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Be prepared  

Bill Safire has an interesting series of speculations about the preparation the US should consider to avert the worst consequences of a terror attack on the nation’s command and control. He points out that the Supreme Court is the only arm of government that has no emergency succession plans.

Minute and a huff 

Who wouldn’t have loved to be a fly on the wall this weekend, when Rupert Murdoch was brought to boiling point by the dithering of the General Motors board? After 18 months of hard slog, Murdoch’s bid for the Hughes Electronics and its DirecTV operation failed at the final hurdle.

Whatever you may think of Murdoch’s politics or media sensibilities, there is no doubting he is an extraordinary business wheeler and dealer. There have been occasions when his company has been close to the brink, but he has always managed to pull some life-saving deal together, emerging stronger.

I suspect if GM’s agreement to sell Hughes to EchoStar falls through, Murdoch will come back to the table, despite the weekend huffing and puffing. But I’m sure the plodders on GM’s board never reckoned that Murdoch – who wanted DirecTV so badly – would just walk away, as he did on Saturday. I suspect Murdoch learned long ago that if you make a threat, you have to use it.


The newspapers here in London all ran features about the World Series over the weekend. This is the only time of year when anyone writes about the best game of all, but I thought the pieces were uniformly ill-informed. Everyone took the angle that the Yankees, perennially the most loathed team in baseball, were now the team everyone loved. Nonsense. Fly-by-night fans, who may glance at a game during the World Series, might feel that way, but I find it hard to fathom that real fans would give up the habit of a lifetime.

As Dave Winer has been pointing out for days, it’s perfectly consistent to love New York and detest the Yankees.

The good news is that the Arizona Diamondbacks have won the first two games of the series. I can’t get very excited about Arizona, but I’m delighted that Mark Grace, who was a stalwart for my team, the Cubs, is having World Series success at long last.

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