Month: July 2019

A disabled activist and consultant has attempted t

first_imgA disabled activist and consultant has attempted to explain the aggressive tactics he has used to attack the anti-cuts campaigners he blames for hijacking the disability agenda.Simon Stevens has talked in depth to Disability News Service about his frustration at what he sees as a left-wing takeover of the disability rights movement.He makes no apologies for his often controversial stance on many issues, because he says his views are “pure inclusionist”.He believes that cuts to social care have been exaggerated… that there is “reason to be optimistic” about the imminent closure of the Independent Living Fund… and that the widespread protests over the much-criticised work capability assessment (WCA) and the broader cuts agenda are wrong-headed and damaging to disabled people.Stevens knows that views like these – promoted heavily and often angrily on social media and through articles on the Huffington Post website – have made him many enemies among what he sees as “welfare-focused disabled activists”.But he argues that the focus on welfare reform government cuts to benefits, and the WCA has over-shadowed the fight for true inclusion.“I am a purist,” he says. “There are no ifs and buts with inclusion. That comes from the countless times in my life where I was destined to sit on a bean bag all day. My first school, at the age of three, back in the 1970s, was in a mental hospital.”Not only does he have no patience with the anti-cuts movement, he believes they – and many of the reports of their protests by Disability News Service (DNS) – have fundamentally damaged efforts to boost inclusion.Campaign slogans such as “Atos kills”, which targeted the company carrying out the WCA on behalf of the government – which has now withdrawn from the contract, to be replaced by the US company Maximus – “suggest that disabled people cannot and should not work”, and replicate deeply-held institutional prejudices.But more than that, he believes that, rather than supporting disabled people in their fight against oppression, these campaigns and reports actually fuel people’s mental distress.He does not accept the suggestion that the distress caused by Atos and its application of the WCA, and the harsh, tick-box nature of the assessment, came first, while the protests and anger came later.The grassroots organisation Black Triangle, for example, was founded by friends of the Scottish poet Paul Reekie after his suicide in 2010.His decision to kill himself was believed to have been driven partly by the decision to stop his incapacity benefit and housing benefit. Instead of a suicide note, two letters informing him of these decisions were laid out on a table.But even if this is so, Stevens says, “it does not give the protest group the right to angrily campaign for the exclusion of disabled people”.Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) was formed in response to the swingeing cuts announced by the coalition, at a march in Birmingham in October 2010.The announcement of the cuts came first – although Stevens insists they have yet to be felt by many disabled people – and then came the march, then the formation of DPAC, and then its campaigns.Stevens insists that these campaigns and others like them, such as the WOWcampaign, are arguing that many disabled people are incapable of work, when he believes that all disabled people are capable of making a meaningful contribution to society.He is partly driven, he says, by the number of disabled people with high support needs who he has seen written off by professionals.“If you think you can work, you will work, and for everyone you can show me in a specific situation who feels unable to work, I can show you someone able to work.“If people are politically educated to think they have a right not to work, or even be assessed, when their actions show otherwise, and this is endorsed by the ‘PC police’, what hope do we have of true inclusion?”Several days after Stevens’ face-to-face interview with DNS, and a subsequent lengthy email exchange, the website Benefits and Work published the results of a survey, which asked if there was a link between benefit sanctions and the deaths of claimants.The site also published about 100 detailed comments from survey respondents, which included extensive anecdotal evidence of the damage caused by the current benefits system.One respondent said: “I have been hospitalised due to the strain I was under when dealing with DWP I was without benefit for three months, when DWP lost my personal information twice.“I was blatantly lied to on the phone on four occasions I now live in fear of the DWP, and am almost sick when a letter from them comes through the door.”Another said: “My granddaughter was sanctioned for not attending the jobcentre after having a stroke the week before, she could not talk or move, the DWP were informed but still sanctioned her for not turning up.”A third respondent said: “I believe this government is trying to kill me and take my home. I’m a disabled insulin dependent diabetic and forced to go without meals in order to pay bedroom tax and council tax.“This time last year I was in credit with my landlord by over £600 but from 1/1/2015 I’m now in arrears. This government is inhuman!”Despite scores of similar comments, Stevens insists that often it is not the government’s benefit rules that are wrong or unfair, but how they are implemented, communicated or interpreted by “people who have incompatible expectations, or are in an emotional, fragile or hostile state of mind”.He said he was concerned that the media and activists take evidence like this “at face value” and “twist and shorten it” until it becomes “a shortened myth and then a fact that is unchallengeable”.Stevens added: “And this leads to my second concern, that this is read by people applying for WCA and makes them believe this test is wrong before they start, framing how they see things, making it worse, and potentially leading to suicidal feelings.“The leaders of protests groups have always used or abused people’s anger for their own agenda, rather than resolving people’s specific problems, because this is how collectivism works.”Stevens accepts that he occasionally makes mistakes. “I know I have made every mistake going,” he says, “and I am proud that I had the opportunity to make those mistakes, as opposed to basket-weaving in a Remploy factory as I was destined to do.”But he is unwilling to accept that he has made mistakes in his frequent aggressive outbursts on social media, particularly via Twitter, where he has frequently called opponents “murderers” and “terrorists”.“Twitter is who I am and what I believe,” he says. “I take full responsibility for who I am and what I say.”Many of his attacks have been targeted at DNS, and its reporting of the disabled people’s anti-cuts movement. He has accused DNS editor John Pring of being “paid to lie to disabled people in the hope they commit suicide”, and of a “neo-Nazi desire for disabled people to be murdered”.In response to comments like these, Pring asked him on Twitter whether his social media activism was being funded by a political party or any other organisation.“I am totally independent of anyone and I only get paid for the services I am paid to provide,” Stevens says. “Like many disabled people, the reality is I rely upon tax credits because many organisations expect me to work for free, and this is something I try to avoid.“It is very concerning to suggest my viewpoint that all sick and disabled people have the ability and potential to participate in society is so alien that it has to be paid for.“Disabled people are capable of their own viewpoint as individuals and not every activist has such an obvious political agenda as the anti-cuts activists seem to believe.”In the last few months, he has been angered by DNS efforts to force the Department for Work and Pensions to publish secret reviews carried out following the deaths of benefit claimants.These DNS articles push the idea, he says, that disabled people need “special treatment” and should not be encouraged to work.He believes that DNS wants to publish the reviews because it assumes that the Department for Work and Pensions is alone responsible – rather than any other agencies – for the deaths of people who have had their benefits removed, denied, or sanctioned*.He believes there is little point in DNS “claiming to pretend to believe in inclusion”, when such stories “promote disabled people as incapable of any meaningful existence and therefore being better off dead”.Reporting such deaths merely adds to the fear, anxiety and stress of people waiting to be assessed for their eligibility for benefits, he says.“When people read your articles, I worry that it makes them stressed, because it reads as though the government isn’t going to get your benefits right, so don’t even try.”He insists that there are many disabled people who share his views, but that there is “no point in us putting our heads above water, because we are just going to be shot down at the moment”.He adds: “What we see is outrage that disabled people are allowed to work. It is the public fear of including disabled people. Basically, people who believe in inclusion do not have a voice anymore.”He says: “The last five years have been diabolical for disabled people, because of the way the left wing has hijacked disability as a welfare issue.“It will be another five or 10 years before we can get inclusion back on the agenda in any meaningful way.”The anti-cuts movement shouts loudly about rights, he says, but forgets that disabled people also have responsibilities. And he argues that the campaigns around the WCA, and the unfairness of the test, even fuel the arguments of the assisted suicide lobby.“I do not like the assumption that it is OK to ‘socially warehouse’ disabled people, to stop them moving forward with their lives,” he says. “The desire not to reassess people, the failure to understand that we should all be moving forward in many ways, is a desire to exclude people, and exclusion makes debates about assisted suicide more possible.“?If people are automatically forever incapable of work, why bother with an education? How far back do you declare people unfit for society? At birth? In the womb?”?Stevens appears to stand almost alone among disabled activists – at least publicly – in insisting that the government’s cuts to social care are not as bad as they have often been described.He believes that moves towards telecare and other new technology are largely compensating for reductions in council funding, and that any cuts that have been made have been to the administrative “back rooms” of local authorities.“There are cuts, but they are not the major cuts there were in the 1990s,” he says. Where there are cuts, it is because some councils have failed to match the improvements made by those local authorities that have managed to cushion the impact of the loss in funding from central government.He also believes that there is no need – at least not yet – to be concerned about the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), another key campaign target of the anti-cuts movement, as many ILF-users with learning difficulties – the largest group of ILF recipients – will probably qualify instead for personal health budgets through the NHS.Despite being an ILF-user himself, he believes its success in delivering independent living has been exaggerated, and that it often benefits families more than ILF-users themselves.And when it comes to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, he again appears to stand almost alone among disabled activists. For some countries where basic needs are not met, it is relevant, he says, but not the UK.“My understanding is that this is one of the best countries to live in for attitudes, money, technology, and rights, if you are disabled. I am not saying it is perfect in this country, but we are now looking at putting the cream on the top.”Stevens is keen to clarify one fact about his CV that is often used by opponents to attack him. In August 2013, he wrote a blog for the DNS website, which was headlined ‘Why I chose to work with Atos.’In the blog, he describes meeting with Atos managers in a bid to secure paid consultancy work with the company on its new personal independence payment contract. “It is all about helping to make things better for disabled people,” he says in the blog, “whatever the supposed motives of the organisation.”He has repeatedly made it clear, he says, that he did not end up working with Atos, because “the lead fizzled out”.“They were thinking of asking me to help them write a report on how to use Twitter,” he adds.His hope, he says, is to become an adviser to the government, for the Department of Health or the Department for Work and Pensions. He has already been a member of the Department of Health’s personal assistance steering group.Although he has considered trying to become an MP, he has ruled that out. “It is impractical on many levels, because of my health, pain and energy, and my speech impairment. I also used to say that I never wanted to be hated by half the population, although I seem to already be in that position.”*DNS is happy to make it clear that it wants the reviews published for the sake of transparency, and to determine if the DWP – and any other agencies involved – have learned any lessons from the deaths of benefit claimants.last_img read more

