Wednesday 03 2024

Unique, Hands-Free Ways to Soothe Your Baby

(Family Features) Most parents know – or soon will – crying is completely normal for babies. Even once you’ve determined a cause for the cries, finding foolproof ways to soothe baby can be difficult.

While traditional methods of soothing like bassinets and swings are often effective, they typically require parents to always be close by to keep baby calm. Bassinets and swings with innovative, soothing technology can help provide the safest place outside your arms to ensure baby is comforted and secure, allowing busy parents to have peace of mind while managing everyday tasks.

To bring baby from cries to comfort, Graco has introduced the future of innovative soothing with its Soothing Bassinet and Soothing Swing. Using SmartSense technology, they respond to cries with thousands of soothing combinations to help create more peaceful, happy moments for you and your baby.

Find more solutions to help calm and soothe your little ones by exploring the collection at

Soothe Baby Back to Sleep
Bassinets are recommended for newborns until they can roll over or push up (typically around 5 months old). Creating a fully immersive sleep environment, the Graco SmartSense Soothing Bassinet hears baby’s cries and responds by gradually adjusting thousands of soothing combinations to help lull baby back to sleep, including gentle motions, soft vibration, multiple speeds, white noise and calming music. Parents can also directly control the settings or stream songs and sounds via Bluetooth wireless technology. Its sleek aesthetic and woodgrain finish fit seamlessly into home decor while breathable, mesh sides and a firm, flat sleeping surface help create a safe sleep space for baby. Plus, the bassinet offers swaddle compatibility, allowing babies to sleep soundly by adapting to their needs whether swaddled or not.

Rock Your Baby to Comfort
Mimicking the way parents naturally soothe their babies, the Graco SmartSense Soothing Swing offers four unique motions – swing, rock, cradle and glide – as well as combinations of soft vibrations, speeds, white noise and calming sounds to help create more peaceful, happy moments. It boasts technology that hears your baby cry and responds in seconds with calming sound and motion. The swing also features a cozy body support made with organic cotton fabrics, three recline positions and a convertible harness with harness covers to keep your baby comfy and secure while swinging.



Supreme Court makes prosecution of Trump on obstruction charge more difficult, with ruling to narrowly define law used against him and Jan. 6 rioters

The Supreme Court faced a decision in a case involving participants in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot. AP Photo/John Minchillo, File
Riley T. Keenan, University of Richmond

The indictments – and in some cases, the convictions – of hundreds of people charged with participating in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, will have to be reconsidered, and possibly dropped, because of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2024. Among those charged using a broad interpretation of the obstruction law now narrowed by the high court: former President Donald Trump.

In its decision in Fischer v. United States, the Supreme Court held that a federal statute that prohibits obstructing an official proceeding may not apply to three defendants who were charged with participating in the U.S. Capitol riot. Although former President Donald Trump is not a defendant in the case, special counsel Jack Smith has charged him separately with violating the same statute.

As a law professor who teaches and writes in the fields of constitutional law and federal courts, I’ll explain what the court’s decision means for Jan. 6 defendants – and for Smith’s case against Trump.

Charges against Capitol rioters

According to their indictments, Joseph Fischer, Edward Lang and Garret Miller were present at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Prosecutors say that all three men entered the Capitol building and assaulted police officers during the riot. One of the men, Lang, brandished a bat and a stolen police shield, and another, Miller, later called for the assassination of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on social media.

Federal prosecutors charged the three men with various crimes, including assault on a federal officer, disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds and obstructing a congressional proceeding. That last charge is the one at issue in the Supreme Court appeal.

Before trial, the defendants argued that the law the prosecutors had used to charge them with obstruction applied only to evidence tampering, not the violent disruption of a congressional proceeding. The district court agreed and dismissed the charge, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed and sent the case back for trial.

The Supreme Court then agreed to hear the case, putting the trial on hold while it considered the dispute over the scope of the obstruction law.

Defining a catch-all term

In a 6-3 opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court agreed with the defendants and held that the statute prohibits only evidence tampering. It then sent the case back to the appeals court to decide whether the defendants violated the law under that narrower reading by trying to prevent Congress from receiving and certifying the states’ true electoral votes.

The court began with the text of the obstruction law. The law penalizes anyone who “alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object” or who “otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding.” The government argued that the defendants had “otherwise obstruct(ed)” proceedings in Congress to certify the results of the 2020 election.

But the court rejected that argument, holding that the phrase “otherwise obstructs” refers only to obstruction that – like altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing a record, document or object – impairs the availability or integrity of evidence for use in an official proceeding. The law’s catch-all for “otherwise obstructing” an official proceeding must be read in common with the list of actions that precedes it, the court explained. Otherwise, the list would be redundant.

The court also pointed to the law’s historical background. Congress, the court explained, enacted this specific obstruction law in 2002 in the wake of the Enron accounting fraud scandal. Its aim was to fill a gap in the nation’s existing obstruction laws, which at the time prohibited directing a third party to destroy incriminating evidence but not destroying the evidence oneself.

The government’s reading of the law, the court explained, would stretch it far beyond that purpose, prohibiting forms of obstruction that had nothing to do with evidence and that Congress never intended to criminalize.

