Re: Civil Liberties

1

On the first link:

On July 30, the Savannah-Chatham school board voted 8-1 to fire Jones, saying she tried to investigate the incident on her own instead of reporting it to officials. The board also said she was insubordinate after the incident, missed work and continued to handle her phone irresponsibly.

This of course could be/probably is complete bs, but taking it at face value, the firing doesn't necessarily sound as unjustified as your summary made it seem.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:34 AM
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To the second link, the problem is that American companies are too concerned about safety? Bullpop.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:36 AM
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Thank goodness we don't have a nanny state.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:37 AM
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1: It sounds like they see her as trouble.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:39 AM
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4: Yes, but it sounds like maybe she was trouble? Seems hard to say without more info.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:40 AM
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To the second link, the problem is that American companies are too concerned about safety? Bullpop.

Rio Tinto isn't American.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:40 AM
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One of the most insidious things about employer based health insurance is the way that companies have started using "controlling costs" as an excuse to start poking into their employees lives outside of work.

I suspect if I tried to have a conversation about this with a libertarian I'd end up breaking a chair over his head.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:41 AM
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6: They may not be American, but the blurb claims that the safety tracking cards thing is in Utah.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:43 AM
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And, too, I really don't have a problem with mining companies being a bit overbearing when it comes to worker safety. What it seems to be referring to is this:
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB20001424052702303907904580035882297900298

which is a WSJ story describing how very sensible mine safety drills are also being imposed, possibly less sensibly, in RTZ offices. But you know what? That could still be a good thing, because those office workers will be making decisions that indirectly affect the safety of miners, and if you hammer on the safety message then, as well as helping them avoid things like trip and falls, it'll get them thinking the right way about their jobs.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:47 AM
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Or it would desensitize them to the very real dangers that the miners face, and make them trivialize the safety measures as being just theater.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:51 AM
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Requiring a report of X number of safety breaches a month is really stupid. What if there just aren't that many safety breaches? Make stuff up?

Also the kids who riffled through the teacher's cellphone pictures should be punished severely. There needs to be an unambiguous standard that that sort of thing is unacceptable on a level with taking upskirt shots and the like.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:53 AM
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Rio Tinto is easily on anyone's list of "top 3 most evil megacorporations" so let's not be too sympathetic here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:53 AM
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From link in 9 For some office workers, though, finding a hazard to write up every day at the office can be a challenge. Some resort to rehashing procedures for unplanned emergencies, such as earthquakes. Mr. Bennett says he sometimes tracks his lunch treks, noting on his safety card how he will control for every possible threat on the way, from flights of stairs to the busy intersection outside the office.

One of his colleagues recently wrote that to mitigate "choking hazards" during a lunch, she would "take small bites; avoid bread."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:54 AM
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The opposing quotes sound really bone-headed, as well.

"I don't really need some corporate executive to tell me to look both ways before I cross the street," said Mike Wright, who directs health and safety for the United Steelworkers

Iron foundries are one of the most dangerous places to work in the US, and vehicle movements - forklifts, dump trucks, etc - are one of the most common causes of injury and death. So, yes, Mike, actually your members do need to be told to look before they cross the street (or rather the factory floor).

Charles Bradford, a metals industry analyst, said that when he meets with investor-relations staff at large metals firms, they often start the meeting with a safety talk that sometimes strikes him as "a bit much."
"You have to assume that the people attending the meeting are smart enough to know where the exits are," Mr. Bradford said.

This is why no one ever trusts Charles Bradford with any important decisions (ie affecting people's lives) - because his attitude to them would be "oh, let's just assume that everything's going to be OK".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:55 AM
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Requiring a report of X number of safety breaches a month is really stupid. What if there just aren't that many safety breaches? Make stuff up?

