ProPublica summarizes recent reporting on why healthcare.gov broke down. Themes that emerge: a lot of corporations worked on healthcare.gov and didn't talk to each other about what they were doing; many of these corporations do better at "navigating the procurement process" than they do at building a good website; and our government decided not to let people browse health care plans before creating an account. ProPublica doesn't say so, but maybe outsourcing government work to private corporations isn't always the greatest idea in the world, either.
If you recall last week's petition demanding that the New York Times make its budget reporting less susceptible to distortion, note that the Times's public editor has responded. She seems to agree with the spirit of our argument, but specific improvements will be a ways off. As an aside, I don't agree with Mr. Leonhardt that "the human mind isn’t equipped" to comprehend huge numbers -- our media outlets too often allow interested parties to brandish large numbers as scare numbers. This is kind of the thing we've been talking about, in fact.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) says "socialized medicine like Obama is trying to impose on America" would have killed him, because he would have had to wait for his open heart surgery. Mr. Inhofe hopes you don't remember that Americans routinely wait months or years for organ transplants, or that Americans can't just get a doctor's appointment (let alone a specialist's appointment, or a surgical appointment) whenever they feel like it. It's really stunning that idiocy like this actually seems persuasive in a nation where people routinely face obstacles getting health care.
RetroReport reviews the famous spilled coffee lawsuit from the early '90s, which resulted in a jury award for the plaintiff of nearly $3 million. Amid the cries of FRIVLISS LAWSUITZZ!!!!, more than a few facts got lost: that the plaintiff had tried several times to reach an agreement with McDonald's, that the plaintiff suffered burns over 16% of her body (including third-degree burns requiring skin grafts), that McDonald's own policy was to serve coffee at 180 degrees, that over 700 people had claimed to be burned by McDonald's hot coffee during the previous decade, and that the judge reduced the award to $650,000. It's nice to be reminded, I suppose, that the "liberal" media's tendency toward sensationalism isn't that new.
Finally, Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that we actually change our memories every time we remember them. They suspect we activate a slightly different set of neurons every time we revisit a particular memory, so that, ultimately, we're losing different bits of that memory (smells, sights, sounds, et cetera) -- and ultimately creating newer, fictional bits -- every time we think of it. Unfortunately, this theory does not explain why folks think the policies and programs they supported last year is Teh New Hitler now.