Monday Open Thread: Moving Week

This is moving week for me. I haven't seen the news in a week, so I won't even try to blog. I will put up open threads. Thanks to those of you sending emails pointing out new spammers, I deleted the last 40. My life and blogging should be back to normal next week. (My actual move out/move in date is Thursday.)

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Andrew Sullivan. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Angel on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 10:56:32 AM EST
    This is where we are.

    This is a fascinating speech from today's rally at the World War II veterans' memorial. It's fascinating because it's a riveting, candid insight into the forces that are behind the government shut-down and the debt-ceiling blackmail of the country and the world. They do not believe this president is a legitimate president. It is beyond their understanding that he was re-elected handily, or that he commands, even during this assault on our system of government, far more support than the Tea Party. Let's not be mealy-mouthed. This speaker, Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, accuses the president of treason in this speech, of deliberately pursuing policies to kill members of the armed services, because he is an Islamist, and allegedly "bows to Allah". What he is saying is the president is a deliberate mole of foreign agents determined to destroy the American way of life. And there is no pushback from the crowd and no pushback from GOP leaders.

    And, sadly, the bulk of American voters... (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Dadler on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:08:48 AM EST
    ...have far too little political memory. One of the insidious things about our system -- give average folks just enough, but keep them so scrambling for it that they can't pay any real attention to politics.



    If they did, they would see the name (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:53:27 AM EST
    Larry Klayman and know the score immediately. "Fascinating"? Maybe for Andrew Sullivan, an old ally of Klayman's in the Clinton wars.

    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:26:24 PM EST
    the bright side is Klayman is finally discrediting himself. The GOP sure bought into every conspiracy theory he was shopping back in the 90's.

    Even more sadly... (none / 0) (#54)
    by Dadler on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:18:11 PM EST
    ...seeing that name would make 99% of Americans shrug and say, "Who's that?"

    With the BART strike looming here in SF (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by Dadler on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:20:45 PM EST
    I am always amazed at how in America, almost alone among nations, average working people will hate on other average working people well before they start hating on the wealthy powers that be who really make their lives hell. Americans, from the time they are born, are conditioned to blame normal people first, the government second (maybe reversed in order), and then "Free Market Gods" a distant third if not fourth behind pot.

    I "love" my country.  


    I've never seen (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by desertswine on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 09:08:51 PM EST
    a country that hates their poor as much as we do.

    Really? You should take a trip abroad. (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:50:07 PM EST
    Visit Mexico's impoverished municipality of Mixtla de Altamirano, where 700 of every 1000 live-born babies will die in their first year of life, according to a 2012 report issued the Latin American Center for Rural Development.

    In Mexico generally, public policies have ensured that the urban poor face daily challenges of inequality, security and economic dynamism, according to the report, while rural poor suffer lack of access to services and basic rights such as primary health care and elementary education.

    Or you could take a trip to see the World Cup in Brazil next year, where in Rio De Janeiro, some people's ideas of urban renewal have included the contracting of death squads to shoot street urchins.

    Or if you feel really adventurous, head off to Zimbabwe in southern Africa like we did in November 2010, where under the sterling leadership of President (for Life) Robert Mugabe, the average life expectancy is 33 years, the rural economy has collapsed, the currency has tanked and is worthless, and an estimated 1.6 million people are presently facing a severe food shortage crisis.

    See any of those places, and perhaps you'll change your mind about who hates the poor the most.



    It does seem, though, that as much as (5.00 / 2) (#136)
    by BeDazzled on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 09:04:55 AM EST
    the poor are hated here, the rich are trying to create more and more of them as fast as they can.

    It's the only thing that keeps them (5.00 / 2) (#138)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 10:38:46 AM EST
    from cannibalizing each other...

    India cares about it's immense population (none / 0) (#59)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 09:28:38 PM EST
    of poor people whenever there is a runup to a Parliamentary election.

    We don't even do that much (5.00 / 4) (#65)
    by Dadler on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:01:04 AM EST
    We just tell them to suck on it year round, decade round. Their only "advantage" is we don't yet have half a billion people desperate simply to have scraps to live on. Yet.

    as much as we do.

    We Don't Hate Ourselves (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:40:05 AM EST
    But the ruling class has such a disdain for the folks who actually allow them to rule and who have made them filthy rich by buying their goods and whom they used to actually employ.

    They moved all the jobs out of the country and can't stand the fact that all these folks no longer make a wage to feed their families if they are one of the lucky ones to actually have a job.

    Jack@sses like the ones at the Mitt Romney fundraiser who talk about fellow Americans like they are 2nd class citizens to throw away for the almighty $$$$.


    Huh? (none / 0) (#82)
    by Dadler on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:17:58 AM EST
    The wealthy don't hate themselves, they don't have the self-critical ability, and everyone else has to deal with a system that thinks they don't matter as much as a worthless piece of paper. Sad and inexcusable that we treat our fellow citizens the way we do, when this entire thing is just big game of Monopoly, the money we use no less worthless paper in and of itself than the stuff we use.

    That should read... (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Dadler on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:49:09 AM EST
    "...the money we use no less worthless paper in and of itself than the Monopoly money we play with."

    Proofreading is your friend, proofreading is your friend, proofreading is your friend...

    Peace out, my man.


    You Proofread Just Fine... (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 12:49:03 PM EST
    ...just do it before hitting 'post'.

    I'll see you Andrew Sullivan, and raise you (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:49:59 PM EST
    Charlie Pierce:

    It is not merely unseemly, but positively obscene for people like Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee, and the unspeakable Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods to use surviving World War II veterans to advance a political agenda that would make the lives of those veterans immeasurably worse. It is obscene for them to use old, brave men as camouflage for bigotry and nonsense. It is obscene for them to borrow courage that never would find in themselves and to gussy it up in Confederate flags and trot it out as an an audience for crackpots like Larry Klayman. It is obscene for them to claim for themselves the dead of Normandy, and the Bulge, and Okinawa, and Saipan. It is obscene for them to try to purify their own vandalism in worthier blood than flows in their veins.

    How dare these idiots? Tailgunner Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee, the constitooshunal skolar from Utah, and Ms. Palin. How dare they traffick in this manner of grave-robbing? They would all throw these veterans off Medicare, close the VA hospitals, bury the brave old men and women in substandard nursing homes rather than give an inch away of their indomitable ideology of entitled selfishness. Ted Cruz doesn't think the government has a role in making the lives of these veterans easier. Mike Lee thinks the Founders wanted vets to starve. Sarah Palin doesn't think, period, and is proud of it.

    The American Right has never looked as fundamentally reckless and inhumane as it did when it attempted to burglarize heroism over the weekend. All the chickenhawks came home to roost, for sure. To see Princess Dumbass there, one hand on her heart while the other one very likely was picking pockets, attempting to wrap herself in the sacrifice of so many people, living and dead, when the hardest thing she's ever done in her life is quit her job halfway through doing it, is to see a kind of ghastly kind of historical vampirism. It takes a special lack of conscience to grift the graves of the honored dead. It's enough to make you root very hard for the Curse Of The Pharaohs. My father doesn't need the intercession of these delusional creatures. On his behalf, I say, in god's name, walk away from decent people in shame.

    Amen, Charlie...


    Political Theature at it's Worse... (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:30:25 PM EST
    ...brought you by the folks who formulated the shutdown:
    Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, and Mike Lee marched to the World War II memorial on Sunday tearing down barricades and chanting "Tear down these walls" and "You work for us."

    I mean seriously, who is working for who, and who single handedly ensured the shutdown.  And when did R's become such lovers of the government, here I was under the impression they hated it.

    I mean Jesus, the government was public enemy numero uno during the election, now they can't run to a camera quick enough to declare their love of it.  

    Fortunately, Cruz is going to be like Ryan, popular until the the party realizes they are beyond cancerous to their brand and will most certainly fall off the grid just as quickly as they arrived.


    Let's just hope the R's let them fall off the grid (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Amiss on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:04:43 PM EST
    It's just crazy that we are still pestered by Sarah Palin.
    I really enjoyed your post,
    Thank You.

    It (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:20:38 PM EST
    seems that the GOP might be getting smarter this time around because while Sarah Palin had a following for a year or two, Cruz is already starting to fade outside of anybody associated with the tea party. I think it was Krauthammer that said he was like General Custer at Big Horn. He got everybody riled up and then when home to eat a ham sandwich when the house members were trying to follow his lead. LOL.

    That is Super Funny... (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 04:07:47 PM EST
    ...and in the case of Ted Cruz, put on Mitt Romney's tan working man's jacket.

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 156 (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Dadler on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:01:53 AM EST
    Columbus Day Special: Chris wasn't all that. (link)

    Volume 155
    Volume 154

    Off to see GRAVITY, hopefully in IMAX 3D, in The City today. Peace to all.

