Today on Context Florida: Legal aid cuts, Disney World, early learning and brain development

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Today on Context Florida:

Martin Dyckman notes that Gov. Rick Scott demonstrated the hollowness of the premise that Americans are equal before the courts this week after vetoing a modest $2 million appropriation for Florida’s civil legal aid agencies. Plenty of pork survived the veto knife, but that was one example of Scott acting out his creed that the business of government is business. Stacking the courts with pro-business judges is another.

Walt Disney World is without a doubt an amazing enterprise, writes Gary Stein, but the magic is not real and the Magic Kingdom is a façade. It is a fact temporarily overlooked by millions who come and spend $100 per person per day in the parks or stay in Disney resorts. However, for those who work for the Mouse, reality bites back.

The more Florida offers children in the earliest years of life by way of reading, exploring and playing, the more they will absorb, learn and grow, says former Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings. Early learning is an upstream solution for future generations, given that early investments produce the greatest returns and are less costly than later-life remediation like grade retention or juvenile-justice programs.

As someone who researches digital media and identity, University of Central Florida’s Women’s Studies instructor Leandra Preston-Sidler wonders if brain development is affected by exposure to media at so young an age. Is it impairing or preparing for a life immersed in it? Are brains wired differently from the start because of some evolutionary advancement (or devolvement) based on our mediated culture?

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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 HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, 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 phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.