MEMPHIS — Kathleen Sebelius brushed off questions Friday about reports saying only six people signed up for coverage on the first day of the Obamacare website’s operation.
Speaking at a library in Memphis as part of an effort to encourage healthcare sign ups in the city, Sebelius said she didn’t know where that figure came from and that the government doesn’t have “reliable enrollment figures yet.”
“I don’t pay a lot of attention to these early reports, because the system was flawed,” she said, adding that the flaws were partly because of demand. “This is month one. We’re in football season now, and this is the first quarter. A lot of folks want to declare game over. I don’t know where those figures came from, but we’ll be giving out comprehensive figures once a month.”
Those government figures, she said, would start coming out in a few weeks.
“There is nobody more frustrated with the website than I am,” she said. “We should have done better.”
(Robert Giroux/Getty Image)
She told community leaders the public needs to be reminded that the website does not function like Amazon.com, where customers are used to logging on to buy a product “like a Tickle Me Elmo doll” before someone else gets it. In this case, Sebelius said, the service is constant and doesn’t run out.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) who invited Sebelius to the city, bristled at some of the questions she was asked, saying “Change is hard. Get over it. Barack Obama is president, and the Affordable Care Act is the law.”
In the crowd was Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey, the sponsor of a bill to block Medicaid expansion in Tennessee scheduled to be heard in January. He tried to give Sebelius a copy of the book “Websites for Dummies,” which she appeared to hold briefly.
What We're Following See More »
Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”