Saturday, April 20, 2013
Oh, how silly they are
THE RIGHT-WING NEWS BUSTERS NOTES THAT THE PRESS IS REFUSING TO COVER THE FACT THAT BOSTON MARATHON BOMBER SUSPECT DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV SUPPORTED BARACK OBAMA'S 2012 ELECTION AND THAT HE ALLEGEDLY HAD A TWITTER ACCOUNT WHERE HE TWEETED "BARACK YOU MY DAWG BUT WE ALL PUPPETS IN THIS BITCH."
MEANWHILE CENTRIST WHORE MEGAN GARBER TRIES TO TELL YOU WHAT IS KNOWN AND THAT INCLUDES HE'S "A NORMAL GUY" -- BECAUSE MOST NORMAL GUYS ASSAULT THE WOMEN THEY DATE? AND GET ARRESTED FOR IT? POOR MEGAN, HER EFFORTS TO NORMALIZE A SUSPECTED KILLER ONLY DEMONSTRATE HOW INSANE SHE IS.
IN OTHER NEWS, A REPORTER'S NOTED THAT ALTHOUGH BARACK COULD USE VICTIMS AS PROPS, HE MADE NO TIME IN HIS SCHEDULE TO BUILD BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT FOR THE GUN CONTROL MEASURES HE WANTED.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Monday there was a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing. We attended the hearing that morning. That afternoon, the attack in Boston took place and, like everyone else, we were trying to find out what was going on there. Yesterday's snapshot covered the hearing and noted that we'd pick up on it today with regards to Senator Jay Rockefeller. In addition, Ava offered "Sanders makes impression early in tenure as Committee Chair" on the hearing last night and Kat offered "I can always count on Senator Richard Burr." The topic of the hearing was the VA's budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014. Appearing before the Committee was VA Secretary Eric Shinseki -- with Allison Hickey, Dr. Robert Petzel, Steve Muro, Stephen Warren and W. Todd Grams tagging along.
Senator Jay Rockefeller apparently is too old to grasp the term "multi-task." He wasted everyone's time with nonsense such as this, "It's homelessness on the one side, suicides on the other, how do you pick the tragedy?"
Does he think he's Barbara Walters and this was an interview? Those are the problems. The VA Secretary, whomever it is, will have to address them and a lot more.
Also, Eric Shinseki's title is "Secretary." It is not "General." We applauded Michael Hayden for using the title "Director" when he was made "Director" of the CIA. Eric Shinseki is the Secretary of the VA. That is his current title. If it's beneath him and he needs by some other title, then he needs to resign. Watching Jay lick his lips and call him "General" repeatedly was sickening. And we need to review that title because it's not "Doctor."
So this crap from Jay Rockefeller was also a waste of time and had nothing to do with the VA budget -- which was the topic of the hearing, "How do you take someone who's on a suicide watch list, how do you try to break through?" If he really gave a damn about that question, he should have directed it to the only doctor present, Dr. Robert Petzel.
Of course, Shinseki couldn't answer that question but he used it to eat up time, run down the clock and be a glory hog. "You know four years ago," he declared, "we weren't receiving suicide information, veteran suicide information from the states. So we wrote, and the states have been very responsive." And he went on and on and on. And Rockefeller let him.
Wow, Eric Shinseki, you're quite the man aren't you. You're just accomplishing so much and that's why you can't backlog, right? Reality, Eric Shinseki did nothing on that.
That was the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that repeatedly raised that issue and that was then-Chair of the Committee Patty Murray that did the heavy lifting. August 2011, Adam Ashton reported on it for McClatchy's News Tribune and that article doesn't say a word about Eric's efforts -- because there were none. It does however open with, "Washington Sen. Patty Murray on Wednesday encouraged state government to start tallying veteran suicides, as [the state of] Washington already does. Her goal is to quantify an under-reported number that could help health agencies improve their outreach to service members who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Senator Jay Rockefeller: I remember a couple of years ago the excitement when DoD and the Veterans Administration were planning to work together, I went to a number of common facilities, joint-facilities and everything was full of optimism and now all of the sudden, evidently, unless I'm wrong there's been a pull-back from electronic records, all things that flow from this cooperation, there's been a pull-back from DoD. I'm curious about that.
Secretary Eric Shinseki: We are both still committed to a seamless transition of service members into VA. That has not changed. We are also both committed to an electronic health record that we share in common and in the lnaguage that we have come to use in the past four years of growing the concept, it is a single, joint-common, integrated electronic health record -- open in architecture, non-proprietary in design. And all of those terms are code to keep us focused on what we want in an electronic health record -- one that we share together and one that will be as good five years from now as it is on the day we first invest and purchase it as opposed to being faced -- over and over again -- with an aging electronic health record that we somehow have to refinance years down the road. So this is the concept that we have commit ourselves to and, uh, and I would say that, uh, my sense is that we have not backed away from that although Secretary Hagel who has just arrived is in the midst of, uh, getting into this issue and, uh, uh, I've agreed that, uh, he ought to have time to do that and --
Senator Jay Rockefeller: But you don't know of any back away?
I noted in yesterday's snapshot that Jay's been saying he'd be leaving the Senate for years and that he never does. A few e-mailed to note that he has declared he won't seek re-election in 2014. I am aware of that. I was also in DC all week so I'm also aware of certain individuals high in the Democratic Party structure entertaining at dinners -- including two I attended -- with tales of Jay's recent 'concern' that he might be really hard to replace and, if the numbers just aren't there, let him know, there's still time for him to run. The laughter that greets those tales should have been greeting Jay's nonsense at the Senate hearing.
