Yes, Congress adjourned last week.
The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee still held an IT (Information Techonology) hearing today. Scott Brown attended it, Richard Burr did, as did Mike Johanns. And, of course, Chair Daniel Akaka not only attended it, he scheduled it and made it happen.
Ava here. Trina's Senator is Scott Brown so I cover him from time to time on hearings for her here. (I also jump in and cover Senator Roland Burris from time to time as well.)
I asked her if she wanted me to note anything on her senator tonight and fill in for her? Her reply, "Ava, where were you Monday when I was falling asleep at the laptop?" Sorry. (And, seriously, if that happens, she can always call me if she wants and I'll come over here and type up something. I know Jess would as well. I'm sure others would but Jess and I are involved so I can name him.)
So Scott Brown, had he changed?
He said he had due to his job and doing his job at the hearings and all he was learning.
"You know, as a matter of fact, I've learned that the Arlington Cemetery folks are still accounting for people on index cards. They're using index cards to identify where graves are and whose there. And they don't have an iPad or they don't use computers. Can you believe that? That's amazing to me. And I've learned also that we've wasted tremendous amount of money beginning programs, putting a few hundred million dollars in it and then you say, 'Oh that doesn't work. We'll do something else.' And -- and I've learned also that the IT systems in various departments are critical -- especially with the changing nature of how we communicate worldwide. And I'm not opposed to provide the tools and resources needed to update IT. I think it makes sense. But I do have a problem when we always -- and I know I'm still somewhat new here -- but we put tremendous amounts of money into programs and then we change midstream and then do another one and another one."
By the way, the title isn't snark. Scott Brown spoke at length about what he'd learned. (I used C.I.'s notes but I was at the hearing as well.) And I thought that was worth noting.
His question: Do you have the tools you need?
Roger Baker's Two-Face didn't help on the one hand, on the other . . .
Brown asked if the ability to hire and fire had improved and Baker said "no." A one word answer and the only time he didn't meander. He meandered from the start (Baker, not Brown). Chair Akaka asked him a question and Baker replied that he could go on to ten minutes but he'd be brief and then he went on for about eight minutes. So glad he was brief. (That last sentence is sarcasm.)
Brown wanted to know how money was being saved because "the money tree is getting smaller" and Baker went back to the same generic examples he'd used prior.
Asked about the portability of medical records by Brown, Baker blathered on with, "That is a great question." He went on for an additional two minutes before noting that he didn't have an answer but, hey, he'd get back to Brown with it.
Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"