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Puerto Rico’s aid is trapped in thousands of shipping containers

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Puerto Rico’s biggest port has been reopened, though efforts to expedite relief supplies to the island devastated by Hurricane Maria are challenged by severe damage to the road, computer systems and other critical areas that challenge logistics.

The White House’s refusal to temporarily suspend shipping restrictions in the wake of Hurricane Maria is an example of numerous roadblocks preventing Puerto Ricans from acquiring emergency supplies.

Approximately 9500 shipping containers filled with food, medicine, and other relief goods are located at San Juan’s port, unable to be unloaded and distributed because of damage to the island’s infrastructure and a lack of trucking manpower.

Despite the San Juan port reopening on Friday—A U.S. Coast Guard official said the loading dock’s computer systems aren’t working.  Adding to the logistical challenges, Puerto Rico’s main fuel storage plant, located in the vicinity where Maria made initial landfall remains closed.  As in most areas ravaged by hurricanes or storms, lines at gas stations reportedly stretch for miles.

The majority of people on the Caribbean island are still stuck without basic supplies a week after the disaster. Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Jones Act—the nebulous 1920 shipping regulation holding Puerto Rico hostage, explained:

Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island of Puerto Rico leaving in its trail destruction and devastation, with millions lacking power, damaged homes, and a severely damaged infrastructure, and a year’s worth of agricultural output essentially ruined. As in most disaster prone areas, Puerto Rico is desperate for supplies shipped from other parts of the country.

Given the location and stringent shipping rules—receiving goods from the U. S. mainland to Puerto Rico is more costly than sending them to Texas or to other Caribbean islands as a result of the Jones Act.

Somewhat vague in its description, the “Jones Act,” for those familiar with the act—is a 1920 regulation requiring that goods shipped from one American port to another be transported on a ship that is American-owned, American-built and crewed by U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The obscurity of the Jones Act escapes most American’s because the effects of shipping restriction via the act does not directly affect American’s; therefore, the Jones Act is not a major concern.  Enriching only a small number of American ship owners, the act may occasionally present them with a few reminders of the certain adopted privileges of economic activity in the United States.

In contrast and comparison—for the residents residing on the island of Puerto Rico, though, the Jones Act factors into their outcome in time of relief aid when faced with natural disasters.  The rules of engagement shift toward lending itself to the basic shipments of goods from the island to the U. S. mainland, and shipments from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico, must be conducted via more costly ships, protected under the act as opposed to global competition.

Puerto Rican purchases are more expensive relative to goods purchased on either the U. S. mainland or other Caribbean islands, which drives up the cost of living on the island.

Thursday morning, the Trump administration—though belated—granted the island a temporary waiver from the law’s requirements, a needed action that should help to expedite immediate disaster relief.

“A humanitarian crisis is about to explode in Puerto Rico,” Nelson Denis, a former New York State Assembly member who’s written a book on Puerto Rico, wrote days earlier in a New York Times op-ed on “The Law Strangling Puerto Rico.” “But the consequences of Jones Act relief would be immediate and powerful.”

Puerto Rico faces a staggering array of long-term economic challenges beyond the hurricane, and the Jones Act serves as a major impediment to addressing some of them. However.  A short-term waiver doesn’t address the law’s real damage to the island according to Denis.  It can’t be simply repealed altogether, exempting Puerto Rico from the law would be an easy way for Congress to boost the island’s fortunes at no cost to the average American.

The Jones Act is a 97-year-old law protecting American shipbuilding

The Jones Act is the shorthand name for the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, whose primary author was Sen. Wesley Jones of Washington. (It’s not to be confused with the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917, which is also critically important to Puerto Rican history but which was sponsored by Rep. William Atkinson Jones of Virginia and relates to the legal status of the island.)

The goal of the legislation was to ensure the existence of a thriving U. S.—owned commercial shipping industry, a topic that had become salient during World War I when blockades underscored the close link between maritime commerce and warfare.

One section of the law mentioned earlier in this report requires goods transported by ship from one U.S. destination to another to be carried on U.S.-flagged ships that were constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by US legal permanent residents and citizens. The ideology of the law was perhaps conceived upon the theory that in case of war there should always be a big supply of American-made, American-owned, American-crewed ships that could be counted on (and, if necessary, conscripted) to supply American commerce even in hazardous conditions.

The Jones Act is often waived in a disaster

The Jones Act is relevant because it prevents a small number of U. S. shipbuilding and merchant shipping operations from going out of business, thus keeping them out of range of special interest groups or within the quagmire of political ramblings between parties.

On the other end of the political spectrum, the executive branch has the authority to waive the Jones Act under special circumstances, as done past when faced with making it excessively costly when shipping American goods from one destination in America to another becomes a high-profile issue.

The people of Puerto Rico require relief while caught within the red tape of bureaucracy and infrastructure damage on the island of Puerto Rico.  Proponents addressing Puerto Rico’s dilemma state the following:

“A narrow law exempting Puerto Rico from its reach could be a helpful idea. Alternatively, a midsize law that would narrow the Jones Act to the contiguous 48 states might pick up the congressional delegations of Alaska and Hawaii as champions while lifting Puerto Rico incidentally.”

While the devastation of Hurricane Maria has the spotlight on the island of Puerto Rico—the subject of maritime regulation will likely slip back into obscurity — dragging down Puerto Rico’s economy resulting from time gaps in lifting waivers and indifferences in policy, in the face of people requiring immediate aid and expediency in a time of need.

 

LeNora Millen   09-28-17

 

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Maybelline New York Announced Josephine Skriver as Global Spokesmodel

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Josephine Skriver (PRNewsfoto/Maybelline New York)

Maybelline New York, the World’s leading cosmetic brand, announced recently with excitement, Josephine Skriver is the Global Spokesmodel for Maybelline.