No, it's a really good idea. If you tell people "if you see a safety breach, write it up" most of them won't bother. If you tell them "you must write up two a month" then they'll actually search for them and pick up really non-obvious stuff that they normally wouldn't bother with.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:58 AM
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I'm not surprised the Brit thinks this is all par for the course; the UK has already capitulated to the rule of Health & Safety. What they don't understand is that FREEDOM (American style) means being free to get horrifically mangled on a factory floor, so long as no one is telling you what to do or assuming you're so smart that you know where the exits are.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:59 AM
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He's absolutely right about the meetings having a safety talk at the start, though. It's usually way beyond where the exits are, though, as you get that level of advice just if people are meeting in a hotel ballroom.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:00 AM
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"she tried to investigate the incident on her own instead of reporting it to officials. The board also said she was insubordinate after the incident, missed work and continued to handle her phone irresponsibly."

that looks like bullshit to me.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:00 AM
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You know, there is an effective way to protect miner safety that's actually worker-led and doesn't consist mainly of cosmetic corporate bullshit. It's called having your workers represented by the UMWA, and it's something that Rio Tinto spends a huge amount of time resisting (when they're not literally murdering their third world workers or destroying remote environments for generations through horrible practices). So let's not ride old Charles Bradford too hard for thinking that his bosses' plans might be pretty much bullshit.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:01 AM
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Heard BP started their Christmas party with a fire safety check.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:02 AM
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Not to blame the [may-or-may-not-be] victim, but if you have nude selfies on your phone, you might want turn on password protection. Because phones do tend to get lost, stolen, etc.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:04 AM
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16: ironically, the best way to get a really pernickety attitude to health and safety is to spend a lot of time doing stuff that is inherently dangerous.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:05 AM
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I know. I'm just teasing, as I find the constant refrain of "health and safety" in the UK rather endearing.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:06 AM
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21 is true. Teenagers are like the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park - they will test every goddamn inch of the fence to find the weak spot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:07 AM
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19: Charles Bradford is a metal industry analyst; Mike Wright is the union guy, but he's with the steelworkers, not the miners, and is talking about H&S generally, not RTZ specifically.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:07 AM
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22 seems to contradict 9.last.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:09 AM
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26: not at all.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:12 AM
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Does too does too doestoo.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:13 AM
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Doe stew.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:14 AM
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21: In the longer linked article she claimed her phone was password protected and in a desk drawer.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:16 AM
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re: 14

It's standard practice at almost every quasi-academic conference I attend, or any major meeting where it's in an institution that some of the attendees might not be familiar with, for there to be a quick safety run-down at the start.

Usually something of the form:

'Hi, everyone, if you don't know where the fire exits are, they are over that side of the hall, and then you go down the stairs to the car-park exit. There are no fire alarm tests planned today, so if you here the alarm, it's not a drill. Also, toilets, if you want them, are one floor up, next to the lifts.'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:17 AM
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I normally add "Please make sure your mobile phones are turned off or set to silent, as some of our speakers today have very short tempers."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:19 AM
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which is a WSJ story describing how very sensible mine safety drills are also being imposed, possibly less sensibly, in RTZ offices. But you know what? That could still be a good thing, because those office workers will be making decisions that indirectly affect the safety of miners, and if you hammer on the safety message then, as well as helping them avoid things like trip and falls, it'll get them thinking the right way about their jobs.

And it's not like the SLC offices are hugely removed from the mine. I can walk a block or so out of my neighborhood to the main road and look across the valley and see the damn thing.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:21 AM
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I can't remember ever hearing anything like 31 at any meeting I've attended. Is it specifically a UK thing?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:21 AM
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30: If so I'm guessing she didn't have a very good password. Come on, folks, when choosing your access code, don't pick your birthday, or your spouse's birthday, or your kid's birthday, or your street address. Yes, those are "easy to remember"; that also makes them easy to hack. And seriously, if you can't memorize a random four-digit number, you probably shouldn't be allowed to leave the house without supervision, much less be trusted to supervise children.

But if you must have something "memorable," choose something non-obvious to mere acquaintances. The year your mother was born, or street address of the house you grew up in, or the year you lost your virginity.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:21 AM
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18: oh, it may well be , but based on heebie's summary I was expecting the article just to say they fired her because they didn't want to employ a teacher who had nude pictures flying all around social media, or something like that. (Which is the sort of thing some teachers have been fired for.) At least in the official story, that isn't the reason they fired her.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:23 AM
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26-28: 9.last says that a focus on safety for office workers will improve the way they think about safety in genuinely dangerous jobs; you might read 22 to say that a better way to make office workers safety-conscious would be to make their jobs genuinely dangerous. Trapdoors in the floor leading into heavy machinery, that had to be carefully avoided, occasional release of large predators, that kind of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:23 AM
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It's not that hard to pick up a passcode by watching someone unlock their phone.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:23 AM
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What are you trying to say about my password "9999"?

