Last Call for 1.27.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The University of Florida has the fastest AI supercomputer in higher education, and the whole State University System stands to benefit.

UF Provost Joe Glover announced Wednesday that UF will soon allow SUS students and faculty statewide to put the NVIDIA-powered “HiPerGator AI” to use.

“Already, AI and data science technology are impacting every sector of the economy, from manufacturing and agriculture to financial technologies and drug development,” Glover said. “By engaging the State University System and offering unprecedented access to groundbreaking technology, we are opening doors for researchers and students across the state who are eager to play a role in building a 21st century economy.”

UF and NVIDIA announced last year that they were partnering on an $80 million venture to build HiPerGator AI. The project includes a $50 million commitment from the Silicon Valley-based tech company and UF alum Chris Malachowsky, by way of hardware, software, training and services.

The university said sharing the compute power with other institutions at no charge could make a national impact.

“AI is transforming every segment of American life, with applications ranging from medical diagnostics and precision agriculture to advanced manufacturing and autonomous transportation,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “Analysts predict that the AI economy will represent over $10 trillion in economic output by the end of this decade. As home to a world-class university leading the way in AI research and education, Florida has an unparalleled opportunity to attract the best and brightest people and industries to our state.”

NVIDIA higher education director Cheryl Martin added, “AI is the driving force of innovation in health care, agriculture, climate and many more key industries in Florida, which makes it inspiring that UF is giving universities across the state access to HiPerGator AI.

“UF’s model will serve as a blueprint for other universities that can share access to the performance of an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD like HiPerGator AI to enable faculty, researchers and students to supercharge their work solving society’s biggest challenges.”

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 1,645,507 FL residents (+8,211 since Tuesday)

— 30,664 Non-FL residents (+197 since Tuesday)


— 13,582 Travel related

— 616,983 Contact with a confirmed case

— 18,497 Both

— 996,445 Under investigation


— 71,155 in FL


— 26,249 in FL

Evening Reads

U.S. issues domestic terrorism alert early in Joe Biden’s term” via The Associated Press

Biden says he’s ‘bringing back the pros’ for coronavirus briefings” via Zeke Miller of The Associated Press

Millions earmarked for public health emergencies were used to pay for unrelated projects, inspector general says” via Dan Diamond and Lisa Rein of The Washington Post

Rick Scott drills Homeland Security about Biden’s ‘amnesty’ push” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Video surfaces showing QAnon-promoting Congresswoman harassing Stoneman Douglas student after massacre” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

‘It could be a double whammy.’ Florida scientists worry about Brazilian variant” via The Miami Herald

Gov. Ron DeSantis: COVID-19 vaccine backlog will quickly fall as more people get second shot” via Steven Lemongello and Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel

FL Surgeon General is blocked from taking questions about the COVID crisis; lawmaker calls it a ‘sham’” via Issac Morgan of the Florida Phoenix

Lawmakers voice frustrations after Surgeon General takes no questions at subcommittee” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Florida Guardian ad Litem Program disputes findings in state review” via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times

Travel industry opposes testing for domestic travelers” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Publix vaccine deal leaves many seniors out in the cold; Commissioner says she’s ‘absolutely disgusted’” via Wells Dusenbury of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Appeals court upholds county mask mandate” via News Service of Florida

Resolution to eliminate the Constitution Revision Commission flies through first committee” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

Anna Eskamani targets Universal Orlando tax break” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Nick DiCeglie requests $750,000 for Florida Holocaust Museum” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

FDLE to investigate Osceola deputy who body-slammed Liberty High student” via Cristobal Reyes and Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“The House as a body, we haven’t heard from the Surgeon General in 11 months since we last convened. I am disappointed that he can’t answer questions publicly and I think that it just contributes to the perception that this process is a sham.” — Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, after Scott Rivkees was unable to take questions during a Wednesday committee meeting.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Staff Reports


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704