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2004-02-01 08:46PST (11:46EST) (16:46GMT)
Emily Kaiser _Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
WM on PR Offensive to Repair Image Rather than Reform Itself
"WM Stores Inc. is tired of critics who say it is a behemoth bent on destroying small-town America, driving down wages and shipping jobs to foreign sweat shops. Wal-Mart, Fortune magazine's 'most admired company', is also among the most sued. Dozens of cases claiming sex discrimination and wage violations have stained its image. Editorials deplore how low-paid WM workers must sign up for welfare to make ends meet. Even men's magazine Playboy got in on the act, calling WM's Bentonville, Arkansas, head-quarters the 'epicenter of retailing's evil empire'... Officials at the world's largest company have started firing off letters to the editor responding to critical news articles and editorials. Once-reticent Wal-Mart executives are speaking out more... Chief Executive Lee Scott wrote to Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal after a columnist said WM deserved some blame for the closing of a local factory owned by Newell Rubbermaid Inc., one of the retailer's major suppliers... In 2002, the company had a net loss of $203.4M on $7.5G in revenue, compared with net income of $264.6M on $6.9G in revenue in 2001. The Fortune 500 company employs approximately 48K world-wide... [CEO Lee Scott] chided the media for heavy coverage of the company's legal troubles, massive imports from [Red China] and employee health-care policies... A California judge is set to decide later this year whether a sex discrimination law-suit should proceed as a class action covering 1.5M current and former women employees. Meanwhile, an investigation into illegal workers at some WM stores will be back in the spotlight when a Pennsylvania grand jury completes its deliberations in a few weeks."
2004-02-01 11:21PST (14:21EST) (19:21GMT)
Justin Pope _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Some Hold Firm as Firms' Jobs Go Over-Seas
"Like many Americans, Michael Prince worries about the economic impact of off-shoring, the trend of sending information-technology jobs to countries like India and the Philippines. But politics isn't why Prince isn't exporting info-tech work at his own company. The IT chief at retail chain Burlington Coat Factory simply isn't convinced it's good business. 'I'm always under pressure to squeeze out savings.', said Prince, who supervises a staff of about 180 that keeps the Burlington, NJ, company and its 300-plus stores humming. 'But you can work cheap, or you can work smart.'... There is some evidence of a slow-down in out-sourcing, the more general trend of which tech off-shoring is a sub-set... the biggest out-sourcing contracts ($200M and up) were flat in 2003 at $55.7G, while the number of smaller contracts fell... companies often fail to anticipate how much money and energy they'll spend dealing with cultural differences... Most importantly, however, experts say many companies fail to anticipate the way off-shoring will affect their own companies. Many are structured to do their own work, not oversee it elsewhere, and too sudden a shift can do more harm than good."
d'Vera Cohn _Washington Post_
1 in 5 Area Workers Born abroad: Group's Jobless Rate Down Since 2000
"Figures from a census survey indicate that immigrants -- especially people who have arrived in the United States since 2000 -- accounted for most of the recent growth in the ranks of area job-holders. In 2000, immigrants accounted for 15% of working people in the region. By 2003, they accounted for 20%. The figures, analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies, indicate that the unemployment rate dipped for immigrants during that period, even as overall unemployment rose... Hugo Carballo, a Northern Virginia construction union official who said he receives 10 to 15 calls a day from recently arrived immigrants looking for employment... A recent report by Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies said the 2 states [MD & VA] are among 14 that have attracted 80% of the nation's new foreign-born workers since 2000... recently arrived foreign-born workers have made up most of the net growth in the national work-force since 2000... The Urban Institute estimates that the nation has 9.3M illegal immigrants, up from 8.5M in 2000, with perhaps 100K to 200K in the Washington [DC] area..."
Marsha Austin _Denver Post_
Nurse "shortage" propaganda spreads
"Denver-area care-givers [can finally] demand higher pay, more flexible work schedules and unprecedented authority in influencing hospital policy... 'You can hire all you want, but if the back door is open and you're losing a lot of RNs, it's not doing you any good.', said Morrison, who needs to hire more than 100 nurses for Good Samaritan Medical Center, which will open this fall in Lafayette. 'It's our focus here to keep our employees happy because we can't go create new RNs.', he said... 'Nurses just want to be heard and appreciated.', said Swanson..."
2004-02-02 06:07PST (09:07EST) (14:07GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Income and spending growth slow in December: US Personal Savings Rate Turns Even Lower
"Growth in real disposable U.S. personal incomes ground to a halt in December, while real consumer spending rose a modest 0.2%, the Commerce Department estimated Monday. Meanwhile, the nation's personal savings rate fell to 1.3% from 1.5%, the lowest in a year and half the rate seen in August. Real disposable personal incomes fell at a 0.5% annual rate in the fourth quarter after scoring a 6.3% gain in the third quarter, when tax cuts and tax-rebate checks were implemented. Read the full release. Real disposable income growth in November was revised lower, from 0.5% to 0.3%, while [the increase in] real spending was revised higher, from 0.5% to 0.6%. The figures are adjusted for price changes and for seasonal factors."
2004-02-02 07:09PST (10:09EST) (15:09GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US 2004 January ISM shows continued increase in factory production
"The ISM index rose to 63.6% in January from 63.4% in December... New orders slowed in January, the ISM said. New orders fell to 71.1 in January from 73.1 in December. Prices rose to 75.5 in January, the highest level since 2000 March. The employment index fell slightly to 52.9 in January from 53.5 in December..."
2004-02-02 07:32PST (10:32EST) (15:32GMT)
OMB directory Josh Bolten discusses FY2005 budget proposal
"The President's 2005 budget continues this spending trend -- significant increases in essential funding for our security programs, combined with a dramatic reduction in the growth of [so-called] discretionary spending unrelated to security... The President's budget is built on the sensible premise that government spending should grow no faster than the average increase in American family incomes of approximately 4%. This budget proposes to hold the growth in total [so-called] discretionary spending to 3.9%, and, again, to reduce the growth in non-defense, non-homeland security spending to half of 1%, below the rate of inflation. In the last budget year of the previous administration, 2001, as shown here, discretionary spending unrelated to defense or homeland security soared by 15%. With the adoption of President Bush's first budget, here, in 2002, the growth rate was reduced to 6%, then 5% the following year, 4% for the current fiscal year we're in, fiscal 2004, and then in the President's 2005 proposal, to half of 1%."
2004-02-02 09:02PST (12:02EST) (17:02GMT)
Carl Limbacher _NewsMax_
Kerry Took Cash from Red Chinese Military Intelligence
"In 1996 Kerry met with Liu Chaoying, the daughter of a powerful [Red Chinese] military official who also doubled as vice president of a subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Corp. Before the meeting, held in Kerry's Senate office, Liu's sponsor, Johnny Chung, made clear she was interested in getting her company listed on the U.S. Stock Exchange. The Democratic presidential front-runner was only too happy to oblige and ordered his aides to contact the Securities and Exchange Commission. 'The next day', reports Newsweek, 'Liu and Chung were ushered into a private briefing with a senior SEC official.' Within weeks, Chung returned the favor, staging a Kerry fund raiser at a Beverly Hills hotel that raked in $10K for the senator's re-election campaign. Bank records would later show that Kerry's [Red Chinese] campaign cash came from $300K in over-seas wire transfers sent to Chung on orders from the chief of [Red Chinese] military intelligence, Newsweek reports... As Liu and Chung were lining the pockets of the Democratic Party's political elite, Loral handed over top-secret missile guidance technology to Liu's firm. Liu's China Aerospace used the information to perfect Beijing's fleet of intercontinental ballistic missiles, which before the 1990s could not strike the U.S. By the end of the decade, however, [Red China's] ICBMs could reach the entire continental United States with pinpoint accuracy, thanks in part to the senator who says now he can be trusted with America's national security."
2004-02-02 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
John King & Casey Wian & Bill Tucker & Christy Feig & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
millions of Americans have lost jobs
"millions of Americans have lost their jobs to cheap over-seas labor markets. But not all those Americans receive federal assistance for re-training... The Food and Drug Administration today launched an investigation into whether children and antidepressant drugs are a lethal combination. Parents who children committed suicide after taking the pills testified at an FDA hearing and pleaded with the agency to ban prescriptions of anti-depressants to children... Take 2002, for example. More than 10M prescriptions were written for five of these antidepressants, all in patients under the age of 18. Now, this issue first came to light last year, when the British government sent a warning to doctors there, telling them that certain antidepressants may actually increase a child's risk of committing suicide. For now, the FDA has advised doctors here in the United States to monitor their pediatric patients very closely... Like many parents Cindy Kolb takes here daughter to the bus stop every morning. But unlike most, she's packing a .38 to protect against the illegal aliens and smugglers that sneak through her rural Arizona community... Software programmers whose jobs at IBM were shipped over-seas are now taking on the federal government... Many of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs to cheap foreign labor markets are eligible to receive help from the federal government. However, workers in the service sector are not. That has prompted former employees at IBM's global services division to file a lawsuit against the federal government... If a worker makes these, or this, or works here and loses their job to foreign competition, they qualify for federal assistance under a program known as the trade adjustment act, which provides income support, training benefits and help with job searches. But if you're a software programmer who's lost a job to foreign competition, you don't qualify... The Labor Department will not comment on the pending suit, but they do point to the trade adjustment act reform of 2002, which says, the benefits are for workers who make products or articles. Software is not an article, says Labor, it is a service... Congressmen Adam Smith and Charles Rangel are preparing a bill they plan to introduce in the house in the next couple of weeks to extend benefits to workers of service companies, clearing up any ambiguity in the law... Joshua Bolten, directory of OMB: 'The projected surpluses, while they were -- the projections were made in good faith by estimators all across the spectrum, just turned out to be flat wrong. Those surpluses didn't really exist. What we actually had was a recessionary economy which the president inherited, with a war on top of it.'... Franklin Delano Roosevelt [criticizing Herbert Hoover's stimulus spending, which he, himself soon far exceeded]: 'Any government like any family can for a year spend a little more than it earns. But you and I know a continuation of that habit means the poor-house.'..."
2004-02-02 15:03PST (18:03EST) (23:03GMT)
" Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Bush proposes $2.4T budget: $521G deficit this year falling to $237G by 2009
The $2.4T request is a 3.5% increase over the prior year's request and limits [so-called discretionary spending] to a 3.9% increase... Bush limited non-security [so-called] discretionary spending to just a 0.5% rise. Bush is seeking a 7.1% increase, to $402G, in funds for the Pentagon and a 9.7% increase, to $30G, for Homeland Security expenditures."
Jeffrey Gettleman & Edward Wong _NY Times_
56 Kurds Killed in Suicide Blasts in North of Iraq
"The blasts on Sunday shattered the calm of the north of Iraq, which had been relatively stable... 'They tried to erase our leaders, and they took many innocents along the way.', said AU, a Kurdish farmer."
William Safire _NY Times_
The Farewell Dossier & InterNational Theft of Intellectual Property
"In early 1974, he wrote a report on Soviet advances in technology through purchasing and copying that led the beleaguered president -- detente notwithstanding -- to place restrictions on the export of computers and software to the U.S.S.R... 1981-07-19...the Soviets were systematically stealing -- or secretly buying through third parties -- the radar, machine tools and semiconductors to keep the Russians nearly competitive with U.S. military-industrial strength through the 1970s. In effect, the U.S. was in an arms race with itself... After studying the list of hundreds of Soviet agents and purchasers (including one cosmonaut) assigned to this penetration in the U.S. and Japan... In our complex disinformation scheme, deliberately flawed designs for stealth technology and space defense sent Russian scientists down paths that wasted time and money... we added what geeks call a 'Trojan Horse' to the pirated product [that they used to control the trans-Siberian gas pipe-line]... Farewell stayed secret because the blast in 1982 June, estimated at 3 kilotons, took place in the Siberian wilderness, with no casualties known. Nor was the red-faced K.G.B. about to complain publicly about being tricked by bogus technology. But all the software it had stolen for years was suddenly suspect, which stopped or delayed the work of thousands of worried Russian technicians and scientists."
