Monday, October 21, 2013


obama, obama jokes, cartoon, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, tea party, conservative, sibelius,, obamacare, website, surge, the public face (or is that "farce?") of Obamacare, is still no closer to functionality after three weeks of doing little more than delivering multi-million dollar error messages to the public.

But now, borrowing language from the George W. Bush administration in hopes that somehow, eventually, they can blame this mess on him, Obama has declared a new "tech surge" on the website. Even now, computer programmers are descending from helicopters on ropes, and combing over pages of binary code through their night-vision goggles.

Meanwhile, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius finds herself in the increasingly blazing spotlight, being forced to put on a smiley face about the healthcare disaster she is directly responsible for. But General Sibelius isn't standing down (as many are now calling for). Rather, she's proclaimed "I called on the contractor to get its A-team here and give us 150%."

 In other words, she's demanding 50% more from her people than is logically, humanly, or mathematically possible. Which makes Hope n' Change wonder - how many of the other components of Obamacare are required to function at 150%, 500%, or a trillion-jillion% over what is actually possible?

There is an increasing tide of news articles suggesting that the real problem with (and the backend systems, if anyone ever gets that far) isn't so much the code or the contractors, but the inept government supervision which has demanded the impossible, based on requirements that are unintelligible, all of which is supervised by clueless, politically motivated bureaucrats. And inevitably, this disaster will result in human suffering and deaths.

Frankly, this is enough of a mess that we think some highly-placed administration officials should be sentenced to jail time.

And be forced to serve 150% of it.

obama, obama jokes, cartoon, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, tea party, conservative, sibelius,, obamacare, website, surge
And maybe a copy of Windows which wasn't bootlegged.


American Cowboy said...

"And inevitably, this disaster will result in human suffering and deaths."

And there folks we have in just a few words the real agenda. IMO.

Chuck said...

Thanks Stilton. Missed the post this morning, and glad you got caught up with the coffee.

As to the topic of the day: Garbage in; Garbage out.

Anonymous said...

This morning's presser was little more than just another commercial. The only thing interesting was when one of his hand-chosen "success stories" victims nearly collapsed during the speech. We know how she feels. Listening to him is quite tiring.

Basically, he said that if you already have insurance, you're in great shape. In fact, you're even better office since of all the new "freebies". (Of course, what he doesn't say is that the cost of my plan has almost doubled since he became President)

As for the failing website, he mentioned all of the ways you can take advantage of 0bamaCare without having to use the web site. You can actually wait on hold on the phone if the virtual waiting room isn't to your liking.

There was nothing new here. Just the usual BS. Everything is fine, so he seems to say.

And again, I have to ask: If the government cannot run a simple web site, then why would any intelligent being believe that they can possibly run an entire health system?

This is the question that needs to be repeated again, and again to those who believe that our health care system can be solved by these people. "Magic" is not an answer.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@American Cowboy- Sadly, I think this is a no-lose scenario for the Lefties. The greater the human toll taken by this fustercluck, the greater will be the demand that the system get FIXED - not discarded. Which will mean more power and control for the feds...which is, of course, what they want.

@Chuck- I was just going to coast today, but it was gnawing at me. It was reading Sibelius's "150%" quote this morning that kicked my, um, "motivation" into gear.

@Anonymous- Many thanks for watching the presser for me (and many others). I can't watch that wretched man deliver speeches using warm human bodies as his props. He should at least try to pretend that this isn't as artificial as a reality TV show.

Meanwhile, I'm not exactly anxious to skip the website and wait on hold for an hour or two to speak with an undertrained "navigator" who has likely had no criminal background check.

And you make an excellent point: if they've screwed up just the access to health insurance this bad, can you imagine what they're doing with their plans to computerize every medical record or every doctor and hospital and base your treatment - longterm or emergency - on the reliability of their systems?

Colby said...

