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Today on Context Florida: Sober rhetoric, public records, Florida ports and losing youth

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Today on Context Florida:

Chris Timmons calls for sober rhetoric to produce better government. Several weeks ago, business mogul and presidential candidate Donald Trump pledged to “kick the hell of ISIS.” During the New Hampshire primaries, Trump called his fellow presidential contender Ted Cruz “a pussy.” You notice a problem here, Timmons asks. There has been a devolving standard of public substance and decorum. In private, we can expect politicians to use salty, often abrasive language. No one ever said President Lyndon Johnson was a shrinking violet. Ditto JFK. Ditto Bill Clinton.

If it weren’t so sick, twisted and perverted, Florence Snyder says the “security concerns” exemptions to Florida’s public records law would be downright hilarious. Consider the case of Steven Zerbe’s mom. Bonnie’s Zerbe’s 37-year-old son was sent to Santa Rosa Correctional Institution in 2013. He soon began to tell prison officials, and his mother, that he had been raped, knifed, and beaten black and blue. You would think that a prison system concerned about security would take such complaints seriously, but you would be wrong. A few months after entering Santa Rosa, Zerbe was dead of respiratory failure, liver failure, and pneumonia.

With four of Florida ports among the nation’s top 25 container ports and three among the top cruise ports in the world, Paul Anderson and Dominic M. Calabro note the economic vitality of Florida’s ports should be an important focus of our state leaders. Our ports are hubs of commerce and tourism that generate high-paying, sustainable jobs for Floridians while cementing our role and brand as the gateway for the Americas.

In the manner of Socrates, a wise man on campus recently posed the question: “What removes youth? Is it time? Or is it apathy and cynicism? Other?” The question caught the interest of Rich Sloane since, at age 72, he has yet to lose his youth. Implied in the question is the thinking that sooner or later everyone loses their youth. As George Gershwin wrote, “It ain’t necessarily so.”

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.

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