I haven’t had the time recently to compose a longer rant, so here are some quick thoughts I’ve got about various things.
- Hurricane Gustav went right through the target-rich are for oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. We are very fortunate that it lost strength before traversing that area. New Orleans residents are likewise lucky that Gustav was somewhat of a paper tiger by the time it hit the coast. Those TV pictures of water lapping over the edge of those levees show how close things got. A few more feet of storm surge and there would’ve been a much larger problem. That said, I think the lessons of 2005 have hit home with folks in Louisiana and the Federal Government. There was much less dithering this time around.
- More hurricanes are on the way… it looks like we’re just hitting the active part of the season now. We’ll see.
- Now that both presidential tickets have been filled out, we are presented with diverse choices… a grizzled veteran of the senate partnering up with an untested, young, telegenic rookie versus an untested, young telegenic rookie that has partnered up with a grizzled veteran of the senate. Obama appears to have made a very safe choice whereas McCain is taking a big gamble… I think that speaks volumes as to each candidates internal assessment of their respective chances come November. While I’m not totally sold on Obama, it’s clear to me that McCain has sold his soul for a chance at the presidency. He caved on his VP choice if you believe the stories that have him preferring Lieberman or Tom Ridge. The choice of Palin seems to be both a sop to the hard-right GOP base as well as a desperation ploy to try and pry some female (ex-Hilary?) voters away from Obama. We’ll see how that plays out, but my gut feeling is that it won’t significantly alter things.
- I’m also getting the feeling that the Republican leadership knows that their chances this November are pretty slim. Many Americans (myself included) are not inclined to reward the GOP for 8 years of mismanagement by giving McCain a 4 year tour of duty. Sensing this, I wonder if the movers & shakers of the party have put up some patsies to act as speed bumps on Obama’s path to the White House. I’m beginning to think that McCain & Palin are the 2008 version of Bob Dole & Jack Kemp. McCain gets his crack at the top job, and Palin, while young and apparently politically skilled, is flawed as well. Sacrificing them will open up the 2012 race for other up & coming talent like Pawlenty, Bobby jindal of Louisiana, etc. T
- I hope Joe LIeberman likes his new Senate office in the boiler room, tucked behind the furnace and some boxes of toilet paper. He’s managed to keep his place in Washington due to the razor-thin Democratic majority in the Senate. If the Dems pick up a few more seats, I suspect his political career is more or less over. Having heard his speech before the GOP convention last night, the one thing I came away with is that his rhetorical skills are so atrophied that he makes Al Gore look like Martin Luther King, Jr. by comparison.
- I have no freaking idea what’s going on with Wall Street. Oil has corrected severely and may not be done. The dollar is regaining strength, based mostly on the dawning recognition that Europe is just as screwed as we are, if not worse. Housing values continue to plummet, and the mortgage lenders are now starting to pull all sorts of shenanigans like this. After a quiet summer, it will be interesting to see how things shake out in the fall.
- One thing I know for sure is that most families are having to tighten their belts. Food prices are rising, gas prices aren’t falling as fast as they rose, and more families are finding their houses to be less of an investment and more of a millstone around their necks. I don’t see this changing any time soon, so the economic problem will continue to become a more important issue in the elections. House prices in my development continue to fall. If I had to sell my house anytime soon, I’d lose my equity, and I suspect that many of my neighbors are in the same boat.
There’s plenty more I could rant about, but that’s enough for now. I hope life is being good to all of you, and if you live in colder regions, start saving cash for your heating bills now.