The Kensington Review

29 November 2004

Latest Commentary:

Alabama Recount May Yet Undo Racist Constitution -- There is an old joke that asks, “If it’s six pm in New York, what time is it in Birmingham, Alabama?” The punch line answer is “1953.” When it comes to matters of race and the state constitution, that is not a joke so much as an accurate description of facts. Amendment 2 would have rid the state constitution of language that required separate schools for "white and colored children" and language that dealt with poll taxes that were traditionally used to keep blacks from voting. The “Yes” camp lost by 1,850 votes out of 1.38 million cast. The good news is that this is close enough to trigger a recount and give the state a chance to redeem itself. The bad news is that there were votes against the amendment at all.

Swiss Vote for Embryonic Stem Cell Research -- In a referendum yesterday, Swiss voters approved new government proposals to allow embryonic stem-cell research. Despite opposition from such diverse organizations as the Catholic Church and the Green Party, 66.4% of voters said they supported the new plans. The large margin appears to stem from the restrictions the referendum put on research, making Swiss law more restrictive than British or Belgian law, but the research can go on. One wonders if America can learn anything from the vote.

US Retail off to Good, Not Great, Holiday Season -- The day after Thanksgiving is known in the retail trade as “Black Friday,” but unlike black days on Wall Street, it is a good day. It is the day holiday sales start, and many retailers move into the black, or at least, they can see profitability from where they are on that day. This year, the early evidence points to a good holiday season for retailers, but the results so far don’t suggest that this year is going to break any records.

Applied Digital Addresses Privacy Concerns of VeriChip Technology -- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) got a big boost a while back from the FDA, which approved the use of RFIC microchips for medical uses in the US. People can now have their medical records on such a chip and have in implanted under the skin so that in the event of an accident or sudden illness, medical staff have access to as much information as possible. While a fine idea, there are matters of privacy that must be addressed, and at a conference in Barcelona last week, Scott R. Silverman, Chairman and CEO of Applied Digital, spelled out what his company is doing to deal with the ethics of such technology.



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