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This interview is part of the “Tomorrow Lives Here” Conversation Series presented by Miami Business School.
–DraftKings CEO and co-founder Jason Robins grew up in Miami.
–And it was that upbringing that turned Robins into a sports fanatic from an early age.
-He took that passion into the business world with the launch of DraftKings in 2012.
-The company is in the daily fantasy sports industry and allows its customers- people who manage fantasy sports teams, to compete for cash prizes.
-In a wide-ranging conversation with Miami Business School Dean John Quelch, Robins talked about how he and his two co-founders got the company off the ground despite fierce competition, what he learned from his UM economics professor father and about the power of differentiation in startups.
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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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The following piece was originally posted on Facebook. We have republished it here with the permission of the author.
By Ashley Draper Sanchez
Many people who know me now, don’t know about or have only heard me tell of my days as a teenager with extremely large breasts.
My first memory of realizing my body was different than others was in the 5th grade.
My teacher handed me a note and told me to give it to my parents, and not to read it. Of course the very first chance I got, I tore it open.
It was a letter from my teacher, asking my mother to please take me to get a bra as my playtime in PE had become “distracting” for everyone else.
I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was excited to need a bra! Even at the age of eleven I knew that a bra meant womanhood-maturity!
I was always an older soul in a little body and thought that this would be a step towards being taken more seriously. That night we ventured to the local department store, and I’ll always remember the size of my very first bra; 32 B. I remember my mom being shocked. My physical development had seemed to happen overnight. I blame the hormones in the milk
We drove home and as soon as we got there, I ran to my room and put it on. I turned to face my baby pink full length mirror hung on teddy bear wallpaper.
I looked at myself, thinking “I look like the ladies in the magazines!” I smiled widely. As a 5th grader I felt a sense of worth in my appearance.
I want you to let that sink in and think about it for a moment.
It didn’t take long for that feeling to go away. Just one short year later (and one full cup size bigger) I entered the world of Junior High.
And as soon as I crossed the threshold of my middle school, the lie I believed (that looking like a magazine cover would make me happy/loved/respected), melted away into the ugly truth behind a very real rape culture driven by female objectification and misogyny.
I spent the majority of those middle school years in the counselor’s office, and made excuse after excuse to not have to face my classmates on a daily basis. I was shamed by my classmates male and female alike for the way I looked.
By the time I was in eighth grade I weighed barely 100 lbs, but wore a DD cup bra. I was assaulted and tormented on an almost daily basis. Let me just recount some of the incidents I clearly remember:
The boys would whisper and plot…and then “accidentally” bump into me and grab my breasts. This was almost a weekly occurrence.
Sitting in the courtyard, a group of eighth grade boys took turns throwing stuff in my direction to see who could score a “basket” in my cleavage. My worth that day was relegated to “3 points”.
An older student approached me, and asked if I could settle a bet with him and his friends, “How big are your nipples?! They must be huge!”
Many boys claimed to have made out with me, slept with me, and felt up my breasts. Some said they were fake, others said they were real. No one cared I had hardly ever held a boys hand in real life.
On what I am guessing was a dare, a boy leaned over in algebra and undid my bra in the middle of a test.
I got a special note from my doctor that I wouldn’t have to participate in PE, because during my first semester I was traumatized as I had to run a lap around the gym to the audience of boys in the stands cheering me on and catcalling as I jogged by.
In the cafeteria in 6th grade, I was asked by a boy if I could squirt some milk into his cup because the lunchroom was all out. He then offered to let his black friend do it so that the milk would be “chocolate”.
In 7th grade a group of girls would whisper the word “slut” whenever I walked by. I didn’t even know what that word meant.
In 7th grade I had a guy ask me if he could see how many pencils he could stick in my cleavage. I let him, and then cried for 30 minutes in the bathroom afterwards. My worth that day was 7 pencils.
I was offered $25 to let a group of boys see my boobs.
