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Tech industry pushes for immigration reform through new campaign

immigration reform

Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us and the Partnership for a New American Economy teamed up on Monday to launch a national campaign aimed at highlighting why immigration reform is critical to the technology and start-up communities in the United States.

They launched the campaign — dubbed #iCodeImmigration: Accelerating Immigration Reform — at an event in New York where several experts spoke about the need for Congress to pass immigration reform legislation. Over the next two weeks, similar events will be held in nine other cities: Seattle, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Boulder, Austin, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Chicago and Washington D.C.

The events will consist of discussions featuring entrepreneurs, investors, technologists and policy experts who will  talk about some of the challenges they face with the current immigration system. They’ll also be pointing out some of the consequences they see happening on future innovation if Congress doesn’t pass immigration reform legislation soon.

“Two weeks ago, we saw the annual H-1B visa cap reached in less than a week and watched America’s outdated immigration laws put our fastest-growing start-ups on hold,” said John Feinblatt, chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy. “The message from our nation’s leading entrepreneurs is clear: pass immigration reform now or lose the world’s best talent and technologies to other countries.”

Efforts to pass immigration reform legislation have been at a standstill ever since House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in February that it would be “difficult” to move any legislation forward because President Barack Obama can’t be trusted to enforce the nation’s laws.

House Democrats have tried to pressure Republicans to move on the issue by filing a discharge petition that would force a vote on an immigration reform bill introduced in October. They need 218 signatures from House members to force the vote, but only 191 House members — all Democrats — have signed the discharge petition.

Joe Green, president and founder of FWD.us, is calling on the House leadership to move legislation forward. On Monday, he stated that immigration reform is “absolutely essential to ensuring our nation remains a magnet for the best and brightest who come here to grow our economy and create American jobs.”

“It’s well past time for House Republicans to take action on reform that will do right by American families and keep our country at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship across the globe,” Green said.

On it’s website, the #iCodeImmigration campaign points out several quick facts about immigration and the economy:

  1. 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or child of an immigrant
  2. 28 percent of all companies founded in the U.S. in 2011 had immigrant founders
  3. 76 percent of the patents that the top 10 U.S. patent-producing universities had at least one-foreign born inventor
  4. Immigrant owned businesses generated more than $775 billion in revenue for the economy in 2011
  • VOXXI.COM

http://voxxi.com/2014/04/21/tech-immigration-reform-campaign/

 

 

GOP poll defies tide on gay marriage

The LGBT pride flag is shown. | AP Photo

Two conservative groups are pushing back on moves by the GOP to drop opposition to same-sex marriage from party platforms, releasing a poll of base voters taken last month that found in favor of defining marriage “only” as between a man and a woman.

The poll, commissioned by groups led by conservatives Gary Bauer and Tony Perkins, runs counter to a wide variety of opinion polls that show movement on the question of same-sex marriage, with more voters favoring it than opposing it.

Last week, the Nevada GOP removed opposition to same-sex marriage from its platform, with the state chairman saying the move was indicative of where the party is headed.

The survey by the GOP polling firm Wilson Research Strategies was of Republican and Republican-leaning independents and was taken over a month ago, sampling 801 people from March 18 through March 20, with a 3.5 percent margin of error.

The survey showed 82 percent agreeing with a statement that marriage should be between “one man and one woman.” It also found 75 percent disagreed that “politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.”

A number of Republican influentials and elected officials have voiced support for same-sex marriage, and public polling has show independent voters increasingly supporting it.

At the recent Conservative Political Action Committee gathering in Maryland, the topic was mentioned far less frequently than it was in the past. But same-sex marriage supporters acknowledge it remains a difficult issue with a number of the party’s base voters, although they’ve argued for focusing on inclusion to broaden the GOP’s appeal after getting battered in the 2012 elections.

Bauer, the president of American Values, faulted a “misinformation campaign waged by media elites” and insisted that “public policy-makers are doing a great disservice to themselves and future generations by continuing to misread the convictions of the American people … this survey should remind political and cultural leaders that this debate is far from over. If anything, it is taking on a new sense of urgency for millions of men and women of faith.”

Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, added that the “vast majority of the GOP base continues to believe that marriage is a non-negotiable plank of the national platform and want to see their elected officials uphold natural marriage as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage and promote in law.”

