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Today on Context Florida: A kick in the ovaries, Trump & torture, public notice, Art Buchwald and Ralph Arza

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Today on Context Florida:

For Valentine’s Day, what did the sweethearts in the Legislature give to the ladies of Florida? A swift kick in the ovaries, says Diane Roberts. Rep. Charles Van Zant’s HB 865 would shut down all abortion clinics, urge the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, and make abortion a felony. Zygotes are citizens, too. Normally (if that word can be used with regard to Florida government), his pet project would languish unheard and unloved. But this is an election year: HB 865 has 17 co-sponsors, and it’s moving forward.

Martin Dyckman warns: if you vote for Trump; you’re endorsing torture by your government. As votes were being cast in New Hampshire’s presidential primary, Trump was boasting — boasting! — that he would authorize the torture of terrorism suspects. “Not since medieval times have people seen what’s going on,” the candidate said. “I would bring back waterboarding, and I’d bring it back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

Bill Day’s latest:


According to Dominic Calabro, the cornerstone of our constitutional democratic republic is protecting citizens’ right to full and public notice when their elected officials are discussing or making decisions that could affect everyone’s daily lives. As a nonpartisan research taxpayer research institute that focuses on promoting government accountability and transparency, Florida TaxWatch supports the use of public notices in local newspapers of record by government entities to notify citizens of meetings and votes.

Bob Driver reflects on Art Buchwald, the political columnist and humorist who has now been gone for nine years. Driver enjoyed and admired his writing for many years, and envied him without shame as someone whose life (or much of it) he would have gladly exchanged for my own — if such swaps were possible, which they’re not.

Last December, Julie Delegal reported that Miami attorney Robert F. Fernandez had singled out three Duval County School Board members for public records requests. She warned that those members should prepare for political hardball, given the threats that charter school lobbyist Ralph Arza made on South Florida TV in the wake of an anti-charter school vote there. Both Arza, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives, and Fernandez, former deputy general counsel to Gov. Jeb Bush, were lieutenants in the Bush-brand education reform push. And now Arza, who left the House of Representatives in disgrace in 2006, can enjoy being the accuser instead of the accused.

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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