Bootlegged copy of Windows? With all due respect, Stilton, I'm pretty sure this software is running on 5-1/4 floppies that work with DOS 2.0 on a 286, and somebody probably forgot the "/U" when they formatted the diskettes. I can envision hundreds of old, burned-out hippies in a huge room getting paid 6 figure salaries to swap out the floppies when prompted, but they're too stoned to notice the prompts.

And, I'm also pretty sure The Tea Party had something to do with it.

Funny, BatFace Pelosi is still blaming the bogged down website on the multi-trillions of people that are trying to sign up. I know, I know... you've told me a million times not to exaggerate.

It's No Gouda said...

Well, it's pretty obvious why Obummer, Harry the Weasel, were dead set against delaying this Obortion for a year. Can you imagine the Dem bloodbath if they rolled this out one month before the Congressional elections? Now they've got a year to "fix" it and manufacture several other "crises" to distract the LIVs. I don't know what color sky the unicorns dance under on whatever planet they're from, but it damn sure ain't this one.
Sadly, I don't think being able to tell my liberal acquaintences, "I told ya." is gonna be much comfort.

Anonymous said...

Hey Doc,

Better drink some more coffee or maybe mainline a dark roast because you misspelled a word in your response to @American Cowboy. Surprised your Spell Checker didn't catch it.

Grumpy Curmudgeon said...

@Colby: You don't know how correct you probably are - friend of mine was a manager over the programmers at Bell Labs - said it was the worst job he ever had - they'd show up in flip-flops and a tank top, work 2-3 weeks straight (24/7) sleeping in their cubicles then disappear for a month or more. Said the office smelled like a boys gym that had been closed up in the heat. Took a week for house service to clean the place.

Throwing more programmers at the problem is a significant statement of how bad this thing is screwed. Programming is basically taking a set of data and solving a problem - no two people will have the identical solution path. Throwing a new programmer in to de-bug another programers work, doesn't. It's usually easier (and cheaper) to start over. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt and burned it.

And remember the Bill Gates philosophy "That's not a bug, that a Windows X.X enhancement upgrade!"

TheOldMan said...

Well the taxpayers will soon be "giving" 150% and more. Being an old man, I started programming in the days of paper tape and punch cards, programming pads, and even did hard wired breadboard programming. I've worked in CPU microcode, COBOL, assembler, C, C++, Java, and so on. Written device drivers and user applications...gad, I have been around a long time.

I chuckled when Sebelius (sounds like a Star Wars villain!) claimed that the non/slow response times are proof that Americans are hungry for free health insurance. Well if you thought that it would be so popular, why didn't you contract for some heavy duty AWS or Google cloud horsepower? It might have helped unless the software is so bollixed up with bottlenecks that more steam cannot overcome the friction.

John the Econ said...

Meanwhile, many government workers got a paid vacation, plus a bonus:

"Some states are likely to allow federal workers who were furloughed during the government shutdown to collect both back pay and jobless benefits for the time they were idled."

So now I'm listening to a government hack justify this. Poor government workers deserve this because of their costs the inconvenience to their lives. Boo-freekin-hoo.

I have clients who got stiffed by the Federal government who not only didn't get paid, they lost out on other business they could have been doing had they not been committed to serving the government.

So once again, the government bureaucracy threw a temper-tantrum, and in the end is paid for its own inconvenience. Meanwhile, the rest of us go on and have to pay.

And they want more power and responsibility.

CenTexTim said...

Following up on Grumpy Curmudgeon's point, I used to make a living designing and implementing large scale information systems projects. Then I got tired of working for a living and became a college professor, teaching my students how to do the same. One of the things I tried to teach them was the folly of simply throwing bodies at a problem, thinking that more people would result in higher quality and a shorter time frame. I used two examples to illustrate this.

1. Imagine the task is to dig a 3' X 3' hole. Will 30 people be able to dig the hole ten times faster than 3 people, or will they just get in each others way?

