In other news... (humorous news items)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:43 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Depends on your definition of treason. Under the law, probably, but overall I'd say he better fits the definition of a whistle blower. That is, what he did was to expose wrongdoing by the government to the people. Of course, it's a matter of perspective; if you agree with what the government was doing, perhaps you might consider it treason instead of whistle blowing.


What he did was a number of things. Including releasing diplomatic cables, which is espionage. Revealing NSA snooping? Yup, whistleblowing.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Thesh » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:48 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Including releasing diplomatic cables

[Citation Needed]
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:46 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I believe they were planning on trying him for espionage.


Yes they are. And once they get him into prison, they'll punish him for possession of expired toothpaste, just like they did Chelsea Manning.

Then they will put him in solitary, and if he should come up for parole they will deny his parole because of expired toothpaste. And yes, I know she also possessed LGBT magazines,...but they listed the damn expired toothpaste as a violation.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if we found out the toothpaste was expired when they sold it in the dispensary, just so they could punish her for it. And I wouldn't be surprised if, supposing she had tried to dispose of it, that they would have penalized her for wasting it.

Just any excuse whatsoever, no matter how petty.

Whistleblowers must be destroyed! Our corrupt masters insist!
In all fairness...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby jewish_scientist » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:23 pm UTC

The founding fathers were actually afraid that the charge of treason would be abused, so they defined it and the minimum proof needed for a conviction in the constitution.

U.S. Constitution, Article 3, Section 3 wrote:Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.


So Snowden cannot be charged with treason. I was wondering if there would be a Whistle-Blowing Protection Law. It would be something like, "When information or material made public or given to authorities by a person, said person cannot be charged with a crime for this action if the information or material is accepted as evidence in a court of law where said person is not the plaintiff or defendent." The reasoning is like that of the Shield Law; journalists and whistle-blowers need protection so that they can expose corruption.

On a very different note, I really wish that this deer lived. Now we cannot give it an IQ test.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:49 pm UTC

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

This seems to be the logic they're using, though.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:50 pm UTC

Releasing troop positions is treason whether it's given as a secret note to the Kremlin or posting it on MySpace.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Mutex » Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:27 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Depends on your definition of treason. Under the law, probably, but overall I'd say he better fits the definition of a whistle blower. That is, what he did was to expose wrongdoing by the government to the people. Of course, it's a matter of perspective; if you agree with what the government was doing, perhaps you might consider it treason instead of whistle blowing.


Plus if you follow the link in the article to the EP news site, the context of this is the recent invalidation of the Safe Harbour scheme, since it was discovered that the EU citizen data being transferred to the US wasn't actually protected against snooping by the NSA. So yeah, I don't think the EU gives much of a shit about whether or not Snowden committed treason.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:38 pm UTC

Also I take issue with the definition of treason. A medic providing care to prisoners of war is technically a traitor, but do we really want THAT to be considered treason?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:20 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:So Snowden cannot be charged with treason.


You're correct; we've been sloppy. The charge would be espionage, which can get you anything from 10 years or so, to life. If they can make a case that Snowden is miltary, then it could be a capital crime.

Chelsea Manning (see my prior message) was convicted of espionage. And, of course, there is no whistle-blower protection whatsoever.

So, now that you mention it, EU getting US to promise he won't be charged with treason, is an empty promise. US should make that promise in a second; it'll still allow them to charge him with espionage as soon as they get their hands on him, which will be soon if he goes to the EU. (Mistaken.)
In all fairness...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby elasto » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:52 pm UTC

Hands up who'd like a six-hour work day? Is life more than just running round a mouse-wheel till we drop dead of exhaustion? Better yet, could a healthy work-life balance be win-win for both employer and employee?

Erika Hellstrom loves being able to close the door to her office at 3.30pm, before heading out for an early evening hike in the deep, green forest that surrounds her home city. The 34-year-old art director used to have a long and erratic schedule as a freelancer, but she's now based at one of the first Swedish start-ups to offer a standard six-hour day, in Falun in central Sweden. It's just one of a number of Swedish companies trialling the concept, which is part a national obsession with work-life balance.