    I spent most of my life (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Edger on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:58:19 PM EST
    trying to never own more than would fit in the trunk of a car. It made moving much easier. Now there's much more but nothing like what most people pack around. I shudder to think what you're going through, Jeralyn.

    I spent most of my life with the same goal. (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Chuck0 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 08:41:01 AM EST
    I lived in an old VW Bus for months in San Diego. I even went further for awhile and managed to keep it down to what would fit in the saddlebags or strapped to the back of my motorcycle.

    Then you get old and you get stuff. You don't know even know where it all came from. It just appears. Now I own a house with a basement full of other people's stuff.


    Sometimes I wonder how it happened (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 08:55:07 AM EST
    and think to myself "I was never this old 40 years ago! I was fine! How did this happen?"

    Lol. Occasionally I'll even say that out loud just to get a laugh at all the astonished expressions. ;-)


    Interesting. Did John Bolton (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:00:02 PM EST
    get head of chemical weapons commission fired so inspection in Iraq would not undercut U.S. invasion rationale?

    NYT op ed

    This is awful (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by sj on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:34:08 PM EST
    And the first I read about it was in the Guardian.
    Ranchers in South Dakota lost tens of thousands of cattle from a freak storm. Thanks to the shutdown, no one is paying attention

    I've been keeping an eye on it (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by nycstray on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:44:00 PM EST
    but it is a scant eye as it's just so horrible.

    NBC (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by CoralGables on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:44:43 PM EST
    covered it 6 days ago.

    A one day wonder then (none / 0) (#21)
    by sj on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:07:37 PM EST
    in their eyes? Although that's not really fair of me. If it was any nightly "news" I didn't watch it, so I'll take that hit. But is that all you've got?

    I'd ask (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by CoralGables on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:24:48 PM EST
    why the government is responsible to help when the ranchers voluntarily turned down available insurance for what they viewed as a financially profitable gamble...but it's a little too early to  pile on.

    The reason it's not bigger news...they are cows not people.


    Michael Vick's (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by sj on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:33:43 PM EST
    animal cruelty was discussed extensively. A victim may be non-human but that doesn't make it any less tragic.

    One was a crime involving an NFL star (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by CoralGables on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:09:06 PM EST
    That, and only that, made it national news.

    I suppose you're right (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by sj on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:14:02 PM EST
    How shallow we are as a nation, don't you think? That only things affecting human beings -- and even better, celebrities!! -- are worthy of discussion?

    Ever Wonder... (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:25:08 PM EST
    ...what the northern lights look like from space.

    How about a missle test ?  

    And of course, the unknown.

    I had no idea the astronauts could take and post pics to their Twitter accounts from space.  They take some damn interesting pics.  LINK  LINK

    I could look at these all day long.

    Fabulous! (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Angel on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:33:23 PM EST
    My late father-in-law was a photographer for NASA and would be so in awe of these photos.

    Your Father IL Would Love... (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:41:08 PM EST

    Damn it, this is what I got when I went to NASA:

    Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available.
    We sincerely regret this inconvenience.

    For information about available government services, visit USA.gov.

    Found a COPY, click on the original size to see the detail.  It's the 'Blue Marble' update taken with one of their HD cameras on the Earth observing satellite, Suomi NPP.

    It's so clear you can see the ozone glow.  I had this printed on metallic paper and framed.  It reflects light so it appears like it's backlit.


    He would have loved that photo, it's amazingly (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Angel on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 04:02:12 PM EST
    beautiful.  Thanks for sharing it with me.

    Wow! (none / 0) (#47)
    by sj on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 05:50:14 PM EST
    Wow! Wow!

    That is all.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jack203 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:41:04 PM EST
    These are great.

    This 50th wedding anniversary gift is amazing! (5.00 / 4) (#48)
    by Angel on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 05:53:17 PM EST
    Take a peek at what the husband and children did for their wife/mother.

    Questions (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by NYShooter on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 06:10:55 PM EST
    from an, admittedly dense, non-geek:

    O.K. we know, and acknowledge, that a national program, comprised of millions of people, and myriad moving parts, is a huge, difficult undertaking. But, it's not something brand new, like sending a land rover to mars. It's difficult only because of its size, and, number of contingencies. What I mean is that no new ground was broken, no unique scientific theories that had to be tested, and, no new, revolutionary concepts that needed to be explored.

    Walmart, and Subway have thousands of stores, hundreds of thousands of employees, and countless products to be managed. Facebook has a billion followers, Social Security & Medicare have millions of subscribers, so, the ground has been broken, and the templates have been developed and perfected.

    So, why is the ACA program, and its website, any different than those being introduced, and implemented, by businesses every day of the week?  

    What am I missing in my thinking here? The government, with unlimited financial resources, and an incredible pool of technological expertise at its disposal could have, simply, brought in a Microsoft, MIT-IT team, or a military logistics unit, handed them a "Goal Document," and, in no time, would have received a functioning, customer friendly, program.

    Finally, and, not to be too cute with clichés, we built the Empire State Building in record time, using slide rulers instead of computers; we sent a man to the moon, and back, in record time when failure, or, miscalculation would have meant death; and we defeated a crazed, military behemoth in WW2 by placing in charge a man who had never seen a day of combat.

    I guess my point is, we really do have something to worry about. When it comes to degree of difficulty, implementing an insurance program is arguably way down on the list. The American people have every right to be concerned, and, to question the basic, inexcusable incompetence of this roll out. A program this important, a program this President considered his landmark, transformational achievement, a program that threatened to pull this country apart, was handed to a group of obviously inept dunder-heads to implement.

    And, no, I will not accept the criminally lame excuse, "every new program has some bugs in it." We're not talking about you, or me, fiddling around with a model airplane. We're talking about the most powerful man in the world, with all the resources of the most powerful country in the world at his fingertips, and, we're talking about the program this President considers to be his Legacy.

    We've talked about this subject over, and over, again here on TL. We've asked the question, "Who is this man, what are his goals, what are his beliefs?" We've debated whether he truly wanted to help people, or, whether he simply wanted to get something, anything, done? After all, what better legacy could there be than to claim, "I did Health Care." (When others have tried, and, failed for 80 years)

    I believe the ACA rollout has answered that question.

    Matthew Yglesias recommended these articles (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:02:38 PM EST

    Robert Pear, Sharon LaFranier, and Ian Austin gave us today the best reporting I've seen yet on what went wrong in the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House in terms of supervising the contractors who were supposed to build the federal health care exchange digital technology. You should read their story and you should supplement with David Auerbach's great pieces for Slate on what the actual technical issues are. link

    I just scanned them and haven't plowed through them in depth yet but you may find them interesting.


    So why, again, do we want to (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 12:53:45 AM EST
    reduce the size of the Federal government and hire more contractors who are far more highly paid than federal employees and rarely accountable these days?

    I think the (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:52:44 AM EST
    same thing. It seems to me that creating all these middlemen just drives up the cost of doing everything to the tax payer.

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#68)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 08:03:57 AM EST

    Lets see.  Before this Charlie Foxtrot Tango you could buy health insurance (car and home also) on the web easily and quickly.  Involvement of the feds has been quite the downgrade in that quality of service.

    Crony capitalism is about loyalty not about competence.  



    Hmmmmmm .... (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Yman on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 08:25:10 AM EST
    Lets see.  Before this Charlie Foxtrot Tango you could buy health insurance (car and home also) on the web easily and quickly.

    You still can.

    Involvement of the feds has been quite the downgrade in that quality of service.

    By "the involvement of the feds", you mean they shouldn't be hiring private industry IT contractors to do the work, but should have competent, federal workers designing the site?

    I agree.

    Crony capitalism is about loyalty not about competence.

    Nice headline, but even the Sunlight Foundation's report doesn't use the word "cronyism".  Anyone remotely familiar with the government contracting process will not be remotely surprised that these large firms (which focus on government contracts) would be awarded the these contracts.

    The report does, however, mention that "CGI Federal, a longtime provider of IT services to the federal government, won the contract to build the exchanges," which tends to discredit your claim that this was a no-bid contract.


    magical federal employees (none / 0) (#86)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:36:39 AM EST
    Nothing "magical" about it (none / 0) (#90)
    by Yman on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 12:08:05 PM EST
    I have no idea what role (if any) this decision played in the website problems, as opposed to the work performed by the contractors - or who made the decision.  Then again, neither do you.  Not to mention the fact that the very next sentence indicates that some people questioned whether these agencies had the in-house capacity to handle such a huge task of software engineering.  In short, they didn't have exactly what i was suggesting they needed - competent, federal workers designing the site, as opposed to outside contractors.

    But those straw arguments are easier to knock down, ... aren't they?  

    BTW - You never provided any evidence for your claim that CGI Federal was awarded the contract as a no-bid contract.

    Why is that?


    I see your point (none / 0) (#98)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:14:46 PM EST

    Federal employees have nothing to do with:

    1. Writing the specifications for contracts
    2. Awarding contracts
    3. Ensuring contract compliance

    That is quite the enlightenment.

