Thanks bunches, WordPress peeps. Me love you long time.
And now, this:
Thanks bunches, WordPress peeps. Me love you long time.
And now, this:
The day has come, where black folks and white folks don’t have to read news from the same website.
NBC news has a new website and social media accounts geared towards the African-American community.
According to a letter from the editor:
“NBCBLK covers stories by, for and about the black community. Our product is meant to elevate America’s conversation about black identity, politics, and culture.
We share positive, solution-based journalism and report on challenging issues that communities of color face today. NBCBLK taps NBC News journalists around the world to tell these stories, and we curate reports from NBC News platforms – Nightly, Today Show, Dateline, and local affiliates among other NBC outlets.”
What do think?
Problems with the Covered California website have forced nearly one million people to wait months to receive verification that they are covered.
The problem affects people covered by the state’s expanded Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal. In theory, those who signed up prior to the end of last year should be eligible to receive treatment starting January 1st. However, website problems mean there is a huge backlog of people waiting to have their enrollment status verified.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the problems with the state’s $454 million website included “programming defects” which caused many applicants to be wrongly denied. In some cases, applicants didn’t include complete documents needed to verify their eligibility. The result has been a long wait for some.
Melissa Young described her experience with the system to CBS 13 in Sacramento: “My son’s coverage has been in limbo since February. He has no case worker yet, and every time I call, they say they have fixed the problem and to wait until the first of the following month. Nothing is fixed and I call again. Repeat.”
Asked about the delays, California Department of Health Care Services spokesman Norman Williams told CBS 13, “We are devoting all the resources we can to make this work and to get them into coverage.”
Under Obamacare, California expanded Medicaid to those earning up to 138% of the poverty line. Approximately 1.9 million people are believed to have signed up for the program since last October. The statewide total receiving the free medical care is now 9.4 million, approximately 25 percent of the state’s population.
By all accounts Cover Oregon has been a spectacular failure. The state was granted $300 million dollars on an ambitious website that, to date, has not enrolled a single person. Thursday night, Portland News station KATU held a televised town hall to discuss what went wrong and where Oregon should go from here.
The town hall was not structured as a debate but one quickly developed between two Republican state representatives who were extremely critical of the failure and two Democrats who alternated between placing blame on Oracle, the primary contractor, and suggesting moving forward was more important than placing blame.
Rep. Dennis Richardson was one of the Republican critics. In 2012 he became alarmed by what he read in quality assurance reports created by a firm called Maximus. The Maximus reports made clear the project was understaffed, under-budget and falling behind schedule. Rep. Richardson says he sent copies of the reports along with a letter to the state officials in charge of the project demanding to know what was being done. He received no response.
Rep. Jason Conger, the other Republican on the panel, says officials in charge including executive director Rocky King, who left his job in December, should have known better than to try to pull off a project of this scope without hiring an IT contractor to run it. “I think it reflects a certain amount of arrogance that it could be done in the timeframe, that it could be done at all,” Conger said.
But others on the panel tried to emphasize the positive. Democratic Rep. Mitch Greenlick suggested it was time to move forward saying ,“We’re trying to get things solved and I think trying to find out who is the bad guy is probably over.” He also claimed that he had no access to the QA reports that had alarmed Rep. Richardson in 2012.
Dr. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, a Democratic State Senator who sits on the Committee on Health admitted part of the problem was “we bit off more than we could chew.” But she directed most of the blame for the failure at Oracle, saying “We were misled. I’d go as far as saying betrayed.” Dr. Steiner Hayward added “We hire IT professionals because we believe they’re going to tell us the truth… unfortunately in this case that didn’t work out so well.”
At this point, about halfway through the 90 minute town hall, a more fundamental debate about the efficiency of government broke out among the panelists. Rep. Mitch Greenlick, who had earlier said the time for casting blame was over, reacted strongly to the suggestion that the government had tried and failed to do the job of private enterprise. “It’s private enterprise that screwed it up,” Greenlick said, adding “I think the problem was we had too much faith in private enterprise in this case.”
That didn’t go over well with Rep. Richardson who recalled a bit of Ronald Reagan in his response “We’re from the government, we’re here to help. We can run a $200 million IT project.” The last line was delivered as sarcasm. Richardson said the problem wasn’t private enterprise it was “a failure in leadership to run this program.”
As for the future of Cover Oregon there was a sharp disagreement about that as well. Rep. Conger was pessimistic. “I think we’re continuing to throw good money after bad… I’m having serious doubts about whether it will ever work,” he said. Conger suggested seeking a waiver from CMS to allow the state to return to earlier programs that were working better.
Rep. Richardson pointed to the fiscal problem going forward “We’re not gong to break even so ultimately we’re either going to shut it down or take money from the general fund.”
Ultimately, the decision as to what happens next may not be up to anyone in Oregon. The GAO is currently investigating how federal grants to the state were spent. And near the end of the show a former Oregon representative, Patrick Sheehan, told the KATU host that he had contacted the FBI and asked them to look into the situation. Asked if an FBI investigation was taking place, Sheehan refused to say, though he did suggest obliquely that a big file was being put together.
Rep. Greenlick responded that there was no evidence of any illegality. Rep. Richardson once again took issue with that assessment saying, “When you have 200 million of federal money that has been expended… there may well be a federal law broken. We need the GAO audit. We need the FBI involved.”
