Posts Tagged ‘metaphor’

TakeTheKeys

If you won’t give me the keys, don’t get mad if I get out of the car.

In the days leading up to the Indiana primary last week, being a Cruz supporter felt like being the only sober person trapped in a car full of loud, mean, uninhibited drunks, and no one will let you drive. I have never been so embarrassed about my country and disgusted with my countrymen – or more accurately, a specific majority of them. American culture has been so debased that 71% of those who voted in Indiana cast a ballot for either a criminal, a communist, or a con-man. They knew it, and they did it anyway.

Now we are left with Trump or Clinton; simply put, our choice is between the evils of two lessers. Eventually the carload of drunks are going to sober up and discover we have wandered into communist East Germany without passports. When they do, they’ll blame it on all the other drunks, and even us sober folks. Then they will look for a solution, and all we’ll be able to say is, “You killed it Tarzan, you eat it.”

The Trumpaloompas are annoyed and surprised that #NeverTrump movement is still there, but they shouldn’t be. It was a clear “here I stand, no matter what” pledge. It is more appropriate to be annoyed by the assertion that refusing to vote for Trump means you will vote for Clinton.* But maybe we don’t have to choose between the evils of two lessers. I usually reject an either/or premise, as it is often a classic logical fallacy of “insufficient options”. There are nearly always more than two ways.

There have been several news items reporting a sharp rise in Libertarian Party interest, discussions of independent third party runs, pledges for write-in campaigns, and other such stirrings among the disaffected. It would be a much-needed miracle for our Republic if a movement like that showed a realistic chance of making a difference. At the moment it seems to be only a pipe dream. So while I am hopeful, I am also skeptical. Time will tell. Without it, we really will find ourselves with insufficient options, and the only remaining fallacy will be the notion that casting a vote makes any difference at all.

 

#NeverHillary #NeverTrump #john1633

*Another assertion is that to vote for neither Trump nor Clinton will create by default a Clinton win. This is simply false; Clinton won when Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee. That’s exactly what #NeverTrump was trying to prevent.

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I’ve never been much of a worrier. My typical reaction to impending doom is to ignore it and hope it goes away.

This strategy has worked well more often than it ought to have. I think it may be because I’m not actually ignoring it, even if that’s how it seems. Instead of panicking and flapping around like a landed trout, I send the problem down to the subconscious to find a solution; meanwhile, my outward countenance has nothing to do, which gives the appearance of calm in the face of adversity. My conscious mind sees my apparent calm and figures there must not be anything to worry about. Eventually (sometimes days or weeks later) the hardworking brain cells in the basement send up a workable answer and I’m ready to act.

This never fails to surprise those who know me well. The action step usually happens just after everyone has given up on me and decided I’m not ever going to do anything.

I suppose that I’m just reluctant to take an action unless I’m sure it will be effective. Which lever do I pull? Which knob to turn? Where to steer? When to wait? What to watch for? Sometimes there seem to be no options, and sometimes there are too many. But anxious fretting has never been an effective strategy. If I worry, it’s very short lived; if I think something might go wrong, I’ll try to fix it if I can, and then there’s nothing left to worry about.

Watching people worry makes me crazy. It just doesn’t factor into analyzing the problem, working out a logical response, or even that other useless activity, finding someone to blame. The most perplexing examples of worry are those in which a person is worried about something they cannot change. What’s the point of that?

At a religious leaders conference called The Nines, Pastor Steve Robinson of Church of the King in Mandeville, Louisiana, gave a talk called, “Worry is Temporary Atheism.” That’s a powerful idea. I understand this to refer anxiety over things beyond your own influence. The concern that our future is potentially and permanently awful, and that God can’t or won’t get you through it.

Faith in God has an amazing capacity to strengthen resolve. There are thousands of stories of people who get through the most horrible situations and credit it to their belief in an afterlife and in a loving God.  But even if you don’t believe, is there really anything so terrible that you can’t find a way to live with it? Even unbelievers find ways to persevere. It’s astonishing how strong people can be when it’s required.

So is worry a useless emotion? I think so. It is fear of an unknowable future – and the unknowable part is key, there. Think about it: if you knew precisely that a specific awful thing was going to happen, you would stop worrying about that (and start worrying about the unknowable things resulting from it, probably). If you were worried about losing a finger while working on an engine, and a genie came along and proved to you that yes, in fact, you were going to lose your left index finger, what are you going to worry about after that? You stop worrying that you might lose a finger, first of all. But then you start worrying about the details your genie left out: “Will it get infected? Will they be able to re-attach it? Will I ever play the piano again? How will I pick my nose?” Suddenly, “Will I lose a finger” doesn’t even make sense.

Is there anything about the future that is knowable? Sometimes, but that doesn’t seem to solve the worry problem. You can worry about your kids, your health, your relationships, your career and your finances, but to what end? You can influence those things, but at some point the results are out of your hands. Worry will never change the results. You have to trust that you’ve done what you can, and let it go.

Do you ever struggle with worry? Have you developed a strategy to avoid anxiety, especially over those things you cannot control? Can faith and worry exist together? Share your story in the comments section, below.

This quote is from a 9/25/10 AP story on the GOP “Pledge to America”, PBO’s predictable response and the philosophical differences between the Dems and the Repubs:

“Perhaps the biggest difference was on taxes, where Republicans want to extend all of George W. Bush’s income tax cuts permanently — at a cost of some $4 trillion over 10 years.”

“Cost.” Says who? Keeping taxes where they are will cost $4 trillion? Partisan bull.