A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… Disabled activists have delivered a generally positive response to fresh ideas on how to replace the hated fitness for work test with a new assessment framework that would restore “dignity and respect” to those unable to work full-time.The ideas were presented by disabled researcher and campaigner Catherine Hale at a meeting attended by Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell, shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood, and Marsha de Cordova, the party’s shadow minister for disabled people.Last month’s (pictured) was the second in an ongoing series of meetings – focused on the work capability assessment (WCA) – between senior figures in the party and some of the disabled activists who have played a key role in exposing the harm caused by the government’s social security cuts and reforms.Hale, lead researcher and project manager of the Chronic Illness Inclusion Project (CIIP), and a member of the Spartacus Network, presented some of the ideas she has been working on with fellow Spartacus and CIIP researcher Stef Benstead*.Hale (pictured, front left) fears that if disabled people do not come up with their own model to replace the hated WCA then something will be imposed on them.She said after the meeting: “If we have to have assessments, I’d rather we designed them and achieved a consensus among ourselves.“Some will say to hell with assessments, or just get doctors to sign us off as not fit for work, but I think both those positions are naive.”Any new assessment framework should have four key principles if it is to restore the human rights of disabled people, she says, in a blog subsequently posted on her website**, which was based on her presentation at the meeting.She says such a system should overturn the ideology behind the “hostile environment” created by the government’s social security reforms and restore “dignity and respect” to disabled people; it should change the relationship between work and health; it must empower disabled people; and it should provide an “adequate and secure” baseline standard of living.Hale says that Labour must now commit to removing the “adversarial stance running through all DWP’s assessment systems” which cast disabled people as “guilty until proven innocent”.A Labour government would also need to work to “bring about culture change” within DWP, and “eliminate conditionality and sanctions as a punitive tool for getting disabled people into work”.Compliance interviews, benefit fraud hotlines and “other instruments of intimidation and suspicion” must all be eliminated, she says, as must the outsourcing of assessments to private contractors.She also calls for a new “parity of esteem” between paid work and unpaid work such as caring, volunteering, peer support, and self-care, while she says the NHS should never view whether someone is in work as an indicator of health or recovery.The government should also bring in disabled people to develop new assessment criteria, which should test how disabled people are disadvantaged by both barriers in the labour market and their impairments, says Hale.Reaction from disabled activists to Hale’s presentation, most of who were at the meeting, has been generally positive, although neither Greenwood or de Cordova were able to comment this week.The WOWcampaign, which was represented at the meeting, said Hale’s presentation “was very much in line with the thinking of the WOWcampaign, especially in proposing the ending of the hostile environment (sanctions and conditionality) and stating that the purpose of any assessment must be to empower and enable disabled people”.But a WOW spokesman added: “As stated at the roundtable, WOWcampaign’s concern is that the focus is on the ability of the disabled person seeking work and not on the structural discrimination, prejudice and exclusion that has not only continued but increased in the workplace over the terms of the last two governments.“There is absolutely no point in disabled people going away and preparing for work if there is and will never be any appropriate work out there for them.”Disability Labour said it was “very impressed” by Hale’s presentation.Wayne Blackburn, co-chair of Disability Labour, who was present at the meeting, said: “We completely agree that disabled people should not be treated as guilty until proven innocent; our knowledge of our own conditions and how they affect us must be believed and respected.“There has to be a fundamental culture change within DWP; the negative attitudes and unconscious bias must end.”Fellow co-chair Fran Springfield, who also attended the meeting, said she supported Hale’s position that paid work was not the only route to social participation, was often not the most appropriate route for disabled people, and must never be damaging to health and wellbeing or used as an indicator of health or recovery.Springfield said: “Bringing back DWP assessments in-house, as a Labour government will do, is so important.“Disabled people should never be abused to provide shareholder profit.“I believe what is absolutely vital is integrating assessments of care and support needs into the assessment of work capability.“Supporting us with independent living would make a huge difference to those of us who are able to work or volunteer.”And she said that providing a secure baseline income was “an essential element of our human rights”, as was “understanding and accepting that some people will never be well enough or able to volunteer or work”.She and Blackburn said Disability Labour was working on how such ideas could be implemented and “look forward to being able to integrate that into the work that John McDonnell’s team is already doing”.Gail Ward, from Black Triangle, said Hale and Benstead had “put forward good arguments for replacement of the WCA”, although she said that Black Triangle had “grave reservations” about Benstead’s suggestion that occupational therapists should be closely involved in a new assessment process.John McArdle, also from Black Triangle, said Hale had “brought forward many excellent ideas”.He said that any incoming government would “have to go at least as far as the Scottish government and consult with disabled people themselves and not those who purport to represent them”.He added: “Paramount in that exercise would be to engage and consult widely with individual disabled people themselves in a sincere effort to discover what would constitute a new social security system worthy of calling itself one which places dignity and respect at the very heart of the system, while complying with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”Rick Burgess, of Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) and Recovery in the Bin, said it was “very early days” and the ideas should be seen as “exploring possibilities” rather than drafting plans for a new assessment process.He also stressed that there should be legislation to address the barriers faced by disabled people in the labour market, rather than attempting to address the discrimination they faced solely through social security reforms.He also said the ideological push to see work as a “cure” must not act as an excuse to reduce income or support provided by social security or the social care system. He said: “Catherine and Stef’s work is helpful to add to the all the ideas and ways of thinking we have to engage in.  “Overall, what I think is important is that Labour/a new government draws up social security reform in co-production with disabled people and service users primarily and not allow corporations, charities or the medical establishment to lead it.”Burgess said he believed disabled people should not look to replace only the WCA and benefits such as personal independence payment, but instead “replace the entire relationship between the state and disabled people which has been a hostile one for so long”. Bob Ellard, a member of the DPAC national steering group, was more critical.He said he did not agree with the principles of Hale’s paper because the ideas centred on the link between social security and work inequality, “and that link needs to be broken”.He said that a fair incapacity benefit system would have to remove that link and be based purely on need, with the government then tackling issues such as “workplace discrimination, access to transport, education and training and other issues that are barriers to disabled people gaining good quality work”.But he added: “In terms of short-term measures that Labour could take pending a redesign of social security there are some good things in there, but I don’t view it as a model for a long-term replacement.”*Benstead has previously produced a series of reports on replacing ESA for the thinktank Ekklesia**Comments on the ideas can be posted on her websitelast_img read more

