Politics: Come to Jamaica Now, Mon – It’ll Be Gone in 70 Yrs

(or) Come to Jamaica, Mon – Before It Disappears

Another regrettable casualty of last month’s midterms, in which millions of stupid voters chose to sit on their asses and stay home while even stupider ones turned out to dial back America’s advance into the 21st Century:  climate change prevention.

I thought you’d like to know that your new GOP-controlled House leadership – faster than another teardrop could slide down John Boehner’s orange tan face – is scrapping the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

The Dems created it in 2007 to explore climate change and offer solutions, like capping carbon emissions.  While the select committee didn’t pass legislation, it did hold hearings.  That will now end when the new Congress convenes next month.

You see, it just doesn’t fit in with the Republicans’ Don’t Worry Be Happy (We’re Holding the Purse Strings and Will Be Doling Out the Tax Cuts to the Wealthiest of You Soon and Don’t Fret None About That Doomy-Gloomy Deficit Yada-Yada) agenda.

Besides that, the knuckle-dragging cretins don’t believe climate change anyway.  One feel of last and this weeks’ bone-chilling cold spells here in the Sunshine State should be sufficient to dispel doubt in any rational sentient being, but of course we’re talking here of Republicans.

Perhaps this mouth-gaping bulletin may sway them:  A new report released at last week’s U.N. Climate Change conference in Cancun predicts that rising sea levels from global ice melting will wreak damage to the Caribbean to the tune of billions of dollars by 2080.

The bottom line:  Book your Caribbean vacations now, folks, for there won’t be much of anything left to see in 70 years save for some coconut trees still protruding from the Caribbean Sea.

Airports, power plants, roads, agricultural land in low-lying areas – all will be lost or severely affected.  Over 300 “premium” tourist resorts (think The Atlantis luxury resort in the Bahamas) would be wiped out.  Of those, 149 are multi-million-dollar tourist magnets.

How much of a rise in sea level are we talking here?  A meter.  “Highly likely” by century’s end.

By then, the cost of the damage and rebuilding for the 15 CARICOM countries could reach a titanic $187 billion – with a “b”.

By that time, the cataclysmic impact will have simultaneously hit home here – and Krome Avenue likely will have become the new “Ocean Drive”.  Also, by that time – as the tidal waters of the rising Potomac consume their expensive wingtip shoes and soak their socks – the Republicans on Capitol Hill might just – might – have come around to acknowledging the obvious.

“IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A CELEBRATION,” our governor-elect has proclaimed – so while over a million Floridians are out of work, hundreds of thousands more have either given up looking or are working part-time, and untold numbers are being foreclosed on, or being relegated to living in their cars or cardboard boxes, Slick Scott is fast at it, raking in the loot for his inaugural festivities, galas, and assorted bashes.

Slick vows to tackle the state’s financial and employment woes, but all that evidently will have to wait till the second day of his term.  On the first day, though, a different priority:  Party time!

Now, he could do the politically-correct thing and opt to scale back the size and cost of his celebration, or do away with the fancy-shmancy stuff altogether.  As Charlie Crist decided to do in 2006:  He cancelled his inaugural ball because he thought it would send a wrong message at a time when Floridians were hurting.

Slick must be oblivious to the sufferings of the middle class.  The people’s pain certainly won’t be allowed to intrude on his inauguration, and it certainly hasn’t impeded his efforts to scrounge up donations from fat-cat friends and corporate interests eager to fund his lavish coronation and count the new guv as their new friend in Tallahassee.  Already he’s raised nearly two mil, over twice what Crist raked in for his shindig.

And the secrecy-preferring Slick won’t tell how much he intends to raise.  So typical of a guy who wouldn’t submit himself to the questioning of state newspaper editorial boards during the campaign.  Or – get ready, he’s about to trot this one out yet again – who took the Fifth 75 times during the Columbia/HCA Healthcare mess.

Some of those who’ve written out checks for the maximum-allowed $25,000?  U.S. Sugar.  Blue Cross Blue Shield.  Health Management Associates.  United Automobile Insurance.  TECO Energy.  Progress Energy.  Wayne Huizenga.  Huizenga Holdings.  AT&T.

On Inaugural Night, as the fat cats are inside rubbing elbows and partying it up with he-who-brung-’em-to-the-dance, the rest of us will be pressing our noses against the windows, hoping someone will be good enough to toss us some crumbs.  No thank you, but jobs and prosperity would be nice.

And Slick:  Just be sure you don’t stay up too late hobnobbing with the fat cats.  Remember, you’ve got to rest up for that Second Day and the 1,400-some days that follow.  You’ve got to get down to work for the rest of us, fulfilling those campaign pledges and forging that “path to prosperity” you promised.

And should you fail?  This’ll be the first, last, and only inaugural you’ll ever celebrate.

MY GARGANTUAN PINK ART BASEL SNAIL was gone when I looked for it last Friday.  They moved him from my ‘hood and relocated him.  To the edge of the Miami Beach Golf Course, along Dade Blvd., I suspect, for that’s where I later found five snails in a row while out for a morning bike ride.

I’m happy to report he escaped unscathed by the graffiti taggers and other creeps while in my vicinity.  He and his 44 homies leave town after New Year’s.

If the Cracking Art Group is short of concepts for next year’s Basel, may I suggest blue squirrels.  Or purple geckos.  Or white elephants (scratch that; the Jackie Gleason Theater management is doing their damnedest to provide us that).

Memo to Community Newspapers (South Miami-based publisher of Miami Beach News, that new bimonthly which reads more like a self-congratulatory newsletter put out by the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce – oh, wait – it is a paper that is published “in cooperation” with the Chamber, as its masthead proclaims):

That half-page ad on page 27 of your Dec. 1-15 issue?  The one touting a chance to win a $100 gift certificate if we sign up for a Community Newspapers e-newsletter?  Check the expiration date in your ad copy – Nov. 30.

And on page 3, the $200-off coupon for an electric bicycle?  That, too, Nov. 30.

And on page 38, the $89 Swedish massage special at a local spa?  Valid through Nov. 30.

If MBN seems Jerry Libbin-centric, it’s because the Beach commissioner moonlights as the chamber’s president and CEO.  In a recent issue, Libbin was mentioned on eight of 40 pages, had his mug pictured 6 times (3 times on one page), and posted his own regular feature, “Commissioner’s Column” (shouldn’t that, for the sake of full disclosure, read, “Commissioner/Chamber President/CEO’s Column”?).

His colleagues on the dais must be envious of all his positive press coverage.  Apparently, get yourselves a joint gig as chamber prez and you, too, can get lots of ink in the MBN!

All the best to an ailing friend, longtime local broadcast titan Neil Rogers.  We sure miss your unmatched erudition, wit, and sass on our airwaves.  You left radio too soon, most unceremoniously, but left on top.  Better than any doctor’s antidote:  Somebody install a slot machine by his sick bed and hook him up with a live feed of all the harness races at Woodbine, Gulfstream, and elsewhere.

That other witty Rogers – Will – once said, “We are all here for a spell, get all the good laughs you can.”  Thanks, “Uncle” Neil, for supplying us a generous share.

About Charles Branham-Bailey

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