Woke Up This Morning, The World Turned Upside Down

obamaskatrina

 

This was the top story on my NYTimes mobile this morning, and like Michael Shear, I’ve been noting the similarities between these two events. Just outside my window, the bodies of people who haven’t been able to access a website are stacking up in the streets. The lucky who have survived are huddled together in their own filth in hot, overcrowded stinking shelters, waiting to log in.

And well I remember how Democrats worked for years to gut FEMA. Every Democratic governor pushed all disaster preparedness up to the federal government to make FEMA’s job as hard as it could possibly be, and the forty separate votes by the Democratic Congress to defund FEMA are still etched in my mind.






174 replies
  1. 1
    Betty says:

    Amen. An so it must always be. Republicans screaming their heads off, and Democrats acting sheepish. The MSM understand this.

  2. 2
    Elizabelle says:

    Sickening.

    But so out there, maybe other folks will wake up.

  3. 3
    eric says:

    Allow me to take this opportunity to respond to two sets of well-intentioned people: the bully pulpit and the better messengers. Saying essentially the same thing, these folks often write at how poorly Obama and his team manage their message or fail to aggressively make their message. I understand that frustration. But, here, you have definitive proof that no DEMOCRAT can control a message in a MSM world that would ever think to equate a website snafu to a truly monumental tragedy as applied to people’s lives (and deaths) and the destruction of one of America’s iconic cities. One wonders if the folks in the Philippines can truly understand the horror of what we, in America, are going through today. Weep for us.

  4. 4
    Cacti says:

    Isn’t this Obama’s fourth or fifth Katrina now?

  5. 5
    Another Bostplainer says:

    Someone said this once “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”

  6. 6
    Hill Dweller says:

    If this is Obama’s Katrina, Ezra Klein seems to think it is the insurance companies on the proverbial roof waiting for rescue.

  7. 7
    Sherparick says:

    But life is not fair, and the ACA roll out is a on-going disaster. However, I do think President Obama’s enemies will rescue him in the end. He has the amazing ability it seems to turn them into self-destructive loons.

  8. 8
    JenJen says:

    Hey, of course it’s Obama’s Katrina, Nicolle Wallace and Harold Ford (LOL) just said their same thing on Morning Joe, which is on the Obamabot Channel known as Big Liberal MSNBC. Sigh.

    Comparisons to Iran-Contra are also popping up. In response to one, Dave Weigel tweeted “So Obama will skate away from blame and get an airport named after him?”

  9. 9
    eric says:

    One other point — every single solitary one of these stories was written, edited, and produced by someone with employer-based health care so this all means spit to them.

  10. 10

    Yes everything is Obama’s Katrina. Always has been.

  11. 11
    Another Bostplainer says:

    @Sherparick: I get the impression that Republicans think everyone loves them now. We’ll see.

  12. 12
    amk says:

    @Cacti: It’s eleventeenth obama’s katrina but who is counting?

  13. 13
    geg6 says:

    @JenJen:

    Yeah, because a website snafu and stupid people wanting to keep the shittiest insurance policies ever issued are exactly the same as trading arms for hostages in order to fund a rightwing terrorist organization that killed and tortured untold thousands. Exactly.

  14. 14
    NotMax says:

    Blue Screen of Death-gate doesn’t roll easily off the tongue.

  15. 15
    El Caganer says:

    @Another Bostplainer: I’m pretty sure that was Ann Coulter.

  16. 16
    eric says:

    Katrina was not Bush’s Katrina because it was only poor black people on the news; Obama has his katrina because it is middle class white people on the news.

  17. 17
    JenJen says:

    @geg6: I wonder when a Bay of Pigs comparison will pop up?

  18. 18
    Neil says:

    So, yeah, I got signed up yesterday through healthcare.gov with no hiccups, and it took all of an hour and a quarter to do it. Had 50 choices, only three of which were more expensive than my last individual policy. The press is making a scandal out of last month’s problem.

  19. 19
    eric says:

    @geg6: in violation of the law…dont forget that nugget.

  20. 20
    El Caganer says:

    Our Liberal Media keep trying to compare the ACA rollout to Katrina, the Iraq invasion, the economic collapse, etc., etc. None of these analogies make any sense. The closest analogy I can think of is the development of the F-35, and ACA (for all its faults) is nowhere near that.

  21. 21
    Cacti says:

    @geg6:

    Yeah, because a website snafu and stupid people wanting to keep the shittiest insurance policies ever issued are exactly the same as trading arms for hostages in order to fund a rightwing terrorist organization that killed and tortured untold thousands. Exactly.

    Hey, why not?

    Bill Clinton getting a bj was the same thing as Richard Nixon running a burglary ring out of the Oval Office.

  22. 22
    GregB says:

    Not to mention that there is probably an equivalent of the Iraq war rollout campaign on behalf of the GOP and the insurance and medical industry to muddy the waters and set up failure memes.

    I see AHIP monster Karen Ignani is in full sabotage mode.

    Why are there so many horrible people in this country.

  23. 23
    OldBean says:

    @Cacti:

    Isn’t this Obama’s fourth or fifth Katrina now?

    You mean this week? Yeah, sounds about right.

    You know what I find kind of interesting? Everything is “Obama’s Katrina”, but I’ve yet to hear anything out “Obama’s Iraq”, even though that’s probably a better analogy (“better”, not “good”) as far as the ACA goes. I guess the media is still too embarrassed about the whole Iraq run-up debacle to bring it up, even in the context of false Obama-Bush equivalencies.

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    @El Caganer

    Medicare Part D comes to mind.

  25. 25
    sparrow says:

    But Katrina only affect blah people in some crappy Southern flyover state, whereas the problematic website hurts real people* so it’s totally equivalent.

    *real people being white and middle class, duh.

  26. 26
    MikeJ says:

    Everybody called Bush stupid just because he got 3000 Americans killed in NYC and 2000 Americans killed in New Orleans and 5000 Americans killed in Iraq and 50,000 Americans maimed in Iraq so it’s not fair that people won’t call Obama stupid because a website takes 15 seconds to load.

  27. 27
    Belafon says:

    Maybe they could call it Obama’s Beirut.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Cacti says:

    @OldBean:

    You know what I find kind of interesting? Everything is “Obama’s Katrina”, but I’ve yet to hear anything out “Obama’s Iraq”, even though that’s probably a better analogy (“better”, not “good”) as far as the ACA goes. I guess the media is still too embarrassed about the whole Iraq run-up debacle to bring it up, even in the context of false Obama-Bush equivalencies.

    The ACA roll out has been the biggest snafu of Obama’s Presidency from an optics standpoint. But, at the end of the day, it amounts to a malfunctioning website. Embarrassing? Sure. Catastrophic? Hardly.

  30. 30
    OldBean says:

    @eric:

    One other point — every single solitary one of these stories was written, edited, and produced by someone with employer-based health care so this all means spit to them.