The Death and Life of a San Francisco Homeless Encampment

first_img Tags: homeless • San Francisco Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Brenda Meskan, the director of the Mayor’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), said, however, that the outreach team does not tell anyone beforehand that they will be taken to the Navigation Center.“We do not like to ‘leave anyone behind,’ so [we] never know what encampment will be taken until we know how many we can bring in,” Meskan wrote in an email.She did not know why the Alameda Street encampment was taken down, but its size might have been a problem. The center can only hold 75 people at once, and usually groups of 6 to 12 move in at a time.Tents and TarpsHeavy-duty camping tents and rough blue tarps made up the encampment of 20 or so residents. And life there was a novelty for many. Patrolling police officers knew some residents by name and handed out dog treats to those with pets, residents said, and employees who parked nearby trusted them around their cars and dropped off “sodas and sandwiches.”“We see the same people on a regular basis. They’ll give us change or they’ll drop off food,” said Daly. “Over here, [the cops] are a lot nicer. These cops are I guess the ones that are told to deal with the homeless. They’re more geared towards helping us instead of giving us citations.”“The Mission seems to be where you could live, you know what I’m saying?” said 37-year-old Trevor Toms, who used a fake name and has been homeless for seven years. “Nobody will be chasing you, calling the police every five seconds. If you go anywhere else, they’re on you.”City officials confirm this squeezing of the homeless. Bevan Dufty, the mayor’s “homelessness czar,” told the Chronicle last month that people are getting pushed towards the Civic Center and SoMa, which the Alameda Street encampment bordered.The city’s biennial homeless count shows that the homeless count in District Six, which includes the Tenderloin and SoMa, has increased by 800 since 2013 despite the city-wide population staying steady at around 6,500 for the last decade.The northeastern corner of the Mission on the edge of SoMa has long been known for its encampments. Residents on Shotwell Street have complained of tents in the past, and a quick walk-through of the industrial corridor reveals small tent groupings in dozens of places.But encampments twenty tents strong are rare.“This is the first time I’ve ever set up a camp, because they’ve left us alone,” said Steve Smith, one of the residents who did not wish to use his real name. “[Before this] I packed up every single day at five o’clock in the morning, for four years or more. Five o’clock in the morning, packed all my shit. I’ve been setting up, having a home, for the first time.”And homes, though modest ones, are what they were. A chain-link fence behind the tents was decorated with toy dolls and mostly non-functional clocks, while worn-out pillows and milk crates made up seating areas for residents who grouped together.Debora “Champagne” Carr with her red-nosed pitbull Hazel. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.Having resources nearby helped. St. Martin’s around the corner offered food, showers, and an ability to charge phones and alarm clocks, while the U-Haul down the block allowed residents to use their bathroom and refill canteens.“If you look decent,” Lorrie Taylor, a 49-year-old resident, clarified.“It’s basically a subculture,” said 50-year-old Linda Plasse. “Instead of going to the store and paying money for what you need, we trade off what we have. If someone needs a blanket, we trade them a blanket for some food or some soap or water.”Friends visited friends on the block, Plasse added, which created solidarity.“As long as you don’t fuck with anything that belongs to [other residents] and respect the rules of their strip, you’re more than welcome to come and stay,” said Debora “Champagne” Carr, who was invited in by a friend. “But the minute you violate other people’s stuff, we’re going to stop [you]. You don’t have to lie or steal from us because if you ask it and we got it, more than likely we’re going to give it to you.”All of which grew the camp — and may have ensured its end.“Any day now [the police] could come and throw it all in the garbage truck and take it away,” Smith said, a few days before that happened. “Without warning. For no fucking reason at all. None. I did nothing wrong. And it doesn’t matter because every single thing I have here is garbage.”“It sucks like anything else”Being in an encampment is small consolation to most homeless people, however. And not everyone there saw the collection of tents as a community.“It sucks like anything else. I’m fucking homeless living on the street,” said Smith. “There’s no pleasure in this. Try it sometime, try it. Spend a week outside and tell me if one place is better than another.”“I don’t know half these people, I really could care less about them,” said 55-year-old Alton Predew, an Air Force veteran who came to San Francisco from Berlin after the wall fell in 1989. “I got my own things to deal with. When you go to sleep someone may steal your shit. It’s like a tweaker block, that’s what I call it, a tweaker block.”“Drugs are the issue, drugs are the big issue,” Trevor agreed. “We all do drugs out here. There’s not a motherfucker out here who don’t do no drugs. We do heroin or we do methamphetamine.”Most were open about the drug use – though they said not all are addicts – and there were more than a few syringe needles and glass pipes on the strip.“Your money goes to that,” Trevor continued, “and everything else falls in between. I’ll go try to get a bed for detox — there’s no detox beds available. Where do I go then? I’m turned out to the street.”Air Force veteran Alton Predew organizing his belongings. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.Hope for the Navigation CenterDrugs, however, is something the Navigation Center often deals with.Sam Dodge, deputy director for policy at the Mayor’s Office of Housing Opportunities, Partnerships, and Engagement (HOPE), said that though drug and drink are prohibited at the center, substance abuse does not result in removal.“We do everything we can to try to keep them and understand that as far as using substances on site, though it’s formally against the rules, we try to say ‘Next time this is going to be more of an issue,’” Dodge said.The leniency is a core aspect of the Navigation Center, which also admits couples and pets in an attempt to keep relationships intact, features that made some desperate to get in.“I’ve been jumping from encampment from encampment trying to get in,” Plasse, a resident of the Alameda Street encampment, said. “I want to get on [Social Security]. I can’t keep my appointments if I’m on the street. I’m 50 years old, I’ve had two strokes, I don’t want to be out here no more.”Meskan, the head of homeless outreach, said that anyone over the age of 18 who can take care of themselves is eligible for the Navigation Center. “All encampments are eligible for the Navigation Center. Unfortunately, due to [the] space issue, we cannot take [them all] into the Navigation Center,” she wrote in an e-mail.So far, the center – open since March of this year – has helped 95 formerly homeless residents either enter affordable housing or stay with family and friends; another 65 are currently being served. Data from the center, however, showed no pickups from the Alameda Street encampment.Post-EncampmentParked cars have reclaimed the former encampment space, and homeless people from surrounding blocks said some return at dark to set up tents for the night. But the daytime encampment is gone, though a few regulars were still in the area. Smith was on the block, collecting cans worth 5 or 10 cents each and pushing four or five can-filled bags in a shopping cart. He didn’t know where the other residents were.“I’m just glad they’re gone,” he said.Richard Blackie, another former resident, was also in the area, wandering underneath the 101 Highway in a tattered trench coat. Angrily weeping, he said that he needed “somebody to love,” because he had had “no mother, no father” in his life.“The only way I can deal with this,” he whimpered, referring to his homelessness, “is with this,” he said, a heroin syringe clutched in his hand. He trudged away sobbing and yelling, half a loaf of bread under one arm and a full plastic trash bag in the other. On the evening of Thursday, August 6, police officers and a Department of Public Works garbage truck dismantled and trashed a block-long homeless encampment that residents say had existed without problems for six months.  “Every single place I’ve been besides here I’ve been told to leave at least once or twice a week,” said Deanna Daly, a 30-year-old woman who has been homeless for a year and a half. “This is the only spot I’ve been in where we haven’t had to move in a few months.”Many residents of the camp, located on Alameda Street between Bryant and Potrero, were hopeful that they would be taken to the Navigation Center at 1950 Mission Street – a transition center that opened in March and connects the homeless to city services and permanent housing.In fact, the outreach team visited the encampment a week before it was taken down, residents said, leading many to believe they needed only stay in place a few more days before being housed.center_img 0%last_img read more

Health Food Coop Celebrates 40 Years in the Mission

first_img 0% Pioneering Health Foods in San FranciscoSeguin is one of Rainbow’s originals – her career spans the life of the store, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in August.  In celebration, the store put on a week-long party featuring samples, demos and tours.The employees’ knowledge about the products, she says, is key to the store’s longevity. “Education is part of our mission,” said Sequin. “We wanted to provide customers with an opportunity to learn about the foods they were eating and why it is important.”Becoming a Rainbow employee at age 21, Seguin has seen the health food store through two moves, expansions, and a major renovation last year. She remembers its very beginnings on 16th street near Valencia – that was back in 1975 when the neighborhood was a lot less “desirable.” “That part of the Mission wasn’t the greatest, it was pretty rundown,” said Seguin. “A lot of people couldn’t afford clean, healthy food, nutritious food.”Seguin said that the idea for an inexpensive natural food store come from an ashram and launched a “clean” food movement in San Francisco. In the early 70s, devotees of the guru Prem Rawat, or Maharaj Ji, organized around a bulk food buying program to meet the need for accessible, vegetarian food. They soon became part of a citywide network of community food stores. “The guru said to his followers to go start natural food stores,” she said. And they did, but Rainbow may be the only one still operating. “Rainbow started that platform for other companies and small business in San Francisco as a collectively run model that takes part in the community as much as possible,” said Esteban Garcia, who has been employed with the store for five years. “We try to buy as local as possible, as organic as possible, and we try to maintain good relation to buyers.”Esteban Garcia has been a worker-owner at Rainbow for five years. He said he wouldn’t trade the job for a management position elsewhere. Photo by Laura WaxmannA Collective EffortLike the rest of the roughly 250 employees at Rainbow, Seguin and Garcia are not just workers, but co-owners.”Instead of giving that control to one person, we decide collectively what we need to do and move forward,” said Seguin. As a worker owned and run food cooperative, Rainbow’s employees generally have to complete 1000 hours before receiving a share in the business. Garcia, who previously worked at other food markets including Whole Foods and Mollie Stone’s, said he wouldn’t trade the “collective-ownership at Rainbow for a management position at Whole Foods.”“You get more appreciation for your job, and you don’t dread coming to work,” said Garcia. “Since you are a business owner you want to make it thrive.”At the bulk section, Seguin is joined by Linda Trunzo, Rainbow’s board president – but that is just a “figure head” title that the co-op was forced to adopt because of their corporate structure. “It had to do with taxes,” said Trunzo, who has been in the collective for 31 years.While the collective model in which storewide decisions are made by way of a majority vote is effective and rewarding, it doesn’t come without challenges. Trunzo remembers when, a few years ago, a 20 percent off coupon deal had workers divided.“The deal brought in customers, but it was really tough on us. We were stocking and buying every second,” said Trunzo. “The vote to get rid of the coupons was split.”In the end, the majority vote decided by a hair to get rid of the coupons – a decision that turned out to be best for everyone, said Trunzo. Workers also were divided in 1983 when faced with an opportunity to move from its 2,000 square foot storefront on 16th street into a 9,000 square foot space at 15th and Mission streets.“The bigger you get, the more people get involved, and the longer it takes to get things done,” said Seguin. “Some wanted to the store to stay small and intimate.”In 1996, Rainbow relocated once more, this time to its current location on Folsom Street. Instead of renting, Rainbow bought its building, and it was the smartest decision the collective could have made.“We all understood that we needed to buy property to sustain the life of rainbow – without that, I don’t know if we could have survived with the way rents and evictions have gone up,” said Seguin.A mural painted by local artists decorates the inside wall of Rainbow Grocery, located at 1745 Folsom St. Photo by Laura WaxmannDespite Changes, Rainbow Continues to FlourishWhile the city around them is changing, Rainbow’s employees are holding steadfast to their morals and business model. The business gives back to the community, said Garcia, not just through donations to local schools and organizations, but by enlisting local vendors and offering fair, accessible prices and products. “We try to build relations with our vendors and farmers because it goes around in circles.  The more you keep your money local, the more it benefits your community,” said Garcia.The biggest change nowadays is that many of the co-operatives members can’t afford the city. “I don’t know what we can do for the city to get the people who actually work here, the workers who get real, healthy food to the community – to provide them with the opportunity to stay in that community,” said Trunzo.Rainbow’s celebration continues through Sunday, November 1, with giveaways, face painting, and other activities.  Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img As a week of celebrations – halloween, the coming of fall, and an anniversary – neared its end at Rainbow Grocery, Pat Seguin wandered the aisles that she has helped stock and supply for nearly four decades. The shelves of herbs and spices, fair trade coffee, and bulks of nuts and beans neatly stowed away in vitrines have customers spinning with options. Seguin says the offerings are a result of research and democracy.  Rainbow’s employees vet the products that make it to the shelves – an equation that has made the grocery store a haven for vegetarian and health conscious consumers who care about where their food comes from. “People know that they can trust us in the information that we are giving them because we stand behind the products we sell – clean and nutritious,” said Seguin. “If we find out that some products are not worthy, we take them off the shelves.Shoppers agree.  “It’s kind of a wonderland for me,” said Philip Patrick, a shopper who treks by bus from Glen Park for his Rainbow groceries at 1745 Folsom St. “They seem to have everything in the world here. I’m in awe everytime I come.” last_img read more

