OK

Black-capped Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri boliviensis)
Do you know how many "monkey pictures" are actually of apes????
Drove today, which means NPR, of course, and most of the news is funny, if viewed slantwise.

First, the U.S. is scrambling to avoid confirming that they bugged Germany and France, I think it was, among others. And Brazil thought it was special. and we thought WE were special. Can we say "overstepped our mission," NSA?" Can we say "cut their budget and save the deficit -- and a lot of international and local embarrassment," Congress?

Second, people who thought Obamacare was always a horrible, horrible idea and were willing to shut down the government to do so are now happily providing a red herring to their low ratings by attacking -- Obamacare for not being efficient enough, and having a horrible, horrible website. The private contractors are hastily excusing themselves for any internal problems by -- blaming "the government." Outraged speeches are being had by all, including one annoyed Democrat using the phrase "monkey court" when he was probably trying to remember "kangaroo court." As a former Roberts' Rules arbiter, was tempted to look up if that were in fact a "point of personal privilege" to object to or not, but was enjoying the flare-up too much to bother. I think calling something a kangaroo court is a legitimate term, but one forgets things after 20 years.

Third, people demanding who should be fired for the problems, which is only funny because I'm retired, and because the obvious answer is "you." You can bet all the nasty attacks on the ACA cost a lot of time and attention which could otherwise have gone to a better result. Not to mention that firing someone really is not the best way to run anything and is probably a result of seeing too much "reality" tv. If you expect mistakes to be part of human activity -- and you should -- then the really good questions to ask are, "Is this part of a pattern of error?" "Are the people in charge generally well-respected, or was political or economic influence involved?" "How do other major events comparable to this compare?" and of course, the most important (to actually rational managers) "how do we fix it, and how do we avoid this happening again?" It's very clear to see why our representatives cling to the jobs they have -- they'd be horrible working for a good company or in the rank and file of government, because they are in every sense a monkey court.

And the representative who said "Amazon doesn't have a problem like this a month before Christmas," or words to that effect? Is either an ignoramus or a liar, or of course, both. The comparison is a false one; the real homework would be to go back and see the major internet companies and their successes when their sites first went live. I'm willing to bet there were LOTS of glitches -- far more, because less was known about internet in those days.

If there were any credibility among the "investigators;" if this were something more than posturing, and if we knew a lot less history, this would be even funnier.

Go read the Eileen B diary in my recs. It pretty much summarizes why troubles on a site don't necessarily mean it's hopelessly ... hopeless. Also, it would be nice to volunteer to help track how states are doing on signups, since on NPR the first day, I heard they were having a lot less trouble.

Oh -- and aspiring journalists, or journalist critics? Look and see if any mainstream journo 1) contacts higher-ups in Microsoft, Amazon, or what have you to get their perspective on the site problems; 2) does their own history of web startups; or 3) personally talks to the testifiers over coffee and asks them what they mean when they say "the government," and how they think they could have done it better.

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