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Comment: Re:Minivans are practical but ignored (Score 1) 179

by bmajik (#47501367) Attached to: New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

I think VW might contract the actual manufacturing to Chrysler.

Indeed. The VW Routan was a Chrysler Town and Country with some different skins on the inside and out. It was so much not a VW product that the VCDS system (the thing you can use to do vehicle diagnostics on any VW, Audi, Seat, or Skoda product since the early 90s) doesn't even talk to it.

In the German market, VW sells Vans of all different sizes. None of them are currently imported to the US; the Eurovan was the last rest-of-world van that was available in North America.

Comment: Re: Hmmm (Score 3, Informative) 179

by bmajik (#47501143) Attached to: New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

We have 3 kids in car seats, and an Odyssey.

When we lived in town, it was great. Back then, my only serious gripe with the Odyssey is that if you are running a second set of wheels (e.g. for permanently mounted snow tires), and don't fit a 2nd set of expensive TPMS sensors to those wheels, the VSA (stability control) cannot be defeated via the console switch.

This is a problem because the VSA implementation sucks and is frankly unsafe when accelerating on surface transitions - for instance, when you are waiting on a gravel road and are about to pull onto a paved highway, the VSA system senses differing levels of wheel grip between the wheel on pavement and the wheel still on gravel, and cuts power, precisely when you need maximum power to quickly get to highway speed.

Last fall we moved to a rural area, and now poorly maintained roads (deep snow in the winters until I clear it, deep ruts whenever there are rains) has really shown me the shortcomings of the vehicle. My wife has gotten it stuck 4 times in our first winter.

The Odyssey needs 2 things to be superlative. Air suspension with adjustable ride height (it is a very low vehicle, for ease of entry/exit for small kids), and a proper AWD system.

My wife is now desperately wanting an AWD vehicle. But to get a proper AWD system (e.g. locking transfer case or at least a torsen differential), and the useful seating capacity of a minivan, you need to be looking at full-size truck based SUVs, like the Excursion or Sequoia.

I'm aware that the Sienna comes in an AWD version, but its particular AWD system and ride height doesn't inspire me that they will be foolproof enough to want to make the switch.

Sadly, my wife also refuses to drive a Mercedes G-wagen :)

As an aside, the Odyssey towing capacity isn't really sufficient. It's 3500lbs, and it requires upfitting the vehicle considerably with things that don't come factory - PS cooler, ATF cooler, hitch wiring, etc. (In addition to the actual hitch receiver).

When we were considering camping options, essentially nothing that had enough floor space for a family of 5 could be towed behind an Odyssey.

Comment: Re:Work Shortage where is the Wage Increases?, (Score 1) 513

by bmajik (#47491797) Attached to: US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

Hi there. Been an engineer at Microsoft since 2000. Have interviewed hundreds of people at all skill levels.

Why do you assume that wages at Microsoft aren't increasing?

I understand the compensation model, and how it has changed in my 14 years. The comp packages we are offering to college grads these days are astoundingly lucrative. Every few years in my career, there has been a big compensation realignment based on market realities. Everytime something at work upsets me enough that I start talking to other companies, their comp packages (especially with cost of living factored in) aren't able to match what I'm getting now from Microsoft.

Lately, high comp packages are required to compete with Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc, who all have plenty of money, and, for younger developers, are often seen as cooler places to work than old stodgy Microsoft.

I just see no evidence that H1-Bs are a mechanism for the company to save money. Dealing with HB-1 hassles involves a lot of overhead and expense that are not applicable to domestic employees.

As I said earlier, I have interviewed many, many folks, for many positions. The hire rate is not as high as we would like it to be. It never feels good to have to turn someone down, and it is a waste of time for everyone when an interview doesn't go well. But the bottom line is, we talk to many more people than we can feel confident about making an offer to. There are lots of STEM graduates, foreign and domestic. But not all of them are someone we could feel comfortable hiring. I'm sure you've known people in your CS class who could get good grades but who couldn't code... those people count as "qualified STEM applicants" to people that are pushing the "H1B is evil" rhetoric, but we all know that just because someone has a degree doesn't mean they are employable in that field... and certainly not by the top organizations in that field.

I've also seen no evidence that Microsoft has a preference for hiring H1-Bs, or that there is any compensation disparity for H1-Bs. I have seen evidence that H1-Bs cost the company money that domestic employees do not. For example, the company has special lawyers and paperwork people that deal with H1-B and other immigrant-labor related problems. That's a cost. When H1-B engineers are dealing with this stuff (which is frustratingly often), they aren't writing code or analyzing tests. That's a hit to their productivity, which ultimately, is another cost.

Comment: Re:So what you're saying... (Score 1) 66

by pudge (#47338077) Attached to: Why capitalism works

Not my "meme." I rarely, if ever, refer to it.

But, it's true. Capitalism relies on private control and a free, competitive market. Crony capitalism is government control and a resulting non-free market by explicitly decreasing competition.

I mean, sure, you can call it whatever you want to, but when I say "capitalism works" and someone says "crony capitalism is proof it doesn't," that's just stupid, because crony capitalism flatly violates some of the primary tenets of capitalism.

Comment: Re:So what you're saying... (Score 1) 66

by pudge (#47338059) Attached to: Why capitalism works

It was a different fork of this thread.

So you admit you lied.

Crony capitalism ... can also happen when a purchased politician prevents regulations from occurring, to improve profitability.

False, but telling that you think such a stupid thing. To you, there's no difference between freedom, and not-freedom. It's just two different options, neither better than the other.

It is also noted that you have still failed to produce an example of a federal regulation that actually impedes profitability of health insurance companies.

a. I never saw you ask that. It might've been in the comment I replied to, and I didn't see it, because after your massive whopper about what you want people to think crony capitalism is, I stopped reading.

b. Why would I produce an example of something I never asserted? Once again: holy shit, you're retarded.

