Today on Context Florida: Two Americas, living wage, CIA torture and school choice

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Today on Context Florida:

The real legacy of Ferguson and Staten Island and Cleveland, says Shannon Nickinson, is that there are Two Americas we must somehow bind together. What we can change is how we respond, as individuals who together make up what we call society.

Megan Baker talks of a recent report from the Alliance for a Just Society called “Equity in the Balance,” which examined the percentage of women and people of color who do not earn a living wage. Staggering percentages of full-time workers are not making ends meet and cannot support a family. Women and people of color are concentrated in occupations with low earnings, such as retail clerks, cashiers, waiters and servers, housecleaners and childcare workers.

The latest fodder for American detractors is the sordid tale of CIA prisoner torture and secret U.S.-run prisons, says Marc Yacht.  Although there are defenders of such actions and a lot of hair-splitting as to whether one would call water-boarding or other heinous acts torture, such prisoner treatment goes against America’s fundamental human rights policies.  Yacht describes the CIA as an agency gone amok and given a green light from the highest levels of government.

If Florida lawmakers are such “school choice” advocates, Jac VerSteeg believes they should give public schools the same choices enjoyed by the private voucher schools. Voucher schools never were required to give students the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test or to administer the tests involved in Florida’s switch to a testing system based on Common Core State Standards.

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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.