devos

Federal judge dangles jail time in front of Betsy DeVos

Corinthian Colleges, Inc. was yet another for-profit university that screwed over hundreds of thousands of people with pyramid schemes that promised a higher education at the end of some labyrinthine maze. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2015, and the U.S. government ruled that any students with outstanding debts should have those debts cancelled.

That was before Betsy DeVos became the U.S. Secretary of Education.

DeVos, the wife of pyramid scheme pioneer Dick DeVos and brother of famed mercenary Blackwater founder Erik Prince, was unsurprisingly unforgiving of the students who were conned by Corinthian. She stonewalled more than 100,000 loan forgiveness applications and continued pursuing debt payments from screwed-over students who couldn't pay them back. In 2018, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim finally told her to knock it off (legally).

Spoiler alert: she didn't listen.

So they landed back in court earlier this week on Monday, October 7, 2019. Judge Kim was (understandably) quite irate at having her court order violated sixteen thousand times by Devos's department. While the issue is still not completely resolved, the judge did threaten the possibility of tossing someone behind bars. From Bloomberg:

"I’m not sure if this is contempt or sanctions," U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim told lawyers for the Education Department at a hearing Monday in San Francisco. "I'm not sending anyone to jail yet but it’s good to know I have that ability."

[…]

"At best it is gross negligence, at worst it’s an intentional flouting of my order."

I'm not holding my breath for DeVos to actually spend any time in jail or prison, of course. Read the rest

Watch: New Wave TV commercial for Hawaiian Punch with music by DEVO's Mark Mothersbaugh

This totally excellent computer animated television commercial for Hawaiian Punch was created in 1987 by Omnibus/Abel, the ill-fated company born from the merger of Omnibus Computer Graphics with computer animation pioneer Robert Abel's Abel and Associates.

From Vintage CG:

Rarely seen is this full 90 second version.... Music is by Mark Mothersbaugh (of DEVO), who later admitted to embedding a subliminal message: "Sugar is bad for you."

Excerpts from the commercial later turned up in the classic computer animation VHS compilation "Beyond the Mind’s Eye," the content of which you can enjoy below:

Read the rest

MLMs are cults that prey on moms, Mormons and the military

Pyramid schemes are illegal, but "multi-level marketing" schemes are not; the difference is supposedly that pyramid schemes don't really sell anything -- they just sell the right to recruit people who will recruit people who will recruit people, each paying up the pyramid to their "uplines" -- while MLMs supposedly actually sell stuff. Read the rest

Detroit charter school salutatorians use their graduation speeches to condemn their school for putting profits before kids

Zainab Altalaqani and Tuhfa Kasem both graduated from Detroit's Universal Academy this year, and to honor their academic achievements, school administrators named them co-salutatorians, which meant that they would get to address the graduating class, faculty and parents at their graduation ceremony: but instead of using their podium-time to reminisce about their good times in high school or to wonder about their futures, they condemned the school as a for-profit entity that put profits ahead of students' education, firing qualified teachers who complained to the school board about the use of unqualified "paraprofessionals" in classrooms. Read the rest

But Betsy DeVos' emails: Education Secretary used personal emails for work, Inspector report finds

Betsy DeVos used personal email accounts for her government work as the Secretary of Education in 'limited' cases, the Inspector General said. The report also found DeVos did not consistently preserve her government-related email messages properly, as is required by federal law. Read the rest

Human Rights Watch reverse-engineered the app that the Chinese state uses to spy on people in Xinjiang

China's Xinjiang province is home to the country's Uyghur ethnic minority and other people of Turkic Muslim descent; it has become a living laboratory for next-generation, electronically mediated totalitarianism; up to 1,000,000 people have been sent to concentration/torture camps in the region, and targets for rendition ot these camps come via compulsory mobile apps that spy on residents in every conceivable way (naturally, war criminal Eric "Blackwater" Prince, brother of billionaire heiress Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is into this stuff up to his eyeballs, as are other American collaborators). Read the rest

Zuck turned American classrooms into nonconsensual laboratories for his pet educational theories, and now they're rebelling

Summit Learning is a nonprofit, high-tech "customized learning" group funded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's family charity; under the program, students are equipped with high-surveillance Chromebooks and work on their own "at their own pace" and call on teachers to act as "mentors" when they get stuck. Read the rest

Watch Betsy DeVos smirk and smile as she ignores questions about her attempt to gut the Special Olympics

This week inherited wealthy person and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos tried to cut all Federal funding to the Special Olympics. Watch as she smirks and smiles while ignoring CNN's Ryan Nobles. Read the rest

Blackwater founder to site mercenary training camps conveniently close to China's Uighur concentration camps

Hereditary millionaire war-criminal and brother of Betsy DeVos Erik Prince (previously) is full of good ideas: after founding the disgraced mercenary company Blackwater (and several subsequent reboots thereof), he proposed that the US could withdraw its military from Afghanistan and instead pay him to occupy the country with a mercenary army that would brutally subjugate its people on America's behalf. Read the rest

