The Kensington Review

17 November 2004

Latest Commentary:

Rice to Replace Powell at State -- One of the worst kept secrets in Washington in the last several months was Colin Powell’s resignation from his job at the State Department. It also comes as no surprise that President Bush has opted to nominate National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to succeed General Powell. While this change in personnel is lamentable on principal, in practice it will mean little because the Secretary of State job itself has come to mean so little in the last decades.

Palestinians to Hold Peace Talks with Palestinians -- Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestine Liberation Organization chief and likely successor to Yasser Arafat, held peace talks late Monday and yesterday. There were, however, no Israelis in earshot of the negotiations. For those who thought the death of Mr. Arafat would open up the possibility of a comprehensive settlement, the events of Tuesday should have deflated their balloon. Mr. Abbas held talks with no fewer than 14 Palestinian groups. Getting the Israelis and Palestinians to agree will be only slightly harder than getting the Palestinians to agree among themselves.

Inflation Returning to Normal as Wholesale Prices Jump 1.7% in October -- The Producer Price Index is a good leading indication of future inflation because increases there are usually passed along to the consumer, thereby turning up months later in the Consumer Price Index. The PPI for October came out yesterday, and it was up 1.7%, the largest increase since 1990. Annualized, this rate is deeply into double digits, but because so much of it is exaggerated by the oil price rise (the fall will turn up in November’s figures) that some economists prefer to focus on “core” PPI, which excludes food and energy. Core PPI rose 0.3% or an annualized 3.6%, which is about where inflation is comfortable.

Stabbing at Vibe Ceremony Livens up Award Show Format -- Hip-hop just can’t seem to get away from its violent image. At the Second Annual Vibe Awards a man was stabbed (despite metal detectors at the door), police were attacked and numerous attendees fled to the exits. The media know-it-alls have already slammed the incident as typical of hip-hop’s inability to play nice. However, they may be missing the point. Perhaps violent assaults at entertainment award ceremonies would improve the industry and its players.



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