In truth, the auto-voice-control thing on my iphone was driving me nuts, and setting a password seemed to be the quickest way to kill it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:24 AM
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Speaking of onerous workplace regulations getting innocent teachers fired, now they're being subjected to mandatory pants-checks?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:25 AM
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Aren't all those PINs entered routinely via big numberpad displays ridiculously swipeable? I suppose the main advantage is protection from strangers.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:26 AM
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35: Four digits are pretty easy to read over someone's shoulder, and if your phone is password protected and you use it in someone else's presence fairly often, they're likely to know your password if they want to. I was surprised to realize that my kids knew mine -- Buck asked because he wanted to look something up and his phone was somewhere out of reach, and Newt told him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:26 AM
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35: a four-digit number is per se not a good password.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:26 AM
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So pwned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:26 AM
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That said, I'm pretty comfortable with 1-2-3-4 as unguessable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:26 AM
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At my last job, it was virtually impossible to get the boss to remember any common passwords. I would have changed them a lot more often, but I got so sick of her asking for weeks after any change.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:32 AM
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40: Porky Piggin'-it at work is probably not a good idea, especially when it's your first day.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:32 AM
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re: 34

I've heard it in France, the Netherlands, and Denmark. However, it's only a single figure sample set of meetings, so perhaps it's not the norm?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:34 AM
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I'm only used to people announcing where to find coffee, although now that I think about it I do tend not to show up for the very beginning of a meeting pretty often, especially if they schedule it before 9 AM.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:43 AM
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I have so many passwords to remember that even with a password manager I run into trouble. I've come up with a system that's workable but could be more secure. Mostly I just use one hard to guess base password and then tack on some crap based on the name of the site or device I'm accessing. Also if I only ever access the site from one computer I just write the damn thing down (or a detailed hint as to what it is) and hide the piece of paper in the mess on my desk.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:43 AM
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34. I find that mildly surprising because the United States is, whatever else it may be, proverbially litigious, and I would have expected organisations to lose no opportunity to protect themselves against actions for negligence by, frex, repeatedly reminding people where the fire exits are.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:47 AM
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Maybe they don't have fire exits and don't want to draw attention to it.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:50 AM
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51: It's tough. We're so litigious but we also like blaming victims for getting injured.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:51 AM
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The only responsible thing to do is to keep your phone in your padlocked bra next to your gun and your office-issued safety pamphlet.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:52 AM
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The only responsible thing to do is to keep your phone and pants in your padlocked bra next to your gun and your office-issued safety pamphlet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:54 AM
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Plaxico Burress will always be my favorite football player.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:56 AM
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I find that mildly surprising because the United States is, whatever else it may be, proverbially litigious, and I would have expected organisations to lose no opportunity to protect themselves against actions for negligence by, frex, repeatedly reminding people where the fire exits are.

The litigiousness mainly consists of rich assholes and corporations suing each other, and scare stories designed to make people think all lawsuits are bad.