There is an element of our population that does not understand the simple economics of this discussion, but I hope most Americans get it. The left does – at least those who don’t have their heads so far up their ideology that they can’t hear the howls of outrage of the electorate. The rest of them will stick their fingers in their ears and remain willfully ignorant when this is explained because they know it undoes their agenda.

Imagine a produce stand. It makes enough in sales that Farmer Brown can support his family. His wife gets the idea that she’d like to add a swimming pool to the old homestead, so she convinces him to raise his prices – tomatoes, for example, are now $15 each. He is surprised to find that his sales have dropped off to nearly nothing, even though he’s the only produce stand for miles around. In one week, he sold only 2 tomatoes, so he’s made $30 on his tomato sales. He’s experiencing a seriously sluggish micro-economy, and now he can barely afford to keep the lights on at the farm.

He wants to lower the price of his tomatoes from $15 each to $1 each. Still outrageous, but not as hopelessly overpriced. Based on last week’s sales figures, his wife calculates that when they sell the 2 tomatoes this week that his low price plan will “cost” them $28 in lost revenue.

But an amazing thing happens – sales go up, and he sells 50 tomatoes (still a far cry from the glory days, but an improvement nonetheless). He can now happily put $50 toward his electric bill and keep the lights on. His sales went up $20 in just one week. But his angry wife points out that if he’d left the price alone like she wanted, they’d have made $750 on those 50 tomatoes! She’s so preoccupied about the $700 he “let get away” that she can’t get her brain around the simple cause-and-effect scenario – that lowering the price caused the higher sales, and that charging too much chased the sales away. Her $750 sales day could never have happened.

Will lowering taxes (prices) cost the government (farmer) $4 trillion ($750)? Or will it generate more income, like it has in every credible example ever recorded?

Watch out for AP statistics that use “static accounting”, which is a fancy way of saying that they assume a change in one variable will not trigger change in anything else. A change in price will affect sales at the produce stand, and a change in our tax rates (or even uncertainty in future tax rates) will affect our GDP.

The real question is whether the “Tax! Tax! Tax!” ideologues will give up on this failed and faulty path we’re on before the bank forecloses on the farm.

God is too big and too close to get a really good look at Him. It’s like standing next to the shear face of Stone Mountain. I need to pray for understanding about: a) how big He is, b) how close He is, and c) how there can be any kind of relationship between something that big and me – a tiny being, one of millions that He says he loves personally.

Georgia is suffering short supplies of gasoline this week and last, and the idea that I might not find enough fuel to get to work has been a little frightening. But as in any other crisis, this one serves as a background to highlight how stupid some people can be.

From the USA Today:

The pipelines that supply the region are operating at less than normal capacity, due largely to storm-related power outages at Texas refineries, said Kenneth Medlock, energy fellow at the Baker Institute, a non-partisan public policy think tank at Rice University in Houston.

“In isolation, neither of these storms would have been that big a deal, because there’s enough inventory (at stations) to make up the shortfall,” said Medlock. “But there was a three- to four-week period of refinery capacity not operating. That’s basically a month when nothing’s being produced.”

Panic buying — drivers topping off every time they happen across a station that actually has gas — made the problem worse, said Marylee Booth, executive director of the Tennessee Oil Marketers Association.

“If people saw a tanker drive up to a station, they’d start lining up. The panic has died down. It’s getting a little better every day.”

From WJBF News Channel 6 Reporter Joy Howe:

…experts say all of this mess is over when we, the consumers say it is… topping off does not help the problem.

Dr. Mark Thompson, ASU Association Professor of Economics: “When you’re at half a tank, you really don’t need it… Put it into perspective for the person who is at that quarter of a tank or the red light is on. You want when you’re at that point to be able to get gas, so don’t take somebody else’s gas when you’re at that half tank.”

“Topping off” does not, mathematically, affect gas supply. That is just ignorant. I’m angered by Dr. Thompson’s implication that the crisis is entirely the fault of the consumers. Ms. Booth is equally wrong if she thinks it “made the problem worse”, unless she’s only referring to the problem of long lines at the pump. The shortage is a real problem; long lines are just an inconvenience. But the shortage has not gotten worse due to people topping off their tanks.

Imagine a restaurant with two banquet tables and a banquet that is expected to go on for hours. The waitress at one table fills each diner’s water glass only when the glass is nearly empty. The waitress at the other table tops each water glass after every sip. Assuming both tables are equally thirsty, which waitress runs out of water first?

The waitress who tops off after each sip will be much busier, her activity giving the appearance of greater need, but the amount of water poured depends entirely on consumption – the rate of depletion – not the frequency of refill. Each waitress will run out of water at the same rate over the course of the banquet.

When the dinner guests begin to stash water in their purses, salt shakers and soup bowls in the expectation that the waitress will fail to serve their table – that’s hoarding, and it does directly affect the availability of resources.

I have heard several (badly researched) news reports claiming that this shortage is being made worse because drivers are filling up when they “really don’t need it.” Topping off makes the lines at gas stations longer, but does not actually cause gas to run out sooner. It’s the clowns like the woman Carol saw Wednesday night last week filling up milk jugs and orange juice cartons that are causing the problems. It’s the idiots who have not changed their consumption habits during this shortage. But most of all, it’s the lack of supply that’s created this mess.

So hold your nose, fill up when it’s convenient, and in a few weeks we’ll have all forgotten what the big deal was, anyway.

Monday September 29, 2008 – 10:32am (EDT)