"For me it's absolutely fantastic," Erika says. "I have more spare time to train or to be outdoors while it is still daylight, or to do work in my garden."

She has no children of her own, but enjoys being able to spend more time with friends and relatives and feels "much less stressed" since her hours were cut.

Her boss Jimmy Nilsson, who co-owns digital production company Background AB, launched the initiative in September as part of efforts to create a more productive workforce: "It's difficult to concentrate at work for eight hours, but with six hours you can be more focused and get things done more quickly," he says.

His staff are at their desks between 8.30am and 11.30am, take a full hour off for lunch and then put in another three hours before heading back to their homes in the Swedish mountains. They're asked to stay away from social media in the office and leave any personal calls or emails until the end of the day. Salaries have not changed since the initiative started in September.

"We're going to try it for nine months and see if it's economical first of all, and secondly if it works for our customers and our staff," Mr Nilsson says.

The concept of six hour days is not entirely new in Sweden, although 2015 has seen something of a revival in the idea.

At Toyota's service centre on the country's west coast, shifts were cut for mechanics more than a decade ago, and with the company reporting a swift increase in profit, it's stuck with the idea ever since.

There were also a handful of trials in the public sector in the 1990s and early 2000s, including one in the northern mining town of Kiruna that ran for 16 years, but was scrapped amid a political row and a lack of raw data to measure its success.

In recent months, several start-ups in Stockholm have joined Background AB in testing the concept, alongside two hospital departments in Umea in northern Sweden and a surgery unit at Sahlgrenska University hospital in Gothenburg.

The most high profile initiative is at an elderly care home in west Sweden, where 80 nurses switched to six-hour days in February as part of a two-year controlled trial of shorter hours. Eighty staff at a similar care home are continuing to work their usual eight-hour shifts.

"It is too early to draw any firm conclusions, but nurses working shorter hours are taking less sick leave and report being less stressed," says Bengt Lorensson, the lead consultant contracted by Gothenburg City Council to analyse the data.

He says patient care appears to have improved, with staff organising more activities such as dance classes, group reading sessions or outdoor strolls: "Right now, we're only looking at early indications, but we can see that the quality of work is higher."

...

Across Sweden, only around 1% of employees work more than 50 hours a week, one of the lowest rates in the OECD, where 13% is the average. By law, Swedes are given 25 vacation days, while many large firms typically offer even more. Parents get 480 days of paid parental leave to split between them. Most offices are empty after 5pm.

"It's a very different experience to when I worked in the UK and clients wanted to stay in touch on weekends and during the evening," says Canadian-born Ameek Grewal, 29, who relocated from London to Citibank's Nordic headquarters in Stockholm a year ago.

While he argues that the environment might at times feel "frustrating" for those used to putting in longer hours or getting swift responses from clients, he's convinced that the Swedish model brings far greater benefits than drawbacks: "Here there is a mutual respect. I'll wait until office hours to call or email my customers and at the same time I know I won't be phoned when I'm on holiday."


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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Angua » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:27 pm UTC

Sounds nice, but I'm told that social hours for working at 7am-10pm Mon - Sat. If you don't agree, then you must lack vocations and professionalism.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:05 pm UTC

Yeah. That's a factor in a few places. Like those with "unlimited leave". You end up with a lot of social pressure to not look like you're slacking off, and people taking less leave sometimes.

While working less naturally has a certain appeal to it, I do think startup atmospheres are often really unhealthy, and I'd much rather have the sort of balance where nobody gives a crap because I'm hitting my 40.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby sardia » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:09 pm UTC

Angua wrote:Sounds nice, but I'm told that social hours for working at 7am-10pm Mon - Sat. If you don't agree, then you must lack vocations and professionalism.

Want there a study that split'hardworking' people into two groups. Hard workers, and fakers. The fakers did stuff that made them seem like they work late or travel a lot, but most of the work was closer to their family. Or they world talk a big game but actually only do less than 50 hours of work.
Result was the 2 groups did the same quality of work and both considered good employers.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Angua » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:55 pm UTC

I think you might have missed my sarcasm.

