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Justice Department to Challenge Affirmative Action College Admissions

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions down. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

 The Trump administration plans to challenge affirmative action admission policies by redirecting resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies.

The policies according to the Trump administration are viewed as a means of discriminating against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.

According to the New York Times report on Wednesday, The Department of Justice is seeking current lawyers interested in working for a new project to investigate possible litigation “related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”

The latest announcement brings into question the project’s location.   One theory is that it may be run by political appointees as opposed to civil servants.  The division in question, within the Trump administration’s front office, is comprised of political appointees rather than its Educational Opportunities Section, which normally handles the work of schools, colleges, and universities and is run by career civil servants.

It is unclear regarding the language in the document in identifying explicitly, whom the Justice Department considers at risk for discrimination because of affirmative action admissions policies. However, the terminology used “intentional race-based discrimination,” points to reversing programs designed to bring more minority students to university campuses.

Amid the controversy over the DOJ challenging the college admission “affirmative action programs,” both critic and supporters of the project, agree that the move targets admissions programs.   The affirmative action programs, grant members of generally disadvantaged groups, such as black and Latino students preference over other applicants with comparable or higher test scores as reported by the New York Times.

The project is another sign that the civil rights division are taking on a conservative tilt under President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It follows other changes in Justice Department policy on voting rights, gay rights, and police reforms.

The Justice Department declined to provide more details about its plans or to make the acting head of the civil rights division, John Gore, available for an interview.

“The Department of Justice does not discuss personnel matters, so we’ll decline comment,” said Devin O’Malley, a department spokesman.

Division lawyers who interested in working on the affirmative action project must submit their resumes by Aug. 9, as noted in the announcement as it relates to the pending start of the affirmative action project. This project includes a series of changes pending involving civil rights law since the Trump presidency.

The civil rights division has been a recurring culture-war battleground as it passed between Democratic and Republican administrations.

During the George W. Bush administration, its overseers violated Civil Service hiring laws.  An inspector general found, by filling its career ranks with conservatives with minimal experience in civil rights law. At the same time, fewer cases were presented, alleging systematic discrimination against minorities – with more cases presented, which alleged reverse discrimination against whites, such as a 2006 lawsuit forcing Southern Illinois University to stop reserving certain fellowship programs for women or members of underrepresented racial groups.

In 2009, the Obama administration pledged to revitalize the agency and hired career officials who brought in several new lawyers with experience working for traditional, liberal-leaning civil-rights organizations.

Amid the pending firestorm surrounding the DOJ challenging affirmative action admission policies at campuses and universities, affirmative action grew out of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was meant to remedy past effects of discrimination on people of color.

Today, more than five decades since Brown v. Board of Education and James Meredith became the first black student admitted to the University of Mississippi, black and brown students in the nation still receive a far worse preK-12 public school education than white children.

Minorities are more likely than white students to be suspended from school, to have less access to rigorous math and science classes, and to be taught by lower-paid teachers with less experience, as noted in comprehensive data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights in March 2014.

By LeNora Millen 08-02-17

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Lifestyle

Simple Solutions to Combat Winter Skin Sensitivity

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The winter season is here, and it’s important to get in the habit of taking care of your skin. Cold weather brings low humidity levels and dry air, which can suck the moisture from your skin, and without proper care, skin can become dry, cracked and irritated, causing discomfort.

This winter, focus on a regimen that helps protect and hydrate skin so you can spend time enjoying the benefits of winter like family game night, snow days and snuggling by the fire.

Prepare your family for cold weather with these simple tips that can be easily incorporated into your family’s daily routine, keeping skin feeling soft and healthy all winter long.

Hydrate Inside and Out. Staying hydrated during the hot, summer months is a given, but it is also important to remember that cold winter air can leave your skin parched. Use a humidifier to keep skin hydrated during the dry months and be sure to lather on moisturizer. Natural moisturizers like coconut oil and shea butter can act as protective barriers against harsh elements, sealing in moisture. In addition to hydrating on the outside, it is just as important to stay hydrated on the inside. By drinking water throughout the day, your skin can stay healthy and moisturized.

Switch to a Mild Laundry Detergent. Many common detergents can be abrasive to sensitive skin, especially when it is more vulnerable to irritation during the harsh winter months. Wash bed linens, towels and clothes with a mild detergent like all Free Clear year-round, especially during the winter months. As the No. 1 recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists and pediatricians for sensitive skin, all Free Clear includes no dyes, fragrances or irritating residues. Using the power of stainlifters to fight tough stains, it is also safe for the whole family to use, keeping laundry clean while being gentle on skin.

Avoid Toxins, Specifically Allergens, and Irritants. Products that contain toxins, allergens and irritants should be avoided during months when skin is most sensitive. Choose moisturizers and skin care products that don’t contain common irritants, and opt for mild cleansers and moisturizers that are specifically labeled for sensitive skin. Castor oil is another moisturizer alternative that is natural and can be used on both the face and body.

Layer Up. Lock in moisture and protect your skin from wind, rain, and snow by wearing layers whenever you venture outside. The skin on your neck, face and hands is thinner than other areas of the body and therefore more sensitive to the effects of winter weather. Thermals, scarves and gloves can keep you warm and protect your skin from the cold, dry air. For those with sensitive skin, avoid synthetic fabrics and itchy materials like wool, and wash clothes with a dermatologist-recommended detergent like all Free Clear.

