Archive for December, 2006

Bird flu in France?

December 19, 2006

On the day that Michael Fumento reports that avian flu is an exagerrated threat, comes news that 8,000 chickens have suddenly died in central France. The cause of death has not been published as yet but some strain of bird flu seems likely.
If it is H5N1, then it’s worth noting that the death rate among humans is currently about 60%. The good news is that fewer than five people have caught it from other people.
So for Michael Fumento this may not be a big deal on the western shores of the Atlantic. But over here…
I’ve started a bird flu blog called Outbreak H5N1, you will also see news updates on the My headlines features on the sidebar.
Among the weird consequences of a bird flu outbreak in an advanced economy are likely to be a collapse in the organic poultry and egg markets, which should benefit factory-farmed “guaranteed no contact with the outdoors” battery hens and their eggs.
The government may even force the organic farmers to vaccinate their birds, in which case are they organic any more?

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Maggie Rules OK?

December 11, 2006

Guido strikes again!

I missed this when it came out so apologies for those who’ve already seen Margaret Thatcher’s Freedom to Party mash up, from Guido Fawkes, who I seem to recall was prominent in the Freedom to Party demonstration in London. Of course it was Margaret Thatcher’s government that introduced the ban on raves, so I detect a settling of an old score here.

Lost in a new, uncontrolled and scary place? It makes sense to be scared, confused and disorientated.

December 11, 2006

I recently took part in a panel discussion about the future of corporate communications in the new media world. The feedback I got was that the people at the drug company* I spoke to liked what I had to say, because I started from the premises that: 1) in a new and uncontrolled environment of change, it is rational to be afraid, confused and hope it will all go away; 2) that there are things the new media can do that companies can use to their commercial benefit; and 3) that even the horrible bits like a “blogswarm,” to name but one, contain elements that can be embraced by firms if they themselves adopt some of the skills and tools of the much vaunted Web 2.0.

I’ve therefore decided to write up my thoughts on the future of drug industry communications in the hope that this will be of some use to me when giving (hopefully) more presentations and to others interested in the subject.

Comments are welcome.

* I haven’t signed a non-disclosure agreement with the U.S. drug firm, which is in the process of paying me an honorarium for taking two days in Philadelphia, plus my preparation time, but on the other hand I don’t feel like disclosing the content of what were private sessions of a global corporate communications get-together (which for the record was impressively organized and open to trying out ideas). So unless I hear from them that they’re happy for me to discuss the name I have no plans to do so.

How to make friends…NOT

December 11, 2006

A rabbi has decided to force Seattle (Washington state, U.S.A.) airport to cancel Christmas decorations.

I admit, when I first saw the local news headline on the Drudge Report: “Holiday Trees” Removed at Seattle Airport… I jumped to the conclusion that this was either the work of militant secularists or of Islamofascists. I was ready to groan at the nonsense of multiculturalist political correctness and even thought of it as evidence that the U.S.A. is cringing like a beaten dog in the face of its cultural enemies.

At a time when Israel needs every friend it can get and when multicultural relativism is finally being demolished by the evidence that Islamofascists don’t want to co-exist with a “degenerate” homosexual-friendly secular and permissive society, we get this:

SEA-TAC Airport – All 15 Christmas trees inside the terminal at Sea-Tac have been removed in response to a complaint by a rabbi.

A local rabbi wanted to install an 8-foot menorah and have a public lighting ceremony. He threatened to sue if the menorah wasn’t put up, and gave a two-day deadline to remove the trees.

Sea-Tac public affairs manager Terri-Ann Betancourt said the trees that adorn the Sea-Tac upper and lower levels may not properly represent all cultures.

She said that since this is their busiest time of year and they don’t have time to add a fair representation of all cultures, her department decided to take down all of the decorations, review their policies, and decide if they need to make a change for next year.

It turns out however that the rabbi in question, was “appalled” at the removal of the Christmas trees!

Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky, who made his request weeks ago, said he was appalled by the decision. “Everyone should have their spirit of the holiday. For many people the trees are the spirit of the holidays, and adding a menorah adds light to the season,” said Bogomilsky, who works at Chabad Lubavitch, a Jewish education foundation headquartered in Seattle’s University District.

After consulting with lawyers, port staff believed that adding the menorah would have required adding symbols for other religions and cultures in the Northwest. The holidays are the busiest season at the airport, Betancourt said, and staff didn’t have time to play cultural anthropologists.

The best comment comes from Rabbi Bogomilsky’s lawyer:

“They’ve darkened the hall instead of turning the lights up,” said Bogomilsky’s lawyer, Harvey Grad. “There is a concern here that the Jewish community will be portrayed as the Grinch.”

No kidding!!! They threaten to sue and are “appalled” that the threat works literally.

For once the bureaucrats acted reasonably and the Islamofascists win without even opening their mouths or waving their weapons. Of course, we knew that most Jews in the U.S.A. voted to support the destruction of Israel last month, but I didn’t realize that some of them wanted the equation “Wipe out Jews=We can celebrate Christmas next year” to be put in the minds of most of the children wandering through the gloomy airport building at Seattle. It’s not like Seattle’s Jewish community has nothing else to worry about.

I remember when I was seven years old one one winter afternoon when the trade unions cut the power while I was watching Dr Who on television, an episode the B.B.C. did not repeat. I haven’t forgiven the socialist movement 34 years later. Lucky it wasn’t the Jews cancelled the show!

Blogroll…but

December 6, 2006

I’ve got my elections blogroll [see sidebar], but I can’t do others for my other areas.

My Clippings: Live

December 5, 2006

You wouldn’t believe how long it’s taken… but it’s finally live. My news aggregator clippings can finally appear on my blog. Now all I need is to figure out how to display them by category.