One day I wore a graphic t-shirt that said 49 on it. The rest of the day I was called “49 DD”.
From that day forward (much to his shagrin) I wore my older brother’s oversized shirts to school.
I cannot count the times my bra straps were snapped, or the many incidences in which I would look over a see a group of boys making “motor boating sounds” or even the amount of times males would lose their filter all together and yell out something like “damn girl! Your tits are huge!”
I moved schools and states in 10th grade. It didn’t take a full day at my new school for the rumor of me being “a stripper in downtown Atlanta” to take hold.
My breasts were fondled, mocked, ogled, hit, objectified…and as they were all of those things, so was I.
By the time I was in high school, I looked in the mirror and had the same thought I had that day I tried on my very first bra, “my worth is based on how I look” but this time there was no smile. I was so much more, wasn’t I? Wasn’t I funny…and kind? Wasn’t I smart? I thought I was. I was failing many classes because I spent them crying and hiding.
From the time I was 11 until I was 18, even adult men would ogle me in public. My sweet grandma on my mother’s side, who has a pretty severe case of dementia, can still recount with gusto being with me in the grocery store when I was 13 and hearing a grown man make a loud comment about my breasts. My sweet grandma went off on him, and then I consoled her.
My father was a minister and I recall finding a letter written to him from a member, about me being a “distraction” at the church.
Now I was keeping people from God. What kind of foul creature was I?
I had money thrown at me out of cars.
Grown men in cars would roll down their window and ask me how much for a “titty f***?”
This is just a sampling for you. A “locker room talk” pupu platter, if you will.
I graduated high school weighing 105 lbs with FF breasts. The moment I turned 18, I submitted a claim to insurance to have a reduction done. I was told over the phone it would take 30-60 days to hear back but to please fax my photos and documentation. They called me back two hours later with a fully funded approval for surgery.
I have physical scars that remind me of that time in my life, but the emotional scars are far more prominent. I struggle daily with self worth.
It’s something my husband and I are working through together, but it affects me and my marriage every single day. The only reason I made it through as in tact as I did is because I knew Jesus, so I ultimately knew I was loved and had worth in who I was in him.
Sometimes the assault was physical, sometimes it was verbal but let me tell you the damage is the same.
For those of you who don’t think “locker room talk” has lasting effects, watch my face when I receive a compliment and witness my inability to comprehend your sincerity.
For those of you who don’t think it’s “that big of a deal” watch my breathing get faster when a male approaches me without my husband near.
For those who’d call it harmless, if you could only see how many tears I shed some mornings as my husband consoles me while I breakdown about my “worthlessness” and inadequacies.
These boys and men, they felt a sense of ownership over me and my body. A seemingly innate dominance, and what’s worse, I was dehumanized through the process in which they exerted their false sense of ownership.
Where did they learn that this was okay? Who told them this was acceptable? There are so many answers to this question.
But the biggest one is; American Culture. The porn industry, the media, the President (yes, Bill Clinton was president at the time and I was compared to Monica Lewinsky more than once). A women’s worth lies in their sexuality, and the men get to assign that worth.
That is what our children are being taught on a daily basis.
“Boys will be boys!” Do you know how many well intentioned people told me that to console me? Guess what affect that had? It set up a pattern of “settling” from me that led me into some unhealthy and abusive relationships.
Last night when I heard Donald Trump brush off his comments as “locker room talk”, there was a feeling of desperation and panic that rose up in me that I hadn’t felt for 15 years.
My 5 year old daughter lie asleep in her room mere feet away from my TV screen. In one moment I could see her closed door, behind which she slept peacefully unawares, and his face on the screen at the same time. And I was angry.
By elevating and looking past this type of behavior you are saying it’s okay.
You are telling young boys that degradation is normal, that assault is okay, that you can tear down half the human race and still rise to the most powerful and venerated position in the world.