By implementing these best practices for skin sensitivity, you can minimize redness, dryness and discomfort to help skin stay healthy and glowing throughout the winter season. Visit all-laundry.com to learn more.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: All

@LeNoraMillen  01-21-18

 

 

 

 

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Lifestyle

Tire Safety Tips for Winter When Temperatures Drop

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The same temperature you can begin to see your breath at 45 F—is also when the all-season tires on your car can start to lose traction and grip.

As temperatures drop, drivers should remember that if you can see your breath, you should think about winter tires. Whether you’re planning a cross-country trek or simply driving to and from work daily, exposing your vehicle’s tires to colder weather could lead to potential trouble on the road.

Snow and ice may be fun to play in, but they make for dangerous driving conditions. Winter tires are built for cold-weather conditions and deliver improved starting, stopping and steering control in temperatures 45 F and below. The difference is the tread compound of winter tires, which stays soft and pliable in colder temperatures for superior traction. Add the tread design of winter tires with thousands of extra gripping edges and you get as much as a 25-50 percent increase in traction over all-season tires.

To help stay safe on the road this winter, the experts on tires and winter driving recommend following these four tire safety tips:

  • Get ready now. It is important to replace all four of your vehicle’s all-season tires with winter tires if you regularly drive in temperatures 45 F or below, snow or no snow. Winter tires are made of a softer rubber that allows the tires to stay pliable and maintain better contact with the road through winter weather conditions.
  • Don’t forget the wheels. Having a set of wheels specifically for your winter tires can save you money in the long run. Pairing a separate set of wheels with your winter tires can eliminate certain changeover costs and save your everyday wheels from the wear and tear brought on by ice, slush, snow, and salt during the winter months.
  • Know your numbers. Check your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure tires are at the appropriate inflation level. Temperature changes affect tire pressure – for every 10 degrees of temperature change, tire air pressure changes 1 pound per square inch. Low tire pressure can lead to decreased steering and braking control, poor gas mileage, excessive tire wear and the possibility of tire failure. Also, don’t forget to check your spare tire.
  • Rotate, rotate, rotate. To help increase tread life and smooth out your ride, rotate your tires every 6,000 miles or sooner if irregular or uneven wear develops.

Your safety is important, that’s why drivers should make it a point to beat the rush by getting winter ready before the first snowstorm or cold streak of the season hits.

Photo: Getty Images

Source: Discount Tire

 

@LeNoraMillen        01-19-18

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Health Care

Medicare Takes Aim at Medical Identity Theft: Protecting Seniors From Fraud

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Criminals are increasingly targeting people age 65 or older for personal identity theft. In 2014 alone, there were 2.6 million such incidents among seniors, according to the Department of Justice.

A growing offshoot of identity theft is healthcare fraud, which can result when someone unlawfully uses another person’s Medicare number. Medical identity theft can lead to inaccuracies in medical records, which in turn can result in delayed care, denied services and costly false claims.

That’s why Medicare works with the Department of Justice, taking aim squarely at would-be thieves. In the largest law enforcement action against criminals fraudulently targeting the Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare programs, 412 people around the country, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, were charged in 2017 with bilking U.S. taxpayers out of $1.3 billion.

New Medicare Card for 2018. (Video Courtesy of YouTube)

The next big fraud-fighting push is well underway — and its focus is protecting the personal information of senior citizens by removing their Social Security numbers from Medicare cards.

People with Medicare don’t need to take any action to get a new Medicare card. Beginning in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mail out newly designed Medicare cards to the 58 million Americans with Medicare. The cards will have a new number that will be unique for each card recipient. This will help protect personal identity and prevent fraud because identity thieves can’t bill Medicare without a valid Medicare number. To help with a seamless transition to the new cards, providers will be able to use secure lookup tools that will support quick access to the new card numbers when needed.

Healthcare fraud drives up costs for everyone, but healthcare consumers can be an effective first line of defense against fraud. Follow these tips to help protect yourself:

Do

  • Treat your Medicare number like a credit card.
  • When the new card comes in the mail next year, destroy your old card and make sure you bring your new one to your doctors’ appointments.
  • Be suspicious of anyone offering early bird discounts, limited time offers or encouraging you to act now for the best deal. That’s an indicator of potential fraud because Medicare plans are forbidden from offering incentives.
  • Be skeptical of free gifts, free medical services, discount packages or any offer that sounds too good to be true.
  • Only give your Medicare number to doctors, insurers acting on your behalf or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare, like your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
  • Report suspected instances of fraud.
  • Check your Medicare statements to make sure the charges are accurate.

Don’t

  • Don’t share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email or approaches you in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance. Medicare will never contact you uninvited and request your Medicare number or other personal information.
  • Don’t let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number.
  • Don’t allow anyone, except your doctor or other Medicare providers, to review your medical records or recommend services.
  • Don’t let anyone persuade you to see a doctor for care or services you don’t need.
  • Don’t accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman.

Learn more about how you can fight Medicare fraud at Medicare.gov/fraud, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also visit a local SHIP counselor, who can provide free, one-on-one, non-biased Medicare assistance.

With a common sense approach to protecting health information, senior citizens can be effective partners in fighting Medicare fraud.

 

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

@LeNoraMillen       01-19-18

 

 

 

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