearing anti-tourist T-shirts”…..Wall Street Journal columnist Jonah Lehrer reports that the origin of the Barbie doll—the first one for adults-- was a Swiss doll, that Ruth Handler spotted in Geneva. Luckily she wasn’t aware that her discovery, Bild Lilli, was “a popular sex symbol sold to middle-aged men”…..People are still arguing about whether the death penalty is a deterrent or not but who would be deterred by knowing it wouldn’t be carried out for 20 years, if ever?.... “Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were." –Marcel Proust (1871-1922)




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