2. If one woman can have a baby in nine months, can nine women have a baby in one month?

Those examples are particularly relevant to obamacare, because it's a big hole that barry and the libs are throwing money into, while royally screwing us without the benefit of a condom.

Sarah Rolph said...

"Garbage in; Garbage out."

Exactly. That's it in a nutshell. Software is the implementation of business rules, and these rules don't make any sense, so they cannot be successfully implemented.

As our grandmothers would have said to fools like our child president, "wishing doesn't make it so!"

Sarah Rolph said...

I need a robot that can decipher the code that proves I'm not a robot. It's danged difficult for humans to read.

Bruce Bleu said...

Let me interject a defense for my new best fiend, [sic] Stilton, that is not a misspelling, but RATHER a "Spoonerism". It's a way the more genteel can express SHOCKING verbiage without being accused of purveying a crass protocol. It is WELL received in the art smass community (get it?).

John the Econ said...

@CenTexTim, but that is the universal government solution to nearly every problem; throw more money (more money=more people) at any and every problem. More money has the added benefit for Democrats in that every new body on a problem is another voter who is more than likely to vote to keep the body count forever high.

That is also why, regardless of the hype to the contrary, that there is really absolutely nothing new or novel about the Obama Administration's approach to problem solving. Just more bodies thrown in problem holes.

George in Houtx said...

"a copy of Windows which wasn't bootlegged"??? I'd be happy if they made an HONEST attempt with 'lowly' DOS! one of the Linux variants would be even better!
what does this prez have against U.S. workers??? he went Canadian for his tour buses ..... and now the website programming. MULTI-million dollar projects!!

Grumpy Curmudgeon said...

I'm not a mathematical genius, but it seems to me, just simple math mind you, that if we have 30M uninsured and we have spent $600M on this project (so far, and not counting the $60B spent on an electronic medical record program that also doesn't work), that we could just pay each of the uninsured $5M to pay for their own insurance and be ahead of the game.

But then, it was never about insurance, but power, especially after all is said and done, we will still have 30M uninsured.

Chuck Ef said...

Hey I heard Dear Leader didn't blame Bush 43 for the mess. Progress! Imagine that, progress from troglodyte "progressives" - they now blame the budget impasse despite 3.5 years of prep. Childish 'progressives".

Like the other Chuck, glad you figured out the coffee. We need you. Starbucks is always required to see the truth.

Stay true Stilton!

robsan19 said...

Your link on Sibelius 150% comment is dead. Here is one that has her quote,

CenTexTim said...

@John the Econ:

"but that is the universal government solution to nearly every problem; throw more money (more money=more people) at any and every problem"

You're absolutely right. Just look at the increase in spending on public schools, with no corresponding increase in results. Or the massive amounts spent for the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs with no significant change in the number of poor or the number of addicts.

I'm at a loss to understand why 'we' (the American public) keep allowing them to get away with it.

gothmog said...

"You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"
-Charlton Heston (Planet of the Apes)

Just found out last night that my health insurance offered through work is going away. The next cheapest option (I don't make a lot of money) is literally double the monthly premium with a slightly higher deductible. I've run the math, and I can't seem to justify the added expense when compared to the current fine,

The progressives are about to find out what happens when hard working taxpayers simply start to give up and opt out.

So nothing really new to report. I was expecting something like this to happen. Other people I work with who were on the company's higher level healthcare option are seeing a 64% increase in their monthly premium. But don't worry's "Affordable."

Colby said...

Yup! The criminals running our gubmint are absolutely the best in the world at throwing OUR money at the problems THEY created. Over and over and over and..... As the old saying goes, it's like watching three monkeys trying to f**k a football.

There ya go again, using math and logic! More proof that this is NOT about health insurance; it's about control and power, and keeping the low info voters in their mushroom state.

