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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Photo: This morning's sunrise over Clear Lake.

Fresh winds blowing this morning, our first real taste of cool air and fall.

Yesterday I was at Brady's Landing and heard Michael Berry talking about the election. He said a couple interesting things to calm nerves. It was his opinion that President-Elect Obama is NOT a socialist and that he thought he would be smart enough to govern as a centrist to avoid the Clinton backlash that happened in 1994 after going too far too fast.

But I found his explanation of the results lacking in fact and objective analysis. He blamed the loss on "Republicans who stayed home" -- despite the fact that turnout was at historic highs for both sides.

Second, he said the business is a cycle and we just happened to have an election during a "down" cycle. He didn't say it was a financial meltdown caused by Wall Street getting drunk that we haven't seen since the 1930's - a lot more than an ordinary business cycle.

As a result the folks in that room got a nice (Michael is a nice guy) but one-sided view of what happened. Not addressed was that our bad paper has given the rest of the world that bought it an equal dose of man-made financial disaster that has put Europe's biggest economy in recession and makes everything worse worldwide.

I finished yesterday at the UH Cullen Auditorium listening to Rick Steve's (PBS) talk about Iran, Amsterdam coffee shops that sell Marijuana instead of coffee and the need for Americans to travel overseas and broaden their view of the world. His comments on how the Iranians treated him were insightful and fascinating. The Iranian people were very friendly to him even after they discovered he was American. Watch for it on PBS - it should be a must-see program with Iran's nuclear ambitions still a big deal.

Steves also mentioned that Europe is on a $500 billion infrastructure upgrade - building high speed "bullet trains" etc. everywhere. That means that China is spending $500 billion on infrastructure, Europe is spending $500 billion on infrastructure so both will have 21st Century stuff, the Middle East is doing the same with their Petrodollar wealth, while we borrow $700 billion to buy stock in banks and our highways and bridges are falling apart.

Since China has $2 trillion in savings made from selling us stuff to buy at WalMart we should insist they spend part of their $500 billion buying U.S. pollution control technology to clean their thick brown air.

We should tap the Mideast billions for road upgrades in the U.S.-- roads that run on their oil.

Finally, we need to invest $500 billion in our own infrastructure starting in 2009 - which would create jobs and give us the modern transportation and high tech systems we will need to stay competitive in the global economy. We need to save the 1 in 10 jobs connected to the auto industry while still requiring them to gut 7 levels of management at GM and invest in R&D and fuel efficient vehicles instead of coddling them as we have done for the past 30 years.

If we are going to stay in the game, we need a change folks!

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