What this means for Jan. 6 defendants – and for Trump

Five men and four women are wearing black robes as they pose for a portrait.
The Supreme Court, from left in front row: Sonia Sotomayor, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan; and from left in back row: Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Supreme Court’s decision does not end the case against the Fischer defendants, who will likely stand trial on their assault and disorderly conduct charges.

But it may lead to the dismissal of obstruction charges, or reversal of obstruction convictions, for other Jan. 6 defendants. According to an NPR database, federal prosecutors have charged at least 250 other defendants with obstruction of an official proceeding, and 128 have been convicted.

The ruling may also undermine special counsel Jack Smith’s case against former President Donald Trump, whom Smith has charged with obstruction under the same law. If that case survives a separate pending Supreme Court appeal, the former president will likely seek dismissal of that charge.

Trump may not succeed, however, as the obstruction charge against him is based in part on the allegation that he organized slates of electors to certify false election results to Congress. That may amount to impairing the integrity of the evidence used in the certification proceedings.

And the obstruction charge is also not the only count the former president faces. But the ruling may narrow the case and make it more difficult for the special counsel to present evidence to the jury concerning the violence that occurred on Jan. 6. Under this new ruling, that violence alone may not count as obstruction.

The Fischer case also shows how sometimes, especially in high-stakes cases, the justices can use methods of legal reasoning that they are quick to criticize in other contexts. In the opinion, members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority cited the legislative history of the obstruction law – evidence that conservative jurists such as the late Justice Antonin Scalia often called unreliable.

The Supreme Court’s decision in the Fischer case may have a profound effect on the special counsel’s historic prosecution of former President Trump.

But even if it does not, it still sheds important light on the court’s inner workings and the federal government’s power to safeguard the integrity of its proceedings.The Conversation

Riley T. Keenan, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Richmond

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

Give Your Grilling Game a Flavor Boost: 3 tips to make summer meals deliciously memorable

Make sure your grill game is on fire this summer. The right prepping, seasoning and grilling techniques can help you serve your favorite foods in the tastiest ways all summer.

Consider these helpful tips from the flavor experts at Watkins.

Seasoning with Staying Power
The first step for impressive flavor is proper preparation. For dry seasoning, blot meat or sliced vegetables (such as zucchini) with paper towels to dry. Then rub 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable oil over each piece to help your seasoning or dry rub stick.

For marinades, after mixing – but before adding the meat – reserve 2 tablespoons of marinade liquid to baste meat while on the grill. If you’re dicing meat (except for shrimp), do so before adding it to the marinade so each piece can soak in as much flavor as possible.

Finally, no grilling menu would be complete without burgers. Adding a seasoning tailor-made for this all-American classic, like Watkins Organic Hamburger Seasoning, brings an unforgettable boost of flavor. You’ll want about 1 tablespoon of seasoning for each pound of ground meat – just be sure to mix in thoroughly before you make your patties to distribute the flavor evenly.

Flavor for All Your Favorites
While most people think of meats for grilling season, there are so many ways to spice up all your favorite foods and beverages. For fajitas, you can use chili lime seasoning for the meat and put it on the rim of your lemonade or margaritas, too.

You can also switch it up and roast potatoes instead of fries to go with a well-seasoned burger. Try peppercorn Parmesan seasoning for a complementary flavor. If you’re looking for a finishing touch for steak, mushrooms make a perfect enhancement and you can use the same steak seasoning to prepare them.

A Showstopping Side
Grilled corn makes a fresh, juicy side for summer meals. For tender kernels and a milder char flavor, leave the husks on, soak the corn in water for 20-30 minutes and grill over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes. For more char and caramelized flavor, remove the husks and grill over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, turning frequently.

After grilling, remove the husks (if needed) and lightly coat the corn in butter before seasoning. Corn can work with a range of flavor profiles – get creative with Watkins Organic Mesquite, Chili Lime or Peppercorn Parmesan seasoning blends to make your most memorable corn yet.

Whatever you add to your menu, enjoy finding new summer staples. For more flavors and grilling inspiration, visit

Southwest Pork Chops

  1. Combine chili lime seasoning, black pepper, cooking oil and pink salt. Spread mixture evenly over pork chops. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat grill to medium heat. Grill pork chops 4-5 inches from heat source, turning frequently, until no longer pink when cut near bone. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Peppery Beef Kebabs

  1. Sprinkle sirloin with steak seasoning and black pepper. Thread beef onto skewers along with bell peppers, onions and mushrooms, as desired.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Grill, turning occasionally, until meat is cooked to desired doneness, 5-7 minutes. Serve atop cooked couscous or rice.
Watkins Spices

Friday 28 2024

Celebrate Salad Season Outside the Bowl

Elevate mealtimes with Caesar salad-inspired dishes

From putting a family meal on the table after activities to hosting a large crowd at your next get-together, a seasonal favorite like Caesar salad can serve as the perfect canvas for creating quick, easy-to-prepare meals.

