What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Allegany Busted. I joined a Facebook group a few months ago that shows who’s been arrested in my old home county. It gives you a picture, a name, some vitals, and then their arrest record. If anything has ever sent me into a rage about the American justice system it isn’t that it’s slow or biased, but rather that it’s possible for someone who’s 28 years old to have been arrested 20 times and was somehow free to move about the county and get himself arrested for the 21st time. Maybe three-strikes-and-out is a little too excessive, but can we not agree as a society that by about your 20th strike you’re not going to be rehabilitated and constitute a clear danger to the health and welfare of the community? How someone like this should ever been entitled to breath free air again is simply beyond me. We humanely euthanize dogs that are vicious and can’t learn to live with the pack. I feel badly when society has to put down a dog, though. I wouldn’t bat at eye if we gave a short drop and a sudden stop to members of this professional criminal class.

2. You’re Fired. Social media is rife with “well informed” “opinion leaders” trying to make an argument that President Trump can’t fire Attorney General Sessions. Given the Attorney General’s position as a political appointee, AG Sessions served, using one of the most delightfully flourished phrases in the language, “at the pleasure of the president,” and he can and was fired. Sure, you’re free to use “asked to resign” as a euphemism, but the end result is exactly the same. The Office of the President often has a Senate conformation hurdle for hiring, but has pretty sweeping powers when it comes to terminating someone from the ranks of the political appointee class. I can only assume what these amateur political scientists on social media mean is that President Trump *shouldn’t* have fired Mr. Sessions. Even with this broad interpretation, their accuracy remains to be seen based on the amount of political fallout that’s generated and how it settles out. It’s certainly not going to damage the president’s standing with his base and he’s pretty consistently displayed an abject disregard to the opinion of the opposition party so the whole thing could end up being just another day in the West Wing in 2018.

3. Jim Acosta. Jim Acosta, CNN’s White House correspondent, has taken to the airwaves and social media platforms, retweeting that “freedom of the press is under attack.” Whether revoking press credentials from one individual employee of a company that has a healthy population of other employees more than capable of picking up his slack is actual an “attack,” of course is subject to debate. That said, it seems he does not like to see his rights abridged or trifled with by the government. Personally, I welcome Mr. Acosta and his company at long last to the defense of constitutional liberties… but until as he takes up the banner to defend all of the other liberties so carefully enshrined by the founders, I’ll opt not to give one good goddamn about what Mr. Acosta thinks.

Destined for disappointment…

Three hours. That’s the time I spent after lunch this afternoon flailing around wildly trying to figure out why my “corporate” email isn’t working. Through the good graces of an unofficial help desk POC, we seem to have narrowed it down to a problem physically contained on my computer rather than with the servers or the network. I’m not entirely sure that makes me feel better, especially since the first order of business tomorrow will be rehashing the story with the official help desk in the vain hope of getting resolution.

I always have such high hopes for technology – like it will work as it’s supposed to with a minimum of trouble. Like the high hopes I occasionally have for people, that dream seems destined for disappointment. Except I know that’s not entirely true. We bog down our computers with so much security bloatware that I’m amazed they can do anything at all. Intellectually I understand that’s a necessary evil of the age, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want my work tech to perform with any less rapidity than my gmail account and home computer.

Sadly, unlike a certain major party presidential candidate, I’ve opted not to run my office through my home computer. The price I’ve had to pay in effectiveness and efficiency is at least marginally compensated by not ending up in federal prison. The high and the mighty don’t usually end up in as guests of the government at Danbury, but you can best believe I sure as hell would.

iPads for inmates…

So, I see that Attorney General Gansler wants to issue tablet computers to Maryland inmates. My initial response was that I couldn’t possible have read that article correctly. Surely the AG is pushing to restrict inmate’s access to the internet, email, and phone services that connect them to the outside world. After all, didn’t we just find a jail in Baltimore City where the inmates were quite literally running the asylum in part due to cell phones that had been smuggled in to them by members of the corrections staff? What in the name of high holy hell makes the AG think that giving everyone access to these devices would result in something different? Surely inmates with nothing but time on their hands would never conjure up a means of using these computers to communicate amongst themeslves as well as with the outside world. I can’t imagine how a prison full of inmates snapchatting with one another and their friends beyond the wall could possibly go wrong.

