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Tallahassee Democrat: Knight grants support local projects

From Thursday’s Tallahassee Democrat:

In the coming months The Village Square would like to go from getting people to eat their broccoli to eating double-fudge chocolate cake — at least metaphorically.

“The challenge is very often local issues are overlooked with the 24-hour cycle of news on national and state issues,” said Liz Joyner, Village Square executive director. “So asking people to come learn about local issue No. 177 is kind of like asking people to eat their broccoli.”

Read the whole article online HERE. (more…)

Redistricting hearings tomorrow

Redistricting Amendments for Monday January 9 Subcommittee Meetings

Maps, data and more regarding the amendments are accessible via the “Redistricting Bills” button at www.floridaredistricting.org or directly at http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Redistricting/Redistricting2012.aspx. Look under the “Pending Amendments” section.

To watch Monday’s meetings live, make sure to visit The Florida Channel at http://thefloridachannel.org/ on January 9.

What: Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee Meeting
Date: Monday, January 9, 2012
Time: 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. EDT
Location: 404 House Office Building, Tallahassee, FL

What: Senate Redistricting Subcommittee Meeting
Date: Monday, January 9, 2012
Time: 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Morris Hall (17 House Office Building), Tallahassee, FL

What: House Redistricting Subcommittee Meeting
Date: Monday, January 9, 2012
Time: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. EDT
Location: 404 House Office Building, Tallahassee, FL

Ed Morrison: Civility grows the economy

Read the whole article HERE. Here’s a snip:

“Incivility destroys a community’s capacity to generate wealth.

Here’s why.

In a networked, knowledge-driven economy, collaboration drives wealth creation. And collaboration can only thrive in a stable environment of trust. The corrosion of our civil society –– the alarming growth of incivility and pervasive lying –– undercuts our economy’s productivity and our capacity to innovate.

Incivility — fraudulent concealment (“hiding the ball”), lying, manipulation, and associated behaviors — can work well to redistribute wealth. We see almost endless examples from MF Global to the subprime mess. Yet, these behaviors do not generate wealth. Indeed, they erode capitalism’s capacity to generate wealth. That’s why corruption slows economic growth and why trust is associated with higher rates of economic growth.”

Thanks to Tony for the heads up on this great article.

WFSU video: 9/11, The Heart of America, The Shadow of the Middle East

Getting ready for our next big Dinner at the Square program, we’re betting many of you are feeling a new and deeper level of regret that you missed the last one? If so, this is your lucky day. We are deeply appreciative to WFSU and FSU’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights for videotaping our September 13th forum. Barry Richard’s keynote presentation “Security, Pseudo-patriotism and the Erosion of American Liberties” is an absolute must-see! Grab some munchies, kick your feet up and find the two part video online HERE. Stay tuned in coming days for video from other recent FSU CAHR programming. Support the good work done by WFSU in this community by making a donation online HERE.

New Years Resolutions for Journalism?

In the theme of our coming Dinner at the Square program Media Wars: The Future of How (and what) We Know, here’s what one journalist said when asked by Chris Matthews about his resolution for journalism:

“Invest in hard journalism. It takes a lot of money, it takes a lot of time but do the investment. And always understand that nothing in this business is worth anything without verifiability, accountability and accuracy. Those are old school values that never go away. – Major Garrett, National Journal

My state of mind will always be Purple.

There are some people who change your life forever from the minute they walk into it. Hard to believe it was just four years ago since it happened with the partners in Purple State of Mind, John Marks and Craig Detweiler.

Before the holidays, the Purple pair announced that they’re calling it a day for their Purple State of Mind website, being the busy guys that they are with many new things on the horizon.

In John’s Farewell to Arms he reflected:

Lacking in the appropriate humility, perhaps, we thought we might bring a tone of moderation, conviviality and openness to a dialogue with someone whose views of the world we did not share and by extension to the national discourse. It’s an open question whether we succeeded at the former. We failed with epic grandeur at the latter. Rhetoric that was mean-spirited and intolerant seven years ago has become embittered, ferocious and increasingly violent today.

John couldn’t be more correct in his assessment that despite efforts like Purple, the national dialogue has gotten worse. But I’d like to suggest to John that he’s looking around instead of down. Looking down shows an entirely different reality.

John and Craig, over these years, have traveled America planting little Purple seeds. Like they did in Tallahassee, they came in, made lifelong friends and changed hearts. They planted possibilities that in some cases – in our case – has grown to reality.

