Today on Context Florida: Torture, John McCain, Jon Steverson and criminal justice disruption

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Today on Context Florida:

Ban them all, says Adam Weinstein. We should never again allow a livelihood in media or government or think tanking for any politician, any general, and any pundit who ever argued that the United States of America needs to torture captives in order to keep its citizenry safe.

What the U.S. Senate select committee’s controversial report accomplished, writes Martin Dyckman, was the conclusion that agency officials deceived the Bush administration and Congress into believing that the practices were successful. On that crucial point, U.S. Sen. John McCain said, “I suspect the objection of those same officials to the release of this report is really focused on that disclosure, torture’s ineffectiveness, because we gave up much in the expectation that torture would make us safer. Too much.”

Jon Steverson, Gov. Rick Scott’s choice as Department of Environmental Protection secretary, has been an outspoken director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District during his brief tenure there. Bruce Ritchie says it is uncertain whether he will impress environmentalists with his passion and results at DEP.

Gregory Newburn, Florida Project Director for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, says the criminal justice system is ripe for “disruption,” the process whereby some new technology or innovation “disrupts” a long-standing industry and its attendant regulatory environment, threatening market incumbents. At first glance, criminal justice policy might seem an odd fit for disruption, but when one looks at the principle that underlies disruption, similarities between education, transportation, and criminal sentencing become clear.

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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.