US Grocery retailers face anti-trust law-suit over profit pact
"California's attorney general [Bill Lockyer] has said he will file a law-suit against 3 US grocery retailers involved in a labour dispute in Southern California... today [Monday]... [and charges] that a plan by the three retailers, Albertsons, Kroger and Safeway, to share profits related to the labour dispute violates anti-trust laws."
2004-02-02 21:01PST (2004-02-03 00:01EST) (05:01GMT)
Irwin Kellner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Fed rates can't go up without more jobs
"It is no secret that the Fed along with the rest of us has been very concerned about the jobless recovery. While the economy is now growing faster than it has at this point in previous recoveries, job creation is far worse than average... Because of this dearth of new jobs, consumer spending is not growing as fast as it usually does, 2 years after the end of a recession. Yet at the same time, just to support the spending that has taken place, people have had to take on debt at a much greater rate than usual. The latest data from the Fed show that total consumer debt has reached a record $9,185G. That's a whopping 110% of peoples' take-home pay adjusted for inflation, also a record. Ten years ago, household debt equaled 85% of disposable personal incomes; 20 years ago it was 65%. To make matters worse, more and more of this debt is sensitive to changes in interest rates... as much as 40% of total consumer debt these days is based on floating, rather than on fixed, interest rates... The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that the share of new mortgage applications to be financed by adjustable rate, or ARM, jumped from 13.5% in 2003 January, to over 30% by year-end."
2004-02-02 21:50PST (2004-02-03 00:50EST) (2004-02-03 05:50GMT)
Michelle Kessler _USA Today_
Job shift creates India tech boom, US, Australia tech depression
"Tech companies are hiring again as the economy rebounds -- but many of the new jobs are in India. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison says his company is hiring faster in India than anywhere else. Intel president Paul Otellini recently said Intel plans to do most new hiring in India and other Asian countries. Indian classified ads carry job listings from nearly every big U.S. tech firm, from Hewlett-Packard to Dell to M$. The shift is boosting India's growing tech industry and helping U.S. companies save money. But it's squeezing the already tight U.S. tech job market. More than 200K Silicon Valley jobs have been lost since 2001, says Joint Venture, a San Jose, CA-based civic group. Salaries fell an average 24% from 2000... U.S. companies have been moving out of the USA for years. Tech companies have been especially partial to moving software programming jobs to India... India's tech industry is about one-fifth the size of the U.S. tech industry, says AMR Research analyst Lance Travis."
2004-02-03 07:00PST (10:00EST) (15:00GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Lay-off announcements up 26%
"Announcements of job reductions by U.S. corporations surged 26% in January to 117,556, the highest since October, according to a monthly tally by out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas... 2004 January lay-offs were 11% lower than 2003 January's 132,222 and 53% lower than 2002 January's 248,475... Challenger said out-sourcing jobs over-seas and increased merger and acquisition activity could boost the number of lay-offs this year, even as the economy improves... In January, consumer product companies cut 22,775 jobs, the most of any sector last month and the largest month of cuts in that sector since the survey began. Financial services announced 15,157 cuts while retail planned to cut 14,016."
2004-02-03 09:31PST (12:31EST) (17:31GMT)
Michelle Kessler _USA Today_
Off-shoring creates tech boom in India
"Tech companies are hiring again as the economy rebounds -- but many of the new jobs are in India. Oracle CEO [and derider of privacy and security] Larry Ellison says his company is hiring faster in India than anywhere else. Intel President Paul Otellini recently said Intel plans to do most new hiring in India and other Asian countries... But it's squeezing the already tight U.S. tech job market. More than 200K Silicon Valley jobs have been lost since 2001, says Joint Venture, a San Jose, CA-based civic group. Salaries fell an average 24% from 2000."
2004-02-03 11:32PST (14:32EST) (19:32GMT)
Deborah Tedford _Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
Illegal Aliens Flock to US
"Officials from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said on Tuesday that border patrol agents apprehended 92,634 illegal migrants along the Mexico border in January -- the most for that month since 2001. January is traditionally a busy month for illegal immigration as impoverished Hispanics trek northward in hopes of finding jobs during the agriculture industry's busy spring planting season. T.R. Bonner, president of the union representing Border Patrol agents, estimated illegal crossings had increased by 10% to 11% since President Bush announced the plan as many illegal migrants believed they would eventually receive amnesty."
2004-02-03 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Jeanne Meserve & Jamie McIntyre & Casey Wian & Peter Viles & Louise Schiavone _CNN_
"Tonight: terrorism on Capitol Hill, the poison ricin sent to the Senate majority leader [Bill Frist], most of the U.S. Senate forced to close... ricin, a deadly derivative of the castor bean... The latest death brings the total death toll in Iraq since the start of the war to 525, with 2,594 troops wounded in action. In Afghanistan, by the way, the death toll is now 107... dozens of children from Mexico cross the border into one small Arizona town every day. There, they receive a free U.S. tax-payer-financed education. Officials in Lukeville, AZ, are aware of the problem, yet, they are doing absolutely nothing to stop it. In fact, one local businessman is actually going out of his way to encourage it... Just before dawn, the remote border crossing at Lukeville, Arizona, comes alive, with parents bringing children from Mexico into the United States to attend public school... They have all provided documents to school district officials claiming they are U.S. residents; 97 students catch the bus here, but Lukeville's population is only 65... Most get around residency requirements by setting up guardianships with U.S. relatives or renting space at a local RV park and claiming that as their home address... Al Gay owns Lukeville's Gringo Pass RV park. He charges Mexicans with border crossing students $100 a month, less than half of what he charges tourists for space... Congressman Bob Menendez of New Jersey says immigration reform must include a path to permanent legal status and citizenship... Congressman Menendez is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, a member of the House Hispanic Caucus... in a study at Harvard recently showing that the effect of excessive immigration level, which is the case over the past decade in this country, is costing workers an estimated $190G to $200G in depressed wages. Secondly, the issue comes up as to whether or not the combination between organized labor, supporting open borders, and corporate American -- corporate interests supporting open borders is simply exploiting illegal aliens. Bob Menendez: 'the National Academy of Sciences 1997 study they say overall the Gross Domestic Product immigrants have contributed anywhere between $1G and $10G to the governments' and to the nation's benefit.'... It looks like a neighborhood bar in Queens, but federal prosecutors say 2 women who worked there were held as sex slaves -- illegal immigrants of South Korea living in fear of the smugglers that brought them to America. Andrew Hruska, chief assistant US attorney for the Eastern district of NY: 'These women were subjected intense physical and psychological terror. They were taken thousands of miles away from their family, communities, lied to, subjected to threats and coercion to perform sex.'... Then it got worse after one of the women went to police to complain, this man knocked on her door. Said he was an inspector for the U.S. Customs Department, displayed a badge, told her she was being deported immediately. He really was an inspector, Nisim Yushuvayev, but prosecutors say he was acting illegally at the request of the smugglers. He's been charged with obstruction, but immigration experts say he did serious damage. Now the bar owners are charged with aggravated sexual abuse and a charge you rarely here in this country, peonage, that is the legal term for keeping someone in slavery while they are paying off a debt... By the AFL-CIO's count, 2.6M manufacturing jobs have evaporated over the past couple of years. While the recession and productivity gains conspire to shrink factory jobs, so did the corporate quest for cheap products and workers over-seas. A trend facilitated, labor argues, by free trade agreements... Here in New York City today, corporate executives are paying $500 apiece for advice on how to export American jobs to cheap over-seas labor markets."
Milt Freudenheim _NY Times_
Companies Limit Health Coverage of Many Retirees
"In the past 2 years, many big employers have unleashed a new wave of cut-backs in company-paid health benefits for retirees."
Reed Abelson _NY Times_
The Shifting Burden of Emergency Care
"Community hospitals say specialty hospitals are draining their resources by offering care to only the most profitable patients."
D. David Beckman _TechsUnite.org_
Washington Could Be First State to Ban Off-Shoring: Law-makers debate price vs. cost to the state
"Two proposals now being considered before the Washington state House Commerce and Labor Committee would ban all state business from being sent off-shore... House Bill 2405 would prohibit state government services from being performed outside of the United States. A similar measure, House Bill 2768, would prohibit state agencies from sending work to foreign companies or to companies that would then sub-contract state work off-shore."
Katharine Mieszkowski _Salon_
From Programming to Delivering Pizza, the down-shift continues
"the jobs that are being created aren't the kind that match the resumes of these professional software programmers..."
2004-02-03 17:21PST (20:21EST) (2004-02-04 01:24GMT)
Off-Shoring Helps World Economy, Conference Participants in Mumbai, India Claim
"More jobs in developing countries would build 'larger middle classes and create a larger market for U.S. products in the future', [Dan Griswold, director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Washington-based Cato Institute] said [but failed to note that it simultaneously shrinks or slows the development of the middle classes and the market for products in the USA]... More than 450 Indian companies operate in Britain, which is India's second-largest trading partner after the United States. However, Indian software companies have been battling a back-lash from the United States and some other countries which [note] India is stealing jobs... The trend, called off-shore out-sourcing, has resulted in thousands of skilled jobs moving out of developed countries, including the United States and Britain, to India, the Philippines and other Asian nations. The U.S. Senate on January 22 passed a bill that would prohibit government contractors from shifting work over-seas. Experts say the bill, which awaits presidential approval, would have little impact because less than 2% of India's US$10G annual software export revenue comes from government-related projects. The conference in Bombay is organized by the National Association of Software and Service Companies, the Indian software and services export industry."
2004-02-03 18:36PST (21:36EST) (2004-02-04 02:36GMT)
Kevin Maney _USA Today_
Unpopular argument: Sending tech jobs abroad is good
"Behind closed doors, many U.S. technology executives will say something that could get them flayed if repeated in public: Sending computer programming jobs to India and [Red China] is good for America. Not just good for business, they believe, but good for everybody -- part of a process that will raise the standard of living in the USA and make us more secure in the world... Marc Andreessen, chairman of tech services company Opsware, and one of the few who will forthrightly say that the [off-shore] out-sourcing trend should be cheered..."
2004-02-04 07:27PST (10:27EST) (15:27GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Factory orders up 1.1% in December: Core capital orders revised to 0.8% gain
"A troubling slump in capital spending in December that was reported last week was revised away by more complete data from the Commerce Department on Wednesday. Rather than falling 0.4% as previously estimated, core capital goods orders increased 0.8% in December, the government agency said.
Read the full release. The new data show that orders for durable goods increased 0.3% in December, revised from last week's estimated 0.1% drop. Non-durable goods orders rose 2% in December... November's factory orders were also revised higher to show a 0.9% drop from the previous 1.5% estimated decline. Orders increased 3.9% in 2003... Computer orders fell 1.1%, up from a 2.7% decline previously."
Sona Shah, Pat Fluno, Michael Emmons & Michael W. Gildea _House Committee on International Relations_
testimony on guest-worker abuse
Hearing on L visas
appendix B: Sona Shah, EEOC statement
appendix C: Kai Barrett, EEOC statement
Hyde to examine abuses of L visa program
"From almost the day I was hired, I saw that most of Wilco's employees were non-immigrant guest workers on a bouquet of temporary visas including H1, L1, J1, F1 and even visitor and training visas. I witnessed first-hand the degradation of the work-force, foreign and domestic, enabled by these unregulated visa programs... I knew qualified Americans were available in NY..." [continued below]
2004-02-04 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles & Bill Tucker _CNN_
Back-Lash Against Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
"the growing back-lash against corporate America's out-sourcing of jobs over-seas, state law-makers taking action, Congress getting serious about visa abuses that allow corporations to hire foreign workers... In Saint Paul, it's the Minnesota Jobs Protection Act, in Madison, Wisconsin, the American Jobs Act. In Washington, one state rep says he's fighting an economic virus. The issue, back-lash against the exporting of government contract jobs. In Minnesota, if you have questions about food stamps, it's now very likely someone in India will take your call. Enter the Minnesota Jobs Protection Act, which would require that all work on state contracts be done by U.S. citizens.
