What’s News In This Story?
–Eileen Higgins has a good chance to win an open seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission Tuesday.
–Higgins is a Democrat. If she wins the election, then Democrats would have 7 of the 13 seats on the Commission.
-Despite being technically non-partisan, the race has become politicized by both the local Democratic and Republican parties.
-Bruno Barreiro represented the 5th district (which stretches from Miami Beach to Little Havana and includes much of Downtown Miami) for 20 years. He was forced to step down in order to run for Congress due to a new state “resign to run” law.
-Barreiro’s wife, Zoraida is running to succeed him in the seat. She was born in Cuba and helps run her family’s home healthcare business in Miami.
-Higgins was born in Ohio and raised in New Mexico. She also spent time in Latin America running Peace Corps operations and in Washington, D.C. where she worked for the State Department. She now runs a marketing company.
-A white woman (hence the “la gringa” nickname) probably wouldn’t have stood a chance in this district in recent decades. But Higgins has run a smart campaign that has motivated Democrats to get off the sidelines and commit resources to getting her elected.
-Higgins also speaks close to fluent Spanish, which has helped her while campaigning in the nearly 63% Hispanic district.
-If Higgins can win, experts think that Democrats will copy her campaign and make other local races like the upcoming 2020 Mayor race a partisan affair.
***”Why Does Any Of This Matter?”***: Because local elections in Miami have historically been non-partisan and that is about to change, probably to the benefit of Democrats.
——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——
RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!
Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Do You Think?
About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
You Might also like
Cartoonist Dan Piraro looks up from his drawing monitor: “You mind if I keep working a little bit on the side here while we talk?”
Piraro is a busy man.
His one-panel comic series Bizarro is featured in more than 350 daily and Sunday newspapers, which requires him to churn out a hand-cramping seven cartoons a week.
He maintains a strict routine to keep up with this level of demand so he alternates his attention between his work station and his webcam where he chats with me via Skype.
Piraro is absolutely absorbed by his literal task at hand.
He responds to each of my questions with a laid-back gusto- not dissimilar to the feel of his daily strip, although there are some topics that get him going. Take the environment for example.
“Virtually all animals know not to shit where they sleep,” Piraro said. “They try to defecate as far away from where they live and raise their families. In a local sense we do that but in a larger sense we’re poisoning the one planet that’s inhabitable to us.”
That’s one of the few riffs Piraro goes on during our 28-minute conversation.
He is a man of passion when he feels drawn to a topic.
It was the way he was raised.
His parents were Kennedy Democrats.
Public service was a big deal in their home and they wanted their children, Dan and his sisters, to show the same sense of responsibility their beloved president had.
“I was raised to believe that certain things in life are more important than your job or social standing,” Piraro said. “We were sort of raised with that notion that it’s up to everyone to build and maintain a society worth living in.”
Piraro doesn’t hide his liberal political views in his strip but he said that he doesn’t consider himself much of a political cartoonist either.
He’s different. Hard to pin down. So is his work.
In the world of syndicated cartoons, there are humorous comic strips featuring cute kids or sarcastic animals and then there are political strips that maybe feature cute kids or sarcastic animals who have a bone to pick with a specific politician or political party.
Piraro tries to keep himself within the lines but sometimes his sensibilities get the best of him.
This happened in 2005 when he drew a panel relating to gay marriage and changed it due to concerns that it would not be received well.
Piraro said that sometimes he worries that his panel will be received differently to a general audience that he wants it to be.
“My editor will call me saying that a certain cartoon might upset people in more conservative markets,” Piraro said. “It could result in losing a newspaper client and getting my strip replaced with something that doesn’t make pointed political statements.”
Piraro will sometimes side with his editor.
It’s not worth losing a client over a panel he isn’t 100% invested in.
But most of the time, Piraro said that he will take the risk of getting his point across.
Public service, remember?
“I’m not a balls-to-the-walls political activist but with my strip I have a growing audience and a sense of obligation to address some issues that seemed to me to be social injustices that could be repaired with changes in attitude,” Piraro said.
Despite the reluctance of syndicated strips to go political, Piraro says there’s one figure everyone’s making an exception for.
“When I started doing cartoons on Donald Trump I expected a similar response as to when I was doing George W. Bush cartoons,” Piraro said. “Lose a paper here or there but nothing happened. They didn’t mind I was taking these pot shots at Trump even though I’m technically not allowed to delve into politics.”
Readers don’t seem to mind either.
Dan claims his readership has actually gone up since Trump took office but he’s not allowing for “anti-president” material to dominate his strip any time soon.
He limits himself to one Trump cartoon for every seven panels he produces.
For now, Bizarro is more focused on the patented absurdism that makes it unlike anything else in the funnies.
Whether it’s a crossdresser lamenting the pointlessness of cross dressing in the Middle East or God creating mankind when he was piss drunk over a wild weekend, Bizaroo is the product of Dan Piraro’s hypernormal imagination.
It’s not die-hard political satire but it’s not exactly a cat who for some reason enjoys lasagna.
“My cartoons are an artistic representation of the way I think and imagine things,” Piraro said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m not a millionaire.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.Post Views: 346
What Do You Think?
By Matthew Alvarez
A couple of years ago you would of thought that the possibility of colonizing another planet was pure science-fiction, and you would equally think anybody wanting to attempt it was just crazy.
