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Fareed Zakaria nails the climate change, entitlement spending asteroid connection: They’re both about our preference for instant gratification.



Join us on Tuesday, January 14th for “FEARS: Where not everyone shares your pain” – get details and reserve your seat HERE.

Fareed Zakaria has an answer to the question of why, if the science is not really in dispute, it is so difficult for us to actually do something about it? It also explains why economic reforms are so hard to make. It’s because we don’t delay gratification well anymore…

“It wasn’t always thus. The great sociologist Daniel Bell once wrote that the best way to describe the Protestant ethic that produced capitalism and the industrial revolution and the Rise of the West was one phrase, two words – delayed gratification. But there are few Calvinists left today, and the spirit of our age might be better described with one word change – instant gratification.”



Rolling Stone on our climate change “asteroid” | Goodbye, Miami!



8622594370_3bddfefc36Join us on Tuesday, January 14th for our 2nd Dinner at the Square of our season “Asteroids Club” – the dinner is “FEARS: Where not everyone shares your pain” – get details and reserve your seat HERE. In the meantime, here’s a must-read on the impact of the climate change “asteroid” on our state.

“Even more than Silicon Valley, Miami embodies the central technological myth of our time – that nature can not only be tamed but made irrelevant. Miami was a mosquito-and-crocodile-filled swampland for thousands of years, virtually uninhabited until the late 1800s. Then developers arrived, canals were dug, swamps were drained, and a city emerged that was unlike any other place on the planet, an edge-of-the-world, air-conditioned dreamland of sunshine and beaches and drugs and money; Jan Nijman, the former director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Miami, called 20th-century Miami “a citadel of fantastical consumption.” Floods would come and go and hurricanes might blow through, but the city would survive, if only because no one could imagine a force more powerful than human ingenuity. That defiance of nature – the sense that the rules don’t apply here – gave the city its great energy. But it is also what will cause its demise…”

“Protecting the city, if it is possible, will require innovative solutions.” Those solutions are not likely to be forthcoming from the political realm. The statehouse in Tallahassee is a monument to climate-change denial. “You can’t even say the words ‘climate change’ on the House floor without being run out of the building,” says Gustafson.”

From Rolling Stone, July 2013 by Jeff Goodell (Photo credit.)



Adam Davidson @TED: Surprisingly we agree on entitlements and it’s a “solvable math problem”



We hope you’ll be joining us for the continuation of our “Asteroids Club” season? The dinner is Tuesday, January 14th “FEARS: Where not everyone shares your pain” – get details and reserve your seat HERE. It will be a conversation on entitlement spending and climate change like none other. In the meantime, here’s a video from Planet Money’s Adam Davidson that offers hope we can “deflect” the climate change asteroid.

Davidson: “a tiny tiny percentage of ancient economists and misrepresentative ideologues have captured the process… but they don’t represent what our views are.”



Press Release: Join the Gang at FEARS



VILLAGE SQUARE CONTINUES “THE ASTEROIDS CLUB” SEASON
Programs examine six American “asteroids” that threaten our future

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – January 7, 2014 – Imagine there is a giant asteroid heading to earth, expected to destroy life as we know it. We’d stop the incessant partisan bickering and do everything within our power to deflect the asteroid, right? Like in the movies?

During its 2013-14 Dinner at the Square season, The Village Square examines six American “asteroids” headed directly at us – each a problem that will only grow bigger and harder to “deflect” the longer we ignore it. Stuck inside our feuding partisan tribes, we’ve failed to find common cause against common threats – preferring instead to argue in the public debate about whose asteroid is real; all while the threats continue to build.

This year’s season of programming is a joint project of The Village Square and Dr. Jonathan Haidt of NYU’s Stern School of Business and author of “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.” The Village Square’s unique model of civic engagement continues to draw national attention, recently named by Senator Olympia Snowe as one of eight organizations in America seeking to grow political common ground (the only one hometown-based).

