Pep Rosenfeld is co-founder of comedy theater Boom Chicago and Boom Chicago Creative in Amsterdam. He loves both nerd chic and chic nerds, and can be seen hosting events where they meet — like #TNW2015.
Non-tech blogs were abuzz last week guessing what the Supreme Court will do about Obamacare and those four unfortunate words within. Did Justice Kennedy’s questions mean he’ll vote to support the law? Did Chief Justice Roberts’ lack of questions mean he won’t? Did Justice Scalia’s inconsistent quotes about taking laws “in context” make you like him even less?
But this is not a political post; I’m not here to guess — or debate Obamacare in the comments — but bear with me: Since the drafters of the law say it was not their intent to only offer tax credits for exchanges “established by the states,” why did they write it that way?
My hunch is that it was for the same reason many of us accidentally submit the wrong version of a document: Misuse of collaboration tools in the cloud.
When this issue surfaced, I’ll bet the conversation between the law’s authors sounded a lot like this:
Washington D.C. – July 2014:
Rep. Nancy Pelosi: Mr. President, we are so sorry about this.
Pres. Obama: What the hell happened? Four stupid words… how did you miss it?
Sen. Harry Reid: Yeah. It’s weird. I thought we fixed that.
Pelosi: Me too! I swear I had a version that said, “Established by the Federal Government.”
Obama: You totally did! I remember because then I added, “in case some jerk states refuse to help their own jerk people get insurance”!
Pelosi: Good one, Mr. President!
Obama: Hey — was it funny watching those words creep across the Google Doc?
Pelosi: Very funny, sir. That’s the best part of Google Docs! It was like there was a magical ghost on my screen writing jokes about republicans.
Obama: Legislating should be fun, right?
Reid: How come I never saw that version?
Pelosi: Come on Harry – did you look in your “Shared with Me” folder?
Reid: No, just in my “My Drive.”
Reid: Sorry! So what happened to that version?
Pelosi: I didn’t like what Google Docs was doing to my formatting. So I cut and pasted the whole thing into the version in Dropbox.
Obama: Uh oh, this might be my bad. I also made a change to the one in Dropbox. There must’ve been a conflicted copy.
Pelosi: Stupid Dropbox and its stupid conflicted copies! Are you telling me that even before we blew the website, we blew the cloud collaboration?
Reid: I told you we shouldn’t have used Dropbox to collaborate!
Obama: Hey, I emailed around the final version I was okay with.
Reid: Yeah, I saw that. “Obamacare-not-Romneycare-FINAL.”
Pelosi: I thought it was, “Obamacare-not-Romneycare-FINALFINAL.”
Obama: No, I made changes after that. It was Obamacare-not-Romneycare-FINALFINALPREZVERSIONUSETHISONE.”
Reid: This is why we totally should have done this on OneNote.
Pelosi: Again with the OneNote! What do you own Microsoft stock? I told you: The House of Representatives is the people’s house, and Evernote is the people’s cloud!
Reid: But OneNote would’ve let us track revisions and –
Pelosi: People’s cloud!
Obama: Even Microsoft 365 would’ve been way better, Nancy.
Reid: I thought Microsoft 365 was an Xbox thing.
Obama: Plus, Nancy, I feel like the Evernote logo is a little… Republicaney.
Pelosi: With all due respect, Mr. President, it’s a totally different elephant! I had a whole Evernote Notebook and a dozen tags dedicated to this law! I had charts on health care costs, I had Romney’s law from Massachusetts – God help me, I even had Hillary’s Hail Mary from 1993. She emailed me an original copy from her backup in the Carbonite cloud.
Reid: “Carbonite cloud” sounds like where Han Solo was backed up.
Obama: (ironic) Good one, Harry.
Baucus: No, Mr. President, I mean – it’s even got, “cloud” in it, like the cloud city from Empire?
Obama: Yeah, I got it, Harry.
Reid: Hey, Nancy, did that email from Hillary come from her personal account or a state department account?
Obama: It must’ve been her personal account. I don’t think she ever had an official account.
Reid: Isn’t that weird?
Obama: Eh, I’m sure if it ever comes up it won’t be a big deal.
Pelosi: But I sent so many Evernote chat messages.
Obama: Nobody reads your Evernote chat messages!
Reid: Nobody reads any Evernote chat messages! There’s sms, Whatsapp, iMessage, Google Hangouts – I still can’t figure out how to turn off those annoying chat head thingies from Facebook Messenger! Why would anyone want another chat service?
Obama: Except Snapchat, of course. I think we can all agree every member of Congress could use Snapchat.
Reid: Anthony Weiner could’ve used Snapchat!
All: [murmurs of agreement]
Reid: Man, oh man, at least we know our intern-porn is safe and sound up in the iCloud. In the summer of 2014, that’s the safest place for personal data; the iCloud will never be hacked!
Pelosi: Wait… that’s where I put the latest version of Obamacare!
Obama: You mean the one where you mentioned, “Death Panels”?
Pelosi: That was a joke!