ObamaCare Flashing 12:00

  If you have ever owned a computer, cellphone, or push-button telephone, you should feel sympathy for the people who rolled out the ObamaCare website. They’re taking a lot of heat for doing what everyone else in technology has done. They invented something that’s maddening to use.

  Really, what piece of electronics or computer programming have you ever bought that you understood, knew how to operate, and got to work as it was meant to when it came out of the box? No one knows half the functions on their telephone and millions of Americans can remember having a video recorder that flashed 12:00 because they couldn’t program it.

  Every website is like a car built from scratch on the garage floor. There’s never been another one like it. I’m impressed just that the ObamaCare programmers managed to get up a home page with an attractive, healthy-looking young woman on the front page. It may have cost $400 million but I couldn’t have done it in a lifetime.

 The Republicans in Congress are jumping on the flaws in the healthcare website as if it’s the only thing in Washington that doesn’t work. Politicians and journalists like to demand perfection in an imperfect world because it makes them look smart. They spend years investigating why a rocket blew up when the simple truth is that sometimes rockets blow up. If they were in charge, all rockets would blow up.

  Computers and the things computers do have always been riddled with flaws. The first computer I ever owned had a green screen with this at the top left: “C:\>”. I remember looking at it asking myself, “What? What does it want, what do I tell it? What haiku will unlock the secrets?” Then someone told me to type the letters “WP” and up came the word processing program WordPerfect. I wrote on it for 20 years.

  I’ve owned or worked on 25 different computers and systems. The early ones were crude and limited. I worked for a company that had a good half-dozen news writing programs and every one of them was useless for the simple task of writing a news story.

 Computers and bad programs have lost my script on deadline, over modulated audio and dumped video. I once had a great computer program that stored all my phone numbers and addresses, but the company went out of business and I couldn’t transfer the information to a new computer. I had to retype 600 names, phones and addresses.

  Computers and computer programs have failed me with regularity. But they have also done my taxes, sent my email, stored 8,000 pieces of music and every word I have written in the last 30 years.

  There must be trouble out there somewhere with the ObamaCare website, but I couldn’t find it when I looked. I logged on, set up an account and was presented with a choice of 30 insurance plans. ObamaCare did its work, although I could use a smart computer program to decide which insurance plan is best for me.

  Politicians revel in the failures and mistakes of their opponents. But the thing about computers and computer programs that don’t work is that they can be fixed and improved. You can’t say that about Congress. 



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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