Michael Moore to edit Economist?

by Henry on March 7, 2006

Paddy Power is apparently running a book on who is going to succeed Bill Emmott as editor of the _Economist_, although I can’t find it online. Current odds are:

John Micklethwait 5 – 4 favourite

Emma Duncan 2 – 1

Matthew Bishop 6 – 1

Ed Carr 7 – 1

Gideon Rachman 8 – 1

Christopher Lockwood 10 – 1

Clive Crook 25 – 1

Boris Johnson 100 – 1

Michael Moore 250 – 1

At those odds, my mate Matthew Bishop looks well worth a flutter. The growth market for the _Economist_ these days is North America, and the only contenders with real US experience are him, the favourite (who’s priced out of the market in my opinion), and Michael Moore. It would be interesting to know how liquid the betting pool is (the UK has seen a fair amount of “manipulation”:http://news.ft.com/cms/s/ca763cd6-ab24-11da-8a68-0000779e2340.html of betting markets on succession races in the last few weeks), but obviously Paddy Power, unlike say Tradesports, isn’t likely to provide much in the way of useful information.

How-to videos

by Eszter Hargittai on March 7, 2006

Via Lifehacker, I found a helpful video on how to peel potatoes without too much trouble. Not wanting to pass on a recommendation without having tried it myself, I dutifully boiled a potato to test the method. It worked great! Note that the water at the end doens’t have to be ice water, it’s enough to put the boiled potato in some cold water.

While we’re on the topic of how-to videos, if anybody missed the instructions for folding a shirt, it’s also worth a visit. I found it harder to follow than the potato-peeling guide though. It may help to look at this piece as well to figure out what’s going on. I haven’t made this technique part of my everydays, but depending on your current method you may decide differently.

Heimatunsicherheit?

by Belle Waring on March 7, 2006

Then again, given Chertoff’s overall record, maybe they did place the nation’s security first and foremost:

“I wouldn’t feel safe nowhere on this compound as an officer,” former guard Derrick Daniels told The Associated Press. Daniels was employed until last fall by Wackenhut Services Inc., the private firm that protects a Homeland Security complex that includes sensitive, classified information.

An envelope with suspicious powder was opened last fall at the headquarters. Daniels and other current and former guards said they were shocked when superiors carried it past the office of Secretary Michael Chertoff, took it outside and then shook it outside Chertoff’s window without evacuating people nearby.

I know life is meant to imitate art and all, but is it supposed to imitate Benny Hill episodes? I can just imagine the guards running around in fast-motion, shaking clouds of powder out just below a hacking Chertoff’s window. And if a somewhat zaftig, topless woman in a nurse’s uniform could be worked into an ensuing chase scene, then so much the better.

Official Secrets

by Kieran Healy on March 7, 2006

I’ve been rereading some Weber for an article I’m writing, and while taking a break from it came across “this story”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/04/AR2006030400867.html about the administration going after journalists:

bq. The Bush administration, seeking to limit leaks of classified information, has launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. The efforts include several FBI probes, a polygraph investigation inside the CIA and a warning from the Justice Department that reporters could be prosecuted under espionage laws.

Weber is pretty direct on this subject:

The party leader and the administrative staff which is appointed by him … constitute the political administration of the state … The cabinet protects itself from the attacks of its followers who seek office and its opponents by the usual means, by monopolizing official secrets and maintaining solidarity against all outsiders. Unless there is an effective separation of powers, this system involves the complete appropriation of all powers by the party organization in control at the time; not only the top positions but often many of the lower offices become benefices of the party followers.

And later:

bq. Bureaucratic administration means fundamentally domination through knowledge. … This consists on the one hand of technical knowledge, which, by itself, is sufficient to ensure it a position of extraordinary power. But in addition to this, bureaucratic organizations, or the holders of power who make use of them, have the tendency to increase their power still further by the knowledge growing out of experience in the service. For they acquire through the conduct of office a special knowledge of facts and have available a store of documentary material peculiar to themselves. While not particular to bureaucratic organizations, the concept of “official secrets” is certainly typical of them. It stands in relation to technical knowledge in somewhat the same position as commercial secrets do to technological training. It is the product of the striving for power.