This is not progress. There is no policy, no bill, no appointment that is more important to me than stopping the evil that is rape culture.
Because that’s what this falls into. I don’t subscribe or adhere to any type of excuse that allows humans to brush off reproachable behavior. This idea that “it’s just the way they are” or “they’re going to do it anyway” has to go away.
We have to start expecting and demanding more of ourselves as human beings, and a big part of that is NOT electing someone who engages in the verbal or physical assault of someone else.
Many people would say Hillary has verbally assaulted victims, and that’s fine if you believe that. Don’t vote for her either.
This isn’t an endorsement of a candidate. It’s a denouncement of behavior we’ve clearly approved of or settled for, to bring us to this place in history.
Real, good, amazing people exist out there. Unfortunately none of them are running for president.
It’s a broken system, it’s a broken country. But can we come together and agree that our daughters deserve more?
Can we teach them to raise their standards and not tolerate behavior or treatment that diminishes their worth as human beings?
Can we start by raising OUR standards as a country? By demanding and raising up leaders who have vision, experience, plans, AND integrity? No more excuses. No more “boys will be boys” and “politicians will be politicians”.
America, all I can do is tell you the same thing my sweet amazing husband has to tell me almost daily, to get me into the right frame of mind when I doubt my worth and tears fill my eyes. And hope you believe it.
“I love you. You are the standard by which I measure everyone else. I struck gold when I found you, and I’m the luckiest person in the world to call you home. You deserve the best”
You do. I do. WE do. My five year old daughter does. STOP the madness. Don’t settle, America.
No matter what happens on November 8th, I will teach my daughter and my sons that it’s not okay. It’s not the way it is or the way it’s supposed to be.
And even if we can’t get there now, maybe the next generation of voters will demand more from each other and God willing, more from their leaders.
My first and last political post of the season. Carry on.
This was originally posted on Facebook by Ashley Draper Sanchez.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Jenni C/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 482
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By John Massey
An approximately 60 mile stretch of land separates the Russian district of Kaliningrad, from the country of Belarus. It just so happens that this stretch of land is the border between Poland and Lithuania, and one of the most militarized regions in Europe.
As a result, this area has been called by some within the defense community “the New Fulda Gap“, referring to the presumed flashpoint of conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War.
Kaliningrad is a small Russian enclave separated from the rest of the country, and nestled between the Baltic Sea, Poland, and Lithuania. It was awarded to Russia in the Potsdam Accords of 1945, and functions as the home base for the Baltic Fleet. As the Kremlin continues takes an adversarial view of NATO, a heavily armed garrison in the district would seem a rational act. This is precisely what they’ve done by positioning several brigades as well as a Motor Rifle Regiment in the territory.
This in itself is not an overtly aggressive move. The Russian Government has just as much a right to defend its territory as any other.
However, the Lithuanian Minister of National Defense Juozas Olekas, said that the types of units being moved to Kaliningrad in large numbers are a threat to the Baltic States.
The Minister reports that “there are 30,000-35,000 troops, two mechanized brigades, armored vehicles in the hundreds rather than the dozens… Moreover, Kaliningrad hosts huge air defense forces. The older complexes get replaced by new and modern ones. Their range is rather extensive, over 400 kilometres.”
Olekas also claims that there is intelligence to suggest the deployment of SS-26 “Stone” ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad which are potentially capable of striking targets at 400 km, with a target accuracy of 5-7m.
An evolution of the infamous “Scud”, this system would be capable of destroying Command and Control Systems, landed aircraft, artillery, and civilian infrastructure. The Baltic States are understandably worried that their key advantages of superior organization and airpower could be knocked out.
Olekas is not the only one worried about Russian capabilities in the Baltic.
Lt. General Ben Hodges, who commands US Army Forces in Europe, recently said that the potential for conflict in the gap as something that keeps him up at night.
According to Hodges, the growing frequency of unannounced Russian military exercises in both Belarus and Kaliningrad can be viewed as a potential scenario to snatch the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, before their allies can muster a coherent response.
