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Donald Trump has championed a series of controversial ideas. He wants to build a wall, reminiscent of the Great Wall Of China along the U.S. & Mexico border. He wants to ban muslims from entering the United States. While these ideas are terrible, Trump offered two more ideas that are being universally regarded as awful.

The First Terrible Trump Idea is that women who get abortions should face some form of punishment for exercising autonomy in their reproductive decisions. Trump could not say if he would punish women with a fine or jail time but he did emphasize that they must be punished. This extreme position is an idea that goes beyond the pale for even the most ardent pro life groups. March For Life-a perennial pro life organization released a statement saying: “Mr. Trump’s comment today is completely out of touch with the pro-life movement and even more with women who have chosen such a sad thing as abortion,” said Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. “Being pro-life means wanting what is best for the mother and the baby. Women who choose abortion often do so in desperation and then deeply regret such a decision. No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about. We invite a woman who has gone down this route to consider paths to healing, not punishment“.

Trump’s second Terrible Idea was to increase the presence of private prisons in our justice system. Perhaps Mr. Trump is unfamiliar with Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. who was convicted of accepting more than 1 million dollars in bribes from private prisons to fill their cells with juveniles. Judge Ciaverella is not the only justice to participate in such schemes. In introducing a profit incentive to incarcerate citizens, we pervert our justice system and undermine the faith citizens have in it’s outcomes.

These ideas represent a continuous decline in the seriousness of our discourse for the 2016 election.


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During last night’s MSNBC Townhall, Presidential “struggle” candidate, John Kasich was asked by an African American republican: “what would you do to build trust and reform social and economic injustice in the African American community”. Kasich’s reply was noteworthy as it hearkened back to the GOP posture of yester-year. Instead of offering strategies for attracting businesses and jobs to black communities or addressing inequity in school resource funding or offering initiatives to build thriving charter academies in black communities, Kasich seemed to view the question purely as a Criminal Justice inquiry and only when pressed by moderator Chuck Todd did Kasich discuss jobs or the economy in black communities. Hearing “social and economic justice” Kasich seemed to pigeon hole the question as a stereotype of black interests in police reform. While reforming the criminal justice system generally has profound economic consequences, the tepid police related reforms offered by Kasich missed the mark in a significant policy sense.

Kasich’s reply was to recall his creation of a committee that worked to express to the black community the good will of law enforcement and that officers simply don’t want to be “killed” or “taken out”. While the safety of law enforcement is a primary interest to all, it’s inclusion in his answer serves to curiously reinforce the notion that cops are under-siege and the black “super-predator” narrative damaging Hillary Clinton. It is worth pausing to consider that Kasich was asked how to improve social and economic injustices and his first statement was to emphasize officer safety from the violent impulses presumably in the black community? He went on to note that he revamped the use of deadly force policy and moved to create a police force that looked like the community it was serving. In the field of criminal justice reform, Kasich was offering very low hanging fruit. The primary cause of black incarceration is non-violent drug offense but as numerous studies have concluded blacks are no more likely than whites to use drugs. The outrageously high rates of incarceration are a result of targeting and unequal enforcement of drug laws against black communities. As John Ehrlichmen-former Domestic Policy Chief for Richard Nixon confessed, the drug war was created to target black people. Numerous exposes have uncovered how law enforcement routinely enforces drug laws through greater scrutiny of black and poor communities. Creating diverse police forces seems like a minor reform, given the totality of the issue and it’s profound implications for black families, black businesses and the black economy. He ended his statement by highlighting his attempt to let non-violent felons wipe their records clean, in order to gain employment which does address the economic incentive that generally drives recidivism but he felt the odd compulsion to book-end his statement with “IF YOU’RE A GANGBANGER, YOU WILL NEVER GET OUT”. The response in totality was peculiar. Kasich offered a winding reply that offered the African American questioner a more diverse police force and a potential cleansing of records for non-violent offenders as a paltry sandwich between assurances to the general GOP voting base that he was still tough on crime.

Kasich was asked about social and economic injustice which could broadly be seen as a question relating to the economy in black communities. Only when pressed by moderator Chuck Todd, did Kasich discuss creating minority set-asides for the construction of a road in his state. Kasich could have seen the question as a prompt to opine on entrepreneurship and improving prospects for funding minority start-ups. It could have be seen as a question prompting a discussion of systemic impediments to creating wealth and opportunity. Offering clean records to obtain jobs in jobless communities for individuals that have lost years of potential training and education as a result of being incarcerated for recreational drug use, is a half measure and only a band-aid after the state has already inflicted a severe wound to the family of black communities. For a candidate that has built it’s success on the Tone of it’s candidate this was quite possibly Kasich’s most tone def answer of the political season.






