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–Located right in the middle of a neighborhood, The Open Awareness Buddhist Center has been open and aware for about 15 years.
-Run by Lama Karma Chotso, the center is located in a house in El Portal.
-For dozens of members, it is a place of real refuge.
-It is located right on the banks of The Little River.
-The center started in 1996, when it was located in a Hollywood bungalow.
-A patron gave the group money to purchase the property from a fellow member in 2003.
-According to Lama Chotso, there was some controversy at the time about having a Buddhist Songha in the middle of a residential street- but she was able to win over the neighbors.
-The center offers yoga sessions as well as other Buddhist related activities- including Sunday services.
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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.
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Climate change is real.
Most people in South Florida understand that things are changing in the local environment as the king tides seem to be getting worse, and as Hurricane Irma showed, we are at serious threat for more dangerous storm surge due to sea level rise.
Again, most people in this town believe that climate change is real.
Sadly, a glaring falsehood about what happens to certain Miami neighborhoods during king tides will only muddy the waters and give climate change deniers more ammunition in their fight to ignore reality.
Rolling Stone excerpted a few thousand word section of a freshly released book by one of its writers, Jeff Goodell.
The book, The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World seems like an interesting and important read.
Full disclosure: I have not had the chance to read it.
Goodell seems to be a top notch reporter who has spent a great deal of time on the ground researching the book.
But, how can he explain this, from the excerpt?:
“In Miami Beach, streets are being elevated and LEED-certified condo towers are rising, but in low-income neighborhoods like Miami Shores, you have to walk through shit-filled water every time a big tide arrives.”
A few points here.
One: to anyone who has even spent a few hours traveling around South Florida would realize, Miami Shores is not a “low-income neighborhood”.
VIDEO: storm surge caused by Hurricane Irma in Miami Shores:
Miami Shores is geographically close to some of the poorest areas of Miami-Dade County, but the village itself is considered a wealthy one.
Census data shows that the median value of owner-occupied housing units in Miami Shores is $397,800.
The county average?
When looking at various Census data points, Miami Shores (on a per capita basis) could be considered wealthier than Miami Beach.
Look at median household income.
Miami Shores- $97,500.
Miami Beach- $44,342.
Miami-Dade County- $43,129.
Sorry to be a stickler, but when dealing with such an important crisis, all the facts matter.
Now, on to the second and far more important point.
Just to recap:
“…in low-income neighborhoods like Miami Shores, you have to walk through shit-filled water every time a big tide arrives.”
That is just not true.
I grew up in Miami Shores and my family has lived in the community for nearly 40 years.
None of us have ever heard of raw sewage flooding the streets during king tides.
A king tide just happened last week.
There were no reports of “shit filled water” flooding the area.
This is not to say that Miami Shores doesn’t have a shit problem.
In the village council election that took place in April, candidate Eddie Lewis made the potential for climate change induced septic issues, a centerpiece of his campaign. (The point was largely ignored by local voters.)
But he wasn’t talking about it as a current issue.
Lewis was projecting into the future and arguing for a proactive solution to tackle climate change issues before they arise.
Miami Shores, like many old South Florida neighborhoods, doesn’t have a municipal sewer system for the over 3,000 homes in the community.
Instead, it relies on an expensive and fragile septic tank and drain field systems.
This can be extremely problematic if the ground around the tank becomes overly saturated with water.
As Quartz explained in a poop primer piece published prior to the pummeling from Hurricane Irma:
“Backed up toilets are also becoming a more common occurrence. The waste produced by about a third of the people going to the bathroom any given day in Florida (that includes tourists) goes into a septic tank. In order for a tank to do its job, there needs to be room for the liquid portion of the waste to slowly filter down into the ground. When groundwater levels go up, though, they push the waste back up, sometimes resulting in a poop flood.”
Again, Miami Shores probably does have a real long-term problem here.
Florida had a raw sewage crisis unfold after Hurricane Irma.
And the Biscayne Waterkeeper recently discovered a pipe in Biscayne Bay that is spewing raw sewage into the water at a potential rate of millions of gallons a day.
And its been spewing for over a year.
So we’ve got real problems down here man.
We know it.
If we don’t get the world to make serious changes, there is a good chance that the place that we love will become Atlantis.
But, that’s why we need to stick to facts and not get sucked into hyperbole.
I’m sure that Goodell just made a mistake, and we’ll give him the chance to clear it up.
But climate change deniers take every mistake and twist them to undermine the overall reality.
We can’t let that happen.
Otherwise, we’ll end up drowning in the shit.
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A college campus. The sound of gunfire. Screams. Bodies strewn about, covered in blood.
What has all too frequently come flashing across our Twitter streams and TV screens in this case is not another actual campus shooting, but a planned demonstration at the University of Texas, Austin.
This Saturday at noon local time, two gun rights groups, Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com plan to conduct a “crisis performance” after marching through Austin openly carrying loaded rifles and other weapons according to Matthew Short, a spokesman for the organizations.
Once near the university, “crisis actors” will use props made of cardboard and fake blood while the sound of gunfire rings out from bullhorns to perform a mock mass shooting incident, complete with pretend armed heroes who will apparently end the fake carnage with cardboard weapons of their own.
The groups intend to highlight their positions regarding “gun free zones”, like the UT Austin campus.
“Gun free zones are killing us,”A statement on the event’s Facebook page reads. “These target rich environments are letting our children be murdered by evil people. Now is the time to stand up, take a walk, and put pressure on politicians to ban Gun Free Zones.”