    Another funny coincidence, none of them are poor black people who drowned in a flood due to federal incompetence and indifference.

  31. 31
    debbie says:

    Yes, and Benghazi was much, much worse than 9/11.

  32. 32
    Cacti says:

    @debbie:

    Yes, and Benghazi was much, much worse than 9/11.

    9/11 was horndog Clinton’s fault.

    Bush kept us safe!

  33. 33
    debbie says:

    @OldBean:

    Hey, it’s Obama’s $17 trillion debt — as if it was at zero when he took office.

  34. 34
    debbie says:

    @Cacti:

    Of course. If only we’d told Condi exactly what was going to happen, we’d all be safe today.

  35. 35
    PeakVT says:

    That is even worse journalism that the Schreiber piece from earlier in the week.

  36. 36
    Hill Dweller says:

    Ezra Klein ✔ @ezraklein
    Insurer have done plenty wrong, but now they’re getting punished for ending discrimination against preexisting conditions

  37. 37
    Citizen_X says:

    This is Obama’s Fort Sumter! Wait, let me start again…

    @JenJen:

    So Obama will skate away from blame and get an airport named after him?

    Sure. I suggest the one in Washington.

  38. 38
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Healthcare.gov is like the eBay of Pigs.

  39. 39
    Cacti says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Ezra Klein ✔ @ezraklein
    Insurer have done plenty wrong, but now they’re getting punished for ending discrimination against preexisting conditions

    Won’t someone think of the insurance companies?!

  40. 40
    Russ says:

    Chess?

    Even if you were living in Montana 20 miles from the middle of nowhere with no internet or Tv nor radio you would have somehow learned of the Obama Care rollout being a cluster_____.

    Seems to convenient how this disaster identifies which side of the issue people are on.

  41. 41
    eric says:

    @Citizen_X: you mean Obamaville.

  42. 42

    Onthe upside, Bush will always be associated with a massive fuck-up of epic proportions. No rehabilitating that when every awful thing that happens is likened to Katrina.

  43. 43
    Jim C says:

    Too bad the NYT didn’t have dueling pictures of a white couple “finding” health care on the internet, and a young african american man “looting” some health care. Or a line of police and sheriffs protecting the only working internet connection to healthcare.gov from “outsiders.”

  44. 44
    NonyNony says:

    Jeebus. There is not a single hand these idiots won’t overplay.

    “Website rollout a disaster due to government incompetence” is enough of a story that you can flog it for a long time. It plays into all of the predictable narrative slots about how government can’t get anything right in just the right way that the journalists can crank out lazy predictable story number 2,045,312 about it. And so it’s a meme that Republicans could run with all the way to the next election and maybe make some hay with (if they don’t try to shut the government down again – morons).

    But then you have to go and compare it to a disaster where people died. At that point you’ve pushed it and you’ve lost a whole swath of people who might be tuned out politically but have enough basic empathy to be disgusted by the analogy of a bad website design being compared to an emergency response screwup that cost lives.

    This seems to be the history of the Obama administration writ large – Executive branch screws something up mildly that should be able to generate political points for the GOP, GOP overplays their hand massively and is unable to capitalize on it. Over and over and over again.

    Talk about being blessed with ridiculous enemies…

  45. 45
    cintibud says:

    Lordy, but a-things ain’t been the same
    Since the blues walked in-a town

  46. 46

    @Jim C:

    Too bad the NYT didn’t have dueling pictures of a white couple “finding” health care on the internet, and a young african american man “looting” some health care.

    Ooooh somene with Photoshop skills should do that …. Hilarious!!!!!!

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    23.203.7.205 or Fight!

  49. 49
    Mr. Longform says:

    I think Charlie Pierce asks a great fundamental question about the health care law and laws in general these days:

    is the country ungovernable right now because the Republicans have made it so, or are the Republicans merely taking advantage of the fact that, through its creaky institutional structures and through an unforgiveable lassitude towards the obligations of self-government on the part of the American people, the country has become ungovernable in and of itself.

  50. 50
  51. 51

    @Russ:
    The side that cares whether people live or die, and the side that, well, doesn’t?

    @Mr. Longform:
    The former. Congress passed laws and things got done for the last century and a half. This really is unprecedented, and it really is absolutely and entirely the GOP’s fault, and by that I mean their voters as much or more than their elected officials.

  52. 52
    Ash Can says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Happens all the time. The FPers don’t read all the comments throughout each day (and I can’t say I blame them).

  53. 53
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Cacti: You need to tweet that shit with a link to the article. Right now.

  54. 54
    SFAW says:

    Not to be the DD (Designated Dickhead) here, but: when you have something as high-profile as the ACA, with so much at stake (re: the penalty for failure, the need for getting it close-to-right the first time, “optics,” and so forth) you don’t put amateurs in charge of the project, and you don’t abdicate being in the project manager’s face as often as necessary. You get someone like Kelly Johnson or George Washington Goethals to run the project. If Rahm Emanuel hadn’t been so concerned with being the Biggest Swinging Dick on the Hill, or in Chicago, he would have made that clear to his boss.

    And it’s pretty clear, from the non-OMFGTehSkyIsFalling! reporting, that no one running things was capable enough for the job.

    OK, so I guess I AM the DD.

    ETA: And, yes, I fully realize and understand that the Rethugs, Kochs, and a host of others were doing everything they could to sabotage things. But there are ways to deal with sabotage of that nature, and a competent PM would know how to do that.

  55. 55
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    It’s like the Assassination of LinkedIn!

  56. 56
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    The Japanese Internetment!

  57. 57
    SFAW says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:
    You might have considered declaring victory after “eBay of Pigs,” and left it at that.

  58. 58
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Southern Beale:

    On the upside, Bush will always be associated with a massive fuck-up of epic proportions. No rehabilitating that when every awful thing that happens is likened to Katrina.

    I don’t know, so many things by now have been Obama’s Katrina that I wouldn’t be surprised if Katrina is mostly associated with this or that being Obama’s it.

  59. 59
    Matt McIrvin says:

    …Also, everything that happens in foreign policy is Obama’s Iraq.

  60. 60
    Mark B. says:

    If Obama sneezes, the press compares it to the time that Bush almost choked to death on a pretzel. There’s a double standard in operation here.

  61. 61
    eric says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Katrina happened when Clinton was president, just after the War of 1812 and before 9/11.

  62. 62
    Cacti says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch:

    I’m not on the Twitters.

  63. 63
    SFAW says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    You mean Katrina DIDN’T happen during Obama’s first term? You lie!

  64. 64
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @eric: Most people seem to regard the Ruby Ridge incident as something that happened during the Clinton administration.

  65. 65
    Cassidy says:

    Just like Syria was Obama’s Iraq!

  66. 66
    Mark B. says:

    I remember when Obama’s jackbooted thugs shot at people who were trying to escape the flooding caused by Katrina!

