Seek the Original Source

The internet is a wide, rolling river of information. It can be treacherous and dangerous to wade into if you’re not careful. If you’re looking for a cool drink of truth, the muddy brown of this mighty Mississippi of data often has a harsh stench of bias bubbling along with the waves. What can a reader thirsty for knowledge do?

The answer is to seek the source – the cool, clear stream that feeds into the torment at the headwaters. I call it the “Urquelle”, a German word meaning “original source” favored in the mountains and rolling hills that are the source of so many great rivers in Bavaria and Bohemia. This process of seeking out primary sources is valuable not just for writers, for whom primary sources have long been a staple of good, useful prose. As surely as reading is writing, today’s discerning reader should also seek the Urquelle.
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A Persistent Lie

There’s a persistent lie making its way through popular media- and often twisted through social media. Like any good lie it starts with a kernel of truth but gradually becomes a clear and open lie.

The truth – the labor force participation rate is at a 40 year low, down to 63% from a high over 67%.
The lie – that this is the result of people giving up looking for work, a sign that the “recovery” is weak (which can be blamed on President Obama).

We’ve discussed this before, but it’s important to confront the lie as clearly as possible. Yes, the labor force is shrinking – but this has been due to retirement of Baby Boomers for the last two year. And yes, the trend will continue. More importantly, this is an opportunity that will help us when the dust finally settles on the working careers of the Baby Boom.

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Heat of Time, Cold of Midnight

Happy New Year! There seems to be so little to say as the cold night closes in and we settle in to the routine of waiting for midnight. Deadly nights like this settle into a routine of their own as time passes slowly. Being from Miami, a city that celebrates New Year’s as a lure for frigid northerners, the holiday has a special meaning to me. There is always a spotlight on the quaint tradition of a parade followed by a football game, the Orange Bowl, that showcases the typically 70F or better daze that could pass like any other.

But they don’t. There is the north to compare to, a dream of a better easier life that once called people to Miami. That was before the city grew up and became the capital of Latin America. That was before I grew up to strike out on my own and attempt to find Reality, a state of being that I knew didn’t seem to exist in the corner of the Bermuda Triangle that I once called home.

And every New Year a bit of Miami comes back into my heart.

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Promises to Keep

A New Year is almost upon us. Like a clock striking twelve, the year changes in the middle of the darkest time, long after anyone wise has gone off to bed. The only good reason to be up at this time is that you have too much on your mind and need to put it away. That’s the dark soul of so many New Year’s resolutions.

There are a lot of things I need to do to get my own life in order. If you’re not the kind of person who likes to read about other people’s problems just skip this post. But many of you might be able to help or at least add suggestions of your own. I’d like that. This is as personal as I’ll get in this humble blog.

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Three Million Reads, One Purpose

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

Sometime today, Barataria will hit 3 million total pageviews. Over 6 2/3 years that averages out to 37k per month or 2.7k per post. The views came from regular readers, social media promotion, search engine arrivals, and more than a few people who stumbled in accidentally. Things are pretty tough for me right now, so if you like what you’ve read I’d very much appreciate a donation (which may get my car a new alternator) to help keep this effort going!

But what matters most are you, the readers, because without you there’d be no point to writing at all. The ideas and perspectives I spend time thinking through only come to life after you’ve read and responded, refining them and making them better. It’s a good time to go over this strange year, 2013, to find what conclusions we’ve come to as a community – and to ask you where you think this should go!

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