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Today on Context Florida: Confederate flags, Keep Florida Healthy and balanced budgets

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Today on Context Florida:

Those who flaunt the Confederate flag insist that it symbolizes “heritage,” not hate. Call it what they will, says Martin Dyckman, but that heritage is a heritage of hate. Through all this ghastly history the Confederate battle flag served as a symbol of the lost “cause” that had led to it all, and, inescapably, of the hatred that has long outlasted the cause and still haunts this nation.

Gov. Rick Scott touted the 2015 state budget as the Keep Florida Working budget. While that remains to be seen, to Shannon Nickinson, one thing seems clear: It sure isn’t the Keep Florida Healthy budget. One of the casualties of Scott’s veto pen was the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, a nonprofit based in St. Petersburg that represents not-for-profit clinics that serve low-income, uninsured and underinsured Floridians. Giving people without health insurance a place to get health care besides the emergency room is a crucial social and economic development issue.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan talks of a disturbing new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warning that America’s growing debt could choke economic growth and lead to a death spiral from which there is no recovery. The CBO’s report, he says, should give new energy and urgency to the call for a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment.

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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.

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