• THE COMING ‘EL NINO’ STORM SEASON HAS BEEN DUBBED ‘GODZILLA’ by a JPL climatologist and definitely merits some advance preparation steps to mitigate potential damage. Tips, depending on your property: (1) Clean out home gutters & downspouts; check for exterior wall holes from cables or other wires; check for roof leaks especially at flashing-connection points; (2) check exterior wood trim & window glazing for cracks or loosening; check balcony, deck slopes & below-grade spaces (garage, basement, etc.) to ensure outward drainage or necessity for a sump pump; (3) Check yard drainage – especially if any previous ‘ponding’; consider installing rain barrels at downspouts and stocking sandbags or tubing if necessary to channel water away from structures; (4) Have large trees checked for risk of toppling from over-moisture; (5) “Do a preemptive strike on potential invasion from ants or other bugs.” If wet weather in the past has caused this, call an exterminator now; (6) Consider flood insurance, seldom covered by homeowner policies but generating 20% of claims from non-high-risk areas.  [AMY PELL NWSLTR – Nov 15]
  • POLITICAL CORRECTNESS UPDATE REPORT: ** An Ohio first-grader (age 6) was suspended for pretending to be a Power Ranger during recess – posing to fire an imaginary bow & arrow!  /   ** The U.S. Dep’t of Education is pressuring an Illinois school district – threatening to withhold federal funding – for “discriminating against a transgender teen by requiring her to change in a private area of the girl’s locker room.” / ** University of Ottawa canceled a yoga class “designed to include disabled students, after …a couple of students & volunteers felt uncomfortable… that the practice was taken from a culture (India) that experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy.”
  • HOLIDAY SEASON DISTRACTIONS MAKE IDENTITY-THEFT MUCH EASIER FOR THE CRIMINALS. Protect yourself by especially paying attention to: (1) E-mails which look like familiar senders – like a popular retailer offering promotion, or a new credit card application – requesting response by clicking their link, often a ‘fake site’ designed to collect personal data; (2) Phone calls from a marketer or person claiming to be from your bank or credit card who needs to confirm a ‘fraudulent charge’ by, of course, confirming your data; (3) “checking for a ‘lock’ symbol on the left side of a URL (which confirms a secure site) before ordering online; (4) Be especially focused on  shopping or other data-transmittal through public Wi-Fi connections which are notoriously easy to access; (Latest Nat’l Retail Federation survey projects that one in five smartphone owners will shop directly online and comprise nearly half the holiday spending); (5) ‘Devices’ attached to card readers or ATMs, called ‘skimmers’ which can replicate your data.   [U.S.NEWS & WORLD REPT – Nov 10, 15]
  • CUSTOMER LOYALTY TO ‘BRANDS’ IS EBBING; of the top 100 American consumer packaged-goods brands, 90% lost market share last year. “In North America, consumers say they trust only about 20% of brands… Slightly less skeptical Europeans say about a third,” according to a poll by marketing agency Havas. Consumers are mostly wary of ‘big’ brands but roughly half claim to still “trust small companies to do the right thing.” The principal factor is absence of perceived ‘authenticity.’  “In an age when people can instantly learn truths & untruths about the things they’re contemplating buying, online review and friends’ comments on social media help define a product’s underlying merits & demerits, versus the image that its makers are trying to build around it… So companies are striving to bestow authenticity on their brands… to exhibit honesty with some identifiable merit. Inevitably, however, this leads some to concoct campaigns that seek to conjure up ‘authenticity’ out of thin air… expecting it to be the Secret of Success – that once you can fake it, you’ve got it made.” DCG affiliate VISIONWORX (vwxbranding.com) can help your company evaluate brand stability & potential.  [THE ECONOMIST – Nov 14, 15]
  • ON MUSLIM ‘OUTRAGE’: “When Muslims start showing the same level of outrage about things that are genuinely offensive – like the thousands of girls murdered, mutilated and raped in their countries – then we might take them a bit more seriously. As it is, there is nothing less deserving of sympathy or respect than ‘Muslim Outrage.” – https://dotsub.com/media/72457cbc-fe18-4053-ae3f-6c7639cf4e79/embed/
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “Industries with the highest rate of employed lobbyists are Technology, Drug Manufacturing and Colleges/Universities (located in every congressional district and employing one of every forty U.S. workers).

          “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years, and underestimate the change in the next ten.” – Bill Gates