Friday, March 31, 2006



As everyone who isn't on Mars surely knows, the three leaders of North America are on their third and last day of a summit meeting in Cancún, where they've mostly been focusing on talks about trade and immigration. Now, there's actually a bit of irony here: despite his being The Vacation President, taking more vacation time than any predecessor, the Cowboy in Chief actually does not make it a habit to vacation when he's bopping around the world on matters of State. The Indians were, it seems, insulted that he didn't visit the Taj Mahal when he was there last week. And so the three did make a trip to Mayan ruins yesterday.

There are, of course, lots of conferences in my business that are in nice places. But, somehow, when I tell my management that I want to go to a conference in Cancún or Santorini (or even Edinburgh), I can be assured of an uphill battle. I guess I'll just have to plan my own trip to Cancún some time, and have my own visit to the Mayan ruins.

Anyway, it seems that Mexico's picked a better venue for hosting this year's summit meeting. We hosted it last year, and did it in Waco. Waco. Waco? Slogan: "We're halfway between Dallas and Austin." Well, at least they didn't have to worry about being distracted by sunny beaches and spring-break revelers. Maybe Prime Minister Harper can top us by hosting next year's summit in Yellowknife in January.

As to the business, I have to say that immigration is one area where I find myself in agreement, at least in part, with Bush: it's a difficult issue, but one that leaves a lot of room for adjustment and compromise, and I think it's a good idea to find a way to allow freer access to jobs and living, while still maintaining some level of control. Actually, I'd like to see borders go away; I'd like to see one world, with free trade and free movement, and I think that would ease tensions, rather than exacerbate them. By keeping the world an "us" and "them" place, we foster conflict between "us" and "them".


Jim Fenton said...

I wonder if professional conference organizers actually consider having a conference in too nice a place do be detrimental for the reasons you give. There might be some midpoint that maximizes attendance, somewhere in between Cancun and Altoona.

Of course, if there's a place that the prospective attendees like, such as IETF in Minneapolis, but that doesn't seem so obviously nice, that's good too.

scouter573 said...

Somebody I work with calls it the Giggle Test. If you tell your boss the location of the conference and she giggles, you aren't getting approval.

I recommend the ABC approach to selecting conference locations: Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, ...