Filing an actual lawsuit is very expensive and if a normal person does it, it's out of desperation because there are no agencies equipped to enforce the law. Recently the Supreme Court has decided that courts shouldn't enforce the law either, and instead of suing a corporation people need to put their faith in arbitrators chosen by the corporation.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:57 AM
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Fortunately, if your corporation has the right safety policies in place, they can put the blame for injuries on their nonunion employees who be fired with minimal or no compensation and will not be able to litigate.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 9:03 AM
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51: Maybe "organization" is precisely what's missing. I've hosted workshops, for instance, but whether or not the university where I work could get sued in the event of an accident never crosses my mind, and no one higher up in the administration who would worry about such things has any idea what we're doing or probably even that the event is happening at all.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 9:08 AM
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Obligatory XKCD comic about passwords.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 9:23 AM
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Also obligatory, Let it Bleed: Libertarianism and the Workplace.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 9:52 AM
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I read somewhere that correct horse battery staple represents something like 1% of passwords.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 10:00 AM
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62: I'm surprised it's that many, since so many sites enforce a rule like "use 8 to 12 characters of which 3 come from the set '!@#$%^&*', two are capital letters, one is a numeral and one is a Nordic rune".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 10:05 AM
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The piece linked in 61 was really great, and I thought so at the time. I mean, as I've said a zillion times here, my view is that all libertarians -- without a single exception -- are vile, despicable shitheads, and they deserve contempt, mockery, and shunning, not the respect necessary to engage with their "ideas." But if you are going to make the mistake of engaging with libertarian shitheads, that's how to do so.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 10:07 AM
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I mean, it's not like it's persuasive to them, because for those fucktards workplace coercion isn't a problem, it's precisely what they want. Which is part of the reason why they are all fucktards to be shunned, not reasonable interlocutors. But, still, 61 was a very nice piece.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 10:20 AM
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My parents told me something about one of my cousins getting some kind of Amazon warehouse job and I brought up that article in, what was it, The Atlantic or something where some journalist spent some time working in one and they were barely allowed bathroom breaks or lunch breaks, etc. Both of my parents got really upset when I said this and gave me a whole speech about how these jobs are actually pretty good, the employers aren't unreasonable, the journalists are obviously just making things up to get a better story, and I had never had to work a blue-collar job and couldn't possibly understand.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 10:26 AM
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I've heard the safety exit thing a lot in the US. I think it largely depends on how much of a tight-ass you local fire marshal is.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 10:46 AM
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Hey, I've actually filled out a "daily safety tracking card" during some (non-mining) work at a mine. It wasn't onerous or soul-sucking. You kept a little tear-off pad in your pocket, and each page was a five-point safety checklist. It was the same form for workers, supervisors, visitors, subcontractors, etc.. and you were meant to fill one out every day. In principle anyone can ask anyone (i.e., you can ask your boss or your coworker) to "can I see your form?", with the practice normalized by the fact that the form asks you to do "an act of safety" and asking a coworker is one such act. I don't know how that works in practice.

(This is a unionized mine with a great safety record.)


Posted by: Scomber mix | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 12:25 PM
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I want to attach my endorsement to ajay's comments in this thread. I have worked in companies with the kind of overweening safety culture described here: the kind where every meeting at HQ starts with a safety briefing, and you have to pass an exam that tests your knowledge of how to turn a corner in an office building hallway (turning left? proceed to the far wall before turning. I've also worked in places (not in the U.S.) that adhered to a "everybody just use your common sense" philosophy in dangerous operations. Sorry to say, the latter was associated with an ungodly number of killed and maimed people.

Health and safety experts talk about an "accident pyramid". For every X unsafe acts (I've heard numbers between 30,000 and 100,000), you can expect to get Y near-misses, Z reportable injuries, and one fatality. You can't create a successful safety culture - one that effectively reduces the unsafe acts at the bottom of the pyramid - unless the top leadership sets an example. If safety is not visibly the #1 priority at the top, it won't be on the shop floor, either, where the opportunities for an unsafe act to turn into a fatal injury are much higher.

Now, are there occasions where the fetishization of policing microscopic safety violations disguises negligence on more important safety issues? Yes, I've seen that, too. But a safe operation is always going to take an uncompromising attitude toward seemingly trivial unsafe acts, because the laws of probability say that even very improbable accidents will happen if you repeat an unsafe act enough times.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 12:55 PM
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I am in total agreement with 69, but let's not forget the fact that excessive rules can be a means of coercion and/or papering over negligence, and absent either strong representation of workers or state fiat you don't really have much of a means of knowing which is which.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:00 PM
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In honor of this thread, the next time I need to reach the ceiling to adjust the vent in my office, I'm going to use the chair without wheels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:01 PM
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Another endorsement for Ajay and Knecht. Safety is dorky. If you have a bunch of people who think they're hardcore, and they're doing hard, dangerous work, then absent a strong safety culture, any one person will feel uncomfortable speaking up about a possible risk - it'll make him/her feel like a dork who's limiting the group. Only by making safety an integral step within every protocol (well past what feels like overkill, so) can you create a situation where people actually do speak up and call out risks.

That's why exercises like Scomber's in 68 work - they make each individual's safety evaluations the norm, not an extra step.