  67. 67

    @Ash Can: Neither do I, but thought I would point it out all the same.

  68. 68
    Cacti says:

    @Cassidy:

    Just like Syria was Obama’s Iraq!

    Shhh…

    We don’t mention that one, as most of our front pagers swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

  69. 69
    gogol's wife says:

    Thank you for headlining what has made me nauseated all morning.

    I wrote to the Public Editor two days ago about their disgusting “coverage” of the ACA, but do not expect an answer. She’s more worried about why the editorial writer didn’t just come out and say that Obama “lied” instead of saying that he “misspoke.”

  70. 70

    Why does the “liberal media” hate Obama? I don’t remember such animosity towards Bush.

  71. 71
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Cacti:

    The ACA roll out has been the biggest snafu of Obama’s Presidency from an optics standpoint. But, at the end of the day, it amounts to a malfunctioning website. Embarrassing? Sure. Catastrophic? Hardly.

    The worst of it isn’t the malfunctioning website at all; it’s the deluge of frightening cancellation letters from insurance companies trying to push people into buying far more expensive plans and blaming it on Obamacare. That’s the thing that could really kill the ACA if it leads to a panic push to repeal. Fortunately both the administration and the Congressional Democrats have reasonable responses to that, but I think the political egg can’t be unscrambled entirely.

  72. 72
    Chris says:

    @El Caganer:

    If in twenty years the ACA website is still a SNAFU, then it’ll be comparable to the F-35.

    @OldBean:

    Wasn’t Syria going to be Obama’s Iraq, until it wasn’t? Wasn’t Libya?

  73. 73
    Baud says:

    One difference that people haven’t mentioned. Bush took an existing competent agency — FEMA — and ruined it. The website is a brand new thing that will improve over time.

  74. 74
    hoodie says:

    @SFAW:Thanks for designating yourself, saves time.

  75. 75
    Cassidy says:

    Anthony Weiner was on Maher this past weekend. Love him or hate him, he’s defending the ACA better than anyone else I’ve read.

  76. 76
    gnomedad says:

    Just noticed every single Newsmax “headline” is a winger quote or “vote here!”

  77. 77
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:
    Brilliant, just brilliant.

  78. 78
    gogol's wife says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    What I remember is picking up my New York Times one morning and seeing a blood-curdling front-page story about “aluminum tubes.”

    No reporter or editor on the New York Times seems to remember that morning with the same clarity that I do.

  79. 79
    SFAW says:

    @hoodie:

    Thanks for designating yourself, saves time.

    Glad I’m useful for something.

  80. 80
    Hill Dweller says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I wrote to the Public Editor two days ago about their disgusting “coverage” of the ACA, but do not expect an answer. She’s more worried about why the editorial writer didn’t just come out and say that Obama “lied” instead of saying that he “misspoke.”

    Do these imbeciles really believe Obama was talking about anyone other than people who had insurance when the ACA became law when he said people could keep their plans? Are we supposed to believe he meant people who bought insurance post-Obamacare get to avoid the law’s requirement?

  81. 81
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @NonyNony:

    But then you have to go and compare it to a disaster where people died. At that point you’ve pushed it and you’ve lost a whole swath of people who might be tuned out politically but have enough basic empathy to be disgusted by the analogy of a bad website design being compared to an emergency response screwup that cost lives.

    I’m not convinced this is going to happen this time.

    I’m watching the polls. This is connecting in a way the earlier stuff never did. In public-opinion terms this really is Obama’s Katrina. The people are not as smart or decent as you think.

  82. 82
    cleek says:

    also, it’s a big failure because it took longer than WWII !

  83. 83
    ericblair says:

    @SFAW:

    You get someone like Kelly Johnson or George Washington Goethals to run the project. If Rahm Emanuel hadn’t been so concerned with being the Biggest Swinging Dick on the Hill, or in Chicago, he would have made that clear to his boss.

    I sympathize, but now you have to figure out a) who these people are who are great program managers and not simply lucky with their choice of programs; b) convince them to take on a program with this level of internal sabotage and limited upside; and c) how to get these people on board considering Federal Acquisition Regulations or civil service regulations that are designed to level the playing field and limit favoritism.

    The website does not equal PPACA, this shit will get fixed, and life will go on.

  84. 84

    @Matt McIrvin: So what should we do? Rend our garments or curl up and die?

  85. 85
    Cassidy says:

    @Cacti: Shit, it’s not like they read the comments anymore, anyways. Too much criticism for the delicate fee-fees.

  86. 86
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Matt McIrvin: It’s definitely hurting Obama in the polls, but getting the website fixed is key to changing opinion. Without a functioning website, people can’t see an alternative to the misleading letters and rate shock.

    PO is meeting with insurance executives today. I hope he gives them an ultimatum on the letters being sent out.

  87. 87
    MikeJ says:

    @cleek: Also in WWI, if you spoke out publicly against the government programs involved, you would go to prison.

  88. 88
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Mr. Longform: It’s partly due to our antiquated system of government and mostly due to Republicans. If Pierce (or anyone else) is going to go down the road of Americans are too stupid and lazy to deserve a Democracy that’s fine, but I’m not going down that road with him.

  89. 89
    kd bart says:

    Pretty sure no one has died because of glitches at Healthcare.gov. Can’t say the same thing about Bush’s response to Katrina, the Invasion of Iraq and the failure to take serious Bin Laden’s intent to strike in the US as laid out in the President’s Daily Briefing Memo of August 6th, 2001.

    Remember, these are the same people who are willing to pour more and more resources into missile shield defense despite numerous test failures and genuine lack of need for it.

  90. 90
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Perl Harbor!

  91. 91
    Elizabelle says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Maybe people who have insurance and never had to choose it — or pay the full freight — themselves are scoffing.

    You know, those rugged individuals.

    Lotta small businesses and people off the insurance grid will like Obamacare just fine. Their stories will get out more slowly, because if it bleeds it leads.

    Unless it’s 40 million people bleeding slowly, in plain sight, but the media only reports on that when it covers these pop-up free clinics that draw a surprising number of people. Surprising, I tell you.

    We are stuck with the media we got, and — to your point — the fellow Americans we got.

  92. 92
    nastybrutishntall says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: well played, sir. well played.

  93. 93
    Cassidy says:

    @SatanicPanic: Everyone loves a dictator as long as he’s your guy.

  94. 94
    catclub says:

    Doesn’t Michael Shear have a very bad record of doing this?

  95. 95
    gogol's wife says:

    @catclub:

    All the Times political reporters hate Obama.

