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Today on Context Florida: Picking our presidents, our half-right campaign, Time’s 100 Most Influential and online buying patterns

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Today on Context Florida:

Now that Donald Trump is nearing the number of delegates necessary to assure him the Republican Party nomination and super delegates all but guarantee Hillary Clinton the Democratic nod, the 2016 presidential race is set. Are you excited about the choice? Steven Kurlander bets you are not. “Annoyed” is more like it. It’s a sure bet the next person you ask is not happy either. While many Americans are distressed about the choice, Kurlander says they also should be asking whether the process for picking our presidents needs to be fixed.

The 2016 presidential election cycle thus far has been a study in frustrated attempts to analyze and understand a larger shift among the voting public. We saw it a year ago, says A.G. Gancarski, when the conventional wisdom saw Jeb Bush emerging on the Republican Party side to take on Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side. “Not another Bush/Clinton race” was the common complaint. People were worried about a choice between two political dynasties. In the end, that seeming inevitability was proven, Gancarski adds, as so much has been this campaign season, half-right.

Some people are born to greatness; others achieve it on their own; still others have it thrust upon them by fate. The rest of us just sit on the curb and cheer as the Big Boys and Girls march by to Valhalla, Cooperstown or wherever great folks go. That’s Bob Driver’s customary reaction each year when Time magazine publishes its list of “The 100 Most Influential People” in the world. Driver always hopes his name and picture will be included, but it never happens. He is left to wallow in insignificance. Which, of course, is preferable over other fates such as being a failed presidential contender.

Blake Dowling discusses how retailers use your online data to determine what to charge for a product. The servers at retailers are stirring up this data and crunching it into analytics that they can use to identify and predict your buying patterns as a consumer. They are also sizing up your browser and device type as well as how much time you spend online and many other factors. By finding out what you buy and for how much, the online retailers can spit out a price to you that may be higher than it is to someone else. It sounds almost ridiculous, but it is happening and it is legal.

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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