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Supreme Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID Law

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Political Editor – LeNora Millen

The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court opinion that struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law last summer. The court denied North Carolina’s appeal of a court ruling stating its legislature intended to discriminate against minorities in enacting one of the toughest voter ID laws in the nation.  The stringent voter ID laws disproportionately burden voters of color, given reason for voters to become more aware of the five truths of voter suppression.

The law was challenged by civil rights groups and the Obama administration, which argued that the law’s photo ID requirement had a disparate impact on minority voters. Civil rights groups and then President Obama challenged the law, arguing that the law’s photo ID requirements imposed disparate impact on minority voters. The Supreme Court’s action keeps in place the federal appellate court ruling which previously struck down portions of the law and blocked enforcement.

It has been customary for the court to offer, no explanation for denying the appeal, whereas, no vote was noted. Chief Justice John Roberts said the state had produced a “blizzard of filings” over who was authorized to appeal. He noted that although the court declined to hear the case, the refusal expresses no opinion about the merits of the issue.

The North Carolina General Assembly urged the court to review a lower court decision that held the law targeted “African-Americans. The Supreme Court declined to weigh in. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote separately to stress that the denial should not be read as an endorsement of the lower court’s decision.

The case was complicated by the fact that after the election, North Carolina’s new governor, Democrat Roy Cooper, moved to dismiss the appeal that was first filed when Republican Pat McCrory was governor, while lawyers for the General Assembly urged the court to move forward.

The Supreme Court invalidated parts of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.  North Carolina imposed stringent photo ID requirement, reduced timeframe for early voting by seven days, eliminated the ability to register and vote the same day, invalidated votes cast in the incorrect precinct, and terminated pre-registration for 16-year-olds.

In a scathing decision last July, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state legislature explicitly set out to discover the kind of accommodations that minority voters use most often and were intent on rolling back or eliminating them, targeting African Americans “with almost surgical precision.” A month after the July decision, the Supreme Court declined to block the ruling, which prevented the state from enforcing the voter restrictions. The Justices were deadlocked by a 4-4 tie at the time.

A lawyer for the state, urging the Supreme Court to take its appeal, argued that the photo ID law is more lenient than one upheld by the court eight years ago. The law’s other provisions were in effect in two earlier state-wide elections “in which African-American participation increased,” according to S. Kyle Duncan, of Washington, DC.

The appeals court decision “insults the people of North Carolina and their elected representatives by convicting them of abject racism,” Duncan said. “That charge is incredible on its face given the pains the legislature took to ensure that no one’s right to vote would be abridged.”

According to Duncan, under then President Obama, the Justice Department urged the court not to take the case and to leave the lower court ruling in place which blocks enforcement of the voting restrictions. The government’s brief was filed one day before Trump’s inauguration. Trump’s Justice Department did not take a position on the case.

The NAACP also urged the Supreme Court to leave the lower court ruling intact. Some states have similar election practices, according to members of the NAACP, but that fact “cannot save or protect voting restrictions that are adopted with racial intent.” No other state “has simultaneously curtailed four different voting mechanisms disproportionately used by African Americans, while also imposing a strict photo ID requirement that excludes all forms of government-issued photo ID disproportionately held by African Americans, according to the NAACP.

The Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, said the ruling was “a vindication of our constitutional and moral critique and challenge to the constitutional extremism of our government.”

Civil liberties groups on Monday applauded the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal.  “This is a victory against voter suppression and should send a message to other states that such extreme and racially discriminatory laws will be struck down,” Janai Nelson, associate director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement.

“This law, enacted with what the appeals court called discriminatory intent and ‘almost surgical precision’ targeting African-American voters, is meeting its much-deserved demise,” Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement. “An ugly chapter in voter suppression is finally closing.”

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the court’s move “now renders North Carolina’s law null and void, and brings to a close a long and protracted battle over a law deemed one of the most egregious voter suppression measures of its kind.”

Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said, “This is a huge victory for voters and a massive blow to Republicans trying to restrict access to the ballot, especially in communities of color,” he said in a statement.”

The conservative Heritage Foundation said it was “disappointing that the Supreme Court did not accept for review an obviously wrong decision by a 4th Circuit panel that doesn’t follow the court’s precedent and other decisions on voter ID by other federal courts.”

 

 

 

 

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Lifestyle

Living a “Toxin Free” Life- It is possible!