Good humor flows at Mission District family winery

first_imgHaving now established themselves in California, the Eristavis strive for “100 percent” wines – ones that are made completely from one type of grape, rather than blended. Victor experiments to see how much he can limit the addition of stabilizers, and how much he can vary the flavors of different wines.Clearly I was out of my depth. I am an enthusiastic consumer of, shall we say, affordable approximations of wine. All I can tell you is that this is not my regular fare but rather “the good stuff.” If that strikes you as a somewhat weak endorsement, I should also mention the 40 or so awards the Eristavis have won since they started up their California version of the family business in 2009.Inside the winery. Photo by Laura WenusBut there is no snobbery here, and my lack of expertise did not matter. Distinguishing tasting notes (while they are on the label) is not a prerequisite for coming here. The winemaker himself has run into an example of what excess taste-analysis can lead to.“I went to a few places a few years ago, and [one of the vintners] said, ‘Can you taste the caramel, the sponge cake?’ One after another, all of these desserts,” Victor Eristavi tells me. He didn’t know what the man was on about. So at his own winery, it’s not about coaching drinkers into identifying subtleties. It’s about chemistry and experimentation, old traditions, and new discoveries – and a family project. The winery at 1300 Potrero Ave., where the Eristavis set up shop about a year ago after about a year on Treasure Island, is no hobby. It’s open Thursday through Sunday to the general public, and special events can eat up after-work hours on every other day too. They all have jobs. – Lia is a graphic designer, Victor is a chemist and quality analyst at Genentech, and Nikolas is a marketer both by trade and at the family business. On a recent Thursday night, commuters rushed by while the Eristavi family extolled the Georgian food called khachapuri.“Georgians are really good at peasant food,” Nikolas says.“Peasant food? It has cheese! Cheese is expensive!” his father objects.Clearly, not every piece of cultural knowledge has made it to the younger generation – Nikolas is definitely an American, by his own admission, but says, “Deep inside me, there’s this very hairy and drunk Georgian that’s like, ‘You have to go back!’”I did learn about a few traditions, however.“Every dinner is structured. One person is running the entire table, the toast master, who leads the series of toasts,” he said. “One to the country, one to women, often the impact their mothers have had…The whole goal is to keep drinking.”Inside the winery. Photo by Laura WenusWith the exception of some of the grapes used for the wine, this is not necessarily a slice of wine country in San Francisco. It’s just what this family loves to do.“We get people from all around the Bay Area who tell us, ‘we were planning to go to Napa, but then we found you,’” Nikolas tells me.Part of the appeal is the laid-back attitude.“I really like the atmosphere,” said Kendra Guerrero, a work colleague of Nikolas and an occasional visitor to the winery on her way home who has dropped in for a glass of rosé. “Everyone has always been friendly. I’m not a huge wine drinker, so I like to have that casual atmosphere.”Jomar Monzon and Jamie Siochi, former roommates, were giving up beer for Lent – so they gave wine a shot. For $10 a tasting, or $8 -$12 a glass, they were impressed.“I love the unassuming restaurants and places like that. It’s kind of hidden,” noted Siochi. Once people find the winery, they like to stay.“When people are coming, we have no problem keeping them in. We have trouble to kick them out,” said Victor.“We’re all talkative people here,” Nikolas said. “Especially when we’re drinking, which is kind of inevitable.” Tags: Business • food • night life • things to do Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Behind a roll-up door on a squat industrial building on Potrero Street is a family winery. At once unorthodox and deeply traditional, family name on the sign is not French or Italian like wine aficionados might expect, but rather Georgian.The Erstavi Winery family has been making wine for some 400 years, according to Nikolas Eristavi, the son of winemaker Victor and labelmaker Lia Eristavi. The oldest relics of winemaking technology, he insists, were unearthed in Georgia. During Soviet rule, Georgia was the primary producer of wine. In fact it is a national passion. Victor told me about the Georgian dedication to winemaking and how the surrounding environment had distinguished the flavors of  two Zinfandels I was sampling. “I knew how to make wine from an early age,” he said. “Everyone, in all the universities, was participating in the harvests. It doesn’t matter what you did.”center_img 0%last_img read more

Help victims of domestic violence at the Operation Pretty Things OneGala

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Operation Pretty Things has a mission to love and empower women victimized by domestic violence. By coming alongside domestic violence shelters, the organization wants to help reintroduce survivors of domestic violence to the workplace and society.On Friday, October 6, you can help Operation Pretty Things raise money to help women at their 2nd Annual OneGala. This is a black tie event at the Coastline Convention Center in downtown Wilmington. The evening will include cocktail hour, catered food, live music, auctions and a presentation.- Advertisement – Tickets are $75/person and sponsorships start at $750. Click here to purchase tickets or get sponsor information.For more information on Operation Pretty Things, click here.last_img read more