POLITICO.COM

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/gop-poll-gay-marriage-105886.html#ixzz2zcqVlPhH

 

Most Americans Still Unsure About Big Bang, Poll Finds

Big Bang Americans.jpg

WASHINGTON (AP) –  While scientists believe the universe began with a Big Bang, most Americans put a big question mark on the concept, an Associated Press-GfK poll found.

Yet when it comes to smoking causing cancer or that a genetic code determines who we are, the doubts disappear.

When considering concepts scientists consider truths, Americans have more skepticism than confidence in those that are farther away from our bodies in scope and time: global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and especially the Big Bang from 13.8 billion years ago.

Rather than quizzing scientific knowledge, the survey asked people to rate their confidence in several statements about science and medicine.

On some, there's broad acceptance. Just 4 percent doubt that smoking causes cancer, 6 percent question whether mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain and 8 percent are skeptical there's a genetic code inside our cells. More — 15 percent — have doubts about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines.

SUMMARY

Confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change decline sharply as faith in a supreme being rises, according to the poll. Likewise, those who regularly attend religious services or are evangelical Christians express much greater doubts about scientific concepts they may see as contradictory to their faith.

About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority — 51 percent — questions the Big Bang theory.

Those results depress and upset some of America's top scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, who vouched for the science in the statements tested, calling them settled scientific facts.

"Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts," said 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine winner Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley.

The poll highlights "the iron triangle of science, religion and politics," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

And scientists know they've got the shakiest leg in the triangle.

To the public "most often values and beliefs trump science" when they conflict, said Alan Leshner, chief executive of the world's largest scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Political and religious values were closely tied to views on science in the poll, with Democrats more apt than Republicans to express confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change.

Confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change decline sharply as faith in a supreme being rises, according to the poll. Likewise, those who regularly attend religious services or are evangelical Christians express much greater doubts about scientific concepts they may see as contradictory to their faith.

"When you are putting up facts against faith, facts can't argue against faith," said 2012 Nobel Prize winning biochemistry professor Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University. "It makes sense now that science would have made no headway because faith is untestable."

But evolution, the age of the Earth and the Big Bang are all compatible with God, except to Bible literalists, said Francisco Ayala, a former priest and professor of biology, philosophy and logic at the University of California, Irvine.

Beyond religious belief, views on science may be tied to what we see with our own eyes. The closer an issue is to ourselves and the less complicated, the easier it is for people to believe, said John Staudenmaier, a Jesuit priest and historian of technology at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Marsha Brooks, a 59-year-old nanny who lives in Washington, D.C., said she's certain smoking causes cancer because she saw her mother, aunts and uncles, all smokers, die of cancer. But when it comes to the universe beginning with a Big Bang or the Earth being about 4.5 billion years old, she has doubts. She explained: "It could be a lack of knowledge. It seems so far" away.

Jorge Delarosa, a 39-year-old architect from Bridgewater, N.J., pointed to a warm 2012 without a winter and said, "I feel the change. There must be a reason." But when it came to Earth's beginnings 4.5 billion years ago, he has doubts simply because "I wasn't there."

Experience and faith aren't the only things affecting people's views on science. Duke University's Lefkowitz sees "the force of concerted campaigns to discredit scientific fact" as a more striking factor, citing significant interest groups — political, business and religious — campaigning against scientific truths on vaccines, climate change and evolution.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted March 20-24, 2014, using KnowledgePanel, GfK's probability-based online panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. It involved online interviews with 1,012 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents.

Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and were later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to access the Internet at no cost to them.

FOXNEWS.COM

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2014/04/22/most-americans-still-unsure-about-big-bang-poll-finds/

 

Why you should pay off your car loan ASAP

Free yourself of your car loan.

FORTUNE -- Let's say you have an extra few thousand dollars -- maybe from a tax refund, a bonus, or some other quick windfall. How can you best put it to use?

There are a lot of options, and high-interest rate debt goes on top of the pile. But if you haven't done that kind of borrowing, and you have a comfortable cushion of emergency cash, you might consider throwing it toward your auto loan.