How'd ya like the fainting pregnant woman that BO "saved" during his press blather? Now we all know that the crowd that's always standing behind the messiah when he brings us his words of wisdom are hand picked, but who was the brainiac who picked a diabetic pregnant woman? That alone sums up our precious gubmint health care.

John the Econ said...

@CenTexTim, that's why I have little hope for "change" in the short-term. The trail of debris left by the Progressive urge to spend mindlessly and endlessly on every problem with little positive result (beyond expanding payrolls and power) is undeniable. And yet, we continue to do so, mainly because too many people now see themselves as beneficiaries of the excess.

Education is probably the best example you can provide. No nation spends more, either in total dollars or per-capita than we do, with the exception of Switzerland. You'd think that a nation that is so "educated" that it now has over $1-trillion dollars of outstanding student debt would know better than to support more of the same.

@gothmog, sorry to hear about the inevitable. And you are so right: "The progressives are about to find out what happens when hard working taxpayers simply start to give up and opt out."

And it's happening. The government keeps making it less lucrative to work, and more lucrative to just live off the system. It's enough to make one suspect that's actually the plan.

For years now, I've been telling my progressive friends that their real problem isn't that I disagree with them, but will be the day that I finally give up and join them by transforming from a net-producer to a net-consumer.

Like Greece, there's absolutely no way that one can expect to live a first-world standard of living when more than half of us aren't working for it.

Latest ObamaCare News: Some of the developers are speaking out, describing failed stress-tests where only a small number of users would crash the system, and program managers and Administration officials who didn't seem to care. Sibelius will not be testifying to Congress on Thursday, and I don't blame her. No doubt that HHS still won't be able to tell us definitively how many people have actually be able to sign up.

So now, more people will be thrown at the project. As mentioned above, that won't solve anything. By all indications, this project is fundamentally flawed and IMHO, not redeemable. Is this a half-billion dollar screw up, or the plan all along?

CenTexTim said...

To further brighten your day, while everyone is distracted by the website fiasco, a bigger problem is looming. Under obamacare, beginning in 2018 so-called 'Cadillac' health insurance will be subject to an additional 40% tax/fine/penalty/whatever-the-hell-it's-called.

The problem is that 'Cadillac' plans are defined by cost, not benefits. The threshold for Cadillac plans is $10,200 per year for individuals, and $27,500 per year for families.

Here's the kicker: today's average cost for individual health insurance is $10,522. That's $322 above the threshold, meaning that an average plan today will be considered a Cadillac plan four years from now, and subject to the 40% tax.

We are so screwed. Time for more 'coffee'...

Anonymous said...

An excerpt from today's very (usually) Liberal Washington Post's editorial page: "Mr. Obama said Monday that 'the number of people who've visited the site has been overwhelming," with about 20 million site visits to date. Why is that so overwhelming? Commercial computer systems such as Google and Facebook manage to handle billions of visitors every month. The U.S. government runs supercomputers for national defense applications that are among the highest-performing in the world. Mr. Obama's administration seems to have behaved as if this project was not a priority."

PRY said...

Like "Flo" says in that geico commercial...."These are troubling times in the kingdom!"

Sure wish there was something we could actually do about all this...just sittin here on my hands and watching it happen is about to make me nuts! Which is why I can't immerse myself in this daily! Have a good one! God help us.

It's No Gouda said...

Wella, wella, well, to the surprise of absolutely no one with a brain, the lib spin machine is winding up to defend Ocare.
Whirl #1- "It's not OUR fault this plan is flawed, we just cobbled it toghether from a proposal from the Heritage Foundation and Romneycare. They're conservatives; blame them."
Whirl #2- The overwhelming traffic on the website is because several Republican governors opted out expanding Medicaid and now these "poor" (133% of poverty level) have to go on the federal exchange to purchase health insurance.
What they're not mentioning is that these governors looked past the 7 year federal bribe for expanding Medicaid and saw that when the bribe ran out the cost would kill their state budgets which by law must be "balanced'.
One other thing that's driving me "bats**t" is the mumber of people who are conflating access to heath care INSURANCE, with access to actual HEALTH CARE. They are two different things as many will soon be finding out much to their chagrin.