Thomas Huntley of Minnesota: 'I started out just thinking it was wrong to use our tax-payer dollars to hire people in New Delhi, when we're firing them in New Ulm, Minnesota, but I've got more feedback on this legislation than anything I've done in the past.' In Washington state, a bill would require all work on state contracts be done in the United States. In Colorado, 2 bills pending, including a real tough one, no state contracts for companies that export 100 or more jobs. State Senator Deanna Hanna says she has seen too many people hurt by out-sourcing.
Deanna Hanna: 'I think that somehow in the spiral that is the path that we are following, out-sourcing all these jobs, the real people who live in my community and in your community and all the other communities are left in the dust.'
In Indiana, the state Senate has passed a bill requiring work on state contracts be done inside the United States. And in New Jersey, it's round 2 for a similar bill that died last year. Clearly, there is some momentum in this coast-to-coast back-lash. But the powerful corporate lobbies are undefeated on this issue. No state has ever banned the practice of using tax-payer money to pay for over-seas labor. On Capitol Hill today, emotion turned to outrage as members of the House International Relations Committee heard testimony from Americans who have lost their jobs to foreigners, in this case, foreigners who hold a controversial form of work visa. Congress has for months now been considering legislation that would drastically cut the number of foreign workers that large corporations can bring into this country. So far, none of those bills has come to a vote... The committee hearing from tech workers who lost their jobs to L-1 visa holders, visas which were originally meant for a company to be able to transfer workers from their over-seas operations on a temporary basis to familiarize them with the way the company works... And in the middle of discussions about ways to fix the L-1 visa program, which has no limit on numbers that can be issued or on salary requirements, the industry spokesman warned of possible retribution, which sparked outrage... The higher U.S. productivity, the more jobs created in the United States, that used to be conventional wisdom. But not so fast, says the chairman of the House Small Business Committee. It's not technology, but off-shore out-sourcing which is fueling productivity... Let's say last year it used to take 10 American workers to make 1K widgets. But if a company decides to buy 20% of its widget parts from [Red China], it would only need 8 U.S. workers. On paper, it would look like a gain in U.S. productivity. Current U.S. productivity figures do not take into account the off-shoring effects. Labor unions say the trend is killing the American middle-class worker, from factory workers to engineers. Small American businesses are also being squeezed... even the Manufacturers Alliance agrees that who gains from the off-shoring productivity boost is not necessarily the American worker...
Jennifer Granhold, governor of Michigan: ' What we need to do is several things. In fact, I pulled together labor and business manufacturers and we came up with a consensus agenda. Clearly, we've got to make sure that we go after those international trade policies that the United States has been lax on, for example, allowing the manipulation of currency, whether it's in [Red China] or Japan, for example, protecting our companies intellectual property when they do trade abroad, for example, going after the non-tariff trade barriers that have been placed up by other countries... I think, frankly, any member of Congress that votes in favor of another trade agreement that does not level the playing field, that does not require core and enforceable environmental and labor standards is really in jeopardy of losing their election.'...
Chuck Hagel of Nebraska: 'Let's get a system that deals with national security. That secures the border. Let's get a system that stops the black marketing of labor, that keeps people down, hurts our American workers. We do that principally by trying to [create incentives for] those illegals in the country today, by bringing them up and out of the closet. Giving them some incentive to get into the system. There are 6 major criteria that we go through that they would have to follow in order to do that. We would increase the visas so that we could reunite families. We think that's important. We would put further and more resources into securing our border. And a number of obviously details that go with that... They must have some sense of English because they can't communicate otherwise.'...
Now, as capital goes to [Red China] from investors, jobs are going there through cheap foreign labor. Fund manager Bill Gross worries that jobs creation will stay in [Red China] and India and Latin America and hurt the U.S. economy.
Bill Gross of PIMCO: 'If you get a domestic slow-down on top of an out-sourcing, then not only do you have low job growth, but perhaps negative and higher unemployment for sure.'"
"...The visa-holders who replaced us sit at our old desks, answer our old phones, and work on the same systems and programs that we did but for one-third the cost. This is what a manager at Siemens told me. 15 people were laid off at an average high tech salary of $75K each. That is over $1.1M of gross wages lost to Federal and State income taxes from just 15 people. Representatives of TCS will tell you that their programmers make $36K per year, which is just under the average range for American programmers. But what is the breakdown of that money? $24K of that is non-taxable living expenses for working out of town. That leaves just $12K of real salary paid to them in equivalent Indian rupees -- $12K, close to the United States minimum wage. There are no salary rules for L–1 visa-holders. How can they come to the U.S. so easily? The L–1 states that they must be a 'specialized knowledge worker familiar with the products and services of the company'. The workers I trained had no specialized knowledge and were obviously new to the programming language. One individual had 1 week of basic programmer training prior to arriving in the United States. Whoever approved these visas did not assess the qualifications or the skill level of these workers."
2004-02-04 12:50PST (15:50EST) (20:50GMT)
_AP_/_Charlotte News & Observer_
NC EconWatch: More residents exhausting unemployment compensation benefits
"More than 61K unemployed workers in the state are expected to exhaust federal benefits before finding new work, according to the report issued by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. That number is 50% higher than the next highest figure on record, the report said. Across the country, nearly 2M unemployed workers are expected to run out of benefits in the first 6 months of this year, the center said."
William J. Broad & David E. Sanger _NY Times_
Warhead Blueprints Link Libya Project to Pakistan Figure
"U.S. officials have obtained war-head designs they believe were sold to Libya by a network linked to the creator of the Pakistani bomb."
David Johnston & Carl Hulse _NY Times_
Finding of Deadly Poison in Office Disrupts the Senate
"No illnesses were reported, but Senator Bill Frist said that the ricin found in his office suite represented an act of terrorism."
Laurie J. Flynn _NY Times_
Cisco's 2nd Fiscal Quarter Earnings May Be Evidence of Possible Tech Recovery
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/04/technology/04cisco.html "Sales at Cisco rose 15% in the period ended January 24, to $5.4G, the highest in 3 years, from $4.7G in the quarter a year earlier and nearly 6% above those in the first quarter. Cisco executives attributed much of the increased sales to orders from telecommunications companies replacing aging network equipment. Growth in Internet-based calling, analysts said, is helping to increase demand for Cisco products. Last month, BCE, Canada's largest telephone company, said it would purchase $154M in equipment from Cisco to upgrade its network for Internet-based phone calls... Net income at Cisco fell in the quarter, to $724M, or 10 cents a share, from $991M, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier. But excluding an accounting change related to its acquisition of Andiamo Systems, the company said net income was $1.3G, or 18 cents a share, surpassing analysts' forecasts by a penny a share."
Ray Koslowski _NY Times_
"Today there are about 670K [foreign] students and dependents in the U.S... There are human smuggling organizations that have been explicitly targeting student visa fraud. There are over 70K institutions that are eligible to hand out I-20 forms. These institutions vary from universities to beauty and truck driving schools. The issue is how easily such institutions can be corrupted and become smuggling organizations. Koslowski warned that there is a potential confluence between human smuggling and the H1-B visa program. The consulate in Chennai, India has given out more H1B visas than any other consulate in the world. In 1998 - 1999 about 3,200 cases were referred to the corruption unit. In 45% of the cases work experiences could not be verified and in 21% of those cases the work experience was found to be fraudulent. More and more software and training schools in India are pumping up resumes and helping people enter the U.S. Koslowski noted that the number of H1-B visas that need to be processed rose dramatically while the staff processing the applications did not. The processing and verification of H1-B visas spans the INS, and State and Labor Departments but their information systems are not integrated."
Mortimer B. Zuckerman _NY Daily News_
The US job machine is broken
"* Largest net loss in jobs since the Depression. * 80% of manufacturing jobs gone for good. * Median earnings in 2001 were just $33,636... Typically, the Great American Job Machine energizes our economy. New jobs beget more income, which begets more spending, which begets more hiring, incomes and spending. What we're seeing now, however, suggests that there may be something fundamentally wrong in the engine room of the American economy. In the recoveries of the mid-1970s and 1980s, America was generating about 300K new jobs a month within 6 months of cyclical up-turns. In the early 1990s, this expansion slowed to about 200K a month, and we had to wait a full 2 years for that. This time, we have seen not a deceleration in job creation, but a net loss... International competition and [off-shore] out-sourcing have hit some sectors hard. In the past decade, [Red China] became the world's work-shop. In this decade, India is becoming the world's back office... _Downsizing in America_ by William Baumol, Alan Blinder and Edward Wolff. Of the 100M men and women with full-time jobs in 2001, the authors note, more than half earned less than $35K; 84% earned under $65K; 10% made between $65K and $100K; while only 5.7% made above $100K. Overall median earnings were a mere $33,636. Most middle-class families would feel that $65K is needed to maintain a family in a middle-class life-style. If you lower the bar, only 32.8% of jobs paid more than $45K annually."
Rohini Seth _GE India_
GE... A Learning Engine... In India But Not in USA
"We place great emphasis on learning and training and invest nearly $1G a year in career development for our employees."
Andrew Cassel _Philadelphia Inquirer_
The Economy: Experts are split
"Stephen Roach and Richard Berner aired their diverging views in a newsletter head-lined 'Debating the Jobless Recovery'... If this were a 'typical' recovery -- the kind that occurred before the 1990s -- Roach and Berner estimated that about 7.7M more people would have been added to the nation's employment rolls by now... Economists are predicting the data will show job growth, but the range of forecasts runs all the way from 300K jobs, (which would be great) to a mere 10K (which would be awful)."
_Dow Jones_/_Arizona Republic_
Nation's lay-off reports rose 26% in January
"U.S. corporations announced 117,556 lay-offs in January, up 26% from December, out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported Tuesday..."
2004-02-05 06:06PST (09:06EST) (14:06GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims steady
ETA unemployment compensation claim report
"The 4-week average of initial claims held steady at 345,250 for the third straight week. It's the lowest level in 3 years. Read the full release. The number of initial claims in the week ending January 31 rose by 17K to 356K, the highest in 5 weeks... In a separate report, the Labor Department said non-farm productivity increased at a 2.7% annual rate in the fourth quarter, down from the 20-year high of 9.5% in the third quarter. For all of 2003, productivity increased 4.2%. Initial claims have dropped by about 20K over the past 8 weeks and by 60K in the past 4 months... Meanwhile, the number of Americans receiving state jobless benefits held steady at 3.123M in the week ending January 24. The 4-week moving average of continuing claims fell 38,750 to 3.123M, the lowest since 2001 August. The figures do not include some 620K Americans receiving federal unemployment benefits, which are available only after workers have exhausted their state benefits, typically after 26 weeks. The federal program is no longer accepting new applicants. Continuing claims have fallen by about 500K since September."
2004-02-05 12:36PST (15:36EST) (20:36GMT)
Jennifer Waters _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Retail sales surged in January
"Preliminary results show a 5.8% jump in January sales over last year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers' index. Discounters led the way, but there were robust results from department stores, apparel and specialty retailers as well... January's results were the best since September's 5.9% gain... By far the most stunning results came out of the long-beleaguered department-store group, which delivered a 4.8% gain compared to last year's drop of 1%. What's more, it was the best showing since 1998 April, with much of attributed to gift cards."
2004-02-05 13:03PST (16:03EST) (21:03GMT)
Sarah Max _CNN_/_Money_
The next big trend: Foreclosure: The number of foreclosures has jumped in some places (with table)
"Cook County, IL (Chicago) 3,034... Dallas County, TX (Dallas) 2,039... Fulton County, GA (Atlanta) 1,622... Grainger County, in eastern Tennessee, has also had its share of foreclosures. The county has no major city but still had 1,744 foreclosed listings in 2003, according to Foreclosure.com."
2004-02-05 14:04PST (17:04EST) (22:04GMT)
Mark Gongloff _CNN_/_Money_
Some economists expect a big jump in pay-rolls, but unusual factors could cloud the picture (graph)
"Some economists aren't sure the job market is skyrocketing yet and worry that lingering business caution, technological advances that let firms keep payrolls lean, and a trend toward over-seas out-sourcing could conspire against strong hiring. That view seems to be shared by some consumers; in the Conference Board's monthly consumer confidence survey, the percentage of consumers saying jobs are 'hard to get' has been above 30 for 10 out of the past 12 months, the longest such stretch since 1993-94."