    Reading comprehension (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Yman on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:28:06 PM EST
    Not your strong suit, huh?

    BTW - Still nothing to back up your claim this was a no-bid contract to CGI, huh?  

    Almost like you just made it up...


    Seriously (none / 0) (#119)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:15:15 PM EST
    Man, you love to play dumb and it's so irritating.

    Google 'government contract requirements', then next month when you finished read them all you can inform us why they may have not gotten the best contractor available.


    government contract requirements (none / 0) (#134)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 07:02:33 AM EST

    OK.  Just to be clear, do you mean those government contract requirements that were written by government employees and compliance was measured and certified by government employees in order for the contractor to get paid?  



    Yes AAA (5.00 / 3) (#137)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 10:31:47 AM EST
    While I agree that the requirement are beyond ridiculous, you seem to imply that they were written by Obama, not hundreds of years of legislation and appointed positions from all parties.

    My point was their hands were tied long before they even took office so quit trying to act like the government contract process is a nightmare Obama single-handedly created.

    But once again you act completely oblivious to these facts that I know you already knew, but that wouldn't make good talking points would it ?

    You speak of the government as if it's a failing institution created and maintained solely by the D's.  It's not.  

    Again, you know all this, quit pretending you don't.


    You know what? (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by sj on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 12:04:28 PM EST
    The RW talking points are annoying in their ignorance no matter what. But now when the results of those actions are creating a situation so needlessly critical, annoying is too mild. It makes me a very Angry Bird. It's just so much, much more important to you that you feel right rather than that you do right.



    Yes (none / 0) (#135)
    by Yman on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 08:07:45 AM EST
    More specifically (as it relates to the Executive branch), employees who are regulated/restricted by the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation), FAR Supplements and the Code of Federal Regulations, not to mention federal common law and the UCC, among many others.  Government contracting officers are much, much more limited in their ability to enter into contracts, prescribe specific contract language, or deviate from the process of negotiating a contract as authorized by federal law.  Not to mention that these policy/"big picture" decisions are made by elected officials (i.e. Congress) and political appointees, as opposed to career federal workers.

    If you're actually interested in the reasons for the complex nature of the federal procurement process, I have a few books I could recommend.  Of course, it appears your point is not to questions the reasons for the many statutes and laws which govern federal contract procurement, but to use them to attack federal employees who are bound by those laws.

    The operative word being "attempt".


    And of course (none / 0) (#144)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 07:28:29 AM EST

    The Obama made zero attempt to change any of this.  Every single one of those procedures and regulations could have been waived or modified in the Obamacare legislation.  That such modifications were not even suggested by this administration speaks volumes.  

    When Moses came down from the mountain, those laws and regulations were not written on the back of the tablets with the ten commandments.

    Obama has not indicated that these regulations are in any way in need of fixing.


    So, first ... (none / 0) (#145)
    by Yman on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 07:48:15 AM EST
    ... the fault lies with the federal employees, who are required by law to follow the procurement laws and regulations.  Then, the fault lies with Obama for not waiving a magic wand and rewriting 100+ years of federal procurement law.


    There does exist this other body - which actually writes the laws - called Congress.  Then again, I guess the reason you don't want to place responsibility on your fellow wingers is obvious ...


    If you recall (none / 0) (#146)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 08:36:44 AM EST

    Obamacare passed with a filibuster proof Senate and a huge majority in the house.  If changing these procurement laws were necessary for Obamacare implementation, there is no evidence Obama and the Dems thought so.  So either the procurement laws and regulations are not a problem in Obama's view, or the Obama administration is incompetent for failure to at least propose corrective legislation.

    BTW, it was neither law nor regulation that made a unit of HHS act as general contractor rather than putting that function out to bid.



    I do recall (none / 0) (#147)
    by Yman on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 09:11:34 AM EST
    But you don't count very well.  The "filibuster proof Senate" consisted of only 58 Democrats - and two Independants.  Moreover, after the Senate voted for cloture and the bill passed the Senate but before the bills were reconciled and passed, the election of Scott Brown negated any supermajority and meant the Democrats could not break a filibuster.

    But at least you've given up the canard of blaming federal workers.


    Thank you, Mo (none / 0) (#61)
    by NYShooter on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 10:12:27 PM EST
    I'll read the referenced material as soon as I have the time to do them justice. I'll also read them with a Pro-Obama bias, hoping against hope, that there's something there that truly was unforeseeable.

    Thanks again, get back to you later, kiddo.


    Too often (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by Chuck0 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 08:52:06 AM EST
    the contract goes to the lowest bidder. You get what you pay for.

    Bidding process (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:21:14 AM EST
    That's true. I've never understood why one would go with the lowest bid, instead of the best bid. "You get what you pay for" seems obvious to me.  

    Sometimes a low bid is also a good bid, but the automatic selection of the lowest bid is a bad policy.


    From the film Armageddon... (none / 0) (#96)
    by Slado on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 01:52:49 PM EST
    If only it were this way.... (5.00 / 3) (#92)
    by ruffian on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 12:21:05 PM EST
    The government, with unlimited financial resources, and an incredible pool of technological expertise at its disposal could have, simply, brought in a Microsoft, MIT-IT team, or a military logistics unit, handed them a "Goal Document," and, in no time, would have received a functioning, customer friendly, program.

    No one has more money than the DoD and I can guarantee you procurements don't go like this at all, unless by 'in no time' you mean 5 years, minimum. Even getting large scale Microsoft maintenance agreements purchased takes a year.

    Cobbling together an interface between already existing systems in the time they did probably took a staggering level of effort.


    Ruffian, before I respond (none / 0) (#101)
    by NYShooter on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:40:21 PM EST
    to your offering I think it would be prudent to make sure we're talking "apples to apples." Not that I would ever accuse you of using "straw man" arguments, I've found myself getting twisted into some nerve wracking pretzels when discussing something that I thought was the issue at hand only to have my counter party get somewhat belligerent because he/she thought some other point was the issue at hand. That's a complaint I've had forever, and, why a blog venue is so difficult to navigate through when discussing serious issues. I know this sounds convoluted, but, do you get my point?

    When all is said and done I'm pretty sure you and I don't have any differences at all regarding the ACA. Maybe a little nit-picking here, and/or, there, but, nothing substantial.

    To begin with, I hope, with all the powers within me that the program is a huge success, and, these "glitches" are only minor, and, temporary. And, as much as I dislike, and, have from the beginning, Mr. Obama, that has nothing to do with my hope for the success and wellbeing of the American people.

    With that in mind, and, if you want to continue this conversation, I'd be more than pleased to do that. But, "point-counter point," and "snark vs. snark" I don't do.

    And, fwiw, I always considered you one of the "good guys."


    Thank you, sorry, I did not mean to sound (none / 0) (#120)
    by ruffian on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:25:12 PM EST
    snarky towards you -  it was directed at the federal contracting system.  I'm sure we do mostly agree on the gist of the ACA itself. For the mechanization of the exchanges, I really wish the federal contracting system worked the way it should ideally. But we are so far from that place that I honestly cannot fault Obama's team much for trying the approach that they did. Even the president cannot wave a magic wand for his highest priority thing and bypass the whole system.

    Unless he wants to spy on someone or attack them with drones of course - he can cut through all the red tape for that!


    The author (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Edger on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:01:17 PM EST
    Mort Rosenblum, joined the Associated Press at Newark in 1965. His international career began in 1967, when the AP sent him to cover mercenary wars in Congo. Since then Rosenblum has run AP bureaus in Kinshasa, Lagos, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Singapore, Buenos Aires, and Paris. From 1979 to 1981 he was editor of the International Herald Tribune but later returned to AP as special correspondent, based in Paris.

    The Comoros, three flyspecks off Mozambique in the Indian Ocean, is as banana as republics get. After 20 coups and two murdered presidents since 1975, it is now peaceably mired in corruption. But at least it has a government.

    "You can walk anywhere late at night with cameras around your neck, and no one will bother you," a friend there told me. Comorans are Muslim, respectful of strangers in their midst. "Just don't tell them you're American."

    Far more people hate us today than before 9/11, bitter at wars we can't justify, torture we won't admit, and contemptuous treatment of "aliens" who stir our suspicions. Others simply watch our follies and laugh their a** off.

    Our health-care "debate" - blackmail, really -- baffles non-Americans. Even Comoros recognizes health as a basic human right. Its pathetic 450-bed hospital is known as the death house, but European aid is helping. The country is desperately poor. What's our excuse?

    Intelligent people everywhere ask me the same question: How can so many rich Americans be mean-spirited and self-serving enough to let poor people suffer needlessly because medicine isn't, as the law phrases it, affordable?

    Samuel Jackson put it simply enough: Let's wake the f**k up! In places like Comoros and Madagascar, citizens have to put up with whomever maneuvers into power. We don't.

