Trouble in Venice: can this trendy LA enclave reconcile a deep divide?4 days ago
As the neighborhood inundations with tech workers and new wealth, its homeless population holds rising and a political battle is raging over what to do
It is less than a hundred yards from the hipster restaurants, cafe, and giant street art installations of Main Street in Venice, California, to a straggly line of industrial warehouses and storage facilities where a homeless encampment has sprawled over an entire city block.
Tents and shopping carts filled with garb and possessions obstruct sidewalks and parking spaces along 3rd Street and Rose Avenue and prompt unceasing complaints from nearby residents as well as stares of astonishment from tourists. The encampment, home to people with nowhere else to go, is a constant reminder that all is not well in one of the fastest gentrifying neighborhoods in North America.
Venice is the quintessential southern Calfornia beach community, an edgy, artsy pocket of the city of Los Angeles where industry, poverty and creativity have always procured a style to coexist. But it is also ground zero in a battle in which an unprecedented official effort to fight homelessness across Los Angeles is being met with growing skepticism, impatience, and, from time to time, outright hostility.
At public sessions, people are openly calling homeless residents lepers and likening Venice to Baghdad. Local elections being held tomorrow pit a popular incumbent city councilman, Mike Bonin, who has championed efforts to build new low-income housing and provide services to homeless person including showers, bathroom and storage space, against an energetic underdog, Mark Ryavec, who thinks the situation is spiraling out of control.
We see snowbirds in their RVs and young people from all over treat Venice as the campsite of America, Ryavec charged. I want to provide a bus fare to send them home, because theres no future for these people here.
The future certainly seems to belong to a new wave of highly paid tech employees, many of them working for Google or Snap, who have inundated into Venice now often nicknamed Silicon Beach and pushed rents and house prices through the roof.
Industrial warehouses have been transformed into luxury condos and shabby-chic restaurants. Abbot Kinney Boulevard, once a relative backwater where local restaurants struggled to obtain liquor licenses, has become one of the trendiest streets in the country, where coffee shop offer$ 6 lattes and tables at the hottest dinner places are booked out weeks in advance. Meanwhile, the homeless population maintains rising its closely connected to 1,000 people, by some estimates, and nearly 30,000 across the city of LA as a whole.
It is this stark contrast of extreme wealth and growing poverty that has pushed city and district leaders to take unprecedented action. After decades of doing little more than moving homeless people around and offering services so they dont starve or freeze to death, the political class is inducing the instance that aiming homelessness is both a moral and an economic imperative.
Spooky! Messages from the beyond or merely coincidence? | Oliver Burkeman9 days ago
Weve all heard eyebrow-raising narratives so whats really going on?
In 1944, a British soldier battle in Italy was knocked unconscious by shell fragments. That same day in Monmouthshire, he later recollected, my wife was washing up after lunch. My daughter, aged two and a half, to whom I was only a name, was playing with some bricks on the kitchen floor. She suddenly got to her feet, gone over to my wife, said Daddys been hurt, and went back to her bricks.
This eyebrow-raising tale appears in Connecting With Coincidence, a new book by the psychiatrist Bernard Beitman along with so many others it becomes easier to keep ones eyebrows permanently raised. Beitman has one of his own: in 1973, he found himself inexplicably choking at his kitchen sink merely to learn, the next day, that his father had choked on his own blood and died at the same moment .~ ATAGEND
The rationalist in me knows this all comes down to the law of truly large numbers, which states that, given a large enough sample, many seemingly unlikely things become downright probable. Even presuming the soldiers memories were accurate, so many fought in the second world war that its virtually inevitable a few would have odd tales. Beitman tells of one therapist who dreamed of an ex-patient lying immobile in a beach shack; subsequently, he learned that one week after that dream, that patient had taken an overdose in a seaside hotel and nearly died. Spooky! But less so when you factor in the patients the therapist didnt dream about not to mention all the other therapists with no such anecdotes to relate.
Still, Beitman makes an intriguing lawsuit for approaching coincidences as if they werent simply random, whatever your notion. Connecting With Coincidence is full of people taking such happenings as signs, telling them who to marry, whether to have kids or get divorced and it serves them rather well. One widow injures her finger while gardening, forcing hospital staff to cut away her wedding ring, which she takes as a sign from her “husbands ” that its OK to date again. A message from beyond the grave? Presumably not. Did she subconsciously arrange the trauma herself? Perhaps. But Im not sure it matters: either way, the incident smoothed a transition shed been struggling to make.
All very unscientific, I know. But the truth is that the biggest personal decisions in life cant be made in scientific way anyway; there are too many variables involved. Yet we often do seem to know, just below the surface of awareness, whats best for us and noticing how we respond to bizarre coincidences can provide clues to that subconscious knowledge.
One of Beitmans patients, his marriage on the rocks, has a thrilling encounter with an old girlfriend in a bar, which he seems to take as a sign he should recommit to his marriage. Why not as a sign that he should leave his wife? Both interpretations work, but only one had meaning for him. Its odd to ask whether such coincidental encounters genuinely entail anything, as if theyd need to be choreographed by some cosmic force-out. Who says thats what meaning entails?