2004-02-05 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Lisa Sylvester & Bill Tucker _CNN_
losses in tool-making, tech, off-shore out-sourcing
"Jim Tillmann of Tillmann Tool & Die: 'Well, it's definitely the NAFTA and the WTO that -- we're dealing against unfair tariffs. If I build a tool that goes to [Red China]... they charge us a 29.9% tariff on anything that goes over there. Anything coming in from [Red China], there's a 3.3% tariff. That's got to be stopped immediately. I don't know how much longer we can hang on with that kind of injustice... Maybe I'm not a real smart businessman. I probably should have shut the doors 2 years ago, but I feel that's really -- that's really hard to do. I was laid off once. And I found out on Friday I didn't have my job on Monday and I know how that feels. So I have just been limping along. And I had a few other investments that I sold just to keep the shop going. And it's not like it sounds. I haven't laid off 9 people, per se. We rotated people. And they took turns. And they started finding other jobs. And most of them found jobs that are lesser paying than what they were getting here. So I'm down to 3 people. And they are good people. They are all good people. I hated to lose any one of them. I had people -- I had a person that was here 18 years. And he was one of the best tool-makers you could find. And he's no longer here... I wish you would ask [senator Dorgan], how come he doesn't put thumbs down on some of these and make Ambassador Zoellick go back to the drawing board and negotiate these equal tariffs. And we're not even talking yet about wages, where they are paying 16 cents and hour and we're paying $20 an hour here. And we're not talking about OSHA... For instance, I have used trichloroethylene [TCE] one year for cleaning molds. If I dump that outside, I go to jail. Down in Mexico, they do that all the time. And that's why there are kids born down there without arms and legs. We don't have the same playing field... When I was an apprentice in 1967, I worked at FMC in Minneapolis as an apprentice. And we made missile launchers for the Navy during the VietNam crisis. And I had a guy that was 60 years old come up to me and he said to me, he says, don't you ever let happen to this country what my generation let happen to this country... back in 1939, we let the machine shops and the foundries go down the tube. They were very obsolete. And it took us 3 years. We put women to work 12 hours a day for the war production. It took us 3 years to catch up to the Germans and the Japanese for the war. And that's what is happening right now in this country. If we continue to let the tool and die shops and the mold-building shops go under, that's exactly what is going to happen. And history will repeat itself. And for the people that don't -- that don't remember the past, we will surely relive it. And I'm afraid, if we have another 1939 again, we're in big trouble. If everything is going to be manufactured in [Red China], if they are going to manufacture our missiles, some day, we're going to get them back here and they are going to be air-mailed to us.'... The once sleepy town of Gainesville, Georgia, has transformed in the last decade into an immigrant city. Signs are now in Spanish and English. Strip malls are full of stores catering to Hispanics. The same is true for nearby Gwinnett County, where the Hispanic population jumped seven-fold between 1990 and 2000. D.A. King, who grew up in the area, says it had a negative impact, falling wages and a drain on the area's hospital and schools. D.A. King of the American Resistance Foundation: 'Illegal immigration accounts for most of the immigration to this county and to this area and to this country. More than half of our immigration is illegal. It is changing the face of our country.'... Critics say new laws are not needed; it's the current laws that are not being enforced, and that, even if local law enforcement officers were able to arrest all the illegal aliens, they would have nowhere to put them... We introduce you to someone who helps American companies ship American jobs over-seas and he says it's very good business... The world's largest retailer Wal-Mart said its sales reached a staggering $18.5G. Wal-Mart's incredible success has helped it dominate retailing and it's also the nation's top employer. But while it's influence has grown dramaticly, so has the public scrutiny and criticism against it... [A] study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Commission did find, that the committee pays wages $2.50 to $3.50 less than similar union jobs... Rev. Altagracia Perez: 'Whatever taxes are gained from Wal-Mart coming in are lost from other stores coming down. And whatever jobs come in, there's a loss because of poverty wage jobs instead of living wage jobs.'... Now Wal-Mart is the second largest contributor to political campaigns with $1M in contributions, second only to Goldman Sachs... Many local communities are passing zoning regulations prohibiting stores larger than 100K square feet aimed at keeping out super center stores. Wal-Mart's latest super center which just opened down in Tampa, Lou, is 99,995 square feet... [They give] 85% to Republicans, 15% to Democrats... Atul Vashistha, CEO of NeoIT: 'what off-shore out-sourcing is doing for America, it is actually helping American companies stay competitive. It is helping them lower the cost of products and services. And actually it is improving the buying power in nation... [Some of our client firms] are actually putting money into re-training.'... engineering, software programming, have unemployment rates, approaching double digits in this country. What in the world are you going to train them for?... We are shipping high value jobs over-seas to India, to the Phillipines, to Ireland, to Poland, to Russia, for crying out loud. What in the world are we supposed to train them to do?... So what you end up [with] is a race to the bottom... This is not comparative advantage, as envisioned by David Ricardo, this is the wholesale exportation of American wealth... Consumption power in this country for the last 3 decades had declined. Over the past 3 years [it] has actually fallen even more dramatically than that average over 3 decades... That's wonderful. Great evolution, if you believe that the United States should be shipping its wealth, its jobs, standard of living and quality of life to third world countries where there are no regulations for environment, no regulations for labor, no standards that is a requirement here in this country... You are not innovating. You are not being more efficient. You are talking about hiring cheaper labor. Those are only code words for cheap labor. McKenzie did a study, as you're aware of, in what is the bulk of the gain for American companies? All in labor savings... 70% of it."
David Pogue _NY Times_
Recording the VCR's Swan Song
"DVD recorders for less than $300 are now available from Gateway and other makers. But what do you get for that price?"
Ed Frauenheim _ZDNet India_
Guest-Worker Visas Still Coming Under Fire
"L-1 visas and other guest-worker visas have been misused by companies to harm U.S. workers, witnesses told a congressional panel on Wednesday. And a number of members of Congress made it clear they are ready to change the visas, which have been described by critics as a vehicle for shipping middle-class jobs over-seas... The hearing of the House Committee on International Relations focused on concerns that the L-1 visa program is fraught with fraud and abuse. L-1 visas allow companies to temporarily bring in employees from other countries for managerial or executive work, or for work that entails specialized knowledge... The number of L-1 visas issued by the U.S. government has tripled during the past 20 years, to about 113K in 2002, according to [Henry] Hyde's office... According to Hyde's office, a State Department memo from 1996 presents documentation indicating that, at that time, '90% of the L petitions investigated by the American Consulate in Guangzhou proved to be fraudulent'... Patricia Fluno, also a technology professional, said she lost her job at a Siemens unit in Florida to a worker on an L-1 visa. Fluno said Siemens replaced her and other U.S. employees with lower-paid employees of India-based Tata Consultancy Services. Fluno also said she was directed to train her replacement... Michael Gildea, the AFL-CIO's executive director of the department for professional employees, said guest-worker visas are fueling the shift of highly skilled work over-seas. In particular, he said several India-based companies are using visas to gain knowledge in the United States. 'Once the team of temporary workers has the knowledge and technical skills -- sometimes after being trained by U.S. workers -- as much of the work that is technically feasible to off-shore is then carted back to India.', Gildea said in written testimony to the committee. Gildea's point echoes an argument made by Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. According to Hira, as well as to publicly available information, Indian information technology companies with operations in the United States are some of the biggest applicants for H-1B visas and are heavy users of L-1 visas... Senator Christopher Dodd, D-CT, and representative Nancy Johnson, R-CT, have proposed a bill that would end the practice of allowing L-1 visa holders to be subcontracted by one employer to another, require L-1 workers to be paid the prevailing wage, and require all companies that hire H-1B employees to comply with lay-off protections and recruitment requirements that had been reserved for certain firms that relied heavily on H-1B visas. During the hearing, representative Tom Lantos, D-CA, suggested that a change of the L-1 definition and a cap may be in order."
Grant Gross _IDG_/_Computer World_
US law-makers say L-1 visa program needs to be repaired: But the ITAA lobbyist said the program 'is not broken in any fundamental way'
"Two laid-off U.S. workers testified before a U.S. House of Representatives committee yesterday that they were fired by IT companies and replaced with cheaper labor brought to the U.S. under a worker visa program designed to fill jobs needing special skills... Republican and Democratic House members beat up on the L-1 visa program, which allows companies to transfer to the U.S. their foreign employees with special knowledge of the company or managerial or executive skills. Law-makers called for limits on the number of L-1 visas granted each year and new rules that would allow enforcement against abuses of the L-1 program, which is often used to fill technology jobs. The L-1 visa program is making it easy for U.S. companies to move jobs over-seas, law-makers argued. 'America is in danger of losing that level of prosperity which allows us to work as an agent for positive change in the rest of the world.', said committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL). 'Are we being lax in the off-shoring of American jobs, often facilitated by in-shore training first given to L visa holders right here in the United States, so they can take new skills -- and American jobs -- home with them?'"
Vernon M. Briggs _Center for Immigration Studies_
Guest-Worker Programs for Low-Skilled Workers: Lessons from the Past & Warnings for the Future: testimony to the US senate judiciary committee sub-committee on immigration & border security
Camille Luckenbaugh & Kevin Gray _NACE_
Starting Salaries for New Grads NACE
Infosys & Wipro deny their abuse of L-1 visas
2004-02-06 13:51PST (16:51EST) (21:51GMT)
Tomi Kilgore _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stocks boosted by jobs data & tech rally
"The NASDAQ Composite surged 44 points, or 2.2%, to 2,064 -- its biggest one-day gain since November -- following a bullish quarterly report from telecom equipment maker Ericsson. The Dow Jones Industrials Average rose 97 points, or 0.9%, at 10,593. The blue-chip barometer ended the week up 1%, after falling during the previous 2 weeks... The S&P 500 Index ended up 14 points, or 1.3%, to 1,142. Advancing issues pummeled decliners by a 26 to 6 score on the New York Stock Exchange, and by a 23 to 8 margin on the Nasdaq."
2004-02-06 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Lisa Sylvester & Kitty Pilgrim & Peter Viles & Christine Romans _CNN_
"In Moscow today, terrorists killed at least 39 people in a bomb attack on a crowded rush hour subway train. More than 130 other people were wounded in the blast. Authorities say at least one suicide bomber carried out that attack. Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed radical Islamists from Chechnya. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today said he has no regrets about describing France and Germany as old Europe... Hundreds of thousands of American jobs are being exported to cheap foreign labor markets. The majority of those jobs are being shipped to India. But, as Lisa Sylvester now reports, pro-India lobbying groups are far from satisfied. They want more. It's a familiar sight these days, a rally to protest over-seas out-sourcing. But what you don't see is the other side. Foreign corporate groups are quietly launching a major public relations campaign to stop the back-lash. According to Senate lobbying records, the National Association of Software Service Companies, or NASSCOM, a New Delhi trade group, paid a Washington public relations firm $100K last year to help carry its message. Last month, another group, the Confederation of Indian Industry, sponsored a 7-day trip to India for 10 congressional Democratic. Representative Joseph Crowley is co-chair of the Congressional India Caucus. He says over-seas out-sourcing allows American companies to become more competitive, which, he argues, will help the U.S. economy... The 30-year-old was laid off from her IT job right after she finished training her replacement in India. Natasha Humphries: 'It outraged me the most, not to mention they -- basically, their strategy was to keep our nose to the grind-stone, so we couldn't keep an eye on the ax looming above our heads, so that we wouldn't know that our relationship with the company would eventually be severed.'... The India caucus has grown considerably. The Republican House membership of the caucus has tripled in the past year. When Representative Crowley was in India, he said one way to stop the back-lash against out-sourcing is for Indian companies to move some of their operations to the United States. So far, Lou, no takers... Tonight, senator Dorgan is joining us and releasing for the first time a disturbing report on the number of American jobs lost because of the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]. Some 100 companies, 200K job, either because of cheap imports forcing companies to shut down factories or because jobs have been exported to Mexico or Canada... Byron Dorgan: 'Well, you know, when NAFTA, with Mexico and Canada, the trade agreement was negotiated, we had a small surplus, $2G surplus with Mexico. That is now a $40G deficit. We had a $10G deficit with Canada. That's now a $50G deficit... So I decided to ask them to release for me public information, which companies certified the loss of jobs. And they gave me the list of 100 of the companies, beginning with the largest, on down, that certified, here are the jobs that have been lost as a result of either imports coming in or exporting of jobs going out... 15K Levi Strauss employees lost their jobs. They were making $14 an hour in Georgia, but those Levis are now made in Mexico. Motorola cell phones, 7K jobs. They are made in Chihuahua, Mexico, not Florida anymore. Fruit of the Loom, 5,300 people... [the work] gone to Mexico. And Kraft Foods, Fig Newton... What I get is that we are negotiating bad trade agreements for this country. Will Rogers once said, the United States of America never lost a war and never won a conference.'... The number of illegal aliens working on farms across this country has literally exploded over the past 15 years. And the nature of agriculture is only helping illegal aliens enter and stay in this country... Charles Bronson: 'The agriculture businesses in Florida depend so heavily on physical labor, when it comes to tomatoes and peppers and beans of different types, they have to be picked and picked over and over again. So it takes physical labor to do all that work.'... Illegal workers used to make up some 7% of agricultural workers 15 years ago. But now the Labor Department says more than half of all agricultural workers are illegal... Just as in December, 14.7M Americans want full time work and don't have it. That's 8.3M unemployed, 1.7M who have [recently] given up looking. Another 4.7M working part time who would rather work full time. And Job quality is becoming an issue... As far as job creation, new jobs in this report, mainly in the retail and construction sectors. Manufacturing jobs lost for the 42nd month in a row... Cigna, profit of 31%, it's going to cut 3K jobs, 9% of its work-force... almost daily news of job cuts from corporate America. On Wall Street, a reality dawning... Profit growth in the fourth quarter up some 28%, Lou, but on these conference calls you do not hear American CEOs say they are going to add jobs, at least not in this country."
