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+ - Bill Gates Still Cuckoo for Common Core

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "So, what's the dumbest f-ing idea Bill Gates has heard lately? Opposition to Common Core academic standards, apparently. Setting national standards for what students should know at various grades is a "very basic idea," argued Gates at a POLITICO event. "Should Georgia have a different railroad width than anybody else? Should they teach multiplication in a different way? Oh, that's brilliant. Who came up with that idea?" Gates said, adding that he thought of Common Core as "a technocratic issue," akin to making sure all states use the same type of electrical outlet. At the event, Gates also gave a shout-out to his partner-in-Common-Core-crime, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. In a nice Common Core tie-in, 49-year-old Duncan complained last December that he "didn't have the opportunity to learn computer skills" at the University of Chicago Lab Schools (tuition, $29,424), while 58-year-old Gates did get the chance to acquire coding skills at Lakeside School (tuition, $29,800). Duncan subsequently noted he is finally learning to code with his children (perhaps with BillG as their iF-fy teacher!). By the way, in June the Washington Post reported that "Bill and Melinda Gates, [President] Obama and Arne Duncan are parents of school-age children, although none of those children attend schools that use the Common Core standards. Still, Gates said he wants his children to know a 'superset' of the Common Core standards — everything in the standards and beyond.""

+ - Microsoft Co-opts Ice Bucket Challenge Idea to Promote Coding in Latin America 2

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Microsoft is aiming to offer free programming courses to over a million young Latin Americans through its Yo Puedo Programar and Eu Posso Programar initiatives ("I Can Program"). People between the ages of 12 and 25 will be able to sign up for the free online courses "One Hour Coding" and "Learning to Program," which will be offered in conjunction with Colombia's Coding Week (Oct. 6-10). The online courses will also be available in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico. "One Hour Coding" (aka Hour of Code in the U.S.) is a short introductory course in which participants will learn how the technology works and how to create applications, and it offers "a playful immersion in the computer sciences," Microsoft said in a statement. In the virtual, 12-session "Learning to Program" course, students will discover that "technical complexity in application development tools is a myth and that everyone can do it," the statement added. Taking a page from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge its execs embraced (Google Translate), Microsoft is encouraging students to complete the Hour of Code and challenge four other friends to do the same. Hey, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, Microsoft gotta embrace and extend (challenge 4 friends instead of 3!)."

+ - Kids Reportedly Paid to Squat Overnight in Parking Spots at 'Fort Zuckerberg'

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Valleywag checks in on reports that squatters are being paid to hold parking spots for construction workers renovating Mark Zuckerberg's $10 million San Francisco "fixer-upper". People, usually in pairs, regularly sit in parked cars overnight near Zuckerberg's home on 21st street near Dolores Street, according to a neighbor of what has been dubbed 'Fort Zuckerberg.' CBS reports the young squatters, one of whom had what looked like a college textbook to study while they waited in the dark, claim they were hired by Zuckerberg to hold additional parking spots aside from the 4-5 allotted for construction vehicles during the morning. Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC, you may recall, has been meeting with the White House on labor issues, and helping the White House with their efforts to connect with the Young and the Rich."

+ - Microsoft on US Immigration: It's Our Way or the Canadian Highway

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Even as it cuts about 14% of its workforce, Microsoft is complaining that the company might be denied some of the "roughly" 1,000 H-1B visas for foreign workers it intends to seek, and made it clear that the company could shift some work to Canada or overseas if it can't get talent on its terms. "If I need to move 400 people to Canada or Northern Ireland or Hyderabad or Shanghai, we can do that," said William Kamela, a senior federal policy lead at Microsoft, who later explained that about 60% of Microsoft’s workforce is in the U.S., yet it makes 68% of its profits overseas (where it also stashes its cash out of IRS reach). Kamela made the statements on a panel at a two-day conference on high-skilled immigration policy, where he sat next to Felicia Escobar, special assistant to President Barack Obama on immigration. The day before the conference, Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC — which counts Bill Gates as a Founder and Steve Ballmer and Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith as Major Contributors — posted its "MythBusters" video on H-1B visas."

