Stories I’d like to see

The Oracle Oregon fiasco, crying wolf on an Obamacare tax, and anointing the ‘Politico 50′

By Steven Brill
December 31, 2013

1. The Oracle Oregon fiasco:

We all know by now that the dominant story line of the Obamacare website’s failed launch is that the federal government is terrible at doing high-tech projects — let alone one that involves the e-commerce wizardry that has made Silicon Valley the envy of the world.

MSNBC’s book promotion machine, helping Dasani, and profiling Eric Schneiderman

By Steven Brill
December 24, 2013

1. MSNBC’s book promotion machine:

Lately it seems as if it must be written into MSNBC anchors’ contracts that if he or she writes a book, no matter how related to current news, the anchor will get endless opportunities to promote it on the cable channel’s air.

Profiling John Miller, the Snowden dilemma, and options for national security whistleblowers

By Steven Brill
December 17, 2013

1. Profiling John Miller:

This story  in the Huffington Post last week speculated that CBS News senior correspondent John Miller might be appointed to run the New York City Police Department’s counterterrorism unit, now that Bill Bratton has been named police commissioner by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.

Behind a legislative triumph, Mandela memorial security, and a question for Politico

By Steven Brill
December 10, 2013

1. Behind a legislative triumph:

According to this article in the Capitol Hill newspaper the Hill, the House is poised this week to pass legislation that relates to three controversial issues: the federal budget, airport security, and funds for the military. Yet the bill is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 43 House members.

A video game called ‘School Shooting,’ backing the video gaming industry, and a qualified lawyer on hold

By Steven Brill
December 3, 2013

1. Is there really a game called “School Shooting”?

Last week, the Connecticut State’s Attorney issued his official report  about the shooting a year ago at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. On page 26 the State’s Attorney noted that among other video games found in the home of murderer Adam Lanza was: “The computer game titled ‘School Shooting’ where the player controls a character who enters a school and shoots at students.”

Picking government contractors, high-flying Dubai, and a dubious drug on the market

By Steven Brill
November 26, 2013

1. Who picks the contractors?

In the wake of the failed launch of Healthcare.gov there has been some spectacular insider coverage, particularly by the Washington Post and New York Times, of the failure of the private contractors to deliver what they promised when they won the assignments to build the federal insurance exchange. But while there has been some mention of problems with the contract procurement process itself (focusing on the notion that in Washington the IT providers who win the contracts are better at winning IT contracts than at doing cutting-edge IT), one piece of the story has so far been missing: Who actually decided to award the Healthcare.gov contract to CGI and the others who shared the work? And on exactly what basis?

Timing the capitol bloviators, the French as the tough guys, and Wal-Mart’s reputation

By Steven Brill
November 19, 2013

1. Timing the capitol bloviators:

Watching the spate of committee hearings on Capitol Hill related to the Obamacare launch debacle reminds me of a story — or, rather, an ongoing type of coverage — that I wish the Washington Post, Politico or even C-Span would do: Keep count of the percentage of time each senator or congressman talks versus the amount of time the witnesses, whose appearances are ostensibly the purpose of the hearings, get to talk.

Finding Obamacare’s authors; assessing J&J’s CEO culpability; and grading Chris Christie

By Steven Brill
November 12, 2013

1. Finding the folks who wrote Obamacare:

As I report a story I am writing about Obamacare, it’s become clear to me that — as we are already seeing with the controversy over people getting their insurance plans dropped — there are all kinds of issues related to provisions in the massive law that are bound to get lots more attention once the website is working. A few weeks ago in this column, for example, I mentioned the as-yet-little-noticed high penalties that smokers will have to pay.

Breaking procurement rules to fix Healthcare.gov, the Red Cross and Sandy, and Westerners choking in China

By Steven Brill
October 29, 2013

1. Breaking procurement rules to fix Healthcare.gov?

In the weeks immediately following the failure of the federal government’s Obamacare exchange website, policy wonks who were inclined to attach larger meaning to the fiasco than the simple incompetence of those in charge pointed to how difficult and time-consuming government procurement is.

A refund for Healthcare.gov, European lobbyists, and A-Rod’s curious supporters

By Steven Brill
October 22, 2013

1. Can we get our money back for the failure of Healthcare.gov?

Over the weekend the Wall Street Journal scored a scoop of sorts, getting the first interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius since her ill-fated appearance on “The Daily Show.” She addressed the failure of her Healthcare.gov website to function as the enrollment marketplace for the 36 states that are having the federal government operate their Obamacare insurance exchanges, instead of doing exchanges on their own.