  96. 96
    SFAW says:

    @ericblair:

    a) who these people are who are great program managers and not simply lucky with their choice of programs

    That’s what Rahm should have been doing – not necessarily figuring out who that person is, but getting a “tiger team” together to figure out who it is. (I’m assuming you’re talking about the 2010 time period, since the skill set required today is somewhat different from what was required in a PM. Today, it’s crisis management.)

    b) convince them to take on a program with this level of internal sabotage and limited upside

    You can always find a person with the right skill set who will be willing to do it because “Your President needs your help.” Wall Street, for example, is NOT a place where I’d look – even if any of those mofos had the requisite skills.

    c) how to get these people on board considering Federal Acquisition Regulations or civil service regulations that are designed to level the playing field and limit favoritism.

    I’m assuming there are always ways around things like that. Maybe have them all work as NSA contractors? (I’m being semi-serious – stick ’em in a black budget area, perhaps.)

  97. 97

    @catclub: He is hardly the only one, Obama gets constant negative coverage from the NYT, all the time.

  98. 98
    Elizabelle says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    And why isn’t Jay Carney standing behind a press podium with the 1 800 number for healthcare.gov every day? And it should be a backdrop at Obama and Michelle appearances too.

    We should be able to rattle that number off by sheer repetition by now.

    FYI, the Healthcare.gov number is

    1-800-318-2596

    TTY: 1-855-889-4325

  99. 99
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cassidy: Or you are the guy. Anyone want to nominate me?

  100. 100
    jonas says:

    @Cacti:

    But, at the end of the day, it amounts to a malfunctioning website. Embarrassing? Sure. Catastrophic? Hardly.

    I think that’s basically right. The bad website isn’t killing people or leaving a city to drown. But part of the reason this is blowing up in Obama’s face so badly is that it gives lie to two key traits that people generally liked in Obama: Cool. Competent. Politicians can survive scandals where they get into trouble due to a foible or character trait the public basically expects of them and forgives them for. That’s how Clinton could schtupp an intern, get impeached over it, and still have approval ratings in the 60s. Or how Reagan could claim ignorance of arms for hostages with a homespun apology for his grandfatherly forgetfulness and overeager patriotism (although he got nailed in the polls for a time initially). If your claim to fame is being disciplined, cool, and competent, and then really fuck something up because you were none of those things, then you’re in trouble.

  101. 101

    […] Subtitled: Remember Perl Harbor! […]

  102. 102
    Elizabelle says:

    From the healthcare.gov website: we gots your phone numbers right here:

    By phone
    We can help you complete the entire application process from beginning to end with information you provide over the phone, including reviewing your options and helping you enroll in a plan. We can also answer questions as you fill out an online or paper application. We’re available 24/7.

    1-800-318-2596

    TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    Small businesses resources
    Have questions about the SHOP Marketplace for businesses with 50 or fewer employees?

    Call: 1-800-706-7893

    TTY: 1-800-706-7915

    Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. Agents and brokers may also use this number.

  103. 103
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    The Kidnapping of the eTrade Baby!

  104. 104
    gene108 says:

    It is game over for Obama right now.

    I’m sorry. He screwed up by apologizing.

    A Presidential apology, to the MSM, is like jumping in shark infested waters, with your wrists slit and expecting the sharks to ignore the sent of blood you just gave them.

    The reasonable response would have been to attack Republicans for their obstruction. Most people have no clue how much Republicans have done to undermine the effectiveness of this law.

    I do not think this will be Obama’s Katrina, but the damage has been done and won’t be undone in the next few months.

    The only hope is getting stories – actual fucking stories – about how Obamacare is going to save lives out to the general public. There was a story here a few weeks back about a small business owner with cancer, who finally got health insurance because of Obamacare (I forget the name of the commenter, sorry).

    Put the stories up on your Twitter feeds, when you respond to a reporters Twitter feed like some of you do. You know Ezra Klein tweets and you want to respond, post a link to a testimonial of the good Obamacare is doing.

    If you know anyone else willing to give a story about how Obamacare is going to save them get it and shoot it around the internets.

    Enough stories will eventually break through the noise of the website roll out, but for fucks sake please get rid of the idea that politicians are going to handle all the messaging and shit it takes to drum up support for their positions.

    The Republicans get this. No Republican politician ever said – ten years go – people opposed to the Iraq War “hated America”. That was delegated to Rush, Hannity, et. al., though in our minds we conflate those sayings with Republicans. They had (and have) their media stooges do their dirty work for them.

    We need to use the internet to the best of our ability to be the “media stooges” for liberal/progressive causes and the best way I can think of is to bombard reporters – via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mails – with stories of the good liberal/progressive policies do.

    And yes, for all the single-payer advocates, Obamacare is a progressive policy because it moves us closer to the goal of Universal Healthcare than any other law since Medicare, in 1965.

    EDIT: Even with Katrina, the push back to the obvious horror of the incompetent response came from Hannity, when he had pictures of school buses with the notion that why didn’t mayor Nagin use them for evacuating people.

    Also, the 9/11/01 was Clinton’s fault came from the right-wing media.

    If we want a liberal country, we need to do whatever we can, in our own little way to get the message out.

  105. 105
    catclub says:

    Dpm up top mentions the multiple attempts at sabotage of the ACA by the GOP at all levels,
    from the House and Senate, to the supreme court, to the states refusing to open their own exchanges,
    to the states making life hard on the insurance navigators. Not so much mention of these in the press.

    I take all these omissions, which will more slowly leak out, as good news. There is no real scandal, and the more they report, the more balance that will leak into the story.

    The problem with both katrina and Iraq was that there was a real scandal, and the more you knew, the worse it got.

    ETA: Gene, just above, and I are saying the same things.

  106. 106
    boatboy_srq says:

    @eric: Add to that the objective fact that the tribulations of rolling out an entirely new program are not remotely comparable to the abject failures of an existing agency over twenty five years old at the time. Had the US gone Single Payer and allowed everyone to buy into Medicare then there would be a hint of validity in the comparisons: instead there’s a whole new construct being presented with growing/teething issues, and the resource-starving that ACA has endured has no relevance to the rank incompetence, indifference, and disdain for federal anything that the Katrina response showcased.

    There is one point where comparisons are entirely valid. The Teahad’s wilful obstruction of effective governance is on display in both cases. With the ACA, we have a federal program inhibited, obstructed, un(der)funded and otherwise hindered by Teahadist actions; with FEMA we had the cronyism and incompetence inherent in following “government is the problem” approaches to federal institutions on full display. They’re two sides of the same coin, and it’s well past time it was highlighted.

    Katrina is one instance where I think Jeb showed his prowess as the least unintelligent of the younger Shrubbery. The year before – when FL was lashed with multiple major storms – Jeb’s state agencies took the burden of the response and recovery. Doing so, Jeb saved Dubya’s bacon by not showcasing what a mess his brother had made of the federal agency that would have stepped on into the response effort. Had the US seen the same FEMA non-response to Charlie, Frances, Ivan and Jeannie in 2004, Shrub wouldn’t have been pResident in 2005 to mishandle Katrina, Rita and Wilma in the fashion we saw – and we can owe the latter measurably to Jeb’s insistence on FEMA’s uninvolvement in the former.