Posted by: freight train | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:10 PM
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My agency is acutely safety conscious, which is occasionally annoying. But bad things do happen, so I am mostly grateful for it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:13 PM
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I am in agreement with 70 as well. The number one reason American companies emphasize safety (to the extent that they do) is because of the obligation* to carry workers compensation insurance, the premiums for which vary dramatically with claims experience. The so-called "experience mod" for a workers comp premium (the modifier that determines whether a company will be charged more or less than its peers in the same industry and state) can mean the difference between, say $2-3 per $100 of payroll and $5-6 per $100. That's a couple million dollars difference for a typical billion dollar company.

*Guess what state is the only one not to require companies to carry workers compensation insurance or be certified to self-insure. You don't need me to tell you, do you?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:16 PM
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I assume I live there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:18 PM
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I learned from a guy who spent the 70s and 80s doing extremely dangerous rigging type jobs for film sets that the way everyone got through the day was to do a "courage bump" of cocaine before starting a specific dangerous task, followed by a "come down" quaalude when the job was complete. The world is very different now.


Posted by: Horbert Ralford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:25 PM
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There's also a Japanese practice called "pointing and calling". When there's a step in your job that requires checking some safety indicator, you don't just mentally note it: you point to it and say out loud what you're doing. That way the safety-check is in your muscle memory, your auditory memory, and your procedural memory. You're using 30% of your brain! For 100% usage would you have to mentally note the indicator, mumble, pout, and roundhouse kick it.


Posted by: Scomber mix |
Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:31 PM
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76: Is this where we say "Fuck John Landis"?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:32 PM
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76: What was it like working on "Sorcerer"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:33 PM
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Sort of yes.


Posted by: Horbert Ralford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:33 PM
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Has anyone discussed how Workers Comp is essentially a scheme by employers to screw over workers?

I've represented some people who have done some bad things. But, representing workers' comp carriers was the legal work where I most felt like I was actively helping the bad guys.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:33 PM
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81 is sure true, and also the reason why the general culture of US litigiousness doesn't quite carry over into the workplace safety world (the likely payouts for victims are so much lower, you're better off being sexually harassed than having your hand sliced off by a meat slicer, and not just for the obvious reasons). Still better than nothing though.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:36 PM
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Has anyone discussed how Workers Comp is essentially a scheme by employers to screw over workers?

How so? I thought it was just a flawed thing that employees are scared to use.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:44 PM
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you're better off being sexually harassed than having your hand sliced off by a meat slicer, and not just for the obvious reasons

The flattery?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:45 PM
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Still better than nothing though.

Vastly better than a system based on tort law. Compared to, say, consumer product liability, the no-fault WC system much more reliably compensates the injured (if meagerly; it depends a lot on the state), and at a fraction of the fees for lawyers. A lot of the legal expense in the WC world is actually health insurers and workers comp insurers arguing over subrogation.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:49 PM
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83 -- In general, Worker's Comp is an insurance program that pays out at well less than the cost of actual injury to employees. It can easily be manipulated by employers to make payouts low and the process of collecting on a claim onerous. Moreover, it (by definition) prevents the workers from receiving tort compensation for their injuries* because of the existence of the insurance scheme. Imagine getting your hand cut off and then having to beg with your health insurer for a fair payout, except that in this case the health insurer is 100% paid by your employer, 100% adversarial, and has even less interest than insurers usually do in your satisfaction or continued business.

*not necessarily the best system, either.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:50 PM
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Vastly better than a system based on tort law

I wouldn't say vastly. It's certainly cheaper, but total payouts are lower (although, as you say, more reliable). Of course it's not really possible to compare without looking at the details of both the tort system and the worker's comp system.

I think the UK doesn't have mandatory worker's comp, has tort liability, but also has much more strict government controls over workplace safety (and a defense based on compliance with government controls to the tort claim). I could be totally wrong about the UK, since I'm remembering this vaguely from law school, but that's the kind of system I prefer, also with compliance with union rules as a defense. Competent socialism always FTW.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:54 PM
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Should also add "mandatory employer insurance to cover tort payouts" to 87.2.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:56 PM
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Wouldn't a UK system be largely unnecessary in the absence of medical bills? I mean, there are other categories of tort liability, but AFAIK that's all WC covers, just your medical care.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:57 PM
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Oh, I'm wrong about that, there's WC disability payouts, aren't there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:58 PM
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Yes to 90, but of course you're right that free medical care also automatically makes the system much fairer without needing any change at all to the worker's comp laws.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 1:59 PM
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Imagine getting your hand cut off and then having to beg with your health insurer for a fair payout, except that in this case the health insurer is 100% paid by your employer, 100% adversarial, and has even less interest than insurers usually do in your satisfaction or continued business.

