Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bad Idea Bears strike again

A quick tour through the news, featuring decisions that might not look so clever in retrospect. Perhaps the Bad Idea Bears have taken their show on the road.

Chinese workers revolt over 2-minute toilet breaks
Shanghai Shinmei Electric Company wants its factory workers to take no more than two minutes when they answer the call of nature. Efficiency is great and all, but do you really want workers watching the clock not only when they're on the assembly line but also in line for the loo?
Hundreds of Chinese factory workers angry about strictly timed bathroom breaks and fines for starting work late held their Japanese and Chinese managers hostage for a day and a half before police broke up the strike.
About 1,000 workers at Shanghai Shinmei Electric Company held the 10 Japanese nationals and eight Chinese managers inside the factory in Shanghai starting Friday morning until 11.50 p.m. Saturday, said a statement from the parent company, Shinmei Electric Co., released Monday. It said the managers were released uninjured after 300 police officers were called to the factory. ...
"The workers demanded the scrapping of the ridiculously strict requirements stipulating that workers only have two minutes to go to the toilet and workers will be fined 50 yuan ($8) if they are late once and fired if they are late twice," said the security guard, surnamed Feng. "The managers were later freed when police intervened and when they agreed to reconsider the rules."
Let elderly people 'hurry up and die,' says bureaucrat in world's first gerontocracy
Strike another blow for nominative determinism. Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso (pronounced AH-so) says the elderly -- who, at last check, make up an alarmingly large part of Japan's population -- should hurry up and pop their clogs to help ease the government's burden. Looks like the Liberal Democratic Party (which is neither liberal nor democratic and only barely a party) is as fuzzy and lovable as ever.
Japan's new government is barely a month old, and already one of its most senior members has insulted tens of millions of voters by suggesting that the elderly are an unnecessary drain on the country's finances.
Taro Aso, the finance minister, said on Monday that the elderly should be allowed to "hurry up and die" to relieve pressure on the state to pay for their medical care.
"Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government," he said during a meeting of the national council on social security reforms. "The problem won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die."
Aso's comments are likely to cause offence in Japan, where almost a quarter of the 128 million population is aged over 60. The proportion is forecast to rise to 40% over the next 50 years.
New Zealand cat lovers pounce on eradication campaign
Some Kiwi environmentalist named Gareth Morgan envisions a New Zealand without cats. Why? Because they might pose a danger to the archipelago's native birds, of course.
Morgan has called on fellow Kiwis to make their current pet cat their last in a bold attempt to save the country's native birds. He set up a website, Cats To Go, which includes an image of a kitten with devil's horns under the heading: "That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer".
He does not recommended owners euthanise their cats: "Not necessarily, but that is an option," he admits, but rather neuter them and not replace them when they die. The economist and well-known businessman also suggests cats remain indoors and local governments make registration mandatory.
But Morgan's campaign is not proving popular in a country that boasts one of the highest cat-ownership rates in the world. "I say to Gareth Morgan, butt out of our lives," Bob Kerridge, president of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said on the television show Campbell Live. "Don't deprive us of the beautiful companionship that a cat can provide individually and as a family."

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