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Happy Birthday, America.

(Photo credit: Adam Fagen)

FloridaThinks Friday: “Wrong without consequences”

Today’s FloridaThinks.com features an article by Jon Mills, former dean of the University of Florida law school and author of “Privacy, The Lost Right,” looking at the consequences of technological changes in our media and information environment both to our privacy and to the quality of the information we receive.

The world had changed drastically since I represented the parents of the victims of the monstrous serial killer Danny Rolling to keep autopsy photos private. In 1991, there were no autopsy Websites. In 1991, those in the mainstream press said they would not publish the victims’ photos, and I believed them. Even then however, there was the fringe press that would have. Wisely, the judge in that case restricted publication of photos of these victims.

You don’t have to be a famous NASCAR driver like Dale Earnhardt for the new press to intrude. You can be an innocent victim or the family of an innocent victim. Today, if obtained, photos of the horrific crime scenes of the Danny Rolling victims would be on the Internet.

Please jump on over to FloridaThinks.com to read the whole article. Before you do, though, consider what Jon Mills says about the relevance of efforts like FloridaThinks.com to addressing the challenge our technological innovations have created:

There is a desperate need for credible, civil media – especially in the electronic media. That is why the advent of FloridaThinks.com is so important. In this new era, a publication that takes advantage of the access, speed and distribution capabilities of the new media and preserves a commitment to civility, accuracy and conscience is welcome and needed.

Just think, you can help by just taking the time to read the good work they do. That’s falling-off-a-log good citizenship.

Andrew Wilcox: Enough of the screaming and spinning.

Let me first say that I am Andrew Wilcox and I am a conservative. (Hello, Andrew.)

I read a book a few years ago about how Bill Clinton would go to meetings of people on the polar opposite ideological spectrum from him. These meetings many times lead to what Clinton called the “third-way.”

I took a page from that concept and decided to engage on Alan Colmes blog, to attempt a civil discourse. Within minutes of posting, I was berated while people made wild assumptions about every aspect of my thoughts.

President Obama, when asked if he watches the talk networks said something that I believe. Effectively, he stated that if Ann Coulter, Keith Olbermann, Hannity, etc. talk you know what they are going to say.

This has become an unfortunate part of the fabric of our conversations. News shows interrupt and scream. Guests armed with talking points don’t listen, they just recite. It has truly killed trust in civic dialogue.

People, especially our leaders, have to have the freedom to say what is on their minds, and be able to explain a nuanced perspective, without being called: Hitler, Socialist, racist, bigot, war criminal, homophobe, wacko, boogeyman, etc.

Instead, talk and listening is put through filters. Politicians do mental compromise arithmetic in nanoseconds after a question to determine a position that works. People hear something, and based on the source, go into protect or attack mode.

By starting this article saying that I am a conservative, there were some assumptions you made about me. Be honest. I actually consider myself what I call a Buffett Conservative (Jimmy not Warren). I am fiscally conservative, love free markets, but do believe in some regulation. Love the environment and seeing what is happening to the coast is heartbreaking.

On the Colmes blog, the topic was the oil spill in the Gulf. The conversation turned quickly to how criminal George Bush is. All of his cronies caused this. They expected me to blame President Obama and blasted me for 8 years of Bush, the last two of which were a Democratic Congress. Then came the tirades about squandering surpluses and wars. Again a Democratic president, but people forget a Republican Congress.

You simply can’t associate 100% accomplishments and/or blame to either party, but that is the line in the sand that has been drawn. Scream and spin. That goes for the Gulf spill, Katrina, wars, all the way down the line.

I find myself starting conversations with people ideologically different from me by making a statement and then hoping to facilitate conversation. “I don’t have all of the answers and neither do you, but would really love to learn your perspective. May not agree on everything, but the stuff that we can agree on, let’s solve something.”

Imagine if every big issue that needed to be addressed started like that.

Andrew is married and a father of two daughters. Owner of Wilcox and Hackett, LLC a legal recruiting and client development consulting firm. A conservative that enjoys healthy debate. Enjoys reading, writing, working out, sports, and bbq cooking.

Blueprint panel celebrates decade of change

Tallahassee Democrat: Thirteen passionate residents helped chip away at what they called a tunnel-vision approach that threatened to stall growth 10 years ago, especially when developers and environmentalists were at odds. They banded together and created the Economic Environmental Consensus Committee, which then sparked the intergovernmental agency now known as Blueprint 2000. Nearly 70 people attended the 10-year anniversary event Tuesday at St. John’s Episcopal Church. (more…)

We the Wiki sneak peak on Blueprint 2000

Tonight, The Village Square and the Tallahassee Democrat host Blueprint 2000: 10 years back, 10 years forward. (You can RSVP to attend until 1 PM today, after that… we’re ordering the pizza.)