North Topsail Beach likely wont reopen until at least Wednesday

first_img00:00 00:00 html5: Video file not found spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% Surf City will not resume dune restoration until November2:24Gov. Cooper tours Fair Bluff Fire Station, talks hurricane recovery0:55School supply giveaway aims to help those affected by Florence1:41Northside Pool repairs almost complete0:30Support the Port among winners of disaster recovery grant0:56Vet receives a free roof after losing one to Florence0:55HOPE NC INTERVIEW3:25Hampstead woman loses home in Florence, surprised with help 10 months later2:04Tropical Integrated Warning Team meeting helps agencies prepare during hurricane season1:56US 421 bridge work continues after Florence washout0:47Teens help those affected by Hurricane Florence, Matthew2:08Florence victims face 100-degree days in FEMA trailers1:04Volunteers desperately needed to assist with building efforts after Hurricane Florence3:39Hurricane shifts sand in coastal waters, could increase swimming threats2:13First responders join WARM in hurricane recovery efforts0:59Oak Island Pier set to reopen Wednesday0:25Oceanic Restaurant ready to dive in on Mother’s Day0:30Possible return date for Jervay community released2:18New Hanover Schools hourly employees won’t get paid for five days2:14Hurricane Recovery round table gives residents access to mroe help post-Florence2:10Brunswick Town Historic Site museum reopens Saturday1:00Wilmington man meets paramedics who saved his life hours before hurricane2:20Rep. David Rouzer talks Mueller report, storm recovery4:24Spruce up your yard at annual spring plant sale in Burgaw0:47RESIDE Disaster Relief Shelter holds rubbon cutting0:54Students say “Thank you” to first responders1:25AG sues Florida tree removal company for alleged price gouging in Wilmington2:14’Cross Creek Hero’ continues to lend a helping hand2:17USO shows appreciation to the coast guard, shutdown, hurricane0:52Proposed tax credit could assist repairs for historic homes in disaster zones2:04Two New Hanover schools to move into new buildings next month1:26NC students write book about experience with Hurricane Florence1:22Luncheon highlights ’growth and transformation’ in downtown Wilmington0:32Gov. Roy Cooper says downtown Wilmington ’revitalized’ after Florence2:02Community rolls together to get topsail beach skating rink back open after storm1:36Cape Fear Garden Club plants the seed for Airlie Gardens’ Florence recovery0:57Wilmington firefighters honored for rescue during Hurricane Florence1:50Rep. David Rouzer talks rebuilding damaged dike in Bladen County1:40Fix to Kelly dike system still in limbo following community conversation2:13Neighbors fight to stop construction of ’essential’ hospital water system2:31County, city still waiting on millions in Florence reimbursement1:51Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo talks Florence recovery 6 months after storm1:51Boiling Spring Lakes: Only 40% of recovery completed since historic hurricane2:26Owner moves to new location after Florence wipes out iconic restaurant1:06Pender community surfs its way to recovery months after storm1:27ONLY ON WWAY: Gov. Cooper gives recovery update six months post-Florence7:42’This is a miracle’: Whitestocking community gets help to rebuild church2:19Bethlehem Baptist Church is on the road to recovery after Florence1:22800+ Pender students still displaced several months after historic hurricane1:58Are some homes worth the renovation after Hurricane Florence?1:17Free seeds offer easier start to families replanting0:54Cape Fear Volunteer Center needs help moving Florence survivors into new homes0:53Florence survivor finds new housing, not out of the woods yet0:31Rebuild continues almost 6 months since Hurricane Florence1:35Rebuild continues almost 6 months since Hurricane Florence2:19Florence destroys Pender County farm, help comes from across country2:07How can we improve for next time? Pender reviews storm response to Florence1:40USS Battleship North Carolina continues to battle Mother Nature1:54Will Carolina Beach businesses reopen in time for start of season?2:05FEMA assistance starts to end, Florence victims still without homes2:07New Hanover County issues Hurricane Florence after action report1:22Veteran forced out of garage after Florence moves into camper0:31Gov. Cooper proposes funding aimed to help schools recovering from Florence1:44Florence clean up efforts ongoing1:54Pender Co. ends Hurricane Florence state of emergency0:16Volunteers needed to clean up Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve in Leland0:30University breaks ground on new student housing0:57Topsail Island is back open post-Florence1:38Barfield: ’State of the county is strong’2:17Habitat breaks ground on 4 new homes in Wilmington0:54Volunteer attorneys could help homeowners denied help from FEMA4:06Pro bono FEMA clinic for those affected by Hurricane Florence4:06First ever pender county state of education and economy held in burgaw1:52Wrightsville Beach restaurant closed since Florence starts rehiring staff0:53Hurricane Florence victims can still apply for disaster mitigation0:55Are you ready for breakfast?1:00Historic grounds reopens after shutdown1:27Hurricane Florence recovery summit brings survivors together1:31New Wrightsville Beach school planned with storms, floods in mind0:33TX official offers affordable housing advice after experiencing Hurricane Harvey1:04Whitestocking residents welcome truckload of donations from Pennsylvania3:06FEMA hosting meeting to address flood mitigation questions, concerns3:39University still repairing classrooms and apartments four months after hurricane0:30Cooper to Trump: End shutdown so NC can rebuild after Hurricane Florence0:33Experts say affordable housing is in more trouble following Florence0:58Stranger drives across country to reunite NC boy fighting cancer with his dog2:19Will a $2M flood plan save the Battleship North Carolina parking lot?1:05Woman says Florence damage is severely affecting her health1:54When you can learn more about applying for buyouts on flood-prone homes0:25Pender County students to receive free meals through January 310:20Animal aid group says majority of supplies lost after theft1:02Duke energy wants customers to help with $760m storm cost0:44Find out how you can help the environment by getting rid of your Christmas tree1:02New study researches how Hurricane Florence could have impacted pregnancies2:16Ward gives back to his community during the holidays1:32Gov. Cooper reflects on efforts to rebuild following Hurricane Florence3:14Gov. Cooper: 2018 was a tough year for North Carolina2:37Man designs ornaments made from Florence debris0:38Businesses team up to host Hurricane Florence recovery fundraiser0:56Rain lowers ’Christmas on the Square’ turnout0:54XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — At 7:30 AM, Saturday, September 15th, emergency personnel and town staff attempted to do initial damage assessments for the Town of North Topsail Beach. The first pass was difficult. At the 200 block of New River Inlet Road, staff determined the road was impassable due to flooding.Town staff turned around and tried to traverse the southern end of town. Staff passed Hampton Colony, but due to debris, they returned to town hall to regroup. For those who are not familiar with the area, this is approximately a two‐mile radius from town hall.Town Administration dispatched a dozer to clear the southern end of the island. After this effort, town officials were able to travel to the North Topsail Beach and Surf City town lines.- Advertisement – From what was observed from the main throughway, most homes were intact. Some shingles, siding, decks, crossovers and other nonstructural damages were observed. Unfortunately, some mobile homes appeared to have sustained more damage and possible structural damage.This afternoon, town staff travelled through the northern end of the island. As for the homes,much of the same holds true. However, there is more flooding and road conditions are not safe.In addition to water, there is an incredible amount of sand on the roadways hindering travel.Therefore, at this time, town administration and emergency services have determined that the roads are not safe for travel for the general population. Flooding, downed utility lines and debris create road hazards that are too dangerous. Police remain in place to keep nonessential personnel off the island. North Topsail Beach classified the following groups as essential:Emergency ServicesUtility WorkersTown Personnel, which has been determined internallyRelated Article: Hurricane recovery round table gives residents access to more help post-FlorenceWe do not anticipate allowing residents to return this weekend. At this time, our earliest estimate is Wednesday, the 19th. But we will extend or lessen this deadline as deemed appropriate. The sole basis for this decision is safety. In the meantime, cleanup crews will work to clear roads, and utility teams will work to restore services.Communication is an ongoing issue. Town officials will communicate as much as possible. Even though communication has been difficult, this does not mean town staff and elected officials have not been working to resolve the myriad of issues presented by this storm.Thank you for your cooperation and patience during this difficult time.last_img read more

4th Annual Ronald Sachs International Music Competition to spotlight youth musicians

first_img On Friday, May 17, three judges for the competition will hold master classes starting at 10 a.m. followed by a performance by the judges at 7:30 p.m.The judges include Ara Gregorian from East Carolina University (volin), Joseph Rackers from the University of South Carolina (piano), and David Zerkel from the University of Georgia (tuba/euphonium).On Saturday, May 18, young musicians from around the world will participate in a competition which lasts all day.Related Article: UNCW classes to resume Monday for most students“We have 14 young artists from all around the world to play music on their designated instruments,” said Event Coordinator Danijela Zezelj-Gauldi.The winners will be announced during a concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and the grand prize winner will receive a $2,000 prize.Zezelj-Gualdi says the event would be a great opportunity for children who are interested in playing or furthering their training with a particular instrument.“It could show them how far they can get because these talented musicians are top of their art and are playing beautifully on their instruments,” she said.Both the Friday and Saturday evening concerts are free and will be held in the UNCW Cultural Arts Center’s Beckwith Recital Hall. A reception will follow Saturday’s performance. Click here for more details. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — More than a dozen highly-talented musicians will participate in the 2019 Ronald Sachs International Music Competition this weekend at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.Now in its fourth year, this annual event offers gifted young musicians an opportunity to develop and advance their talents through competition and performance.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Humanitarian groups condemn European states after migrant deaths

first_imgBabar Baloch, UNHCR briefs the press on the situation in Myanmar and Ethiopia, Palais des Nations. 7 September 2018. Photo by Violaine MartinBabar Baloch, UNHCR briefs the press on the situation in Myanmar and Ethiopia, Palais des Nations. 7 September 2018. Photo by Violaine Martin Humanitarian groups including the Norwegian Council for Refugees and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said European states needed to do more in preventing the deaths ofmigrants after at least 65 people drowned on Friday (May 10) crossing the Mediterranean Sea.The UNHCR said dozens of people had drowned after a boat capsized off the Tunisian coast after they had left Libya hoping to reach Europe.Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Council for Refugees (NRC), said that Europeans held a responsibility to avoid the ”mass haemorrhage of human lives” crossing the narrow stretch of sea between North Africa and Europe.UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said the refugee agency had repeatedly voiced its concerns over a lack of boats to pick up people fleeing from the conflict in Libya.READ: At least 65 migrants drown off Tunisia coastIt is one of the deadliest shipwrecks this year. In the first four months of 2019, 164 people are known to have died on the route, a smaller number but higher death rate than in previous years, with one dying for every three who reach European shores, UNHCR said.UNHCR said the sunken boat had taken to the sea on Thursday (May 9) from neighbouring Libya, where renewed warfare between rival factions has gripped the capital Tripoli in the past five weeks.Libya’s west coast is a main departure point for African migrants hoping to reach Europe by paying human traffickers, though numbers have dropped due to an Italian-led effort to disrupt smuggling networks and support the Libyan coast guard.It was not immediately known from which countries the migrants involved in Friday’s tragedy were from.According to U.N. agency the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), 2,297 migrants died or went missing in the Mediterranean last year out of a total of 116,959 people who reached Europe by sea.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more