Comment: FWD.us Apprentice Program Pays $550-A-Month (Score 3, Informative) 260

by theodp (#47960263) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Throws Pal Joe Green Under the Tech Immigration Bus

Fall Internship Opportunity: FWD.us Apprentice Program
Opportunity:
FWD.us is offering a part-time (15 hr/week) apprenticeship program for Fall 2014.
Compensation:
This is a paid internship. Apprentices will receive a stipend of $550/month
Internship perks include:
* Weekly meetings with FWD.us staff to discuss current political issues
* Face-to-face meetings with influential tech professionals
* Professional development coaching in leadership development, networking skills, pitch practice, policy analysis, and qualitative research methods
* Developing in-depth knowledge about the tech and policy space

+ - Mark Zuckerberg Throws Pal Joe Green Under the Tech Immigration Bus

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "A month after he argued that Executive Action by President Obama on tech immigration was needed lest his billionaire bosses at Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC have to hire 'just sort of OK' U.S. workers, Re/code reports that Joe Green — Zuckerberg's close friend and college roommate — has been pushed out of his role as President of FWD.us for failing to Git-R-Done on an issue critical to the tech community. "Today, we wanted to share an important change with you," begins 'Leadership Change', the announcement from the FWD.us Board that Todd Schulte is the new Green. So what sold FWD.us on Schulte? "His [Schulte's] prior experience as Chief-of-Staff at Priorities USA, the Super PAC supporting President Obama's re-election," assured Zuckerberg in a letter to FWD.us contributors, "will ensure FWD.us continues its momentum for reform." Facebook, reported the Washington Post in 2013, became legally "dependent" on H-1B visas and subject to stricter regulations shortly before Zuckerberg launched FWD.us with Green at the helm."

+ - DC Comics Superheroes, Nancy Reagan and Keebler Elves Won The War on Drugs

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes ""On a recent trip to my childhood home in New Jersey," writes GOOD's Joshua Neuman in This Comic Book Made Me Say No to Drugs, "I discovered a stack of comic books in an old shoebox, one of which was DC Comics' The New Teen Titans (Drug Abuse Awareness) Issue #1, a promotional giveaway that was part of President Reagan’s Drug Awareness Campaign." While the cool kids in his class wearing rock t-shirts snickered at the corporate and government-sponsored comics (circa-1984 DC Marketing promo video), Neuman confesses the propaganda did the job on his naive, overprotected, 10-year-old in suburbia self. "Entering the fictitious, urban world of this comic book was like diving into a drugged-out version of Sesame Street where cute kids from a veritable rainbow of backgrounds played together, studied together, and took PCP together," Neuman recalls. "I can’t say that the comic book traumatized me, but looking back, something about not being in on the joke stayed with me. The experience taught me that drugs lay in the domain of the other, a kid who was much cooler than I was. However inadvertently, the collaborative effort of the Teen Titans, Nancy Reagan, and Keebler had achieved its intended effect.""

+ - Is Google's Non-Tax Based Public School Funding Cause for Celebration?

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Google's "flash-funding" of teachers' projects via DonorsChoose continues to draw kudos from grateful mayors of the nation's largest cities. The latest comes from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (fresh from a Google-paid stay at the Google Zeitgeist resort), who joined Google officials at Taylor Allderdice HS, where Google announced it was 'flash funding' all Pittsburgh area teachers' crowd-funding campaigns on DonorsChoose.org. DonorsChoose reports that Google spent $64,657 to fund projects for 10,924 Pittsburgh kids. While the not-quite-$6-a-student is nice, it does pale by comparison to the $56,742 Google is ponying up to send one L.A. teacher's 34 students to London and Paris and the $35,858 it's spending to take another L.A. teacher's 52 kids to NYC, Gettysburg, and DC. So, is Google's non-tax based public school funding — which includes gender-based funding as well as "begfunding" — cause for celebration?"