Probably only makes sense if you're following the UK junior doctors vs Jeremy Hunt kerfuffle.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:08 pm UTC

Angua wrote:I think you might have missed my sarcasm.

Probably only makes sense if you're following the UK junior doctors vs Jeremy Hunt kerfuffle.


No idea what that is. I've been following trends in tech sectors with regards to overtime, etc(particularly game companies), where the social expectations are significantly higher than the official hours.

Didn't even ping as possibly sarcastic.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Angua » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:33 pm UTC

Jeremy Hunt is wishing to impose a contract that means that working 7-10 Mon-Sat (instead of the current 7-7 Mon-Fri) will not incur extra pay for working antisocial hours, and has alluded that doctors would not be protesting against this if they didn't lack vocation and professionalism.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Grop » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:42 pm UTC

I must be working less than 35 hours a week; my company seems to be happy about that.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:59 pm UTC

My Hovercraft is Full of Eels

Spoiler:
Google Translate error sees Spanish town advertise clitoris festival

Organisers in As Pontes ‘quite surprised’ to learn food festival celebrating Galician vegetable grelo had been mistranslated




It was meant to be a culinary festival celebrating grelo, the leafy green vegetable that is a staple in the Galician town of As Pontes in north-west Spain.

But for the past few months, the small town was marketing a very different kind of festival after it used Google Translate to put the Galician word grelo into Castilian Spanish, ending up with it inviting people to take part in a “clitoris festival”.

“It was quite a surprise,” Montserrat García, the town’s spokeswoman, told the Guardian. “At first, we didn’t believe what we were seeing.”
Google Translate update seeks to break language barrier
Read more

Local officials in As Pontes – population 11,000 – had written the announcement for the annual festival in Galician, one of the official languages of the northern Spanish region. They used Google Translate for the Spanish-language version of the text.

It meant the town’s “Feria do grelo” or rapini festival – held every February with tastings and awards for the best grelos – became “Feria clítoris” in Spanish.

The translated announcement read: “The clitoris is one of the typical products of Galician cuisine. Since 1981 ... the festival has made the clitoris one of the star products of its local gastronomy.”

García said the translation error was likely on the town’s official website for months before it was noticed late last week.

She believed the online translation tool mistook the Galician word for the Portuguese version, which refers to the vegetable but also can be used as slang for clitoris.

Officials in As Pontes are considering filing a formal complaint with Google. García said: “They should recognise Galician and translate it accurately.”

Google Translate has since changed the translation, with grelo now said to mean “brote” or sprout. But García remains dissatisfied: “It’s still not the best way of describing grelo, as it is a vegetable from the turnip family.”

Town officials have turned their backs on Google Translate, but there has been an upside to the embarrassing error, García said, as it caused a surge of interest in this year’s festival. “It’s become a means – albeit a very odd means – of promoting our festival.”

A Google spokesperson said: “Google Translate is an automatic translator – that is, it works without the intervention of human translators, using state-of-the-art technology instead. When Google Translate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide on the best translation for you.

“Since the translations are generated by machines, not all translation will be perfect and sometimes there will be mistakes or mistranslations. If people come across incorrect or inappropriate translations, they can let us know about them and we’ll be happy to fix them as soon as possible.”


Spoiler:
Image

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby JohnMalkovich » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:20 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:That's simply inhumane.

Who'd ever frame that ghastly thing on their wall?


I personally value that the painting is done exclusively for me, by a real human-being in real human conditions.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:43 pm UTC

JohnMalkovich wrote:
Felstaff wrote:That's simply inhumane.

Who'd ever frame that ghastly thing on their wall?


I personally value that the painting is done exclusively for me, by a real human-being in real human conditions.