With more than 100 varieties of fresh, healthy and convenient ready-to-eat salads – including 11 Caesar salad varieties like the Caesar Chopped Salad Kit – Fresh Express provides tasty, versatile salad kits that can be modified to fit nearly any kind of meal you might be craving.

Available in the refrigerated produce department, these premium mixes can be eaten as a standalone salad when time is of the essence or taken beyond the bowl and fused with another beloved classic, like tacos, for a burst of flavor and texture in every bite. These Fried Chicken Caesar Tacos, ready in just 30 minutes, feature savory Caesar salad – crisp, chopped romaine; herb-seasoned crouton crumbles; cracked pepper; grated Parmesan cheese; and a delicious Parmesan Caesar dressing – enveloped in a crispy, golden chicken shell.

Even when time is limited, flavor doesn’t need to be compromised. Inspired by high-end dining experiences, the Fresh Express Twisted Creamy Truffle Caesar Chopped Salad Kit provides a gourmet twist to turn these Creamy Truffle Caesar Pork Sandwiches into a culinary delight. Ready is just 20 minutes and featuring tender pork strips; a Caesar salad mix of garden-fresh crispy romaine lettuce, delicate sprinkles of truffle Parmesan cheese, crunchy garlic brioche croutons and creamy dressing; and sauteed onions on a toasted bun, every bite is a sensation to be savored.

To find more inspiration for elevating your salads or locate a store near you, visit

Creamy Truffle Caesar Pork Sandwiches

Prep time: 5 minutes 
Cook time: 15 minutes 
Servings: 4

  1. Preheat pan on stove over medium-high heat. Season pork chops with Italian seasoning.
  2. When pan is hot, add oil and pork chops. Cook pork chops, turning halfway through, until they reach minimum internal temperature of 145 F, 6-8 minutes per side (depending on thickness).
  3. Once pork chops are cooked through, remove from pan and let rest a few minutes.
  4. Peel and slice onion. After resting, slice pork into strips; set aside.
  5. In same pan, saute onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  6. In large bowl, combine lettuce, dressing, croutons and cheese from salad kit.
  7. In separate pan, toast buns until golden brown; set aside.
  8. To build sandwiches, place sliced pork on bottom halves of toasted buns. Top with prepared salad mixture and sauteed onions. Finish with top halves of buns.

Chicken Caesar Tacos

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  1. In shallow bowl, beat eggs. In separate bowl, combine flour and half packet of taco seasoning.
  2. Place chicken in resealable bag and, using meat tenderizer, pound to 1/4-inch thickness.
  3. In medium saute pan, heat oil over medium heat.
  4. Season chicken breasts with remaining taco seasoning.
  5. Coat chicken in flour mixture, dip into beaten eggs then coat chicken in flour mixture again, pressing firmly to adhere.
  6. In pan with hot oil, cook battered chicken until golden brown, flipping halfway through, until chicken reaches minimum internal temperature of 165 F, 4-5 minutes per side (depending on thickness). Fry in batches to avoid overcrowding pan, if necessary.
  7. Once fully cooked, fold chicken over to create taco shell-shape. Place sheet pan on top to hold shape, 3-4 minutes.
  8. In large bowl, combine lettuce, dressing, croutons and cheese from salad kit.
  9. Once chicken taco shells set, carefully remove sheet pan. Fill each taco shell with prepared salad mixture.


Fresh Expres

A campaign-defining presidential debate

ShipEngine. The #1 Shipping API. Try it Free!
U.S. President Joe Biden and Donald Trump participate in the CNN Presidential Debate on June 27, 2024. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Mary Kate Cary, University of Virginia and Karrin Vasby Anderson, Colorado State University

With four months to go until Election Day, the earliest-ever general election debate featured two presidents – one current, one former – and a lot of bitter personal attacks. Joe Biden’s universally acknowledged poor performance surprised and even panicked Democrats; Donald Trump gave a more forceful – if not truthful – performance.

The Conversation asked two scholars, Mary Kate Cary and Karrin Vasby Anderson, to watch the debate and analyze a passage or a moment that stood out to them. Anderson is a communications scholar with a specialty in gender and the presidency, as well as political pop culture. Cary teaches political speechwriting and worked as a White House speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, for whom she wrote more than 100 addresses.

A white man with gray hair answers a question during a presidential debate.
President Joe Biden speaks during the CNN debate against Donald Trump on June 27, 2024, in Atlanta. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Karrin Vasby Anderson, Colorado State University Department of Communication Studies

One of the first definitions of good public speaking I learned as a college debater and student of rhetoric came from the ancient Roman scholar and rhetoric teacher Quintilian. In his 12-volume “Institutio Oratoria,” Quintilian said the ideal orator was a good person, speaking well. He was particularly concerned about the danger that a skilled rhetorician who lacked character could pose to society.

A presidential debate ought to showcase ideal orators – skilled speakers who are also people of character. The June 27 debate offered voters an either-or scenario.

Former President Donald Trump was aggressive, confident and disciplined, but he peppered his remarks with a steady stream of lies, half-truths and misinformation. President Joe Biden focused on Trump’s documented record – both criminal and political – but failed as an orator, demonstrating none of the charisma and command on display during his most recent State of the Union address just four months ago.

