What’s News In This Story?
–Cafe Rosa Luna in Delray Beach has faced criticism after one of its owners refused service to a family of a type 1 diabetic woman who tried to bring in her service dog.
-Upon refusing service, the owner said that while he wouldn’t allow their trained service dog inside, he would allow it if it was working with a blind person.
-That has set off a debate about the future of service animals and whether more rules are needed to prevent these type of incidents.
-The family at the center of the viral video have called for a national registry to help standardize the service dog industry.
—Here’s another cool story: —
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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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I am a defender of you and your trashy ways most of the time. But sometimes you folks just suck.
This is one of those sucky times.
Enter this snarky headline: Hillary Clinton Offers Student Debt Deferral to Those Who Need it Most: Startup-Launching Americans
Gawker seems to find fault in a new policy proposal rolled out by Hillary Clinton to give start-up founders and entrepreneurs a leg up by offering them three years of student debt deferral while they work to build their businesses.
Their article offers little in the way of substance other than just hating on start up culture and making fun of failed companies.
The plan by the Democratic frontrunner also calls for the same deferrals to apply to the first 10 to 20 employees at a start-up company.
As the Clinton campaign notes, many young people want to be entrepreneurs: “more than half of America’s millennials say they want to start a business—but barriers like student debt and a lack of access to credit are holding young people back.”
The government should do everything it can to encourage small business development and to help young people get the space to build great things. The economy is rapidly shifting and the jobs of tomorrow will be created by the young minds of today.
Gone are the days of straight line career paths and ladders that go only up.
Clinton’s plan is a good one for a number of reasons.
First, it recognizes that the economy is changing faster than we can even imagine and creates a real solution to a problem facing many young entrepreneurs.
Secondly, it seeks to level the playing field for the heavily white, male dominated start up culture (that is largely centered around one geographic location in California).
From the Clinton plan: “Additionally, for young innovators who decide to launch either new businesses that operate in distressed communities, or social enterprises that provide measurable social impact and benefit, she will offer forgiveness of up to $17,500 of their student loans after five years.”
As a young start up founder with a whole bunch of student loans, I totally understand why this is important.
Would it really do the economy a long term benefit for all young people with an entrepreneurial sense to be forced to work for companies that may not exist in five years just because of the burden of their student loans? How does that really do anything to help?
The reality is that many young people out of college are basically free of most costs.
They can afford to live very cheaply, typically have few real responsibilities (like children or a mortgage, for example) and are therefore perfectly positioned to take risks.
Those risks can help diversity the economy and move the country forward.
I’m not a defender of traditional start up culture but Clinton’s plan will actually help diversity what that culture is like in America by allowing more people to participate in it.
It will act as both an economic and social policy.
Of course, the way Gawker looks at things, you would think Clinton is trying to put a foosball table in every home.
From Gawker: “Student debt forgiveness is an essential piece of the puzzle for getting Americans who dropped out after watching The Social Network sophomore year back on their feet, and Clinton should be applauded for embracing it.”
Frankly it is much less risky starting your own business than drawing a paycheck from such a risky endeavor such as Gawker.
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.Post Views: 275
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What’s New With This Story:
-Miami entrepreneur Taylor Cohen invented a new food product that is spreading fast throughout the Magic City.
-The product is a lentil based alternative to tofu called Adashah.
-Cohen and her brother Brandon started a business around the product in 2015. They now make over 600 pounds of it a week and distribute to over 15 South Florida restaurants.
-della test kitchen in Wynwood swears by the product, and it is a huge hit with customers.
Taylor Cohen was just your typical food justice warrior and outdoor educator a few years back.
Nothing typical about her.
Now Cohen, a native of Surfside, has taken her passion for making change to the business world.
Along with her brother Brandon, Taylor is poised to change the way South Florida looks at meat alternatives.
Her product is called Adashah and it is a unique lentil based food that is most similar to tofu.
She invented the product in the years following her diagnosis of Colitis.
Doctors gave her a strict nutritional regime but few of those foods spoke to her.
“I started eating more of a plant-based diet and eliminating animal proteins from my diet,” Cohen told RISE NEWS. “I was focusing on the vegan meat alternatives that are on the market right now. But what I saw was that pretty much everything either had soy or gluten or I read the ingredients and they were full of chemicals that I didn’t understand.”
Cohen said that she wanted to create something similar to tofu in how it picks up flavors, but also something that would taste great on its own.
She seems to have made just that.
In just over two years, Cohen has scaled up to servicing over 15 restaurants from Boca Raton to Doral.
She said that she creates over 600 pounds of the stuff each week.
The product is a trade secret but Cohen said that it is 100 percent organic and preservative free.
Luis Garcia, the manager of della test kitchen in Wynwood loves Adashah.
He told RISE NEWS that his customers can’t get enough of the stuff and that he likes it much more than tofu.
To learn more about how to get Adashah, visit their website: https://adashah.com
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By Andrew Parks
Last December, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump called for a “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States while we figure out what the hell is going on.”