Like so many other scientific fantasies before it, that possibility is no longer a possibility, but an actual goal that is being made possible through the fact that we’re on the verge of a complete transformation of the space flight industry.
This revolution is being led by SpaceX, who are in turn led by the same guy that is trying to save our planet down here through Tesla, Elon Musk (here is a link to my article on that subject).
The world may seem like it’s plagued by enough problems to have to worry about another space race across our solar system, and ironically enough, that’s the exact reason why SpaceX wants to get us all the way to our red neighbor.
Prior to starting SpaceX, Musk had different aspirations, wanting to use current in-market rockets to start a Martian bio-experiment with plants.
After several visits to Moscow and with various rocket companies, Musk felt that the price to launch things into Space was too expensive, so he decided he would instead start a rocket launching company from scratch.
He read and memorized everything he could on the subject matter and recruited rocket specialists to start re-envisioning what a rocket is.
Most rockets in use today are based off of cold-war era technology, or worse, were built during the cold-war era.
Like this? You can write for us too!
To revolutionize space travel, SpaceX needed to make more efficient rockets to reach their first goal: Launch a rocket successfully into orbit at efficiently lower costs. After 3 failed attempts and on the verge of bankruptcy, on September 28, 2008, SpaceX would finally launch their first rocket model, Falcon 1, successfully into orbit, and land a 1.6 billion dollar contract with NASA.
Today SpaceX uses the Falcon 9, the name coming from their signature merlin engines, in which Falcon 9 has nine of. It’s one of the most advanced rocket systems on the planet, and is joined by the development of their dragon spacecraft and Falcon Heavy rocket system.
With the Falcon 9, SpaceX would become the first private company to dock with the International Space Station, send a satellite into orbit, and recover a launched space flight vehicle.
Space X has come a long way, but it’s most important accomplishments to date have only recently happened, creating new optimism across the entire scientific community.
Their current goal is to master re-using first stage rockets, which means getting launched rockets in orbit back to the ground in repairable condition, and favorably, in one piece.
Out of the last seven attempts, SpaceX has managed to successfully recover the Falcon 9 three times. After two failed landings on an autonomous barge in the ocean, history was made when Falcon9 landed back in Cape Canaveral, making SpaceX the first entity to land a rocket on the ground from orbit.
However, this was not SpaceX’s ultimate goal for reusability.
Ground landings cost more fuel, and often leave the rocket in worse condition than preferably landing in the ocean, which is more versatile but also more difficult. SpaceX would finally accomplish an ocean landing on April 8, 2016, and once again on May 6, 2016, with more landings planned for most future launches.
The re-usability of rockets is the key to lowering the cost of spaceflight by a considerable factor, being that it costs approximately 60 million dollars to construct each Falcon 9.
It’s important to note that recovering the rockets are currently the secondary mission of any individual launch, the primary objective is delivering the rockets payload successfully. To date, the Falcon 9 has had 24 missions, 22 of which were successful, creating a very impressive track record.
Everything SpaceX is doing now is leading to a culmination that they hope will enable them to reach Mars in the future, their true long term focus.
But SpaceX wants to do a lot more than simply get to Mars, they want to colonize it. All of a sudden this goal turns from a scientific venture, into a political, social, and ethical soup of many variables. We’re talking about human beings permanently living on a different planet within our lifetime. That statement begs the question, why do it?
Why leave Earth to live on an un-inhabited planet that doesn’t naturally support life? The answer is both inspiring and disheartening, but holds merit. With the fear of global warming, active nuclear arsenals, and the possibility of natural world ending events that will eventually happen (whether it be in 10 years or 1000), Elon Musk believes we need to “back up” the human race.
If something should happen to our home planet, we’ll at least have people elsewhere, ready to continue our existence.
This may not make sense to everybody, it might sound like an impossibility, but it is a valid concern held by some of the top minds of the world.
The calculated time it would take to reach Mars with current technology is about 2 years, along with geographic and atmospheric problems such as the Martian air being unbreathable, an average temperature of -63 degrees Celsius (-81.4 degrees F), and gravity 38% of Earth’s.
As you might imagine, colonizing Mars won’t be easy, and will likely take decades to fully realize. At minimum however, the colonization of another planet will still be the biggest scientific event of the last century, and will pave the way for a space faring future. As of now, SpaceX wants to get to the red planet by earliest 2018.
Optimistically, both NASA and SpaceX also want to get humans to Mars sometime in the 2030’s, with SpaceX having plans to unveil the technology to do so by the end of this year.
SpaceX’s progress is incredible and very exciting to watch unfold, but they aren’t the only private company in the business of space travel.
Notably are the current space industry juggernauts, Lockheed and Boeing, along with the repeatedly delayed program of Virgin Galactic. Other come-ups include Orbital Sciences and Blue Origin, both of which have contracts with NASA.
In the coming years, we’re going to be seeing a lot more companies and governments take up the challenge of getting us back to space, and re-igniting the thrill of venturing off world that was lost decades ago.
It’s a safe and certainly exciting bet that SpaceX will be leading the way back into the final frontier, but the ripples of their (hopeful) success will be just as important if we want to become a multi-planetary species.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Bill Brooks/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 137
What Do You Think?
NASA suspended the upcoming launch of a new Mars lander that would probe the interior of the red planet after the agency and its partners were unable to repair a leak in the spacecraft’s seismometer. The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission was scheduled to launch in March 2016, but the… Read MorePost Views: 74
What Do You Think?