The contrast was clear early in the debate when CNN’s Dana Bash asked Trump whether he would block access to abortion medication. Trump said that he would not. He then falsely claimed that, in the lead-up to the 2022 Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and removed the federal protection for abortion rights, “everybody wanted to get it back to the states, everybody, without exception.”

Trump then went on offense, accusing Democrats of taking “the life of a child in the eighth month, ninth month, even after birth.”

Biden’s response was initially clear and resolute: “It’s been a terrible thing, what you’ve done,” he said. And he pushed back against the preposterous claim that “everybody” wanted Roe v. Wade overturned, saying, “the idea that states are able to do this is a little like saying we’re going to turn civil rights back to the states (and) let each state have a different rule.”

But the rest of Biden’s response was muddled. After “veering inexplicably” into an anecdote about a woman murdered by an undocumented immigrant, Biden expressed his support for people’s right to choose by saying on three separate occasions that the decision should be up to a doctor, rather than the pregnant person.

Trump closed out the segment by reiterating his blatant lie in stronger terms: “So that means, he can take the life of the baby, in the ninth month and even after birth because some states, Democrat run, take it after birth.” The Associated Press’s fact check of this claim is succinct: “Infanticide is criminalized in every state, and no state has passed a law that allows killing a baby after birth.”

After nearly a decade of exposure to Trump’s habitual misinformation, lies about states murdering babies may not stand out as shocking in a presidential debate. And, certainly, it’s an argument that should have been easy for Biden to refute.

But if the populace must choose between a good person and someone who spoke well, Quintilian would remind us that someone who speaks well but has no integrity is dangerous.

The consequences for the republic could be dire.

A white man makes a gesture with his hand during a presidential debate.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question during the first debate of the 2024 U.S. presidential election. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mary Kate Cary, University of Virginia Department of Politics

I think America just saw history being made.

Within 10 minutes, a very hoarse President Joe Biden, was asked about deficit spending, lost his train of thought, and ended his answer by muttering something about “beating Medicare.” It was awful.

There were so many moments when Biden looked confused and unable to process what was happening. I took notes on key exchanges, but the number of embarrassing episodes, unfinished sentences and incoherent phrases by Biden is too long to list. His answer on why he should be president in his 80s somehow veered into computer chips being made in South Korea.

Former President Donald Trump made his own share of missteps, but overall, he was relatively sharp, and restrained when he was provoked. He scored some points on the issues and did much better than he did in their first debate four years ago. Trump did better than I think many people thought he would.

Our assignment tonight was to find a moment to react to and put it in context. I’ve been to multiple presidential debates and watched many more on television over the years, and have never seen anything like this.

Is there any way the Democrats can convincingly argue for keeping Biden as their nominee?

The bottom line: Moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash did a good job of asking substantive questions and keeping control of the debate; Trump missed an opportunity to knock it out of the park but got through it; and Biden will most likely have caused a disaster for the Democratic Party.The Conversation

Mary Kate Cary, Adjunct Professor of Politics and Director of Think Again, University of Virginia and Karrin Vasby Anderson, Professor of Communication Studies, Colorado State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

ShipEngine. The #1 Shipping API. Try it Free!

Sunday 16 2024

Quench Your Summer Cravings with Bold, Refreshing Beverages

In between summer adventures and hot afternoons spent poolside, you’re likely looking to combat rising temperatures with a cool, refreshing beverage. This year, quench your thirst with drinks that play up the trendiness of bold flavors.

While many concoctions can help you beat the heat, some gems seem to hit the spot better than others. Consider one of the trendiest beverages that is increasingly becoming available at smoothie and juice bars nationwide but which you can also prepare at home: the tempting, bold taste of the Mangonada. With a harmonious fusion of sweet, spicy and tangy flavors, this thirst-quencher captures the essence of tropical indulgence with the majestic mango at the center of its symphony of flavors.

“Mango not only adds a burst of flavor but also brings a unique depth to the beverage,” said Dan Spellman, director of marketing for the National Mango Board.

Central to the Mangonada is Tajín Fruity Chamoy Sauce and Clásico Seasoning – a zesty blend of chili peppers, lime and sea salt – which are must-have ingredients to make the beverage. They combine to infuse the drink with a subtle kick, balancing the mango’s sweetness with a hint of spiciness that hits different.

This beloved beverage has captured the hearts and palates of people worldwide with its bold flavors and vibrant spirit to make summer deliciously unforgettable.

For another take on a classic drink, give this Tangy Chamoy Tropical Daiquiri a try at your next summer cookout. You can enjoy its cool, refreshing flavor with just the right touch of spice from Tajín Fruity Chamoy Hot Sauce with the yellow cap, which is made with natural ingredients but offers a unique fruity and tangy flavor, ideal for pairing with sweet snacks like fruits, smoothies, mangonadas and ice pops. With no added sugar or coloring, they’re perfect for the entire family all summer long.