Criminal proceedings ongoing since 2001 still no sentence

first_imgA court of law has ruled that it is unacceptable that a man has not yet been given the opportunity to start producing evidence, has had all his assets frozen and has been subject to bail conditions for the past 18 years.Angelo Zahra requested a Constitutional Reference before the Court of Magistrates as a Court of Criminal Inquiry, claiming that the applicant’s right to a fair trial within a reasonable time is being breached. 18 years after arresting Zahra back in 2001, the Prosecution has not yet brought forward all evidence.The Attorney General insisted that the length of the proceedings is not unreasonable. However, the defense counsel stated that it is absurd that Zahra has been undergoing criminal proceedings since 2001.The Court declared that it is unacceptable that the Attorney General subjects the accused to a situation where criminal proceedings are at a standstill due to the fact that some of the witnesses who the AG insists on producing, cannot give evidence before their own proceedings are concluded, since they can incriminate themselves.Consequently, Judge Mark Chetcuti gave instructions to the Attorney General to conclude their evidence.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Nigeria Telecoms to face Criminal charges over Poor service

first_imgAdvertisement Mobile phone operators in Nigeria have been warned by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) that it would soon start filing criminal charges against them as a way of whipping them to order.CPC said lack of strict punishment for erring companies had led to a situation where consumers no longer get value for their money in the West African country.In the country’s telecom sector, consumers are still contending with dropped calls, unsolicited texts and calls, and credit wipe-off, Dupe Atoki, CPC director general said. – Advertisement – The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) last year imposed a ban on operators, stopping them from adding more subscribers to their networks until their networks were improved.Mobile operators in the region have been engaged in a price war that has resulted in cheaper communication services but also in serious network congestion as an increasing number of subscribers take advantage of low rates.Quality Assurance tests (QAT) that have been carried out by telecom regulators in several countries in the region have shown that all operators that were tested failed to meet service quality levels specified in service level agreements.Mobile phone operators have failed to  improve networks, despite several warnings.“In order to enforce consumer rights and ensure compliance with CPC’s enabling law, CPC has adopted a strategy of criminal prosecution of recalcitrant businesses or litigations to achieve satisfactory redress,” said Dupe Atoki, CPC director general.In Zambia, the Zambia Information and Technology Authority (ZICTA), the country’s telecom sector regulator, has already dragged Airtel, MTN and Zamtel to court for failing to meet the minimum standards of quality of service.In Tanzania, operators can be fined up to $3,000 for poor quality of service and can be sent to prison for at least six months for network failures without proper explanation.Via PCWorldlast_img read more


first_imgHORSE RACING2.10 MusselburghShanroe Street 11/2 > 7/22.20 LingfieldMuzaahim 10/1 > 13/22.30 NewburyMidnight Monty 7/1 > 4/13.05 NewburyBeer Goggles 16/1 > 8/18.15 NewcastleMelonade 5/1 > 3/1FOOTBALLFIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifier19:45 S4C / S4C HD / Sky Sports 1 / Sky Sports 1 HD6/4 Republic of Ireland 11/5 Wales 2/1 DRAWBET WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321 [dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Friday 24 Marchlast_img read more


first_imgHORSE RACING2.20 Newton AbbotMagnus Romeo 16/1 > 10/13.10 StratfordCape Caster 7/2 > 15/83.25 FairyhouseCaptain Power 7/2 > 2/15.05 TipperaryPass Hymn 7/2 > 9/4FOOTBALLUEFA Women’s EURO 2017 Group Stage19:45 Channel 4 / Channel 4 HD / British Eurosport 2 / British Eurosport 2 HD23/20 England Women 21/10 Spain Women 11/5 DRAWTHE OPENCALL FOR OUR LATEST IN-PLAY PRICESBET WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321 [dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Sunday 23 Julylast_img read more

£100 CASH England v Switzerland

first_img£100 CASH IFENGLAND WIN 2-1To celebrate the launch of our brand new betting site we are giving all NEW CUSTOMERS £100 CASH if ENGLAND WIN 2-1.You simply need to open an account and place a bet at evens or above, of at least £10, on any market at between 9am on Tuesday 11 September and 8pm on Tuesday 11 September. TERMS AND CONDITIONS(1) This promotion is for new account holders only. To qualify you must open a new account at anytime from 9am on Tuesday 11 September to 8pm (GMT) on Tuesday 11 September.(2) In addition you must place at least one bet online with before 8pm (GMT) on Tuesday 11 September. The bet must be for a stake of £10 (or more), on a selection at evens or above, on any market as displayed on the web site.(3) The bonus promotional offer if ENGLAND WIN 2-1.(4) If, for any reason, the event(s) do not take place or are declared void for betting purposes this offer will also be voided.(5) The bonus, if successful, will be paid as CASH within 48 hours, direct to your online account.(6) Usual Star Sports Betting Rules and Terms and Conditions apply, these can be viewed at This promotion can only be used once per person and per account. Only one bonus can be awarded per person, household, shared computer or shared IP address.(8) Star Sports reserve the right to withdraw or refuse this promotion at any point.(9) If you have any further questions about this promotion you can contact our customer service team read more

NIH awards Rice 11M for middle school science lessons

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: Jade Boyd PHONE: (713) 348-6778 E-MAIL: NIH awards Rice $1.1M for middle school science lessons Web-based adventures will warn about dangers of alcohol abuse The National Institutes of Health have awarded more than $1.1 million to Rice University’s Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning for the creation of several new Web-based science adventures for middle schoolers. The grants call on CTTL to expand its popular ”Reconstructors” and ”MEDMYST” series with new episodes, including one that teaches adolescents about the dangers of alcohol abuse. The alcohol abuse program will be modeled after a highly acclaimed Reconstructors series that teaches kids about the biological effects of opiates. In that series, set in the year 2252, the middle schoolers take on the role of medical detectives called Reconstructors. They try to ”reconstruct” the history and biological effects of different drugs after a plague that killed millions led to the loss of past medical knowledge. “We have found that Web adventures capture the attention of this age group and create the perfect vehicle for teaching students about important science and health issues,” said Leslie Miller, executive director of CTTL. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol is the substance adolescents are most likely to use and abuse. Miller said CTTL’s curriculum will incorporate National Science Standards, and it will provide science teachers with a program that complements prevention efforts at their schools. The second NIH grant is for new installments of CTTL’s MEDMYST series. Short for Medical Mysteries, MEDMYST is another Web adventure for middle school students. It teaches about infectious diseases and their causes, and in addition to the Web adventures, MEDMYST includes materials for classroom activities and a magazine. Each part of the curriculum is designed to engage students in problem-solving activities they aren’t likely encounter elsewhere. New funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will be used to create new adventures and to translate three existing adventures into Spanish. CTTL also will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the efficacy of the new materials, and it will try to expand the reach of MEDMYST II by linking with other Web sites, making presentations at national professional meetings and by publishing research data related to its use. CTTL is partnering on the MEDMYST II project with middle-school educators, scientists and clinicians from the Baylor College of Medicine, the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science, the University of Texas Health Science Center-Brownsville, and the University of Texas Health Science Center-Galveston. Field-testing of the Web adventures will take place in middle school science classrooms across the country. All components of the two programs are available free of charge on the web. ### last_img read more

Mexicos energy reform oil and gas auction in focus at Rices Baker

first_imgFacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis ShareMEDIA ADVISORYDavid Ruthdavid@rice.edu713-348-6327Jeff Falkjfalk@rice.edu713-348-6775Mexico’s energy reform, oil and gas auction in focus at Rice’s Baker Institute April 28 HOUSTON – (April 21, 2015) – As Mexico prepares to tender some of its more lucrative conventional oil and gas blocks in successive auction rounds this summer, experts on energy and Mexico will gather at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy April 28 to discuss the bidding process and the country’s broader energy reform efforts.Co-hosted by the Baker Institute’s Mexico Center and Center for Energy Studies and the law firm Haynes and Boone, the event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.Who: Mexico, energy and legal experts from the Baker Institute and Haynes and Boone. For a list of panelists, see A series of panel discussions on “Mexico’s Energy Reform: Let the Bidding Begin.”When: 8 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 28.Where: Rice University, James A. Baker III Hall, Doré Commons, 6100 Main St. According to event organizers, major international exploration and production firms have taken a keen interest in Mexico’s energy resources, but some key policy questions remain for investors and the Mexican government. The event seeks to engage energy industry executives and other stakeholders from the private sector, government decision-makers and the general public on the details of the bidding process, the pace of Mexico’s reform efforts in terms of geopolitical and price volatility and the role of the rule of law in the reform’s implementation, organizers said.The public must register to attend this event at a map of Rice University’s campus with parking information, go to Media are advised to park in the Central Campus Garage.Members of the news media who want to attend must RSVP to Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.-30-Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInsitute.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top 10 university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog, read more

