Pondering the limits and expectations of technology, on several fronts.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Glitches tell you all you need to know (or not)
Ah, Obamacare, the crown jewel of progressive legislative achievement: retailed by promises that would embarrass a carnival barker; passed, through legislative bribery and procedural trickery, by an evanescent majority. Now we finally get to see what is at the end of the fork. Its rollout, dysfunctional, chaotic, even “excruciatingly embarrassing,” might be its first flirtation with standards of truth in advertising.
This is what you’re in for, people. Welcome to your new health care system! But should anyone be surprised? Under central planning, “glitches” are not exceptional, they are normal. Read your Hayek. And don’t tell me it’s enough that you loved her performance as the progressive heroine Frida Kahlo. The madness is just beginning.
CHIP ALLEN, Woodbury
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I don’t understand the hype about the disaster that was the initial offering of “Obamacare.” I do understand criticism from those on the right, because they are grasping at straws. I do not understand Steve Sack’s Oct. 14 cartoon, however, or other persons who are not so Tea Party-minded who agree that the rollout was bad.
For starters, the concept and the implementation are not the same thing. Airplanes were not very reliable in 1915. That didn’t mean that we abandoned flying. We designed and built better airplanes.
Second, the initial implementation of the exchanges, in my opinion, was not that bad, either. I was a software engineer for 35 years, and I’ve seen much worse. In fact, the biggest problem was that the servers were insufficient to handle the volume of inquiries, and every business person knows that having more customers than you can service is the best kind of problem to have.
I conclude that the opening of the exchanges, despite the problems, was a resounding success, and performance will continue to improve.
DAVID M. PERLMAN, New Hope
So much is online, so why not this?
It’s pretty hard to have confidence in Legislative Auditor James Nobles when he shares the GOP’s concern about the adequacy of data security measures associated with online voter registration. If I can access my health records from the VA and my Social Security account, and if I can bank online securely, then even government officials should know that voter registration can be just as secure.
Republicans are all for free markets except in the marketplace of voters. Since their positions are not supported by a majority, their response is to suppress voting — which is to desecrate the death and sacrifice of every soldier who has even been in combat — because freedom, when boiled down, is the right to vote.
The Star Tribune Editorial Board may have gotten it wrong (“Online voting system needs bipartisan OK,” Oct. 15) for faulting Secretary of State Mark Ritchie for initiating the system in a way that was likely to cause controversy. If this issue does not get enough attention, then Republicans may well succeed in blocking or delaying the process, because Democrats, who live in abject fear of being criticized by Republicans, will be unwittingly complicit in making it harder to vote.
MARC ANDERSON, St. Paul
His personal life is not your business
I wonder how a person can say that someone is insensitive and selfish because he’s doing what he does best (and what he’s been doing for a long time) to cope with the death of his 2-year-old son (“Death of Peterson’s son raises many societal issues,” Letter of the Day, Oct. 15). And attacking the person by saying that he has children from many different women. What does that have to do with anything? It is by far irrelevant and inappropriate. You have to realize if a person has a special way of coping with situations, that person should be able to do that without totally biased judgment from anyone.
If anyone has a problem with someone who is looked upon as a public figure, turn off the TV and pay attention to something else. It isn’t your, my or anyone else’s business!
JAMALLA BAXTER, Brooklyn Center
So much to keep track of. Is there an app?
As an avid reader of the Star Tribune, I would like thank you for your in-depth coverage of the seemingly endless allegations against Catholic institutions in this state. Unfortunately, I have a full-time job and a 2-year-old daughter. I cannot keep up!
When I am not reading about the endless denials from the Catholic institutions, I like to follow prep hockey. I wish I could watch every puck drop, but you know about my job and daughter. Thanks to the Star Tribune’s high school hockey app, I have access to all the scores, all the time. An iPhone in one hand, a diaper in the other — everybody is happy!
Any chance you could ask a developer to apply the same technology to your coverage of the Catholic Church? A scoreboard with allegations, denials and convictions would be helpful. Alerts would provide instant access to news, so nothing is missed. Perhaps you could send out hypocrisy alerts whenever a priest, employee or prominent donor of the Catholic Church makes an unwavering moral statement on issues such as life, marriage and religious liberty. Actually, don’t do that. My iPhone’s battery doesn’t last that long as it is. Instead, maybe a running clock at the bottom of the app that shows how long it has been since parishioners decided to stand up to the corrupt hierarchy of the Catholic Church? Because this is Minnesota and we love everything local, start the clock when the Vatican established the local diocese in 1850.
ANDY SPENCE, Minneapolis
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.