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Last night, Jon Stewart looked at some of the outdated technology that's been plaguing the VA.

If only there was some visual representation of how responsibility for this mess is batted back and forth between Congress and the VA. Perhaps utilizing technology the VA would be comfortable operating.
Video and transcript below the fold.


We know about the VA backlog, and how President Obama promised to fix it back there in whaddaya call it there, '08. And how before that, George Bush had promised to fix it, and before that, well, I guess it's been summed up by Harry S. Truman. Harry S. Truman, who said in 1945 — this is true — five weeks after he took over for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had died of a brain hemorrhage when he tried to wrap his mind around the VA. FDR. Polio? No problem. Depression? No problem. Hitler, Tojo?  No problem.  VA?  (brain explodes)

Anyway, as Harry Truman said, quote:

HARRY S. TRUMAN (5/15/1945): The Veterans Administration will be modernized... as soon as possible, but I can't do it immediately.
(audience laughter)

Truman!! The guy who was able to harness the power of the atom! The guy with whom the buck stopped. Couldn't make a dent in the VA.

Well, the VA's gotten away with it for a pretty long time. But guess what, faceless bureaucracy? You just stepped in shit's creek without a can of whoop ass.  (audience laughter) Gotta get better at metaphors. Cuz all your shenanigans attracted some, what I think you'll find, unwanted attention.

JOHN SEIGENTHALER (6/9/2014): Members of Congress are holding a rare nighttime hearing to tackle one of the biggest scandals ever to hit the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Oh shit!! You in trouble now, motherfuckers!!!! (audience cheering and applause)

Congress is holding a hearing on your ass! And not just a hearing, a night hearing!  Congress After Dark! When your typical do-nothing bumbling Congress transforms into BatCongress.

"I'm BatCongress." To the low approval rating mobile!

REP. CORINNE BROWN, D-FL (6/9/2014): A lot of the equipment, the technology that the veterans have, is outdated. ... Could that affect part of the scheduling problems?
(surprised audience laughter)

Hm, what an apt, non-grandstandy question, delivered in a subdued manner.  Interesting. Obviously, technology changes rapidly. The systems are probably slightly out of date there. That could have an effect. Perhaps the VA's laptops and iPads are still running on Panther, when they should be running on OS Maverick. Answer the question.

PHILIP MATKOVSKY, ASST. DEP. VA UNDER SECRETARY (6/9/2014): Our scheduling system scheduled its first appointment in April of 1985. It has not changed in any appreciable manner since that date.
(audience laughter)

First of all, is the VA really represented by one of the undead? Second of all....  (audience laughter) "It has not changed. It still wants... brains."

But seriously, though. 1985?? You're running OS Tandy-1000? Your system can't process claims, but it can print an all-text picture of Snoopy.

1985?? Are you kidding me? Have you ever caught the movie The Net on late night cable, and laughed out loud alone about how outdated the technology seems?

That's 10 years more advanced than what the VA is currently using.  (audience laughter) I mean, that's pow! Let me ask you a question. Where's the Office of the Inspector General on this? Does the VA have an Inspector General? Or is it just a pumpkin in a hat?

Come on! Issue a report!

RICHARD GRIFFIN, VA ACTING INSPECTOR GENERAL (6/9/2014): Since 2005, the OIG has issued 18 reports that identified, at both the national and local level, deficiencies in scheduling resulting in lengthy wait times and a negative impact on patient care.
Oh, that's two reports a year on the problem. Uh, Congress, do you have anything to say on that?
REP. GUS BILIRAKIS, R-FL (6/9/2014): Mr. Griffin, uh, sir, in your testimony, you stated that OIG has issued 18 reports that identified deficiencies in scheduling within the VA since 2005. Can you elaborate on some of the recommendations identified within your reports?
Oh.  Elaborate on them.  Well, there's 18 of them, it sounds pretty fucking elaborate.  "Sir, I know you've sent the reports to Congress, and I'm in Congress, but there's something I need to tell you. I can't read. I'm so ashamed. Whenever I go out to eat, I have to go to Denny's because I have to point to the pictures. It's just Grand Slam after Grand Slam."
6/9/2014:

REP. JACKIE WALORSKI, R-IN: Did those IG reports never make it to you?

PHILIP MATKOVSKY: In response to that GAO report, we went back and looked at how we computed the wait times for veterans who were new to the clinic.

REP. JACKIE WALORSKI, R-IN: Can you say that today that that's a failure, what you guys did at an intermediary level was a failure?

PHILIP MATKOVSKY: I would say that we did not know at that point in time, Congresswoman, the nature and the scope of the problem.

I'm going to kill somebody.

If only there was some visual representation of how responsibility for this mess is batted back and forth between Congress and the VA. Perhaps utilizing technology the VA would be comfortable operating.

"Well, here we go.  I read the report, and didn't...."
"Oh, perhaps you can read the report, and then...."
"OK, maybe if we all need to read the reports, and then we could go through...."
"The Congress is really the issue...."

(freezes to watch the game)

I used to play that for hours.

Jordan Klepper then looked at how some Northwestern football players want to unionize.

Meanwhile, Stephen noticed there's been a possible Turing test breakthrough, and noted the horrific danger we're all in as a result.


He then had another Sport Report segment on the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Stanley Cup.

Jon talked with wartime documentarian Sebastian Junger, and Stephen talked with director John Waters.

Originally posted to Electronic America: Progressives Film, music & Arts Group on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 05:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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