Read more: www.theguardian.com
‘ It’s not about your age, it’s about your notions ‘: the teen power listing15 days ago
Meet 25 young activists, scientists, artists, athletes, entrepreneurs and big thinkers shaping your future
Harley Bird, 14, Tring, UK
An actors life is hard: its just one audition after another, and you have to grow a wall-thick skin to deal with all the rejection. For Bird, however, things went a little differently: she was signed to the Alphabet Kidz agency just before her sixth birthday and two weeks later beat hundreds of other young actors to land the lead role in a 1.4bn show.
She is the voice of Peppa Pig, the eponymous piglet who enjoys dressing up and jumping in muddy puddles. Bird, who in real life has two pet pigs (called, of course, Peppa and George), has now voiced Peppa Pig for eight years. Early on, she was too young to read the scripts, but that didnt stop her winning a Bafta at nine.
The show, while simple in its format of five-minute episodes, has taken the world by storm and is now shown in 180 territories and broadcast in 40 different languages. Not bad for a first role. Were there any clues that this one audition would lead to a starring role in a global franchise? Bird has said she doesnt understand it herself. I just auditioned and they said my voice matched. because it is quite husky.
Mihir Garimella, 16, Pennsylvania
Buddhism Fast Facts24 days ago
( CNN) Here’s a look at Buddhism, the major religion of many countries in Asia.
Siddhartha Gautama( Buddha) grew up in a wealthy family. He decided to follow a route of self-denial, but did not find truth until he sat down under a tree , now known as the Bo tree. There he was “enlightened” and obtained the knowledge he had been looking for.
‘ We didn’t recognise that he was dangerous ‘: our parent killed our mother and sister28 days ago
Last summer, Lance Hart shot dead his wife, daughter and himself, four days after the family had left him. His sons talk candidly about life before and after
On a warm summer day last July, Claire Hart and her 19 -year-old daughter Charlotte went for an early morning swim at their local leisure centre in Spalding, Lincolnshire. It was a trip-up they made often, just a short drive from their home in the village of Moulton. Claires son Ryan had recently bought his mother a swimming pass as a present.
At 9am on 19 July, mom and daughter left the pond and built their route back across the car park to their blue Toyota Aygo. As they approached the car, a human crawled out from underneath it: Claires husband and Charlottes father, Lance Hart, whom the pair had left five days earlier. Now he held up a single-barrel shotgun and shooting Claire three times. He then reloaded the gun and shot his daughter, before turning the gun on himself.
Alex Marchant, a administrator at the sports centre, ran outside where reference is heard the first bang, guessing it was a vehicle backfiring. In the distance, he saw Lance with the gun in his hand. When he got to the car, he recognised Charlotte lying on the ground. In her final moments, as Merchant cradled her, she told him, It was my father who shot me.
Armed policemen arrived at the scene, where paramedics attempted to resurrect them, but it was too late: Lance was dead, and Claire and Charlotte had fatal injuries; neither could be saved.
In the confusion that followed, police set local schools on lockdown. Residents were advised to stay inside and lock their doorways. Spalding began to trend on Twitter, and people theorized whether there had been a terrorist attack.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Russell Brand: ‘I was a needy person. I’m less mad now’1 month, 6 days ago
Hes moved to the country, had a baby and stayed away from politics but is the comedian ready for a quiet life?
The last time I interviewed Russell Brand was in 2008, around the time of Sachsgate, and he was a handful. When I asked him, as a joke, if he was going for world domination, he replied, “Yes, that is what I will do. What am I going to stop for? I’ll just carry on until there’s nothing left.” Nine years on, he has changed in some ways, and in others, not at all.
He still looks amazing: tall, long-haired, Gypsy-George-Best handsome; a dandy highwayman in black leather trousers and goth jewellery. His mind still fires faster than a machine gun, and his speech is just as packed with flowery words and detailed explanations, peppered with references to what he’s read (Jung, Harari, life coach Tony Robbins). And he’s still funny. But Brand is different. His ego is less all-consuming. In 2008, he was difficult with the photographer (not today, he’s fine) and, during our chat, he kept moving his head so that, even when I tried to glance away, he was constantly in my sight-line. It was as if my eyes were the spotlight and his face had to be in it. No more.
“Yes, I’m less mad now,” he says, when I mention this. “I was a needy person. I mean, that condition abides, but I manage it better now, I think.”
