In Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico, on Thursday, the temp warmed all the way into the mid-80s. There are nice parcels of beach to walk, plenty of sun and sand and gentle breezes off the gulf. It is all a dream, especially during the winter months here in the states. 

Back in Houston on the same day, mercury in the thermometer barely rose to 40 after an overnight low of 27.

But we imagine it felt a lot warmer under the collar for Sen. Ted Cruz, who arrived home under the klieg lights of criticism and shame for leaving town for that warmer and exotic Mexican destination just as water pipes started popping from an Arctic freeze that had brought much of the state to a standstill.

The Boy Wonder is going to have a time explaining the optics to the curious and furious.

And then there is this, too: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rates the risk of the coronavirus in Mexico at Level 4 – the agency’s highest level of warning – and says on its website: “Travelers should avoid all travel to Mexico.”

Yet again another sad reminder that the folks who make the rules do not necessarily follow the rules. Those are just for the poor saps who go to work in the cold.

If Cruz is the pick of the Republicans’ litter for the 2024 presidential race, the GOP is in deep trouble.

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If nothing else, we can thank Sen. Cruz for bringing even more attention to the fact that the U.S. is woefully behind the 8 Ball in regard to climate change and infrastructure.

In the extreme cold of Texas this week, power supplies across the board failed, including natural gas-fired power plants and wind turbines.

But it is not just a Texas thing. More than 100 million people live in areas that were under winter weather warnings, watches or advisories in the past few days. There are more electrical blackouts in the days ahead as yet another storm makes its way across the Midwest and up the East Coast.

And here is what is obvious: As climate change worsens, severe conditions are becoming ever more common.

And as Texas is showing right now, we are not prepared.

All of this is happening as President Joe Biden has plans to spend up to $2 trillion on infrastructure and clean energy. Biden has promised to update the U.S. power grid to be carbon-pollution free by 2035 as well as weatherize buildings, repair roads and build electric vehicle charging stations. It is a tall order for a country addicted to carbon.

And the pricetag? Well, that is above and beyond the $1.9 trillion in pandemic relief that should be passed in early March.

None of this – infrastructure, public health and climate change – is cheap because we have deferred payments long enough.

And now the bill is due and all of it is necessary if we want to hand over a sustainable, livable world to the kids and theirs.

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The number of active Covid cases in West Virginia dropped to 10,088, a darn sight better than the more than 29,000 active cases of early January.

There – there is your happy face for the day.

— J. Damon Cain is editor of The Register-Herald. To reach him, email dcain@register-herald.com.

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Overheard:

“City service fees are fees for municipal services — in the case of Wheeling’s fee, half goes towards new facilities for our police and fire departments, and half goes towards municipal infrastructure projects. If you are a state employee working in Wheeling, you benefit from these services just as any other employee does. To me, legislation like this is just one more way for politicians in Charleston to tell Wheeling what it can and cannot do in one breath while extolling the virtues of decentralized government in another.”

Wheeling Mayor Glen Elliot saying HB 2256, a bill introduced by Del. Brandon Steele, R-Raleigh, that would exempt state employees from paying municipal service fees, is another example of lawmakers professing the need for local control on one hand, while trying to interfere with city laws on the other.

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