Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Today on Context Florida: Death penalty inconsistency, David Jolly, drug abuse, campaign insanity and insurance fraud

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Today on Context Florida:

In a U.S. Supreme Court dissent last year, Martin Dyckman notes, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that it’s time to abolish capital punishment death penalty. The whole notion is riddled with too many inconsistencies for a civil society, Breyer said. At the time, only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed. Every year, about 1,000 people go to Florida prisons for various degrees of homicide. Last year, only nine of them went to death row.

U.S. Rep. David Jolly pulls back the curtains on what a politician is required to do in an average workday in Congress. You see, Jolly writes, Americans wonder why we haven’t defeated ISIS, secured our border, provided health care for veterans, or balanced our budget. Here’s why: Too many people in Washington are more focused on raising money than doing their job.

The prescription drug abuse problem has spread to nearly every corner of society in Florida, says Austin Curry. In 2014, 2,062 Floridians died from prescription drug overdose—a 7.6 percent increase from 2013. People who are victims of drug abuse cannot be categorized into a particular socio-economic class or region, but are found in every segment of the population. Recently, Curry says addiction rehabilitation treatment centers throughout South Florida have noticed a rise in the number of seniors being treated for opioid addiction. Our elected officials must take more action to address this horrible trend.

As America heads into the semi-home stretch of the presidential campaign, Bob Driver keeps waiting for someone to put forth these questions: Are people who want to occupy the White House mentally stable? Why would anyone in his or her right mind wish to spend four years in a war zone? Don’t these candidates read the newspapers or switch on their TV sets? What could possess someone to run for the U.S. presidency? One obvious answer for Driver is that most candidates know they won’t be elected. This removes them from the political bull’s-eye, while still guaranteeing that their names will go into the history books. The grinding need to be famous is rooted deep in the bellies of most political aspirants, yea, even unto the level of city commissioner.

Jennifer West calls for the Florida Legislature to keep consumer protection from automotive fraud by not removing the requirement that certain cars be inspected before they are insured. About one in nine used cars has some sort of pre-existing condition. To safeguard consumers from these hidden risks, Florida law has required pre-insurance inspections of certain used cars since 1989. The law has proved to be an effective tool for law enforcement, which relies on it as a powerful weapon against fraud.

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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 [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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