At the time, I considered that to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for Trump’s candidacy, metaphorically speaking. To me, it was the latest in a long string of outlandish, extreme, hateful statements made by that particular candidate, and I made my sentiments on the subject known publicly.
Since then, however, I’ve found myself asking that question repeatedly. Not with respect to terrorism or immigration, but rather, with respect to democracy in the United States. What the hell is going on with America’s voters?
I could go on here about the immense anger in the American electorate that seems to be playing itself out through our electoral process, or about the so-called “low information voters” that some academics and several prominent political pundits have spent the better part of eight years excoriating.
But to do so, in my opinion, would be to provide an analysis which lacks depth; if there’s one criticism I have of pundits, it’s that they tend to focus on what’s right in front of their face, and don’t spend much time digging into the underlying issues behind the latest political trends. Besides, plenty of elaboration has already been offered on that in various elements of the media, as is.
Instead, I think it would be better to focus on the endemic problem in American elections today: the loss of the vote’s value as a real expression of political principle to a significant portion of the American electorate.
In my opinion, this isn’t the result of the “dumbing down of America” or any such nebulous conceptual trend, as many pundits and talking heads would suggest. At least, it’s not that, exactly. Instead, I think this is the result of a special brand of apathy by which the average American voter has convinced himself that their vote just doesn’t matter.
Think about it. Surely, you’ve heard someone say that before. I’ve heard it multiple times, myself, from multiple people. And I’ve heard it more from members of my generation than members of others.
To a significant number of Americans, voting is no longer seen as a sacred right or even a civic duty.
It’s seen as a burden and a waste of time. And, as a result, many Americans do just enough to get by when selecting a candidate to vote for.
This is perhaps the biggest difference between modern times and years past with respect to American politics. There was once a time when Americans put serious effort into determining who to vote for – the traditional approach of researching issues, policy positions and records, and selecting a candidate based on some set of criteria.
To each of these voters, the exact criteria were often different – my father often talks about my paternal grandfather, a yellow dog, card-carrying-union-member Democrat from the era of a blue Texas, “voting his pocket-book,” or rather, for the candidate whose economic policies he felt would most benefit himself and his family, whereas my maternal grandmother, a lifelong Republican also from Texas, was always more concerned about electing men and women of strong moral character to office. But, nonetheless, both had a standardized approach that took into account discrete factors in an attempt to produce an objective result.
Those days are long gone.
In their place is an age in which many voters look for the candidate not that they can connect with intellectually or principally, but emotionally. Instead of the candidate that shares their views, they want the candidate that they can grab a beer with.
Instead of the candidate they believe is most qualified for the position, they want the candidate that they feel cares about them the most.
Instead of looking for even temperament in a candidate to take charge of the world’s most powerful military and second largest nuclear arsenal, much of the electorate looks for the candidate that shares a deeply seeded anger that has festered for years while the opposing party has controlled the White House.
Relatability has now replaced capability and suitability as the chief characteristic of electoral viability.
Peculiar though this new paradigm may be, it gives way to an even worse mindset among some younger voters, to many of whom the vote matters so little that even basic ethical constraints don’t apply.
Take, for example, student government elections at The University of Alabama, where I attended undergrad.
If you’re familiar with the politics of secret societies in the United States, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Machine, UA’s underground coalition of fraternities and sororities that has controlled student elections for just over a century, using the flagship university of the state of Alabama’s quaint student government framework as a springboard with which it propels its alumni into some of the state’s most powerful positions.
In the past, the Machine has done some incredibly insidious things. Members of the organization have burned crosses on campus in protest of the election of a black SGA president over the Machine-backed candidate, tapped another non-Machine presidential candidate’s phone lines, beaten up and stabbed non-Machine candidates and campaign staffers, broken into SGA offices in the middle of the night and defamed applications for appointed positions from black and non-Greek applicants with racial slurs and other injustices, stolen both banners supporting non-Machine candidates and stole thousands of copies of the school newspaper containing scathing exposés about the Machine, coerced fraternity and sorority members to vote a particular way through illicit means, and ordered members of Machine houses to boycott Tuscaloosa businesses owned and operated by the families of non-Machine candidates at threat of severe penalty.
As of late, the Machine’s chicanery has taken up a less violent, but no less insidious and certainly no less disappointing, theme.
After losing the SGA presidency in 2015, my senior year at Alabama, for the first time in three decades, the Machine went on a recruiting spree that would make the average SEC booster blush.
Throughout the school year, I’ve been kept apprised as numerous Greek houses that previously took strong stances against the Machine were lured down into “the basement,” as the Machine is often referred to due to its members’ subterranean choice of meeting place, by promises of rewards – date parties with the most prestigious fraternities for the sororities, appointments from within their membership to prominent SGA positions for fraternities, and full backing, with all of the Machine Greek votes that come with it, for individual members of non-Machine fraternities seeking elected office.
