We used to live in Chambers County, about 60 miles east of Houston. Chambers County took the worst hit from Hurricane Ike. I read that 20,000 head of cattle were in danger of starvation and dying of thirst. The storm surge spread salt water all over the county and there is little fresh water for humans, much less livestock.
Chambers County is a hot humid place. We lived there in 1986 when the kids were little and I worked for a local newspaper. It was a hot Texas summer, but we had good AC.
It is a pretty place that gets lots of rain, over 50 inches annually. The principal crop is rice, and the green fields of rice waving in the breeze make a pretty sight. But there is no high ground in Chambers County, hardly a foot of it. It's just really a big wetland that has been diked and drained for pastures and rice fields.
The county fronts on the Gulf of Mexico. There is lots of good fishing, sport and commercial. It is also a famous place for birdwatching, and I can attest to that. It is a major stopping point on the migration route of songbirds, going south for the winter, and returning in the spring. Chambers County is a good place to visit, and an inexpensive place to life.
According to the news, the people of Chambers County have suffered catastrophic damages. I hope they make it.
AND WORSE NEWS COMES FROM WALL STREET. Who among us can adequately discuss the intricacies of investment banking? We can't. It's a special, valuable skill, practiced by the "elites" of Wall Street -- those same people whom the conservatives hate, those high-toned people in Manhattan who are so smart about making money. Those elites -- there were over 3,000 elites working in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and they took it pretty hard that day. How many people died that day in small town America?
But these financial elites have ill-served the country, since they were freed up from gov't. regulation. It was Phil Gramm's idea to unleash the banks, and we all thought that bankers were prudent, cautious people. We were wrong -- absent the guiding hand of government, the bankers became wild plungers and predators.
Gov't. regulation is expensive -- sure, it is. But does it cost as much as the $200 billion bail out to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? No, sound regulation of the banking industry is a very practical investment.
McCAIN'S NEED FOR REDEMPTION. John McCain is on a "journey of self-discovery" -- something that Gov. Palin disparaged in her convention speech.
But I think McCain seeks redemption. Something good has to happen for him, which he calls "victory," and that victory will validate his Vietnam experience. Because what he can't admit is that he spent six years in prison for a worthless cause.
In contrast, the much younger Barack Obama is not on a journey of self-discovery. He knows who he is now, and he realizes that he has the strength and the energy to serve his country by becoming President.
Obama's ambition is healthy, McCain's ambition is not healthy.