  107. 107
  108. 108
    Belafon says:

    @Elizabelle: it wouldn’t matter much. Middle class people who either 1) aren’t being affected by the new insurance requirements, or 2) like paying for crappy insurance until they need it, are not getting any benefit out of the improvements to the website. Middle class people are literally dieing because this is like Hitler invading France (misusing literally and Godwinning in one sentence).

  109. 109
    Hill Dweller says:

    @jonas:

    I think that’s basically right. The bad website isn’t killing people or leaving a city to drown. But part of the reason this is blowing up in Obama’s face so badly is that it gives lie to two key traits that people generally liked in Obama: Cool. Competent. Politicians can survive scandals where they get into trouble due to a foible or character trait the public basically expects of them and forgives them for. That’s how Clinton could schtupp an intern, get impeached over it, and still have approval ratings in the 60s. Or how Reagan could claim ignorance of arms for hostages with a homespun apology for his grandfatherly forgetfulness and overeager patriotism (although he got nailed in the polls for a time initially). If your claim to fame is being disciplined, cool, and competent, and then really fuck something up because you were none of those things, then you’re in trouble.

    I think the Village convincing the country Obama lied when he said people could keep their policies is the real problem. People are upset about their insurance getting cancelled, and are blaming PO.

  110. 110
  111. 111
    MomSense says:

    @eric:

    Allow me to take this opportunity to respond to two sets of well-intentioned people: the bully pulpit and the better messengers. Saying essentially the same thing, these folks often write at how poorly Obama and his team manage their message or fail to aggressively make their message. I understand that frustration. But, here, you have definitive proof that no DEMOCRAT can control a message in a MSM world that would ever think to equate a website snafu to a truly monumental tragedy as applied to people’s lives (and deaths) and the destruction of one of America’s iconic cities. One wonders if the folks in the Philippines can truly understand the horror of what we, in America, are going through today. Weep for us.

    The media have an agenda that is not the public interest and is certainly not allied with a president or a party who want to protect individuals from an insurance system that was predatory and exploitative. There are obviously some exceptions – but very few. The sane voices, the truly compassionate voices cannot break through the corporate media blockade. The bully pulpit ain’t what it fu*$ing used to be, that’s for sure.

  112. 112
    C.V. Danes says:

    Yeah, this has to be one of the stupidest comparisons of all times.

  113. 113
    handsmile says:

    For those wishing to follow the excellent example/lead of gogol’s wife (#69):

    public@nytimes.com

    is the contact website for Margaret Sullivan, the NYT’s Public Editor. And more contact info:

    http://publiceditor.blogs.nyti.....ic-editor/

    (In my experience with her and her predecessors, there will be some response but expect pablum.)

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    The usurper’s arrogant refusal to give them all nicknames hurt their precious fee-fees.

  114. 114
    Mike E says:

    @cleek: Somebody repeated this on GOS and I pointed out there that the end date quoted wasn’t the End Date of WWII. The Pacific conflict certainly raged on, but was brought to an end mostly through technological means, tinkered with to great success, that many don’t recognize to this day. The lesson, I think, is that no roll-out comes perfectly formed.

  115. 115
    Kay says:

    @debbie:

    Yes, and Benghazi was much, much worse than 9/11.

    They really believe in Benghazi. I had someone tell me that Benghazi was “dividing the country”

    Yeah, into media + professional Republicans versus everyone else who has no idea what the Benghazi obsessives are talking about.

  116. 116
  117. 117
    Elizabelle says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    You won the internets the other day with this one. (I am still laughing.)

    From thread on Burning Glass, the 3-women on a couch consulting firm that will tell the GOP how to appeal to wimmens:

    from fuckhead:

    I don’t want to toot my own horn here but I think I know a little about appealing to women. Based on the demographic data from the recent election, married women overwhelmingly went for Republicans so I think the Republican message should be:

    “If you could hold onto a man, you’d be voting Republican.”

  118. 118
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Hill Dweller: Clinton had a booming economy, and Reagan IRRC a stronger one than now, besides the whole grandpa thing.

    and far more people are afraid of getting their policies cancelled than actually are. You’d think that health insurance being such a source of fear and economic insecurity in the greatest richest godliest country in history on the face of the earth would underscore that reform is necessary, difficult, and requires more effort and patience, but everyone Chuck Todd knows is very happy with their health insurance, so also too.

  119. 119
    piratedan says:

    @SFAW: you’re right, those people exist and are out there and help big business get their products out the door. Perhaps, you could find someone amongst them altruistic enough to run the shitshow too but that’s a tough sell of watching your product remain mostly static with your contractor for months/years and then as ramp up for release starts to show up, continually have more product changes tossed your way, i.e. the evolving Medicaid pictures and the lack of cooperation at the state level (which is crucial since you have to know if they’re even going to participate to link in the ever important Medicaid subsidy monies). Not saying that this was doomed, but I’ve certainly watched enough product releases fail miserably because management refused to listen to the troops and the program managers who indicated that the product was faulty, needed more resources, hadn’t been tested/validated enough etc etc etc to know that this was going to be tough. Each time I tell myself that the Government should be competent enough to do this I have to remind myself that we operate in a lowest bidder environment and we’re constantly having to remember that we have the Likes of Marsha Blackburn to provide oversight.

  120. 120
    Tone in DC says:

    It is game over for Obama right now.

    I’m sorry. He screwed up by apologizing.

    A Presidential apology, to the MSM, is like jumping in shark infested waters, with your wrists slit and expecting the sharks to ignore the sent of blood you just gave them.

    I disagree.
    An apology won’t stop the M$M from going after him. The ACA rollout IS damaging, and this website’s glitches could have been prevented.

    The thing is, most of the M$M have always disliked Obama. Their lack of respect for the man was obvious from the nomination in 2008. These same gas-holes played up Joe “you lie!” Wilson for WEEKS after that incident. They played up Mitt’s “likeability”. They openly disrespect Michelle Obama, incessantly. When the SEAL team got Bin Laden, some of the idiots went out of their way to credit Bush for the operation. I read that on this blog, as I recall.

    And this… the Post has published article after article, every damn day, for weeks now, on how this is such a disaster. CNN has done the same. It is easy to feel as if he’s about to resign in disgrace if you take these outlets at face value.

    Yes, these bastards smell blood. But their reaction is nothing new. BHO needs to remember that. And all of “the sky is falling” comments here don’t change the fact that he is still a competent, cool executive. He’s trying to fix the problem.

    And no, Obama can’t control a bunch of spoiled, vindictive, short-sighted children (Lara Logan, Richard Cohen, all the PolitiHos, Cilliza, Douthat, Blitzer, Hannity) like the American press.

