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Today on Context Florida: American Transformers, Floridian president, TR’s big stick, open carry convention and dealmaking

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Today on Context Florida:

There’s a new reality show in America, says Adam Goodman, generating ratings and rave reviews before an audience that had been waiting a long time for it to begin. It’s called “The New American Transformers,” but unlike the “Transformer” movies this series does not revolve around a galactic battle but something much more down to Earth. It is a story about Americans looking to transform a system that’s broken, in a country that’s lost its way, led by politicians who’ve become more interested in self-preservation than national revival. The search for newness, freshness, and a jolt of confidence Goodman says explains why both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, hailing from wholly different universes of ideology and temperament, whether they win or lose, are scoring big today.

It bugs Jac VerSteeg that Florida, now the third-most populous state, never has managed to get a Floridian elected president. It looked like there was a great chance this year, with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio starting out as strong possibles. Donald Trump has deep Florida ties. The state could kind of claim him if he were elected. But it’s not clear he could even carry Florida in the general election. I’m not sure what needs to happen for a Floridian to be elected president. But I’m sure what should not happen. Do not elect Rick Scott to the U.S. Senate in 2018. He is virtually a conglomerate of all the weaknesses of this year’s Floridians who ran – plus Trump’s bad points.

Steve Kurlander suggests that we need to bring back Teddy Roosevelt’s “big stick.” After Brussels, our military buildup in Iraq is inevitable. America indeed needs to rebuild its presence in Iraq and the Middle East and embrace being the world’s policeman. We need to stay in Iraq for decades to build a democratic nation there. The U.S. is not an evil imperialist. Rather our presence is a righteous method of assuring our security and the human rights of citizens in foreign countries. The bombings in Paris and Brussels highlight Obama’s misguided decision to abandon Iraq, which ultimately led to the rise of ISIS.

In the spirit of “we ain’t got the good sense God gave a goose,” Linda Cunningham says we’re fixing to tar-and-feather poor “Jim,” the West Coast anti-gun guy who started that petition to allow folks to carry guns into the arena at this summer’s GOP convention in Cleveland. By the time Jim fessed up to being the creator, more than 52,000 people had signed the online petition, which Jim (he’s not giving his last name to interviewers) says was satire. Now everyone’s mad at Jim. The gun lovers are mad because Jim was poking fun at them. The gun haters are mad because, well, because they got taken, too.

Private speculation evolved into overt planning last week as the Florida Chamber of Commerce became the first to signal the formation of a task force focusing on the next iteration of state-directed economic development in Florida. With similar efforts surely to follow, Dale Brill believes that forthcoming recommendations for strengthening Florida’s economy in a post deal-making era should be bold.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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