Comment: Re:Big "if" (Score 1) 66

by pudge (#47338035) Attached to: Why capitalism works

For example, does state law say you cannot participate in GOP runoff if you participated in Dem primary?

I think that's the case McDaniel is making, and I haven't heard it refuted.

I haven't seen the case strongly made. If you have a link, I'd be obliged. Stories I saw all handwaved at it.

You don't seem to understand that in modern America, "having rules and enforcing them" == "voter suppression".

But they are Republicans. Voter suppression is expected. It's OK.

Check the mirror and see if you don't notice a big ol' raaaaacist in there, or something. :-)

Only because I see YOU STANDING BEHIND ME. What the fuck, man?!?

Comment: Re:Big "if" (Score 1) 66

by pudge (#47336039) Attached to: Why capitalism works

Nice, except you said "altruism," which is an illusion. True, Cochran is not altruistic, but no one ever is.

This is the first I've heard of this. I want to know specifics. For example, does state law say you cannot participate in GOP runoff if you participated in Dem primary? And is that what happened? If so, then yes, Cochran should lose, but really, MS screwed up, because they should have disallowed those Dem primary voters from participating.

Comment: Re:So what you're saying... (Score 1) 66

by pudge (#47336003) Attached to: Why capitalism works

Fuck everyone who wants to use government to push "fairness." "Fairness" isn't a real thing: nothing is inherently fair or unfair, except for someone violating your rights (unfair) or you exercising your rights (fair). There is no other objective concept of fairness. So when someone is pushing "fairness" through the government -- except in those limited senses of protecting individual rights -- they are really pushing their own private moral judgments on everyone else, taking away our freedoms even more.

Comment: Re:So what you're saying... (Score 1) 66

by pudge (#47335987) Attached to: Why capitalism works

Except it's not a strawman

Except, it is.

As d_r reworded, the premise is that to stop greedy businessmen from getting too much power, you sick other greedy businessmen to them

Wow. You really think that damn_registrars, of all people in the world, claiming A means B, is actual evidence that A means B?

Seriously?

I was attacking the notion, as the OP quoted, "If you want to catch a thief, set a thief to catch him"

Yes, within a certain context, where government is not siding with the thiefs. You attacked that notion within the context where government is siding with the thiefs (or, at least, you were ignoring whether government was siding with the thiefs).

As I noted in another comment, crony capitalism is not capitalism. Your claim "The existence of crony capitalism is counterexample to the notion that capitalism will protect us" is idiotic, because either it is saying that crony capitalism is capitalism, or it is saying that smitty claimed capitalism will solve all our problems regardless of what government does. Obviously, neither of those is true.

I disagree with your disagreement. Using one's natural faculties to create wealth to further one's own interests is something even animals do.

False. You do not know what "wealth" is. Try harder.

Capitalism is simply a means to an end.

It's the only reasonable means to the end. In what other system would I be free to use my natural faculties to create wealth to further my own interests? Every other system we have works to prevent me from using my natural faculties, or at least significant restricts it, or else it takes my wealth after I've created it, or else it restricts what I can do with my wealth. Capitalism is the only means we've yet seen in humanity for doing this, except for, perhaps, anarchy, which is destructive in other ways.

Adam Smith: it is not from the kindness of bakers in which we get our bread.

You offer this quote as though it disagrees with me in some way. Why?

It's called throwing in additional points to stir discussion.

But, as I said, it was not merely a non sequitur, it was also meaningless. It said nothing. It made no point, and had no meaning.

I was addressing the notion virtue touched upon by the OP.

Yes, by dishonestly and meaninglessly claiming that virtue is only for churches, and not all other aspects of our lives.

Comment: Re:So what you're saying... (Score 1) 66

by pudge (#47334567) Attached to: Why capitalism works

I'm sorry that you can't be bothered to look into the facts of the situation.

You're a liar.

You should start by paying attention to the congress people who are owned by insurance companies

You're a liar, in implying that this somehow argues against anything I wrote. If you had read my other comments, you may have been able to make yourself look a little less foolish, as I clearly wrote that insurance companies are a great example of crony capitalism.

How exactly can you claim that the insurance industry was willing to sit by idly and be driven to the bring by regulations ...

You're a liar. I never claimed that. You said the "situation[] [was] created not in response to excess regulation, but rather in response to the general absence of regulation." But no, in fact, the health insurance situation was created by excess regulation. Health insurers didn't "own Congress" like it does now in 1973 when Ted Kennedy and Richard Nixon started forcing us into HMOs, and they certainly didn't "own Congress" when it passed the Public Health Service Act in 1944.

There was never a time, in my lifetime and longer, that government didn't massively control the health insurance business. To say that there is some response to "general absence of regulation" is just lying.

Wait a minute. First of all, I thought you liked states being able to regulate commerce within their own borders?

... because you're stupid? I've never said anything like that. Ever. I said that if it is going to be regulated, the Constitution requires it be the states who do so, as opposed to the federal government. That doesn't mean I am in favor of states doing so.

Why are you suddenly against it and looking to allow the federal government to dictate it instead?

You're a liar. Nothing I said is in favor of federal government regulation of commerce.

In fact, you are one of many people who have bitched repeatedly about "federal regulation" on health care, without providing even a single example of a federal regulation that influenced anything before the giant handout to the insurance industry that was signed into law by President Obama in 2010.

I just gave example laws that do this. A specific regulation from those laws could include the federal employer mandates to provide insurance, a mandate which -- apart from being unconstitutional -- increases the cost of health insurance by reducing competition and portability, not to mention reduces job mobility etc.

This is indisputable, which is why you -- while expressing disagreement -- don't even pretend to try to provide an argument against it.

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