UT Austin is the site of two campus shootings, the Tower shooting in 1966, in which 14 people were killed and 32 wounded by student Charles Whitman. Whitman was killed by police, ending his siege.
In 1990, student Colton Tooley fired shots on campus from an AK-47, before ending his own life in the main library.
Initially, organizers endeavored to hold the event on campus, however this was met by threats of criminal charges by the Board of Regents. Organizers now intend to hold the event on a public right of way, using the university as a backdrop.
June 1, 2015 marked the passage of S.B. 11, the so called ‘campus carry law’, which Governor Greg Abbott signed in to law.
The law gives concealed carry permit holders legal authority to carry their weapons on campus beginning August 1, 2016.
In response to this, UT Texas has set up an advisory board, will hold two public forums and has also set up a survey to explore how the University intends to comply with the statute, while maintaining public safety.
Given the recent terror attack in San Bernardino and the shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, some feel that this event is in bad taste, and could be potentially dangerous.
Ralph Fisk, the CEO of Fisk Consultants in Hutto, TX, and a published Emergency Management professional with expertise in Active Shooters, Counter-Terrorism and Physical Security, has heard a great deal about this event from his local law enforcement and other campus contacts.
“I understand the right to exercise your first and second amendment rights, as in this case, however that planned demonstration in my opinion is over the top,” Fisk said. “Having a mock ‘active shooter’ incident is better saved for those that exercise these incidents in preparation for an actual attack. As an Open Carry Supporter, I feel this is not something that I personally could support.”
Joan Neuberger, a UT Austin Professor and advocate with the campus organization Gun Free UT, told the Statesman that staging, “a mass shooting during an anxious time for students – finals week – not only breaks rules but shows real disrespect for the feelings of students, faculty and staff who don’t want to have guns around them in the first place, but will be forced to put up with guns in public places in 2016.”
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By John Massey
Poland’s ruling party, the Law and Justice Party (PiS), has been the source of controversy in Poland and throughout Europe nearly since their arrival to power in October of 2015.
This has been driven by the party’s Euroskeptic agenda, questionable legislation, and generally hostile behavior. As a result, the strategic readiness of the entire Euro-Atlantic area is compromised due to growing fissures between European allies.
The Party’s platform in regards to Poland’s relations with other states emphasizes expansion and modernization of Poland’s military, as well as strong cooperation with the UN, NATO, and in particular the United States.
They are wary of integration with the EU than NATO, but not outright opposed like other European right-wing parties like UKIP in the United Kingdom. It should also be noted that PiS favors further centralization of Poland’s government, which is the source of PiS’s disruptive effect on alliance readiness and cohesion.
The troubles began in December, when PiS moved to replace 15 judges on the Constitutional Court, the primary check against the Parliament.
The troubles began in December, when PiS moved to replace 15 judges on the Constitutional Court, the primary check against the Parliament. This resulted in weeks of protest from concerned Poles.
Shortly after this affront to checks and balances, military police were dispatched to replace officials at a NATO Counterintelligence Center in Krakow.
This change of staff was not relayed to other members of the alliance, including Slovak officials charged with cooperatively coordinating the facility who chastised the move, though no changes were made to the Slovak staff.
On Jan. 7 of this year, President Andrzej Duda (who resigned from PiS after being elected last May to serve as an independent) signed into law new supreme powers for the Treasury Minister over appointments and firings from state media, as opposed to the previous system of contests hosted by the National Broadcast Council.
This was followed by further protests against the government, and the first of its kind investigation by the EU of PiS’s undemocratic legislation. In the most extreme circumstances this can lead to Poland having its voting rights in the EU Parliament suspended.
The Polish government has responded to this inquiry with aggression at the perceived source of this hostility (Germany) with attacks.
This includes drawing allusions to Nazi Germany in both print, depicting Chancellor Angela Merkel in the garb of Adolf Hitler, and a tough letter from Poland’s Justice Minister aimed at the German EU commissioner.
“You demanded that Poland be placed under supervision. Such words, spoken by a German politician, have the worst possible connotations for Poles,” Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said in a letter to the German EU commissioner Gunther Oettinger according to the Financial Times.
This verbal jab is in spite of relations being so warm in 2014 that Germany and Poland agreed to an exchange of commanders of battalions, a German commanding a Polish unit and vice versa, in order to better understand how their allies work.
The military exchange is set to occur in mid 2016. This kind of exchange is critical to belaying atrophy in a highly critical region of NATO’s frontier. If relations deteriorate to the point that this kind of mutually beneficial cooperation is cancelled, it would be a bad signal to Euro-Atlantic security.
These continued worrying actions in affairs, both foreign and domestic, will likely only further isolate Poland from its allies, which in turn damages the readiness of the entire alliance.
While these effects are likely short-term, and may be rectified due to the popular discontent of the Polish people, and pressure from the EU, serious disagreements are a real possibility. Allied states being unwilling to train together would present a much weaker deterrent to any hypothetical Russian adventures in the Baltic Region, due to the much weaker unit cohesion.
With NATO’s 2016 Warsaw Conference coming up, frosty relations may limit the effectiveness of any measures taken at the conference. This would be in stark contrast to the highly productive 2014 Wales Conference, which established the Very High Readiness Joint Taskforce (VJTF), a multinational brigade that can be deployed within 48 hours to respond to a crisis, preceding the full force of the 40,000 man NATO Response Force (NRF).
Thus, it is in the best interest of a party that claims to value Poland’s NATO membership to repair these ties, and perhaps reevaluate how much it values NATO’s deeply entwined sister organization, the EU.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
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