Speed Reads

The Daily Showdown

Jon Stewart demands to know why Veterans Affairs is still using 1985 technology

Jon Stewart kicked off Tuesday night's Daily Show by noting that presidents have been promising to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs since at least the Truman administration. That effort has apparently progressed in fits and starts. Congress has been holding late-night hearings on the VA's scandalously long wait times at hospitals, Stewart noted, almost approvingly, but a lot of the hearings devolve into ping-ponging responsibility back and forth between the VA bureaucracy and Congress.

Stewart hit his stride when a zombie-like VA bureaucrat (to be fair, it was an overnight hearing) informed Congress that the department's scheduling software was last significantly updated in 1985. "You're running OS... Tandy 1000?" Stewart gaped. "Your system can't process claims, but it can print an all-text picture of Snoopy." He didn't really have a solution, but he offered this suggestion: "Can't we figure out some way to use that death-drone NSA technology for administrative purposes at the VA?" And that's Stewart's sensible solution. His dream scenario is more entertaining. --Peter Weber