Why? Not because you're going to save a huge amount on interest. You will save some, but most car loans have fairly low interest rates these days, averaging 2.98% for a 60-month new car note. (Note: Used car loans are -- surprisingly -- even a little cheaper than the new ones. They're averaging 2.78% on a 48-month loan, 2.86% on a 60. If you had lousy credit or didn't shop carefully for financing when you bought your car, refinancing is a good and simple move. Credit unions are a particularly good source of loans.)

But the majority of car loans are calculated using what's called the simple interest method, says Mike Sante, managing editor of Interest.com. This means the interest paid each month is based on the loan's outstanding balance. "The earlier you pay off or pay down these loans, the more you'll save in interest payments." You can figure out how much you'll save on your particular loan by plugging your numbers into a calculator like the one at Bankrate.com.

Not wowed by the figure? You don't have to be. The real reason for getting out of a loan like this early is that you'll be freeing up money in your budget every month. There's an opportunity cost involved whenever you borrow money, and it's a cost many people fail to consider.

"We are in favor of paying off auto loans early because it can help you cope with sudden life changes and afford you more freedom in the long run," says Philip Reed, Edmunds.com senior consumer advice editor.

This is, by the way, is the same logic that suggests it's a good idea to get out of your mortgage -- despite its low rate -- before you retire. And that, if you have extra cash to throw against your student loan, you should consider that too. It's not the hefty interest rates associated with these debts, but rather the fact that you have them that stops you from doing other things.

The average monthly payment on a car loan right now is $471 -- what else could you do with that money each month? For instance, if you invest it instead at a 6% interest rate, you'd have close to $77,000 after 10 years. You could build a fully fleshed-out safety net -- something more than half of all Americans don't have right now. Or maybe it would simply give you a little more breathing room in your budget.

In the best of all possible worlds, you could also use that freedom as an opportunity to build a habit of saving. Let's say you have $3,000 left on your car loan, and you pay it off in one shot with a windfall (very possible, as the average tax refund this year is very close to that number). Then you invested the $471 every month, like the example above that gives you $77,000 after 10 years. If you instead just invested that $3,000 at 6%, you'd only have $5,373 after 10 years. Now, obviously, you're investing a lot more money with the first example, and that's why you end up with much more. But part of the reason we don't save is that we never give ourselves the ability to see how good it feels. Once you start to see your money growing, you'll be inspired to keep at it.

If you decide to put a chunk of money toward your auto loan, you want to make sure you're actually paying down principal. In many cases, paying extra will signal to the lender not that you are trying to reduce the amount of interest paid or get out of the loan early, but that you don't have to make another payment for a few months. If you want the payment to go toward principal -- and you do -- you should call the lender and ask how to make that happen. "In some cases, you may need to restructure the loan (which can be done without prepayment penalties). In others, you might have to write two separate checks and clearly instruct the second payment to go toward principal," Reed says.

Arielle O'Shea contributed to this report.

FORTUNE.COM

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2014/04/18/why-you-should-pay-off-your-car-loan-asap/?iid=A_PF_News

 

Latinos playing bigger role in California politics

http://norcalpartners.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/cscm.jpg

SACRAMENTO - When Romualdo Pacheco became California's first Latino to serve as lieutenant governor in 1871 - and later the state's first Latino governor in 1875, taking over for a man elected to the U.S. Senate - little did he know it would take more than a century before another Latino won a statewide office.

That dry spell was broken when Cruz Bustamante, who had made history by becoming the first Latino to serve as Assembly speaker, won the lieutenant governor's seat in 2000.

The rapid growth of the Latino population - now the plurality in California - has not exactly translated into enormous political clout. The state has not elected a Latino governor, and no Latino has been elected to the U.S. Senate.

Yet there are now more than two dozen Latinos serving in the California Legislature, including Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, who was elected in 2012.

Eggman was the first Assembly member elected in the newly redrawn 13th Assembly District. In 2010, voters approved Proposition 28, which took redistricting duties away from lawmakers and gave them to an independent commission. The new congressional, state Senate and Assembly districts went into effect in 2012 and resulted in Democrats gaining a supermajority in both legislative chambers.

"Redistricting certainly helped Latinos vie for political office, and the creation of the commission was one of the best things that could have happened, because it took the politics out of redistricting," said state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens.

RECORDNET.COM

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140420/A_NEWS/404200326

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