Sigh. The best part, the part that I really love, is that while I’m sitting here living with a 4-day a week paycheck, the esteemed Attorney General of Maryland and an assumed candidate for governor wants to spend $500 an inmate to give them these computers. Are you shitting me? Inmates get three meals a day, a bed, and a roof over their precious little heads. They get cable, a library, exercise equipment, and a host of other “privileges” if they’re not complete douchtards (by the standards of the corrections system). And now the AG wants me to think that spending another $500 a head is a good idea for these people who broke what I can only assume was some kind of major law – because let’s face it, if it was a minor infraction they’d have paid a fine or done 30-days and been out.

I’m a simple man. I really only want to hear about prisoners in a couple of contexts: 1) Making license plates; 2) Picking up trash along the highways and byways of the jurisdiction in which they are incarcerated; 3) Turning big rocks into little rocks; or 4) The news report where Inmate X was executed last night for rape, murder, or some other heinous crime. I don’t want to hear about their troubled childhood, or their anger management issues, or getting them the same computer that I’ve had to go out and earn an honest living to buy for myself. I want them to work demanding, physical jobs, so at the end of the day the only thing they can even thinking about doing is going to sleep.

That’s not how we roll here in the People’s Democratic Republic of Maryland. Oh no. We’d rather take money from the taxpayer and fund whatever half assed, bleeding heart program the sociological flavor of the day dreamed up to pass off as public policy.

This has been the first in an occasional series of posts where Jeff answers questions or opines on topics submitted directly by the readers.

Sucking chest wound…

Getting back to the weekly grind is tough after a regular, uneventful weekend. Going back after a four-day weekend is a little more like trying to recover from massive ballistic trauma – without the blood and swelling, of course. Sitting at the computer, staring at Outlook, and making an effort at being productive was just downright painful… and I think just reinforces why I need to win Wednesday’s PowerBall drawing.

I envy that select group of people who jump out of bed in the morning, fully energized and looking forward to the day. Generally the best I can hope to achieve is fully caffeinated and looking forward to going home at the end of the day. That last bit shouldn’t be taken as a slam against my job. As far as work goes, it’s really not a bad one; with a little attention to detail and a willingness to not let common sense get in the way, there’s really not that much to complain about.

Still, a job is a job and like 99.9% of the other working slobs in this country, there are of 687 bazillion other things I’d rather be doing on any average day. Tops on my list is not waking up at 4:50AM to three screaming alarm clocks. It may seem like a small thing, but I think it would go a long way towards reducing my regular feeling of post-weekend trauma. Since my experience has been that one job is more or less like the next, it seems to be that the only real alternatives at this point are to start robbing banks, come up with a Wall Street ponzi scheme, or win the PowerBall jackpot.

With only one of those three not leading more or less directly to prison, I’d say that the only acceptable plan is to win the lottery. Well, either that or somehow learn not to think of Monday as the sucking chest wound on the torso of life. Wish me luck.

Boorish…

I’m sure it was some touchy feely sociologist who first said that people only have the control over us that we allow them to have. That’s horseshit, of course. Some people have power over us because we were dumb enough to elect them and others because their block on the organizational chart is further towards the top of the page than ours. On the other hand, some people have power over us because the law says beating them to death with their own shoe is illegal and would result in us spending much of the next 20 years in prison.

Just slightly behind my abject fear of prison is the lesson drummed into my head as a child to be polite. Sadly, some people take a polite smile and nod as encouragement to continue doing whatever they’re doing while staying happily oblivious to the murderous glare you’re giving them at the same time. Eventually the thin veneer of civilization that separates us from the wild beasts is going to wear through just enough that any normal person can’t help but snap in response. Still, in the back of my mind I can’t help but wonder what it’s like going through life oblivious to the normally accepted social signs that your behavior is boorish and disliked. I half suspect it’s a bit like being the eternally happy, but not very bright family dog.