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Today on Context Florida: Office of Amusement, drug misuse, outsourcing, Michael Bloomberg and Jeffersonian ideals

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Today on Context Florida:

Sen. Joe Negron’s SB 832 declares that “fantasy contests” – meaning endeavors such as DraftKings and FanDuel – “involve the skill of contest participants and do not constitute gambling, gaming or games of chance.” Jac VerSteeg says that Negron would regulate this nongambling via a newly created Office of Amusement. It’s not “gambling,” it’s an “amusement.” Which is amusing, VerSteeg says, given that Florida’s most established amusements are the amusement parks in Orlando and Tampa. They have bitterly opposed the expansion of gambling in Florida — though virtual gaming would bother them less than the destination resort gambling that would physically compete for tourists’ attention.

If you think drug misuse and abuse doesn’t affect everyone, Julio Fuentes says think again. It’s an escalating problem spreading to all corners of our communities and across all socioeconomic levels, ethnicities and ages. As president of the Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Fuentes contends we have to address this problem by enacting logical public policies to combat prescription opioid abuse.

The fanning of protectionist flames has long been used as a vote-getting tool, a way to reach voters emotionally in the midst of other contentious problems. The 2016 cycle is proving to be no exception, with its concerns dividing the electorate, namely ISIS, immigration and a Supreme Court vacancy. But regardless of the political points that may be scored from railing against outsourcing, Sarah Maricle Ayers says predictable fact distortions being presented serve no one. The issue of outsourcing has now been jammed into the presidential race. Donald Trump has declared a mission to “bring back” the 5.5 million U.S. jobs from all the far-flung corners of the world where they’ve historically been sent.

If you watched Saturday’s Republican debate in South Carolina, Stephen Kurlander says you may have walked away shaking your head, wondering whether there are any really truly qualified GOP candidates running for president. Or any decent candidates for president, period. So when billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he is considering an independent run for president, Kurlander notes both parties should be worried. Despite his unpopular stances among conservatives on gun control and large cups of Coca-Cola, Bloomberg brings much to the table. He looks like the grown-up in the room.

Marc Yacht calls for the Republican Party to return to its roots and embrace the quality of Jeffersonian ideals. It must rid itself of religious extremists, coldblooded conservatism, and their abandonment of critical human services. Republicans circa 1800 were a party of the people — no more. Republican voices promote the distrust of government, protect the elite at the expense of the average citizen, force Christianity into the body politic, and push tax dollars into the hands of “Friends of the Party.” The Party, Yacht says, is ideologically isolated, racist, disingenuous and corrupt.

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 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.

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