Ending Institutional Racism

My thesis is this: there is nothing more important to the future of our nation than ending racism, particularly institutional racism. This has become a desperate matter of survival for far too many people when it comes to the issue of police killings. These tragedies happen disproportionately to minorities largely because of racism.

Yet the problem goes far beyond that. There is not a single issue in this nation which does not ultimately become polarized and frozen by race. Much of the resistance to government intervention and assistance comes down to a belief that “They” are getting the benefits – the mysterious “other” that is easily blamed for everything. It prevents us from having a useful discussion about “Us”, a free and united people ready to tackle the changes of our world bravely and directly.

But let’s stay with police killings for a moment. Let’s talk about how we get from where we are to a world where no cringes in fear when the disco lights and sirens blare, a world where Black Lives Matter. Let’s talk about how complex issues with hardened battle lines are taken on so that we can get past the problem. Let’s talk about tactics, or how a battle is won.

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Confidence is Back!

Barataria has asked the question several times before – given that things are a lot better than they have been in a long time, why are people so down on the economy?

After posing a few potential reasons, we may have the answer – it was largely an artifact of the presidential campaign. That would make the most sense given that the Conference Board index of Consumer Confidence has hit 104.1, the highest it has been since 2007. Combining that with a strong net approval rating for President Obama, which has been tracking around +8 (52 approve, 44 disapprove) and we have the net positive we should expect.

Will this transfer over to Sec. Clinton in time for the election? Given her performance at the first debate, the answer is that it should.  It’s all coming just in time.

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Debate? I Wanna Rebate

The debate is tonight. Forget everything you know about the election so far because it is about to change. Clinton is going into this with a decent, but not commanding lead so it’s up to Trump to reverse things.

Can he? Will he try to do something big and bold? Or will he go with what got him here, more or less constantly hitting even if the punches are pretty low?

I’m going to argue that it doesn’t matter. This is Clinton’s election to win, and we’ll see why very shortly. If she can erase some of the negativity surrounding her simply by being in charge and very Presidential she can ice this thing. That’s what counts.

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Why We Say “Black Lives Matter”

Another day, another person dead from a police bullet. Another night of unrest as anger spills out into the streets. Another heated round of angry statements from all sides shouting past each other. Another opportunity missed to speak words of healing, love, and respect.

We say “Black Lives Matter” because it is not at all obvious that our nation believes this. It seems obvious enough that “All Lives Matter”, but when you focus on those of us who are darker life seems much more disposable, much easier to kick to the curb and forget.

When we say Black Lives Matter we say it not as a direct challenge in opposition to the officers in uniform or to white people. We say it as a challenge to the systems that produce far too much death far too easily, and as with everything bad in our nation that death falls heavily, horrifically on black people. That is why we have to keep saying it until it is true – Black Lives Matter.

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Terror Sinks In

The bombing on Sunday by Ahmad Khan Rahami has left behind a large number of questions. Why did he do it? Was he directed in any way? How was he “radicalized”? How did he get past the FBI? There appear to be a few answers to what was clearly a “lone wolf” attack not directed by Da‘ish (ISIS) but clearly inspired by them, and not many answers are satisfying.

It seems that we will have to get used to these attacks, which is a chilling or angering thought to many Americans. For that reason, the resonance of this attack in the wake of the Orlando Pulse shooting and a stabbing in St Cloud, Minnesota has a greater effect than the more deadly coordinated attacks in France. Da’ish is leaving it’s mark.

But what will this mean in an election year? We can’t say yet. The possibility that this may play into Trump’s hands is even more chilling, as that would mean lasting damage to the US.

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Formal E-Mail – Tips & Concepts

Long ago in a High School far away, we were all taught how to write a formal business letter. It included the date, return address, and all the pertinent information needed to either file it away or write a reply. It also had a standard format, not terribly different from the standard five paragraph theme.

Today, everything is done in email. Everything. The sorting and replying are automatic, the formality is limited, and the attention span of the reader is probably short. What is the right format for a formal email to a client or prospective employer?

There is no right answer. I have been asked this by many clients over the years, and I have my own format that seems to work. If you have your own, please share with us and let’s see what we all come up with.

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Simply Too Big

Perhaps you believe, as many people do, that the largest banks in the nation such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs should be broken up. They are simply “Too big to fail” and the cost of a bailout by taxpayers to avoid a systemic failure is too great. Who should break them up? The federal government, by legislation? The Federal Reserve, by regulation?

How about the free market – because they are not as profitable?

For all the shouting and consternation about big banks, one simple fact has gone overlooked. With their tremendous size and ability to “make the market”, as shown by the “London Whale” incident, they do not actually rule the world. They are about as profitable, and usually less so, than smaller banks. The reasons are not obvious but they are demonstrated. And those who should be doing the shouting are not the “99%” but the shareholders.

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