The new year is here, and 2014 promises to be annoying on many levels. There will be much hot air about the mid-term elections, the Florida governor's race and who will run for president in 2016. The Super Bowl might be played in a blizzard, and the Winter Olympics will be held in a Russian summer resort town. LeBron James and the Miami Heat will try to win their third consecutive NBA title, but soccer-mad South Florida will be distracted by the World Cup unfolding in Brazil at the same time.
Here now my annual, not-so-serious look into the crystal ball for the year ahead:
Jan. 6 — The troubled launch of Obamacare continues, as thousands of previously uninsured Floridians who signed up for health care coverage open their mailboxes to find Chuck E. Cheese coupons instead of insurance cards.
Jan. 27 — State-run Citizens Property Insurance launches its "clearinghouse" system to place new policies with private insurers, and agents who must use the system are frustrated with a glitch that sends them to healthcare.gov, and a welcome screen that says, "Error 404 – Your account couldn't be created at this time."
Feb. 2 — For the 40th consecutive year, the Dolphins do not win the Super Bowl. The game, held outdoors in a New Jersey swamp, features a VIP frostbite section and the first Vince Lombardi championship trophy sculpted from ice. South Floridians, deemed unworthy of hosting the Big Game, laugh all the way to the beach.
Feb. 18 — The Florida Supreme Court allows the medical marijuana initiative to appear on the November ballot, after organizers get nearly one million petition signatures for the amendment. Cheech, Chong, Harold and Kumar are tapped to lead the campaign effort, with the slogan, "Don't forget to vote on November…uh, when's the election again?"
March 4 — The Florida Legislature begins its annual session with a nod to the powerful National Rifle Association, exempting guns and ammunition from sales tax. Meanwhile, sales tax on toilet paper remains in place, despite the best efforts of a crusading South Florida columnist.
April 1 — Citizens announces that renewal policies must go through the new clearinghouse system. Citizens customers complain about being forced to switch to unproven private insurers, especially those who get shifted to "Bill and Ted's Excellent Insurance Company."
May 16 — Florida's unemployment rate drops to a record low 2.1 percent, after the state officially classifies panhandling as work and the state's revamped website only accepts jobless claims filed in Sanskrit. Gov. Rick Scott surges in the polls against Democrat Charlie Crist.
June 1 — The Atlantic hurricane season begins with Zippy the Chimp replacing the retired William Gray as the pre-eminent long-range hurricane forecaster. Zippy predicts an "extremely active" season with 18-20 named storms, 10-12 hurricanes and a 100 percent chance of insurance hikes.
Oct. 12 — The governor's race takes a shocking turn when incumbent Rick Scott announces he's been called back to his home planet and will be replaced on the ballot by Marco Rubio.
Nov. 4 — Rubio beats Crist, part of a Republican tsunami in the mid-term elections. The Republicans announce the impending demise of Obamacare and unveil their health plan: All sick people must move to Canada.
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