The second program of the season will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church downtown. “FEARS: Where not everyone shares your pain” will take a look at the liberal “asteroid” of climate change and the conservative “asteroid” of entitlement spending – both data-supported problems that one side of the political aisle warns has put future generations at serious risk and the other side simply fails to see.

Panelists include attorney Brian Armstrong of Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson and his good friend Dr. Ed Moore, President of Independent Colleges of Florida. We’ll be posing them the question: “What if manmade climate change is real and the social welfare state is doomed?” Two experts will assist them – Dr. Randy Holcombe, the Devoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University and Susan Glickman, the Florida Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

“The Asteroids Club” season will continue through the school year with other asteroids, including money in politics and moral behavior. Last fall the series examined rising economic inequality and family breakdown.

For more information, visit www.tothevillagesquare.org, call 590-6646 or email info@tothevillagesquare.org. To learn more about the Asteroids Club project go to www.asteroidsclub.org. A limited number of scholarship tickets are available through Friday, January 10th.

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Village Square Dinner at the Square video: Oh Florida! Capital of Weirdness





Faith, Food, Friday this Friday: Restorative Justice



fff-newsletterThis Friday January 10, FAITH, FOOD, FRIDAY, (“Improbable conversations for people of faith and no faith at all”) continues with “Restorative Justice: Rethinking the Role of Forgiveness.” The God Squad will host Andy and Kate Grosmaire, whose 19-year-old daughter Ann was killed by her boyfriend in 2010.  Joined by the Reverend Allison DeFoor, who had a critical role in the events that unfolded following Ann’s death, they will share their journey of loss and forgiveness and their struggle to define what justice is in the face of profound and unthinkable personal tragedy. Together, they will tell a story of two families seeking another way despite incredible obstacles – a story that takes them across the country, around the world and deep inside their hearts – to bring to fruition an idea unlikely to happen anywhere, much less in the panhandle of North Florida.   There are few stories like the one the Grosmaires will tell in the world today. Rev. Dave Killeen of St. John’s Episcopal Church will moderate the discussion.

To get more information or reserve your seat for this program click HERE. The program will be held at First Baptist Church (108 W. College Avenue) from noon to 1 pm with lunch available at 11:30, and is free and open to the public. RSVP by Tuesday for the early-bird lunch price of $8 ($10 after). Lunch is a Baked Potato Bar: Potatoes, Chili, Steamed Broccoli, Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms, Cheese Sauce, Butter, Sour Cream; along with Rolls and Dessert. Or, and you’re welcome to bring a bag brown lunch or not eat. For more information, email fff@tothevillagesquare.org or call 590-6646. You can see “Faith, Food, Friday” dates and topics for the entire season and even RSVP for any of this year’s programs online HERE.



Climate change asteroid: What if they are right?



asteroid smallJoin us on Tuesday, January 14th for “FEARS: Where not everyone shares your pain” – get details and reserve your seat HERE. In the meantime, a quote to ponder on climate change…

The latest research, including an assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, suggests that sea level could rise more than six feet by the end of the century. James Hansen, the godfather of global-warming science, has argued that it could increase as high as 16 feet by then – and Wanless believes that it could continue rising a foot each decade after that. “With six feet of sealevel rise, South Florida is toast,” says Tom Gustafson, a former Florida speaker of the House and a climate-change-policy advocate. Even if we cut carbon pollution overnight, it won’t save us. Ohio State glaciologist Jason Box has said he believes we already have 70 feet of sea-level rise baked into the system.

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From Rolling Stone, by Jeff Goodell



Faith, Food, Money? Faith and Capitalism



If you missed our last Faith, Food, Friday, “Faith & Capitalism ,” you can listen to the audio here.









The Crier: News from the Village Square



Click here to read the latest news.

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Here’s to a few more friendly shoulders in our future



Cheers to Lea Marshall, who sent this video along with this note: tis the season. may we all give others a chance to rest their heads (or even their thoughts that maybe aren’t the same as our thoughts) on us peacefully and gracefully…



CivilPolitics.org: Newt Gingrich praising Nelson Mandela



Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 8.52.04 PMWe’re delighted to be partnering with CivilPolitics.org in our California expansion project. They’ll be producing evaluative measures for us as we experiment with different structures and programs in new (and old) locations. We think they produce the most cogent academic view of our increasingly divisive civic environment – they also care about actually solving the problem. Today, they’ve written about how science says you transcend political division, using Newt Gingrich as an example. Who knew.



