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Today on Context Florida: Political elephants, MegaNanny Lottery and “Spotlight”

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Today on Context Florida:

Underneath the candidate smears that are so much a part of local and national politics, Marc Yacht says there are a number of critical issues that leave both Republicans and Democrats too far apart. Party posturing aside there is substance to both sides of each concern but an inability for friendly if not effective bipartisan discussion. The elephants in the room include the military, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and welfare. Money and debt drive the imbroglio and getting to “yes” could be described as “Mission Impossible.” Opponents are so far apart on the issues that they have been reduced to personal attacks and filling the airways with misinformation.

If Republicans Sen. Tom Lee of Brandon and Rep. Frank Artiles of Miami get their way, Jac VerSteeg believes the Florida Lottery’s newest scratch-off game could be called MegaNanny. The two lawmakers have proposed legislation that would force the lottery to reduce the number and price of popular scratch-off games. Scratch-off tickets, The Palm Beach Post reports, generated $3.7 billion last year, up from $3.4 billion the previous year. There’s outrage in some quarters, though, directed at the assertion the scratch-offs are too adept at emptying the pockets of poor people and are a scourge of low-income neighborhoods.

If you want to be simultaneously appalled and inspired, Tom O’Hara suggests you go see the movie “Spotlight.” It’s about the Boston Globe’s 2001-2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the Boston archdiocese’s decades-long cover-up of child sex abuse by its priests and brothers. The film is unusual because it portrays people doing actual journalism. There are no gaggles of goofballs with microphones shouting stupid questions in a hallway. “Spotlight,” the name of the newspaper’s investigative team, shows that quality journalism is usually the result of a dogged slog.

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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