As someone who supports the point of the Dadaist movement but would never buy their "art", I hate you.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ObsessoMom » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:35 pm UTC

Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:My Hovercraft is Full of Eels

Spoiler:
Google Translate error sees Spanish town advertise clitoris festival

Organisers in As Pontes ‘quite surprised’ to learn food festival celebrating Galician vegetable grelo had been mistranslated




It was meant to be a culinary festival celebrating grelo, the leafy green vegetable that is a staple in the Galician town of As Pontes in north-west Spain.

But for the past few months, the small town was marketing a very different kind of festival after it used Google Translate to put the Galician word grelo into Castilian Spanish, ending up with it inviting people to take part in a “clitoris festival”.

“It was quite a surprise,” Montserrat García, the town’s spokeswoman, told the Guardian. “At first, we didn’t believe what we were seeing.”
Google Translate update seeks to break language barrier
Read more

Local officials in As Pontes – population 11,000 – had written the announcement for the annual festival in Galician, one of the official languages of the northern Spanish region. They used Google Translate for the Spanish-language version of the text.

It meant the town’s “Feria do grelo” or rapini festival – held every February with tastings and awards for the best grelos – became “Feria clítoris” in Spanish.

The translated announcement read: “The clitoris is one of the typical products of Galician cuisine. Since 1981 ... the festival has made the clitoris one of the star products of its local gastronomy.”

García said the translation error was likely on the town’s official website for months before it was noticed late last week.

She believed the online translation tool mistook the Galician word for the Portuguese version, which refers to the vegetable but also can be used as slang for clitoris.

Officials in As Pontes are considering filing a formal complaint with Google. García said: “They should recognise Galician and translate it accurately.”

Google Translate has since changed the translation, with grelo now said to mean “brote” or sprout. But García remains dissatisfied: “It’s still not the best way of describing grelo, as it is a vegetable from the turnip family.”

Town officials have turned their backs on Google Translate, but there has been an upside to the embarrassing error, García said, as it caused a surge of interest in this year’s festival. “It’s become a means – albeit a very odd means – of promoting our festival.”

A Google spokesperson said: “Google Translate is an automatic translator – that is, it works without the intervention of human translators, using state-of-the-art technology instead. When Google Translate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide on the best translation for you.

“Since the translations are generated by machines, not all translation will be perfect and sometimes there will be mistakes or mistranslations. If people come across incorrect or inappropriate translations, they can let us know about them and we’ll be happy to fix them as soon as possible.”


Spoiler:
Image


Mmmmm, I'll have what she's having. A vegetable from the turnip family, you say?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ahammel » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:52 pm UTC

New Canadian prime minister appoints a cabinet of 15 men and 15 women. When asked why, he replies "Because it's 2015".

Spoiler:
Image
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Diadem » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:59 pm UTC

Sorry, but I always hate arguments like that. What does it even mean? In 2015, the global participation rate of women in national-level parliaments is nearly 20% (source: wikipedia). So based on the 'It is 2015' logic he appointed 9 women too many.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ahammel » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:04 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Sorry, but I always hate arguments like that. What does it even mean? In 2015, the global participation rate of women in national-level parliaments is nearly 20%

It means that, by 2015, one would have expected the participation rate of women in national level-parliaments to be something more like 50%, the idea that they are inherently stupid, fragile, emotional creatures concerned only with kinder, küche, und kirche having long gone the way of the dodo.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:05 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:New Canadian prime minister appoints a cabinet of 15 men and 15 women. When asked why, he replies "Because it's 2015".
And in 2016 he will appoint 16 men and 16 women? 17 men and 17 women the next year? Madness!
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Angua » Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:57 pm UTC

I believe he also appointed a doctor for health secretary.

It's a pretty far out idea.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ahammel » Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:55 pm UTC

Angua wrote:I believe he also appointed a doctor for health secretary.

It's a pretty far out idea.

And an astronaut for transport minister.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Diadem » Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:58 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
Diadem wrote:Sorry, but I always hate arguments like that. What does it even mean? In 2015, the global participation rate of women in national-level parliaments is nearly 20%

It means that, by 2015, one would have expected the participation rate of women in national level-parliaments to be something more like 50%, the idea that they are inherently stupid, fragile, emotional creatures concerned only with kinder, küche, und kirche having long gone the way of the dodo.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing to appoint more women. I'm all for gender equality.