Sarah Rubenstein & Jacques Couret _Atlanta Business Chronicle_
Rubbermaid to move HQ and training center to Atlanta
"The Freeport, IL-based company is exploring both existing facilities and new sites in the metro Atlanta area and expects occupancy to begin the later half of 2004. However, company officials said the company will most likely build a new facility within Fulton County. The facility should be about 300K square feet. The centralized corporate functions at the company's Freeport location will remain in Freeport and are unrelated to the Atlanta head-quarters... [Governor Sonny] Perdue said he wants to introduce new head-quarters economic incentive legislation in the General Assembly and to extend those incentives to Newell Rubbermaid for 5 years. Over the past year, Newell Rubbermaid evaluated many locations and entered into discussions with 10 state governments and municipalities. After thorough consideration, the company selected Atlanta due to proximity to customers and company locations, exceptional transportation access, good quality of life and affordability, the company said. Newell Rubbermaid CEO Joseph Galli said Atlanta's proximity to The Home Depot Inc., Lowe's Inc. and Wal-Mart was important because they're all big Newell Rubbermaid customers. Initially, the new Atlanta headquarters will provide space for 60 senior executives and support staff who are currently based at several locations throughout the country... the facility will include a training center and state-of-the-art communication capabilities and will be used extensively for the company's Phoenix program and leadership training."
Gregg Keizer _TechWeb News_/_Information Week_
Businesses May Be Ready To Open Wallets for IT
"According to [Gartner's] Technology Demand index, an on-going poll of IT decision makers in small, midsize, and large public and private organizations, U.S. companies and government agencies spent less than they had budgeted during 2003. Considerably less, said David Hankin, senior VP and general manager at Gartner. December 2003's index hovered at a score of 77; 100 would indicate that businesses spent exactly what they had budgeted... companies have stretched out their replacement cycles as far as they can go..."
Eric Chabrow _Information Week_
IT Misses Out on Job Growth
"Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show that while U.S. businesses added employees last month, employers in computer-systems development and support services actually cut jobs... Companies that provide computer-system design and related services employed 1.1M workers in January, 600 fewer than in December and 11K fewer than 2003 January, according to a survey of employers issued Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By comparison, all nonfarm businesses added 112K jobs last month. Since peaking at 1.35M in 2001 March, the computer-systems development category has lost 245K jobs, an 18.2% decline. Jobs in this category are hovering at their lowest level since 1999 April. The figures are seasonally adjusted... An InformationWeek analysis of the household survey data estimates the IT employment at about 3.2M workers at the end of 2003. Overall unemployment in January fell one-tenth of a percentage point from December to 5.6%, the lowest rate since the 5.4% posted in 2001 October. The Labor Bureau doesn't break out a separate unemployment rate for IT workers, though an analysis of its data showed that IT unemployment in 2003 stood at 5.6%."
Jeffrey Gettleman _NY Times_
Assassinations Tear Into Iraq's Educated Class
"Hundreds of intellectuals and administrators have been assassinated since May in a widening campaign against Iraq's professional class."
Dane Smith _Minneapolis Star Tribune_
Two Minnesota legislators demand limits to off-shore out-sourcing
"Responding to reports that some state government work is being done by workers in India, 2 House DFL members on Friday called for legislation that could cancel the contracts of companies that do business for the state if they use over-seas labor. Minnesota has lost about 70K jobs in 3 years and state workers could do the labor being performed off-shore, said Reps. Barb Goodwin, of Columbia Heights, and Tom Huntley, of Duluth. The state must also be concerned about identity theft and privacy of personal data over-seas, where it's harder to track down and prosecute theft, they said at a news conference. Gov. Tim Pawlenty also is concerned about over-seas contracts and 'wants to keep as many jobs as possible in Minnesota', said spokeswoman Leslie Kupchella... At least one DFL legislator, state Sen. Satveer Chaudhary of Fridley, said he thought the proposal was ill-considered and an effort to 'stir up anti-foreign sentiment... And that's wrong, whether it's done by Republicans or Democrats.' Chaudhary, an Indian-American, said the work being done in India often does not attract applicants here. And India is a democracy where human and labor rights are improving, he said."
2004-02-08 00:56PST (03:56EST) (08:56GMT)
Peter S. Goodman & Philip P. Pan _Washington Post_/_NBC_
Red Chinese Workers Pay for Wal-Mart's Low Prices: Retailer squeezes its Asian suppliers to cut costs
"Most of the 2,100 workers here are poor migrants from the country-side who have come to this industrial hub in southern China for jobs that pay about $120 a month. A sign on the wall reminds them of their expendability in a nation with hundreds of millions of surplus workers: ' If you don't work hard today, tomorrow you'll have to try hard to look for a job.'... 60%of the stereos coming off the line are for one customer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc... As capital scours the globe for cheaper and more malleable workers, and as poor countries seek multinational companies to provide jobs, lift production and open export markets, Wal-Mart and [Red China] have forged themselves into the ultimate joint venture, their symbiosis influencing the terms of labor and consumption the world over. With sales of more than $245G a year, Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the United States, still the ultimate consumer market. [Red China] is the most populous country, with 1.3G people, most still poor enough to willingly move hundreds of miles from home for jobs that would be shunned by anyone with better prospects... More than 80% of the 6K factories in Wal-Mart's worldwide data-base of suppliers are in [Red China]. Wal-Mart estimates it spent $15G on Chinese-made products last year, accounting for nearly one-eighth of all [Red Chinese] exports to the United States... Labor activists in China and abroad say that mix includes the ruling party's ban on independent trade unions -- workers may join only the party-run union -- as well as courts and regulatory agencies controlled by local party officials who are often willing to overlook labor violations to appease businesses that can be milked for taxes, fees and bribes... Still, Kong said, the party-controlled union has been frustrated that Wal-Mart has refused for 3 years to allow it to set up branches in the 31 Wal-Mart stores in [Red China] -- even though he has assured the company that the union wouldn't help workers struggle for better pay. Wal-Mart has also fought efforts to unionize its U.S. stores... Wal-Mart employs 100 auditors who annually inspect every supplier's factory. Last year, the company suspended deals with about 400 suppliers, primarily for exceeding limits on overtime, Tsuei said. Another 72 factories were black-listed permanently last year, he said, almost all for employing children under [Red China's] legal working age of 16."
2004-02-08 23:25PST (2004-02-09 02:25EST) (2004-02-09 07:25GMT)
Allen Wan _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
CEO of Pivotal sees more off-shore out-sourcing
"The head of Canadian business software company Pivotal said Monday that out-sourcing to countries like [Red China] and India has become a matter of survival for global technology companies as they seek to keep their costs down and expand business opportunities. 'If you are a software company, you have to be in [Red China] or India.', said Bo Manning, CEO of Nasdaq-listed Pivotal Corp... He expects the market for customer-relationship [customer privacy violation] software to grow 2% to 4% this year, rising to 8% to 10% in 2005. The market for CRM software is around $500M to $700M in Asia, just a slice of the $5G global market, he said."
2004-02-08 03:01PST (06:01EST) (11:01GMT)
Jon Custer _Gainesville Florida Sun_
Florida Libertarians unite at state convention
"This weekend, the Florida Libertarian Party met in Gainesville to mull over its nominee for the presidential election... 'I'm not insane.', as Michael Badnarik reassured a crowd... 'I think this is going to be the best year we've ever had.', said presidential hopeful Gary Nolan, a talk radio host from Cleveland, after addressing a crowd of about 70 party faithful at a convention breakfast Saturday. His strategy: woo fiscal conservatives from the Republican Party who are upset with Bush's spending increases and record deficits. But Aaron Russo, a... Hollywood producer also vying for the Libertarian nomination..."
Unni Krishnan _Reuters_
Indian economy seen soaring in 2003/2004
"The Indian economy, Asia's third-largest, is expected to expand a scorching 8.1% in 2003/2004, aided by a rebound in the farm sector, bringing cheer to the ruling coalition ahead of national polls. Aided by the best monsoon in a decade, the official Central Statistical Organisation said on Monday the economy is expected to bounce back from a paltry 4.0% in 2002/2003 (April-March) when a severe drought damaged crops. The strong expansion, India's highest in nearly 15 years, will propel it into the ranks of the world's fastest growing economies and a notch behind Asian rival [Red China] which is expected to grow 8.5% in 2004."
2004-02-09 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kitty Pilgrim & Jill Dougherty & Casey Wian & Christine Romans _CNN_
Putin rival disappears
"Tonight, health officials are investigating an out-break of bird flu in this country. Authorities destroyed 12K chickens at a Delaware farm over the weekend. Officials say the bird flu strain in Delaware, however, is different from the virus that has killed almost 20 people in Asia... The kind found in Delaware, the H-7 strain, is deadly to poultry, but not thought to be fatal to humans. Another kind of bird flu has been devastating poultry across Asia, now engulfing half a continent, Cambodia, [Red China], Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Thailand, VietNam; 50M chickens and ducks have had to be destroyed. And that type of bird flu, the H-5 strain, is fatal to humans; 19 people so far have died, five in Thailand, 14 in VietNam. There is worry it may infect other species... The Centers for Disease Control has banned birds and bird products from 8 Asian countries [while several of them have blocked birds from the USA]... Ivan Rybkin is a candidate for president, and he is also a former parliamentary speaker, a national security adviser to former President Boris Yeltsin, and a very vocal and strong critic of President Vladimir Putin. Just last week he printed in a well-known newspaper an attack letter on Mr. Putin saying that he is Russia's biggest oligarch, and has no right to power in Russia. The Kremlin made no answer to that letter. Also, Mr. Rybkin is in connected to Boris Berezovsky. He is one of the so-called oligarchs, he is in exile in London, and he has been funding the campaign, and also the party that Ivan Rybkin belongs to. In an interview with CNN, Mr. Berezovsky said he is not going to speculate on what might have happened, but he is pointing the finger at the Kremlin... Francis Fukuyama: 'in a country like France, well over 10% of the population is Muslim. And I think that one of the things that September 11 revealed is that even the second and third generation North Africans that were born in France are assimilating very, very poorly. That a lot of them have a primary identification, first, as Muslims, and then only secondarily as French citizens...'... the Muslim population in this instance, in Germany, is Turkish. And in Turkey, there's a commitment to secularism that bans head scarves. And yet the issue is alive and well in Germany. That is, at the very least, ironic... Francis Fukuyama: 'the United States has really been an assimilation powerhouse for most of its national existence... So I think there really is a lot of support for assimilation, as there is to openness to others coming to our country to share in what we have here... It's a basic deal. We don't care what your color -- your skin color, or your religion, or ethnic origins are, if you accept the basic political terms of being an American citizen, in terms of loyalty to our institutions.'... From this giant factory in downtown Los Angeles, American Apparel is out to prove its garment industry competitors wrong. Most have fled over-seas for cheap labor, as shown by these photographs on American Apparel's show-room floor. But all of American Apparel's T-shirts and under-garments are made here by a work-force reflective of high-energy founder Dov Charney... 1300 workers here earn $12.50 an hour on average... Charney says combining all the company's operations, from design to production to distribution under one roof is more cost-effective and efficient. American Apparel is profitable, with revenue doubling for 3 straight years. Sewers here work in small teams, with each member paid the same, based on hourly production. Every hour the team wage for that period is posted for all to see. It's hard work, but with perks, like health insurance, subsidized lunches, even massages... The company has more than 1K applicants waiting for jobs... Barney Frank: 'I hope that the financial community, the business community will understand, they've pushed people about to the limit... workers just don't see that they're getting anything... Not only are we exporting the jobs, the out-sourcing...those are the jobs 10 years ago we were told we could re-train people for.'... Rite-Aid, Lou, lost more than $100M last year, yet the executives got their bonuses none the less."