There are thousands of ways to enjoy these unique flavors. To find more refreshing drinks that beat the summer heat, visit


Recipe courtesy of the National Mango Board

  • 1 cup fresh mango cubes, plus 5-6 cubes for garnish, divided
  • 2 ounces fresh mango nectar
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1/2 ounce agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons Tajín Fruity Chamoy Hot Sauce, plus 2 ounces for garnish, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Tajín Clásico Seasoning, for garnish
  • 1 tamarind candy, for garnish (optional)
  1. Measure 1 cup mango cubes, mango nectar, lime juice, ice and agave nectar into blender cup. Blend until smooth.
  2. In separate small dishes, add 1 ounce hot sauce and 1 ounce seasoning.
  3. Dip rim of 14-ounce Collins glass into hot sauce then seasoning to coat. Drizzle remaining hot sauce along inside of glass.
  4. In glass, pour 1 tablespoon chamoy sauce followed by blended Mangonada. Top with remaining fresh mango cubes and sprinkle with additional seasoning. Add tamarind candy to glass, if desired.

Tangy Chamoy Tropical Daiquiri

Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

To Rim Glass:


  1. Rim two glasses in hot sauce then in seasoning.
  2. Blend diced pineapple with orange juice, ice and hot sauce; pour into glasses.
  3. Garnish with pineapple slice.

Thursday 13 2024

Make Summer Travel with Pets Enjoyable and Seamless

5 pet-friendly travel tips for summer trips

For pet owners, cats and dogs are part of the family, which means when it’s time to head out of town this summer, the four-legged friends get to come along, too.

In fact, a survey conducted by Motel 6 revealed that of 2,000 Americans with summer leisure plans, the vast majority of those traveling with pets this summer (90%) are bringing their dog, and more than a quarter (31%) are bringing their cat.

While traveling with pets can be a handful, Motel 6 and its Chief Pet Officer, Garfield, fresh off his wild adventure in “The Garfield Movie,” offer these tips to help make the journey easier, safer and more fun.

Pack the Essentials: Travel anxiety is real for your four-legged friends, too, so keep the experience as “pawsitive” as possible by packing your pet’s favorite toys and snacks. Don’t forget to pack enough food, like lasagna; water; collapsible food and water bowls; and a favorite blanket or bed to provide a sense of familiarity.

Map Out Stops: One in 6 (16%) Americans with summer travel plans are driving to their destinations because they plan to bring their pets along. Travelers should map out breaks, especially when it comes to stopping for meals, in anticipation of traffic and construction. This can help ensure they find spots for bathroom breaks and a chance for active pets to exercise. Even lazier pets can enjoy the fresh air.

Find Pet-Friendly Lodging: As you plan your getaway, look for pet-friendly lodging options with plenty of places to lounge, like Motel 6, which offers travelers and their four-legged friends affordable accommodation, and pets always stay free. This helps take the stress out of researching hotel pet policies and paying additional fees. Traveling pet parents can join the free My6 discount program to receive a minimum of 6% off every stay at locations across the country and access to hundreds of pet and travel benefits.

Travel Safely: If you’re planning to travel with your pets, ensure they receive the royal treatment by researching how to safely transport them during the trip. The Humane Society of the United States recommends that cats and dogs travel in their crates or carriers anchored by a seatbelt to prevent them from moving around the car. It’s important to never leave your pet alone in the car or place your pet in the front seat because it could lead to injury. Always keep pets on leashes when outside, no matter how well-trained they are, as new surroundings or unexpected noises can startle them.

Remember to Have Fun: Travelers’ top reasons for bringing their four-legged friends on trips include spending quality time with them and the joy of seeing their pets happy (39%), making new memories with their pets (34%), seeing their pets’ reactions to new experiences (32%) and the extra level of companionship pets bring to trips (29%). A few ways to reserve quality time with your pets include dining at pet-friendly restaurants (preferably ones with unlimited cheese), locating nearby green spaces or parks to play, trying new experiences together or going on walks. For those who like a more leisurely travel experience, don’t forget to add a quick cat nap with your pet to your schedule.

As you look to map out your summer travel plans, visit to find pet-friendly, affordable lodging. 

Motel 6

Sunday 09 2024

Biden’s immigration order won’t fix problems quickly – 4 things to know about what’s changing

Shop now with Predator Gaming.
Undocumented migrants in Jacumba, Calif., are detained by U.S. Border Patrol officers on June 4, 2024. Katie McTiernan/Anadolu via Getty Images
Jean Lantz Reisz, University of Southern California

Immigration is a top issue in the upcoming presidential election – and President Joe Biden’s new executive order restricting migrants’ ability to apply for asylum is likely to further elevate the subject in national politics.

The number of undocumented migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has soared in recent years, with 249,785 arrests taking place along the border in December 2023. That marks a 13% rise from the 222,018 migrants arrested by the Border Patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border in December 2022.

Jean Lantz Reisz, an immigration law scholar at the University of Southern California, explains four key things to know about how this executive order will take effect and influence immigration trends.

A white man with white hair and a dark blue suit stands at a podium with the presidential seal on it, in front of an American flag and a blue screen that says 'Securing our border'
President Joe Biden speaks about his executive order limiting asylum on June 4, 2024, at the White House. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

1. The executive order is basically an asylum ban

Biden announced his executive order on June 4, 2024. It prevents everyone who crosses the U.S.-Mexico border without a visa, and not passing through an official port of entry, from seeking asylum. It goes into effect when the number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border each day exceeds an average of 2,500.

