What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Bullying. If the media is to be believed, basically every form of social interaction is now considered bullying. Look, I get that we want to protect kids from all the mean, nasty things in the world, but the fact is sometimes the world is just a mean nasty place. There were plenty of bullies around 20 years ago when I was in school. I’m sure there were plenty 50 years ago, too. It’s not exactly like this is some new danger society has never faced before. Is bullying wrong? Of course it is. Should we be aware of it and try to reduce it? Of course. Once upon a time, if you stood up to a typical bully they went away. From the news coverage of those who choose to off themselves or shoot up the place in response to a bully’s taunts, I wonder if we’ve collectively raised a generation that simply doesn’t know how to actually stand up for themselves rather than immediately lurching to the extremes.

2. Healthcare.gov. I’m pretty sure if my boss gave me three years and $500 million and told me to build a website, he might have some actual expectations that at the end of three years I’d have at least a working prototype. Sure, it might need some of the rough edges smoothed out over time, but the damn thing would have at least the basic functionalities built in – like being able to register as a user. If at some point in the process, I realized things weren’t working out, I’d at least have the stones to fire off a red star cluster and call for assistance. Instead, we have a dysfunction website that no one is willing to be accountable for screwing up. Maybe I’m just doing the whole work thing wrong. It could be time to go see what jobs Health and Human Services has available. An employer with no actual expectations would have to be a pretty relaxing gig.

3. Buying off the rack. I’m not now, nor have I ever been a small guy. A side effect of this is my neck has to be correspondingly thick to support the giant gourd that sits atop it. While I’m not and will never be known as a clothes horse, I do from time to time, have to find something to wear that isn’t a polo/khaki combination. Let’s just say finding a collar that fits around my pillar of a neck with sleeves that don’t stop halfway up my forearms is something just shy of seeking the holy grail. Of course when you do find one of these mythical shirts, they’re never on the $19.99 sale rack, they’re always way in the back on the $75-full-price-thank-you-very-much section of the store… and that’s a real pisser for something I’m going to wear once and then relegate to the back of the closet because I hate wearing a tie.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Semantics. Listening to the news over the last few days, I’ve been surprised (shocked and appalled), to hear the talking heads from the party of fiscal responsibility saying that even if the debt ceiling is not raised, the US Government won’t technically be in “default” as long as it continues to pay the interest and principle on the existing national debt. And while it’s true that in that sense, the government won’t default on its sovereign debt, it would absolutely default on a host of other payments – to include veteran’s benefits, Social Security, salaries, and contracts for goods and services. I’m the first to admit that words and their meaning are important, but to say that the government will not be in a state of de facto default if the debt ceiling is not raised is a little like making a differentiation between dying of dysentery and dying of the dehydration caused by having dysentery. Either way you shit yourself to death, the rest is just semantics.

2. Obamacare. I’ve never pretended to be a fan of this first step in the headlong rush towards nationalized healthcare. While having access to affordable medical care is definitely a good thing, I’ve always been of the opinion having the federal government step into the fray adds nothing more than unnecessary layers of bureaucracy between a person and their doctor. Despite the best efforts of the right wing nutjobs, we’ve got it now, so c’est la vie. What really annoys me more than having this program foisted on the taxpayer is the fact that they had three years to design a website and couldn’t manage to do that correctly. If I were launching the capstone initiative of my administration, you can be damned sure I’d make sure it worked properly before it saw the light of day. The fact that the average guy with a “Websites for Dummies” book, a DSL line, and rented space on a server can set up and host their own website and my kindly old Uncle Sam can’t does not fill me with an abundance of confidence when it comes to letting him help me make decisions about my health. I’m screwing that one up just fine on my own, thank you very much.

3. Sports talk. I don’t know quite how to phrase this other than being blunt. If you come at me talking about last night’s baseball game or this weekend’s football lineup, you’re going to be met with a blank stare and a fairly blunt, “I don’t follow sports.” Then I’m going to disengage from the conversation. I’ve tried being a good trooper and faking my way through these conversations, feigning an interest, but I think I’m over that now. If you want to have a conversation about technology, science, history, current events, or occasionally the foibles of pop culture icons, I’m your huckleberry. You want to talk batting average and passing yards, you’ll need to look elsewhere. In this one, small segment of life, I’m just tired of pretending to care which group of millionaires are better than which other group of millionaires.

Wimps…

I’m a registered Republican and quite frankly I think the current crop of Republican “leaders” are a bunch of little nancy girls. Total friggin’ pansies. Cowards. Wimps. They’re going through the motions of “shutting down the government” in the name of resisting Obamacare. The reality is that what the government is going to carry out if they have their way is, at best, a partial government shutdown. If the “shutdown” happens, more than half the government will continue to operate. That’s a lame excuse for a shutdown if I ever heard one.

If the Tea Party Republicans were serious about stopping Obamacare, they’d actually shut down the government, not the kind of half-assed stunt like they seem bent on pulling. If they want to make a statement, they should really shut the mother down.

Shut it all the way down and let people suck on no Social Security checks, no federal prison guards or courts, no Border Patrol or Coast Guard; No food stamps, no disability, no agriculture subsidies, no meat inspection or drug oversight. No air traffic controllers, no TSA screeners, no GPS satellites, no weather forecasting or storm warnings. Shut down the VA hospitals, banks, and the stock market. Stop producing electricity at hydro-electric plants across the west. Lock the doors and walk away from every military installation across the country and throughout the world. Tell the troops overseas that they’re on their own until further notice. Take away their pay, food, uniforms, weapons, and ammunition because that came at tax payer expense. If you’re going to say you’re playing hardball, then for God’s sake have the stones to actually play hardball.

Unfortunately, what the loudmouthed amateurs who’ve hijacked the Republican party are doing is grandstanding, not standing on principle. If they were committed to their quest, they’d stop being a bunch of pansies about it… but all I can see them doing today is dicking around with the full faith and credit of the United States of America, loving the sound of their own voices, and trying to scorch the earth just to watch it burn.

You know what? I don’t think Obamacare is good law either, but I can accept that my party lost an election. The fact that we’re on the slippery slope to universal healthcare is an unfortunate results of that loss. It’s painfully obvious that these asshats have no earthly idea what it means to be a Republican (or a republican for that matter), because whatever they are, they’re not acting like the heirs of Lincoln, or TR, or Reagan. Right now they’re acting like nothing more than the bitter cranks that members of my party are always accused of being. That makes for bad politics. It makes for bad public relations. And it makes for bad government.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

Delayed, but not forgotten, here’s your rundown of What Annoys Jeff this Week…

1. I don’t like universal healthcare as a concept, but I do like that the court has insisted on calling mandatory health insurance what it is: a tax, just like all the other taxes we pay but whose purpose we may not necessarily agree with. I’m annoyed by people who say “the court got it wrong.” The court didn’t get it any more wrong this time than they did a million years ago when they controversially ruled in Bush v. Gore. As an aside, it’s about time we collectively figure out that just because we don’t like something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s “wrong.” All it means is that we don’t like it. Nine pretty smart people made a decision based on their interpretation of the law, nothing more, nothing less. That puts the issue of health care and insurance squarely back in the political arena, so take it up with your Member of Congress, not the court.

2. Lack of Proper Planning. I heard a rumor once that proper planning prevents piss poor performance. If I ever get the opportunity to experience proper planning in person, I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I’ll just go ahead and continue to expect “performance issues.”

3. Arson laws. If I want to set my house on fire and let it burn it to the ground, I should be perfectly within my rights to do so. That would so much pent up aggravation. Alternately, expensive things could just stop needing repaired. Either way works.