  121. 121
    azrev says:

    Asininity like this is why I have stopped watching either network or cable news. Haven’t bothered with the New York Times, Washington Post or NPR for years. Predictable stupidity is really boring.

  122. 122
    RaflW says:

    People in the Phillipines are experiencing a crisis. A horrible, catastrophic one. Choosing this moment to bring up a devastating hurricane and equal it to the buggy, clumsy and even problematic ACA rollout is a monumental cruelty by the Times.

    Their comfortable, privileged lives are showing (again).

  123. 123
    Hill Dweller says:

    As usual, Charlie Pierce says it best.

  124. 124
    Mike E says:

    @Southern Beale: Heh, and this is a classic addition to that twitter feed.

  125. 125
    gogol's wife says:

    @RaflW:

    Good point.

    I have clung to my Times subscription for (1) the crossword puzzles, (2) the arts coverage, (3) the recipes, (4) the occasional piece of excellent reporting that still makes it to the front page, mostly war correspondents like C. J. Chivers et al. But this morning’s front page made me ill. I truly have to deal with my crossword puzzle addiction and give it up. But where do I go for news?

  126. 126

    Just outside my window, the bodies of people who haven’t been able to access a website are stacking up in the streets.

    You apparently don’t know that thousands of Americans die each year from lack of health insurance.

  127. 127
  128. 128
    gogol's wife says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    And I should mention that even in the Arts section, the gratuitous Obama-bashing is all over the place, in book reviews by Kakutani and Dwight whats-his-name and of course from the ever-accurate Alessandra Stanley.

  129. 129
    EconWatcher says:

    One of our fundamental problems is that nice guys finish last. On the other hand, those like Alan Grayson who completely buck the “nice guy” persona don’t seem to help the cause much. We seem to be stuck with getting held to a different standard, and we just have to play the game better than they do. Sucks, but it seems to be the truth

  130. 130
    Jeremy says:

    Can we please stop with the doom and gloom posts when we are a year away from an election. The same people going on and on about potential election losses believed the media’s “omg Obama lost the first debate” meme. I recall some on this blog who believed Romney was going to win because of one debate. People said he couldn’t win with unemployment so high and he won handily. So many people have declared Obama’s career dead so many times that I’ve lost count. I say calm down and wait and see how this plays out.

  131. 131
    scav says:

    Looks like “reporter” will be one of the jobs lost to automation / robotics instead of shipped overseas. Slip in a random word and fact generator and no one will notice the difference.

  132. 132
    EconWatcher says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I agree. I don’t think we’re doing ourselves any favors by underestimating the hit we’re taking, even though it’s unfair. The hits are massive, and moving numbers–like Obama’s likability–that have never moved this way before. We need a major, major game changer on this.

  133. 133
  134. 134
    Belafon says:

    The MSM and their owners get this: Obama is changing the country. It wouldn’t be easy even without their obstruction, but the goal of the wealthy is to keep everyone else down, and they’ve assigned the MSM that task.

    For a slightly less conspiracy theory version, Obama is trying to change the country, and the writers and reporters are comfortable with their position and don’t want to see it be threatened in any way, and like most people, they think obvious change is bad, while completely ignoring the decay occurring while nothing is being done.

  135. 135
    Chris says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    I think the Village convincing the country Obama lied when he said people could keep their policies is the real problem. People are upset about their insurance getting cancelled, and are blaming PO.

    Much more importantly, “you’re about to lose your insurance policy” is the kind of danger that the average voter perfectly understands and relates to, even if it’s not true. That’s what was missing from Benghazigate, IRSgate, APgate and even NSAgate. That’s why this is sticking.

  136. 136

    […] Following DPM’s post below on Michael Shear’s ACA website woes = Katrina piece, let me urge y’all to let Mr. Shear know directly of the problems you find in the piece. […]

  137. 137
    kindness says:

    One thing that isn’t mentioned enough by the MSM is that in all the states where they accepted the ACA and designed their own programs in conjunction with the ACA it is working really well. My California is a really good example. Red Kentucky is another. It is really only those states with Republican governors & legislatures where the fuck up is real.

    Why isn’t the MSM blaming those Republican governors and legislatures? Yea, that was just theatric. We all know why.

    btw – who’se family does Buster in the Nov ’13 calender belong to? What a cutie.

  138. 138
    Hill Dweller says:

    @EconWatcher: Again, once they get the website fixed, and can confidently direct people to it, PO and his surrogates can go on the offensive again.

    Extending some of the junk policies temporarily and meeting with insurance execs is a good start.

  139. 139
    hoodie says:

    @Chris: Hold on partner, I’m not sure they’ve convinced the public of anything. If they have, I guess you have to get to point of questioning whether the media is the cause or just a symptom, e.g., is the country is just a collection of ignorant morons, racists, assholes and other defectives willing to believe utter nonsense? The information is out there, you don’t have to rely on stupid media interpretations like this, and polls consistently indicate that people don’t trust the media anyway. Something like 95%+ didn’t have their health insurance plans affected, so why would they eagerly believe it’s a lie when it’s true for the vast majority of people? My guess is that a lot of people think it was simply a white lie or a fudge typical of politicians, and it will blow over in due time. This is one area where I think polls are heavily influenced by how the questions are asked, and media types, including a lot on the left, jump to conclusions too quickly and grasp at things like this Katrina nonsense in the never ending competition for eyeballs.

  140. 140
    catclub says:

    @Tone in DC: “BHO needs to remember that.”
    Actually, my understanding is that he is ALWAYS the one in the room with the longest view. He is clearly more patient than anybody else.

    It is everybody else who needs to calm down. This too will pass. Kind of like a kidney stone.

  141. 141
    Hal says:

    Meh. I don’t care anymore. America is a fucked up country and I’ve always said Obama will be viewed with exceptions matter what he does. I just don’t care about midterms or poll numbers. It’s fucking November 2013. If dems ever want to know why we lose just look at the panic out there. Don’t fight back against bullshit. Pull a mary landriue and come up with a bs plan that just fucks things up because you’re up for reelection. Pull a Bill Clinton. Just run for the hills cause that’s all dems do.

  142. 142
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    4/04!

  143. 143
    Keith G says:

    @eric: You say that no Democrat can control a message in this media environment. We don’t know that because the effort hasn’t been there – at least not in any meaningful presence. This has been a weakness of the Obama administration. A weakness that even he has at times admitted to on the public record.

    Maybe it is true that no amount of effort would work, but that premise plainly has not been tested.

  144. 144
    Chris says:

    @hoodie:

    I’m not saying they’ve “convinced the public” as a whole, or that it’s irreversible for those they’ve convinced. I’m saying that this accusation has staying power because it’s something regular people can relate to (again, in a way that they really didn’t with all the aforementioned scandals). I’m saying that if you tell people “you could be about to lose your health insurance,” they will sit up and pay attention in a way that they didn’t for stories where the only people affected were diplomats on the other side of the world, political groups pretending to be charitable organizations, etc. Doesn’t mean the argument’ll win out in the end.