There have generally been more than 2,500 people without visas crossing the U.S.-Mexico border for each day of Biden’s entire presidency.

Effectively, this is a ban on asylum, meaning the legal right for undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. because of the harm they face in their home countries.

Under Biden’s order, some undocumented migrants who express a fear of returning to their home countries may be eligible for other kinds of legal protections – for example, legal protections intended for torture survivors.

In order to get this special legal protection, migrants would have to show U.S. border and immigration officials a lot of evidence outlining the danger they would face in their home countries. They would need to show more evidence than is required for asylum-seekers. Migrants will generally not have this evidence on hand and, as a result, will not receive any kind of legal protection or chance to stay in the U.S.

Over the past decade, including during Biden’s presidency, approximately two-thirds of people who applied for asylum while they were in deportation proceedings were granted asylum or another kind of legal protection that allowed them to stay in the U.S., according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data organization at Syracuse University.

Biden’s order means that many individuals who previously would have been entitled to asylum, per U.S. law, will now be expelled to Mexico or their home countries without the opportunity to apply for asylum.

2. This could lead to a rise in undocumented minors crossing the border solo

Many individuals who reach the U.S.-Mexico border and cross into the U.S. without a visa or an online appointment to meet with U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be quickly turned back and deported to Mexico or returned to their home countries. The U.S. will need cooperation from Mexico to be able to turn back non-Mexican citizens to Mexico. Mexico currently accepts Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan citizens deported from the U.S.

In December 2023, about one-fourth of the migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border were from Mexico, while another one-fourth were from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras. The largest group of apprehended migrants were from other countries, including Venezuela and China.

Biden’s order will not apply to people who are under 18 and cross the U.S.-Mexico border without a parent or guardian. These children will be detained and placed in deportation proceedings where they can seek asylum or other immigration protections.

This creates the risk that desperate parents will send their children alone across the border. This happened from March 2020 through May 2023, when COVID-19-related border restrictions, called Title 42, similarly banned undocumented immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border from seeking asylum. This restriction did not apply to unaccompanied minors. It resulted in a sharp spike in undocumented minors crossing the U.S. southern border from 2020 through 2023.

3. Biden is taking a page out of Donald Trump’s book

Biden is basing this executive order, in part, on an immigration statute called 212(f), which gives the president very broad authority to suspend the entry of certain noncitizens because it would be “detrimental” to U.S. interests.

Former President Donald Trump cited this law when he implemented a travel ban that temporarily suspended the entry of noncitizens from seven countries, including five Muslim-majority countries, in 2017. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the third version of this ban as being lawful in 2018. Biden reversed the ban in 2021.

A long line of people stand on the pavement, with a wall next to them.
Migrants, mostly from Central America, wait in line to cross the border from Matamoros, Mexico, to Brownsville, Texas, on June 4, 2024. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

4. The executive order won’t be so easy to implement

Biden’s ability to actually reduce the number of migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without a visa or any other kind of authorization will depend on several factors.

The president will need Mexico to accept more deported citizens of different countries in order for the U.S. to swiftly turn away migrants. U.S. Border Patrol and immigration agencies have also been overwhelmed by the large influx of undocumented migrants crossing the border. They cannot easily apprehend and screen all migrants or quickly respond to migrants’ applications to stay in the U.S. in immigration courts, which have a historic and massive backlog.

Quickly processing and deporting migrants back to their home countries will also be an obstacle that could limit the order’s effectiveness. U.S. immigration officials will first need to determine whether someone who states a fear of returning to their country qualifies for other kinds of legal protection that are not asylum.

Deporting a Mexican citizen or a Cuban, Venezuelan, Nicaraguan or Haitian citizen can be done quickly and easily, since Mexico will accept them. Deporting migrants from other countries would require their governments to help them get the necessary travel documents and, in most cases, arrange airplane flights.

Still, Biden’s order may deter many migrants who plan to cross the border in the hopes of being allowed to remain in the U.S. and seek asylum.The Conversation

Jean Lantz Reisz, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Co-Director, USC Immigration Clinic, University of Southern California

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

Shop now with Predator Gaming.

Saturday 08 2024

How to be Emotionally Present at Work When You Have Real Stuff Going on at Home

Cuban Cigars Guaranteed Delivery to the USA

by Eileen Hoenigman Meyer

Colleagues paying attention to a presentation - Yuri A/Shutterstock

We all go through hard times. Whether it's managing an illness, supporting a sick family member, going through a divorce, aiding a struggling child, or dealing with a job loss in the family, weathering a crisis is an emotional and logistical undertaking.

Most of us have to work during these difficult stretches, which means we can't navigate them as privately or as independently as we'd like. While this can be challenging, there are benefits to managing stressful times in the comfort of our professional communities. Existing in a known space driven by a familiar routine and populated with supporters can be helpful when we're struggling.

It's important, though, to proceed with a plan. Developing a self-care strategy and remaining realistic about how much you're asking of yourself are key to staying emotionally grounded and present when you're working through a challenging time. Here's what to consider as you get started.