I thought they would pay your musical bills pretty and lost wages reliably and painlessly, but wouldn't pay anything else at all (like: no direct comp. for your loss of hand). But not my field.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 2:01 PM
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Maybe it's different state by state? Around here, they're notorious for not paying reasonable medical claims: not on any principled basis, just the usual squabbling with health insurance X10.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 2:02 PM
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I thought they would pay your musical bills

Only for lousy cover bands is what I heard.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 2:05 PM
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92 -- not my field either, but I believe in general you don't even collect most of lost wages going forward, let alone lost wages plus non-wage compensation for losing the hand.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 2:08 PM
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musical bills pretty

I can't tell where the hyphen should go.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 2:19 PM
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Worker's comp insurance policies are kinda bizarre. No two insurance agents can seem to agree on the correct classification and payment schedule for my former employer -- a 2 person operation.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 2:33 PM
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Medical bills.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 2:33 PM
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84: That meat slicer must have thought your hand was really delicious. It's a compliment!


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 2:46 PM
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Automo bills.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 3:04 PM
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Is 1 about Veronica Mars? (I can't see the OP.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 3:45 PM
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re Heebie's last bit, I've become convinced it is a reflection of a deeply held collective psychological weakness, reinforced somehow by the stories we tell about an for ourselves.

I'm not sure how that sort of thing is moved past, but it seems to be part of the national character insomuch as that construct even makes sense. I have to hope that there are strengths/good things related to these same blind spots... so how do you lose the former without the latter? Perhaps this is just a symptom of being a young country.

To sincere?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 3:52 PM
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Aren't we something like the third oldest continuous system of government in the world? Iceland, England (counting from 1688), the US? I'm probably missing someplace, but not a whole lot of them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 3:54 PM
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Thanks. But I didn't get anything for you.


Posted by: Opinionated Sincere | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 3:54 PM
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If you're going to count Iceland, you should probably count the Vatican too.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 4:13 PM
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Definitely San Marino is older too.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 4:16 PM
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Why Iceland? It was under the rule of the Danish monarchy from the 14th century until 1944, and for much of that time ruled under Danish absolutism directly by the crown.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 4:18 PM
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The San Marino claim to the world's oldest constitution or system of government seems like bullshit. It had a codified system of laws but the foundational law of the country, which established popular sovereignty, dates only to 1974. The old system was a representative council run by the heads of prominent families.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 4:32 PM
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Basically, San Marino can suck on these nuts. USA oldest continuous existence constitution in the world #1!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 4:34 PM
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Iceland has the oldest extant parliament, but I don't think it got to do much under Danish rule.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 4:39 PM
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Archaeologists believe that [Heebie Town] may be the oldest continually inhabited site in North America. Excavations at this location uncovered Paleo Indian artifacts dating back as much as 19,000 years.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 4:42 PM
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Constitutionalism is the oldest profession.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 4:45 PM
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What's the UK constitution? Chopped liver? Bits of that are what, nearly 1000 years old?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 5:13 PM
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The bits that are written down?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 5:21 PM
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What's the UK constitution? Chopped liver? Bits of that are what, nearly 1000 years old?

Yes. Thousand year-old bits of chopped liver.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 5:26 PM
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So, basically what we're saying is that this is kind of a silly debate, because everyone has asterisks.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 5:39 PM
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I don't think it really counts if you just call your "constitution" whatever the vague ephemeral continuously-accruing beast is that is the British Constitution, and use that to be your "system of government." So no we can't start with 1215. I'd think 1688 is semi-reasonable as a starting place and there you beat the USA but honestly the fundamental law of the UK changed so much in the 19th and 20th centuries that it's just kind of a different animal. So, UK, you are just out of the game and it's USA #1.

