Goodbye Miami


October 2017 Fort Lauderdale – Tooling down the A1A.

 

Bloomberg recently published a news story about a business man in southern Florida named Ross Hancock who was having bad luck coping with the area’s high tide flood problems. Florida State officials pooh-pooh the idea that climate change exits – in fact, Governor Rick Scott’s administration will fire any state worker who even uses the phrase. Yet, the ocean levels around Florida mysteriously have risen year after year – some say pretty much as predicted by those climate changer fake news people – which leads to localized flooding once a month when a king tide hits. King tides happen during those couple of days each month when there is a full moon.


“I’ve not been convinced that there’s any man-made climate change,” Governor Rick Scott

Even though Governor Scott said it couldn’t happen, Ross lived in an area of Coral Gables that flooded each time of the month a full moon came out. The city’s response was to start raising the levels of the streets by a foot to keep the cars dry as well as to construct a high powered storm sewer system that would blow water back into the ocean (up hill!!). Ross’s decided it was time to sell his house which he did four years ago.

Ross moved his family into a high rise condo on Key Biscayne. Key Biscayne is one of the higher patches of land in Miami; Ross figured he was safer here than anywhere else. But ‘high ground’ is relative in Miami where the average variance between sea level and land four miles inland is less than three feet. So in August, when Irma hit, the Key Biscayne shoreline was turned into a swimming pool for miles around. Ross’s condo was high enough to be undamaged but the condo building’s power systems, elevators and parking lots were heavily damaged. His share of the cost to fix things came out to be around $60K. Once the damage is repaired, Ross plans to move again – to really higher ground, 10s of miles north of southern Florida and the coast.


Fake Data from the Corp of Engineers and the Weather Service.

Florida has always been run by land sharks and swindlers looking to sell swamp land to the idiots. Of course climate change doesn’t exist. Talk to any real estate agent about buying a property in Miami, and not one will say a word about tidal flooding. If you bring it up, they say the probability of it happening to ‘this property’ (this property being any property you name) is negligible and besides, everyone has cheap flood insurance and you know those insurance companies wouldn’t sell cheap flood insurance if there were actual floods, wink-wink, poke-poke. The industry’s state wide trade group, Florida Real Estate, tows the governor’s line – nope, we got no climate change goin’ on down here. Nope. Nope.

What the real estate agents don’t tell you is that flood insurance availability is mandated by the state legislature in order for insurers to do business in Florida. That state underwrites catastrophic losses which they have historically covered through disaster relief grants from the Federal government. At the end of the day, the insurers make money, the State doesn’t ante up a nickel and the real estate industry thrives.

But all of this is bound to unravel and likely pretty soon. Irma caused over 190 billions in damage. U.S. Taxpayers will cover most of that but it is likely insurers are going take some hits. The insurers are in with the swindlers but they don’t believe the swindler’s pitch. They know the oceans are warming, the seas are rising and that cyclic violent weather is one result. Irma was not a once in a lifetime thing – Irma is what the new normal looks like. Insurers are going to raise their rates. What the property owners don’t pay, taxpayers will. At some point, someone will say ouch.

Zillow says in 30 years, 200,000 homes in the Miami area will be underwater (not flooded, under). Talk about trying to get a 30 year mortgage on those guys. The number goes up to half a million by 2090. Yea it seems a long time from now but wait one generation – when your young toddlers are looking for their first house – well there are going to be some awesome deals around for nice beach front properties that they can buy and then just discard in ten years.


Raising Fthe highways two feet in Miami Beach.

Coral Gables figures they can avoid things for a while by raising the roads and pumping water back into the ocean faster than it can flow in. Miami is doing the same thing. The mayor of Miami Beach is proposing 400 million dollar levy to get homeowners to pony up the money. It’s that or just sit there and watch you house float away. The mayor will likely get his money.

It is not hard to see how the real estate market in sourthern Florida is about ready to tank big time. Insurance rates will sky rocket over the next five years, property taxes will jump to pay for new highways, big pumps and flood walls, and the ocean will inevitably creep higher and higher each year reclaiming a yard of shore here, a couple feet there. Each year, every year. And it will happen real quietly because everyone in charge loses if people start to decide to move out in groves.

Ross Hancock is a smart dude. He expects to take a loss when he sells the condo. But a lot of people believe the swindle and one of them will buy it. His realtor told him so.

