aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Kraft stands up to (another) bully
Recall that Kraft is contributing the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago despite threats of a boycott. Well now Pam’s found this document submitted by Marcella V. Meyer as part of the Kraft proxy solicitation. Its aims are clear:
DISSOCIATION FROM THE 2006 AND ALL FUTURE SO-CALLED “GAY GAMES”
Marcella V. Meyer, M.D., [address deleted], claiming beneficial ownership of 200 shares of common stock, submitted the proposal set forth below.
That in the best interest of our company Kraft Foods Inc. as well as in the public interest, Kraft Foods does hereby disassociate itself from the 2006 and all future so-called “gay games”, and that no future financial support be given for the 2006 “gay games” or any other future activities supporting, proselytizing, promoting or encouraging homosexual activity or life style.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ It has been widely reported in the press that Kraft Foods is a major financial sponsor of the summer 2006 “gay games” in Chicago (Crain’s Chicago Business, 5/23/05, “Gay Games Will Test Kraft, Harris"), and
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The gay rights movement is not a charitable activity; rather, it is a political movement designed to promote increased acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, and
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Numerous studies have linked homosexual activity to sexually transmitted diseases. (MMWR, CDC, 8/26/05, “Shigella flexneri Serotype 3 Infections Among Men Who Have Sex With Men-Chicago, Illinois, 2003-2004"). STD’s are often followed by sickness and even premature death, especially from AIDS. The gay community is a major contributor to the spread of STD illness, and
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The “gay games” event will be appealing to immature young people attracted by the excitement, fun, and even glamour of the event. Some of these young people are likely to experiment with homosexual behavior as a result of this appeal, and
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because of the “gay games” sponsorship by our company, Kraft Foods may at some future date be found to be complicit and legally liable in a case in which a young attendee at the “gay games” decides to experiment with homosexual encounters and later develops a serious, even fatal, illness, and
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The economic costs to Kraft Foods Inc. and other businesses in terms of medical care for employees as well as loss of employee productivity caused by sexually transmitted diseases are huge. (perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Vol. 36, Number 1, January/February 2004. “The direct cost of STDs including HIV among all age groups was estimated to be $9.3 - 15.5 billion in the U.S. in the mid-1990s").
The annual meeting is April 25. Kraft’s respone:
The Board recommends a vote AGAINST this proposal.
The Company is committed to supporting the communities where we live and do business. Last year alone, the Company provided over $85 million in food and financial support to hundreds of non-profit organizations around the world.
The Company’s charitable contributions program emphasizes three global focus areas relevant to its business: (a) promote better nutrition and more physical activity, (b) combat hunger and (c) promote agricultural sustainability. In addition, the Company supports local charities and civic events in its home communities, with an emphasis on organizations and events in Chicago, where our headquarters is located.
Diversity in all its forms is important to the Company. Based on a suggestion from one of our employee councils that help promote our awareness of and commitment to diversity, Kraft contributed $25,000 to the non-profit, tax-exempt entity that organizes the Gay Games VII. This will be an eight-day sports and cultural event that the City of Chicago is officially supporting. Other contributors to the event include CNA Insurance, Exelon, Harris Bank, and Walgreen’s.
In short, while we understand the Proponent’s position, the contribution was one of hundreds of donations that the Company made last year in the Chicago area and was well within the scope of our overall charitable giving program.
For these reasons, the Board recommends a vote AGAINST this proposal, and proxies received by the Company will be so voted unless stockholders specify a contrary choice in their proxies.
CEO Roger K. Deromedi
3 Lakes Dr.
Northfield, IL 60093
TOLL FREE: 1-800-323-0768
Still more fodder for Michael’s movie
Merck’s legal morass just got a whole lot stickier. A jury in Atlantic City yesterday found that Merck had misled the Food and Drug Administration about the dangers of its painkiller Vioxx and acted with wanton disregard for patients taking the drug. [...]
Merck may continue to face an uphill legal battle unless it can find a way to explain away e-mail messages showing that its scientists were concerned about potential heart risks even before the company began selling Vioxx, as well as e-mail from its former top scientist that said Vioxx heart risks were “clearly there.” Plaintiffs lawyers can also draw on marketing documents that show Merck encouraging employees to treat their questions about Vioxx’s risks as “obstacles” to sales.
If you have a health care horror story, there may still be time to get into Michael’s movie.
The coffee’s perking
Monday we had ABC saying it will test putting its most popular TV shows on the ABC.com website the day after they air - sheer lunacy even six months ago. The same day, blogging company BlogBurst said it will sell syndicated content to the very companies blogs were supposed to put out of business, i.e. newspapers. Gannett, which owns USA TODAY and has been nice enough to employ me for (cough-cough) years, is among BlogBurst’s new customers.
Also this week, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences created an Emmy category for “outstanding original programming for computers, cellphones and other hand-held devices” - a sign of how much of that is going on. Next thing you know, there will be a Grammy for best ring tone. [...]
[I]t all adds up to a tipping point or strategic inflection point or that moment when the coffee starts perking, if anybody can remember when coffee actually perked. The established industry has come to feel safe experimenting online. Ad sales have mushroomed. Technology has made experimentation cheap and easy. And a sense of fear - of not wanting to get Napstered all over again - has created urgency.
Pentagon admits spying on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ protests
Confirming what we already knew:
The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that the Defense Department surveilled groups opposed to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law banning openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members, RAW STORY has learned. The confirmation came in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in January.
The Pentagon’s full release is available here.
The revelation comes amidst a rash of reports that the Defense Department has spied on anti-war groups. It confirms that surveillance of protests at New York University, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Santa Cruz was conducted by US agents.
Last December, RAW STORY was the first to report that gay protesters had been monitored.
LATER, more from PageOneQ:
“The very idea that the federal government believes freedom of speech is a threat to national security is unconscionable,” Steve Ralls, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network‘s Director of Communications told PageOneQ today. “The Pentagon has acknowledged that collection of the information was perhaps inappropriate,” Mr. Ralls said as he cited an earlier report by United Press International on the Pentagon’s admission.
Make the ad deal with the consumer explicit
A line from the Wall Street Journal Online yesterday has stuck with me:
Advertisers are hungry for opportunities to reach consumers on the Web and several major marketers are embracing ABC’s plan. But it is still anybody’s guess how consumers will react to Disney’s plan to stream ABC and Disney Channel shows with non-skippable commercials on the Internet. Although the ads will be specially designed for the Web—and will be much shorter than traditional spots—viewers may still find the interruption irritating enough to tune out.
We had accepted that the very structure of our narrative storytelling was fundamentally altered to allow for commercial interruptions; the backlash came with over saturation. We reacted to the ever-increasing number and duration of advertisements.
The advertising industry has effectively tuned us out with assaultive clutter, interruption and annoyance. Making the ad deal explicit, and fair (from the consumer’s perspective), is one way for advertisers to repair that relationship.
The ABC experiment is a step in that direction. It’s similar to the Salon advertising model: you agree to watch the ads in order to get the free content. And it sounds like they’re addressing two of the three problems, clutter and annoyance; the ads will be relevant and fewer.
We’re left with interruption; ultimately the ads should be placed differently.
RELATED: I’m often willing to take those online surveys too by the 20th question I’ve had it. They’ve got to find a way to ask fewer questions.