Florida sponsors NASCAR car for $175K

Did you see where the Florida Department of Transportation is sponsoring a NASCAR car this weekend at Daytona?

Actually, you're the one sponsoring it, since the $175,000 being spent on Joe Nemechek's car is public money.

It's all part of the state's "Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow" campaign promoting roadway safety — a worthy initiative in a state plagued with pedestrian deaths.

Still, there's something ironic about promoting roadway safety — on a car going 190 mph.

Pop quiz

Who said: "… I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to health care"?

A. Barack Obama B. Nancy Pelosi C. Harry Reid D. Rick Scott

Answer: D. This is part of the "Reinventing Rick" tour I've been telling you about. The Florida governor railed for years about "Obamacare," but this week embraced an expanded Medicaid program, as long as the feds pay for it. This may chafe the folks who have described Obamacare as a "disaster" and "job killer." Oh, wait. That was Rick Scott, too.

Praise, times two

The delays at the Orlando VA Medical Center are beyond sorry. So kudos to Republicans John Mica and Dan Webster and Democrats Alan Grayson and Corrine Brown for teaming up in unusual bipartisan style to crack the whip and demand answers. If I was the VA or a contractor, I'd be nervous. Because these guys joining forces either means serious business … or that Armageddon's coming.

Kudos also to the Seminole County commissioners for continuing their commitment to a comprehensive trail system, adding another three miles to the Seminole Wekiva Trail. Such moves help the county live up to its motto as "Florida's Natural Choice." (We'll see whether that trend continues next week when developers come asking the county to build more houses on rural land than is supposed to be allowed.)

The missing rail

Earlier this week, we carried a story about all the rail lines coming to Central Florida — lines that may go north to south, from the airport to the convention center, even one from Lake County to downtown Orlando.

But you know what I noticed? Not a single one of these lines goes to Disney.

Think about that for a minute. The single largest destination in Central Florida is MIA.

That would be like Las Vegas building a rail line that bypassed the Strip.

I know some reasons why Disney might not be keen on running mass transit out of its property. (Think captive audience.)

But it defies logic to run rail all over the region and bypass the state's biggest tourist attraction — and the nation's largest single-site employer.

Maybe one day, this community will get serious about regional cooperation — and realize that achieving it takes more than costly "visioning" exercises.

Magic moments

Goodbye, J.J. As a loyal Tar Heel, it took a while for me to warm up to Duke alum J.J. Redick. But I did. I loved the guy's work ethic. And he had style, to boot. So I'm sad to see him leave the Magic. On the flip side, he's being traded to a better team. Which one? Oh, I don't know. I just know that, by definition, it has to be a better team.

Sign time. Wouldn't you know this was the season my son asked to put a "Go Magic" sign in our front yard? I agreed — and told him we'd keep it up as long as it remained standing. I then put it right near the street, figuring that, if it was anything like the team, it'd either collapse at home or flop on the road.

smaxwell@tribune.com or 407-420-6141

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