Who Broke


I’d argue that anything ending in .gov begins as a failure, but let’s take a listen to an expert in these things:

The result has been particularly stark when compared with the slick, powerful computer systems built for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, which in 2008 harnessed the emerging power of social networking and in 2012 relied on aggressive data-mining efforts to identify and turn out voters. For those, the campaign recruited motivated young programmers, often from tech start-ups.

“The wizards from the campaign have no desire to contract with the federal government because it’s a pain in the butt,” said Clay Johnson, a veteran technologist for Democratic campaigns who pushes for procurement reform through his whimsically named start-up, the Department of Better Technology. “Is it possible to be good? Is it possible to do right by the taxpayer in this space? I’m not sure that it is.”


So these computer whizzes love to help get Democrats elected, they just don’t want to have to deal with them once they’re in office. The cognitive dissonance on display here brought up an About, Retry, Fail? message.

But forget the hardware for a moment, because the software also sucks:

“It wasn’t designed well, it wasn’t implemented well, and it looks like nobody tested it,” said Luke Chung, an online database programmer.

Chung supports the new health care law but said it was not the demand that is crashing the site. He thinks the entire website needs a complete overhaul.

“It’s not even close. It’s not even ready for beta testing for my book. I would be ashamed and embarrassed if my organization delivered something like that,” he said.

But at least the exchanges haven’t yet caught fire:

The National Security Agency’s $2 billion mega spy center is going up in flames.

Technical glitches have sparked fiery explosions within the NSA’s newest and largest data storage facility in Utah, destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and delaying the facility’s opening by one year.

And no one seems to know how to fix it.


Bearing in mind that spying is one of the few activities where government is supposed to enjoy at least some small competence.

It would be comical if it weren’t ruinously expensive.

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