+ - Mark Zuckerberg Ousts His Pal, FWD.us's Apparently Just-Sort-of-OK President

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Two weeks after arguing that Executive Action by President Obama on tech immigration was needed lest Mark Zuckerberg and his FWD.us PAC pals have to deal with 'just sort of OK' U.S. workers, it appears Joe Green's words have come back to bite him. Re/Code's Kara Swisher reports that Green has been pushed out of his role as President of FWD.us. "Today, we wanted to share an important change with you," begins 'Leadership Change', the announcement from the FWD.us Board that Green is out and Todd Schulte is in. So what convinced FWD.us that Schulte merited the job more than Zuck's apparently just-sort-of-OK close friend and college roommate? "His [Schulte's] prior experience as Chief of Staff at Priorities USA, the Super PAC supporting President Obama's re-election," explains Zuckerberg & Co., "will ensure FWD.us continues its momentum for reform.""

+ - A Problem With Teacher Begfunding: $56,742 for One Class, $258 for Another 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Google's "flash-funding" of teachers' projects via DonorsChoose continues to draw kudos, this time from grateful mayors in Seattle and Los Angeles. And some of the teachers seem to be getting pretty good at playing the begfunding game. In L.A., for instance, almost 6% of the $977,281 Google and DonorsChoose awarded is being used to take 34 kids on "The Trip of a Lifetime." And while the good news over at Alliance Burton Tech Academy High School is that Google is ponying up $56,742 to send Mr. Hermosillo's 34 students to London and Paris, the sad news is that Ms. Garcia's 150 students missed the Google gravy train and will have to settle for $258.93 worth of markers and glue from the Gates Foundation and DonorsChoose."

+ - Oklahoma Lawmaker Suggests Execution by Nitrogen Gas

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The Daily Oklahoman reports that Oklahoma Representative Mike Christian, convinced that execution by injection is quickly becoming unworkable, has been examining an alternate technique — death by nitrogen gas. “We’re going to have to find something else because I think lethal injection, most would agree, is probably on its way out,” says Christian, a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper. “For lack of a better term, it’s innovative for what we’re looking at.” Legislation would be required because current Oklahoma law requires lethal injection be used for executions, and specifies that if that were found unconstitutional, the electric chair could be used. If the electric chair were found unconstitutional, a firing squad could be used.

Pharmaceutical companies have become reluctant to provide drugs for lethal injections and many doctors don’t want to participate in the process. The lethal injection of Clayton Lockett at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in April went awry, with the condemned man seemingly suffering or taking longer than expected to die. Lockett was pronounced dead about 43 minutes after his execution began and seemed to strain, grimace and moan during the procedure."

+ - Sen. Jeff Sessions Unfriends Mark Zuckerberg Over US Worker Hiring

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "In a speech on the Senate floor last week, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) challenged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to "hire American workers for a change." The speech attributed President Obama's plans for executive action on immigration to meetings between White House officials and Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC. Such presidential action, explained FWD.us, would allow tech companies to recruit the "very best" people from around the world instead of settling for U.S. workers who are "just sort of okay." Facebook, reported the Washington Post in 2013, became legally "dependent" on H-1B visas and subject to stricter regulations shortly before Zuckerberg got immigration reform religion and launched FWD.us. The immigration bill passed last year by the Senate included the so-called "Facebook loophole", legislative slight-of-hand which could make Facebook exempt from H-1B dependent employer rules even if it becomes more dependent on H-1B employees. By the way, in its diversity disclosure, Facebook — like other tech companies led by FWD.us Founders and Major Supporters — opted not to share any info on the countries the best-and-the-brightest employees hail from, as one might find in a university's Statistical Abstract. Must be considered trade secrets, huh?"

Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught how not to. So it is with the great programmers.

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