Florida Gov. Rick Scott is apparently very thin skinned and unable to take public criticism well.
Scott, the governor of the nation’s third largest state spent actual money on a web video bashing Cara Jennings, a woman who screamed obscenities at him during an ill-fated trip to a Gainesville Starbucks earlier this week.
“You cut Medicaid so I couldn’t get Obamacare,” Jennings yelled at Scott in a video that quickly went viral. “You’re an asshole. You don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here.”
Now Jennings is not exactly a random person. She is a former city councilperson in Lake Worth and a longstanding activist who isn’t afraid to push the envelope.
But instead of just letting go of the awkward encounter, Gov. Man-Child decided to bring out the knives to hack at Jennings in a web video.
And it is rather incredible.
“You may have seen this video of a terribly rude woman at a coffee shop cursing and screaming at Governor Scott,” a smarmy voice over guy says at the start of the video.
For the next minute, the video tries to discredit Jennings as a “anarchist” who refused to recite the pledge of allegiance.
Seriously. He couldn’t have spent time doing anything else?
Anyway, all we could hope for is that Donald Trump will just double down and pick Scott as his running mate. They would spend half of the campaign sending out Tweets and Facebook videos attacking random people they meet at Starbucks.
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: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
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Spinks Megginson has a rare mix of entrepreneurial spirit and love of weather. He also really can’t stand that weather app you have in your pocket right now and has little patience for national weather sources.
He has a bit of a radical idea- that people want to get good weather information and a sense of community while receiving it.
He launched RedZone Weather, a hyperlocal weather and information brand in early 2015. It has quickly grown into a sustainable business by serving the communities that dot Southwest Alabama and Northwest Florida. But he has dreams for bigger things as well.
Here’s 10 questions with Spinks Megginson:
1) RISE NEWS- Where did your whole fascination with weather come from?
Spinks Megginson: I’ve wanted to study weather and teach others about meteorology for as long as I can remember, and that’s no exaggeration. I am incredibly thankful for my family and their support even when I was quite young. I can remember when I was 3 or 4, they would ask me to point to the “red spot” on the television screen. That’s one of the reasons why my company is RedZone Weather.
Also when I was super young, I was learning states and geography by putting glass stick-on puzzles together on the back door. They bought me maps, atlases, and books.
We also went through Hurricane Opal in 1995 as a family, and that was a defining experience. Nine years later, I had a Gateway (remember that?) desktop computer and I was able to track Hurricane Ivan as a seventh grader.
I think there’s a natural interest there and there always has been. That, in combination with my family fostering the development of an interest, has been a real blessing.
2) RISE- How did that development continue when you got to high school? Did you ever express your weather love in class?
Spinks Megginson: I can see #weatherlove trending!
I worked at WEBJ Radio in my hometown of Brewton, Alabama during high school. This allowed me to learn quite a bit not only about communication during severe weather events, but also about announcing news, daily weather, and sports. I also became a student member of the National Weather Association. That gave me some insight into the weather enterprise through their publications.
I didn’t ever really express how much I enjoyed meteorology to others in class during high school, but it definitely was a known fact that I was interested in the subject. People would often ask me about weather, even then.
3) RISE- What about your college experience? How did it help you on your path?
Spinks Megginson: College was an integral part of my growth, both personally and professionally. In addition to learning a tremendous amount about the broadcast communication industry, I connected with many different people across the nation. I am thrilled to maintain these connections even now, more than two years after graduating from The University of Alabama.
My professors at UA were truly spectacular. Dr. Chandra Clark and Dr. Jason Senkbeil are the two professors that really stand out. I learned a vast amount of knowledge and acquired “real world” experience just by taking their classes. Dr. Clark is a former television producer, while Dr. Senkbeil is a former television meteorologist.
I think the specific opportunity that helped me most was being able to work on staff at WVUA23-TV during and after college. It was an honor to be one of the only weather interns to ever be offered a job at WVUA. The staff at WVUA, particularly Chief Meteorologist Richard Scott, involved me in daily operations and also in multiple severe weather events. That enabled me to learn so much more than being in a class ever could. I also worked with WVUA-FM, furthering my radio résumé.