Millionaire dilettantes' "education reform" have failed, but teacher-driven, evidence-supported education works miracles

Rich "education philanthropists" (Bill Gates, the Waltons, the DeVoses, the Sacklers) have had a lot of business-world ideas for "fixing education" over the years, centered on a system of carrots (bonuses for high-testing schools and schools whose students get admitted to top universitites) and sticks (funding cuts for "underperforming" schools), all backed by high-stakes tests and standardized teaching materials. Read the rest

After six days, LA teachers settle their strike, wringing huge concessions out of the school district

After six school days on the picket line, more then 30,000 LA public school teachers voted to accept an offer from the nation's second-largest school district that amounted to a near-total capitulation by management in favor of the teachers' broad demands: smaller classes; more aides, librarians and counselors; better school maintenance; support for a statewide moratorium on new charter schools; and releasing the cost-of-living-allowances that the state had paid to the LA Unified School District, but which the district had not passed on to the workers for several years, giving every teacher a real-terms pay-cut every year. Read the rest

LA's teachers are ready to strike on Tuesday, rejecting privatization of public education

Last year saw a wave of teachers' strikes across America, but mostly in red states where public education has been starved of funds, putting teachers on starvation wages, subjecting kids to dangerous conditions, and stripping schools of resources and even putting schools on four-day weeks. Read the rest

Devo's open letter on "Drowning in a Devolved World"

Robbo writes, "Gerald Casale, founder of DEVO, has written an open letter in response to the band being inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame." Read the rest

$1bn blood-testing scam Theranos dissolved

Photo: Shutterstock.

Theranos, the $1bn Silicon Valley fraud that made fools or corpses of everyone who trusted it, is finally to meet its doom. The Wall Street Journal reports that its dissolution was announced Tuesday in an email sent to the shareholders.

Despite a series of journalistic exposés covering both the company's sham technology and its cultlike corporate culture, lawsuits, and regulatory sanctions, founder Elizabeth Holmes somehow clung on until finally being charged with fraud a few weeks ago.

The move comes after federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and the blood-testing company’s former No. 2 executive, alleging that they defrauded investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars and defrauded doctors and patients.

The executives have denied the charges and face a coming criminal trial.

The dissolution process was precipitated by the fact that Theranos breached a covenant governing a $65 million loan it received from Fortress Investment Group last year. Under the loan terms, Fortress was entitled to foreclose upon the company’s assets if its cash fell beneath a certain threshold.

Every new thing I read about this makes me ever more amazed by the scale and audacity of this scam. Holmes conned Betsy DeVos, Rupert Murdoch, and the Walmart heirs alone out of $350m by literally cosplaying Steve Jobs. How is this reality?

Read the rest

Top White House troll Betsy DeVos is considering using federal funds to buy guns for teachers

Last night Carla and I attended a screening for an upcoming National Geographic documentary called Science Fair, about the International Science and Engineering Fair. It's a terrific movie about smart young scientists from around the world. One thing I learned watching it is that students in Germany pay almost nothing to attend college. Here in the US, students graduate with a debt load that will hurt the quality of their life for decades. What is the US Department of Education doing about it? Actively making it worse, thanks to Betsy DeVos, who oversees the department.

The Trump swamp is a veritable legion of cartoonishly evil supervillians, but the mustache-twirling cackler Betsy DeVos operates on a level that would make a 4chan troll blush. Married to the former CEO of Amway (which paid $56 million to settle a class action for "alleged fraud, racketeering, and operating as an illegal pyramid scheme," she is also sister of Erik Prince, founder of the murderous Blackwater mercenary firm.

This billionaire griefer -- with fleets of private jets and yachts at her command -- has no teaching experience and refuses to visit troubled schools. Instead, she spends her time coming up with outrageous ways to make students' lives financially miserable and fraught with danger. And like the best robot, she doesn't crack a smile when her victims suffer.

DeVos's latest lulz generator is a plan to get around a law that Congress passed in March that forbids federal funds from being used to buy guns for teachers. Read the rest

Man struggles with barber over head waxing

I think he should have just kept the wax on. It looks like a 1980 Devo pomp wig! Read the rest

Striking similarity between David Bowie and cartoon man on Devo album cover

Joel Gion of Brian Jonestown Massacre posted these images on his Instagram. Coincidence or... something else?

Well, David Bowie did help Brian Eno produce Devo's "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" (1978). But apparently illustrator Joe Heiner based the cover art on a photo of golfer Juan "Chi-Chi" Rodríguez mixed with an image Mark Mothersbaugh had "procured from a local newspaper that morphed the faces of U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford."

Still, the resemblance here is striking.

More on the cover art at Wikipedia. Read the rest

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