The Kensington Review

13 October 2004

Latest Commentary:

Bush to Sign Pork-Stuffed Corporate Tax Bill -- The purpose of the corporate tax bill is in Mr. Bush’s in-tray this morning was to repeal $5 billion of subsidies to US exporters that the World Trade Organization had adjudged to be illegal. Because of that ruling, 1,600 American exports face retaliatory tariffs in Europe, currently at 12% and rising an additional percentage point each month. However, nothing is ever quite straightforward in Washington. The special interests plundered the US Treasury, and did so legally. The bill will come to about $140 billion.

Iraqi Nuclear Equipment Missing -- The Keystone Kops occupation of Iraq reached a new low yesterday when the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iraqi equipment and material that could be used to produce nuclear weaponry has gone missing. The attack on Iraq was supposed to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (at least, that is what the White House said, though today’s pretext could be different, and tomorrow’s different yet again). Yet, Reuters quoted one diplomat as saying, “If some of this stuff were to end up in Iran, some people would be very concerned." Shouldn’t Tom Ridge change the Crayola terror threat warning color to puce or mauve?

US Corporate Governance Improves in 2004 -- A quick read of the headlines about corporate governance would lead one to believe that American companies are riddled with strife bordering on civil war in the boardroom. And in the more extreme cases like the Walt Disney Company, MCI and MBIA, that isn’t far from the truth. However, a recent report from the advisory group Institutional Shareholders Services says that those cases were the exception not the rule. In general, top management in the US is doing a better job when it comes to corporate governance. Nothing like being forced to behave.

French Cinemas to Jam Cell Phones -- Like most technology, the cell phone is neither rude nor polite. It has no ethics, knows no right nor wrong. It just is. The people who use them are quite a different matter. Many are inconsiderate, impolite or just plain rude. The French government has weighed in by backing a move by cinema owners to jam cell phones in the performance area. Emergency calls and calls made in the lobby will be unaffected. This decision is proof that the French remain a civilized people despite having Mr. Chirac as president.



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