4) RISE- How long have you been thinking about something like RedZone Weather then? Because it seems like you had other career options coming out of school.
Spinks Megginson: It’s true that I’ve had several job offers to do TV weather, right after college and as recently as a few weeks ago. I’m grateful to have those opportunities and I’ll certainly consider each opportunity I’m given. I consider it an honor to even have the chance to work with some of the great people in television in Alabama and beyond. I still occasionally do fill-in work on the evening newscasts at WVUA. I like to “keep my feet wet” in the TV world. Moreover, I like to be reminded of just how wonderful my current schedule is outside of television.
RedZone Weather is a bit of a culmination of my life experiences and a grandiose opportunity that I couldn’t ignore. I’ve been thinking about the concept for years, and that’s not an exaggeration. No “old media (for now, anyway).” Simply “new media.” That’s the goal. Meet people where they are already. People aren’t watching 10 o’clock newscasts. For many reasons, but that’s a discussion for another day. People ARE, however, increasingly on their smartphones and tablets all the time. The initial thought was to build a company around that. My time at UA helped me form the initial thought process on how to successfully do something like this. Ten months after graduating college, I started the company.
I didn’t, and still don’t, have all the answers. It’s a day-by-day learning experience. I’m having a blast though. I’ve done so many presentations about RedZone over the past few weeks and months that I can’t even tell you how many people I’ve met. That’s been a highlight. It’s truly a wonderful company with hopefully a bright, sunny future.
5) RISE- What has been the hardest part of starting your own media business?
Spinks Megginson: I’m the “everything” for this company. That means I’m the weather guy, sometimes the producer, director, janitor, PR man, IT coordinator, CEO, editor, “you name it, I do it” individual. That fact has its perks at times, but overall, I wish there were more people involved. It’s a fine balance though because I’m not interested in having a massive company right now, either.
Bruce Thompson has been with me since the start… I told him about what I wanted to see with RedZone, and he helped me set up the company as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Bruce also has been active on severe weather days with the company. He and Leigh Margaret Bostic, who is one of my best friends, have been phenomenal at producing on-screen content during the severe weather events of the past few months. I’m thrilled to not only call both of them friends, but also have them involved in RedZone Group, LLC.
It’s certainly difficult being a “one man band” at times, but so far, thankfully it hasn’t been an insurmountable challenge.
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6) RISE- So you’ve been active with it for over a year now and things have seemed to go well. Have you been happy with the response from the community?
Spinks Megginson: For me to simply answer yes would be an understatement. I’ve had so many people from around the region rally around what I’m doing. I think it’s obvious, based on the comments that are publicly accessible on Facebook and Twitter and based on the large number of positive comments people have said to me in person, that this service is truly beneficial for our community and our region.
RedZone Weather is one of those things that people didn’t realize they needed until it benefited them directly. Like on February 15 and 23rd, when two EF3 tornadoes moved across our region. It’s a hyperlocal weather service designed with rural communities first in mind. This isn’t about putting profits at the forefront, like most radio and television stations have to do. This is about helping people. Communicating urgent weather information that has the potential to save a life. Being present in the community across the region and actually caring that people know what to do during severe weather. That’s what it’s about.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I don’t know who said that quote, and evidently the Internet doesn’t either based on my Google search, but it’s exactly what I want RedZone to be about. So far, I think we’re doing alright with that.
WATCH: RedZone Weather report on the start of Hurricane Season.
7) RISE- How do you compete with the notion that some people have that apps do a fine job of giving local weather information?
Spinks Megginson: Great question. Why should weather guys like me still be a part of a person’s life on a regular basis when he or she could easily look at the free iPhone weather app that comes preloaded on every device?
That means I’m competing with the app in almost everyone’s pocket. Android has a weather app. I assume Windows/Blackberry phones do too. I assume even most feature/flip phones have some type of weather access. That’s a pretty daunting challenge.
The difference with what I’m doing versus the apps is huge.
What most people don’t realize is nearly every weather app (including the iPhone weather app, by the way) is a view of raw model output statistics. No specific model is always right. Not one. They all have individual flaws. I take a blend of individual models AND incorporate what I know about specific recurring model errors. Models can’t do that. I can. TV weather guys can. I then apply corrections and refinements and produce a forecast.
