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#AlmostOver, Microsoft’s H-1B layoffs, bigger breach, live Dead…

Friday, July 10, 2015




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Senate OKs delaying I-1351 — With no votes to spare, the Senate on Thursday mustered the super-majority needed to suspend parts of the citizen initiative requiring smaller class sizes. With that vote and a pair of others, senators paved the way to end the longest session in state history sometime today. The bill needed 33 yes votes, and got them, but only after Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) switched his vote from no to yes.

Delgadillo-Lesley► From KUOW — Legislative deal would help thousands get high school diplomas — Legislators have agreed to delay a requirement for high school students to pass a biology exit exam this year and 2016. This helps about 2,000 high school seniors who were supposed to graduate in June, but still hadn’t met the science requirement.

EDITOR’S NOTE — These high-stakes tests trip up lots of good students, like Lesley Delgadillo.

► From KPLU — More than half of state’s 1th graders skipped required standardized tests — So many eleventh graders skipped the exams — more than 42,000 in total — that the state’s overall participation rate on the required tests dipped below a minimum level required by federal law. That could trigger interventions or harsh penalties from the feds, at least in theory.

► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Twitter helped keep lawmakers in overtime, Hargrove says — Partisan positions were hardened, said Sen. Jim Hargrove (D-Hoquiam), by 140-character position papers on Twitter and by Facebook entries that afforded none of the nuances that U.S. mail brochures and newspapers can offer.




H-1B_layoffs► In the P.S. Business Journal — Sen. Sessions has harsh words for Microsoft for using foreign workers in midst of massive layoffs — Microsoft’s layoffs have angered a U.S. senator who is blasting the company for laying off workers while also heavily relying on a guest worker program that makes it possible to hire more foreign tech employees. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest:

Microsoft has just announced it is laying off another 7,800 workers, on top of the 18,000 layoffs it has already announced. This means Microsoft has shed roughly one-fifth of its workforce in the past couple years. And yet Microsoft, perhaps more than any other major U.S. company, has claimed it suffers from a shortage of American workers and must therefore import more H-1B foreign guest workers.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Rules eased to compensate more ill Hanford workers — The new rules should help more workers receive $150,000 compensation plus reimbursement for current medical expenses related to Hanford exposures that may have caused certain cancers.




Archuleta-Katherine► In today’s Washington Post — New OPM data breach numbers leave federal employees anguished, outraged — The Office of Personnel Management announced Thursday that personal data for 21.5 million federal employees, contractors, applicants and family members was stolen in the cyber theft of security clearance information. That’s on top of the 4.2 million pilfered files OPM announced June 4 involving another breach. The loot includes “identification details such as Social Security Numbers; residency and educational history; employment history; information about immediate family and other personal and business acquaintances; health, criminal and financial history; and other details.” As soon as the number was released, the calls to fire OPM Director Katherine Archuleta increased.

► From The Hill — Obama’s immigration orders face dim outlook at federal court — The same two Republican-appointed judges who denied an earlier administration attempt to lift a hold on Obama’s immigration actions will hear arguments today at the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

► Today’s sign of the apocalypse from The Hill — Trump leads GOP presidential field in new national poll — Donald “Mexicans Are Rapists” Trump was the preferred GOP nominee for president for 15 percent of respondents — 4 points ahead of Jeb “Work Longer Hours” Bush and Rand “Make Vaccines Optional” Paul, who were tied for second place.




Union-Is-the-New-Black► At AFL-CIO Now — Union Is the New Black: What organizing at ‘Orange Is the New Black’ means to you — In its third season with Netflix, “Orange Is the New Black” has had a significant effect on America’s consciousness regarding: race, women and incarceration, and transgender issues. Now, a plotline involves the security guards and their efforts to organize a potential union. We see labor issues in popular culture and television on occasion, and this example in particular shines light on issues that that arise when workers don’t have labor protection.

► From Huffington Post — The Shadows of the Confederacy (by John Burbank) — Taking down the confederate flag is a constructive and symbolic financial decision for most corporations. Actually ceding power and income to workers, to pay taxes for education for all, to negotiate with workers as equal partners, those acts will be much harder to achieve. But we must achieve them, if we are truly going to put behind us the confederacy, white superiority, and institutional racism.




► Last weekend, the Grateful Dead reunited for three final, sold-out shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field. (Dead Heads: here’s the streaming audio from each show.) As mere casual fans, The Entire Staff of The Stand will stick to the pioneering jam band’s days before the untimely passing of leader Jerry Garcia in 1995. Here they are playing one of our favorite Dead songs — the B-side to the single “Truckin” — at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall in October 1980. “Reach out your hand if your cup be empty. If your cup is full may it be again.” Enjoy!


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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