As the town hall neared its end, Dr. Steiner Hayward returned to the issue of government vs. private enterprise. She told the story of a friend who had started a business with the help from experts. She said her friend eventually reached the point where the business started making a profit but that didn’t happen right away. She summed up her story saying “to hold the govt to be able to break even immediately in a way that we don’t hold private companies… I’m not sure that’s really fair.”
Rep. Richardson closed with a call for accountability saying, “We’re talking about $200 million… govt can’t just spend other people’s money and then just say ‘I’m sorry’” when things fall apart.
Rep. Conger got in the last word with a question, “Given the failure so far and given the lack of value… do we continue to spend more money on it?” That’s the question that Gov. Kitzhaber, legislators and Oregon’s citizens now have to wrestle with.
Too damn funny.
Via LA Times:
Amid a big marketing push, California’s enrollment website for Obamacare coverage has suffered an unexpected outage due to software glitches.
The website problems come at a crucial time as the Covered California exchange tries to persuade more uninsured people to sign up ahead of a March 31 deadline.
The state exchange unveiled new TV commercials and radio ads this week aimed in particular at Latinos, who have been slow to enroll so far. The exchange is also urging more people to visit enrollment counselors, who rely on the state’s online system.
Covered California took its enrollment system down for scheduled maintenance and upgrades for 24 hours this past weekend. But problems have persisted and Thursday consumers were greeted by a message saying “the enrollment portion of the site is being worked on.”
Covered California said website errors began occurring Wednesday and it hopes to restore online enrollment by Thursday afternoon.
Covered California’s enrollment portal has been temporarily taken offline because of software malfunctions that were affecting the consumer experience,” the exchange said in a statement.
House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled their new “Investigation of Benghazi” website which appears to be a Benghazi file repository of committee reports and other declassified publications related to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty and Diplomat Sean Smith.
In a couple of brief paragraphs the website explains that the mission of the House Republicans is to discover what occurred on that night in Benghazi and to uncover exactly what the Obama administration is attempting to cover up:
Shortly after the attack, House Republicans asked the Obama administration to explain to the American people the Administration’s actions leading up to and during the attack itself, as well as the fact that publicly-available information consistently contradicted Administration accounts describing the cause and nature of the attack. Our fight for answers and justice continues today.
For over a year now, House Committees have engaged in serious, deliberate, and exhaustive oversight investigations of what led up to this tragic event, what happened that night, and why the White House still refuses to tell the whole truth. All of the unclassified information and findings from this ongoing investigation can be found on this website.
This page continues to be updated as more information becomes available. The most recent update was made on January 29, 2014.
One of the most interesting sections of the new repository is titled House Committee on Foreign Affairs and includes the following files:
* “Benghazi: Where is the State Department Accountability?” September 18, 2013
* “Terrorist Attack in Benghazi: The Secretary of State’s View,” January 23, 2013
* “Benghazi Attack, Part II: The Report of the Accountability Review Board,” December 20, 2012
* “Benghazi and Beyond: What Went Wrong on September 11, 2012 and How to Prevent it from Happening at other Frontline Posts, Part I,” November 15, 2012
4/23/13 Interim Report 5 Cmte Letter
* Outgoing: 04.23.13 – POTUS, Five Committee letter re Benghazi
05/27/13 OIG Continued Concerns
* Incoming: 05.10.13 – OIG, Dep. IG Harold Geisel, Under review RE Continued concerns with ARB report
* Outgoing: 05.10.13 – OIG, Dep. IG Harold Geisel, Continued concerns with ARB report
* Outgoing: 09.27.13 – OIG, Dep IG Geisel, Questions on OIG ARB Review
05/29/13 Status of ARB-Cited Employees
* Incoming: 08.23.13 – State Dept, RE. Status of ARB-cited employees
* Outgoing: 05.29.13 – State Dept, Sec. Kerry, Status of ARB-cited employees
10/30/13 Benghazi Annex Response
* Incoming: 10.30.13 – DOD, Hagel, RE. Benghazi Annex response
* Incoming: 11.12.13 – State, Kerry, RE. Benghazi Annex response
* Incoming: 12.11.13 – CIA, RE. Benghazi Annex response
* Outgoing: 2013-10-30 DEI & Royce to Brennan-CIA – Benghazi Annex response
* Outgoing: 2013-10-30 DEI & Royce to Hagel-DOD – Benghazi Annex response
* Outgoing: 2013-10-30 DEI & Royce to Kerry-DOS – Benghazi Annex respons
10/30/13 Rewards for Justice Program
* Incoming: 11.15.13 – State Dept, Kerry, RE. Benghazi Rewards for Justice
* Outgoing: 10.30.13 – State Dept, Kerry, Benghazi Rewards for Justice
11/19/13 Benghazi Four Employment Status Update
* Incoming: 01.17.14 -State Dept, RE. Benghazi Four Employment Status Update
* Outgoing: 11.19.13 – State Dept, Kerry, Beghazi Four Employment Status Update
* Outgoing: 12.13.13 – State, Follow-up on status ARB-cited employees
The list of other available reports is quite extensive but many of them are heavily redacted. The page should prove to be a valuable resource for anyone investigating the Benghazi terrorist attack.