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Today on Context Florida: Healthcare vote, death penalty, breast cancer and depressing books

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Today on Context Florida:

Daniel Tilson calls for conservative Florida Republicans of good conscience to unite … in demanding local state representatives in the Florida House be given the opportunity to publicly vote Aye or Nay on a Senate plan to provide health insurance coverage to more than 800,000 uninsured Floridians stuck in the “Florida Coverage Gap.” They’ve got nothing to lose, Tilson adds, except maybe the spiritual burden they carry when condoning the tactics employed and damage done by House extremists who shut down the Florida Legislature early and forced the special session starting June 1.

Of all the differences between the major parties, Martin Dyckman says one is particularly confounding. Why should Republicans appear to be nearly twice as bloodthirsty as Democrats? According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, overall support for the death penalty has fallen to 56 percent, down six points since 2011 and by 22 since 1996 when 78 percent were in favor. But while the decline among Democrats has been dramatic, among Republicans it has been slight.

Catherine Durkin Robinson was told she has an elevated risk of breast cancer. This didn’t freak her out. Robinson has an elevated risk for lots of things — heart disease, macular degeneration, punching people. On the other hand, a genetic predisposition to breast cancer is not good news.

As a creative writing instructor who assigns a lot of reading, Laurie Uttich has at least a few introductory students each semester who complain about the material. It’s not that it’s too difficult or too dense. It’s that it’s too depressing. “Can’t we read something happy?” someone will invariably ask. And, invariably, Uttich will shake her head and respond, “Unfortunately, it’s just going to get worse.”

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

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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