Don’t even get me started about how many times I’ve seen the stock iPhone weather app be dead wrong. I can communicate “a line of storms will move through around 6AM Tuesday, followed by cooler temperatures and clearing skies.” The iPhone app displays nothing but a lightning icon for days in advance. The same holds true for many other apps. This isn’t a far-fetched example… It happened recently!
The media for how we communicate weather information is changing — and always will be changing. What doesn’t change is the need for people to communicate weather patterns. Weather-related models, computers, and apps are getting better. Slowly, but surely. I’m convinced that there won’t be any time in our lifetimes, no matter if you’re 4 years old or 84, that we don’t need people to communicate weather info, especially in the high-risk, panic-prone moments of a tornado or a hurricane.
8) RISE- So in a way, you are trying to push back a bit against the blandness of automated information sources like apps and broad ones like the Weather Channel?
Spinks Megginson: I view the network you mentioned and others like it as entertainment/broad information sources. Certain large weather vendors seem to have lost the local connection and the targeted focus of their past. There are a few large weather vendors that do a nice job, but that’s also a discussion for another day.
9) RISE- Right now you are entirely focused on a specific geographic area (Southwest Alabama and Northwest Florida). How do you keep up with everything happening in your region?
Spinks Megginson: It’s impossible to keep up with a massive number of events. I do try to keep up with as many events as I can. People seem to really like the hyperlocal forecasting for specific events, so I try to incorporate as much of that as feasibly possible.
Some events are regularly scheduled, like high school and college football games. I had many encouraging comments about providing specific forecasts for those last year, and I would imagine we will do some of those again.
I’ve had requests to do forecasts for other sports and miscellaneous events. There’s a balance, though, of keeping things generalized to cater to a wide audience from across our ten county dedicated coverage area as well.
10) RISE- Where is RedZone Weather going? What do you think the future of it will be?
Spinks Megginson: I have somewhat of a grand vision for RedZone Group, LLC. I think the next step is continuing the daily grind of building the company. What does that look like? I think visiting and being a part of our local communities — and not just my hometown. I think the exposure and brand recognition in my hometown (where RedZone started) has been fantastic. I am SO appreciative to everyone who supports us in Brewton, Alabama. I think there’s more to it than strictly Brewton, however.
Presentations, lectures, helping people with weather radios, seeking opportunities to help communities around the region and around the state.
This next step isn’t as “sexy” as other things we do. It’s not necessarily “in the spotlight” for everyone to see, but I think it’s a necessary step. Getting to know people takes time and letting them know how much you care takes time.
I can’t imagine ever retiring from something like this (says the 24 year old who probably doesn’t realize what he’s actually saying). I’m having a blast. Another ill-defined quote that I love… “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
I truly love what I do. It’s sometimes not the most agreeable or pleasant job, but it’s always worth it. What an honor it is to be able to talk with people about something that affects literally ALL of our lives. 100% of us are directly and indirectly affected by… Weather.
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: Spinks Megginson.Post Views: 1,674
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By Abel Iraola
While Miamians continue to be kept in the dark about David Beckham’s upcoming Major League Soccer club, a local team in the second-tier is hitting the ground running.
The Miami Football Club Miami FC was announced in May, already making strides to begin playing next April. The ownership group, led by legendary Italian defender Paolo Maldini and sports media rights mogul Riccardo Silva, have made major moves to ensure success for the new club.
Last week, Miami FC announced the hiring of Alessandro Nesta as the club’s first head coach. Nesta, a renowned Italian defender like Maldini, made his name as a key player for Serie A giants Lazio and Milan before heading to Montreal for MLS. They also hired Cesar Velasco to manage the team. Velasco comes with extensive experience in sports management, serving as director of communications, marketing and community relations for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Toronto FC and most recently, FC Dallas.
On Wednesday afternoon, Velasco held a Q&A on the club’s Facebook page to address supporters directly for the first time.
Although no major announcements came from the event, the general manager hinted that the new organization is aiming to make an impact in the often sports-averse Miami scene. The club hopes to avoid some of the pitfalls of running a second-tier club in a country not yet used to following teams below the major leagues.
