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The Struggles for Citizenship

Many around the world dream of one day claiming the American Dream for themselves. Because that dream is shared by so many, however, that often means it is incredibly hard to reach. Consider the difficulty in receiving residency in America, or as it is popularly known, getting a green card. The odds are very much against all but the very best and brightest. Even they have to work hard and hope.

But even for those who have an easier path, for instance, those who marry Americans and immigrate through that more straightforward process, the steps to reaching citizenship are still incredibly difficult.

While there may be a bias in some circle in this country against the process, with an assumption that it is quite easy, those circles would be wrong. There is a residency requirement of multiple years (at least three for those married to an American, at least five for other green card holders) that prohibit long-term stays (more than six months) in the home country. The fees for every application, from the first visa to the first green card (for two years), to the permanent green card (for ten years after the initial two) are quite steep. No matter the pathway an individual immigrant takes, it’s impossible to stay in America and work towards citizenship without spending thousands of dollars in the process. That is a lot of money for those new to a country who must also invest in building a new life.

Beyond the costs, there is the paperwork, which is extensive. Just as thousands of dollars must be spent, so hundreds of pages must be filled out meticulously. Even the slightest mistake or inaccuracy can lead to an application being denied, which would mean a need to pay the application fees all of over again. Rigorous records must be kept for every trip, every move, every new job. For those on a marriage visa, records must be kept to show when the couple met, how their courtship developed, and every proceeding step from there. Evidence will be required for all of these moments, and again, a mistake could cost thousands as well as months of waiting while potentially also being left in legal limbo.

The difficulties are great enough that many people choose to go to an immigration lawyer who can help guide them through the citizenship process. But again, that is another expense to consider in an already expensive process.

Of course, in the end, if all goes well, the immigrant receives permanent access to that American Dream, which makes it all worthwhile, but it would be unfair to those immigrants to assume they have not worked hard or sacrificed to earn that dream. From the moment that person woke up in their native country and decided they wanted to be an American to the moment they receive their certificate of naturalization, it can take almost a decade of their lives, a large portion of their income, and countless hours of work.

It’s all worth it, but we should appreciate them for caring so much about our country that they’d sacrifice so much to join us here.

Pool Maintenance

Swimming pools are a source of great fun in the summertime. What kid doesn’t dream of having a swimming pool in his or her backyard?

Yet, it’s important to keep in mind, as a parent, that swimming pools aren’t just for fun. Swimming pools can be dangerous.

For instance, the most obvious danger with a swimming pool is the risk of drowning. While this danger is always present when near water, the risk is greater when a family owns the pool simply because the water is always there. Kids can sneak out and swim at night or go out when parents are taking a nap. At any time, the risk is there. Parents need to take extra caution because of this. Putting up a fence around the pool would help keep the younger children out. For older children, strict rules with strict punishments are suggested to drill in the dangers of the pool. Also, make sure all children, regardless of age, get swimming lessons.

Another risk with a pool is slipping. Again, this is always present when water is around, but once again, a pool at the home means the risk is always there. To limit the risk, make sure your pool doesn’t have slippery surfaces nearby and enforce the rule of no running near the pool.

Further risks include, on the one hand, the spread of disease, and on the other, chemical exposure. These are really two sides of the same coin. If the pool water is not treated enough, bacteria can grow and that can lead to illness for people who swim in it. If too many chemicals are used (or someone gets into the chemicals) there’s a risk from that exposure. To limit this risk, keep careful track of your pool cleaning schedule and lock away any chemicals you use. Ideally, hire pool cleaners since they know best when and how to clean pools.

There are many smaller dangers also to consider, from injuries from pool toys to sunburns, and all such dangers suggest a new to always be vigilant with a pool in the backyard.

A pool can be the greatest gift you ever give your family. It can give children innumerable great summer memories. At the same time, though, pools require a heightened level of awareness and responsibility. Anyone considering purchasing a pool should be aware of this ahead of time.

Make sure, if you do decide to put in a pool, that you install the right surfaces (to avoid slipping), get a fence, and maintain strict rules for how to act in the pool. At the same time, keep a strict cleaning schedule and keep all chemicals strictly locked away and out of reach of everyone but yourself.

When it comes to pool fun, a little strictness is the best recipe for a good time. A little strictness makes sure people aren’t just having fun, they’re playing safe.

Navigating the Waters: Boat Injury

The ocean is a dangerous place, with natural disasters, copious safety regulations, and not to mention the long hours and fatigue of the workers, accidents are bound to happen. Whether you’re out on the water for work or pleasure, it is dangerous regardless.

Boat racing is one of the leading causes of offshore accidents as fun can quickly turn into a fatality. Racing requires boats to be in close proximity to each other, while adrenaline and competitive edge are thrown into the mix. While racing can be fun to watch and participate in, there are many dangers that come with the sport that can be and should be avoided.

Off the shore of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, a boating race turned fatal for one and seriously injured two others. In the annual Grand Prix racing event in Point Pleasant Beach, the accident occurred during the preliminary rounds of the race, in May of 2017. During the first turn of the race, the Smith Brothers’ boat was airborne, before landing on the unfortunate boat next to them, which sent its members into the water. One of the boat’s members, David Raabe, was pronounced dead shortly after hitting the water. Spectator, Pat Kowalonek told ABC, “Everyone wanted to have a good time, but it turned into a tragic accident.”