John the Econ said...

Good point, @CenTexTim. And as the costs continue to escalate, many people will be surprised to discover that what they believe is skimpy coverage will also be considered "Cadillac". But at least Sandra Fluke will still be getting free birth control.

Most people do not have a clue as to what their health benefits actually cost their employers. This has been one of the biggest problems with health care in the US; a problem created over 70 years ago when the Federal government decided that it would not tax health care benefits as income.

As the article you linked points out, it's going to be government and union workers who this will really hit. Serves them right for unwittingly serving as the useful idiots for the President's push to pass ObamaCare.

Good point @Anonymous. The site is brought to its knees by a few thousand users, when they well knew that there'd be millions. Supposedly, the NSA is scanning most of our e-mail and phone calls in near real-time. Perhaps ObamaCare should have been outsourced to the NSA.

@It's No Gouda, it drives me nuts too. What most people think of as "health insurance" is actually a "payment plan". "Insurance" is a financial mechanism to spread out risk against personally catastrophic events. What most people have been thinking of as "insurance" is really a mechanism to spread health care costs over time; what they really want is someone else to pay the big bills while they see the world through $20 co-pays. This is what I've always considered as the biggest problem with how we buy health care; no price transparency.

The unfortunate reality is that most people do not want to know what the real cost is, because they suspect that it's far more than they can afford, or are willing to pay. That's why many would rather have a "single payer" plan, where they won't have to worry about it at all.

It's No Gouda said...

John the Econ said: This has been one of the biggest problems with health care in the US; a problem created over 70 years ago when the Federal government decided that it would not tax health care benefits as income.
The Feds didn't really have a choice. Employer paid health insurance was used as an incentive to attract employees whose wages were "frozen" during World War II. After the war, big labor decided this was a good deal and included it in their contract demands. The National Association of Manufacturers, successfully lobbied to keep the tax exemption and we were "off to the races".

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Colby- The Onion did a funny piece showing the "installation" version of Obamacare being delivered on 35 3.5" diskettes. At least, I hope that was The Onion...

@It's No Gouda- At this point, I don't want Obamacare delayed either. I want people to be unable to use the system, and then getting a fine for not using the system. That's a great way for us to start harvesting angry new tea party members.

@Anonymous- Nah, I was just being tactful. Because that's the kind of guy I am.

@Grumpy Curmudgeon- I think that when you take the same nitwits who came up with the tax code and give them supervisory power over the creation of computer code, the result was entirely predictable.

@TheOldMan- Sounds like the gummint should be calling YOU for tech support. Be sure to tack on some extra zeroes to your bill so they'll take you seriously.

@John the Econ- I've also groaned at the Demoncrats' claim that the economy was irreparably damaged by all the money the federal workers didn't add to the economy (by spending) when they were home vacationing. It seems rather likely that with all their back pay received, that "bubble" of extra money would even out most of any imagined deficit in spending.

Which isn't to say there weren't real economic losses because of the shutdown. But those losses are insignificant (in the broad sense) compared to the damage done by NOT reining in government spending.

@CenTexTim- I really enjoyed your logic examples (except for the fact that the government is making exactly the stupid mistakes you're warning against).

@Sarah Rolph- I don't know how much the contractors are to blame, but I DO know that the government kept changing the requirements up to a few days before the opening. They demanded the impossible and illogical. I used to work for a man whose motto was "I may not always be right, but I'm always the boss." I think it's pretty clear where that leads.

Also, sorry about the "captcha" code you need to decipher to post. It just got to be too big a problem having spammers add links to the site every day. Maybe I'll try removing that feature again and see if they've gone away...

@Bruce Bleu- Yeah, yeah - genteel, that's what I am!