Two Rice faculty receive national Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year Award

first_imgShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJeff Two Rice faculty receive national Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year AwardHOUSTON – (Jan. 11, 2016) – The founders of the Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business’ globally recognized entrepreneurship program were recognized today with the 2016 Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year Award, one of three lifetime awards presented by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) at the organization’s annual conference in San Diego.ED WILLIAMSEd Williams, professor emeritus of entrepreneurship, launched the Jones School’s graduate entrepreneurship program in 1978, long before the academic discipline of entrepreneurship had been established and before most universities were teaching the subject. Shortly thereafter, Williams recruited Al Napier, professor of entrepreneurship and psychology, to expand the entrepreneurship curriculum. These efforts laid the foundation for Rice’s entrepreneurship program, which has grown to more than 30 courses today and resulted in the Jones School’s ranking among the top 10 graduate entrepreneurship programs by Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine for seven years in a row.USASBE, the world’s largest independent professional academic organization dedicated to advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship, presents the award annually to an entrepreneurship educator who has provided distinguished leadership in the field and contributed greatly to the way scholars think about and approach entrepreneurship teaching and learning. The selection committee cited Napier’s and Williams’ contributions to the field over their careers in its recommendation of them for the award.AL NAPIER“Ed and Al’s distinguished leadership and scholarship are inexorably linked over a combined 54 years at the Jones Graduate School of Business,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. “As tenured, full professors of entrepreneurship at Rice University, they have contributed substantive advancements in creating the discipline of entrepreneurship (starting in 1976), establishing the first university entrepreneurship courses in the U.S., building the entrepreneurship program at the business school, shaping the entire curriculum and establishing the first major in entrepreneurship.”The impact that Williams and Napier have had on Rice MBA students has been substantial, Burke said. Based on a 2009 study, 22 percent of Rice MBA alumni have started one or more companies, and 76 percent of those were still in business at the time of the survey, higher than the national average for startups. As one former MBA student said, “Al Napier and Ed Williams are the reason I became an entrepreneur, which has led to building an international retail franchise of 150-plus locations.” The alum took both Napier’s and Williams’ classes and said the fundamentals they taught are used daily “in my journey as an entrepreneur.”Williams was previously recognized as one of the top three entrepreneurship educators in the country by BusinessWeek magazine in 1996. Napier is the winner of the 2008 Acton Award, a national award for excellence in entrepreneurship education. They have taught more than 3,000 students — more than half of the total Jones School alumni — in more than 100 courses over 36 years. Based on the set of entrepreneurship courses Williams and Napier helped launch, the Jones School received the USASBE National Model MBA Entrepreneurship Program Award in 2011.-30-For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6775 or the Jones Graduate School of Business via Twitter @RiceMBA.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Napier bio: bio: Graduate School of Business: AddThislast_img read more

Rice lab offers new strategies tools for genome editing

first_img Cas9 protein (light blue) with guide RNA (purple) and DNA (red) shows a DNA bulge, marking a sequence that would be considered off-target for CRISPR-Cas9 editing. The Rice University lab of bioengineer Gang Bao has developed Web-based tools to search for such off-targets. (Credit: Bao Lab/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for best quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to Bao. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University) Share1Editor’s note: Links to images for download appear at the end of this release.David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduRice lab offers new strategies, tools for genome editing Bioengineer Gang Bao and team explore CRISPR-Cas9 alternatives HOUSTON – (Feb. 8, 2016) – Rice University bioengineers have found new techniques for precision genome editing that are more accurate and have fewer off-target errors.The new strategies are shared in three papers in an upcoming special issue of the  journal Molecular Therapy on improving the revolutionary genome-editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9.Bioengineering Professor Gang Bao and his colleagues present ideas for maximizing on-target gene editing with biological catalysts capable of cutting DNA called “engineered nucleases.” Several such systems have been studied for years, but for the past three, the promise of cut-and-paste editing via CRISPR-Cas9 has captured the attention of scientists worldwide.CRISPR-Cas9, a naturally occurring defense system in bacteria, allows researchers to design a short sequence of RNA called “guide RNA” that targets a specific section of genetic code (DNA) in a cell. An associated Cas9 protein then cuts the section, disrupts it or replaces it with the desired code.That’s how bacteria use CRISPR-Cas9 to immunize themselves from disease. Exposure to an invader causes the bacteria to adapt by adding the invader’s genetic signature to a CRISPR database. The bacteria then recognize future enemies and destroy them with an appropriate Cas9 protein.About three years ago researchers discovered that bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 could be modified to edit DNA in human cells by, for instance, replacing mutant sequences with normal, or “wild-type,” sequences in much the same way a bacterium banks an invader’s DNA signature. The technique is seen as having great potential for disease modeling and treatment, synthetic biology and molecular pathway dissection.But CRISPR-Cas9 is still vulnerable to snipping the wrong sequences – called “off-targets” – in addition to the right ones. In therapeutic applications, Bao said, off-target cutting by CRISPR-Cas9 could cause many detrimental effects, including cancer.Bao, who moved to Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) in 2015 with a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, is studying ways to refine CRISPR-Cas9, which he described as “nanoscissors for editing genes.”One of his goals is to treat the hereditary disease sickle cell anemia, which he hopes CRISPR-Cas9 will eventually cure. But first the therapy must become much better at avoiding off-targets that can cause unwanted side effects.In two of the papers, the researchers study different orthologs: Cas9 proteins from species with the same ancestors as the Streptococcus pyogenes (Spy) bacterium commonly used in CRISPR/Cas9.“Our approach in these papers is to explore the possibility of using different Cas9 orthologs,” Bao said. “There are many possibilities.”In the first paper, Bao and his group used experiments on mammalian cells to characterize a CRISPR-Cas9 system from the Neisseria meningitides (Nme) bacterium. It differs from Spy in a way that bioengineers can use to reduce the risk of off-target edits, he said.That difference lies primarily in a sequence of code that is not part of the target, but close by. Known as a protospacer-adjacent motif (PAM), it’s a marker for target DNA sequences and necessary for Cas9 protein binding. In SpyCas9 editing, the PAM sequence is generally three nucleotides long. For Nme, the required PAM sequence is significantly longer — eight nucleotides. While Nme may find fewer targets, those targets are more likely to be the correct ones, according to the researchers. That, they argue, may make it a safer alternative for gene editing.The second paper, a collaboration with colleagues at the University of Freiburg, Germany, addresses highly specific human-gene editing using yet another bacteria’s immune system. For this study, Cas9 proteins from Spy were replaced with Streptococcus thermophiles (Sth) proteins that also recognize longer PAMs. Tests carried out in human cells found Sth proteins with more stringent PAM requirements were significantly better than SpyCas9 proteins at avoiding off-targets.Bao and company also looked at the effect of bulges in DNA and RNA that can influence targeting. Bulges appear when a sequence is one nucleotide longer or one nucleotide shorter than the expected DNA sequence targeted by guide RNA.“We found that even with DNA or RNA bulges, the Cas9 protein can still cut,” he said. “That’s a unique contribution. Nobody saw that would be the case, but we demonstrated it. Consequently, we’ve developed a Web-based tool to search for three cases of potential off-target sites that contain base mismatches, RNA bulges and DNA bulges.”Bao noted the Nme and Sth Cas9 proteins, unlike Spy, are small enough to be packaged within an adeno-associated virus for delivery to and treatment of specific cells in an animal. “That’s another advantage, and why we want to go on to explore these two systems,” he said.The third paper is a review of current CRISPR-Cas9 techniques that focuses on genome-editing tools available for target selection, experimental methods and validation. Bao and his team also lay out a list of challenges yet to be solved to eliminate off-target effects.He said there is a path forward, represented in part by his investigation of two new bacterial systems as well as the fact that CRISPR-Cas9 is a much easier technique to implement in the lab than other genome-editing systems such as TALEN and zinc finger nuclease.Bao said that unlike those older genome-editing techniques, CRISPR-Cas9 is straightforward enough for students to learn and use in a short time.Bao hopes to establish his lab as a focal point for genome editing in the Texas Medical Center. To that end, he brought the TMC genome-editing community together for a well-attended workshop at the BRC last December.“We had a lot of good discussions,” he said. “One thing I would like to stimulate is the formation of a consortium among the many labs in TMC using CRISPR. They have needs to design CRISPR systems for different applications, but there are a lot of common issues. If we work together, it will be easier to address them.”-30-Read the open-source papers at Molecular Therapy:“The Neisseria meningitidis CRISPR-Cas9 System Enables Specific Genome Editing in Mammalian Cells” are Cieran Lee, a postdoctoral researcher Bao’s lab and director of the Genome Editing Core at Rice; Thomas Cradick, a former postdoctoral researcher in the Bao lab and now with CRISPR Therapeutics in Cambridge, Mass.; and Bao, the Foyt Family Professor of Bioengineering at Rice. The National Institutes of Health funded the study.“Streptococcus thermophilus CRISPR-Cas9 Systems Enable Specific Editing of the Human Genome”, Cradick and Bao are co-authors of the study with Maximilian Muller, Toni Cathomen and lead author Claudio Mussolino of the University of Freiburg, and Giedrius Gasiunas and Virginijus Siksnys of Vilnius University, Lithuania. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the National Institutes of Health funded the study.“Nuclease Target Site Selection for Maximizing On-target Activity and Minimizing Off-target Effects in Genome Editing”:, Cradick, Bao and Eli Fine, a former Ph.D. student in the Bao lab and now with Coyne Scientific, Atlanta, authored the review. AddThis Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated Materials:Bao Lab: http://bao.rice.eduRice University Department of Bioengineering: http://bioe.rice.eduImages for download:last_img read more