Lean Into Your Routine

According to Assistant Professor Nadia Ibrahim-Taney, being emotionally present in the workplace means "how one is connected to themselves, their work, and the people they do work with." Your daily routine fortifies this interconnectedness by providing a nourishing, familiar framework that you've carefully crafted over time.

Recognizing the familiarity of our professional rituals and relationships reminds us that one part of life continues to make sense, even during a crisis.

"Work is a constant in most people's lives so in difficult times, which can often coincide with chaos or change, having elements of daily life remaining constant and predictable can be reassuring and helps center us," explained Ibrahim-Taney.

While your workplace can offer a sense of reprieve from the stress of the situation at home, there is also pressure, expectation, and stress at work. It's a lot to manage, and you may be operating differently while carrying this additional weight. You may find that your patience, resilience, and attention is impacted. This is normal and understandable.

Recognize your new limitations. Don't apologize for them. Make a plan, and reach out for the help.

Get Clarity Around What You Need

Talk to someone outside of your situation who can help you see and sort your feelings. Use the wellness resources on campus. Meet with your mentor. Talk with a therapist. Consider doing these things before you discuss what you're weathering with anyone who is directly involved in your work.

Having a sense of what you need before you bring any team members into your situation puts you in control. While it can feel overwhelming to manage a difficult situation, it's helpful to be the one driving this.

As you work through it, outline what you need: Will you need to work remotely more often? Will additional support with certain projects help? Is a leave of absence possible?

Make a list. Review your employee handbook. See what your institution offers. Think through who you feel most comfortable coming to as you access your needs. Are you ready to talk with your manager or would it feel better to start with your human resources partner?

Even though your feelings run deep about what you're going through, try to think about the management of this like any workplace project. Plan it in stages with the colleagues with whom you work best.

Identify Your Support System

"Sometimes when it rains, it pours, right?" said Ibrahim-Taney. "It can often feel like that with work as well. If things are hard at home in your personal life and hard at work and it is tough all around- that's when you need to lean into your people."

It's important to be strategic about who you invite into your support network, especially at the start.

Share your news strategically rather than spilling it to try to get some comfort when you feel emotionally vulnerable.

"Consider who are the people at home and at work who can support you?" Ibrahim-Taney recommended. "What kind of support can they offer and how does that align with the support you need?"

Identify particular people for specific jobs. For example, some colleagues may be especially helpful when you're feeling vulnerable. Others may be resourceful assisting with logistics.

Keep in mind that you don't have to share what you're going through with everyone, and you don't have to discuss anything more than is comfortable for you. Make defining and maintaining your own boundaries a key part of your self-care plan.

Create Your Narrative

Sometimes, you don't have the opportunity to decide what to share or not. If a family member passes away, if you are returning from a medical leave, or if you encounter another obstacle that is known around campus, you may find yourself in the difficult spot of managing both the crisis and the communication around it.

This can be especially hard. Colleagues with the best intentions can be hurtfully clumsy in their efforts to soothe or they can ask questions that are beyond what you want to discuss at work.

It's helpful to develop a narrative, an elevator pitch, for what you're weathering. You get to decide how to shape, share, and discuss this news. You don't owe anyone information about your health or circumstances. Decide how you want to talk about it and stick to that script.

Doing this initial work can help you get some clarity around your feelings, and it puts you in charge.

"A sense of control is perception, if you feel out of control, change your perception of what you can control and be in control of yourself," Ibrahim-Taney advised.

Protect Yourself

Don't push yourself too hard. It's okay to move slowly. It's okay to need breaks. You may sometimes have to shut down for the day to take care of yourself. You don't have to be anyone's hero or inspire anyone with your strength. You just have to get through this.

Some years, we grow and thrive while other years we just survive. Both shape our character.

Recognize what you're managing. Accept it, and care for yourself accordingly. Give yourself the space, resources, and support you need to get through this. Adapt your thinking and allow yourself to be a person in pain.

Needing support is humbling and hard, but it seeds an awareness that forges deep connections among other benefits. Suffering is not the path to reinvention that most of us would choose, but it aids our reinvention nonetheless.


This article is republished from HigherEdJobs® under a Creative Commons license. 

Cuban Cigars Guaranteed Delivery to the USA

500 years ago, Machiavelli warned the public not to get complacent in the face of self-interested charismatic figures

Julius Caesar was the first tyrant of Rome, after which Rome was never again free. Steve Christo/Corbis via Getty Images
Vickie B. Sullivan, Tufts University

A United States president sought to remain in office after his term ended, maintains a worshipful following and has declared he will operate as a dictator only on “day one” if reelected. His cunning and manipulation of American politics and its legal system have, so far, blocked efforts to hold him accountable.

That sort of activity has been called “Machiavellian,” after Renaissance writer Niccolò Machiavelli, who lived from 1469 to 1527. He wrote a notorious little treatise called “The Prince,” in which he advises sole rulers – his phrase for authoritarians or dictators – as well as those who aspire to sole rule to use force and fraud to gain and maintain power.

