• Power Players

    Computer genius, billionaire, philanthropist and—education visionary?

    Stepping out of the world of computers and into the classroom, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is wielding his capital and celebrity to support his latest passion project: national standards for more rigorous math and English language arts and literacy programs in schools through the Common Core Standards Initiative.

    “I'm thrilled this is moving forward and disappointed that, through confusion and various groups, its implementation is actually at risk in some states,” Gates told “Power Players.” “There are states looking at delays or looking at staying with the status quo.”

    The status quo, Gates said, would mean sticking with the continuation of current math curricula that leave many students discouraged from pursuing careers in fields that involve math-related skills.

    Critics of the Common Core, which includes the tea party and some teacher groups, argue that the new standards advocated by the Common

    Read More »from Reinventing education: Bill Gates takes a controversial stance for school reform
  • Politics Confidential

    Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris was just 27 when his actions during the Vietnam War earned him the Medal of Honor, but it wasn’t until now, at age 72, that Morris will be properly acknowledged.

    President Obama will recognize Morris Tuesday, along with 23 other overdue Medal of Honor recipients who served during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, to which Morris said “better late than never.”

    The extraordinary presentation of 24 Medals of Honor – the largest such ceremony since World War II – is the culmination of a 12-year review by the Pentagon to uncover cases where the nation’s highest honor for combat valor was deserved but overlooked because of racial and ethnic discrimination. But Morris, an African-American who served as one of the first Green Berets, told “Politics Confidential” that he didn’t believe he was discriminated against because of his race.

    “I was with a bunch of professional men,” he said. “The teams were designed so that you get along

    Read More »from 'Better late than never': Awarding 24 belated Medals of Honor
  • Power Players

    “We shot dogs.”

    Those are the first words of Iraq war veteran Phil Klay's new book, “Redeployment,” that gives readers a glimpse into the chaotic and complicated existence that U.S. armed forces confronted during the Iraq war.

    "In that story, I had a friend, Mike Green, who was at the second battle of Fallujah, who talked about seeing … stray dogs in Fallujah who were eating corpses in the streets,” said Klay, whose book is fictional but derived from real-life stories that he and his comrades lived in Iraq.

    “[The] second battle of Fallujah was intense urban warfare, and so they shot some of the dogs to try and stop them from doing that and that story is about a guy who's been through that experience and then comes back home to his dog that he loves who's not doing so well and it's about that transition,” Klay told “Power Players.”

    When the Marine in the story decides with his wife that it’s time to put down their ailing dog, he decides to shoot the dog himself rather than

    Read More »from Soldiers' stories: Book about Iraq war paints intimate portrait of military experience

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