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Comment Re:Define "Liberalism" (Score 1) 841

You don't need to means-test the services if you means-test the taxation rates.

Of course I realize that that isn't done either, for these programs.

There is absolutely no disagreement that the programs in question cannot be sustained without fundamental modification.

(But again that is an exception to the way the majority of federal taxation works -- as a political compromise, "social security" is supposed to be a mandatory mutual insurance scheme, instead of a socialist redistribution.)

Comment Re:Repeat after me (Score 2, Insightful) 371

True, but where there is correlation you have to look for causation.

As a general principle, no, you don't. As a rule of thumb, you are probably safer assuming that a correlation between two variables is the result of a common cause. E.g., in humans, height over 6'5 is strongly correlated with usage of urinals. At no point should you bother to rule out causation (in either direction) in this case.

A more practical example is the media's constant repetition that healthier people have more sex. Of course, they jump to the sexiest but dumbest possible conclusion, that the sex causes the health. But we don't even have to assume that the health causes the sex; in fact we can intuit that health must be only partially the cause, since many healthy behaviors will increase attractiveness completely aside from their health benefits. (Especially diet and its effect on body shape.)

The general principle is that any one cause will have myriad effects, all of which will be correlated with one another. By default, assume a common cause.

Comment Re:Define "Liberalism" (Score 1) 841

OK, you're right, but those two programs are really the exception to the general rule in the USA.

Anyway, in practice, government services generally work much better when they are not "means-tested" -- many problems are much more easily solved when everyone has access. (E.g., stigma of use; perpetual underfunding; overhead associated with the means tests; the exclusion of some who should not be excluded; contention over where to draw the line.)

Comment Re:And who gets to define "liberal?" (Score 1) 841

No, Democrats do not see wealth redistribution as a means to eliminating class divisions. Jesus. What Democrat says anything like that? Name one class warfare Democrat in US office.

I don't think you'll find hardly anyone that doesn't agree that poor people should live better than they do

On the contrary, you don't have to look far to find many who say the poor live too well -- that they should live within their means, stop borrowing money on credit cards and mortgages, stop taking handouts, etc., because it's unfair for them to receive what they have not earned.

Comment Re:Oh, just great (Score 1) 841

Nazism is both conservative and liberal, ideologically -- it promises radical change, a new society, a new man, etc. -- but it conceives of this new world as a return to the purity of the old world, tradition, etc..

I don't think there is anything conservative about eugenics though. If conservatives supported it, it wasn't out of conservatism.

Comment Re:Oh, just great (Score 1) 841

I agree with you about the persecuted groups, and about the neutral "two sides of the coin" stupidity...

Still, there is something real to philosophical conservatism that is not simply "the wrong side of history." The pro-soviet left was also on the wrong side of history.. They, as you said, made "new mistakes" -- opening the possibility (since realized) for a completely new level of disaster. If the conservatives at the time were not right, at least their form of wrongness would have been safer.

Conservatism is the voice that says "you cannot design a new society on paper; what exists today has reasons for its existence and is integrated into the social body; to destroy it will disrupt the organic whole, and the way of life of everyone, in ways we cannot predict."

There is value in that voice, so long as it tempers progress, rather than impeding it.

Comment Re:Whew... So there is hope for a cure? (Score 1) 841

Using ad-homs on your opponents won't make you correct.

You have badly misunderstood me. I didn't use any "ad-hom", nor am I opposing anything.

In fact, what I say is closer to a defense of conservative ideas than to an attack. The whole point is that, if on the average conservatives are more stupid, it's not because stupidity makes people believe in conservative ideas -- on the contrary, the stupids don't even understand conservative ideas, but they stupidly call themselves conservatives (instead of stupidly calling themselves liberals).

However you cannot honestly deny that the GOP seeks out the stupid demographic (misinformed single issue voters) in exactly the same way that both parties seek other demographics. The democrats don't give away the stupid vote because they don't want it; they do so because the GOP has already got it.

Comment Re:Define "Liberalism" (Score 1) 841

Yes I'm sorry you ran into a wall and broke your hip, but you've had a job for ~30 years. You have money and should pay the bill yourself out of your personal wages/savings

Only in your fantasy world are the people receiving shitty government services those with savings they could be using instead.

Comment Re:And an absence predisposes you to conservativis (Score 1) 841

Please ignore the anonymous version of this post.

I was a liberal until I began to understand it was my money at stake, and my money is what I use to provide for my family... and distribute to charities as I see fit.

Only collective social action can insure against unemployment, so that everyone (not just x%) can continue feeding their family, regardless of what happens on Wall Street or in China...

