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Today on Context Florida: Slinging mud, Full Sail, constitutional liberty, doing things differently and taking the stage

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Today on Context Florida:

Marco Rubio and Donald Trump are slinging mud by spraying water. Jac VerSteeg suggests this may be from the unconscious influence of their ties to Florida, a vast peninsula surrounded by the sparkling aqua stuff. Trump himself is master of an estate whose name – Mar-a-Lago – derives from its proximity to two bodies of water. Rubio’s persona is shaped by the 90 miles of Florida Straits separating his family’s adopted country from Cuba’s tyranny. It is a shame, given the importance of water to Florida and in their lives, that the two candidates insist on drawing from a polluted well.

Last month, the 58th Annual Grammy Awards aired across the nation. Dominic Calabro says they had a certain Florida flair thanks to the hard work of various Full Sail University graduates. The school, known for preparing students for careers in entertainment and media, announced that 14 graduates worked on 13 projects that won a Grammy during the awards program. Graduates worked on projects ranging from rising rap icon Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” to Christian rock group TobyMac’s “This Is Not a Test.” One, Brendan Morawski, earned his own Grammy award for his work on the Grammy Album of the Year, Taylor Swift’s “1989.” Congratulations to the Full Sail University graduates who had their work recognized by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States.

The organizing principle of Matt Gaetz’s public service is Constitutional liberty. If government constrains itself to the Constitution, free markets, free enterprise and free people can thrive. Otherwise, he says we get catastrophic consequences like Obamacare, lawless executive orders and a government that (often corruptly) picks winners and losers. For Gaetz, in a world of uncertainty, the Second Amendment to the Constitution is undeniably clear: The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The most repeated phrase of late on social media and on talking-head shows is, “This election is unlike anything ever before!” Each time Ed Moore hears it, he chuckles. Is it just a sign of our times that we think ourselves so special that everything we do has to be the biggest or best, worst or most spectacular, than anything ever seen before? Maybe it’s part of the “Let’s make America Great Again” theme, that by making a YUGE spectacle out of our processes we can take some pride in doing things differently.

Shannon Nickinson notes that early education is the key topic for the Studer Community Institute in 2016. But they aren’t the only community looking into the issues of how well children are prepared for school and looking for ways to make that better. The Boston Globe published a series of stories about the topic, including one that looked how expectations for preschool teachers has increased, but Nickinson says that funding from the state for preschools has not risen at a comparable level.

Heather Gibson has a newfound respect for what performers do before stepping on stage. When she gave the Theatre UCF students 30 days to teach her how to perform a karaoke song, Gibson didn’t realize she was also handing over her dignity. In retrospect, Gibson says it was a ridiculous idea, but she has no one to blame except herself.

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 [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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