I'm saying that "Because it's 2015" is a stupid argument. It's a meaningless hollow platitude.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby doogly » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:39 pm UTC

And it dangerously implies that what we think of as "progress" aligns with temporal "progress." Which, if we think of progress as a default, it will certainly not, and certainly has not been this way in the past.

In America, our first gay president was #15. I don't think a gay candidate would do so great even now. We've had 9 black senators - the second left office in 1881, the third arrive 1967. The house went a little better.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:44 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
ahammel wrote:
Diadem wrote:Sorry, but I always hate arguments like that. What does it even mean? In 2015, the global participation rate of women in national-level parliaments is nearly 20%

It means that, by 2015, one would have expected the participation rate of women in national level-parliaments to be something more like 50%, the idea that they are inherently stupid, fragile, emotional creatures concerned only with kinder, küche, und kirche having long gone the way of the dodo.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing to appoint more women. I'm all for gender equality.

I'm saying that "Because it's 2015" is a stupid argument. It's a meaningless hollow platitude.


Agreed. Arbitrary references to the year are pretty much meaningless.

I would have preferred reasoning like "these were the most qualified folks available. Is there a reason why I shouldn't have?"

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:03 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Diadem wrote:
ahammel wrote:
Diadem wrote:Sorry, but I always hate arguments like that. What does it even mean? In 2015, the global participation rate of women in national-level parliaments is nearly 20%

It means that, by 2015, one would have expected the participation rate of women in national level-parliaments to be something more like 50%, the idea that they are inherently stupid, fragile, emotional creatures concerned only with kinder, küche, und kirche having long gone the way of the dodo.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing to appoint more women. I'm all for gender equality.

I'm saying that "Because it's 2015" is a stupid argument. It's a meaningless hollow platitude.


Agreed. Arbitrary references to the year are pretty much meaningless.

I would have preferred reasoning like "these were the most qualified folks available. Is there a reason why I shouldn't have?"


Well, I think that, in all likelihood, these weren't the most qualified people available. It would stretch credulity quite far that the best qualified people would happen to be half women, half men, and with at least one person represented from each of the country's 10 provinces, plus the territories. Expertise is not a particularly strong requirement to be in cabinet in Canada; the process is quite political, and is a balance of putting in reasonably competent people coupled with a certain level of regional representation, plus the odd reward for particularly strong supporters or other party stalwarts (although Trudeau didn't, it's quite common for Canadian PMs to give cabinet posts to former leadership rivals, for example), and, later, promotions/demotions for people who seem to perform particularly well. In a 4 year term, a cabinet minister may well be responsible for two or three completely unrelated portfolios at different times.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Carlington » Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:09 am UTC

That's much the same here, and it's always been bizarre to me. Why in the world wouldn't you appoint someone to a position like that based on experience in the field they're representing? Surely the person best equipped to make choices regarding how a system is run should be a person who is familiar with what it's like to be on the bottom and the inside of that system, no? I mean, then you get into things like Treasurer, I suppose, where even if two prospective Treasurers have the same amount of experience, one might be a Keynesian and the other an Austrian, which will net wildly different outcomes. But still, it must be a step up from appointing career politicians with no practical experience.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby elasto » Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:21 am UTC

How it works in the UK at least is that each department is filled with civil servants who remain in place even when the administration changes color. And they are the ones with the deep technical expertise and know-how.

The job of the political head of each department is to set the tone and the goals ('reduce your budget by 10%', 'ensure every child can read and write', 'focus on reducing reoffending rates' etc.) and then the civil servants are sent off to find a way to achieve them (or to explain why it's not possible).

Seems a pretty decent way to have things done to me - but it's a big source of why political parties promise tons in opposition that they find they can't actually deliver once in power - because they aren't experts in their fields...

Sure, it would be even more ideal to have the political head also be an expert, but given that, in the UK at least, cabinet members are simply drawn from the ranks of MPs, and MPs are rarely elected for single points of technical expertise but instead to represent their local constituency on all matters, there are unlikely to be such technical experts to choose from.
Last edited by elasto on Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:25 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Quercus » Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:24 am UTC

Ninja'd by elasto...

