The Kensington Review

25 August 2004

Latest Commentary:
Schlesinger Report on Abu Ghraib Abuses Points at Pentagon -- The four-member commission Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appointed to look into the abuses of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad are far from naive pacifists. James Schlesinger and Harold Brown were predecessors of Mr. Rumsfeld. Charles Horner was a general in the Air Force, and Tillie Fowler spent four terms in the House of Representatives serving on the House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittees on Military Installations and Facilities, and Military Readiness. Their conclusion, that the abuses were part of a general bungling rather than a deliberate policy, is comforting only to the degree that one feels comfortable with an administration that doesn't know what it is doing. Better to be incompetent than evil, but not by much

Bangladesh Strikes in Response to Bomb Blast -- Bangladesh doesn't turn up in the American media much, and when it does, it is usually in response to some disaster, as if the nation is still in need of a George Harrison benefit concert. Instead, the country is one of the only functioning democracies in the Muslim world, and may provide a model for others if it doesn't succumb to sectarian violence. Be that as it may, there was a two-day general strike underway Tuesday and Wednesday to protest a terrorist bombing that killed 19 and wounded around 150 more. Among the dead was Ivy Rahman the head of the Awami League's women's wing (the Awami League being the secular party that gained Bangladeshi independence from Pakistan and currently in opposition). The opposition blamed Islamic fundamentalists attached to the four-party ruling coalition, while the government blamed those who wish to destabilize Bangladesh. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Patriotism: The Last Refuge of the Unprofitable -- Steve Maich write for the Canadian news magazine MacLeans. In this week's issue, he points out that a pair of Canadian companies, household names both, have come a-crupper and may wind up getting run from America. To proud Canadians, this is an emotional issue, but Mr. Maich points out that the final straw for both Molson and Hudson Bay was when they started emphasizing their nationality. He offers a very fine rule for investors, "When a company starts draping itself in the Canadian flag to attract customers, sell the stock." Drop the world "Canadian," and one has a useful investment standard.

Ringtones Chart Show to Hit British TV in September -- Thanks to the Olympics, "Top of the Pops" will air on BBC 2 this week instead of its usual slot on BBC 1. However, if cellphone network Orange has anything to say about it, the kids of the UK will have an alternative next month, when its "Orange Playlist" airs for the first time on ITV. The difference will be the source of the tunes featured. While the "TOTP" list comes from weekly record sales, "OP" will rely on the week's most popular downloads of ringtones.



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