Catastrophe Looms Over Miami, and It’s Not Just Hurricane Irma
Before the storm arrives, Miami already has the third worst real-estate market among major cities in the U.S. Only Cleveland and Detroit ranked lower than Miami in foreclosure rates and delinquent mortgages.
Last year, Miami had over 7,000 home foreclosures. Seven thousand. This year, the number is already over 3,600.
Irma is still bearing down on South Florida.
The Category 5 hurricane could make landfall in Miami this weekend.
The human toll is our main concern.
But, the combination of a devastating hurricane hitting a real estate market that is already in shambles would be catastrophic. Especially if there is flooding like we’ve seen in Houston.
Flooding in the Miami area is already a serious problem under normal circumstances, never mind a hurricane.
Miami recently spent $500 million to install anti-flood pumps around the city, but only 15 percent have been installed so far. Even if they were, engineers have warned that the pumps "would probably fail during a hurricane because there are no backup generators if the city loses power."
And that’s exactly what happened just last month.
A heavy rainstorm overwhelmed the pumps' capacity and caused a power outage that knocked two pump stations offline for almost an hour --- long enough to put some sections of Miami Beach under several feet of water.
Do you remember the Great Miami Storm of July 2017? No? Neither does anyone else. That was just a rainstorm. This is Irma.
Our country can only take so much. War, chaos in the streets, two major hurricanes and a housing collapse?
Catastrophe looms, and it's not just hurricane Irma.
Watershed Moment With North Korea
This is one of those moments.
The standoff with North Korea is approaching endgame. Change --- on a level not seen since WWII --- could be taking place very soon.
The vehicle of this change comes in the form of a UN draft resolution shown to the media yesterday. The United States is seeking an oil embargo, and regardless of whether the resolution passes or fails, this conflict has reached an inflection point.
Let’s say the embargo passes. This would mark the beginning of the end for diplomacy. Japan saw this as an act of war during WWII, eventually leading to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Kim Jong Un will either be forced to the negotiating table, or he’ll see it as the Japanese did. If war occurs, it will be catastrophic on both sides. Carnage not measured in hundreds and thousands, but hundreds of thousands.
China and Russia have already made statements hinting they’ll veto the resolution. Without the help of both countries, we’re staring at a very hard and cold truth: North Korea is now a nuclear-armed nation, and we’re stuck with accepting it.
Think of the dominoes that might fall if that happens. Would Kim Jong Un take his newly acquired nuclear deterrence out for a test drive?
U.S. security guarantees --- in place since WWII --- would be deemed worthless. Japan would re-arm. The Philippines would turn to China.
History is full of watershed moments --- those moments that flipped everything upside down and sent the world hurtling in a new direction. We’re living one of those moments.
The Art of the Bad Deal
Trump has cut a deal with Democratic leaders to increase the debt limit and finance the government until mid-December. But, this deal isn't about Trump.
The deal proposed by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi combined the debt ceiling increase with relief aid for Harvey victims.
We could talk about the GOP’s refusal to address runaway spending.
How unserious Washington is about restraining the deficit and debt.
Or we could look in the mirror, and ask the really hard question.
How much do conservatives actually care about this stuff?
The reason Washington has been able to kick the can down the road is that we have put up with it. Over and over again.
Our government is a reflection of who we are. And right now, as a country, we are a people who would rather talk about the personalities in a meeting about the debt ceiling, than the debt itself.
We would rather whine about our politicians and gossip about who has hurt feelings, than worry about how we have voted again and again to pass this bill onto the next generation.
Yes, this is a bad deal. But, America has turned accepting bad deals into an art form. It's time we spit ourselves out of the system.