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Re: Hackers and Painters and Lawyers

   Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 14:41:58 -0400
   From: "Peter J. Wasilko, Esq." <futurist@cloud9.net>
   Subject: Re: Hackers and Painters and Lawyers
   To: Zachery Bir <zbir@urbanape.com>
   Cc: ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu
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   > Given the spaghetti mess that is the current state of legal code, this 
   > strikes me as a dubious analogy. Well, perhaps not in your offices :)
   > I was IMing with a friend the other day, remarking that it would be 
   > nice to have more programmers in Congress - perhaps they could 
   > mercilessly refactor the current U.S. Code.
   > Zac
   Hi Zac and All,
       We were talking about private contract law drafted by rational parties,
   not public legislative processes.
       Once you introduce big money politics and lobbyists to the mix all
   bets are off.

I am reminded of the attempt in the US Congress a few years ago
to redefine the term "Great Lakes" to include Lake Champlain
(the URL http://levin.senate.gov/floor/032498.htm contains
some relevant remarks from the Congressional record).  Part of
me views this as an arrogant attempt to abuse long-standing
traditional usage in the pursuit of funds; another part of me
admires it as an ingenious attempt at refactoring; and yet a third
part views it as the attenmpt of a lazy programmer to fix a bug
while changing as few characters of the code as possible.