Monday, April 30, 2012

The New Deep-Dredged Port of Miami, through the eyes of Mark Twain ... by gimleteye

I hesitate to call my discovery of the Mark Twain documentary by Ken Burns a "happy" one. It is nevertheless filled with historical context of a great American who commanded the public stage with his sharp wit and writing at the turning point of our nation's history. (Here's a link to PBS, that carried the documentary.) We are at another such turning point these days, but with none to show exactly how, with the refreshing iciness and humor that Twain possessed in such clarity and depth.

"Ours is a useful trade," Twain wrote of writing in July, 1888. "... a worthy calling. With all its lightness and frivolity it has one serious purpose. One aim. One speciality and it is constant to it. The deriding of shams, the exposure of pretentious falsities, the laughing of stupid superstitions out of existence, and that who so is by instinct engaged in this sort of warfare is the natural enemy of royalties, nobilities, privileges and all kindred swindles and the natural friend of human rights and human liberties." That, dear readers, describes the work of Eyeonmiami to a blessed "T" without the reward.

I could draw comparison and contrast to our relative time and the role of social commentary and the dour, dark reflections that eventually wrapped up even the writer of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. It is hard to feel anything light-hearted about this second tier America we are becoming, calling to mind the Duke of Wellington, "That which we require now is not to lose the enjoyment of what we have got." Twain had it right so far as social criticism goes: we are "the enemy of royalties, privileges and all kindred swindles."

Then there is the deep dredging of the Port of Miami. I was thinking about the multi-billion project and the confidence of county elected officials who believe it will materialize any positive benefit. Miami's infrastructure disasters make me turn the other way, if I can avoid the traffic. On this particular occasion I was driving on the interstate in western North Carolina, with the gas gauge ticking down from full at $4.30 a gallon. The road was filled with cargo containers pulling to and from the American south and midwest. The problem with the port of Miami is that it is very expensive to travel the whole length of Florida with cargo and any dumb fool can see that except for the fools that employ any economic argument to gin up the unloosening of public dollars into their own bank accounts. It is called socializing risk and privatizing profit. We are a nation of swindles, now.

The deep dredging of the Port of Miami will commence though not a single PANAMAX container ship coming through the new deepened Panama Canal has indicated the least interest in using it. If you see someone standing on a small row boat with a stopwatch, waiting for the billions to pan out for taxpayers; that will not be me. I will be betting that the owners of the new Marlins Stadium will sell the team and run away with a few hundred million in ill-gotten gains from the public treasury before the new deep dredged port of Miami turns a profit.


Anonymous said...

The Miami Herald previously reported that the Port of Miami has a $700 million deficit and it wants to ask taxpayers to borrow another $300 million to fund their 2020 development proposals for a commercial venture - offices, hotel-entertainment complex. It is also running close to 50 percent UNDER capacity now. If that is so, why do they need to expand capacity?

Anonymous said...

Less we forget the 'Tunnel' for all that increased Cargo!

Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.
-Mark Twain