    FOCUS | As a Whole World Watches...the Incredible Shrinking America

    We don't?

    Washington Post: (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:20:07 PM EST
    Schumer noted that House Republicans had already offered to roll back the sequester cuts in a proposal that the White House rejected Friday. That plan would have immediately suspended enforcement of the debt limit and reopened the government in exchange for a plan to replace sequester savings in 2014 (and perhaps longer) with reductions to Social Security and Medicare proposed in Obama's budget.

    Schymer continued: (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 09:48:12 PM EST
    "That was one place where the House Republicans and the president were not, you know, at total loggerheads," Mr. Schumer said, suggesting that a deal could be cut if Republicans would consider new revenue along with cuts to entitlement programs.

    This literally makes me (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:08:14 AM EST
    feel sick. Disgusting.

    Me, too (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Zorba on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 07:34:12 AM EST
    But I suspected this from the beginning.

    Yep (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:21:41 AM EST
    Could see this coming a mile away.

    Watching (5.00 / 8) (#57)
    by lentinel on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:41:56 PM EST
    this shutdown scenario from afar is a strange experience.

    There is absolutely nothing I can do about it.
    It is, to me, an obvious sham.
    A political dance that has nothing to do with the well-being of the American people and everything to do with politics and jockeying for power.

    It is a big story and an non-story at the same time.
    We watch Ryan, McConnell, Boehner and sometimes even the president appear and then disappear. Biden, I suppose is somewhere. God knows what he does for a living.

    Remember Syria?
    We were about to march to war. The Red, White and Blue, the Empire across the ocean, and poor old Hollande of France. Three losers hoping for a splash of glory a la Bush/Blair and that what's his name Jose Maria Aznar strutting their stuff.

    And the fate of the world depended on it. International law depended on it.

    But something funny happened.
    Nobody bought it.
    Not the Brits. Not the French. And, not us.
    And then the story disappeared.

    The people somehow managed to make their feelings known. There was no election. No coordinated letter writing campaigns. But the government could sense that there was a real No Mas in the air. And it backed down.

    Somehow, we have to find a way to make our feelings known about the way that our government is treating us. Taking our money and giving us nothing. Making billions on an updated protection racket.

    The ethics of the Mob are all too evident in the halls of government.

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 157 (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Dadler on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:13:31 AM EST
    They don't need couple's therapy, they need towels and a waterboy. (link)

    Volume 156
    Volume 155

    Happy Tuesday, my friends. Saw GRAVITY in Imax 3D yesterday. Great visuals, same story essentially as APOLLO 13, and Clooney's character is a tad to jocular, but the advancement in tech and effects is astounding. There isn't a better film to see in Imax 3D than this one. That said, because APOLLO 13 filmed in the Vomit Comet, the zero gravity stuff was probably a little better than in GRAVITY, but there was much less of it, and the overall visual impact of GRAVITY was so much better.

    The Guardian summarizes the GOP plan, (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:14:16 PM EST
    at least as much as it can based on the details that are emerging:

    Details of the legislation taking shape in the House are coming out, via Rep. Nunes:

    Significantly, the bill would fund the government for only two months, until 15 December, Reuters quotes Nunes as saying. An earlier deal under discussion in the Senate would have funded the government until 15 January, which is just before a second, deeper round of budget cuts related to the sequester kick in. A 15 December shutdown deadline would also set up a budget fight in the middle of the holiday season, when retail spending and the economic confidence that drives it is crucial.

    The House bill reportedly uses the same date for the new debt ceiling, 7 February. But the bill makes the date a "hard cut-off," apparently meaning the bill eliminates those "emergency measures" the Treasury uses to avoid default (read more here).

    Finally, the House bill reportedly would give us the Full Vitter, and go the extra step of requiring the president and top administration officials to obtain health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges by evicting them from their current insurance programs.

    As for the delay or deletion of the tax on medical devices that partially funds Obamacare: that's not in the bill, reportedly, for now.

    And, from the same link, here's an overall summary of where we are:

    * The House appeared to be moving to pass a government funding bill on yet another party-line vote. Rep. Devin Nunes said the bill would receive bipartisan support in the Senate. The contents of the developing legislation are unclear.

    • A once-emergent Senate deal to avert default and end the shutdown was "up in the air," as Senate leaders decided to wait to see if the House can originate the legislation. But the last three days of bipartisan Senate talks produced, at least, benchmark dates the House appeared to be using.

    • Democratic senators were angry at what they saw as a House attempt to "torpedo" - Harry Reid's word - a perfectly viable, bipartisan Senate agreement. The Senate Democratic luncheon Tuesday was reportedly the scene of great agitation.

    • The Dow Jones stock index neared the close down about 100 points or .65%. Kind of queasy, not a huge selloff.


    Tick-tock indeed (none / 0) (#112)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:37:50 PM EST
    That's the sound of the next time bomb being lobbed at the most vulnerable among us.

    Interesting, though. The .001% thought they had set dogs on us (working and middle class) when they funded the creation of the Tea Party.  But some dogs will bite the hand that feeds them. The ones that have been badly abused by their supposed care-givers.


    "...not a huge selloff, " (none / 0) (#114)
    by NYShooter on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:58:13 PM EST
    considering the Dow shot up 300 points just the other day. The reason for the Moon Shot? No financial news, no surprisingly good earnings, no talented management moves......So. why did it go up so dramatically? the simple fact that the two parties didn't break out into armed combat, no fist fights, and, no principled self-immolation. This market, so starved for any morsel of good news, said, "no disasters happened today?.....BUY!!!!!  

    Right. Yes, of course. (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:36:15 PM EST
    Patients are deadbeats, and if not forced to pay through the nose when sick or dying, they'd just go out and spend the money on new TV's. Yep. Knew it all along...

    Bloomberg, Oct. 13...

    When Barbara Retkowski went to a Cape Coral, Florida, health clinic in August to treat a blood condition, she figured the center would bill her insurance company. Instead, it demanded payment upfront.

    Earlier in the year, another clinic insisted she pay her entire remaining insurance deductible for the year -- more than $1,000 -- before the doctor would even see her.

    "I was surprised and frustrated," Retkowski, a 59-year-old retiree, said in an interview. "I had to pull money out of my savings."

    The practice of upfront payment for non-emergency care has been spreading in the U.S. as deductibles rise. Now, the advent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is likely to accelerate that trend.
    "It used to be taboo to look like you were looking for money at a time when you were supposed to be focused on patient care," David Williams, president of Boston-based consulting firm Health Business Group, said. "It's not taboo anymore."
    "We get our money faster," Rubin said in an interview. "As patients pay higher deductibles, we're talking about potentially thousands of dollars. People get excited to buy a TV, but health care is a service they don't like to pay for."
    Consumer advocacy groups say the upfront payments limit access to medical care.

    And what the f**k do consumer advocacy groups know anyway? Buncha socialists lookin' for a free ride. Yeesh.

    Kathleen Sebelius (none / 0) (#5)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:07:21 PM EST

    Why does Kathleen Sebelius still have her job?

    A. The problems with the Obamacare launch are teensy weensy minor "glitches".  Any corporate exec with similar results would be praised for effort if not accomplishment.  Witness the Apple Maps guy.

    B. Three plus years and a half a Billion budget is a very tight schedule on shoe strung funding.

    C. Her boss values loyalty over competence.

    D. It takes time to print the walking papers.

    E. People recognize that ... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Yman on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:08:23 PM EST
    ... rollouts of massive programs like this usually have glitches, just as the rollout of Medicare Part D had in 2005, and they recognize that wingers could care less about the enrollment problems caused by these glitches, but are simply using them to attack a law they want to repeal.

    Not "glitches" at all (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by jbindc on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:23:24 PM EST
    Massive failure at every level.

    John Engates, chief technology officer at service provider RackSpace, said the government should have been able to prepare for the type of traffic that the site has experienced.

    "I think that any modern Web company would be well prepared for a launch of this scale," said Engates. "We're not talking about hundreds of millions of people and we're not talking about complex transactions. This isn't downloading full movies off of Netflix. The question I have is: Did they have enough time to prepare and did the people doing the work know what they were doing?"

    The website got more than 8 million hits in the first week.  Amazon gets millions of hit a day. Where were all those young computer whizzes who gave us the slick social media Obma 2008 / 2012 campaigns?


    And now (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by jbindc on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:14:04 PM EST
    Obamacare site hits "reset"

    Amid all the attention, bugs, and work happening at Healthcare.gov in light of the Affordable Care Act, potential registrants talking to phone support today have been told that all user passwords are being reset to help address the site's login woes. And the tech supports behind Healthcare.gov will be asking more users to act in the name of fixing the site, too. According to registrants speaking with Ars, individuals whose logins never made it to the site's database will have to re-register using a different username, as their previously chosen names are now stuck in authentication limbo.