Issues that have troubled other teams, including broadcast rights, stadium deals and player quality and development, were addressed during the hour-long question session.
Velasco said that that the club is currently in talks with broadcasters. The “goal is to have all Miami FC matches available for our fans,” Velasco said. It is still unknown where the club will play, but they are in negotiations and expect to make an announcement in four to six weeks. FIU Stadium has been rumored to be the preferred site, and it was confirmed on Wednesday that it is among the locations currently under consideration.
Looking ahead to on-the-pitch decisions, Velasco deferred to Nesta when questioned about the expected style of play, paraphrasing the coach’s recent response to a similar question, which indicated that he prefers an attacking style, however: “As an ex defender he will make sure he will have a strong defense,” Velasco said.
The club is looking at players both at home and abroad, and plans to make its first announcements within the next few weeks. They will also hold tryouts for local footballers in November.
Maldini, Silva and Velasco are intent on not only creating a successful club, but promoting the sport of soccer in South Florida.
Velasco said that a player development system is “a key objective.” However, he did not indicate whether that means they would follow an academy model.
Asked about Beckham’s MLS side, Velasco reiterated Miami FC’s support for Maldini’s former teammate.
“We support the project of the Beckham United Group to bring a team to Miami,” Velasco said. “This is great for soccer and all fans in South Florida.”
The front office remain confident that the club will succeed, drawing fans in Miami and across South Florida by building a championship-winning team. They plan to go full-strength into the NASL season as well as the U.S. Open Cup, the country’s domestic cup competition that spans all levels of American soccer.
“We believe in Miami and we believe in Miami soccer fans. We are building a club for Miami fans to call their own and be an active part of, hence ‘one club one voice’. We are working hard to build a championship caliber team for our city.”
The NASL’s spring season begins in April 2016.
Cover Photo Credit: miamifc.comPost Views: 1,060
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By John Massey
The highlight of the party’s platform is the desire to hold a referendum on Hong Kong’s autonomy prior to 2047. It is a revolutionary desire in the eyes of the Chinese government and many pro Chinese political figures in Hong Kong.
When RISE NEWS learned about the creation of Demosistō, we reached out to them in order to share their story.
After all, they are some of the most politically influential millennials that the world has seen.
She is also a second year student at Hong Kong Baptist University, studying politics.
Chow first became involved in Hong Kong politics in 2012, after being exposed to Scholarism via Facebook.
The group was founded in opposition to the highly controversial Moral and National Education Curriculum, which was claimed by opponents to be pro Communist Party of China (CPC) brainwashing.
One of the more compelling pieces of evidence to this claim is one of the key seven priorities of the curriculum being “National Identity“, which is to say an identity indistinct from that of mainland China.
Scholarism, and its allied groups were ultimately successful in defeating the Moral and National Education Curriculum, but also in demonstrating that a grassroots movement of millennials in Hong Kong can make political change.
However, Scholarism’s next big outing, as well as other liberal organizations, proved even larger than the opposition to the Moral and National Education Curriculum.
The Umbrella Movement was a mass protest spanning several months in Hong Kong. Thousands of protesters gathered in opposition to constitutional reform imposed by the National People’s Congress (NPCSC). These reforms give a nominating committee, with purportedly strong ties to the CPC, the authority to pre-select a handful of candidates prior to a territory wide election.
The “suffrage” presented by Beijing outraged a tremendous number of Hong Kongers, and in particular, large swaths of young people, many of whom were in secondary school.
In particular the student group Scholarism was the centerpiece of what little international media attention was put on the Umbrella Movement. It was largely out of the ranks of Scholarism that Demosistō emerged.
However, size of opposition did not prove decisive in the Umbrella Movement, as the ultimate objective of the protesters was thwarted.
When asked if the three month event was a failure, Chow told RISE in a Skype interview;
“in terms of political goals, i think it was a failure, but it also had lots of influence on people’s minds.”
Indeed, there is something to be said of the conditions being created in which a handful of university students can exercise a considerable degree of influence in politics.