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Doggerel

 


I am old and have a cold – it is four degrees outside

the dog sits in front of me entreating

black eyes open wide,

mouth flickering down a long white snout back and forth

His nostrils try to scent my intend

for a walk.

 

But I have a cold and winter’s frigid fingers

slip between the house’s bricks

and shiver my bones and draw my heat away.

 

“It’s four outside you stupid dogs. Too cold

to walk and sniff and squirrel watch. Be still and warm.”

but they don’t understand a word I say nor care too –

they want a walk today. Their patience has no end.

They will sit and stare even as I pretend to edit words

and draw charcoal marks on paper masks.

Hours pass and still they sit:

I want my walk today.

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Merry Christmas From The New Hudson Exit

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Ralph The Dog – Waiting For Checkers

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Making China Great

Trump ran for president on bullshit. ‘Make America Great Again’ – what malarkey. The United States was already the world’s largest economy, had the biggest military, churned out the most movies, TV shows and rock hits of anyone and even gave reasonable opportunities to immigrants to make a few bucks and start work on their version of the American dream. This great country also had the world’s most obese people, the highest ratio of firearms per capita (with the highest ratio of murders to boot!), a huge lust for racism and a healthy culture where a blatant misogynist could run for president. Nobody could top it.

So the misogynist actually wins. It turns out he is dumber than a box of rocks, has no apparent education and hires a bunch of people just like himself. Off he goes making American great again as his ‘dotard’ mind perceives it to be. He does everything he can think of to dismantle those things that made America what it was and to abrogate whatever leadership she showed the world. But his most lasting legacy will be how he took America’s industrial might and drove it right into the dirt. It was stupidly simple: he branded ‘climate change’ a hoax, undid any law that stood in its way and thereby surrendered the economic leadership of the world to China. What a fucking dumbbell.

Climate change is the most pernicious problem the world faces. Its ramifications are profound: food supplies contract, millions of square miles of land submerge, weather becomes deadly and vicious, green spaces become deserts. It sucks.

However it can be stopped. America, as the world’s largest generator of greenhouse gases could lead the way to reduce them. We could be establishing new industries that create energy without emissions. We could invent technologies that suck CO2 and CH4 out of the air and turn them into something benign or even useful. And we could make a huge amount of money doing each of them. Billions and billions and billions of dollars.


You may not believe that humans cause climate change but no one can deny that a carbon cycle exists and the earth is now on the side that is increasing; heat, rising oceans and violent weather are its consequences. Eliminating CO2 emission slows it down. Developing CO2 extraction technologies begins to reverse the curve. If one is looking for an area in which humans can save themselves, this is it. If stopping CO2 emissions to save the planet doesn’t get your attention, the money that can be made if you can sell the salvation should.

But The Donald is too dumb to figure any of that out. His billionaire buddies see the possibilities but it will take a decade or two before the cash starts flowing in. It is far easier to get some billions now from carbon based fuels. Let somebody else’s great grandkids make money cleaning up the earth.

This is China’s great opportunity. China’s appetite for energy is voracious and will exceed that of the United States within twenty years. The Chinese learned the hard way the heavy price in human suffering caused by unfettered pollution. They have begun embedding reduced carbon usage in every product produced.

For example, the technology to eliminate CO2 from coal emissions exists and has been industrialized. The US doesn’t use it because it raises the price of coal. Since coal is already far more expensive that natural gas, electric companies don’t spend money to burn coal cleanly – they spend it in converting generators to natural gas. Natural gas is scarce in China but coal is plentiful. The Chinese are heavily investing in generating natural gas from coal and they do it with zero CO2 emissions. The moreCO2 capture devices they make, the less they cost. It is a trend which will lead to the commoditization of the technology in ten years. If anybody else wants to use it, China will sell it to them at a hefty cost. If they price it on some type of usage model, the revenue streams will be large and long. The US might think they can play catchup but anytime someone has a ten year advantage in technology, catchup is a pipe dream. Computer chips are made everywhere throughout the world but the guys that own the licenses and make some loot on every chip are still IBM, Intel and QCOM.

The greenhouse cycle is far enough along that no amount of CO2 reduction will be enough to avoid disastrous consequences over the next decades. CO2 must be actually removed from the atmosphere. There are several potential technologies for doing this but all have significant hurdles to overcome before they are viable. The United States has been a middling funder of CO2 removal research but its future is dim – the idiots around the boy president believe the money is wasted on a non-existent problem.