@John the Econ- You're right, of course. Spending "too much money" or hiring "too many people" is never a problem for the government, because it's not their money, and people being paid for useless jobs end up voting to keep the system in place.

@George in Houtx- Barry doesn't like doing business with American firms because he's afraid that they may have ties to Republicans. That's more than speculation on my part; apparently a lot of the specifications for the system were kept hidden out of fear that contractors could be questioned by Republicans (perhaps under oath) and provide damaging information prior to the last round of elections.

@Grumpy Curmudgeon- The math is hard to do, because however many "uninsured" we had before, we have more now. Within the past few days, some 460,000 policy cancellations have been mailed to the "formerly insured" (this according to NBC news). So maybe the per capita price will look better when the system is trying to cover a couple hundred million uninsured.

@Chuck Ef- The idea that the shutdown had ANYthing to do with the Obamacare rollout disaster is laughable. Or would be, if the MSM didn't treat it as gospel.

@robsan19- Thanks for pointing that out. The link is now fixed.

@CenTexTim- The reason "we the people" keep allowing the government to throw more money at problems is that too few of "we the people" are paying the taxes instead of receiving the benefits. Perhaps it's time for a new Bill of Rights for "We the taxpayers."

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@gothmog- I've been assured by liberal friends that cases like yours don't exist. Nobody is losing insurance, and nobody is paying more. Right?

Seriously, the only thing that makes the Affordable Care Act "affordable" is the fact that a lot of people won't be paying the artificially inflated new prices - but taxpayers will be picking up the difference. Which is why this is about wealth redistribution far more than healthcare.

@Colby- When the woman "collapsed," I'd like to know if she was taken to a doctor or a website?

@John the Econ- I don't think the fiasco was deliberate because, while the system is supposed to fail, I don't think it was intended to do so quite this quickly and certainly not so obviously as a cause of government ineptitude.

@CenTexTim- The 40% tax on "insurance that's better than you deserve" is an insult that's bugged me for a long time. And you can bet that no politician is going to be stuck with that tax.

The "justification" for the tax is that the government feels that having people pay so much will drive up prices - so the tax is meant to "lower the cost curve" by making really good coverage unaffordable. I think I'm getting a headache...

@PRY- I'm not sure what we can do at this point, but just wait a bit. More and more people are going to be getting angry about this debacle.

@It's No Gouda- You make a number of good points, but I'm going to zero in on the biggy: health insurance is not the same thing as healthcare.

The "uninsured" were already getting healthcare through Emergency Rooms and other programs. Now, they'll have insurance - but may not have access to doctors or healthcare. Unless, of course, they claim not to have insurance and go back to the Emergency Rooms.

So costs for everyone go up, access to medical care goes down, and all of us are in greater thrall to the government uberlords.

It's No Gouda said...

Stilt: IF(really big if, I admit) the gooberment does manage to get the centralized data system they envision I would think the ER would have no problem verifying whether or not you have "insurance".

John the Econ said...

@It's No Gouda, it's debatable what "choice" the Federal government had at the time, considering that offering health benefits was a deliberate attempt to bypass wage freezes in place because of the war. Either way, it's a perfect example of what happens in the long term when you attempt to control economic forces and then allow people to work around the tax code as a secondary effect. Vast unintended consequences that are far worse than the original problem.

When you've lost Jon Stewart, you've lost America:

If only Jon were as "balanced" the rest of the time, things might not have gotten this far.

CenTexTim said...

"Vast unintended consequences that are far worse than the original problem."

Amen to that!!! But there is no political benefit to be gained by orchestrating a long term fix. It's all about "What have you done for me lately."

Paladin said...

I wonder if they took the time to test the website's security so personal information won't be compromised.

John the Econ said...

@Paladin, I'm sure your personal information is at least as safe on the site as it is with the thousands of unscreened "navigators" they've hired from the former Acorn to help people who aren't sophisticated enough to use that world-wide-interweb thing.