Donald G. McNeil _NY Times_
Testing for Mad Cow Disease
"The United States slaughters about 36M cattle a year. It plans to test only 40K for mad cow disease this year. By contrast, France, which slaughters about 6M cattle, now tests about half of them [3M], and Japan tests all 1.3M it eats. The Department of Agriculture says its program, which tested 20K cattle last year, is more than adequate to protect the public."
Saritha Rai _NY Times_
Indians Fear US Back-Lash to Off-Shore Out-Sourcing of Technology Work
"The rising political reaction in the United States to the loss of some American jobs to workers over-seas is creating a whip-lash effect among India's leading technology companies. 'The dramatic build-up of opposition before the U.S. elections is disturbing.', Jaithirth Rao, the chairman of a leading software and call center company, M, said in an interview at the three-day annual meeting of Nasscom, India's software industry trade association. M, based in Bombay, has 6k employees and its operations spread across Bangalore and Pune. More recently, it has expanded to Shanghai and Tijuana on the Mexican border with the United States. Companies like M are the biggest beneficiaries of a movement among many of the largest corporations in the United States to shift certain white-collar work to low-cost India, where local companies are adding thousands of skilled, English-speaking employees every quarter to meet the increased demand. At the same time, companies like G3 and M$ are expanding their operations in India on everything from basic customer service to high-end research and development. The political reaction in the United States against such out-sourcing has built rapidly in the last year; nearly two dozen states have voted on legislation to ban government work from being contracted to non-Americans. More recently, the United States Senate approved a bill aimed at restricting out-sourcing of contracts from two federal departments. The House has not acted on similar legislation."
Bill Fleckenstein _CNBC_
How the government manufactures low inflation: Some government data suggest computer and car prices, among many other things, are falling. But when was the last time you paid less for a car? Hereís why you should be concerned.
"Among the skeptics are Steve Milunovich of Merrill Lynch, Jim Grant of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, and, of course, yours truly. In a recent report, Milunovich noted that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), whose job it is to compute the Gross Domestic Product each quarter, has 'stopped reporting the real computer hardware shipment figure used to calculate real GDP growth, though it is still used in GDP calculations'. The BEA, which is part of the Commerce Department, made this readjustment because it is 'concerned the rapid price declines for computers made the figures misleading'... For those of you who don't know, hedonics is the way the government transforms price declines into quality improvements... To put the numbers into perspective, from the second quarter of 2000 through the fourth quarter of 2003, the government estimated that real tech spending rose from $446G to $557G, when nominal spending only increased to $488G. That extra $72G represents the value the government imagines the improvement in computer quality is worth. Now $72G doesn't sound like a huge amount in a $10T economy, but at the margin, it makes a difference. And in fact, the contribution of this tech component to real GDP comprised about 12% of growth in the third quarter of 2003 and more than 30% of growth in the first quarter of 2003, i.e., a big chunk of the growth."
Michael Isikoff _NewsWeek_
Candidates Take Cash from Red China
"John Kerry needed cash, and soon. In 1996 July the Massachusetts senator was locked in a tough re-election fight, so he was more than happy to help when he heard that a generous potential contributor wanted to visit his Capitol Hill office. The donor was Johnny Chung, a glad-handing Taiwanese-American entrepreneur. Chung brought along some friends, including a Hong Kong businesswoman named Liu Chaoying. Told that Liu was interested in getting one of her companies listed on the U.S. Stock Exchange, Kerry's aides immediately faxed over a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The next day, Liu and Chung were ushered into a private briefing with a senior SEC official. Within weeks, Chung returned the favor: On September 9 he threw Kerry a fund-raiser at a Beverly Hills hotel, raking in $10K for the senator's re-election campaign."
2004-02-09 19:15PST (22:15EST) (2004-02-10 03:15GMT)
Stephanie Armour _USA Today_
More job searchers just quit looking
"he decided not to fritter away his savings on a job search he assumed would be fruitless. Instead, he decided to go to law school -- a career move he made in large part because so few employers are hiring... A growing number of white-collar workers and other job seekers are so discouraged that they're giving up. Instead of looking for work, they're living off severance or buyout packages, moving back in with Mom and Dad or relying on a spouse's income to get by. They're gray-haired managers who are going back to school and working mothers who are becoming stay-at-home moms after being laid off. Some disheartened job seekers are making money on e-Bay, selling their poetry or doing odd jobs for neighbors instead of sending out more resumes. About 4.7M Americans want jobs but are not looking for work, up from 4.6M in 2003 January, according to the Department of Labor. There are a variety of reasons they may be unable to look for work. They may be unable to job hunt because they don't have a car or can't find child care... Compared with previous economic downturns, more of the discouraged job seekers today are employed in sectors such as information technology or manufacturing, and more have college educations, according to economist Bernstein. And a large number are going back to school. They are also more likely to be people whose families aren't dependent upon their incomes to survive."
2004-02-09 16:45PST (19:45EST) (2004-02-10 00:45GMT)
Paul R. La Monica _CNN_/_Money_
Off-Shore Out-Sourcing Continues Despite Back-Lash
"Concerns about jobs being shipped over-seas have created a big political stir. But the companies that are benefiting the most from this trend don't seem to be affected by the controversy. In fact, investors have been seduced by the explosive growth potential of companies that have out-sourcing operations in India... Of course, since these stocks have done so well, they could be vulnerable for a pull-back if they fail to live up to expectations. So if there is a negative on the near-term horizon, it isn't politics but good old-fashioned valuation."
2004-02-10 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kitty Pilgrim & Jim Bitterman & Peter Viles _CNN_
made in America, off-shore out-sourcing, training
"The [Economic Report of the President & his Council of Economic Advisors] says, when low-level jobs are lost over-seas, Americans will move to higher-skilled jobs and the market decides those jobs will be... [In France] Nearly 500 of the 577 deputies voted in favor of banning religious symbols from public schools. Only 36 voted against... we visit with a master crafts-man who's helped lead a renaissance in a uniquely American craft, the hand-made hook rug. If you want custom made for a large room and you want it made in America, the man to see is Stephen Anderson... The hand-hooked rug, an American tradition dating back more than a hundred years and now enjoying a renaissance as top decorators embrace Americana and the work of Stephen Anderson, the new darling of those who can afford $60K for a large rug... Tom Donohue, US Chamber of Commerce: 'there are legitimate values in out-sourcing -- not only jobs, but work -- to gain technical experience and benefit we don't have here, to lower the price of products... American companies employ 140M Americans. They provide health care for 160M Americans. They provide training in terms of 40G a year. The out-sourcing deal over 3 or 4 or 5 years and the 2 or 3 sets of numbers are only going to be, you know, maybe 2M, maybe 3M jobs, maybe 4M.'... And then we've got a government saying it's good for you to see your job out-sourced. The numbers at -- you can use Forrester. You can use the Berkeley study. It's either 3M or -- it's 14M over the next 5 to 7 years. This doesn't come up to a happy result... It's a riskier proposition to have John Sweeney talking about organizing illegal aliens and Tom Donohue and his members talking about exploiting labor and... Donohue: 'we don't have sufficient technical people. We've got to train people. Companies spent $40G this year training people.'"
2004-02-10 15:03PST (18:03EST) (23:03GMT)
Unemployment figures paint incomplete, muddled picture of jobs crisis
"The nation's unemployment rate continues to fall. In January it was 5.6%, as compared to 5.7% in December and 5.9% in November. In North Carolina, the December rate was 6.1%, down from 6.2% in November and 6.7% in July... Another category of underemployed are those the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center calls 'nvoluntary part-timers...workers who although they usually work full-time have settled for part-time work because they could not secure full-time employment. This group grew 18% between 2001 and 2002... Unfortunately, many of these jobs tend to be low-wage employment as well.'... In 2002, more than 14% of North Carolinians without high-school diplomas were unemployed. The rate was 10.8% among Hispanics and 10.7% among African Americans. All this was at a time when the overall rate was 6.7%."
Mary Williams Walsh _NY Times_
Political Money Said to Sway Pension Investments
"When elected officials sit on government pension boards, investment decisions can be tainted by campaign contributions."
Paul Krugman _NY Times_
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
"The bureau actually produces 2 estimates of employment, one based on a survey that asks each employer in a random sample how many workers are on its pay-roll, the other on a survey that asks each household in a random sample how many of its members are employed. Most experts regard the employer survey as more reliable; even in the midst of the recovery, that survey has contained nothing but bad news. The household numbers look better, but not particularly good... In the last 3 months, more than 40% of the unemployed have been out of work more than 15 weeks. That's the worst number since 1983, and a sign that jobs remain very hard to find... Since the last quarter of 2001, real GDP has risen 7.2%. But wage and salary income, after adjusting for inflation, is up only 0.6%. This matches what the employer survey is telling us: America's workers have seen very little benefit from this recovery."
David Brooks _NY Times_
Bush on Bush: Take 2
"Tim, I know I'm repeating myself, but I am a war president. Do you remember how you felt on 2001 September 12? Do you remember the incredible sense of shock, sadness, anger and pride, all welling up into a consuming sense of urgency? That's how I still feel every day. I wake up every morning and get briefed about the terrorist threats that menace this country. I read about terrorists in Iraq who murder doctors and teachers so they can abort freedom. I wake up every morning and stare into the hole where civilization used to be. I have staked the security of this nation on two propositions; this election will be about whether those propositions are true. The first is that the war on terror means we have to escalate our alert status. We cannot wait for our enemies to launch their attacks because we are a nation already at war. We cannot wait for countries like France, China and Russia to see things our way because we are a nation at war... [It] was not a discrete crime. Something so horrible could not grow from a small cause. I concluded that this war is a global, ideological and moral war. Some liberals have trouble grasping evil, and always think that if we could take care of the handguns or the cruise missiles or the WMD, our problems would be ameliorated. But I know the problem lies in the souls of our enemies. I'm not good at explaining the ideology that unites our foes and propels them to fight freedom. But I know that the threats we face are part of a universal hatred, and the only solution to that hatred is freedom ó that we must undertake a generational challenge to spread democracy so people whose souls are now twisted can learn to love peace. We could not have allowed the Middle East to continue to drift down its former course..."
Nicholas Kraley _Washington Times_
Most creditors to provide substantial relief
"All of Iraq's major creditors, except [Red China], have agreed in principle to reduce 'substantially' the country's overall debt, and negotiations on the exact amount of debt forgiveness will begin soon, President Bush's special envoy James Baker said yesterday."
_Minneapolis Star Tribune_
Unemployment compensation insurance benefits being exhausted
ETA unemployment compensation claims report
"Since the labor market hit bottom last summer, employers have been adding about 73K jobs per month. That compares with 216K jobs per month during the economic expansion of the early 1990s, and much larger monthly gains in recoveries before that. At this sluggish pace, it will take the nation four years to recover the jobs it lost in 9 months during the recession of 2001... Nearly one-fourth of the nation's 8.3M jobless workers have now been out of work for 6 months or longer. As of December, nearly 400K workers are exhausting their unemployment benefits every month, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, DC."