    Because I don't have enough passwords and ID's to remember, and since I tried registering and got TWO ID's registered (but couldn't proceed to anywhere on the site with either - hence the second registration), I will now have to get a THIRD.

    The awesomeness of these "pesky glitches" just keeps growing.


    Your beating (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by NYShooter on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 12:22:12 PM EST
    this proverbial, dead horse is, at least educational in that it only proves the truth in "the law of diminishing returns."

    We get it; the roll out is terrible. I wrote a quite long, "no holds barred," critique of how bad it was, and, is. So did most Obama supporters.

    But, unlike you, I don't feel the necessity of repeating it over and over and over and over................................get it?


    Great quote from your link (none / 0) (#16)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:51:03 PM EST
    Can you imagine how many people Steve Jobs would've fired by now if he'd launched a new product like this?

    Firing requires recognition this is a soup sandwich.  So far the administration has been in denial.  The decision to award work to GCI Federal on a no bid contract needs some 'splainin'.  


    Robert Gibbs agrees (4.50 / 2) (#18)
    by jbindc on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:59:07 PM EST

    Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that people should be fired over the botched rollout of ObamaCare's new insurance exchanges.

    "I hope they're working day and night to get this done. And when they get it fixed, I hope they fire some people that were in charge of making sure that this thing was supposed to work," Gibbs said on MSNBC.

    "We knew there were going to be some glitches, but these are glitches that go way beyond the pale of what should be expected."


    "This is excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services," Gibbs said. "This was bungled badly. This was not a server problem, like just too many people came to the website. This is an architecture problem."

    The Comparison... (none / 0) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:58:49 PM EST
    ...is beyond ridiculous.

    How many people would have Jobs fired for shutting down 80% of Apple ?  Right, ridiculous.


    Your link doesn't say ... (none / 0) (#29)
    by Yman on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:13:32 PM EST
    ... what you claim it does.  You're linking to an Ezra Klein piece that, while very critical of the rollout, specifically points to the same type of problems with the Medicare Part D rollout that I referenced.

    The website got more than 8 million hits in the first week.  Amazon gets millions of hit a day. Where were all those young computer whizzes who gave us the slick social media Obma 2008 / 2012 campaigns?

    No idea, but I also know this website is not the same as Amazon, and Amazon has had the past 20 years to get to its current size and iron out any problems.  Mr. Engates opinion aside, I have no idea whether this was a massive screwup in the design of the system/website, or simply glitches that will be ironed out over the next few days/weeks.  Then again, neither do you or Robert Gibbs.

    All of which is beside my point - that wingers like AAA are simply using this to attack a program they want to destroy.  Not to mention all the spinoff conspiracy theories, such as his claim about CGI Federal.  I'm just sorry they've been given the ammunition.


    You apparently (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by jbindc on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:24:01 PM EST
    Have not been reading the news lately, or else ignoring it. I linked to the Ezra Klein piece because I have linked to many other pieces (along with other people) about the vast systemic failure of this system, and it's only the diehards who continue to beat the drum of "It's just because it's so popular that the system isn't working properly."  Heck, even the administration gave that line up a week ago.  I know you're no die-hard, so it was a bit puzzling for you to compare this to the Medicare Part D roll-out in 2005, when it really is nothing like that.

    Aside from the wingnuts wanting to destroy Obamacare, it is irrelevant to what people are actually experiencing when they try to access the system. A system they've been told about how great and easy it would be for years now.

    1. The administration had over three years to get this together - this isn't something that had a 90 day turnaround.

    2. This plan was flawed from the beginning.

    3. The administration KNEW months ago that it wouldn't be ready by October 1, yet chose to go ahead with implementation.  Since they had already given everyone else under the sun waivers and extensions, wouldn't it have been better to take a step back then and fix the problems?  There is now a HUGE PR problem and even people who may have been amenable to supporting the plan have (or soon will have) a bad taste in their mouths.

    4. These fixes could take months,thereby not allowing many people to meet the deadline for purchasing insurance. Will they "punish" people for not getting it in time?

    It's completely relevant ... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Yman on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:41:45 PM EST
    ... to my point - no idea whether it's relevant to your point.  then again, your point wasn't what I was talking about.

    BTW - I have been reading the news today, but when someone posts a link, followed immediately by a quote, I assume the link will take me to the piece from which the quote is taken.

    Weird, huh?

    As for your questions, no idea.  Then again, people who don't have all the facts often phrase their attacks in the form of questions, because they don't don't know if the accusations they're making are true.


    Much like you. (none / 0) (#77)
    by jbindc on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:01:19 AM EST
    Not like me (none / 0) (#91)
    by Yman on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 12:20:50 PM EST
    I provide facts with links ... as opposed to "questions".

    Please don't defend this rollout (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Slado on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:38:39 PM EST
    It's beneath you.  

    They won't say how many have signed up because it's embarrassing.

    Ezra, Gibbs and other media are lamenting how badly team Obama has botched this.  

    A ridiculously expensive government boondoggle three years in the making and it doesn't work.

    Now reports that it may not be fixed for months.   When is the deadline to have insurance again?.    

    3 years they had to work on this.   3 years.  And it's a complete boondoggle.  


    I Am Not Defending It... (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 04:01:36 PM EST
    ...but I work in sales tax, which means every month I log into at least 100 state run websites to files returns.

    These are important things and I file millions of dollars each month, yet I would say 1 in 10 will work they way they should.  Which I would add is usually a level that private industry operated at about 5 years ago.

    My point, everyone wants the government website to not operate like a government website.  While I couldn't agree more, that is simply not acknowledging reality which is government websites are hacky, not well designed, and usually cumbersome and buggy.

    This was done by an outside service, so firing them doesn't really seem to be an option and we are going to start firing people for the work of contractors.  We went though this with IBM like 5 years ago, they sent us a bunch of people who didn't know what they were doing, but this wasn't realized until about 2 weeks before go live.  By that time there isn't much you can do, everything is in motion and firing them would have made it worse.

    That being said, it beyond irritating that they aren't acknowledging this and being up front about it.  I mean seriously, they are trying to tell us there isn't a way to find out how many folks have actually signed up, pleaze.  Or that it's because of the traffic, which at campaign time they seemed to know exactly how many folks didn't have insurance, yet two weeks ago they were stunned by the traffic.  They campaigned on those numbers and then act like they were shocked that those same numbers of folks were shopping for insurance.

    More likely, and from what I have read, the number line was non-sense.  It was design flaws and since they didn't actually design it, what is the harm of being honest about the contractor that did and putting the blame where it belongs.  we might just find out that the contractor was a heavy contributor to his campaign, otherwise there is no reason to deny the obvious IMO.

    What I would like to know, how many folks who need treatment aren't getting it because they can't sign up for insurance because of this non-sense.  Start rolling those numbers out, they work for the admin to some degree in that a lot of people need insurance, like yesterday.  Bite the bullet on the roll-out and save their and the legislation's reputations.


    To answer your question (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by CoralGables on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 04:08:20 PM EST
    how many folks who need treatment aren't getting it because they can't sign up for insurance because of this non-sense.


    Marketplace Insurance doesn't even start to take effect until January 1, 2014.


    Thanks (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 09:07:18 AM EST
    Not sure why I thought people would be insured the second they signed up.  

    They weren't shocked at all (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by jbindc on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:08:52 AM EST
    The administration was shocked that there are people who actually know more than them and those people turned out to be right.

    From Mo Blue's link:

    But Mr. Chao's superiors at the Department of Health and Human Services told him, in effect, that failure was not an option, according to people who have spoken with him. Nor was rolling out the system in stages or on a smaller scale, as companies like Google typically do so that problems can more easily and quietly be fixed. Former government officials say the White House, which was calling the shots, feared that any backtracking would further embolden Republican critics who were trying to repeal the health care law.

    Marilyn B. Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, both insisted in July that the project was not in trouble. Last month, Gary M. Cohen, the federal official in charge of health insurance exchanges, promised federal legislators that on Oct. 1, "consumers will be able to go online, they'll be able to get a determination of what tax subsidies they are eligible for, they'll be able to see the premium net of subsidy," and they will be able to sign up.

    But just a trickle of the 14.6 million people who have visited the federal exchange so far have managed to enroll in insurance plans, according to executives of major insurance companies who receive enrollment files from the government. And some of those enrollments are marred by mistakes. Insurance executives said the government had sent some enrollment files to the wrong insurer, confusing companies that have similar names but are in different states. Other files were unusable because crucial information was missing, they said.

    Many users of the federal exchange were stuck at square one. A New York Times researcher, for instance, managed to register at 6 a.m. on Oct. 1. But despite more than 40 attempts over the next 11 days, she was never able to log in. Her last attempts led her to a blank screen.

    So this was actually a combination of hubris, incompetence, and denial all rolled into one.

