It's not easy for Floridians these days. There are mounting job losses, home foreclosures and empty storefronts. Property values are still dropping, and utility bills are rising. Universities are crowded, and theme parks and hotels are not.
Brighten up. It could be worse.
In California, thousands of homeowners have evacuated because of wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes. The Golden State also faces an $11-billion state budget deficit this year. Florida avoided being hit by major hurricanes this season. The Sunshine State's budget deficit is big — but not that big.
In Nebraska, legislators are in special session rewriting a safe haven law for children. They goofed by not setting an age limit, and nearly three dozen children — most older than 10 — have been dropped off at hospitals by parents or guardians. Florida didn't make that mistake; its safe haven law is limited to newborns up to 7 days old.
In Minnesota, a hand recount of nearly 3-million votes is expected in the unresolved U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Norman Coleman and Democrat Al Franken. Coleman leads at the moment by more than 200 votes, but there are charges of voter irregularities and unaccounted votes. That sounds all too familiar to Floridians who lived through the 2000 presidential recount.
So while these are tough times in Florida and the weather is a little chilly, look on the bright side. Floridians are not dealing with deadly wildfires, unfathomable state budget deficits, abandoned teens or another vote recount. The election's over, the holidays are approaching and there is no snow in the forecast. It could be worse.