Pete Warren _London Evening Standard_
India call centre staff bribed by organized crime & industrial spies
"Staff at call centres in India are being bribed by organised crime and industrial spies to them help hack into the computer systems of British firms... In one case, sensitive financial information and credit card details were apparently illegally taken from a leading British financial institution. A spokesman for the National Out-Sourcing Association (NOA) in Britain said: 'This shows that there are some things that you really should not send over-seas.'... Richard Hollis, managing director of Orthus, an information security solutions company in London, claims the problem is growing because Indian staff have access to increasingly sensitive customer information."
2004-02-10 17:52PST (20:52EST) (2004-02-11 01:52GMT)
Andrea Coombes _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
A more tolerant work-place? Even as new drug-test methods emerge, fewer employers bother
"Work-place drug testing has moved far beyond the days of a sojourn to the bath-room, cup in hand. Nowadays, employers can swab workers' desks or take samples of their hair, sweat or saliva... 50% of large U.S. companies subjected employees to drug tests in 2001, down from 62% a decade earlier, according to a survey of about 1,600 companies by the American Management Association in the most recent data available... A new generation of chief executives... may be more tolerant of drug use... But cost is likely the main driver behind fewer companies testing. Firms often can't pinpoint specific productivity issues that warrant drug testing."
2004-02-11 02:00PST (05:00EST) (10:00GMT)
Joanna Glasner _Wired_
Training Program for Displaced Americans, Funded by H-1B Fees To Be Axed: Funding Expired at End of September
"The department created the H-1B Training Program in the late 1990s as a way for Americans to learn skills in high demand by employers. The funding came from fees employers of foreign workers paid to get H-1B visas, which allowed the foreigners to take technical jobs that went unfilled during the dot-com boom. The Labor Department used those fees and other funding to pay $328M in scholarships and grants to community groups to develop training programs for U.S. citizens and permanent residents."
2004-02-11 13:53PST (16:53EST) (21:53GMT)
Susan Lerner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stocks up after Greenspan's testimony to Financial Services Committee
"U.S. stocks closed at their best levels since mid-2001 Wednesday after Alan Greenspan said he saw no urgency to raise interest rates... The Dow ended the day up 123.85 points, or 1.2%, at 10,737.70 while the Nasdaq Composite Index lifted 14.33 points, or 0.7%, to 2,089.66, their highest closes since 2001 June. The S&P 500 lifted 12.22 points, or 1.1%, to finish at 1,157.76."
2004-02-11 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles & Casey Wian _CNN_
Congress looks to end out-sourcing, assimilation of immigrants
"Despite a fire-storm of criticism, the administration today maintained its claim that the out-sourcing of American jobs to cheap over-seas labor market is good for the economy. As for law-makers on Capitol Hill, both Democratic and Republican, they blasted the White House. And one Republican law-maker tonight is calling for the president's chief economic adviser to resign... Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND): 'The economic report of the president signed by the president says that the export of American jobs is just fine, doesn't matter, no problem. In fact, it's a good thing. He is flat-out, dead wrong.'... Don Manzullo (R-IL): 'the best thing is for Mankiw to step aside very quietly and for -- to have one less economist give a theory as to why we don't have jobs in America.'... And in a House hearing, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was peppered with unusually aggressive questions and comments on out-sourcing... Unidentified congress-woman: 'Now that we have exported our manufacturing jobs, now that we are exporting our high-tech jobs and our service jobs, what areas are left for us to devote our productivity toward?'... late today, Dennis Hastert blasted Gregory Mankiw's views on out-sourcing American jobs and released a statement saying, 'I understand that Mr. Mankiw is a brilliant economic theorist, but his theory fails a basic test of real economics. An economy suffers when jobs disappear.'... Ed Gillespie, chair of the Republican national committee: 'if we're going to create jobs in this economy, the president's 6-point plan for job creation is the way to do it... I do understand the notion of competitive advantage. And, look, that's fine as long as we are creating high-paying jobs in our economy. And the fact is that we are seeing now economic growth that is going to create -- and we are seeing the creation of high-paying jobs in our economy. That's the answer, to make sure that we're doing all we can to foster this economic growth, to make sure that every American who wants a job can have a job...'... Insurgents set off a huge car bomb outside a recruiting center for the Iraqi army in Baghdad. Nearly 50 people were killed. Dozens more were wounded, the second major attack against Iraqis in two days. Yesterday, insurgents killed 55 people, as they exploded a bomb next to a line of people waiting to apply for jobs in the Iraqi police force... John Fonte, senior fellow with the Hudson Institute: 'some of the evidence is from the Pugh Hispanic survey... And the question was how do you identify yourself? What's your primary identification? These are...American citizens... And only 33% consider themselves Americans first.'... Tamar Jacoby: 'people are learning English faster than ever before. And most groups are moving up the economic ladder... By the third generation the number is two thirds speak English only.'... Merle Norman founded her company 83 years ago. Now, her heirs proudly carry on the company traditions, including 'made in America'... Merle Norman's 600 employees average 15 years with the cosmetic company. Several have worked more than 40. 37% have never missed a day of work or even been late. Depending on seniority, that can earn yearly bonuses from a new bike to a trip anywhere in the world. Here loyalty goes both ways... Merle Norman sells through 1,800 franchised studios, where a woman can get her makeup done and buy products... Merle Norman started not far from here in Santa Monica, California, in 1931... Many of the machines on the factory floor date to the 1950s. Everyone, including top executives, lunches at the company cafeteria, the cost 25 cents. To encourage perfect attendance, factory employees work four ten- hour days. And there's a dentist's office on site. Merle Norman does carry one product made in Germany, an eye pencil line. That's a tiny fraction of its $100M annual sales. But Merle Norman refuses to follow competitors who employ cheap foreign labor... Eamonn Fingleton: 'Basically, manufacturing at the level we're talking about, advanced manufacturing for an advanced nation, is extremely capital intensive, extremely know-how intensive that creates very high value-added jobs. And it creates exports. It creates a strong nation.'"
Edward Wong _NY Times_
Up to 80 Killed in Bomb Blasts at 2 Iraqi Sites
"Two car bombs that exploded within almost 24 hours of each other killed Iraqis applying for jobs with the army and police."
John Schwartz _NY Times_
M$ Warns Software Users of Yet Another Critical Flaw
"Users of M$'s operating system software have to patch their systems again, or their computers will be vulnerable to attacks."
"Only Washington has the authority to intervene and offer the assistance Haiti needs to end the country's violent insurrection."
Nicholas D. Kristof _NY Times_
Watching the Jobs Go By
"The current wave of out-sourcing jobs to India will hopefully jolt us into improving our math and science education."
Jeffrey McCracken _Contra Costa Times_
New jobs likely pay less
"For struggling workers... it's not just the quantity of jobs that aren't there -- it's the quality of those that are... A national study says the new jobs being created pay about 21% less than [i.e. 79% of] the jobs they replace... More people are working part-time involuntarily because they want a full-time job but can't find one. Part-time means working 34 hours or fewer a week. In December, there were 4.79M involuntary part-timers, compared with 3.25M in 2000 December, federal labor statistics show. That's the most since 1994 June... From 1870 through 1920, tens of thousands of farming jobs vanished, and workers eventually found work in the auto industry or other fields. But many of the new factory jobs paid better than those farming jobs they replaced. Now, the new jobs pay about $35,410 a year, compared with $44,570 at the old jobs."
Cecil E. Bohanon & T. Norman van Cott _Ludwig von Mises Institute_
Perils of Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
"The Chinese 'yellow peril' was the late 19th century menace. And today, horrors, the Chinese and Indians are selling Americans things like computer software at bargain basement prices. In fact, when it comes to overall U.S. living standards, there is nothing special about out-sourcing software technology. All that matters in this case is whether the Chinese and Indians sell for less than what current American software producers could earn in their next most lucrative employment. If so, out-sourcing enhances U.S. living standards... Indeed, there is a seemingly endless list of other ways they could earn a living. The distinguishing characteristic of these other occupations is that adjusted for nonmonetary work conditions, all pay less than [what they earned producing software]. Surprise? No! That's why these people produce software... Americans have two choices. One, opt for U.S.-produced software, sacrificing [the difference in cost]... Two, go for the Chinese and Indian software... American software producers obviously don't participate in the... increase in overall U.S. living standards. Indeed, they're... worse off after landing in their next-best jobs. The temptation is to conclude that the [Red Chinese] and Indians capture what American software producers lose... Then who gets the [amount] that American software producers lose? Likewise, who gets the... increase in the economic pie? Does each vanish? Not at all, both accrue to... purchasers of software... Lower software prices also open up new opportunities for Americans to buy software for uses that were uneconomic when software was produced by higher cost Americans... Americans other than American software producers capture what the latter lose."
Index of articles on mises.org
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
Due to guest-worker binge, H-1B visa cap could be reached within a week
"U.S. immigration officials may be just a week away from getting enough applications to fill the H-1B visa cap this year, shutting down a pipe-line for companies that hire foreign high-tech workers. The congressionally limited cap was reduced to 65K in October, the start of the new federal fiscal year, after being [temporarily] set at 195K for the previous 3 years. The actual number of visas generally available for the current fiscal year was further reduced by a free-trade agreement that specifically allocated 6,800 for use by people from Singapore and Chile."
James K. Glassman _Tech Central Station_
Exporting Lou Dobbs and John Kerry
Alan Greenspan _House Committee on Financial Services_
Monetary Policy Report to Congress
"The strong gains in productivity, however, have obviated robust increases in business pay-rolls. To date, the expansion of employment has significantly lagged increases in output. Gross separations from employment, two-fifths of which have been involuntary, are about what would be expected from past cyclical experience, given the current pace of output growth. New hires and recalls from lay-offs, however, are far below what historical experience indicates. To a surprising degree, firms seem able to continue identifying and implementing new efficiencies in their production processes and thus have found it possible so far to meet increasing orders without stepping up hiring."
Jo Best _Silicon.com_
Call centre out-sourcing just not an issue... if you're Swedish
"Invest in Sweden putting the total number of call centre agents at 55K people -- a number it is says is set to double every year until 2007... While the UK call centre industry -- and some call centre users -- complain of language difficulties with agents in locations such as India, it's just such a language barrier that's keeping the Swedes' call centre industry firmly inside the country's borders... given a helping hand to do so by government subsidies. While setting up a shoddy call centre in order to get your hands on the cash might have seemed an all-too-tempting prospect for fly-by-night operators, the Swedish authorities did their best to deter such a practice. The subsidies were only offered to those companies that met certain labour standards -- wages, hours, working conditions and so on -- and were solely handed out to companies hiring permanent staff."
2004-02-12 05:31PST (08:31EST) (13:31GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US weekly unemployment compensation insurance claims rose, retail sales weak
"The 4-week average of initial claims rose 5K to 350,500 in the week ended February 7. It's the highest level in a month. The number of initial claims in the week ending January 31 rose by 6K to 363K... Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.3% in January as auto sales screeched to a halt. Excluding autos, sales rose a better-than-expected 0.9%."