The UK is definitely in the running for world's oldest continually-running monarchies (though not 'system of goverment') but there depending on how you count you're behind (at least) Japan, Denmark, and (I think) Cambodia.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 5:42 PM
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So, basically what we're saying is that this is kind of a silly debate, because everyone has asterisks. here is a balding 47 year-old basement dog.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 5:44 PM
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The idea that he continuous existence of a culture is defined by the scope of a system of government seems inept.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 5:44 PM
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You're thinking of Thailand for continuous monarchy. Cambodia had a rather stark discontinuity in the 70s and 80s.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 5:45 PM
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120 -- Not if we accept the claim of Sihanouk to rule! (Or, better, if we allow gaps for civil wars and brief interregnums, which is of course the only way the UK gets past 1660 in the continuous monarchy contest). Sihanouk initially backed the Khmer Rouge and was titularly head of state for much of its reign, making it one of the few (but not the only*) communist monarchies.

*Romania between 1945 and 1947 was also a communist monarchy, and Bulgaria in 1946. Maybe there are some others.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 5:55 PM
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Who knew UF was such a hotbed of Sisowathian royalism ...

I like that Sihanouk took five years off to go make movies. I mean, isn't that the sort of thing we'd all like to do as King? Shame the country / region was falling apart at the time.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 7:04 PM
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On the password subthread, are connect the dots style unlock patterns much more or less secure than passwords or pins? I find them easier to use since I don't have to launch a keyboard.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 8:07 PM
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Objectively, the best system of workers' comp is NZ's ACC. State run universal no-fault accident compensation. Ajay's 100% right on the rest of the H&S stuff.

Also huh? Surely the oldest continuous system of governance in the West is the Papcy --- 2000 years and counting (I mean sure there were anti-popes and schisms and all that, but then again we have to get through the ACW in America.) Also if Halford wants to rule the UK out for the 1815-2015 period being full of change, that simply shows he fails to understand the majestic genius of the British constitution: whatever it is, that is what it is.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 10:45 PM
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My constitutional state goes with me wherever I go.


Posted by: Britishized Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 7-14 10:47 PM
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124 -- I really don't think the papacy counts. First, we have to distinguish what we mean by "the papacy" in the context of this game. I think we have to mean "continuously existing system of government in a continuously existing state." And, despite what you might think, Vatican City does not get you there. There is no official continuity between the current Vatican City and the Papal States as they existed from about 500-1870. The Italian government in 1870 captured all of Rome and kept the Pope a prisoner in the Vatican. In 1929, the Pope and Mussolini negotiated the Lateran Treaty. That treaty CREATED the current Vatican City as a NEW state. The treaty is very clear on this point; one of its conditions of the treaty is very precisely that Vatican City is not continuous with the Papal States and does not exist under the Pope's former claim to territorial rule; rather, the Pope has a new grant of sovereignty over its limited domain and subject exclusively to the rules of the treaty. Vatican City is simply not continuous with the Papal States.

All of the above assumes that the current Vatican City is actually a state, which is only sort of true.

If we just mean that the Pope has been kind of more or less running the Catholic Church in the West since maybe 350 or so, fine. But that's not really "system of government" in the same way.

I am into this subject! Screw you Vatican, you don't win.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:35 AM
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I don't think the UK has had a post-glorious revolution constitutional change that's bigger than the New Deal. I'm ok with discounting the Vatican and Iceland that seem kinda sketchy, but I think the UK just wins.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 1:24 AM
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Hang on how is the Papal governance not governance? And I don't mean the Pope just as Vatican City, I mean the Pope as the Vicar of Christ and ruler of the Catholic Church, which is a subject of international law. Popes have exercised the governance of the church (the Spiritual Power), which has a major equity jurisdiction, alongside the Temporal Power, which does still continue in some form or another, in varying measures, of course, but consistently having a international personhood in the eyes of the states of the world.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 2:08 AM
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127 to be frank the whole Commonwealth period does pose a bit of a problem for the continuity of governance thing. Hale wouldn't sit in criminal cases under Cromwell because he thought the government was illegitimate.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 2:16 AM
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The UK only came into existence in 1707. Its parameters were changed by the (forcible) accession of Ireland in 1801 and again by the secession of the 26 counties in 1922 and the creation of the institutions of Northern Ireland in the same year. The first of these radically altered affairs by creating a unified state with two legal systems and two established churches; the second admitted members to both Houses of Parliament from a third country and unified the established churches of England and Ireland; and the third, besides changing the borders yet again, created a devolved legislature for a large chunk of the country.

