What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Detroit. Apparently now indoor plumbing is a human right. At least according to the United Nations, who it seems wants the city of Detroit to provide water to everyone without regard to who has paid for the service and who hasn’t. And that’s where I have the problem, because you see, eventually someone will have to pay. The building and maintaining the infrastructure used to purify and delivery water certainly costs money. At some point, someone has to pay in order to keep the system running – typically that means those receiving the service (city water) pay for what they receive and when they stop paying they stop receiving. It feels like a pretty straightforward pay-as-you-go arrangement. But if the customer base stops paying, who picks up the tab? Whose responsibility is it to pay for something you use? The city? The state? The people who actually pay taxes and their utility bills. Surely we could just charge them a little bit more, no? We have a real problem in this country when huge swaths of society feel entitled to the fruits of labor that isn’t theirs. Detroit’s water woes are just the latest example of nice people being well intentioned, but inherently stupid.

2. Work versus email. The number of messages you send is a really shitty way to measure how much “work” you get done. A) It doesn’t take into account the length, complexity, or content of said emails. B) Being “busy” passing out electronic missives doesn’t mean you’re adding anything of value to whatever you’re engaged in. C) Chances are whoever receives your email is going to misinterpret at least part of it. Sending a lot of email is not a substitute for doing the work. More often than not it’s a sure sign that you’re spending too much time electronically “talking” and not enough time actually thinking.

3. Gaza. Despite what social media apparently want you to believe, the Palestinians and Israelis are not morally equivalent. For as long as there as been an Israel – actually since before then in British Mandate Palestine – they’ve been engaged in a fight for their national survival against a numerically superior foe whose stated ambition is to drive them into the sea. My take on the current Gaza situation is basically the same as if Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia decided Delaware was the odd man out and started hurling missiles into Wilmington. Expecting Delaware in this case to not use every resource at its disposal to make that stop happening would be ridiculous. It’s not the cool or popular stance these days, but I’m saying it out loud and in print: I stand with Israel. Our only real ally in the Middle East and the region’s only functioning democracy deserves at least that much.