Thursday, December 20, 2007

Exposing My Ignorance

How does it work in political systems that have both a prime minister and a president? I understand the parliamentary system and how a prime minister is elected (at least in Great Britain), but how does a president fit in? What's the division of authority? Is it a little like having both a president and a CEO at a company? Actually, I find that a bit confusing, too. Do you have any suggestions for places to go do quick-and-very-easy research?

I am also lacking in hiring babysitter smarts.

I keep not thinking about New Year's Eve, because it's still so far in the future. It's after Christmas, after all, and that's unimaginably far away. Except that it's not. And our usual 13-year-old has all-night plans.

We don't have enough youth sitters. Finding kids you like and know and trust enough is hard, when your own kids are so much younger and most of the families you know well have children the same age as your own.

Also, the window for being a good sitter is so small. You're too young and possibly afraid of the dark or not allowed out after 9:00, and then suddenly you can drive and you're in drama club and you're way too cool for babysitting on Saturday nights. The 3-4 year window goes by so fast, and most people agree that younger is mostly better; younger kids are eager to impress, harder-working, less concerned with appearances. And less likely to bring over their boyfriends.

But I think our New Year's Eve job would be a pretty cool gig for some 12-year-old girl. We'll be going out after the kids are asleep, so if all goes according to plan, she won't have to actually do anything. She can just hang out here with a girlfriend, eating snacks, watching movies, and drinking sparkling grape juice while ringing in the new year. There's the fun of being away from home, the beauty of eating someone else's food and getting paid for it, and no real work! What's not to love?

Maybe I'll skip teaching Sunday School on Sunday in favor of hanging out in the Middle School classroom and looking for the kids who don't look quite cool enough to have been invited to all-night parties yet.

Any tips?

5 comments:

Jonathon said...

Dude, I'll come babysit if I can bring my hubby and watch movies! LOL (I'm actually partly serious)

-two lines on a stick

kim said...

As I recall from my long ago college days, generally, the President is the Head of State while the Prime Minister is the head of the dominant political party. So it's really rather like the Speaker of the House here in the US except in parliamentary systems, the winning party outright owns a large percentage of the seats in parliament (where in the US the majority could only hold something like 54% of the seats because it's based on a state by state election to office.)

It does vary from country to country though.

Wikipedia might have something better though!

Sarahlynn said...

Two Lines, it is the best babysitting gig ever, right? Kids should be jumping all over this!

Thanks, Kim! I kinda figured that in political systems with both a president and a prime minister, the prime minister would be a sort of super speaker of the house/president of the senate/senate majority leader. But is it really a first among equals arrangement, or is it more than that? I'm thinking of Putin, and wondering how he'll make that transition.

kim said...

Sarahlynn - Putin holds vastly more of the power than Zubkov (the PM). Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Russia for an overview that's pretty good!

Sarahlynn said...

I confess to not having read the whole wikipedia article yet - it's like a textbook! But I'm wondering what that balance of power is going to look like once Medvedev is President and Putin is Prime Minister. It seems like the distribution of power has shifted frequently, and Putin is a strong enough leader (!) that I believe him when he says that, "If the people give their trust to Dmitri Anatolyevich Medvedev and he is elected president, then I would be ready to continue my work as head of government."

Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of the independent Panorama think tank in Moscow, said, "Power in Russia does not depend on what's written in the Constitution. We live according to the rule 'the strongest is always right.' "

It's interesting, and a bit confusing. Especially when I'm trying to figure out the balance of power in Iraq and in Palestine. It could easily be a full time job to keep up with just the most pressing world politics of the day.

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLG,GGLG:2006-23,GGLG:en&q=putin+president+prime+minister+power