    And while MKS likes to pick out the  "30% think it will take two weeks" line, it's obvious he's never worked in IT.  Read the next lines:

    One person familiar with the system's development said that the project was now roughly 70 percent of the way toward operating properly, but that predictions varied on when the remaining 30 percent would be done. "I've heard as little as two weeks or as much as a couple of months," that person said. Others warned that the fixes themselves were creating new problems, and said that the full extent of the problems might not be known because so many consumers had been stymied at the first step in the application process.

    But yes we know, only the people who think Obama is a socialist Muslim are overstating these problems, so we really shouldn't pay attention to any of that.  This was a well-executed plan that was just so popular! (TM) that no one could have anticipated these problems.

    Cheerleading without facts again....


    It's obvious you haven't either (2.00 / 1) (#95)
    by vicndabx on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 01:33:37 PM EST
    if you did, you would know large rollouts always have issues that are addressed in a post-imp warranty period. Further, defects and enhancements always occur ("the full extent of the problems",) lest there would only ever be a single version of software. Are you still using Windows 3.1? How many versions of IOS have there been in the short time iPhones have been available?

    I would submit it was impossible to fully test this mammoth system absent the production checkout they are currently in.  Without funding for a duplicate QA system, which would involve duplicate systems nationwide and even more funding; which would require Republicans in Congress and statehouses to pony up, these issues were inevitable.

    IMO, this was a calculated risk to maximize the amount of time available to fix their issues.


    Read the NYT story (none / 0) (#103)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:44:59 PM EST
    the problems are much greater than those that usually plague a big rollout.

    And to whom it may concern: It is stipulated that a big rollout will have problems, okay? "Rollout issues" is not what appears to be in play here.  Or at least, not solely.


    I read that, and, (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by NYShooter on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:06:19 PM EST
    I take no pleasure in saying, "I could have written that article myself."

    What did I say just yesterday (and, going back to the primaries?)This President wants a marquee "accomplishment"....Period. Years from now people won't remember any of the premium rip-offs, stripped benefits, lack of provider choices,or, unaffordable deduct8ibles & co-pays.

    They'll just be taught, "He gave us health care."

    That was Obama's goal from the beginning, and, no one can say he didn't keep his promise.


    From north of the border (5.00 / 5) (#125)
    by robert72 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:18:54 PM EST
    so I don't have a dog in this fight.

    But, from what I have read, people won't be saying "He gave us health care." It sounds more like they will be saying, "He gave us health insurance: copays, deductibles, in and out of network doctors and hospitals, part-time work, high payments, and subsidies for insurance companies, and a system so complicated even the government doesn't understand it."

    I would like to think I am wrong - but it doesn't sound like health 'care' to me.


    Doesn't sound like health CARE (5.00 / 4) (#133)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 10:14:43 PM EST
    to many of us this side of the border either.

    Hopefully at some point in time people will demand that we actually get health care not insurance. I fear that this insurance program will prevent that from ever happening.

    If this program, written by and for the insurance industry, turns out to be a disaster, the masters of the universe will make sure that the lesson learned is that government has no business in health care and not that it is the fault of an insurance based system.


    I did, many days ago (none / 0) (#117)
    by vicndabx on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:07:23 PM EST
    when the article first came out.

    I have also worked w/CMS over the years on projects like this and know them to have very competent people.

    Other sites they manage:


    both work pretty well and either were recently implemented or underwent significant renovation.

    There are always lessons learned in projects of this size.  My original point still holds I think.  There is no real way to stress test a system of this size w/so much reliance on varying systems in so many different states.  Not w/o tons of cash and time.  Just imagine trying to find all the data needed to mock up and stress test....

    They say as much in the article:

    Dr. Donald M. Berwick, the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2010 and 2011, said the time and budgetary pressures were a constant worry. "The staff was heroic and dedicated, but we did not have enough money, and we all knew that," he said in an interview on Friday.

    Your original point (none / 0) (#118)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:14:05 PM EST
    is valid. It also is not sufficient explanation for such a  massive failure if the website was well-designed originally.

    And just so you know (actually you probably do know, others here may not) there are tools to automate stress testing and repetitive input.


    The website could've been well designed (none / 0) (#131)
    by vicndabx on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 07:37:39 PM EST
    but calls to potentially poorly indexed back-end databases not originally designed to support millions of calls that are spread out across the country are a totally different matter.  

    Further, performance characteristics under millions of calls to these could not have been tested w/o actual data loaded and test cases created.  Admittedly, I have no idea whether this was done.  Maybe they knew response times were bad and went ahead anyway.  It will be interesting to hear the details if/when they're made available.

    I don't disagree w/the consensus on the rollout.  To your point about non-technical issues, expectations certainly should've been managed better considering what was I suspect was an inadequate testing environment and limited experience w/the production environment.

    In spite of this, I still believe they felt there was little choice but to move forward and sort out issues post-implementation.


    Yes, the programs could have been well (5.00 / 2) (#132)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 10:01:42 PM EST
    designed but according to experts too numerous to list they were not.

    I have yet to see a list of experts who claim that the system is well designed. If you have such a list to back up your "well anything is possible" scenario, please provide the links.

    The fact that they did not start writing code until this spring shortened the time available and as they admitted did not allow for extensive testing of the systems.


    By the way (none / 0) (#128)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:10:20 PM EST
    When did 3 - 4 become "many"?
    I did, many days ago (none / 0) (#117)
    by vicndabx on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:07:23 PM MDT


    Today is the 15th and the article was published on the 12th. To me that says "few".

    Side bar: when trying to teach my then 4-5 year old son about estimated multiples we came up with this guideline:

    1 - "a" or "the"
    2 - couple
    3-4 - a few
    5-8 - several
    9+ - many (come on, he only had ten fingers)


    I didn't pick (none / 0) (#130)
    by MKS on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 07:16:22 PM EST
    that line.   It was what the commentator selected.

    None (none / 0) (#43)
    by Yman on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 04:10:20 PM EST
    What I would like to know, how many folks who need treatment aren't getting it because they can't sign up for insurance because of this non-sense.  Start rolling those numbers out, they work for the admin to some degree in that a lot of people need insurance, like yesterday.  Bite the bullet on the roll-out and save their and the legislation's reputations.

    The earliest any of these will take effect is Jan. 1, 2014, assuming someone signs up before Dec. 15, 2013.


    Save your faux concern ... (none / 0) (#38)
    by Yman on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:47:25 PM EST
    ... for someone who cares about your opinion of them.

    BTW - your and JB's opinion notwithstanding, I'm not defending the rollouts.  I think it's something that should be investigated and - if warranted - heads should roll.  OTOH - I also know we don't yet have enough information to make such a determination, which is why so many of these attacks are in the form of "questions".


    Your cite (none / 0) (#62)
    by MKS on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:00:22 PM EST
    that the system may not be fixed "for months" is misleading.

    The article you link to quotes one unnamed insider saying that 70% of the fix is finished and the other 30% could take two weeks or two months....

    Not exactly what you said.


    What is not being said here (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:29:40 AM EST
    but (is being alluded to) is what developers call the 80/20 rule: 20% of the work takes 80% of the time. If they are 70% done, (from work starting only last Spring, again referencing the NYT article) that is very alarming. Another rule of thumb when making software engineering estimates: estimate how long it will take and multiply by pi. Neither of these two axioms appear to have been taken into consideration.

    But... (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:39:09 AM EST
    websites are simple. They're only what you see on the screen, right? If you need a new function you just paint it on the screen, right? Takes five minutes.

    At least, that's what some of my clients think... @@


    Want to bet? (none / 0) (#74)
    by Slado on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 09:34:13 AM EST
    Smart money says it won't be fixed for months.

    Considering it took three years to produce this piece of garbage and now they have to fix it on the fly.

    See Katrina for how well government fixes its screw ups.

    The plan now is for Team Obama to stall and then magically a extension will be issued in January for a reason yet to be thought up by team Obama.

    Just wait and see.


    Not really the point (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Yman on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 10:58:33 AM EST
    I think MKS was pointing out that your statement ("Now reports that it may not be fixed for months.") was misleading, when the report you linked to actually stated "as little as two weeks or as much as a couple of months".  Rewording it to "months" is misleading, although those qualifiers "may not be fixed ..." always allow for lots of wiggle room.

    Smart money says it won't be fixed for months.

    Who is "smart money"?  Define "fixed".  How long is "months" (2,5 15)?  If by "fixed" you mean people can actually use the site to register and the information gets to the insurer accurately, I'll take the bet that it's prior to the December 15 registration deadline.  Since "smart money says it won't be fixed", what odds are you giving?

    See Katrina for how well government fixes its screw ups.

    I'm pretty sure Katrina wasn't a government screwup - but as someone who lives in the heart of the area hit by Hurricane Sandy, I've got to say the federal response to Hurricane Sandy was very good.  Of course, choosing a single event to attack the entire government is a pretty silly argument, anyway - kind'uv like attacking the private industry for a single response to one of it's own screwups.