Of course I realize this doesn't work. If you cannot threaten to starve a man's children, you cannot force him to husk corn. And a nation that cannot force anyone to husk corn cannot compete against China. I fully realize this.

Comment Re:And who gets to define "liberal?" (Score 2, Insightful) 841

To some people, a "liberal" is someone who believes the government should take care of people who have been left behind someway in the economic process, the unemployed, the homeless, those who are at a disadvantage in some way. Under that point of view, Cuba should be considered one of the most "liberal" regimes in the world.

Sorry, but no, communism is NOT being more of a democrat than the democrats. Communist politics simply do not fit on this spectrum.

There's a qualitative difference between saying that the underclass should have a better standard of living than they do now, and saying that the existence of an underclass should be abolished.

Comment Re:Whew... So there is hope for a cure? (Score 1) 841

In the USA, the GOP consistently courts the stupid demographic, while the democrats have surrendered it. It's not that conservatism is stupid, but that the GOP actually compromises with the stupids, giving them the things they stupidly want (e.g., purely symbolic exclusion of gays, myriad forms of flag-waving), in exchange for power used for unrelated ends (e.g., corporate tax policies).

Of course, the Democrats do the same with, say, the black demographic.

Comment Re:Weak error handling (Score 1) 394

"147 line of code" which does not cover most of what we are talking about.

It does some of what someone (maybe you) said couldn't be done with this approach, thus proving its possibility...

To use the ingredient analogy. If wget is equivelant to a tomato and you change the wget code it is no longer a tomato but a genetically modified tomato that can only be used in that one recipie.

Again, so what? (And who says it can only be used in that recipe? I use the feature I added to wget all the time.)

Does your system handle hundreds of sites without hand editing a config file or script? Does your system monitor runs to see if they complete and figure out what to do if they do not? Does your system tell the difference between a no data timeout and a slow data timeout? Have you solved the problem of coordinating multiple wgets with host spanning?

I already answered the last question (don't use host spanning). With regard to the others, it doesn't matter. More requirements mean more coding, but the general approach of starting with wget instead of coding from scratch is going to get shit done as quickly as possible without reinventing the wheel. You can come up with features X Y and Z that aren't already simple switches (although, notice that others in this thread are listing features that are already simple switches) -- but that in itself is a poor argument for coding A, B, C... from scratch, when there's a lot already done for you.

Now, frankly, the issues you are listing seem pretty damn trivial to me. I just don't see what the big problem is. Still, I don't want to address them point by point in this thread. (I also recognize that, in principle, more difficult features to implement could be thought up.)

I think the real point underlying the article (IIRC...) is that perfectionism (and implementing everything yourself is a form of this) sure can waste a lot of time. If you're trying to make the most of your effort -- instead of trying to make the best piece of software possible -- you need an attitude that searches for a lazy "good enough" solution. If your business model depends on having a better web scraper than anyone else, then you might write one -- but if you're not selling a proprietary web scraper, then it probaly doesn't, and you're wasting your time, losing sight of the big picture.

BTW, the code I'm talking about retries failures infinitely, but only when specifically instructed to do so. Certainly good enough for my purposes at the time I wrote it. It would be trivial in that code to continually devote, say, x% of processes to retrying errors, if you wanted more automation. Just need to decide on x.

The original poster posited that everything can be done using generic unix functions with a little glue. That is patently false considering that there are many features that are part of system requirements that are not covered by standard Unix calls.

(NB. when you say OP, you mean the article; when I say OP, I mean the OPon slashdot, who disagreed.) My point is much more specific: that wget can do a lot more than OP said. I agree that 'xargs' won't suffice to drive wget for this purpose -- unless it does. Depending on your purpose, maybe you should just run it and use the results you get, accepting limitations -- at least you would get results, and without debugging any code.

Anyway, like I say above, although the limitations you list here are real, they still seem surmountable to me, and not with all that much effort. I certainly don't find the possibility of doing so "patently absurd", although the definition of "a little" glue is of course arbitrary. I originally got into the thread because I saw people saying things were not possible which I had already seen done.

The biggest failing of the Taco Bell analogy is that no matter how you combine the eight ingredients you still come up with crappy pseudo Mexican food; you do not create French Food, Itallian Food, Chineese food, etc. The same thing applies to Unix utilities; they do almost way you want but rarely everything.

It's not a failing, it's the point: you can make a lot of money (i.e., succeed in your goal as the proprietor of a corporate restaurant chain) by being content to produce crappy pseudo Mexican food, instead of trying some expensive gourmet menu (with so much more opportunity to fail).

(Is your goal to make the best food or sell the most food?)

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