I wouldn't regard any of those as trivial or evolutionary, but the first is the show stopper: prior to that date there was no UK: ask any Scot.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 3:35 AM
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Similarly for the USA, there was the westward expansion, the period of rule over the Philippines, the continuing Puerto Rico thing, and of course the annexation of the independent Kingdom of Hawai'i.

The whole thing's nonsense, but it is the case that as far as the administration of justice in the southeast of England goes, there is arguably an impressive continuity between 1300 and now.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 4:05 AM
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131: not to mention the Civil War. So really the only parts of the US for which this applies are the regions that were US territory as of ratification and never seceded.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:13 AM
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Nah, the question is whether of not you have continuity as a state. Louisiana qua state of Louisiana didn't exist until after the Louisiana Purchase, but the United States is a consistent state with a consistent form of government, just one whose boundaries have moved.

Agree that the UK doesn't start until 1707, I think that pretty clearly forms a new state, different than Louisiana or Mongana joining the unioknor whatever. So that's reasonable. Still, England is the toughest case here, it's got a good claim but it's managed to do so by accreting so slowly that you can't tell when it's system of government starts and what the continuity is.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:24 AM
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My only point was that our claims to be a 'young' country are really very, very, very weak.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:27 AM
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It is definitely the case, though, that large portions of the United States had an entirely different constitution and government for a while there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:31 AM
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Hello my name is Inigo Mongana. You forced a fundamental change in my system of government. Prepare to die.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:31 AM
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Way back on the corporate safety tip, my dad worked for Exxon his whole career, always in office jobs (his first dozen years were at Rockefeller Center, albeit the post-Deco part). Somewhere around 1990, they had one of these safety kicks, right down to an "X Days Without an Accident" signs posted prominently at the suburban office park where they worked.

Yesterday I visited a job site out in the boonies with an absurdly unsafe setup for getting concrete blocks up to the guy building the wall - it was like something out of a Buster Keaton movie. I made a joke about OSHA, but safety inspector is not part of my job (and, indeed, my insurer is quite emphatic that I not talk to anyone about safety practices, lest I take on an implicit responsibility).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:53 AM
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When I was putting up pig barns and grain bins, we used to joke about a particularly rickety ladder as being "OSHA-approved". For unrelated reasons, the guy who made the joke the most often fell down a really deep hole and was out a week with an injury. Anyway, I've often wondered about ladders. My ladder at home is rated for 200 pounds. I'm not very big, as things go these days, and 200 pounds doesn't leave much room for tools and the like.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:58 AM
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Sweden.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:13 AM
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139. Does that relate to any part of this conversation or are you playing Mornington Crescent on a global scale?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:18 AM
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So what you're saying is that Sweden hasn't had an accident since 1707? Impressive.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:25 AM
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Conflated has been playing Mornington Crescent on a global scale since 1707.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:27 AM
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not to mention the Civil War.

Don't mention the Civil War. I did and I got bupkis.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:34 AM
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So what you're saying is that Sweden hasn't had an accident since 1707? Impressive.

Nanny state.

No discussion of old countries with unbroken traditions should pass without mention of San Marino (independent within present borders since the fall of the Western Roman Empire; antecedent of present legislature and elected (joint) heads of state since early c. 13; written constitution in original form, 1600).


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:44 AM
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Dang, Chris Y, I already took those pompous San Marino city state fucknits down a peg. Yeah it all looks old until you realize that their true constitution dates from the 70s.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:52 AM
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Meetings with investor relations period should start with a warning "the safety exits are there and there and please remember that every single word of this meeting will be self serving bullshit, except in the rare occasions when we accidentally provide illegal inside information."


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:07 AM
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I don't think the UK has had a post-glorious revolution constitutional change that's bigger than the New Deal.

The neutering of the House of Lords (Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, mostly).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:44 AM
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dsquared is speaking my language!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:57 AM
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Don't mention the Civil War. I did and I got bupkis.

"Mr Freed, will you PLEASE stop talking about the War between the States?"
"Well, you started it."
"No we didn't!"
"Yes you did! You shelled Fort Sumter!"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-11-14 3:25 AM
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The Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan have had a consistent system of government since the start of recorded history, the system in question being "These guys are nuts, leave them the hell alone" in a variety of languages (Pushtu, Persian, English, Urdu).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-11-14 3:27 AM
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77 is interesting, and similar to my own experience.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-11-14 3:30 AM
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