Just for fun, we’re going to let you take a sneak peak at our We the Wiki today. We threw up a page on Blueprint 2000 which you can go to and edit (you must create an account to edit – you’ll receive an email to confirm your registration). Once registered, you can add information, relevant facts, challenges ahead, and you can even pen your very own op-ed.

The Wiki isn’t fully up and running. It’s missing a lot of the instructions that will come later. But we thought this was a good day to quietly let Tallahassee have a look.

Tuesday night: Blueprint 2000 10 year anniversary celebration

RSVP and get the 411 here.


“Being neutral isn’t good enough anymore. You have to pick sides.” — Glenn Beck this week

The Village Square & AmericaSpeaks at FSU this Saturday


Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives

As promised at last night’s dinner. It’s long but well worth the watch, so prop your feet up, grab a cold one and listen up (conservatives hang in, in the long run you’ll get where he’s going.)

Mary Ann Lindley: Moderating “the instant gratification of spouting off”

Just in case you missed it, in yesterday’s Tallahassee Democrat, Mary Ann Lindley wrote that ten Gannett papers will begin screening article comments on July 1. Dear God, thank you.

On the quality of the posted comments, Lindley says: “Today anger is ubiquitous. Like potatoes, angry talk is plentiful and cheap.”

I’ll say.

At the speed of light, the shock troops proved Mary Ann’s point not only directly underneath her editorial in their copious screeds about how this is censorship of political thought and Mary Ann is a commie, but in another article in the very same edition of the Democrat as they commented on a Father’s Day story about a dad who changed his life after his wife’s death to spend time with his twin boys.

I have long since learned to not read posts after articles that involve The Village Square (although it is sort of rich to see the rank incivility after an article on civil discourse). But this article is about a family possibly uninitiated to the comment pollution, who probably felt a bit of a wind in their sails from the wonderful Father’s Day piece only to then read tripe like this (screen names VERY intentionally left in, I only wish I could give you their real names):

tallyisracist: “This man did EXACTLY what he was suppose to do as a father, he brought them into the world and it is HIS responsibility to take care of them. He shouldn’t get any special thanks for doing the job of a parent. This is a NO BIG DEAL story. He had wealth that afforded him the ability to quit his job…YEAH GREAT SACRIFICE. He didn’t do anything GRAND, he did his job and people are praising him for it…PATHETIC.”

tallyisracist: “At least he doesn’t have five kids with five different mothers all on welfare and living in section 8 housing, and yet can still drive an Escalade with 22″ rims that cost a fortune. Now that’s pathetic.”

Stupido: “Another example of the sissyfication and feminization of the male gender in America. Men should go to work not stay at home and play house wife!”

Kabubba: “What is PATHETIC is praising a rich WHITE man for taking care of HIS children.”

THE_SPIDER: “I fell asleep reading this story, which is the typical ‘kitten up a tree’ news so often found in the Tallahassee Democrat. You should have stuck it in lifestyle on page three. YAWN!”

In addition to the family, I feel for the poor editors who are now signing on to deal with this crew 24/7 (think about if your job were actually reading this hoo-hah, you couldn’t pay me enough and they should feature you on “America’s Dirtiest Jobs”). And earth to foul posters: Do you think you’ve actually ever convinced anyone of the merits of your thinking? This is the best thing that could possibly happen to the political argument you think you’re making… now you either have to make it like a grown-up your shush up.

I believe your mothers would approve.

(Please meet our Priest and Nun duo in the photo above who administer our We the Wiki – which is coming soon – Rap on the Knuckles for similar bad behavior among blog posters and public officials alike.)

Happy Father’s Day!

(Photo credit.)

Check us out on the front page of today’s edition of FSU’s The Center

If you don’t subscribe to Florida State University’s Center for Leadership and Civic Education’s weekly newsletter, you really should. HERE’s the link. Interested in attending our event “Here I am Stuck in the Culture Wars with You”? Check out the details and buy tickets HERE.

Lord Save Us: We had a wonderful and very diverse crowd (and a packed house)

I couldn’t back up enough to photograph the whole crowd, but this is part of it: