A Glance at the Dashboard

With all of the noise coming from general politics there’s hardly been any space left over for economic news. There’s nothing like a huge distraction to keep people’s minds off of how things are going in the areas which really matter the most.

So how are we doing?

One handy measure comes to us from what Barataria has taken to calling Yellen’s Dashboard. This is a list of the five most stubbornly bad indicators that were simply not turning around 3 years ago, despite many signs of improvement. With the Fed sending strong signals that rate hikes are assured in coming months they make a good place to start the conversation.

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Ready for the Main Event?

Before the circus came to town, it was Barataria’s position that we’d all be wise to ignore it as much as we possibly can. Obviously, we don’t heed our own advice.

Then again, things are happening which may point right at the heart of the problem – the flurry of Washingtoonia that actually winds up making a difference. In the great three ring circus of government it’s time to keep your eyes firmly on the center ring – and whether the supposedly tamed bear eats the Ringmaster.

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Do We Have an Actual President?

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. I have said many times that the best thing to do with President Trump is to ignore his antics. His address to Congress is the chance to redeem it all and make something happen.

In keeping with what passes for press today, here is my live commentary.

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Syria: The Next Phase

The war in Syria and Iraq continues. Our press continues to report it very badly, never providing any context whatsoever. How can anyone make sense of what’s going on or the likely conquest of Da’esh/ISIS which is in the works?

This is a brief update on the situation which is strangely not provided in any other outlet. Keep in mind, however, the essential truths about the ongoing battle with Da’esh:

  1. They pose no significant threat to the United States.
  2. In fact, the entire region is largely irrelevant to the US.
  3. The lack of relevance is not going to stop us from blundering remarkably close to a global conflict.

With all of this in mind, let’s look at the reality of this situation which is generally ignored.

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Walk & Talk

As the Tenth Anniversary of Barataria approaches, we will be featuring posts from long ago which contain themes which carry through to today.  Organizing in a changing world is probably the most critical concept all around.  The standard position of this blog is that everything good comes at a “strong half-step back” – far enough away to have some perspective but close enough to keep your hands dirty.  This is an example of that in practice from 2010.

Organizations that thrive in a changing world all have one thing in common – a strong strategic focus.  They know their objectives and strategy very well and communicate them effectively.  What is less obvious is that a good strategic plan comes from individual people.  It takes a lot of skill and a little planning to work it up into a real plan, but there is never any substitute for the old “walk and talk” – getting to know the clients, customers, employees, citizens, or any other way you want to define the people of an operation.

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Cyprus

Genuine leadership doesn’t seek out headlines – in fact, it sometimes deliberately avoids them in order to get things done. The best example of this comes from a close contender for the Leader of the Free World now that the United States has largely abandoned the role in practical terms.

The leader in question is not Angela Merkel, although she is indeed the most important leader of a democracy today. This comes from the more junior Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK, who has taken to solving the most important conflict left over from a by-gone era – Cyprus. Stepping into the British role as sometime creator of order she pushed a lot of heft behind the re-started talks which may, just yet, create a bridge between Europe and the Middle East.

The critical point is Turkey, as always, and the relative isolation this critical nation has been saddled with.

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Why We Write

Leading into the 10th Anniversary of Barataria in less than two months, I am re-running pieces from the first year.  Some of these pieces, like this one, are more personal and introspective.  I hope you enjoy it.

Why do we write? It’s a tough question. People put a lot of effort into blogs, but not too many of them are worth reading. Most of these will eventually cease to be amusing, stop being updated, and gradually dissolve as if there were never more than some kind of atmospheric turbulence. So why are they started in the first place?

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