A Rose by Any Other Name

by Norman Horowitz

As a television executive, I have realized the value of selling things with more or less “catchy” or previously used titles. There were programs called “Poltergeist: The Series,” “The New Sea Hunt,” and “American Werewolf in London: The Series.” Words used to describe movies and television content matter, and they matter a lot.

I was on a cable panel about 30 years ago when I suggested that the television series “Happy Days” lived in the consciousness of the American public and that everyone who watched television at that time knew what it was. Names of things mattered then as they do today. Television people and politicians have long understood this.

I just loved it when the White House apologized for the President’s description of the campaign against terrorism as a “crusade.” For an encore, they renamed the campaign “Operation Infinite Justice,” a name that seemed to some Muslims to promise what only Allah could deliver.   Continue reading “A Rose by Any Other Name”

The Bigger They Are…

by Alex Nakahara

The recent earthquake in Haiti has focused attention on the area and especially on how shoddy construction and engineering of its buildings played a huge role in the scale of the disaster. Sights like the presidential palace collapsed like an accordion have been splashed all over the media.

Many have called for Haiti to be rebuilt earthquake-proof, and you might as well throw in hurricane and flood-proof as well, since the country sits in such a disaster-prone location. While this will probably be done for municipal buildings and other publicly funded buildings like hospitals, airports, schools and the like, the chances that the slums around Port-au-Prince will be rebuilt to withstand earthquakes are virtually nil. Most of them (most of the buildings in Haiti, probably) weren’t constructed to any building code, or even by an engineer or architect. Once the world’s attention gets distracted by some other crisis, most of the new buildings probably will be just as vulnerable.   Continue reading “The Bigger They Are…”

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Earthquakes?

My latest column is on the South Florida Sun-Sentinel site. It’s a few days old. I almost missed its publication, coming out of my book-writing haze. This column features an exclusive interview with Marsha Henry, an LSE lecturer who studied and visited Haiti prior to the earthquake. Consider it the first installment in a three-part Trading 8s series on the Haiti disaster. Tomorrow, Alex will give an engineering perspective on rebuilding Haiti, and I will conclude on Wednesday with an economics suggestion or two to fund Alex’s ideas. We hope you enjoy the whole series, beginning with this column.