Today on Context Florida: UNC scandal, Koch brothers, Tom Slade and winter is coming

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Today on Context Florida:

The business of big-time college sports is a uniquely American nonsense, writes Martin Dyckman. Nowhere else are universities expected to entertain the public in such a fashion. There are problems, such as at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s oldest state school and one of its most venerable.

Stephen Goldman says that for most of four years, Gov. Rick Scott’s policies hurt teachers and public schools, the poor, the disabled, the undocumented — just about every group except business interests. His approval ratings were consistently in the tank. And yet, with the help of the powerful billionaire Koch brothers, he was elected with less than 50 percent of the vote.

On Nov. 4, Florida Republicans joined with their counterparts around the country to celebrate a number of big victories. But the next day, Bob Sparks notes a group of Republicans gathered in Orange Park to lament a tremendous loss – the passing of Thomas Howell Slade, Jr., the most consequential Chair of the Republican Party of Florida in its history.

Vu Tran’s favorite time of year is autumn, when the weather is perfect and she is reunited with one of my loves: pumpkin spice latte. For students, it is the calm before the storm, where in winter they must conquer one final hurdle: the final exam.

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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.