Polis

Back to War?

I’m always wary when I agree with Andrew Sullivan 100% because, while I love his writing, his track record with foreign policy is… not so good. I might even go so far as to say that he has been on the wrong side of nearly every major foreign policy debate this millenia. Also, since dropping FB, the Dish is now my main news filter so there’s a real danger of becoming part of soe Sully echo chamber. That said, I opened this post just now and couldn’t find anything to disagree with. For example:

The obvious response of the US should be to coax and goad and guide a regional coalition against ISIS without direct intervention. And the core of that coalition must be Sunni, or this will devolve into one more ripple in the Shiite-Sunni ocean of mutual hatred and conflict.

I just don’t see how this is our fight. I am completely sympathetic to the plight of Iraqi and Syrian minorities who have and continue to suffer at the hands of ISIS (or ISIL?). But I am reminded of the advice my father recently gave me on parenting. He told me that, if it is more important to me than the kids, it is not going to happen.

There are states in the region who have real skin in the game, and who need to step up to meet the challenge of Salafi extremism head-on. The US can support those efforts in a wide variety of ways. But leading the effort? No way.

Paging Mr. Orwell

The worst summer of power outages in Egypt this summer are being blamed on, wait for it, deposed (last summer) President Morsi. Why don’t they just go ahead and blame Snowball?

The accusations, by the government of Egypt’s new president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, were murky. But they neatly mirrored the reaction last summer by officials in Mr. Morsi’s government, who faced a similar crisis and pointed fingers at shadowy opponents within Egypt’s bureaucracy.

In reality, though, there is plenty of blame to go around, and a long history of successive governments neglecting Egypt’s energy problems, analysts said. The photographs of a darkened country that were splashed on the pages of the country’s newspapers — including pictures of doctors performing surgery by flashlight — appeared to be simply the latest indictment of Egypt’s leaders, perennially overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the nation’s challenges.

Paging Mr. Godwin

Santorum is frothing again:

“He was fighting against some great injustice, and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives — and Obamacare is front and center in that,”

Yes, you read that right. Obamacare is equivalent to Apartheid. Unfortunately, the clip cuts off before we can hear O’Reilly’s response. What are the odds that he expressed anything bringing some reality back to the discussion?

Compare and Contrast

I made this point in a private discussion the other day:

I think it’s worth comparing – even though the differences are as stark as the similarities – the response to failure in Iraq in Bush’s second term with the response to the failure of healthcare.gov in Obama’s. Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney simply refused to acknowledge any failure at all. They were incapable of it. But more important, their fellow Republicans absolutely refused to break ranks or air criticism….Now compare Obama, who swiftly copped to a massive error, allowed himself to be knocked about like a punching bag at a press conference, squarely explained why in his mind he had not actively deceived Americans about not losing their plans, and pivoted to fixing the error.

The Democrats, far from remaining in lockstep unity, are all over the map, as they so often are. Their instant panic is almost as bad as the Republicans’ denialism. But only almost. Because of their skittishness and his own integrity, Obama is capable of acknowledging reality and adjusting to it in ways Bush never was. He has not publicly told Kathleen Sebelius that she is doing a heckuva job. He hasn’t actually joked about people losing their insurance, as Bush once did about not finding weapons of mass destruction, at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

The Dems motto should be, “Hey, we may be incompetent, but at least we know it, which puts us one step ahead of the other side.”  I figure, what’s good enough for Socrates…

Also, it bears reminding that, despite the failure, no one has died because of Obama and Sebelius’ failure. Bush, Rumsfeld and Heckuva Job Brownie would have a hard, hard time making the same claim.

Moving the Goalpost on Obamacare.

“This isn’t just about a broken website, it’s about a fundamentally-flawed law,” Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said in a statement. “Whether or not Americans can logon to Healthcare.gov, they are losing the health plans they like, the doctors they’ve always relied on, and — to add insult to injury — facing higher costs as well.”

Meanwhile O’Reilly is cherry picking his data.

Millions of Americans want the facts, but they’re stuck with this loon instead.

If anyone has a line on some solid, reliable, unbiased analysis of the website work, please leave it in the comments.

Update:

Phillip Klein has some useful analysis:

What information HHS did provide its new report isn’t very impressive if the comparison is with a typical commercial website rather than against the basket case that was healthcare.gov in October.

For instance, an HHS chart – which Zients boasted about – shows system uptime now at 95.1 percent (excluding scheduled maintenance), which compares to 42.9 percent a month ago. But, the industry standard is for websites to be available for users 99.9 percent of the time. Anything below that is considered a failure and 95.1 percent is a disaster.

A 2012 study by web monitoring firm Panopta that looked at the performance of 130 major retailers’ websites from January to August 2012 found that the lowest uptime rate was 99.34 percent.

Another study by web performance firm Pingdom that looked at retail websites during the 2011 holiday shopping season, found that nearly half of the websites (such as Amazon and eBay) were up 100 percent of the time. The lowest performing was Foot Locker, which was at 98.573 percent.

A 95.1 percent uptime means that over the course of a year, a website would be down for about 18 days. Alternatively, imagine what a disaster it would be for sales if, during the holiday shopping season, Amazon’s website were down for about a day and a half, excluding scheduled maintenance.

 

This is not good – unless you want ACA to fail.