Josephine has risen to the top of her industry, through years of dedication, hard work and hustle in the Big Apple and around the world. She is well-known International Model with a Loyal Fan base, recognized by her philanthropic work, down to earth personality and immense success in her modeling career.

“Being a part of the Maybelline New York family is a dream come true! I have been wearing Maybelline since I was a little girl,” said Josephine.

“We are beyond thrilled to have Josephine as part of our Maybelline family,” said Leonardo Chavez, Global Brand President, Maybelline New York. “A Partnership with Josephine was completely organic because she resonates with our global customer and is a dynamic and fresh addition to our roster of talent. She embodies determination, grit, energy and spirit, while having a true connection to New York and the dream of making it happen in this city.”

Josephine is excited to continue her work with Maybelline New York this Spring, appearing in her first campaign for the brand for the launch of Super Cushion 2-in-1 launching in May 2018.

For More Information visit www.maybelline.com

SOURCE Maybelline New York

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Lifestyle

Informer – This is a Mind Shift

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We have all had moments of defining ourselves by our stories.  For many of us, this is the only way we know how to explain who we are, through our stories.  We tell them repeatedly.  Churning them in our minds, over and over again.  Explaining them and valuating them to expound on why we do and think what we do.  Clarifying to others in order for them to see why our story is a commodity.  Stories that illuminate why we are strong, resilient, persistent, purposed, important and valued.  All these traits birthed and utilized to define who and what we are.  I am not saying we should not do these things.  We should take account.  Mostly for ourselves to help remind us that nothing has truly defined us, destroyed us or prevented us from self-actualizing. 

However, I find that too often, we become victims to the stories.  We self-define ourselves in line with our strengths, our culture, our ethnicity, our religion, our weaknesses and other traits the stories unveil.  I find that many of us never go beyond those defining moments and memories.  We hold on to them and stake them with flags of self-discovery.  Finding refuge, celebration, and relief of the claim, that today, I know who I am.  The flag stuck soundly in the story as if land conquered and made claim to.  From that moment on, we sit on the land I call moment and tell the story of how we got there, what happened there and why we are still there. We become synonymous with the story.  We see no separation between our existence and definable moments.

I question today why revelations are turned into definitions of self?  Are we really defined by the land of experience we lay claim to?  Are we defined by the revelation the stories reveal?  No, we are not defined by anything.  We are informed of all things.  I am no more defined by being a woman or being of African descent than I am the land my home resides upon, the car I drive, the losses I experience or the degrees that hang on my wall.  These things inform who I am and who I attempt to become.  They inform my walk, possible encounters, and impediments, uniqueness’s, gifts, talents, and influence.  None of it defines.  I am undefinable.  I am above definition.

We are beyond definition.  Every time we define ourselves, we limit who we are and our possibilities to become.  When we allow things to inform us of who we are and what we will do or encounter, it allows us a freedom to question and navigate around and through various life happenings. Why?  Because without definition, there is no tethering to any one moment.  Informing allows us to be made aware.  It directs and the breeze of empowerment from what we become aware of moves us further down the path of life.

To allow definition means to allow self to be stuck.  Stuck speaking and living through those defining moments, identities and ideologies of what was.  When defined by those things outside of us, we lose our power to be, to change, to awaken, to separate and recreate as the creator that we are. 

Today I inform you that you are beyond definition.  I ask you to destroy the dictionary life experiences and encounters have solidified in your hand that tether you to yesterday.  A land that has withered and deteriorated with time, no longer benefiting you.  Realize you are an encyclopedia, informed by each day, each year, each decade, and forever evolving.  Always becoming renewed and expanded upon.  The knowledge that comes from the informing permits you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Authorizing you to make a more informed and better choice today and masterfully form tomorrow.  We are not defined by anything.  We are informed by everything. 

 

 

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Old School Dating VS. New School Dating

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Photo Credit: Jessica Stibbs from Nubian Message

Do you know the difference and are willing to make a change?

By Shanti Bloodworth

I remember when my grandfather use to tell me all the stories about how he had to work hard just to take my grandmother out on date. Back in the 1940’s they did not have cell phones that included FaceTime and texting. You literally had to meet the woman’s parents first just take to take her out for coffee. Now, men can meet a woman randomly and never have a full understanding where she came from. Who do we blame? Do we blame the media, technology, or ourselves?

I am going to blame all three aspects that has changed the way dating is taking place. Social media is the new dating app/meeting new people. Technology has us so lazy to the point we just talk on the phone with our partner more than having an in-person conversation. Lastly, we have to blame ourselves for the change of dating. We can still go back to the basics of dating with purpose. In today’s society, women are accepting being the Side Chick and men are accepting being treated like a sex toy. Below I have created a list of old school dating tactics that we should start back doing in 2018.

 

  1. Him walking to your home door to pick you up
  2. Bring a small gift such as flowers
  3. Dress to impress: Blazer with some nice slacks (men) & Knee length dress with 2 inch heels (women)
  4. Verbally ask them out on a date: Not Via Text, Facetime, Email, or Social Media
  5. Always open every door for her
  6. Your Dating Elevation Pitch: If you run into someone while out on a date, introduce your date to your friend.
  7. No Sex: Flirting is fun while on a date with each other but does not mean you have to hit the bed in the next two hours. Always respect each other!
  8. Cell Phones Off Limits: Put your cell phone away! No need to check your emails, text your friends, or scroll through your Instagram account. Enjoy that little time with each other.
  9. Homemade romantic gestures: My grandfather use to make my grandmother cute cards saying how much he misses her. The smallest thoughts would take you a long way guys.
  10. Having a Purpose: Make sure the both of you are on the same level with each other. After you spend so much time with each other, please do not be afraid to ask if you’re a couple.
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