But scholars of Machiavelli like me know there is much more to his analysis. His 16th-century writings discuss not only princely rule but also republican governments, in which citizens select leaders directly or indirectly for specified terms. He instructs republican citizens and leaders, including those of the United States, to recognize how vulnerable the governments they cherish are and to be vigilant against the threats of tyranny. Machiavelli’s advice is as relevant now as it was then.

Machiavelli’s republican experience

A portrait from the side of a man.
Cosimo de’ Medici was an autocratic ruler in Renaissance Florence, in what is now Italy. Bildagentur-online/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Machiavelli knew from experience and his extensive reading that there was a long history of nations with republican governments falling victim to ambitious individuals who sought to subvert their nations’ practices and institutions so they could rule alone and unchecked, with all others serving at their behest and on their authority.

For example, he was from the city-state of Florence in what is now Italy. Florence had had a republican tradition for centuries, but about 30 years before Machiavelli’s birth, banker and politician Cosimo de’ Medici had subverted that system. Cosimo had used his family’s wealth to propel himself to political power by exerting influence over officeholders so that he was the ultimate decision-maker.

Cosimo’s descendants inherited his political power. They briefly lost their grip on power just long enough for Machiavelli to participate for about a decade as an official and diplomat in a restored republic. Machiavelli was in office when the republic collapsed with the return of the Medici family to power.

Removed from office, Machiavelli wrote “The Prince.” He prefaced it with a dedicatory letter to the young member of the Medici whom the family had designated as the new ruler of Florence. Commentators have long disagreed about what Machiavelli sought by so obviously pandering to an autocratic ruler.

The ‘Discourses,’ Machiavelli’s republican writing

A portrait from the side of a man.
Niccolò Machiavelli was an Italian philosopher and writer. Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

That puzzle is all the more perplexing because elsewhere Machiavelli expresses his commitment to republican government. He wrote another book, less well known and much less pithy than “The Prince,” entitled “Discourses on Livy.” In the “Discourses,” Machiavelli uses the work of the ancient Roman historian Livy to examine how the Roman republic was overthrown by a single leader.

At its founding, Rome was a kingship, but when subsequent kings became tyrannical, the Roman people overthrew the monarchy and established a republic, which had a remarkable history and lasted almost 500 years.

The Roman republic collapsed in 44 BCE when Julius Caesar declared himself dictator for life. Machiavelli wrote that Julius Caesar was the first tyrant in Rome, with the result that Rome was never again free.

Julius’ immediate successor Octavius, who assumed the name Caesar Augustus, ruled as the first of a long line of emperors.

Lessons from the demise of the Roman republic

The key lesson of Machiavelli’s examination of Roman history in the “Discourses” is this: A republic is fragile. It requires constant vigilance on the part of both the citizens and their leaders.

That vigilance is difficult to maintain, however, because over generations, citizens and leaders alike become complacent to a key internal threat that haunts this form of government. Specifically, they fail to grasp early enough the anti-republican designs of exceptionally ambitious citizens among them who harbor the desire to rule alone.

Machiavelli provides instructive examples of how Rome failed to protect its republican practices and laws against such a threat. When the republic was young, Rome allowed candidates to nominate themselves for high offices. This practice worked well because only worthy candidates put themselves forward. Later, however, the practice of self-nomination allowed into office those who wanted to promote their own popularity rather than respond to the needs of their country.

Machiavelli said that leaders and citizens devoted to the republic should have closed off this easy route to power to such candidates. But Rome failed to act. Because of its complacency, Caesar was able to build on the popularity that his predecessors had amassed and to transform Rome into a tyranny.

Men in purple-edges togas grapple, as one wields a knife and another gapes in terror.
Actors recreate the assassination of Julius Caesar, which came too late to save the Roman republic from collapse into authoritarian rule. Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

The point of no return

If republican citizens and leaders fail to be vigilant, they will eventually be confronted with a leader who has accumulated an extremely powerful and threatening following. At that point, Machiavelli says, it will be too late to save the republic.

Machiavelli uses the examples of Caesar’s assassination in Rome and Cosimo’s exile from Florence to underscore this lesson. In each case, the supporters of their respective republic, finally perceiving the danger of tyranny, initiated an attack on the people’s idol. In each case, that effort led not to a restoration of republican freedom but rather to its elimination.

In Rome, Augustus used the public’s sympathy and devotion for the martyred Caesar to seal the republic’s demise. In Florence, Cosimo himself was welcomed back from exile to become Florence’s leading man.

The fate of the American republic

For Americans, the question is whether, as a result of public complacency, the republic will be lost. Will the American republic fall to the same perils that Machiavelli identified in ancient Rome and Renaissance Florence?

Perhaps an opportunity exists to breathe new life into the nation’s republican practices and institutions. Perhaps there is still time to reject through elections those who seek office only to enhance their own power.

Or perhaps it is so late that even that approach will not work. Then, Americans would be left to mourn the demise of their republic and to affirm Machiavelli’s counsel that republics fail through complacency. Such an outcome for one of history’s most exemplary republics would stand as a wretched testament to Machiavelli’s political insight.The Conversation

Vickie B. Sullivan, Professor of Political Science, Tufts University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.