Back then, he was also very much a girl-hound – “I love fucking,” he told me. “My house has a hot tub for damned good reasons, and none of them spiritual.” But these days he’s settled, living in the countryside with his new wife Laura Gallacher (sister of Sky Sports presenter Kirsty), baby Mabel, two cats, a brace of chickens and a “maniac” dog. Having burned through his marriage to Katy Perry in two years, and dated Jemima Khan, his relationship with Gallacher, on and off for years, is now settled and domestic. Career-wise, he’s still a standup – he’s on a 71-date tour that will take him into 2018 – but seems to have stopped acting, and has shifted a lot of his public work to activism. In 2014, he began posting The Trews, his political YouTube show, garnering more than 1m subscribers. He’s now studying for an MA in religion in global politics at SOAS University of London. He hosts a wordy, thought-provoking podcast, Under The Skin, where he talks to academics, politicians and writers about contemporary ideas. Is this all less mad? It’s an effort to be more serious, certainly, though his daft performer’s instinct can send him off course in search of the joke, so that he gets ridiculed on political TV shows.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
‘Shrouded in shame’: the young women on either side of Ireland’s abortion debate1 month, 19 days ago
Anti-abortion and pro-choice activists are gearing up for a hard-fought referendum in which the youth vote could prove key
Hawking won the world’s respect- and gave disabled people like me hope | Frances Ryan1 month, 24 days ago
Growing up disabled, I had few role models. But this brilliant, witty scientist helped change negative stereotypes, tells Guardian columnist Frances Ryan
As with most of the famous figures whose passing now makes us via a news alert on our phones, I never satisfied Stephen Hawking. In the vastness of the entire world, you could say I was one speck and he was another. And yet I thought of him as a continual presence in my life, who- perhaps paradoxically, in the light of his illness , not to mention of his work on time- would always be there, somehow.
Growing up incapacitated in Britain, I didn’t have many role models. There are hardly any statues of disabled leaders , no great lives with chronic disability documented in the history books. As a child, it’s easy to believe that disabled people have never genuinely existed, and that when they did, it was as cripples to be pitied or onus on society. In Hawking, we had a figure- brilliant, witty, kind- who confounded the negative stereotypes and the low expectations so often forced on those of us with a disability.
He wasn’t without faults( accusations of sexism were notable ). He was also afforded possibilities- from wealth to healthcare to being non-disabled throughout school- that clearly enabled his success, opportunities too few young disabled people, facing cuts to multiple strands of support, enjoy today. But his groundbreaking research, as well as tireless commitment to the NHS and concern over Brexit, established him as someone who, though physically stripped of his voice, should be listened to.
In the hurry to eulogise a figure such as Hawking the risk is that the media coverage either fails to acknowledge his disability- and to dismiss him being a disabled person is as regressive as a white person saying they” don’t see colour”- or falls into condescending cliches and objectification. Within hours of the news of his death transgres, I considered headlines that reflected the( often well-intentioned) negative attitudes that so often plague discussions of disabled people: ones of “inspiration”, ” overcoming disability” and references to “tragedy”. BBC Radio 5 Live asked listeners if Hawking had “inspired” them- a question unlikely to be posed about non-disabled academics. The Daily Mail referred to his” total disability” while at the other aim of the spectrum, John Humphrys use Radio 4′ s tribute segment to ask:” Did the science community cut him a lot of slack because he was so desperately disabled ?”
Even the Guardian’s obituary mentioned how” despite his terrible physical circumstance, he almost always remained positive about life “, as if it was a surprise that a world-renowned scientist with a loving family could ever find happiness. Cartoonists illustrated him in heaven- a place Hawking did not believe existed- standing up, as if ultimately free from his wheelchair( an invention, much like his voice synthesiser, that actually empowered him to engage with society ). Even sentiments such as” He didn’t let his disability define him”- as Marsha de Cordova, darknes disabilities minister( and herself disabled) tweeted– verge on repeating the ingrained notion that disability is an inherently negative thing: a part of identity that, unlike race or sexuality, should be played down.
This is not to say that Hawking’s disability didn’t help shape him. The thought that he had a sharply limited life expectancy- it was originally believed he would die within two years of his motor neurone cancer diagnosis- by all accounts inspired Hawking to enjoy the present, and spurred on his hunger for scientific discovery. But to reduce a world-famous academic’s existence to one of misfortune and pluck respects neither the reality of a disabled life nor the love, success, witticism and fulfilment that clearly marked Hawking’s. It remind you of the countless “inspirational” memes and posters that throughout their own lives featured Hawking’s image- often using his body as inspiration for non-disabled people (” If he can succeed, so are you able !”) or criticising “lesser” disabled people (” The only disability is a bad attitude “). Hawking, like all of us, deserves more than lazy, ableist tropes.
Amid all the tributes to Hawking’s contribution to scientific discovery, I would like to remember what he contributed- perhaps unknowingly- to many disabled people: a sense of pride, encouragement and hope. This was a genius who gained the world’s respect from his wheelchair. Hawking’s achievements alone will not have begun to overrule deep-seated prejudice, but he has played a significant part in changing the misconceptions that still routinely mark too many disabled people’s lives. Hawking’s lesser-known lesson is one I hope others growing up disabled will be left with: we can all reach for the stars.
* Frances Ryan is a Guardian columnist
Read more: www.theguardian.com