    Big Government gone bad (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Slado on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:07:46 PM EST
    We'll wait and see.   I think it's wishful thinking to think the ACA will go well in 2014.

    Can we agree that he could have done a better job?

    Or do we continue to hold Obama to unrealistically low expectations?


    "HE could have done ... (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Yman on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:39:20 PM EST
    ... a better job"?!?

    Are you operating under the impression that Obama write the software and designed the website?  Or are you merely saying he's responsible because he's the POTUS?

    It's almost like your agenda is something other than the issue of the healthcare.gov rollout.

    BTW - Were you holding Bush responsible for the problems with the Medicare Part D rollout a few years ago?


    One correction (none / 0) (#75)
    by Slado on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 09:54:38 AM EST
    While the feds had three years apparenlty the actual programmers only had a few months.



    Tiresome (none / 0) (#81)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 11:17:20 AM EST
    While it's nice that you at least provided a link... Megan McArdle? Really?

    For those of you interested in reading the source material here is a link to the original NYT story.


    Seahawks Fans... (none / 0) (#19)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:00:25 PM EST
    ...time to bow to the new Kings of loudness:
    The Kansas City Chiefs fans broke the world record for an outdoor sports stadium in their 24-7 win over Oakland on Sunday when they reached 137.5 decibels in the closing minutes.

    An official from Guinness World Records told The Associated Press that Chiefs fans broke the record of 136.6 set by Seahawks fans during a game against San Francisco earlier this year.


    I thought I noticed a difference. (none / 0) (#126)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:29:57 PM EST

    Reid & McConnell (none / 0) (#20)
    by CoralGables on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:06:07 PM EST
    appear to be close on a deal that will pass the Senate. What happens in the House would likely be dependent on whether Boehner lets it come to a vote.

    Meeting between Reid, CcConnell, Pelosi, and Boehner for 3pm at the WH is postponed while Reid and McConnell finalize the newest plan.

    Wanna bet none of us like the deal (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Slado on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:45:11 PM EST
    Right or left?

    Business as usual.  


    If I were to bet, (5.00 / 6) (#44)
    by KeysDan on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 04:16:10 PM EST
    I would say that Republicans have killed themselves on this one, but that President Obama and the Democrats can be depended upon to resuscitate their  corpse. Social security will be chained, and additional Medicare "savings" will pick up the revenue slack for ACA due to the repeal of the medical device tax.  And, we will have more sequester or other cuts.

    Of course, all of this will occur only after the gun in no longer to the Democrats' head, and is safely in the gun cabinet (on the front shelf) until next time--as this is the new way of governing.  The Republicans will call it compromise, and the Democrats will be compromised.


    The Guardian wraps up its live coverage (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 04:50:16 PM EST
    of the day's events, here:

    We're going to wrap up our live blog coverage for the day. Here's a summary of where things stand:

    • Senate leaders said they were close on a deal to reopen government and raise the debt ceiling. Both problems would be pushed into 2014. Details of the prospective revised calendar are here.

    • The president postponed a meeting with congressional leaders to allow the Senate time to hammer out its plan.

    • The Senate could take a vote on a deal Tuesday. Senate Republicans are scheduled to meet tomorrow morning.

    • Sidelong glances already are being thrown House speaker John Boehner's way. If the Senate passes a deal, the decision will be in Boehner's hands whether to put it to a House vote. Doing so would seem likely to enrage the hard right and could endanger Boehner's speakership. Not doing so could endanger the world economy.

    • The partial government shutdown begins its third week tomorrow. A list of government agencies and services affected by the shutdown is here.

    • An ABC/Washington Post poll found that 76% of political independents disapprove of congressional Republicans' handling of the government shutdown. 68% of independents disapprove of the conduct of congressional Democrats, and 58% disapprove of the president's handling of the shutdown, the poll found.

    According to what I read in the live coverage, the Senate deal does not take up the medical device tax, so one can only wonder what they're offering - because you know they will.  Offer something, that is.


    I guess we (none / 0) (#46)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 05:28:25 PM EST
    shall see. At least what they are posting are the facts as we know them now.

    This unfortunately is one of the (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:06:58 PM EST
    truest statements around.

    I would say that Republicans have killed themselves on this one, but that President Obama and the Democrats can be depended upon to resuscitate their  corpse.

    It was true after the 2008 elections and it is true now. Obama has done more to rehabilitate the Republicans then they could have ever done for themselves.


    BTW (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:10:28 PM EST
    the legislation to accomplish this:

    Social security will be chained, and additional Medicare "savings"

    will pass with a majority of Democratic votes and the majority of the Republicans will vote NO. Republicans will campaign on the fact that the Democrats cut SS and Medicare while they voted against the legislation.


    Meanwhile, what a lot of people are missing, (none / 0) (#102)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:44:54 PM EST
    as they bicker and b!tch about software and website design, is the sufficiency of networks and providers, and the affordability of the plans being offered on these exchanges.

    This, from the Chicago Tribune (via pnhp.com), echoes what Teresa has been finding out about the plans on the Washington State exchange:

    To promote the Oct. 1 debut of the exchanges, the online marketplaces where consumers can shop and buy insurance, Obama administration and Illinois officials touted the lower-than-expected monthly premiums that would make insurance more affordable for millions of Americans. But a Tribune analysis shows that 21 of the 22 lowest-priced plans offered on the Illinois health insurance exchange for Cook County have annual deductibles of more than $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for family coverage.

    Those deductibles, which represent the out-of-pocket money consumers must spend on health care before most insurance benefits kick in, are higher than what many consumers expected or may be able to stomach, benefit experts said.

    By comparison, people who buy health insurance through their employer have an average individual deductible of just more than $1,100, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.


    To develop the new plans that meet the federal coverage levels, insurers in Illinois took two distinct routes.

    Land of Lincoln Health, a new nonprofit insurer, opted to design most of its bronze and silver plans with lower annual deductibles in exchange for higher monthly premiums. All of its plans also offer a broad range of providers, though certain discounts are available for using a selection of them.


    Meanwhile, the state's dominant insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, was able to offer plans with lower monthly premiums by crafting narrower networks of doctors, specialists and hospitals.

    The least expensive "Blue Choice" plans offered by Blue Cross, which carry the lowest monthly premiums in Cook County, contract with 4,100 primary care providers in the Chicago metro area. That compares with about 15,775 providers in its largest preferred provider network, according to company data. The "Blue Choice" network also includes 57 acute-care hospitals versus 213 in the larger network.

    People who choose to go to an out-of-network hospital or physician will foot the entire bill, in most cases, and those expenses typically are not applied toward annual deductibles.

    Now, if all you ever need are an annual physical, routine health screenings and flu shots, you'll be fine with a low-premium, high-deductible plan, because all that stuff is covered at 100%.  Will you be able to get it from the doctor you want, at the facility you prefer?  Maybe not.

    Yes, you can get insurance even with a pre-existing condition, but you can still be charged up to 3 times what the youngest, healthiest members are charged - and since premiums have been ramping up for the last three years, that floor is a lot steeper than it used to be.  Been getting treated for your cancer at Hospital A, by oncology Dr. B?  Better make sure they're in your plan, because going out-of-network could break the bank.

    My son-in-law has himself and my grandson covered under a Parent/child policy from CareFirst - my daughter is covered under the state's high-risk plan.  They had thought maybe now that her state plan is being discontinued, they'd just add her to the other plan and have Family coverage - seems reasonable, right?

    But, wait - he gets a letter from CareFirst, telling him that his current plan isn't ACA compliant, and that rather than make it comply, CareFirst is going to discontinue it, leaving him free to (1) re-apply for coverage through CareFirst or (2) apply via the exchange.  It seems to be CareFirst's MO to abandon plans with broad network coverage and replace them with narrow network plans that will offer fewer choices, and potentially not be as affordable as people have been led to believe they would be.

    But by all means, please keep bickering about the website...

    That is so demoralizing (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:54:08 PM EST
    But, wait - he gets a letter from CareFirst, telling him that his current plan isn't ACA compliant, and that rather than make it comply, CareFirst is going to discontinue it, leaving him free to (1) re-apply for coverage through CareFirst or (2) apply via the exchange.  It seems to be CareFirst's MO to abandon plans with broad network coverage and replace them with narrow network plans that will offer fewer choices, and potentially not be as affordable as people have been led to believe they would be.
    The best coverage I ever had was when I first moved to Maryland. And my networks included Johns Hopkins and affiliate physicians.

    But I wouldn't dismiss the discussion as bickering. It may be professional pride speaking here, but that is a Big Deal. This is Step One on the path to either success or failure in providing insurance to more people than have it now. It may or not be a harbinger, but its status is a valuable datum.


    I apologize for making it sound like I (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:08:26 PM EST
    don't think it matters that the website has been rife with problems - it clearly does matter, especially to the many people who just want information so they can start figuring out what they want to do, what they can afford, etc.