134 Small Quakes Hit Californias San Andreas in 1 Week

first_imgThe Two recent Earth Facing Coronal Holes and New Moon Period may have been the cause of recent San Andreas Earthquake Swarm… just a hunch— Climate Realists (@ClimateRealists) November 22, 2017 #BREAKING 4.7-magnitude #earthquake strikes 14.3 miles NE of Gonzales in Northern California, USGS reports— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) November 13, 2017 Share this article 134 Small Quakes Hit California’s San Andreas in 1 Week By Jack Phillips November 22, 2017 Updated: November 22, 2017 Since a 4.6-magnitude earthquake struck on Nov. 13, California’s famed San Andreas Fault has had no fewer than 134 additional tremors.The 4.6-magnitude earthquake was centered about 13 miles from Gonzales, located near Salinas, along the San Andreas. Some felt it in San Francisco and in parts of the Central Valley. Is California about to be hit by the ‘Big One’? Fears of a massive earthquake rise after 134 mini-tremors rattle the … – Daily Mail #hng #earthquake— Faz Fzingo (@Theophany1) November 22, 2017 Show Discussion #BREAKING NEWS: Small 3.0 magnitude earthquake reported near #Healdsburg, California.— BREAKING NEWS (@NewsAlertHQ) November 15, 2017 US News center_img  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   California struck by 134 tremors in WEEK on San Andreas fault…— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) November 22, 2017 “This one has been a quite productive aftershock sequence,” said Kaven, per SFGate. “We suspect there will be aftershocks in the 2 to 3 [magnitude] range for at least a few more weeks.”There have been no reports of damage or injuries.But a 4.6-magnitude quake is on the “higher end of what we expect in terms of magnitude” for that area, Kaven noted.“Any time there is significant seismic activity in the vicinity of the San Andreas Fault, we seismologists get nervous,” Thomas Jordan, head of the Southern California Earthquake Center, told the Los Angeles Times last year.“Because we recognize that the probability of having a large earthquake goes up,” he said.Annemarie Baltay, an expert, said there is nothing to be worried about.“This is really typical behavior,” she said. “It’s as if someone put an oil can into the fault and lubricated it.” The U.S. Geological Survey said that the area hasn’t stopped shaking. There have been 134 quakes within 3 miles of the epicenter, the agency said, according to SFGate.About 17 were stronger than a 2.5 magnitude and only six were greater than 3.0, said Ole Kaven, a seismologist with the USGS. The shake map of the 4.6-magnitude event. (USGS) Share And while you’re here … We have a small favor to ask of you. More people are reading NTD TV than ever, but ad revenues are plummeting across media websites. If you can, please share this article on Facebook so you can help NTD. It takes less than a minute. Thank you very much! last_img read more

How Pornography Is Creating New Age of Child Predators

first_img Share WASHINGTON—Sex trafficking is a supply answer to a demand problem. But the least attention is paid to the demand side.“Obviously the demand for sex isn’t something new. But the increasing insatiable desire for sex with children in our society is something new, and it’s running rampant in our society,” said Geoff Rogers, CEO of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, at a Justice Department Summit on Human Trafficking on Feb. 2.“So as we focus on demand, we’re trying to get to the absolute core of where this is coming from.” Rogers said the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has collected evidence from numerous studies that prove that pornography and our hypersexualized culture are driving the insatiable desire for sex and the purchase of sex, including that of children.“Societally, we need to shift. We’ve got to grab hold of this and understand that as a society it is not OK that we have an entire young generation of kids growing up with ready access to hardcore, deviant, violent pornography,” Rogers said. “I heard one expert say it best—that pornography is one of the greatest unchecked social experiments that our world has ever seen.” Gail Dines, an emeritus professor of sociology and women’s studies at Boston’s Wheelock College, has studied the impact of pornography for over 25 years. In a 2017 paper, Dines said the domestication of the internet, beginning around 2000, made pornography “affordable, accessible, and anonymous—the three key factors to increase demand and consumption.”Porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined, with Pornhub alone receiving 21.2 billion visits in 2015, which was an average of 58 million people a day, according to Dines. In 2017, that rose to 81 million per day. “Studies show that nearly 49 percent of college males first encounter pornography before age 13,” she said. An extensive 2010 study concluded that 90 percent of pornography scenes contained at least one aggressive physical or verbal act.“The perfect storm is here, where we have a young generation of kids that have access to hardcore, violent pornography on their cellphones at age 9, 10, 11,” Rogers said. “They’re growing up addicted to pornography; that’s shaping their sexual template. And at some point, they’re moving from visualization to actualization.”Pornography is helping create a never-ending demand. “If we had a scenario where we could rescue every single victim of sex trafficking in the country today, I would contend that, tomorrow, all we have is an incredible vacuum of supply that the traffickers would absolutely fill within a matter of time,” Rogers said.Ending TraffickingRogers launched the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking in 2016 with Kevin Malone, the former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Malone has been fighting trafficking for nine years, and Rogers five years. Their mission is to end human trafficking in America. “It’s a bold statement, but we do believe we can and we believe as an organization and a society, we must,” Rogers said. “I’ve got to believe that we collectively can end the mass, organized rape of our nation’s children for profit.“Of all of the social problems we face, we should be able to stop that one.”Rogers has helped set up a residential facility for boy victims of sex trafficking in Florida. The five-bed home opened last year for boys aged between 10 and 17. He is also looking at how to consolidate the thousands of non-profits around the country to combat the problem from every angle. “I’m looking at this from a business perspective—I came out of IBM—I’m not looking at this from a social services perspective, and neither is my co-founder Kevin Malone,” Rogers said. He said their focus is on finding and replicating best practices.He said real change will take the pulling together of criminal justice, the education system, businesses in the community, the healthcare industry, the technology industry, the faith-based organizations, and churches.Rogers touted King County in Seattle as an example. “What they found was when all of these organizations chased after demand at the same time, is when they saw this reduction,” he said. Based on that model of success, Rogers developed the Trafficking Free Zone program, which is a replicable system that brings all community groups together to tackle the demand problem. Pasco County in Florida is the first county in the nation to sign on. Rogers is also working with the Florida legislature to identify pornography as a public health crisis in the state of Florida. He is hopeful it will pass this year. “If we had a scenario where we could rescue every single victim of sex trafficking in the country today, I would contend that, tomorrow, all we have is an incredible vacuum of supply that the traffickers would absolutely fill within a matter of time,” said Geoff Rogers at a Trafficking Summit in Washington on Feb. 2, 2018 (Shutterstock).A Personal StoryGabe Deem’s story is just one of many thousands in America. “I was first exposed to porn around the age of eight. I was playing with some neighborhood friends and we found a Playboy magazine,” Deem wrote in a paper last year. “At age 10 my family got cable TV, and I would stay up late at night watching soft-core porn while my parents thought I was sleeping.”But it was at age 12 when his family got high-speed internet that things really ramped up for Deem. “Within days, I was watching hardcore porn. I would ride my bike home from school as fast as I could and watch porn for a couple hours before my parents got home. By the time I was out of middle school, I had seen just about every genre of porn there was. I wasn’t the only kid doing this. Kids at school would often exchange pieces of paper with tips on where to find it and how to hide it from our parents.”In high school, it was more of the same, especially after Deem and his classmates got their own laptops at school. “The first thing the guys did was figure out how we could play video games. The second thing we did was figure out how we could watch porn.”Deem said he was unable to have a healthy relationship with women until he quit pornography in his early 20s. “In retrospect, it is clear that pornography was affecting our behavior, how we viewed and treated our peers, and our sexuality,” he said. Deem has since started a recovery community called Reboot Nation to help young people get help and quit pornography. It grew to about 10,000 members in three years, said Deem. The shift from pornography to paying for sex with children is not a big one to make when looking at research in this area. Deem pointed to a 2012 survey where around 1,500 men on a porn recovery forum were asked if their tastes in pornography had changed with continued use. “Fifty-six percent reported that their porn tastes had become ‘increasingly extreme or deviant.’ Twenty-four percent were bothered by this; 32 percent were not,” Deem wrote.“So we can get very real on where this insatiable desire for sex with children is coming from,” Rogers said. “As a society, it’s time to get serious about the way that we’re approaching the topic of sex with our children, the topic of pornography, and the overall hypersexualization of our society.”EducationIt’s also personal for Rogers. He has three boys, aged 13, 10, and 7. “I look at my young boys and I want to raise them to not become a buyer of sex,” he said. He said hearing stories of child sex trafficking and then coming home to his boys, who are the same age as children being trafficked is “an insane reality.”He said he tries to instill values in his children on how to treat young women and what it means to be a man.  “And the problem that we have … everything that I can instill in my kids about how to treat women well, all they need to do is get a hold of pornography videos that are free online, one click away on a cell phone, and they will see the ultimate degradation of women in our society.”The ConsequencesAnd while girls are not the major consumers of pornography, they suffer the consequences, Dines said, “because they engage in sexual relationships with boys and men who have had their sexual templates shaped by mainstream online violent pornography.”She said research from the American Psychological Association shows that girls who internalize the messages of the hypersexualized pop culture tend to have more depression, anxiety, lower self-esteem, eating disorders, and risky sexual behavior.“Moreover, girls are more at risk for rape, battery, and being trafficked in a society where pornography is normalized,” Dines said. She said unfortunately many parents are unaware of the degree of “brutality and dehumanization” that is common in today’s mainstream pornography, they have no idea that pornography is so accessible, and they don’t know how to approach their children about this topic.“Parents are our first and often most influential teachers and, according to studies, a supportive family environment is a key preventive factor,” Dines said. “This means that it is imperative that they become educated about this serious threat to their children’s well-being, and that they are equipped with the skills needed to have ‘courageous conversations’ with their children.” Follow Charlotte on Twitter: @charlottecuthbo How Pornography Is Creating New Age of Child Predators Experts say fighting child sex trafficking must focus on curbing the easy access to and increased consumption of pornBy Charlotte Cuthbertson February 8, 2018 Updated: February 15, 2018 Geoff Rogers, CEO of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, at the Justice Department’s Summit on Human Trafficking in Washington on Feb. 2, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   center_img US Features Share this article Show Discussionlast_img read more