 It’s no secret that the practice of Yoga is increasing in popularity throughout the nation with no sign of slowing down. Sustainability, positivity, and healthy living are three of the trends we’re starting to see more and more people pay attention to, especially in the South Florida area. Who could be surprised, considering that the practice helps to not only improve mood, state of mind, and overall mental and physical health. Yoga brings the mind and the body together as one, creating a positive impact that will benefit you throughout every aspect of your daily life.


Yoga is here to stay. Each year, millions of Americans are hopping on board with the trend and reaping benefits that go far beyond the health-related. Yes, practicing Yoga will help tone your body. Yes, it aids in muscle recovery and respiratory strength. Yes, it helps burn fat and increase lean muscle mass. But the most exciting result, and arguably the most rewarding, is the positive impact that Yoga has on your mind. Its dynamic power benefits the brain, attitude, and overall reality.


Understanding this impact is as simple as this: Yoga poses and breathing discharge tension and stress, therefore relieving the body and mind of negativity. The concentration that is required during a Yoga session allows you to achieve full awareness and a present sense of being. Embracing the moment that is right now alleviates the anxiety, depression and distraction that most of us experience at some point during the day. Yoga can be practiced alone, in a class, or even at an all day festival with thousands of like-minded individuals looking to improve their lives, one breath at a time.


Coming to Fort Lauderdale this April, The Yoga Expo welcomes Yogis of all experience levels, beginner to pro, to attend and practice, learn about their community, and sample local, sustainable brands – all in a day’s worth! Founded by entrepreneur Kyle Michaud, The Yoga Expo is the largest festival of its’ kind, featuring both local and world-class teachers and studios, with over 150 classes throughout the day. The all-day event aims to strengthen the community, educating and empowering all who attend.


Tickets available:

Maria Maria Beauty Launch Event


Maria Baez

Saturday evening, March 5th, founder Maria Baez held a launch VIP reception for her Miami-based, namesake, organic beauty line Maria Maria Beauty touting the first item, a healing formula hand cream, at Wynwood Project Gallery. Headliner host Melyssa Ford, most recently of BRAVO TV “Blood Sweat & Heels,” reinforced support of Maria in overcoming adversity as a survivor of adolescent gang violence and marketing her purpose “hands are for holding, not hitting” to promote social change. Media, bloggers, local business owners, music artists and guests enjoyed performances by jazz saxophonist Jon Saxx and R & B singer Ramy Qasem of Redd City Music Group, an appearance by Bianca Silva recently crowned Miss United Continents, art by Danilo Gonzalez, an ice sculpture product demonstration station, glow lounge furnishings by Solaris Mood, and NUVO cocktails along with a generous assortment of hand-served appetizers. DJ Aziann spun throwback jams that had dancing going into the night.



Melyssa Ford of BRAVO TV “Blood Sweat & Heels”

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Bernie Sanders was expected to lose the state of Michigan and get trounced in the state of Mississippi. While Sanders was demolished in Mississippi as expected, he was miraculously lifted to victory in Michigan 50% to 48%. The thin margin of victory compels an analysis of what communities drove the razor thin win. The United States has long been a nation that defied common wisdom, transcended division and overcame the stumbling blocks of past conflicts. Tonight, the Muslim community in Michigan contributed a new chapter to our collective story of triumph over tribalism. In the first serious attempt to seek the Presidency by a Jewish American, Muslim Americans in Michigan supported Bernie Sanders by overwhelming margins. It is important to note that Muslims were merely a factor in a multi-variable calculus that caused Sanders to succeed (such as an over-performance among African Americans and under-performance by Clinton). Michigan is one of the few states that hosts a significant Muslim and Arab population. Throughout the Middle East, antisemitism in the Islamic World is not rare. Conflicts like the Israeli and Palestinian struggle for statehood have helped foment strife between the Abrahamic communities. A multitude of terrorist organizations and even some duly elected governments in Islamic states have called for the extermination of the state of Israel and of Jews in general. The cantankerous relationship has resulted in a global stereotype of strife between Jews and Muslims that lead many political observers to presume that Bernie Sanders would be roundly rejected by predominantly Muslim communities. And yet, online periodicals like The Arab American News endorsed Senator Sanders. The Arab American News wrote:

With the senator from Vermont, we have a historic opportunity to elect a principled politician who has remained true to his message from the days he was protesting with the civil rights movement to the day he proclaimed himself a democratic socialist on national television while running for president.

Most Arab Americans are hardworking, middle class families. The concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent of the nation’s richest people impacts this community directly. Sanders’ tax reforms and promised social programs would level the playing field for Americans to realize the American Dream.

Sanders stands for racial justice and has unequivocally condemned Islamophobia.