The theory, so far as I understand it (which is at a very basic level), is that politicians are "experts" at representing electorates, and it's the civil service that provides the experts in the particular fields the politicians find themselves making decisions about. The politicians should listen to their civil servants, filter that through the lens of their political mandate (which is hopefully based on their election manifesto), and make a decision accordingly, that takes into account both the views of the electorate and the views of domain-specific experts.

How well this works in practice, I have no idea. I suspect not very well in many cases.

elasto wrote:Seems a pretty decent way to have things done to me - but it's a big source of why political parties promise tons in opposition that they find they can't actually deliver once in power - because they aren't experts in their fields...

Which is why opposition politicians (shadow ministers in the UK) should also have access to the expertise of the civil service. I think this is a reform that is increasingly happening, if I remember a talk I attended a few years back given by a former cabinet secretary (a.k.a. the head of the civil service in the UK).

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:41 am UTC

Here's a pertinent quote from Yes, Minister (Series One, Episode Six: The Right to Know):
Sir Humphrey: Minister, I have something to say to you which you may not like to hear.
Jim Hacker: Why should today be any different?
Sir Humphrey: Minister, the traditional allocation of executive responsibilities has always been so determined as to liberate the ministerial incumbent from the administrative minutiae by devolving the managerial functions to those whose experience and qualifications have better formed them for the performance of such humble offices, thereby releasing their political overlords for the more onerous duties and profound deliberations which are the inevitable concomitant of their exalted position.
Jim Hacker: I wonder what made you think I didn't want to hear that?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Zamfir » Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:28 am UTC

Then again, real-life ministers are not usually bumbling idiots. They are either shrewd and experienced politicians, or they are being groomed to become so. They know the Yes-Minister dynamic much better than we do.

The crucial skill is to judge issues quickly from the outside, not to know them deeply from the inside. There far too many cases for that, no matter how experty you are. How important is this issue, in the wider picture? What are the important drivers, the main conflicts? Who are the relevant parties, what are their angles? Who can you trust? And senior minsters tend to pretty good at that - real life Jim Hacker wouldn't survive for long.

And another thing: experts are insiders. For example, doctors are far from a neutral party in healthcare politics and even perfectly honest former doctors will carry the biases of their profession with them. If you take for granted that the minister of healthcare should be a doctor, then after a while you'll have very doctor-friendly policies. The same with policy experts - that's making Sir Humphrey the minister.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Chen » Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:39 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Agreed. Arbitrary references to the year are pretty much meaningless.

I would have preferred reasoning like "these were the most qualified folks available. Is there a reason why I shouldn't have?"


The question was bait anyways, so he took the opportunity to make a decent sound bite out of it. I mean what answer are you expecting when you ask "Why did you appoint an equal number of women to your cabinet" or whatever the damn question was. His stance on gender equity is already well known.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ahammel » Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:36 pm UTC

Chen wrote:I mean what answer are you expecting when you ask "Why did you appoint an equal number of women to your cabinet" or whatever the damn question was.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby jestingrabbit » Fri Nov 06, 2015 3:07 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:And another thing: experts are insiders. For example, doctors are far from a neutral party in healthcare politics and even perfectly honest former doctors will carry the biases of their profession with them. If you take for granted that the minister of healthcare should be a doctor, then after a while you'll have very doctor-friendly policies.


If there's been a series of anti-doctor measures in recent years, though, this could be an important rebalancing.

I also suspect that having a perspective arising from expertise is a much better state for a minister to be in compared to having perspective arising from dogma.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 06, 2015 4:20 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
Chen wrote:I mean what answer are you expecting when you ask "Why did you appoint an equal number of women to your cabinet" or whatever the damn question was.

"Did I? Well I'll be dammed, you're right! I just noticed that."


Yup. I'd find it hilarious to make them explain why they find it odd.

Granted, I doubt that this was actually an accident, but still.


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