The end of the year is approaching and the news columns and web sites of a hungry nation are filling up with weird Florida stories, each supposedly an illustration of the character, lifestyle and unholy preoccupations of our strange, strange state.
Florida's war on so-called "pill mill" pain clinics appears to be pushing the problem into Georgia.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2010, there were just 10 pain clinics in the state of Georgia. Today, there are more than 125 clinics and the state's per capita prescriptions of oxycodone has tripled in the last decade.
2012 may be remembered in Latin American for what didn't happen more than for what actually did, especially in Venezuela and Cuba.
The year began ominously for Venezuelan nationals living in South Florida. The U.S. State Department expelled the country's consul-general, alleging she was involved in a cyber-terrorism plot. In January, Venezuela's Miami consulate was shut down by President Hugo Chavez, who was facing a tough reelection campaign.
But Florida led the nation with new death sentences for the year: 21, more than twice as many as Texas. California, with 14 death sentences, was the only other state to achieve a double-digit performance.
Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has been all over the news this week. On Monday, responding to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, he said all remedies must be "on the table" legislatively, including allowing teachers and principals to arm themselves on school grounds.
On Tuesday, after his comments had been reported widely, Baxley issued a statement that this is a time to respect the victims. "Contrary to media reports, no specific proposals have been advanced or filed by me," he wrote.