  145. 145
    NotMax says:

    @gogol’s wife

    Had a subscription to just the Book Review for many, many years, but gave it up a while back as the content became more and more insipid and the reviews mutated into being more about the reviewers than about the book in too many instances.

  146. 146
    ericblair says:

    @SFAW:

    I’m assuming there are always ways around things like that. Maybe have them all work as NSA contractors? (I’m being semi-serious – stick ‘em in a black budget area, perhaps.).

    Tongue in cheek, I know, but classified projects have similar acquisition rules to unclassified ones and have Congressional oversight. You probably don’t want to start violating laws and regulations there either. Anyways, there’s no way you could justify classifying any part of the program.

    The civil service system and the Federal Acquisition Regulations are essentially designed to prevent Congress and the President from arbitrarily hiring and firing their buddies in government posts or federal contracts, and as a side effect makes it very difficult to do the shaping and tweaking to put a very specific team together. This is a project with a large number of critical externalities, a fixed schedule and required capability, and sudden changes to performance and scalability requirements. This has also been far more of a success than numerous multibillion dollar DoD, FAA, IRS, DHS, and other federal IT projects, but you only hear about those in the trade rags and not in breathless exaggerated detail by a bunch of liars with axes to grind on the teevee.

  147. 147
    NotMax says:

    @ericblair

    Indeed.

    Forget the exact dollar amount the FBI frittered away under the last administration setting up and installing a massive computer system which never worked and was such an obsolete mish-mash that the whole thing was just scrapped, but it wasn’t chump change.

  148. 148
    catclub says:

    Sky not falling. Unwad thy panties, democrats!

    http://prospect.org/article/me.....ot-falling

  149. 149
    catclub says:

    @NotMax: I saw a tiny bit of reporting on the refusal of the House to fund a proper HHS response to all the extra exchanges it would be running.

    But again, if there is any scandal, that is what there is, which will come out slowly and redound to teh benefit of the ACA.

  150. 150
    SFAW says:

    @piratedan:

    As I said: they exist, and I bet there is some non-infinitesimal percentage of them who would be willing to take on the job. As with most leaders at that level, they thrive on the challenge, not on the potential upside. (For a number of them, succeeding at a monster task like that WOULD be the upside. I know it would be for me – although my PM skills are a bit rusty – and I don’t think I’m that unusual. Well, outside of being a dickhead, that is.)

    I absolutely agree that the obstacles would be huge. But unless you’re trying to change the laws of space/time/physics, obstacles can be overcome.

    And, just to be clear: the rollout clusterfuck clearly is nothing like Katrina, and Shear (and any number of the CNN assholes saying same) should be forced to cover Kurt Cobain’s activities for a year. Without pay.

  151. 151
    SFAW says:

    @ericblair:

    Thanks for the explanation(s). One comment re: the changes in scope: a competent PM expects that “deliverables” may change in major ways, and plans accordingly. And, yes, they can plan for that stuff, especially since some of the obstacles (which led to scope changes) were easily foreseeable – Rethug sabotage at the Federal and State level, for example – and other perhaps not as much, but still not on the order of “Asteroid wipes out entire East Coast.”

  152. 152

    It’s too damn far down now but I hope people see this:

    https://twitter.com/shearm/status/401193931133968384

    Given the author of the article above, it’s certainly relevant.

  153. 153
    Tone in DC says:

    @catclub:

    Interesting simile with the stone.

    Yes, he is patient. Almost like Job, considering all that goes on (and has gone on for years).

    Our M$M makes more cash from bad news. Even if they have to manufacture it, as they often seem to.

  154. 154
    Fred says:

    @gene108: NEVER APOLOGIZE, NEVER EXPLAIN. Oh yeah: Never say never.

  155. 155
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @EconWatcher: To first order, I don’t give a damn about Obama’s likability at this point. He’s reelected and term-limited, and he can’t do much else except hold the line anyway. Being despised is part of the job he signed up for.

    But there are the second-order effects. I don’t like the very real possibility that 2014 will be another Republican wave election like 2010, locking in House and Senate Republican majorities for maybe another decade. I was worried that Congressional Democrats were going to flee en masse to one of these stupid repeal-the-ACA bills, but Landrieu’s actually sounds like one they can support without embarrassment, so that’s good.

    At one point I tried to figure out if the Republicans could pick up enough seats in the Senate to convict Obama in an impeachment trial, but I think that even if they win every contested seat, they’ll be very slightly short unless they can get some Democrat to defect (which, in that scenario, is unlikely, because the remaining Democrats would be hardcore).

    2016, it’s probably too early to talk about; something else will change the game by then.

  156. 156
    ericblair says:

    @SFAW:

    And, yes, they can plan for that stuff, especially since some of the obstacles (which led to scope changes) were easily foreseeable – Rethug sabotage at the Federal and State level, for example – and other perhaps not as much, but still not on the order of “Asteroid wipes out entire East Coast.

    You can plan for it, if you have the money and resources available. Essentially, the program had several big risks identified, but there was no firm change to performance requirements until it was clear how many states were going to have to be supported. So before that, yes, you could have started burning resources on contingency planning, including significantly overdesigning the system based on the then-current requirements. Assuming you had the cash for this and could scale up the personnel and contracts for this, now the problem is that you’re deliberately blowing through your earned-value metrics, which automatically triggers a series of high-level reviews and puts you on the chopping block. If you had a sane Congress, you could go to them for relief, but we don’t.

    Yes, it could have been managed better. Given the performance, functional, schedule, and cost requirements and the hostile and uncertain environment, could they have executed it error-free on day 1? Harder question to answer.

  157. 157
    JohnK says:

    @SFAW: Regarding getting the right people in charge, the White House was warned long in advance that they did not have the right team in place.

    Meanwhile, the White House also slowed down important regulations that had been drafted within CMS months earlier, appearing to wait until just after Obama’s reelection. Among the most significant were standards for insurance coverage under exchanges. The rules for these “essential health benefits” were proposed just before Thanksgiving last year and did not become final until February. Another late regulation spelled out important rules for insurance premiums.

    Such delays were “a singularly bad decision,” said Foster, the former Medicare chief actuary. “It’s the president’s most significant domestic policy achievement,” he said, and the very aides who had pushed the law through Congress were risking bad implementation “for a short-term political gain.”

    After the election, Cutler, the Harvard professor, renewed his warnings that the White House had not put the right people in charge. “I said, ‘You have another chance to get a team in place,’ ” he recalled.

    Nothing changed.

  158. 158
    LanceThruster says:

    My sides hurt!

  159. 159

    […] think Dread Pirate Mixmaster’s response on Balloon Juice sums up the absurdity and lack of perspective quite […]

  160. 160
    SFAW says:

    @ericblair:

    Assuming you had the cash for this and could scale up the personnel and contracts for this, now the problem is that you’re deliberately blowing through your earned-value metrics, which automatically triggers a series of high-level reviews and puts you on the chopping block.