On the night of the 2016 elections held just last Tuesday, I received text messages from friends at Alabama about frat guys being promised a case of beer for every vote cast for the Machine nominee for the presidency, and screenshots from a conversation between a sorority executive officer and a rank and file member in which a free manicure was offered as an incentive for voting – all of which not only explicitly violates UA election rules, but is also patently unethical.
And yet, among the broad majority of my former peers at UA, this behavior is not only found palatable, but acceptable and even standard.
Imagine that for a minute. To some of the brightest millennials in the country – UA is one of the nation’s top 50 public universities and ranks among the best in the nation for national merit attendance – a vote isn’t the righteous expression of the voter’s political willpower as the American ethos might demand, but instead a commodity ready to be bartered for material gain as menial as beer and manicures.
Among the quite literally hundreds, if not thousands, of UA students who take that approach to selecting a candidate for whom to cast their vote, there isn’t so much as an afterthought about the moral or philosophical implications of such a decision.
A little alcohol and some fresh nail polish is all it takes to wash away any objections which might exist over voting for the candidates nominated by a racist, underground organization with a history of violence, corruption and intimidation spanning a century.
You might say to yourself that this is believable, or perhaps even to be expected, in a state like Alabama, where just last week a sitting United States Senator endorsed a presidential candidate on the same day that same presidential candidate tacitly accepted an endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan.
And you would have a point; if there’s any state where this kind of nefariousness is the norm, it would be Alabama. But consider this: The University of Alabama isn’t the only place where things like this are happening.
Just last month, a whistleblower at The University of Florida came forward in a tell-all video to discuss the System, an underground organization bent on student election domination at UF eerily similar to the Machine in both design and methodology.
And Yale, of course, is home to the infamous Skull & Bones.
Numerous other universities foster student governments dominated by their Greek systems, though, to be fair, with far less violence and blatantly corrupt activity.
Nonetheless, it seems the very kind of backroom dealings we so despise Washington for have their roots in America’s college campuses.
You might also say that student government elections are trivial things in and of themselves, and that it’s laughable to say that students should be expected to take them as seriously as “real” elections.
To that, I point out that student government and student elections are universally considered to be educational experiences for candidates, elected officials, appointees and voters alike by university administrations; indeed, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals explicitly held exactly that in reference to The University of Alabama’s Student Government Association in 1989.
Humans are creatures of habit, and voting patterns are at their core habits themselves. The habits these students form in college don’t simply end at the graduation stage. Indeed, Cleo Thomas, who became the first black SGA President at UA in 1976 and is one of only nine UA students to ever beat the Machine in a presidential bid, called campus politics at the Capstone “the training ground” for “how [elected officials] govern Alabama” in a 2015 interview.
Where politicians are concerned, Thomas’s words sum up the political history of Alabama over the last century; senior US Senator from Alabama Richard Shelby is a Machine alumnus, as are two of his predecessors in Alabama’s Senate delegation and a long list of Alabama governors and congressmen.
“What Starts Here Changes the World,” the motto of The University of Texas, could be adapted to fit The University of Alabama as, “What Starts Here Runs the State.”
But the “training ground” statement rings true for voters as well, and is demonstrated by another illustrative example from my time at UA. In 2013, amid an entirely separate segregation scandal in UA sororities, several hundred UA students filed to vote in local school board and city council elections, electing two former Machine-backed SGA presidents to the two separate governing bodies respectively, and ousting a highly respected school board incumbent in the process.
As though that action wasn’t audacious enough in itself, campus was soon inundated with reports that the students had not only illicitly registered to vote, but had been shuttled to the polling stations in limousines, and then taken to local bars to be served free alcohol after voting.
Just as they set aside any semblance of a moral compass to mindlessly vote for whomever they were instructed to in SGA elections, those students directly incurred in a local election to do the same in exchange for free drinks, taking the first step toward carrying the habit over into their adult lives.
The difference between student government and real government was, I suppose you could say, trivial, in their eyes.
If Donald Trump’s campaign is indicative of the state of democracy in modern day America, this is a sign of its future.
Democracy cannot continue to function in a society where America educates her best and brightest in a way that inherently objectifies and devalues it.
Mindless, coerced, bribed, group-think style voting is not what our Founding Fathers intended, nor is it what our brave men and women in uniform fought and died to protect.
This is the kind of democracy that lends itself to despotism and, eventually, societal ruin.
Ronald Reagan once famously said that freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction.
The same rings true for our system of government. The longer we allow our democracy to be turned into a reality TV show and our votes to be traded for alcohol and cosmetics, the shorter its lifespan will be.
In order to reverse this trend, it is incumbent upon you, the average American, whether you be a college student, a working adult or a retired senior citizen, to actively take responsibility for your vote.
Research the issues, discuss them civilly, but openly and vigorously, with trusted family and friends, teach your children to value their rights and to think independently, and most importantly, always take a strong, principled stance for ethics and integrity in the electoral process.
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 us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
Cover Photo Credit: Lillian Roth for SGA President/ FacebookPost Views: 661
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