16 October 2012

Grasping At Straws...
Welcome to the Tuesday edition, hot off the keyboard.
The weather today will be nice with temps in the mid 60s. Maybe some clouds...maybe not.
Should be a good day for most anything you want to do, so have at it.
*** I suppose you're wondering a bit about the TITLE of today's post, right?
(I'm feeling a little on the philosophical side today...for a change...lol)
Ever hear of that idiom? Of course you have.
And just in case you'd like a refresher course, here's the meaning/concept:
1) To depend on something that is useless; to make a futile attempt at something.
2) Trying to find some way to succeed when nothing you choose is likely to work.
3) Trying to find reasons to feel hopeful about a bad situation.
These were courtesy of:
(a veritable treasure-trove of knowledge)
*** Now I'm jumping in the deep end this morning because so many times, we see examples of people "grasping at straws", and I myself am not immune to doing so (when all else seems to fail), as I'm sure we all have at one time or another.
But, I believe we see more evidence of such tactics NOW than say this time last year, and that's because of the electoral process.
There are ways to campaign and ways to not campaign...that's like most anything in life.
My late Father used to say:
"There are FOUR ways to do things...the RIGHT way, the WRONG way, the ARMY way and MY way...we're going to do things around this house MY way." And you know what?
That pretty much worked every damn time.
Rarely was the instance where "Dad's way" turned out to be the wrong way...simply because he wasn't prone to grasping at straws.
He usually had a plan, and then a backup plan...and sometimes, a backup plan FOR the backup plan.
And I have followed likewise.
Yet, there are those (especially in some form of politics) for whom such planning is not only folly, but in and of itself, is designed to fail at some point.
Think about the level of vitriol and negative campaigning we're seeing JUST on the side of the democratic party in this election.
Now, before you begin talking to yourself, YES, the republicans are also guilty of such divisiveness, but not in the same manner or degree.
Whenever you hear about a republican exercising a negative campaign against an opponent (like Romney is "supposed" to be doing, according to all the libtards), it's not a PERSONAL attack, but rather a taking to task of the (failed) POLICIES that the president has foisted upon the people of this nation.
There ARE facts and figures to back that up.
On the other hand, when the democrats launch a negative campaign, it's more a denigration OF THE PERSON, and this is done because they cannot stand on a failed record of accomplishment such as higher national debt, growing deficits, spending money we (as a country) do not have, and wasting taxpayer money to fund projects (you guessed it) "designed to fail"...sound familiar?
So...you begin grasping at straws in a vain attempt to prove yourself correct...and that only serves to prove the opponent's point.
But, we don't have to look at just the Presidential election to see such examples...let's stay a bit "closer to home"...
What about the mayor's (aka King Henry of Fort Wayne) budget?
He just "revamped" his 2013 budget to use a one-time "borrowing" from the Legacy Fund (a loan?) to help shore up the revenues needed to keep the city operating in the manner it has become "accustomed" to running, and you probably know to what I am alluding to, right?
Here's the story from the local paper:
The money borrowed is INTEREST INCOME from the funds, and doesn't impact the principle...nice, huh?
The story says: "It's all part of a BALANCING ACT to ensure the city has a financial pad equivalent to 10% of it's annual budget in case of emergencies".
That's a pretty decent STRAW to be grasping at, isn't it?
The city won't know until March 2013 exactly HOW MUCH property taxes will be rolling into the city coffers (I would safely wager it won't be as much as the city would like, and one can point a finger right at the SOUTH SIDE of town for this financial debacle in the making).
*** Case in point for low property taxes (incoming) and a need for the city to grasp at some straws:
You have a rental property on the SE side of town, and the place is selling for between $20K-30K (max), thanks to a devalued housing market, Section 8ers, and rising crime with a stagnant lack of amenities (like retail shopping).
But yet, you STILL rent it at ABOVE the market pricing at say $400-$500 PER MONTH...
The LANDLORD (often partially funded by HUD) is making out like a bandit, because he's got a damn gold mine with this property, and the city gets the "shaft" financially-speaking.
(We few home OWNERS down here are used to getting the shaft from the city's gold mine every damn day, but that's another post for another time)
Now, you have to remember that this rental property is being handled OUTSIDE of the standard REALTOR markets...privately done.
There are never any regulations for this, and rarely any inspections (which would occur under the auspices of a REALTOR - by law), so the only time a place like this DOES get inspected is after a FIRE burns the place down, or the property is otherwise CONDEMNED, and that only means that whatever money WAS funneled into the city for taxes is now LOST.
Take this scenario and MULTIPLY it (at least) several hundred times OVER, and you can see that a devalued area of the city is the greatest LOSS of revenue FOR that city.
And then the "straw-grasping" begins downtown.
You have to get "creative" in protecting what revenue you DO have coming in and trying all the while to ADD to that stash.
Not an easy premise, is it?
So, many times, cities cut back staff, and departments, and that's a bad road to take a stroll down, especially in the realm of public safety.
But, all you have to do is read the papers or search online for city after city that does JUST that as THEY grasp at straws, trying to remain solvent.
*** One of the worst attributes of someone grasping at straws is that they're are in some state of denial.
(I'm from the state of Pennsylvania myself)
I know...I've been there as have most of us...we can't believe whatever we're trying to do is being undone, or cannot seem to GET done.
Yet, individually, we DO manage, often with help from a "higher authority", and a trust that goes beyond the tangible.
That works...FOR US, but in a situation that involves tens or hundreds of thousands of other people, the problem is a lot more complex...ergo, we look for a LOT more straws.
This doesn't mean we should abrogate our ability to think things through and find reasonable answers to our problems...quite the opposite, really.
Many times, the manner in which we're raised has a profound impact on our cognitive skills...or at least it SHOULD have.
The main thing is that we can think for ourselves, and be confident that we have better than a 50-50 chance of coming out better on the other side of whatever problem arises.
You can't get THOSE odds at ANY casino, trust me.
Thing is, we need to remember that, and practice that, because many in positions higher than us seem to not want to follow suit.
Think on it as reaching for that brass ring on a merry-go-round...if you reach too far, you can slip off the damn horse.
And when you depend on grasping for straws at the least little sign of difficulty, you diminish your ability to do more than you could otherwise.
*** Lastly, I know this is heady stuff, and that we are often not even aware of doing it, but it's times like these that demand more from ALL of us.
And we need to know we will have some sort of plan to make it through tough times as well as good, and not be grasping at straws.
If we DO have to make a grab once in a while, we do so with the knowledge that we're grasping the BEST damn straw in that bundle.
Trepidation can take a back seat to quiet confidence in that regard.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay SAFE out there, America.


CWMartin said...

Well done, Robert.

Bob G. said...

Musta been some fallout from my "dream"...whatever it was.

In any event, I was not grasping for straws writing this today...couldn't type (or make typos) FAST enough for some reason...LOL!

Glad you enjoyed it.

Do stay safe (and raccoon-free) up there.