    Maybe I’m misreading you, but it looks like you’re applying for-profit metrics to an endeavor which is anything but (at least not at this stage). And, in general, doubling (or even tripling) your development cost/effort ends up being relatively cost effective – especially when you factor in the lost-opportunity costs, and the costs required to fix a flawed design after release.

    Given the performance, functional, schedule, and cost requirements and the hostile and uncertain environment, could they have executed it error-free on day 1? Harder question to answer.

    Oh, I don’t think error-free on Day 1 was/is possible. But that’s why you allow – I don’t know, 6 months? 12 months? – of testing to beat the crap out of the system in the Test Bed, so that the “Final” Release doesn’t serve as the Beta (or whatever). That’s why serious development efforts spend almost as much time on developing a testing strategy as they do on development. (Well, I’m exaggerating a little, but not a ton.)

    Slightly OT, but a question that’s been bugging me: we knew there would be external sabotage efforts, courtesy of the Rethugs, but has anyone considered that Obamacare had it’s very own Bill Haydon in a position of power?

  161. 161
    SFAW says:

    @JohnK:

    You’re depressing me even more.

  162. 162
    Keith G says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Why does the “liberal media” hate Obama? I don’t remember such animosity towards Bush.

    Please tell me you’re joking and that I just didn’t pick up on your tell.

  163. 163
    ericblair says:

    @SFAW:

    Maybe I’m misreading you, but it looks like you’re applying for-profit metrics to an endeavor which is anything but (at least not at this stage). And, in general, doubling (or even tripling) your development cost/effort ends up being relatively cost effective – especially when you factor in the lost-opportunity costs, and the costs required to fix a flawed design after release.

    Earned Value Management is a mandatory program management analysis methodology for federal programs about a certain size (I think $10M, but might be wrong). It’s not about profit, but adherence to cost/schedule/performance expectations throughout the program development lifecycle. I’m not a PM, but am sort of familiar with the process. In bigger programs, your requirements are set by an external high-level requirements oversight committee, and budget is a line item in the agency budget. The risk management that we’d want to do would IMO have to go up the food chain to both of these and out of the PM’s hands. It’s a pretty rigid system that’s intended to stop runaway programs. When runaway programs do happen, it’s because everyone in the oversight roles is complicit in the overrun.

    Oh, I don’t think error-free on Day 1 was/is possible. But that’s why you allow – I don’t know, 6 months? 12 months? – of testing to beat the crap out of the system in the Test Bed, so that the “Final” Release doesn’t serve as the Beta (or whatever).

    Absolutely, but if you have a fixed date to go live, and you don’t have a completed system to do the development test/acceptance test/operational test on, you’re going to be rushing the testing when it is ready.

  164. 164
    SFAW says:

    @ericblair:

    Thanks again for trying to educate me. If it wasn’t already obvious, I’ve been private-sector for a shitload of years, so the Federal restrictions are unfamiliar to me.

    Absolutely, but if you have a fixed date to go live, and you don’t have a completed system to do the development test/acceptance test/operational test on, you’re going to be rushing the testing when it is ready.

    That’s why you have a competent PM beat the crap out of the schedule’s assumptions early on, and respond accordingly. As I’ve said more than a couple of times (not here, but in real life: any idiot can do the calcs; it’s making the right assumptions that separates the high performers from the zipperheads.

    Sounds like you and I could spend a large amount of time on stuff like this, I think it would be an interesting conversation. Plus, we’d solve all the world’s problems (without the help of that asteroid).

    Thanks again!

  165. 165
    ericblair says:

    @SFAW:

    Sounds like you and I could spend a large amount of time on stuff like this, I think it would be an interesting conversation. Plus, we’d solve all the world’s problems (without the help of that asteroid).

    Same here. The gummint bidness is pretty specialized and works in its own complicated set of rules. A lot of these rules have (or had) some decent reason to be written, and the system tends to try to limit the harm (or good) one person can do. So on a good day you avoid a bad PM screwing up an entire project, but on a bad day you prevent a good PM from pulling another out of the fire.

  166. 166
    SFAW says:

    @ericblair:

    but on a bad day you prevent a good PM from pulling another out of the fire.

    “First, do no harm.”

    Too bad some/all of the Rethug (alleged) MDs don’t follow the oath they (allegedly) took.

  167. 167

    @Keith G: It was a rhetorical question. Liberal media is not really liberal at all.

  168. 168

    @Chris:

    Wasn’t Syria going to be Obama’s Iraq, until it wasn’t? Wasn’t Libya?

    That bastard Obama refuses to be an aggressively incompetent fucknut. Very uncooperative of him. He ought to be impeached for it.

  169. 169
    JohnK says:

    @SFAW: I predict a review of this development effort will go into text books as a classic case study. I was told you don’t release a product that has serious flaws because it costs more to fix after release and the fix takes longer to fix when it is in production. Were there options that could have resulted in a partial release that would have been positive and still allowed for updates to add additional functionality within the political time frame? I think the answer is yes. When they needed to put the plan comparison tool right on top, they were able to do that overnight. Just the functionality of being able to browse plans and get a rough idea of the prices would have kept people happy for 45 days or so. Oregon is finally starting to feel the heat for a delayed release now.

  170. 170
    jc says:

    The point of making stupid comparisons like Shear’s is to pollute the discourse. Mission accomplished.

    Which is not to say I’m ok with the ACA’s crap-tastic rollout.

  171. 171
    SFAW says:

    @JohnK:

    I was told you don’t release a product that has serious flaws because it costs more to fix after release and the fix takes longer to fix when it is in production.

    I’m a hardware guy, not software, but the rough rule of thumb used to be that the cost to fix at various stages after the design phase goes up by a factor of 10 for each subsequent stage/phase.

    In other words, something that would cost $10 to fix during design would cost $100 to fix in production, and $1000 to fix after the customer gets it. And that assumes, of course, that you don’t have seditious bastards (i.e., Rethugs) actively trying to prevent you from doing the job right in the first place.

  172. 172
    JenJen says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Healthcare.gov is like the eBay of Pigs.

    Drop the mic.

  173. 173
    john f says:

    @Cacti: Exactly, on the day after El Rushbo said 9/11 was the result of Clinton cutting intelligence spending for years. However, the GOP cutting the budget for the healthcare rollout has nothing to do with the glitches going right now.

  174. 174

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] think Dread Pirate Mixmaster’s response on Balloon Juice sums up the absurdity and lack of perspective quite […]

  2. […] Following DPM’s post below on Michael Shear’s ACA website woes = Katrina piece, let me urge y’all to let Mr. Shear know directly of the problems you find in the piece. […]

  3. […] Subtitled: Remember Perl Harbor! […]

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