The Kensington Review

16 February 2009


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This Week's Commentary: Volume VIII, Number 7
US Congress Passes Stimulus Bill on Party-Line Votes -- The US Congress on Friday passed a $787 billion stimulus package. Not a single Republican voted for it in the House and only three in the Senate. The Obama administration's attempt at bipartisanship, while noble in intent, failed to recognize one simple fact; the GOP has no political interest in cooperating. If the economy improves before the 2010 elections, the Democrats will get the credit because they have the White House. If not, the Democrats will get the blame. Under these circumstances, a “no” vote is the only sensible thing for a Republican to do.

Election Results in Israeli Political Mess -- To say that last week's Israeli elections were inconclusive is rather like describing the Pacific Ocean as damp. Both Tzipi Livni's centrist Kadima party and Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud have claimed victory. The Arab share of the vote dropped. Avigdor Lieberman, who leads the extreme right Yisrael Beiteinu party, is likely to play kingmaker in the formation of the government. At its core, the Israeli political system is broken.

Citi, JPMorgan Chase Halt Foreclosures -- Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase announced on Friday that they would temporarily halt mortgage foreclosures while the government finalizes its plans to help troubled homeowners. Citi's moratorium runs until March 12 and JPMorgan's to March 6. This may or may not be sufficient time to work out a program and get any regulatory and legislative changes made, but the moratoria are prudent business moves under these circumstances.

Satellite Collision Creates Space Catastrophe -- Last week, a derelict Russian satellite collided about 800 kilometers above the Earth with a working communications satellite owned by Iridium, a company that does telephony by satellite. The result of the incident is a huge cloud of debris in Earth orbit that threatens other satellites. Worst of all, Russian Mission Control chief Vladimir Solovyov said, “800 kilometers is a very popular orbit which is used by Earth-tracking and communications satellites. The clouds of debris pose a serious danger to them” In other words, it happened in the most dangerous place possible, and it happened because no one is in charge.

© Copyright 2009 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Fedora Linux.

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