Monday, May 26, 2008

Republican Party

Carly Fiorina is now Chair(person) of John McCain's campaign.

I've made a couple of modest donations to the campaign, and I probably will again. However, stop sending me those trumped-up phony surveys. If you want to know what I really think - or even care - send me a real survey. But not these made-up things supposed to rile me up: "Should we do everything we can to stop Democrats from weakening border security?"

Please.

We had the majority and a Republican President and you didn't do a damn thing for border security. You think I have no memory at all? The party got what it deserved - in fact what it worked hard for: it abandoned all its principles and as a result got thrown out.

Come up with a real plan you are prepared to go to the mat for and tell me about that. Don't give me a negative sell about how much worse the Democrats are going to be. Tell me about how much better you are going to be.

No more BS surveys.

energy independence

A friend of mine and I were talking about oil prices and the effects that imposed on the economy. I mentioned that I had sent letters to Senators and Congressmen beseeching them to streamline the process for commissioning nuclear plants. "Why nuclear" she inquired, "why not solar and wind?". Simple answer: the solar companies are doing fine on their own with new developments (thin film solar panels, etc.) making them more competitive, and the wind power folks are moving along and harder to stop (property laws give landowners - particularly in rural areas - a little more freedom of action). Nuclear, on the other hand, has been plagued by litigation from wide ranging groups including adjacent property owners, environmentalists, anti-growth groups, etc. Energy companies are now loath to even undertake development activities, given that they can expect 15 years or more of approval process and millions of dollars in legal fees. If we want to have power and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, this is going to have to change, and the energy companies are going to need enabling legislation.

Here is the letter I sent: I urge you to write your Senators and Representatives as well.


Senators Casey and Spector:
Since the oil embargo of 1973 there have been ongoing talks of America becoming energy independent. Indeed President Nixon announced Project Energy Independence in November 1973, setting a goal of energy independence by 1980. With much fanfare, President Carter, with the assistance of Congress, created the Department of Energy in 1977.

Thirty-one years, and untold billions later, we are further, not closer, from energy independence.

Over the next twelve months, Americans will transfer approximately $500-600 billion to other countries, many of which sponsor terrorism. This represents both a severe tax on Americans and a wealth transfer unprecedented in history. (If a mere 2% of this is devoted to terrorism, our enemies have $10 billion to acquire men and materiel). As oil moves inexorably to $150 per barrel ($5.00 per gallon) we, actually YOU, must act.

Wind power is an increasingly real alternative, but only for areas with steady breezes, and technologies for solar power are getting more efficient and cost-competitive, but best for Southern California, New Mexico and Arizona. Our creative capitalists in Silicon Valley are making very interesting electric cars (www.wrightspeed.com ; www.teslamotors.com ). But, those cars are going to need electricity.

You must enable nuclear power plants to be built, and built quickly. That means that environmental laws must be modified and the NRC directed to approve designs quickly. Quickly must be weeks and months, not even one year. Laws must change to completely prevent legally savvy groups from tying up power plant development for years with legal maneuvers. Congress has acted responsibly in recent years in curbing litigation: against general aviation aircraft with great success - a boom in manufacturing of private planes, and with securities, saving employers millions in defense costs from frivolous lawsuits. Congress must now do the same with nuclear power plants.
Since locations will be the most controversial part of this, use military bases. That is, don’t decommission idle military bases, turn them into nuclear facilities.

France and China are meeting their power needs safely and cost-effectively with nuclear power. Thirty years after Nixon’s pronouncement is long enough; please don’t lose a future generation, while America transfers the accumulated wealth of the current generation to the Middle East.

Sincerely,
Gene Morphis.

My long time friend Richard Fisher, has done the same in TN. His letter to Senator Alexander, emphasizes freeing markets and investors from interference and bureaucracy to invent and develop new solutions. He has strong views that the values of our leaders have been compromised and no longer represent a strong and growing America.

We would both ask that you act and write your representatives. Ask them to stop grandstanding (e.g. the recent Waxman hearings with oil executives) and actually do something to create domestic energy supplies.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

MSFT vs. YHOO

I had concluded early Sun. morning that I would sell my MSFT. I remained convinced that MSFT could spend $4 billion a year for the next ten years and take whatever market existed at that point from YHOO. So, in my view, an acquisition for $44 billion, a meaningless few thousand of which represents my MSFT stock position, was a giant waste.

I was pleasantly surprised - almost shocked really - to learn later on in the day than MSFT had called the whole thing off.

Steve B.: sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make. This is one of those times.

A correction

I need to post a correction to my summary of Ed Rose's position on the election. In his words:
"Supporting Obama based on the fact that he is more likely to beat McCain whom I believe will destroy the Supreme Court (and the constitution) for decades.

I believe that while Clinton's Policies are probably slightly closer to McCain's in many ways, her Supreme Court picks will be much closer to Obama's in terms of being safely liberal. (i.e., not like Scalia who was recently quoted as saying "who ever said Torture was Punishment?")

So...First Choice: Anyone but McCain. So...Obama based on current thinking in terms of who can beat him...but also support Hillary.

I think the (R)s have done quite enough for the country for now. "

So, my interpretation would be that he is taking more of a pragmatic view than I concluded in my original post...

I'll post on my view on the economy shortly - which Ed and I discussed as well. He is more confident than I am in the direction: he has been short for a while and, despite the recent run-up, is ahead. I'm stradeling the fence more on that one...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Noemie Emery's Weekly Standard Piece

Stay with me on this one: I'm going to bounch around a bit. First, for political junkies, Noemie Emery's ground breaking article on Hillary Clinton is a must read: follow this: Weekly Standard

This is a bit of a fascinating conincidence. I was talking to Ed Rose, CEO of Open Channel Solutions, overall smart guy and I think fairly described as a liberal. Ed surprised me by saying he was supporting Obama even though he wasn't sufficiently ready to "drive the bus", in part because he thought Hillary would be too much like McCain. (To my conservative friends, take a diffibulator minute). Part of his argument is that one of the things that matters most is the appointment of Supreme Court justices, and her appointees would be too moderate.

Since I voted for Bush last time largely for the same reason (us deficit hawks having no where else to go even though we've been thoroughly dissed) his logic was persuasive. With her "obliterate" speech she is clearly taking a far more belicose stand than Obama, and is moving briskly to the center. Generally not a good strategy in a Democratic primary (read Lieberman in CT) but not bad in a general election.

He and I agree on the whole Jeremiah White thing: I don't want to defend everything said by any minister who's church I attended.

My grandfather Rob Sanders was a wonderful individual. He raised his family in the middle of the depression and kept them fed and clothed, even though they were really in an area of rural Southern poverty. He was deeply religious. I never heard him say one derogatory or mean-spirited thing about anyone. He had a helping hand for anyone who needed it, and loved every member of our family. He went to his grave believing that TV wrestling was real, and that men walking on the moon was staged in a special effects movie studio. So, deeply religious people can still miss some reality. That Wright, who seems to be an intelligent and thoughtful man, can be propigating the nonsense about the government creating the AIDS virus is simply bizarre. But, in the long run most families have the half-crazy relative, and I can't believe it will affect the outcome.

But his poor debate performance,and the growing perception that he the man of the Volvo-driving, chai tea drinking, U.S.- as- the- root- of- all- problems liberal set, could change the course. I still look for her to take Indiana by a sizeable margin, and now wouldn't be surprised by a Hil victory in NC.

Ed and I also talked about the weird trends in the economy - we'll cover that one in a bit.