Lt. General John Nicholson, Commander of Allied Land Command concurs with Hodges’ fears but cites recent exercises, attended by Russian observers, as demonstrating NATO’s ability to “mobilize brigades and divisions within days”, further underlining the primary mission of the Alliance, deterrence.
Hodges went on to tell NBC News that there is no immediate reason for the Russians to seize the Baltic States, but notes that he was also taken aback by recent Russian adventures in Ukraine and Syria.
Retired General Bob Scales also has some fears related to NATO’s ability to respond to a crisis in the Baltic States. In a recent interview with Ryan Evans of War on the Rocks, Scales said that he has fears that Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty (the provision which calls for mutual defense of members under attack) has a credibility problem.
The claim is that NATO members, in particular Germany, Britain, France, and the United States, would not come to the aid of an alliance member further East, and recent Pew polling among people in NATO countries lends some credence to this fear.
Scales went further to note that NATO has eroded its ability to project on land over the last fifteen years, and while “this is not the Cold War”, and “the Russian military is not what it used to be”, he is adamant that the mission of deterrence is not being adequately filled, and that Anti Ship Missiles in Kaliningrad being able to block off the entire Baltic sea from NATO’s superior naval forces negate that advantage.
Scales did not request a hike in defense spending from the United States, suggesting that a “modest repositioning of existing American forces” would be sufficient.
Such an adventure into the Baltics is likely not going to occur in the near future. RISE NEWS has previously reported on the problems the Russian military has had in recent years with its ability to project. However some unknown rift in the future could ignite this flashpoint.
The immediate objective and cause would not be known to us, but the Grand Strategy objective would be, according to Western understandings of Russian Grand Strategy and history, would be to secure space between Russia and the presumably hostile NATO forces.
This is due to Russia’s industrial and agricultural core being concentrated in the European section of the country.
This seeking of space is a result of several invasions of Russia by aggressive actors to both the East and West, including but not limited to: Germany, Sweden, France, Britain, and the Mongols over the course of history.
Space is therefore a geopolitical imperative when Russia feels threatened. As is the case with Russia’s current adventure in Ukraine, so too could be the case at the Suwalki Gap.
This line of thinking is why NATO expansion is a contentious issue. On the one hand, NATO expansion causes the Kremlin to fear NATO forces crashing through their borders, and annihilating the state.
On the other hand, Article V protection deincentivizes Russian adventures in neighboring states, due to the collective protection offered by the Alliance.
The validity of Russian fears of NATO, much like the validity of the fear of Russians seizing the Baltic States, is irrelevant. What is important is that these fears exist, and are real to those who have them and shape policy.
Working through these issues should then be the key objective of European policy, preferably without “little green men” in Estonia Latvia and Lithuania.
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For conservatives, the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood is not actually as easy as it sounds from 30,000 feet. From an economic standpoint, Planned Parenthood is actually a smart way to save money for the government. Yes you read that right. Funding Planned Parenthood is actually the fiscally responsible thing to do.
Of course, some conservatives refuse to admit this fact.
In a recent Huffington Post article, Jeffery Young explains that Republicans claim cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood “wouldn’t harm women’s health, because other medical providers would pick up the slack”.
First of all, if the goal is to continue providing medical care, and many Republicans are hoping or rather, banking on another health care provider to “pick up the slack”, why even impede the crucial role Planned Parenthood plays in health care in the first place?
Secondly, not to get into semantics, but “other medical providers” dictates that these Republicans deem Planned Parenthood a legitimate healthcare facility.
So is this attempt to defund the organization because of abortions, (something that comprises two percent of what Planned Parenthood does) really what Republicans are prioritizing?
Abortion and Planned Parenthood have become synonymous. Unfortunately, this misrepresentation of the organization has created an ideological controversy that has sent socially conservative Americans into a fit of resentment and disapproval for the healthcare organization.