China doesn’t. China is betting on technologies that suck CO2 out of the air with giant fans and turn the gas in carbon hydroxide slag. Today, the technology is cumbersome and expensive. It also requires very large spaces of uninhabited land to both build the CO2 inhaling infrastructure and contain the vast amounts of slag produced. Only four countries have the geography to support this: the United States, Russia, India and China. The only country serious about it now is China.

China has smart people and deep pockets. They are investing millions of Yuan to figure out the most efficient technology solution. Then it becomes a matter of reducing its cost through automation and scaling.

How will they make money on it? Well, in fifty years, the state of Delaware will be under the ocean. So will London, New York, and Marseilles. Losing those areas wold cost hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Just relocation the people that live there is estimated to be at least 10 trillion dollars. Who will pay to avoid those costs once the specter of uncontrolled flooding becomes so pervasive even dotards can’t deny it? Everyone will.

We don’t know how the technology would be packaged and priced but it is easy to envision the Chinese coming up with some type of global licensing scheme whereby everybody pays according to the amount of damage they avoid. 10 billion here, 10 billion there, year after year. Eventually other countries will figure out how the stuff works but the Chinese will have a technology and operational edge that will last many generations. Their use of climate management technology will propel them to become the greatest economic power the world has ever seen. The rest of us will be sending our kids to Chinese schools to learn their wisdom, immigrating to China to find jobs and learning the right way to make white rice.

 

 

 

 

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Moochie And The Bow Wow Wow


Moochie As A Puppy. The Last Time We Saw His Eyes.

I was a 14 year old kid when my Aunt Dee and Uncle Jon-Jon got Moochie. Their two oldest boys – my cousins Johnny (14 too) and Bobby (13) – had been hounding their parents to get them a dog for months with little success. Then one weekend Uncle Jon-Jon pulled a bender and got Aunt Dee into a frazzle. One of her conditions for him to get out of the dog house was for the kids to have a dog. At least that was the story.

Moochie was an Old English Sheep Dog. My aunt and uncle bought him from an Amish farmer who raised sheepdogs and collies in a town called Mentor about 30 miles west of Akron. Aunt Dee picked both the breed and the name. Uncle Jon-Jon said she had just watched The Shaggy Dog on the Sunday Disney show the week before. If she had been watching Rin Tin Tin or Lassie, he say, it would have been a different dog with a different name. The he laughed at his story. But I think Moochie was the one really laughing. Neither Aunt Dee or Uncle Jon-Jon liked dogs. The boys wanted one, Uncle Jon-Jon got drunk and pissed Dee off and Dee used the opportunity to make Uncle Jon-Jon do something he loathed. They were both pretty good at finding opportunities to screw each other. This time they both got it but it would take them a little while to figure that out.

I met Moochie a couple of months after he had been brought home. Our family lived in the country and had a couple of full grown mutts we had been raised with. They were farm dogs – they lived outside, caught rabbits and got a bath by standing in the rain. Moochie was a just puppy jumping on the furniture and chasing tennis balls under the bed, a white little fur ball – cute for sure, but urban cute. Perfect for my pretentious aunt and uncle and their posh house in suburban Akron. I was not impressed.

I didn’t see the dog again until nearly a year later. Then I was impressed. Moochie was a lumbering giant that weighed over ninety pounds and when he jumped up on his hind legs, he was pretty much at eye level with you. If you could see his eyes which by that time you couldn’t.

The other thing I liked about the grown up Moochie was the quantity of drool he produced. It was enormous which irritated Uncle Jon-Jon to no end. I remember once him driving Johnny, Bobby and me down to the Sparkle grocery to pick up some stuff for Aunt Dee. Moochie was along too, sitting on the front seat next to Uncle Jon-Jon. As we drove down the street, Moochie stuck his head out the window to catch the breeze. His long tongue lolled down his chin and large drops of saliva began driveling out. The stream of wet got caught in the car’s wake and flung back on the side of Moochie’s head, the car’s passenger windows and, I assume, the windshield of any car following us.