There are daunting, overwhelming forces that are creating the rancor our nation is currently laboring under. Here’s a partial list: The internet, search algorithms on the internet, email chain letters, the fiscal crisis, unemployment, highly targeted marketing techniques, demographic and sociological trends, 24-hour news, talk radio, and – the big elephant in the room – human nature.

The only way anything will ever change is that crazy people with big ideas about what can be different plant seeds.

In his goodbye post, John called The Village Square a “real world vision of where the Purple idea can go.” We humbly accept that less as a current reality and more as an aspiration for what we might become. “Purple State of Mind” is a category on our blog. There are five pages of Purple graphics in my WordPress image library. There are 2,258 hits when I search my computer for “Purple.” There are 34 pages of Google hits for a “Purple State of Mind” search.

Because of John and Craig, I will forever capitalize a color, I think that pretty much says it all about what it is they did in one little corner of this big angry world. (And they even did it with their shirts on, see below…)

Everything we ever do will be tinted Purple. And that is a start.

Don’t miss our February 7th program

We’ve got a great panel for our next Dinner at the Square “Media Wars: The Future of How (and what) We Know.” You should really check it out HERE. The program will sell out so why not just make your decision to attend now and save yourself the grief of fighting for the last few seats? (Saves you money too!)

Happy 2012: Here’s to it being an improvement?

Village Square homework: Watch Page One

With Media Wars: The Future of How (and what) We Know right around the corner on February 7th (check out our exception panel and buy your tickets before they’re gone), we can think of no better way to spend your early evening tonight than watching Page One: Inside the New York Times, on History Channel at 6 PM. You can read Jim Romenesko’s interview with the director of the film, but no matter what… watch it. This is important subject matter to our future, tune in. Got other things to do on New Year’s Eve (gasp)? You can stream the movie on Netflix.

Forum makes strides in bridging the chasm of ‘December Dilemma’

(Read at Tallahassee.com here OR listen to an audio recording of the program HERE.) It’s time once again to queue up the annual media spectacular known as “The War on Christmas.”

Americans don’t see eye-to-eye about the role of faith in public life and it’s that time of year when that disagreement reaches a dull roar, often so loud that you can barely make out the “peace on earth, goodwill to men” we might otherwise be sharing.

The Village Square has now officially waded into the treacherous waters where faith meets the public square with our monthly forum “Faith, Food, Friday.” Thankfully, we have the good help of local clergy we’re calling the “God Squad.” On Dec. 9, they facilitated a lunchtime conversation on the “December Dilemma” before a packed house at First Baptist Church.

Turns out the “Squad” thinks that if there is a war on Christmas, it might be a little close to home for comfort. (more…)

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah & Happy New Year!

(Photo credit: Cheryl Hicks.)

Welcome Florida Voices!

In case you missed it, Florida Voices – the state opinion page – has now launched. It’s the brainchild of former Tampa Tribune editorial page editor (and now Florida Voices editor) Rosemary Goudreau. Joined by fellow Tribune alum Rosemary Curtiss as publisher and a crack team of former newspaper people, they’re doing the important work of building a sustainable business model for getting us good information, a goal that is critical to the future of our state and nation. And, of course, we like their “Village Square-ish” approach of “seeking out differing perspectives with a watchful eye for common ground.” And we love their blue and red merging to purple logo. They seem to have the right idea.

In her first Florida Voices column, Florence Snyder thinks back on watching her parents critical involvement in building Florida’s modern state university system – “an ambitious idea brought to life by ambitious people.” Florence (who also writes for us, check out some of her work HERE) writes:

“Colorful expressions of strongly held beliefs did not frighten them. They relished debate, and so do I. As Florida Voices strives to add yeast to our 21st century public policy conversation, I’ll strive not to waste your time. You can argue with me. And I hope you will.”

We’re delighted to see Florida Voices jump in with this important contribution to our state, we wish them well, and we look forward to more of the rich, vibrant debate that is the foundation of a healthy democracy.

Riding tigers (and being eaten by them)

“I think – as President Kennedy pointed out – sometimes when you try to ride the tiger, you wind up inside of it. And you’ve seen this over the last couple of years: Any insult to Rush Limbaugh is greeted with an immediate apology from whatever offending Republican, no matter their rank or stature. When you have someone who yells “you lie” in the middle of the State of the Union, donations flood into the website. So there has been a reward system based on the intemperance of the rhetoric, not on the substance of the ideas, the strength of conservatism as the solution to the problems. So this carnival atmosphere, once started, it isn’t that easy to shut off. And we may be about to pay a high price for it.” – Steve Schmidt, Republican strategist on Morning Joe (Photo credit)