    Here's what I don't get: why shouldn't people be able to go out and look at the plans and providers without having to set up an account?  Once someone decides on a plan, why not then have the verification/authentication aspect kick in?  Why does the exchange need to know that I am who I say I am just so I can look at what's available?  I can't think of a retail establishment that won't let you in the door if all you want to do is look - but maybe I'm not shopping at the "right" stores...

    The difficulties with the software are generating suspicion and mistrust of the product on the other side of the wall - and I guess my point was that I think that suspicion is well-founded, and really ought to be getting much more coverage than it has been.


    I Wonder... (none / 0) (#110)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:33:25 PM EST
    ...if they were worried about nefarious people... forget the term, but overloading the site and making it crash.  aka helping it fail.

    Otherwise it just doesn't make any sense.

    It's important that the site be solid so folks trust and use it.  But more importantly is the costs of the actual plans, who cares if it's failing if people are just going to learn how badly they re going to be screwed.

    Stories like yours and the Teresa's keep rolling in and the teabaggers aren't going to have to hold the government hostage to get the law repealed.  I mean seriously, they are saying lower prices when in fact the actual costs will be larger.  That is unacceptable.

    The entire purpose of the law was for everyone to have access to affordable health care, if that doesn't happen the law serves no purpose IMO.


    I don't know the actual answer... (none / 0) (#113)
    by unitron on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:39:21 PM EST
    ...but if I had set it up that way I can think of a couple of reasons why I would have done it that way.

    1. So as to foil "script kiddies" or others more skilled and malicious trying to implement a Distributed Denial Of Service attack by having armies of 'bots (other peoples' compromised computers) all hitting on the site at the same time.

    The way you put a spoke in that particular wheel is to insert a step in the process that requires an actual human, and requires some of their time and attention.

    2. So as to get reliable statistics unpoisoned by something like a DDOS.


    You are far more likely to (none / 0) (#115)
    by sj on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:00:21 PM EST
    set up a DoS attack when an ACK of any sort is expected by the server. That's why anonymous perusal (or shopping) is the norm.

    And here is Dr. Margaret Flowers, with (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:57:24 PM EST
    an excellent article on sorting out the spin from the facts of the ACA.

    Here's just a little part of it:

    Insurance companies have a long history in the US of skirting regulations that interfere with profits. So, while insurers can't exclude sick people, they can avoid areas where there are sick people. For example, several of the large insurance companies are selling plans on only a small number of exchanges, preferring to sell plans mostly to businesses instead. And companies that sell plans on the exchanges are restricting their networks. They avoid hospitals that care for complicated patients and keep the number of doctors in their plans low, making it more likely that people will have to go out of network and pay more of the costs of care.

    And while companies can't charge more to people with health problems as individuals, they can charge up to three times more based on age and can charge more in geographic areas where the population has more health problems or the costs of care are higher. It is expected that if a company finds they can't make enough profit in a particular area, they can just pull their plans from that area. These are some of the most obvious ways that insurers will game the system. The largest insurance companies assisted with writing the law and then with the regulations that accompanied it, so we will see what other tactics they employ as time goes on.


    Some people believe that the ACA is a step towards a Medicare for all health system, but it actually takes us towards greater privatization of our health system which is the opposite direction. Over a trillion dollars of public funds will go directly to private insurance companies to subsidize the purchase of inadequate health plans. Nothing was done to stem the tide of large health corporations that are acquiring and consolidating health facilities. And since the ACA was passed in 2010, our public insurances, Medicaid and Medicare, have become more privatized. Private Managed Care organizations are taking over Medicaid plans. And Medicare Advantage plans, private insurance plans that are more expensive than traditional Medicare, were supposed to be curtailed by the ACA but have actually grown by more than 30 percent.

    We have not changed the fundamental problem with the health care system in the US: that health care is treated as a commodity to be bought on the market rather than as a good that all people need. In fact, the dominant message in the mass media is that the ACA has created a health insurance marketplace as if this is a good thing for patients. The United States is the only industrialized nation that uses a market-based health system and it has clearly failed. The US spends the most by far on health care and has low life expectancies and poor health outcomes to show for it. I often say that if our health system was a medical experiment, it would have to be stopped for ethical reasons.

    Read it and weep for what could have been..


    Having the same issue with Care First (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by jbindc on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:34:16 PM EST
    Eliminating my plan.  I can get a Silver plan that's only $5-$10 a month more with a lower deductible (I currently have a $10,000 deductible), but it takes me from a PPO to a POS.  I could reduce my premiums by $10 / month or so by going to a Bronze plan, but that would put me in an HMO, which I really don't want because my doctors are not participating.

    And the website issues ARE a big deal because if they can't get it fixed, people will not be able to enroll in time for the Jan 1 deadline.  Then all kinds of unnecessary headaches are created trying to get people enrolled in time, and tracking those who don't. Not to mention the fact that we as taxpayers have already poured millions into this and we are definitely not getting our money's worth, AND that it is going to cost millions more to fix. So, while you'd like to pooh-pooh the discussion about the website, this is a much bigger deal than you give credence to, and frankly, the problems you highlight don't even enter the picture untill and unless it IS fixed. First things first.

    And since we are now seeing that 1)technically, so far, this rollout has been an epic fail, and 2) substantively, so far, this law is turning into a nightmare with all the "hidden" gems you have highlighted - then, what else is to come?


    That (none / 0) (#129)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:34:02 PM EST
    is because this is basically insurance reform and people honestly never understood what they had before so they're not going to understand what they are going to get either. I'm willing to bet that the majority of people never have read that book that comes with their insurance policy and wait until the HR person answers their questions at a meeting.

    I have something new... (none / 0) (#106)
    by DebFrmHell on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 02:58:24 PM EST
    for y'all to chew on.  Mind you I am not an accountant nor an economist but a lot of countries, especially China, own a huge chunk of us.

    Why can we pay them off tomorrow and the payments we would have been making to them, in turn repays us?  Still at the same interest rate but with the interest going towards the deficit. It shouldn't devalue the dollar if we are paying the same rates as before...or maybe it will.

    With all our debts paid off there wouldn't be the never ending squabbles about raising the debt ceiling and it would improve our credit rating.

    I am ready for my beating now.

    For those of you (none / 0) (#109)
    by CoralGables on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 03:30:26 PM EST
    that go searching for Greenwald's latest at the Guardian, you'll have to find him somewhere else now. He quit there today.

    He's announced that he's leaving for (4.00 / 1) (#124)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:03:55 PM EST
    a new opportunity he described as one that is a journalist's career dream, that he just couldn't turn down.

    He appears to still be at The Guardian for the moment, anyway, and I'm excited to see what comes next.


    All eyes (none / 0) (#123)
    by jbindc on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:50:46 PM EST
    on Justice Kennedy again

    Less than two minutes into the Supreme Court's new review on Tuesday of the use of race in college admissions, it was clear that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has problems with a legal theory that can limit a state's power to take away the race option.  And, for the next hour, Kennedy was unusually active, mainly in exploring the potential flaws in that theory.

    As the Court heard the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (docket 12-682), it appeared that Kennedy holds what is likely to be the decisive vote.  With Justice Elena Kagan not taking part, there are at most three votes to strike down Michigan's ban on affirmative action in the admissions process, and very likely four votes to uphold it.

    That leaves Kennedy, and if he joins in opposition to the state's voter-approved "Proposal 2," the Court could split four to four and the measure would be struck down, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit had ruled.  But the Court no doubt will strive to avoid that outcome, and Kennedy seems to have the power to see that it doesn't happen.

    Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner ... (none / 0) (#127)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:37:26 PM EST
    ... pleaded guilty this afternoon in San Diego Superior Court to one felony count of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery. In exchange for a sentence of no jail time, he has agreed to three months of home confinement, forgo his mayoral pension and never run for public office again.

    Backstage acoustic jam session (none / 0) (#139)
    by Dadler on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 11:28:32 AM EST
    And speakig of electro-swing (none / 0) (#141)
    by Dadler on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 12:25:23 PM EST
    Alice Francis, a lovely Afro-German gal, lays it down and wants to SHOOT HIM DOWN, as these partial lyrics attest to. Enjoy. (LINK)

    I want to choke him
    want to maltreat him
    i want to squeeze him
    and break his neck, neck, neck
    I said dunno-ho-ho
    I got nothing but a heartache
    and I just wanna let you know
    that I'm about to go insane
    you know that I will soon take
    my gun. My gun to shoot him down.

    Not exactly I'm gonna (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 12:51:16 PM EST
    wash that man right outa' my hair..

    When Mary Martin sang (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by fishcamp on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 01:59:43 PM EST
    that song on stage twice daily she actually washed her hair in a bucket.  Her hair soon began growing a quarter inch per day and they had to keep trimming it.  My mother told that to me.