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Today, we struggle to understand the language surrounding our health and beauty products. GMO, toxic, nontoxic, and chemical-free are among many confusing words that plague us. It is nice to know that there are a few companies that are transparent, upfront, and honest about ingredients, sourcing, and manufacturing. One of those companies is Poofy Organics. When Kristina Gagliardi-Wilson’s mother, Nella Gagliardi, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, they began to research chemical-free alternative products. They decided to create their own products when they discovered very few options. They have been creating delightful, healthy products since. The company, with its unusual name, is named after Kristina’s daughter Mariah, affectionately referred to as Poofy. The very popular Baby Poof line was created for her son Nicolas. It is truly a family affair, and all members help in the business. This New Jersey based business creates all the product themselves by hand, in small batches, using organic ingredients, including therapeutic essential oils and extracts. Poofy Organics does have the USDA certified organic stamp of approval.
Through the company’s distribution channel of Independent Guides, I had the pleasure of meeting Chelsea Allen. She had been using the products for three full years before joining as a representative. She was in search of some chemical free products for her two children. Her search led to this small New Jersey company. She has created an entirely toxin-free zone at home with Poofy Organics products. She has become passionate about helping others create that same life. One might be surprised at the number and types of products this company has. Some of the categories are: skin, hair, and body care products, cosmetics, deodorant, toothpaste, and an entire line of household cleaners. All are toxin- free. They even have nail polish and nail polish remover, which are free of toxins, formaldehyde, and acetone found in conventional products. Surprisingly, they even have nontoxic wax melts for your warmers, that are scented only with essential oils. Chelsea was very kind to share some samples of the products with me. The most amazing thing is that, contrary to what you might think, these products smell amazing. The bottom line is that your favorite products are available, they smell amazing, and you CAN detoxify your house safely. If you are a parent looking to create a safer home with less toxins, Poofy Organics is a great place to start. You can celebrate Earth Day with Chelsea Allen by visiting https://crunchychelc.poofyorganics.com and detoxify your home just like she did for herself and her family.

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Davidson Hotels and Resorts expands Portfolio with Hotel Zachary in Chicago

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Photo Courtesy of Hotel Zachary. Photo Credit: Dave Burk Photography (PRNewsfoto/Davidson Hotels & Resorts

Hotel Zachary has an exclusive blend, thoughtful amenities and artistic touches in every guestroom to locally-infused dining and signature cocktails from the City’s Top Chefs

 

Photo Courtesy of Hotel Zachary. Photo Credit: Dave Burk Photography (PRNewsfoto/Davidson Hotels & Resorts

This Week Davidson Hotel & Resorts – one of the nation’s leading hotel management companies for delivering hospitality and creating value – announced the addition of Zachary at Gallagher Way, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, to its highly curated Portfolio.

It’s owned by Hickory Street Capital, this exciting new hotel will be managed by Pivot Hotels & Resorts – Davidson’s Lifestyle and Luxury Division.

Hotel Zachary at Gallagher Way is a distinctive boutique hotel that brings history and style together to deliver an authentic Chicago neighborhood experience.

It’s situated in the heart of Chicago’s renowned Lakeview neighborhood.

Hotel Zachary at Gallagher Way is inspired by it’s namesake, famed Chicago architect, Zachary Taylor Davis, who designed the esteemed Wrigley Field in 1914.

Located in the heart of the city’s Lakeview neighborhood and adjacent to historic Wrigley Field, the 173-room hotel celebrates world-renowned Wrigley Field architect and Chicagoan Zachary Taylor Davis.

Hotel Zachary at Gallagher Way delivers a memorable guest experience to baseball fans, the curious traveler and locals in-the-know.

“My family and I are truly honored to bring the Hotel Zachary to Lakeview and the City of Chicago, “said Tom Ricketts, who is Chairman of Hickory Street Capital. “Hotel Zachary will pay homage to the neighborhood’s rich history and to Chicago’s architecture and design legacy. We’re excited to offer new chef driven restaurants and unique, year-round experiences for neighbors, families, fans and visitors.”

Hotel Zachary is situated within 238,000-sq-ft mixed-use development that also features some of Chicago’s best-known chefs and restaurants, including West Town Bakery & Tap, Big Star, Smoke Daddy, and Matthias Merges ‘new eatery, Mordecai. Hotel Zachary will deliver authentic local experiences on Chicago’s North Side, as a new in-town hub for city explorers, business travelers, visiting families and baseball enthusiasts to find entertainment, great dining and a distinctively personalized lodging experience.

For more information, please visit www.hotelzachary.com or follow along on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HotelZachary/ or Twitter http://twitter.com/hotelzachary

Source: Davidson Hotels & Resorts

Photo Courtesy of Hotel Zachary. Photo Credit: Dave Burk Photography (PRNewsfoto/Davidson Hotels & Resorts

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Messengers Among Us

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This week I have been amazed at the world around me. I am continually working toward self-actualization.  On this quest, I seek to manifest clarity of my beliefs for my well-being.  My work is to constantly detach from the world around me to find truth among the noise and chaos that consumes our lives and time. 