To those familiar with the Occupy Movement in the United States, the idea of using the political capital gained through the Umbrella Movement to work within a broken system may seem strange or counter intuitive.
“It is difficult to fight some things through the Parliament, or through the Legislative Council, and while I can understand these kinds of feelings, because in our legislative council now half of our council is not democratically elected, because of the Functional Constituency,” Chow said. “I still believe we can enter the Legislative Council, we can do something… because our aim is to not just work within the Council.
“Through the election we want to promote our ideas to more people. What we have to do is connect the Legislative Council and the Civil Society outside.”
The intentions of Demosistō and other liberal actors within Hong Kong has not gone unnoticed.
Earlier this year, Chow brought attention to the abduction of a man selling books that criticized the Communist party, or were otherwise banned in Mainland China.
Chow has also had the shadow of the CPC come upon her as well.
Limits on withdrawals were placed on her bank account which was intended to be used to accept donations on behalf of Demosistō, as they have thus far been unable to register as a company.
This has resulted in Demosistō relying on crowdfunding via Paypal.
We are currently experiencing sudden issues concerning Agnes Chow's bank account. Latest updates at: https://t.co/AvtNfQV80u
— Demosistō 香港眾志 (@demosisto) April 11, 2016
Chow was more concerned with Demosistō’s hurdles in registering as a company. Bernie Sanders wouldn’t like this very much.
” In Hong Kong we do not have the legislation for political parties,” Chow said. “They all have to register as a company instead.”
These financial problems likely do not improve Demosistō’s opinion of the Hong Kong establishment.
” Of course the government and the companies will not support us, because we are opposing the government, and the business sectors are also always standing on the government’s side,” Chow said. “They have to cooperate with the Chinese side.”
Demosistō then will be relying on their proven ability to utilize grassroots tactics to gain wins in the Legislative Council, especially students, but not exclusively.
“We have involved a professor teaching in one of the arts schools… We believe that the new political party, because it’s not a student’ s organization anymore, and it’s important for us to involve more people from the older generations.”
She also notes that for future plans, the party will:
“Try to recruit them [volunteers], through our website, and different forums, and public locations we will try to send our message to Hong Kong People, and hope that they can join us later on.”
Spreading the message of a referendum on Hong Kong’s self determination by 2047, the year the Sino-British Joint Declaration expires, is the clear center piece of Demosistō’s platform, but is far from the only position taken.
Scholarism was deemed ill fitting for elevation to Demosistō’s status as a political party in part due to a lack of political cohesion, according to Chow.
Demosistō heavily invests in individualist language to describe their proposed policies, broken down into the ” Four Selves” :Self Initiating, Self Standing, Self Autonomy, and finally Self Determination. These are intended as steps over a ten year period.
” Self Determination does not mean dissolution of the Social Problems in Hong Kong”
” Even after self determination we still have lots of: education problems, housing problems, property hegemony, etc,” Chow said. “We still have a lot of problems to solve before the self determination of Hong Kong. Resources such as food and water heavily rely on the supply of the mainland China. No matter if it was an independent country or a city under a country, it has to have self sufficiency.”
Not only does Demosistō insist on self sufficiency for the city of Hong Kong, but also an advancement of Hong Kong’s unique identity.
” It is also important to build up the identity of Hong Kong People, so we propose a Hong Kong History subject be implemented,” Chow said in the interview. “Hong Kong people do not really know much about Hong Kong history; in our education system there are only World History and Chinese History.”
This idea of an independent Hong Kong identity seems pivotal in the dispute between Hong Kong and Beijing. As previously noted, establishing a national identity was one of the objectives of the Moral and National Education Curriculum.
Beijing specifically does not want there to be any distinction between China and Hong Kong, and may be trying to begin laying the groundwork for 2047, and end this “salutary neglect” like relationship.
Chow concluded our chat by telling us about her vision of Hong Kong’s identity, saying;
“For me, the identity of Hong Kong people, or the characteristic of Hong Kong, is diversity. We have lots of different kinds of people, who believe in different core values, who came from different countries, who are different races, etc. It’s very important to emphasize the diversity, and not to exclude the others who disagree with us.”
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: Agnes Chow Ting/ FacebookPost Views: 887
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