Shinseki should have been pressed hard on what he declared above. He was not. Last week, Shinseki appeared before the House Veterans Affairs Committee. We covered it here with last Thursday's "Iraq snapshot" and "Seamless transition? Shinseki wasted the last four years," while Ava reported on it with "Shinseki tries to present 134% increase as a gift for women," Wally with "How the VA and DoD waste your tax dollars (Wally)" and Kat with "DAV calls for Congress to reject 'chained CPI'." In addition, Dona moderated a discussion of the hearing at Third "Congress and Veterans."
The shocker of that hearing was learning that nothing had been done on the electronic record. Not one damn thing. Let's be clear -- and let's be quick -- since 2005, Congress has been funding this and holding hearings on this. Shineski became VA Secretary at the start of 2009. He and the VA (under him) have reported progress to Congress repeatedly over the last four years. The first step of progress is deciding who's operating system will be used -- because DoD and VA computers systems are not currently compatible. In last week's hearing, Shinseki revealed that this hadn't been decided but he favored VA's system. This is the first step. You can't design a record until you know what system is going to be using it. So for four years nothing has happened. That was shocking news.
Now let's deal with his nonsense before the Senate. Let's go slowly over what he told Rockefeller (already quoted above) about the electronic record.
Secretary Eric Shinseki: We are both still committed to a seamless transition of service members into VA. That has not changed. We are also both committed to an electronic health record that we share in common and in the language that we have come to use in the past four years of growing the concept, it is a single, joint-common, integrated electronic health record -- open in architecture, non-proprietary in design.
Repeating, to design that record, you need to know what system will be using it. That's the first step. If that's not been decided, nothing has.
Secretary Eric Shinseki: And all of those terms are code to keep us focused on what we want in an electronic health record -- one that we share together and one that will be as good five years from now as it is on the day we first invest and purchase it as opposed to being faced -- over and over again -- with an aging electronic health record that we somehow have to refinance years down the road.
Is he an idiot? Or is he a liar? I don't know but he's not qualified for his job. I called and visited various records offices in DC and surrounding areas this week to ask about this. Specifically, how often do you update? How often do you switch? One of my favorite and most helpful sources explained that she was about to retire after decades of service. They have records on microfilm (rolls of film). That predated her joining the office. She could remember when they filmed records on micofiche. They still had those. Then she could remember the big push at the end of the seventies and start of the 80s for computers. And they got this great computer system that they were never going to have to worry about again. Everything would be entered and kept forever. And then, in 1999, they got a new computer system which would communicate with the previous one saving the records. That didn't in fact happen. But then, in 2005, they got another new one and this one would pull from the 80s computer programs and the ones implemented in 1999. Only it didn't. See the old clunky terminal, she asked pointing to one lone terminal next to up to date computers? They have to keep that in the office for those records from the 80s computer (records that span that decade through 1998). The microfilm and microfiche are supposed to be digitized and converted over and maybe in five years that will be complete, the woman offered.
She and everyone else who works with records laughed at the notion that you can create something today and it will need no modifications to be used in the future. If someone's having trouble grasping technology, then just think about music and how we've moved from vinyl, to cassette tape, to CDs and now MP3s.
Shinseki should be focused on providing an electronic record that works today. He's not a pyschic, he's not a time traveler. Focus on what's needed today and accept that the future will hold twists and turns that will surprise us all.
Secretary Eric Shinseki: So this is the concept that we have commit ourselves to and, uh, and I would say that, uh, my sense is that we have not backed away from that although Secretary Hagel who has just arrived is in the midst of, uh, getting into this issue and, uh, uh, I've agreed that, uh, he ought to have time to do that and --
Forgetting that he told the House last week that he had already had discussions with Hagel (two, and possibly three, he thought -- see the snapshot from last week, it's in there, he's quoted in full on that), we're still left with the idea that Hagel needs time. That's idiotic. In fact, it's so idiotic we should say, "That's so Jay Rockefeller."
In 2012, I'm using the Washington Post here, Barack Obama received 62,611,250 votes for president, securing a second term. Mitt Romney, the GOP challenger, received 59,134,475 votes. "Others" was 1,968,682. About 3.5 million votes decided that election. The percentages? Barack got 50.6% of the vote, Romney got 47.8%. That's less than 3% difference.
As I noted before, Eric Shinseki is neither a psychic not a time traveler. It was a close election in 2012 (except by the electoral map), it could have gone the other way.
What's my point here?
He has had four years as Secretary of the VA. He was supposed to implement this. He had no idea whether Barack would win re-election or not and no idea whether he (Shinseki) would be alive in 2013 or in the position of VA Secretary. So let's pretend Mitt Romney won for just a minute and that he appointed someone else to be VA Secretary.
What would Shinseki excuse be then? He had a full term, a full four years to work on this. He failed to. He didn't know he'd get a second term as VA. He is inept and he lacks focus.
A ton of money has been spent on this, a ton of time by Congress. He's supposed to have kick started this long ago. Now he wants to use Hagel as his excuse. Chuck Hagel is Secretary of the Defense. In Barack's first term, Robert Gates served as Secretary of Defense and was then replaced with Leon Panetta. Chuck Hagel may end up replaced, Shinseki may end up replaced.
This program was supposed to have been started four years ago. It is exactly where it was when Shineski was sworn in. That is unacceptable. As I stated last week, Barack Obama needs to sit down with Hagel and Shinseki and say, "This (VA/DoD) is the system we will use. That discussion is now over, you need to begin working on implementing this immediately."
Only Senator Richard Blumenthal appeared to grasp the significance of what Shinseki was telling the Senate this week. "So you have no assurance right now from the Department of Defense as to when or whether it will go forward?"
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