It is very easy for pleasure to turn into tragedy out on the ocean. And often, someone is at fault. This example was not work-related. However, there are a lot of work-related offshore accidents as well. Whether that is due to ignored safety instructions, malfunction of equipment, miscommunication, or sheer accident, serious injuries are not uncommon offshore. Other than man or machine-caused accidents, natural disasters can and will happen. Exhibit A and B of natural disasters are happening currently, with hurricanes Harvey and Irma, affecting those in Texas and Florida mostly. You cannot control for all natural disasters, and you cannot always expect them. Their unpredictable nature is what makes the most dangerous, and especially out at sea, safety is hard to achieve.  

Sometimes, inevitably, accidents happen. And sometimes, someone is at fault for those accidents, and when there is blame to be taken, there is also legal action to help. Compensation from legal action can be the only source of income you can receive if you’ve been seriously injured in an offshore accident, or if your loved one who used to make all the money passed away due to an offshore accident. Expert lawyers are aware of the dangerous nature of your job offshore and are ready and able to get you the compensation you deserve.

As seamen, you are under the Jones Act, and understanding your rights under this act is the number one frequently asked question. Lawyers are there to help answer your questions, help you understand your rights, inform you on whether or not to settle, and how much you can get from the company work for.

Will Wal-Mart Beat Out Amazon?

Amazon and Walmart are making interesting moves as they increase their business with the use of technology. Both companies are looking to patent a drone that would boost home delivery operations and feature a moveable warehouse. Walmart appears to be copying Amazon’s innovation by competing for the patent, especially because Amazon is still trying to open more stores and is overtaking Walmart’s extensive retail customer base.

According to Curbed Seattle, Amazon has patented airborne monitoring stations, tools that aid in the operation of home-delivery drones. These stations will float at a high altitude so they can communicate with the drones they monitor. According to Amazon, the airships are also capable of sending information to household devices, including laptops, phones, tablets, and audio players. In addition, the network can be used to deliver electronic book content to eBook reading devices. Cameras on the drone are able to track the drones using light beacons and other tools for recognition.

A different Amazon patent opens the possibility for drones to capture video inside the homes of users, with their permission. This video capture would allow Amazon to recommend products to people and detect emergency situations. If the drone was connected to a microphone, the system would be able to identify the sound of glass breaking or gunshots and alert emergency services. The Tech Crunch reported Walmart also applied for a similar drone-deploying patent. The purpose of their blimp is to reduce expenses associated with shipping and handling by decreasing the amount of shipping that third-party companies handle. The Walmart blimp would float between 500 and 1,000 feet in the air. 

Amazon has become a strong competition to Walmart by offering the option of fast shipping and cheap products. Although Walmart has an established physical advantage and is a larger retailer than Amazon, the latter is pulling more and more customers away from the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. What’s more, Amazon recently acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. That means Amazon has a handle on both upscale retail and the online grocery market via their AmazonFresh service.

More than likely, Walmart is going to accept Amazon’s challenge and find new and inventive ways to gain an advantage over Amazon. For example, Walmart is looking to invest in a new drive-through pickup service that would utilize automated machinery. In combination with the company’s drone technology, quick pick-up and selection could give them the boost to edge out Amazon.

On the other hand, Amazon has won the business of millions of people, especially in the younger generation, thanks to their innovation and convenience. The idea of drone delivery is not new and there are companies across the world testing and offering these products. Far too often, individuals think of ideas but assume that patenting your intellectual property is something only done by large companies. In fact, if you have a great new idea, a qualified intellectual property attorney can help you secure it. Don’t let the corporations of the world cash in on your smart invention. Patent your idea with an attorney’s help. 

Why Some Claims are Underpaid

After a natural disaster causes damage to your personal or commercial property, the immediate thing you will need is to get the fair amount from your insurance provider to rebuild and move on with your life. However, unless you get a thorough investigation of the cause of loss, precise scoping of damage and accurate recorded and written statements of everything, then your experience may very well be your insurance company underpaying your claim.

Insurance firms send their hired independent adjusters to claimants’ homes to assess property damages sometimes a day or two after the disaster, when not even the property’s owner has correctly assessed his/her own losses yet.

The result, of course, is undervalued assessment. As explained by United Policyholders, a national insurance consumer advocacy group, after a hurricane, wherein damages can be  widespread and so awful, going into houses that are wet and smelly and soggy and dark, most people want to get in and get out. It’s not like you want to spend time looking at every nook and cranny, so underestimation of damages is most likely to occur, though this is unintentional. In some cases, claims are denied for reasons claimants never understand or, if a claim is approved, release of payment is delayed.

Adjusters, insurance claimants must know, are trained to represent the interests of their employers, which are insurance firms that hire their services. To get fair evaluation of the damages to their property, property owners should be represented by their own public appraiser, who will always act in their best interest and is trained to present a comprehensive claim on their behalf. Public appraisers are prepared to evaluate and adjust any claims that deal with property damage. Aside from hurricanes, property damage can be caused by fires, floods, explosions, ice storms, or wind.

 

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