Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov
- "Unknown to a nation following the fiasco, McDonough's assignment from the President had boiled down to something more dire than how to fix the site. As the chief of staff remembers his mission, it was 'Can it be patched and improved to work, or does it need to be scrapped to start over? He wanted to know if this thing is salvageable.' Yes, on Oct. 17, the President was thinking of scrapping the whole thing and starting over." (previously
) [more inside]
In the state of West Virginia, the government has just purchased 1064 Cisco 3945 routers
at a price of $22,600 each. These are being used to service small public libraries with as few as four PCs
when a much smaller router such as the Cisco 1801
would be more appropriate. Local journalists
have found out about this and are starting their own investigation. A consulting firm
has been retained to audit what exactly happened. [more inside]
How two American kids became big-time weapons traders
- "Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history." (via
; previously on arms contractors
Enjoying your Friday night? Be careful out there. In between other things
, including voting for huge cuts to the EPA's budget and regulating power
, the U.S. House of Representatives just voted to eliminate Title X
, originally signed into law 40 years ago by Republican President Richard Nixon
, which provides funding for Planned Parenthood
. [more inside]
From the Pentagon to the private sector
- In large numbers, and with few rules, retiring generals are taking lucrative defense-firm jobs [more inside]
, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, speaks out against Republicans
- The monumental hypocrisy of the Republican Party is something amazing to behold. And their dimwitted accomplices in the tea-party movement are not much better. They know that Republicans, far more than Democrats, are responsible for our fiscal mess, but they won't say so. And they adamantly refuse to put on the table any meaningful programme that would actually reduce spending. Judging by polls, most of them seem to think that all we have to do is cut foreign aid, which represents well less than 1% of the budget. [more inside]
or: How I Learned[4,5]
to Stop Worrying
and Love Deficit Spending[7,8,9]
(during a general glut
at the zero bound
) -- When I was a kid, if I was sitting around the house and complained I didn't have anything to do, my mom would always respond the same way. "I'll find something for you to do," and she would. It was make work, she was finding something for me to do on the spot to cure my unemployment problem... [more inside]
The UK Government has published extracts from COINS, the Combined Online Information System
used by the Treasury to track all public spending by the Government. Together, the files
constitute about 11Gb of data in delimited text format containing consolidated financial information for each department and account type. [more inside]
Overly confident in the economic health of the United States? Feeling sanguine about current spending levels? Haven't yet been scared out of your wits about your financial future? No worries! The U.S. National Debt Clock
page is for you! Your one stop shop for all things financial meltdown related: Total debt, debt per citizen, budget deficits and spending year-to-date, total governmental bailouts, and much much more!
The Next New Deal With the vaunted post-Cold War "Peace dividend" evaporating, the United States found itself unable to invest adequately in either its infrastructure or its children. Eventually people began to talk of another Great Depression, before the coming of the next New Deal.
The GOP is reportedly [+
] proposing $15 billion of cuts — or is it $25? — in veterans' benefits between now and 2007, and groups like the Veterans Against the Iraq War
are hopping mad. Hell, I imagine the pro-war wing is pretty peeved, too. It's part of a plan with delusions of grandeur
to deliver massive tax cuts AND kill the deficit ... you know, the one that did not exist before W was elected, as I understand it ... in six years. The original tip is from Stand Down
. The actual status of the cuts is nebulous at this point, however, with the SF Chron
reporting that they will likely fail in the Senate as the tax cut is halved and others
reporting that the die is not yet cast. The House budget resolution, for metafilter accountants who like these things, is here
The US Department of Education - Or Not?
A link or two for those who don't own a television. Or a Michael Jackson CD.
Reaction to federal initiatives like No Child Left Behind
(which is directed purely at education, and has been discussed here before
) and Head Start
(which has a social component, and has not (I think)) is starting to filter in
Should the Federal Government worry about disparities in educational expenditures
? Should it worry about how services are delivered
An imaginative solution
to California's school budget crisis.
"Hang in there, help is on the way." The director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., recently asked the Defense Department to lower the 2004 pay raise from its expected 3.7 percent to 2 percent. Daniels also wants future raises tied to inflation, rather than basing boosts on what civilians doing comparable jobs in the private sector might make.
Many of our military families already qualify for welfare and food stamps. Pay raises are out of the question when there's NMD and tax cuts to the wealthy needing funding.
Welcome to the State Department... I mean, the Republican Party.
"For some time, travelers browsing the State Department Web site for helpful tips about Guadalajara, Mexico, found much more than they bargained for when they clicked on a photograph of President Bush. The click transported them to a partisan playground, where they were told how to get involved with the Republican Party and even how to donate money to it."
(Why does nytimes.com have all the good stories?- metafilter, metafilter)
The U.S. Army pays for lapdances.
"In addition to the inappropriate purchases, the GAO said more than 1,200 Army employees wrote bad checks to pay their government credit card bills. Last year alone, that cost taxpayers $3.8 million in higher fees and lost rebates." You mean, the government practices bad accounting? Ron Paul
points out that the Congress commits the worst accounting fraud of all
. But the most important issue of all is, with the government paying for Strip Club tips, gambling, and wine, does this mean that God will no longer bless America?
You're the king of a small african nation. You have an annual health budget of $15 million. Two-thirds of the people in your nation are HIV positive, and two-thirds are living below the poverty line. What do you do? Why, you buy a $31 million private jet
, of course!
Jaw-drop-inducing link of the day
The federal government spent $62 million on a building to store and treat low-level radioactive waste at a California nuclear weapons laboratory, then decided the structure wasn't secure enough. So where is the waste kept now?
... Right outside the new building, under tents.
"The sky won't fall,
it will probably just trickle down." On whom? (Guess who.) Out here in Washington State voters just approved another in a series of initiatives that, collectively, choke off the state government's primary funding sources. What else are the results of the initiative process around the country? And are The People responsible enough to be trusted with it?
"Big government is good for you, and we'll spare no expense making sure you know it!
" New figures show the largest advertiser in the UK is now the British government, with the government blowing about 2 1/2 times as much on ads per year as it did before before Labour's rise to power. This is far more than than any other country's government spends. Dissemination of truly important information, or taxpayer-funded plugs for Labour?