He just didn’t drool on car trips. Moochie drooled anytime he wasn’t moving. He’d be sitting on the living room couch, nose resting on one of the sofa’s arms and with a pool of slimy wet stuff soaking into the carpet below his head. He could be standing in the back yard watching us play ball and the drool ran through his chin whiskers and covering him and the ground below his head. His face was always wet. If you played with him and got him jumping up and down, the water sprayed everywhere – on you, the furniture, whatever. We kids could have cared less. Uncle Jon-Jon was less tolerant. But what can you do? Some dogs are droolers; big dog droolers drool big.

Old English Sheep Dogs are very very hairy. Hair traps dirt. The problem with Moochie was that was that neither Aunt Dee nor Uncle Jon-Jon wanted to bathe him. Partly it was their general antipathy towards dogs but also bathing a hundred pound dog as big as small cow was not a simple matter. Their solution was to take Moochie to a pet groomer on the south side of Akron for a full doggie bath; but they didn’t do it very often. It wasn’t because of the cost – they had plenty of money; rather the two spent so much time bickering over who should take him to the groomer, that months would go by without Moochie getting cleaned. By then, the poor dog was filthy, smelled pretty ripe and his head was a mass of dried up drool dirt.

Aside from the drool, the dirt and the stench, Moochie was a pretty good dog, at least to a teenager who only saw him a dozen times a year. He was a big burly thing that rolled around like a puppy, romp at your heels and give licks at the slightest show of affection. Johnny and Bobby loved the dog. Moochie grew with them as they moved from junior high to high school to graduation. Moochie was there when Johnny’s first ‘serious’ girlfriend dumped him; Moochie licked his tears way. Moochie proudly sat next to Bobby the day he got his learner’s permit and drove the Impala to the Sparkles with Uncle Jon-Jon in the back seat growling in fear and irritation. Moochie licked up all the spilt beer the night Johnny threw a beer party when his parents were away in Cleveland helping Aunt Dee’s sister move. And it was Moochie who knocked over Sheila Wagner, Johnny’s second ‘serious’ girlfriend when she was holding a piece of cheese pizza over her head in an attempt to keep Moochie from eating it which he did anyhow. She broke her arm when she hit the kitchen floor with Moochie on top of her. That kinda of ended things with Johnny.

But it was Moochie who stayed in Akron when the whole family up and moved to Florida. That was the sad part of the Moochie story.

It was after Bobby graduated. Uncle Jon-Jon’s TV repair business was losing money, Jon-Jon was tired of northern Ohio winters and Aunt Dee had dreams of living in on some beach in the tropics. They settled on southern Florida. In the summer of 1971, Jon-Jon and Dee went to Fort Lauderdale for a couple of weeks and came back with an offer on a house in Pompano. They put the Akron house up for sale. Uncle Jon-Jon got a rival down the road to buy his TV repair business. Bobby was heading off to college and Johnny, who was doing nothing, figured Florida was a better place to do nothing than Akron. So Uncle Jon-Jon and Aunt Dee were pretty much free to get out of Akron before the snow flew except for what to do with Moochie.

Moochie In His Golden Years

You see, while Aunt Dee and Uncle Jon-Jon were doing their Florida planning, it occurred to them that Florida was not a great place to keep an Old English Sheep Dog. Years before, Aunt Dee grew to regret dogging Uncle Jon-Jon into buying Moochie. She was never keen on dogs and six years of Moochie did nothing to change that. Jon-Jon dislike for dogs was turned to hatred by Moochie’s size, drool, shit and dirty hair. They were looking for an excuse to dump the pooch and Florida’s heat and humidity gave it to them. Moochie needed to stay in the Midwest for his own good.

I don’t know what really happened to Moochie. At the time, Dee and Jon-Jon told everyone that they found a farmer back in the Amish country that took in the dog. Moochie herding real sheep and cows sounded pretty prosaic. But many years later, Aunt Dee said she was sorry she let Jon-Jon take Moochie to the Akron animal shelter. She was in her early eighties and her life as a younger woman had become highly edited. By that time, she kept a black and white picture of her and Moochie standing in the yard together on a table in her bedroom. She often talked about what a wonderful dog he was and how much he meant to her. Uncle Jon-Jon never said much when Dee went on about her love for Moochie. When asked, he always repeated that he took Moochie to a farm not to the shelter. They were two old people who made a past they could live with. As for Moochie – I hoped he really did get taken in by a farmer and away from two people who hated him for being what he was – a big Old English Sheep dog.

 

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