Think about that for a moment – the noise and chaos consuming.  Like a heterotrophic bacterium, eating and absorbing dead matter, the noise and chaos consume our lives and time in that same manner.  Look at your life and examine how much time social media, the news, entertainment, gossip, work politics and the like consume your mind and time.  It is as if your mind is constantly being pulled to the left and the right, jerking itself to keep up with one distraction after another. 

In moving so fast, we are also distracted from the beauty and perfection that is the foundation of all that is.  We miss the important things in life and instead become conformed to what we are consuming, noise and chaos. Chaos is disorder and confusion.  In life, it shows up as confusion of who we are, where we are and how we are.  Constantly out of order.  Not only in our minds, but in relationship to the universe itself.

In my discovery this week, I realized that my rush to reach goals, achieve heights and make the most of my time here on earth has caused me to miss out on what makes the journey beautiful.  I was missing out on the hands that push me along the way, the voice that draws my attention forward and the lights that guide my feet.  The little things that assure my safe travel and help to lift me above life’s heavy pull to complete the voyage.  These impressions I neglected.  I let them drown in the noise. 

In my haste, these hands and voices appeared to be talking trees.  An oddity that became normal to ignore.  After a few interviews this week and conversations with some amazingly insightful and determined individuals, I realized I was not walking past talking trees.  In my day to day, I was walking past individual spirits in human form with messages for me.  Their niceties, their conversations, their encounters, I shrugged off as part of happenings of life.  I forsook their importance and my importance in these moments.  I disregarded the work of the universe to perfect these moments.  I overlooked how important I must be for the universe to send a message to me in such an orchestrated manner.  I discounted how valuable the messenger must be to hold such information and maintain a life appointment neither was aware. 

I imagine that from the beginning of time, their life was formed, and their path perfected to be a messenger for me and me for them.  We for others.  Our meetings converted to a special remembrance to renew our lives and minds and assist in opening the eyes of others to messages all around them.

This week I became clear and grateful to the universe and the messengers for helping me to see what I had made myself blind to see.  Taking for granted the souls that surround me on any given day.  I became grateful for why I am pushed to help and connect with others. For, in the end, they actually help and connect me to me.  I am giving to no one; everyone is giving to me.  When I am giving to others, I give to myself and they to themselves.  My hand to them is a key that unlocks the message they hold for me.

I have a few stories I am writing that will be published in the coming weeks.  I wanted to use other people’s stories and messages to continue to have readers question themselves and their beliefs.  Have readers find hope, purpose, and well-being through the eyes and lives of others.  I wanted to put a spotlight on unique journeys and stories.  In actuality, I received light and answers to my questions.  I was sent their way to be fed.  Though their stories will be told, my story, in turn, has been enriched by their passage through my life.

This week I interviewed a blind man who had greater vision and clarity than those with eyes.   A man who helped me to see that my eyes are not for seeing at all.  They are for realizing and becoming aware of what I have already created.  A man that could walk you into your destiny, guided by his foresight within.  He caused me to see where I was blind.

I interviewed a woman whose personal path was destined by her ancestral past.  It was so intense, that when she did not listen to its call, it pulled her into death to ignite the gift and shift her mind.  It called her to death to give her a message and clear the confusion she walked in.  She returned to life with a power and message that only she specifically could hold.  Her life, her heritage, her persona perfectly orchestrated to be the messenger of this message.  Her gift and light gave me life.

I met a group of activist advocating for assisted suicide.  Their stories were informing me of points of view and processes that drew levels of compassion and questions of my belief system that I would never have challenged without their meeting.  I met groups of advocates for children, politicians and school leaders sharing hopes, dreams, limitations, and struggles.   These individuals were destroying biases and shifting my views.  They helped me release limiting thoughts and walk boldly into uncharted territories.  I offered my help, support, and conversation, not knowing that, in turn, I would be lifted. 

Though all of these individuals have different stories apprised from their life perspectives, I found them all speaking to me.  Their lives, their stories, their pains, their joys and gifts all held messages for me.  Some were whispers of Spirit leading or directing me.  Some held confirmations.  Others held fingers of light directing me toward a future I was unaware possible.  Their messages released doubts, strengthened, encouraged, empowered, opened doors of my mind and destroyed biases.

I learned through this experience to slow down and hear those speaking.  Stop rushing past so fast, that the voices become talking trees in the forest of my life. I will listen from now on.  I will see and connect to the messengers around me.  I will be grateful for them.  Because of them, I know I am never alone, and a message is always waiting for me to question, to answer my questions, to direct or inform me of me.

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