Florence Snyder: Raising a glass to Arthur England



England_ArthurArthur England was not a pretentious man. Unlike a lot of retired traffic magistrates, he did not want to be called “Judge” after he left the Florida Supreme Court in 1981. It was easy to forget that for all of his professional life, he really was the smartest guy in the room.

England, who died August 1, did much of the heavy legal lifting in the years when Florida was on the cutting edge of everything. Two memorial services, one at his synagogue in Miami and a second this week at the Florida Supreme Court, only begin to scratch the surface of England’s contributions to his state and to the many people who loved him.

Former Gov. Reubin Askew’s eyes sparkled with pride as he paid tribute to his old friend in the well of the courtroom where England had presided. Askew deserves and was happy to take most of the credit for the man who fathered Florida’s Corporate Income Tax Code, the 1973 Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and the Florida Administrative Procedures Act, as well as six children who share their dad’s commitment to education, to community service, and to the belief that in all endeavors of life, character counts.

At the time of his death, England was 80 going on 50. “Tethered to an oxygen machine,” his widow, Deborah Miller England told the Miami Herald, he fended off pulmonary fibrosis at the family home in Coral Gables and attended to his cases and clients until hours before he succumbed.

England served on the Court alongside his good friend, the late Alan Sundberg. To journalists of a certain age, England and Sundberg were Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, shooting holes in the arguments made by legions of old-school, low-tech lawyers who opposed cameras in the courtroom.

Former Florida State University and American Bar Association President Sandy D’Alemberte, who argued the cameras case on behalf of the Post-Newsweek television stations, credits England with designing a one year pilot project that paved the way to the landmark decision which made it possible for the public to see for themselves what was happening in their courtrooms.

At the Miami memorial service, and again in Tallahassee, D’Alemberte eulogized England as a lawyer and jurist who was always motivated to make the law accessible and understandable to everyone.

Court colleague and lifelong friend Eleanor Mitchell Hunter recalled his tireless efforts to modernize the administrative wheels of justice. “It was Arthur who bought the Court’s first computer,” Hunter said.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the pulpit at Temple Beth Am, and again at the Supreme Court, England’s children spoke of him in the present tense. They smiled and wrapped their arms around each other and delivered the kind of crisp, clear, final summation that England himself was known and admired for in his post-Court career as one of the nation’s premier appellate lawyers: “He’s brilliant, kind, loving, easygoing, and constantly makes us and others feel special and valued.”

For a moment, it was possible to imagine that this was a toast at a family birthday party, and any second now, England would raise a glass and respond.

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Florence Snyder is a corporate and First Amendment lawyer. Contact her at lawyerflo@gmail.com



Collaborative Leadership and Economic & Community Development, hosted by FSU FCRC Consensus Center



FCRC logos 2Join the FSU FCRC Consensus Center on Thursday December 5th from 3 to 4:30 pm (Sittig Hall, Kleman Plaza, 301 S. Bronough Street) for a free forum that is open to the public on collaboration, civility and leadership. The program will be led by Richard Walker, Senior Vice President/Regional Outreach, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and and Todd Greene, Community and Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Chairman Bernanke recently observed, “Industry mix, demographic makeup, and geographic location make less difference to success than the presence of a community leader and collaboration around a vision for the future.” Walker and Greene will share their insights on collaborative leadership from the Bank’s research and the “Working Cities Challenge” initiative in Massachusetts with an audience of scholars, students and professionals in Tallahassee. The event is part of the FSU FCRC Consensus Center’s initiative “Collaborative Leadership and Florida’s Civic Future” being developed with the FSU Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, Florida League of Cities, Florida Association of Counties, Leadership Florida, AARP Florida and the Village Square. For more info CLICK HERE (and page down for an RSVP link or CLICK HERE.)