Strange, considering the fact that Planned Parenthood is one of the most fiscally conservative organizations in this country that the government subsidizes.
Journalist Amanda Marcotte explained in Slate just how cost effective Planned Parenthood really is. It actually provides a solid return on investment:
“Planned Parenthood cost the government an average of $148 for a patient’s contraceptive care in a year, while other clinics spent $215 a year per patient. Just pushing contraceptive care for these patients from Planned Parenthood to other clinics would thus cost the government an additional $174 million a year”.
So it is clearly not about the money, right?
If it were, there is no way that these Republicans would want to do away with Planned Parenthood.
After all, the organization treats around 2.5 million men and women in a year, and there is no way any small clinic would have the capacity, or the desire to treat such an influx in patients.
Here is a segment from a letter the director of the non partisan Congressional Budget Office Keith Hall’s letter to former House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy about the repercussions of defunding Planned Parenthood:
“Because the costs of about 45 percent of all births are paid for by the Medicaid program, CBO estimates that additional births that would result from enacting such a bill would add to federal spending for Medicaid. In addition, some of those children would themselves qualify for Medicaid and possibly for other federal programs.”
The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that obstructing patients access to health care at Planned Parenthood would cause a 35 percent decline on Medicaid from using “the most effective methods of birth control and a dramatic 27 percent spike in births among women who had previous access to injectable contraception”.
Blocking women’s access to Planned Parenthood does not make a stand against abortion; it stands against providing and protecting women’s bodies.
This ideological debate does not consider the repercussions for a large percent of the population. It does not consider what will be taken from American citizens, and it does not reflect fiscal evidence that proves the economic downsides to defunding Planned Parenthood.
Most importantly, it will not even accomplish what it is set out to do, and that is preventing abortions.
Starting in 2014, The Atlantic published a shocking series of articles about “DIY” (Do It Yourself) abortions in Texas.
By 2015, Texas had shut down twenty-four abortion clinics; and is expected in 2016 to be closer to thirty-one clinics.
The purpose of these shut downs was to eliminate the possibility of having an abortion in Texas.
A woman would have to travel what New York Times reporter, Kim Soffen projected as 111 miles outside the average Texas county to get an abortion. These shut downs led to a severe increase in self-induced abortions.
The Atlantic, also found that “Between 100,000 and 240,000 Texas women between the ages of 18 and 49 have tried to end a pregnancy by themselves”, from a survey done by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas.
Women were inducing abortions by taking the drug, Misoprostol, taking illicit drugs, using alcohol, and getting punched repeatedly in the abdomen; all because they did not have access to an abortion clinic.
When women’s access to contraception is obstructed, the rate of unwanted pregnancies increase. When abortion clinics that are equipped to safely perform the procedure are shut down, self-induced, unsafe abortions are performed.
Defunding Planned Parenthood will not stop abortions, if anything; it will cause unsafe attempts to harm the woman.
This impact is not limited to Texas.
In Utah, for example, defunding local Planned Parenthood clinics would cause 4,400 men and women to go without STD testing according to the state’s Department of Health– while 3,725 people with chlamydia or gonorrhea and their partners would not receive treatment at all.
In a recent New York Times column, Nicholas Kristoff reports that “American kids have sex as often as European kids but have babies three times as often as Spanish kids and eight times as often as Swiss kids.”
A lack of access to contraception is not going to keep individuals from having sex, it is solely going to cause individuals to have unprotected sex and result in possible pregnancies, possible STI’s, and if these clinic shut downs continue, possible self-induced abortions.
Abortions are going to happen whether we want them to or not.
Therefore, safe abortion clinics must stay open, access to contraception and health care must be available to everyone, and women’s health needs to be a priority.
And on the whole, Planned Parenthood is actually a pretty economically sound investment for the government to make. Budget hawks should be championing it and not trying to tear it down.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
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