Sanders is a Jewish American. This newspaper and the community at large do not have a bias against anyone’s ethnic or religious affiliation. Ideas are what matters.

The newspaper does not trust Clinton’s interventionist inclinations. As secretary of state, she was a leading force behind the bombing campaign in Libya in 2011. There is no doubt that Muammar Gaddafi was a dictator who abused his people. But the hasty war on Libya, which was dubbed as humanitarian, led to that North African nation becoming a failed state. Now, two governments and countless militant groups, including ISIS, rule the once-stable country.

A CNN poll revealed this week that Sanders would beat Trump by a bigger margin than Clinton. According to the poll, the former secretary of state would top Trump 52 to 44 percent; Sanders would beat the real estate mogul 55 to 43 percent.

Even if Sanders does not succeed in winning the nomination, it is important for our community to vote for him, so he can promote his platform and communicate his ideas to the American public, taking his campaign all the way to the Democratic Convention. Between now and then, anything is possible.

Arab Americans need to stand for principles. In Sanders, we have a principled politician who is showing strength and courage in his campaign.

True to the history of America, American Muslims defied the conventional wisdom and at a ratio of 64% to 36% supported Bernie Sanders, who describes himself as proudly Jewish. Some have called the Michigan victory, the most stunning upset in recent political history.


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Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

In an early Town-hall hosted by Fox News in Detroit Michigan, Hillary Clinton unveiled a new policy that bares a striking resemblance to the most celebrated policy of her primary opponent. Secretary Clinton’s New College Compact or Debt Free Tuition Policy will undoubtedly be seen as a mimic of Bernie Sanders’ Free Tuition proposal. Both proposals, according to each candidate would cover the cost of attendance at any Community College or Public University. Clinton claims however that the Free-Tuition proposal posited by Sanders would do nothing to curtail the rising cost of education. Clinton claims that by offering “Free Tuition” universities are under no pressure to lower costs. She believes that she improves on the Sanders proposal and halts the precipitous rise of tuition costs by requiring colleges to effectively audit their degree programs and remove costs that are unrelated to the degree students are pursuing. “If its not related to a young person getting a degree that will lead to them getting a job, DON’T CHARGE THE STUDENT” railed Clinton. Clinton says that she will expect states to invest in higher education, noting that “we have enough prisons“! Mrs. Clinton offered no specific details on how states will be convinced to cooperate with her plan but she noted that she has the funding worked out, unlike Bernie Sanders. Clinton offers existing students the possibility of refinancing their student debt and paying back existing loans as a percentage of income, relieving students from high interest rates.





South Florida is known for its’ steamy temperatures and ridiculously hot bodies that flood the beach. Behind those hot bodies are beautiful souls who put in the time to keep themselves looking great and feeling even better. Liquido Active is a Miami-based active wear brand that offers limited edition apparel for women who love to make a statement. 

Liquido recently launched their Om Stars collection, which was created in collaboration with social media Yoga stars Kino MacGregor and Kerri Verna. The styles align with the Zen, ocean-oriented lifestyle that Verna and Macgregor know all too well. The brand is a true representation of hot and confident South Florida living. The bold colors and prints push boundaries, and lead designer Renata Facchini encourages her customers to do the same. A believer in the yoga movement and confidence that practice brings to women around the world, Facchini creates each pair of pants in limited quantity, offering designs to women that are as unique as each of their personalities.


Yoga is an exercise trend that is here to stay, and the apparel has become less of a niche market than what it once was. Many women are beginning to incorporate yoga attire into their day-to-day lives; shopping and running errands, or meeting friends for a causal coffee or lunch. Liquido’s designs are functional, flexible and flattering, allowing for women to transition seamlessly from the studios to the streets.


So what made this brand the perfect fit for social media stars, Kerri Verna and Kino MacGregor? They both share their thoughts below.


“Designing the Om Stars collection with Kino and the amazing team at Liquido has been a dream come true for me. I literally live in yoga clothes so what I wear is extremely important to me. This collection is both fun and functional. The amazing fabric is like a second skin on your body. The vibrant and colorful prints actually make me excited to get on my mat and practice. I hope that when people wear Om Stars they feel not only beautiful but that they also feel excited to practice,” Verna shares.


“I have long dreamt of the perfect yoga clothing line but no matter where I looked I just couldn’t find it. Until now! With Om Stars, Kerri and I have created the clothes that embody everything we love about yoga and life. We love the sun, the bright colors of Miami and the tropical feeling of living on the beach. Om Stars is just like us – fun, colorful and full of life,” MacGregor explains.


The Liquido Om Stars collection is made up of funky printed leggings, bandeaus, sports bras, tank tops, and shorts. Visit for more!