Today on Context Florida: Pipes vs. parks, lame ducks, Government Executive and Middle East turmoil

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Today on Context Florida:

Pipes vs. parks could be the focus of debate over Amendment 1, the conservation lands amendment approved by 75 percent of voters on Nov. 4, writes Bruce Ritchie. According to the ballot language, purchases are for “lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes and streams,” which could be interpreted as pipes to hook up homes that now are on septic tanks and other expenses.

Congress still has a lot of important work to take care of before defeated or retired lawmakers go home at year’s end and the newly elected ones take office in January, says Sal Nuzzio. At the top of the “lame duck” to-do list should be addressing an urgent and ongoing problem with Medicare, the most costly federal program and largest driver of national debt. If members of Congress fail to do so, there will be harsh ramifications for seniors and caregivers in Florida.

There is nothing like catching up on the last few issues of “Government Executive,” writes Mark O’Brien. The publication bills itself as “the premier website for federal managers and executives.” It’s a morale-booster for those of us worn down by Florida’s national reputation for dumb people doing dumb things.

Julie Harbin reports on a panel of Duke University experts, convened by the ISLAMiCommentary and Sanford School of Public Policy last month, for a broad public conversation on “The Middle East in Turmoil.” Two questions from different members of the public that took up a great deal of the Q & A session afterwards— the kind of questions asked in a multitude of forums since 9/11.

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.