"With 2010 almost ready to be counted out, one of the year’s top Florida stories – Republican Rick Scott’s election – will turn a new page, morphing into one of the New Year’s first major political events. As the governor-elect readies for his Jan. 4 inauguration, the News Service of Florida asked a dozen lobbyists, elected officials and academics to look ahead and take stock of the early hurdles facing Scott. As 2010 fades, [John Kennedy count's] down from 10 the top challenges facing the incoming governor in ’11."
10: A High BarRead the details here: "Before the Ball Drops, a Countdown of Challenges for Rick Scott".
9: An Impatient Public
8: Finding the Money
7: Staffing his Administration
6: Fighting Red Tape Fanatics
5: A Work Force Insurgency
4: The Media Funnel
3: Ambitious Legislators
2: Runaway Rhetoric
1: Obama, Again
Florida looks for federal handout
"Gov. Crist asks feds for disaster declaration after latest Arctic blast chills crops". See also "Crist Asks Feds to Declare 35 Florida Counties Weather Disasters".
Let them eat cake
"Florida's government-owned hospitals will be in the political cross hairs after Tuesday's inauguration of Rick Scott, once leader of the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain."
The governor-elect's transition team has recommended creation of a panel to study whether government-owned hospitals -- Miami-Dade's Jackson Health System and Broward's two hospital districts among them -- are necessary."Need for public hospitals to be a ‘hot topic' for Gov.-elect Rick Scott".
"Delmar Johnson, former executive director of the Florida Republican Party, was president, secretary and treasurer of Victory Strategies, which prosecutors say was a 'shell company' created to skim off GOP contributions."
But most of the cash went to former state party Chairman Jim Greer, newly released documents show."Records in GOP fraud case reveal more of Jim Greer's business dealings".
Victory Strategies took in nearly $240,000 over nine months in 2009, according to bank statements. Of that money, $164,101 was paid to Greer in 11 checks. Johnson took $65,093 during that same time while a balance of $10,000 remained in the account as of Jan. 31, 2010.
Billy: "never say never"
"Given [his] losses and the fact McCollum is now 66, it would seem his political career would be over. 'I've learned a long time ago to never say never,' said McCollum, who resurrected his political career in 2006 after spending six years in the private sector following his Senate race losses." "McCollum's political career appears to be ending".
"Adam Putnam, who will soon take over as Florida's agriculture commissioner, has put a halt to the state's effort to ban chocolate milk and most high-sugar drinks in Florida schools." "Incoming state agriculture chief seeks to table chocolate-milk ban in schools".
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Stalling removal of sugary drinks from schools unwise".
The Wal-mart/Fox News Governorship
"Greta Van Susteren to kick off Scott's inaugural celebration", "Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren to kick off Scott’s $2.5 million inauguration" and "Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren headlines Gov.-elect Scott's inaugural event". Related: "Greta Van Susteren Questions Juan Williams' Palin Intellect Claim".
About Fox News generally: "Study: Fox News Viewers Are The Most Misinformed". See also "12 Wild Misconceptions Held By Fox News Viewers".
Courtesy of NAFTA, "America could become China's China"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Over the past few decades, Americans sort-of accepted politicians' claims that a global economy helped everybody. There were grumblings about the North American Free Trade Agreement, for example, but no revolts. ... Many American companies did well in 2010, and they have started pumping up their payrolls. But they're not hiring Americans, and they're not hiring in America. U.S.-based companies created fewer than 1 million jobs in America in 2010, but they created 1.4 million jobs overseas. ... America could become China's China. Great" "Want a job? Try China: American companies stingy".
No way to run a state
"With just days before Governor-elect Rick Scott takes office, a few more top-level state officials have been told they will no longer have a job. New documents show that a total of 82 high-ranking state officials have been told by Scott's transition team that they will not have a job after Jan. 3. There are still close to 400 employees who are being held over past the Jan. 4 inauguration date for up to 90 days." "Scott transition team hands out a few more pink slips".
Mack laff riot
"When asked about his political aspirations, Republican Rep. Connie Mack will only go as far as to say he's focused on fulfilling his fourth term representing Florida's Gulf Coast. But glance all around him and it looks as though he's taking every necessary step to prepare for a 2012 Senate run against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson." "Mack making moves toward Senate bid".
Florida led the way in bank failures
"More banks failed in the United States this year than in any year since 1992, during the savings-and-loan crisis — and Florida led the way." "Florida led nation's worst year for bank failures since 1992".
Scarborough to grace us with his candidacy
"Parade magazine will run an interview on Sunday with former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough, the Republican who represented the Panhandle for six years in Congress before turning cable news host. In the interview, Scarborough played down talk that he would join New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on an independent presidential ticket in 2012, but said it was possible he could make a political comeback. " "Joe Scarborough Mulls Over His Political Future".
Entrepreneurs in action
"Cable TV dispute threatens Penn State-Fla. game".
Florida Main Street program
Nancy Smith: "Take a good look at the Florida Main Street program. It's sneaky clever. It's all about preserving the character and vitality of decaying downtowns -- and that would be reason enough to love it -- but here's the big bonus: It pumps cash like a wildcat well into all 50 Main Street communities." "25 Years of Florida Main Street: Look How It Boosts the State's Economy".
Steve Bousquet: "He rode a wave of optimism into office four years ago, but Gov. Charlie Crist leaves behind a very different Florida when his term expires next week." "Charlie Crist's legacy — an unfinished agenda".
Perhaps Mr. Putnam will help
"Florida agriculture loses $273M in December freeze".