ETA unemployment compensation insurance claim report
Census Bureau report on retail sales
2004-02-12 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles & Dana Bash & Louise Schiavone & Mike Watkiss _CNN_
Bush acknowledges off-shore out-sourcing threat
"Senator John Cornyn (R-TX): 'And I don't think you could build a wall high enough or wide enough to keep people out of this country who have no hope and no opportunity.'... In Pennsylvania, where 132K manufacturing jobs have disappeared, the president acknowledged, [off-shore] out-sourcing is part of the problem. George W. Bush: 'There are people looking for work because jobs have gone over-seas. And we need to act in this country. We need to act to make sure there are more jobs at home.'... Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD): 'Companies that export U.S. jobs would be required to disclose how many jobs are being shipped over-seas, where they are going, and why.'... EarthLink is closing a call center [in Harrisburg, PA], shipping the work to the Philippines and India, 400 jobs. And those workers got bad news this month. They have been denied special trade assistance by the Bush administration [because the law under which the assistance was created stipulates that it is for manufacturing, not services]... The government says 40% of the illegal aliens in the United States have over-stayed their visas... Just off the scenic second tee of North Phoenix's Orange Tree Golf Course, a small army of local and federal cops making quite a find... Indeed, inside this Spanish-style home, in this decidedly upscale corner of the valley, well over 125 men, women and children discovered, packed shoulder to shoulder inside the rented home, a place with no food, no furniture, and where all of the toilets and showers were overflowing with human waste... Sherrod Brown (D-OH): 'in the first part of the last decade, we saw continued job loss in manufacturing jobs. And I remember during NAFTA in 1993 the debate that we were told over and over that, if you get more education to prepare for this, then we'll just ship out the low-skilled jobs, but there will be plenty of jobs for people as they get educated more. But we're seeing more and more that we're losing computer engineers. We're losing radiologists. We're losing all kinds of white-collar jobs, all kinds of jobs in addition to manufacturing jobs, which we're losing by the droves in my state. We're losing all kinds of higher-tech jobs and all over the place... Well, there's all kinds of things we need to do in terms of the education system, in terms of better job training... We have rules about the environment and rules about worker safety and rules about consumer protection. If we're going to pass international trade agreements, as we should, they should have similar kind of rules... You go to [Red China], it's even worse... all that these job losses and all that this has done to pull down our standards... The World Trade Organization was signed by and ratified by Democrats... The way it is now, trade only works for the investors. It doesn't work for a steelworker in Lorain or a rubber worker in Akron. It doesn't work for a computer engineer in Palo Alto. It works for wealthy investors in the U.S. It doesn't work for Mexican workers. It works for wealthy investors in Mexico.'... James Glassman: 'So out-sourcing, off-shoring,... it's good for the Indians and it's good for Americans.'... what we have argued is that trade that is not mutual, mutually beneficial, doesn't make a lot of sense... James Glassman: 'The reason we have such a large trade deficit is, we're doing a lot of importing, while the rest of the world, which has a worse economy, is not able to buy... over the last 10 years, we have manufactured 40% more than we did 10 years ago... free trade is much better than the alternative, which is no trade or obstructed trade.'..."
William J. Broad, David E. Sanger & Raymond Bonner _NY Times_
A Tale of Nuclear Proliferation: How Pakistani Built His Network
"Abdul Qadeer Khan, the developer of Pakistan's bomb, gradually transformed himself into the largest exporter in the nuclear black market."
Eric Lichtblau _NY Times_
Sub-Poenas Served for Hospitals' Records of Some Abortions
"A federal judge in Manhattan last week allowed the sub-poenas to go forward and threatened to impose penalties, and perhaps even lift a temporary ban he had imposed on the government's new abortion restrictions, if the records were not turned over. But, also last week, the chief federal judge in Chicago threw out the sub-poena against the Northwestern University Medical Center because he said it was a 'significant intrusion' on the patients' privacy... Judge Richard Conway Casey of Federal District Court in Manhattan, who issued an order in December enforcing the government sub-poenas, said at a hearing last week that the department had good reason to want the records, and he threatened to sanction the opposing lawyers in the case unless the hospitals turned them over... Judge Casey issued a temporary injunction in November preventing the government from enforcing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. He said last week that he was prepared to lift that injunction and possibly clear the way for the government to enforce the law if the records were not produced... The department said in its unsuccessful effort to enforce the Northwestern subpoena that the demand for records did not 'intrude on any significant privacy interest of the hospital's patients' because the names and other identifiable information would be deleted."
Anahad O'Connor _NY Times_
U.S. Infant Mortality Rate Rose Slightly (with graph)
"The increase may point to advances that improve the chances of high-risk pregnancies but have yet to keep some premature babies alive much longer than their first month... In releasing the death statistics for 2002, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted the increase, from 6.8 deaths per 1,000 births in 2001 to 7.0 deaths in 2002. It listed several conditions that have caused high-risk pregnancies and births; fertility treatments that have led to higher rates of multiple births; complications, including low-birth-weight babies; and premature infants. One statistician said that the increase appeared to be an anomaly, a matter of the infant mortality rate reflecting the mounting complications from high-tech and high-risk pregnancies that have become more prevalent in the last 10 to 15 years. The statistical break-down released yesterday also included an increase in life expectancy, from 77.2 years in 2001 to 77.4 years in 2002. That rate has been climbing steadily for decades, and the latest jump accompanied a dip in some of the leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke and cancer... About 4M babies are born in the United States each year. In 2002, 27,977 of them died, up from 27,568 deaths the year before... The latest figures, Dr. Andrulis said, might be tied to an economic down-turn that 'took root in 2000 or 2001 but only manifested itself in 2002'."
A Police Shooting Revisited
"The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association should realize that the days are long gone when the department backed officers regardless of what had happened or how they had behaved."
Albert Einstein (quoted at Lou Dobbs Tonight
"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
Bill introduced to require companies to disclose off-shoring plans
"Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschleís bill would require any company that plans to lay off 15 or more workers and send those jobs over-seas to disclose how many jobs are affected, where the jobs are going and why they are being off-shored. The workers must be given 3 months' advance notice. And the companies would be required to notify federal and state agencies responsible for helping laid-off workers, according to a bill summary. The bill also calls on the U.S. Department of Labor to compile statistics of off-shored jobs and report annually to Congress."
2004-02-13 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US trade deficit soared in December: 2003 deficit sets record at $489.4G
US International Trade in Goods and Services
"For the year, the U.S. posted a record trade gap of $489.4G, up $71.3G, or 17.1% from the previous record set in 2002 of $418.0G... The November trade gap was revised up slightly to $38.4G. December exports fell $200M, or 0.2%, to $90.4G. Imports rose 3.0% to a record $132.8G. Exports of goods fell 1.2% to $62.9G for the month. Capital goods, excluding autos, led the decline, falling 4.5% to $26.0G. In that category, civilian aircraft exports plunged 48.3% to $1.6G. Agricultural exports were down 4.9% to $4.9G. Imports of goods rose 3.2% in December to $111.1G. Industrial supplies led the increase, rising 5.1%, while capital goods imports rose 4.8%... The December trade deficit with [Red China] totaled $9.9G, up from $9.6G in the same month one year ago. The U.S. exported $3.3G of goods to [Red China], the second highest level on record. For the full year, the Commerce Department said exports rose 4.6% to $1.0T. 2003 saw record exports of industrial supplies and consumer goods. Imports rose 8.3% to a record $1.5T in 2003... The U.S. recorded record trade gaps with Mexico, Canada, the European Union, [Red China] and South/Central America in 2003. [from the full report:] Advanced Technology Products: 2001 net export $4.451G; 2002 net import $16.584G; 2003 net import $27.41G"
2004-02-13 06:00PST (09:00EST) (14:00GMT)
Pre-employment background checks increase
"Since the 2001 September 11, terror attacks, back-ground checks for job seekers are up sharply -- probing everything from credit histories to criminal records... Children are finding they have rap sheets and have credit records -- because they're victims of identity theft. So are many members of the military..."
2004-02-13 06:54PST (09:54EST) (14:54GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
UMich Consumer Sentiment Index slumps more than 10% in early February
"The consumer sentiment index fell to 93.1 from 103.8 in January."
2004-02-13 07:38PST (10:38EST) (15:38GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Enron's former CEO, Skilling, to be indicted
"Andrew Fastow and Rick Causey, have already been charged with fraud."
2004-02-13 13:27PST (16:27EST) (21:27GMT)
Susan Lerner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
UMich consumer sentiment numbers stun stocks
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 66 points, or 0.6%, at 10,627 after trading as low as 10,604 and as high as 10,734. The Dow is up 34 points, or 0.3%, on the week. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, gave back a 12-point gain to close down 20 points at 2,053. The Nasdaq is down 0.5% from a week ago, marking its fourth consecutive week of declines. The S&P 500 finished down 6 points, or 0.6%, at 1,145. The index gained 0.3% this week..."
2004-02-13 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Bill Tucker & Peter Viles _CNN_
"Alan Tonelson of the US Business & Industry Council: 'If we have an economic future in this country, it's not in services and it's not in high tech.'... Americans are sending money over-seas at an alarming rate. The trade deficit last year swelled to almost a half trillion dollars, $489G, our trade deficits, with [Red China], Mexico, Canadian and the Europe Union hit all-time highs in 2003... But the new trade numbers serve up a hard dose of reality, as we exported money out of the country and eroded our strength. The surplus in the service sector shrank to $60G last year, a dramatic drop from a $91G surplus in 1997. And what had been a trade surplus in high technology as eventually as 2001 has now become a $27.5G deficit... Manufacturing remains in pain; 582K more jobs were lost and over 3M jobs have now been lost in 3 years... Clyde Prestowitz of the Economic Strategy Institute: 'We're consuming more than we produce, which means that we are kind of living at an artificially high standard of living, financed by foreign lenders, particularly Japan and [Red China].'... on Capitol Hill tonight, a growing and increasingly powerful backlash against the export of American jobs to cheap over-seas labor markets. There is now a proposal in the Senate to force American companies to publicly declare their plans to move jobs out of this country when they do so and to give their employees at least 3 months notice... On the campaign and in Washington, out-sourcing of American jobs suddenly a hot issue, in Wisconsin, where 68K manufacturing jobs have disappeared... The Jobs For America Act would require that companies planning to lay off 15 or more workers and send the jobs over-seas notify those workers and the federal government at least 3 months before the lay-offs... And we have seen memos, internal memos, from IBM reported in the media, where they coach their employees on how to discuss this, certain words not to use. So they really don't want to discuss this publicly... Let me start by saying in my opinion, I don't think Gregory Mankiw should resign either. I think the president should probably fire him. The fact of the matter is, saying that 2.6M jobs will be created and defending outsourcing of American jobs is, to me, absurd... Bruce Bartlett: 'Well, we don't have anything remotely like true free trade, but on the other hand, we do have a relatively open world economy... Well, one reason earnings have fallen is because benefits have gone up dramatically.'... My question is very simply, what are we going to do about those jobs that are being exported over-seas for cheap labor markets? You know, when we talked about comparative advantage, the fact is the Indian economy has a huge unemployment level, the [Red Chinese] have a huge unemployment rate, there is no way in which we can ever compete on a dollar basis hour for hour, product, our workers in this country with those people. It has nothing to do with comparative. They can suck up all the jobs in this country that we're going to create in the next 5 years. Bruce Bartlett: 'You can't look at just look at wage rates, you have to look at skill levels. You have to look at productivity. If a U.S. worker is 5 times as productive as a Chinese worker, it doesn't bother an employer to pay him 5 times more than he pays the Chinese worker because he'd have to hire 5 Chinese workers to do the same job. That's where we have to compete.'... Rick Kirkland: 'Last year they said it was going to be 1.7M [additional jobs] and I think it was -53K.'"
Jake Tapper, Mark Litke, Mike Lee, Linda Douglass, Joy Kalfopoulos, Ramona Schindelheim & Anna Grabenstroer _abc News_
Exporting American Jobs: Fire-Storm
"On Thursday -- the day before the U.S. Commerce Department reported a record $489.4G trade deficit for 2003 -- travelocity.com, the internet travel company, announced it was out-sourcing 300 call-center jobs from Texas and Virginia to India. Such news comes on the heels of the political firestorm set off earlier this week by President Bush's chief economic adviser, Greg Mankiw, who said out-sourcing -- sending white-collar service jobs abroad where labor is cheaper -- was a good thing... Some analysts say the out-sourcing phenomenon may gut the American middle class... Almost simultaneously in Harrisburg, the president observed that there 'are people looking for work because jobs have gone over-seas. We need to act to make sure there are more jobs at home.'"
David Hancock _CBS_
Greg Mankiw says off-shore out-sourcing is not a problem: Demonstrates ignorance of negative impact on US employment
"Mankiw wrote that the movement of U.S. jobs over-seas due to cheaper labor costs -- 'out-sourcing' he dubbed it in a remarkable display of political tone deafness -- would prove 'a plus for the economy in the long run', and was simply 'a new way of doing international trade'... It did not take long for Republicans to realize Mankiw's comments were radioactive. GOP house speaker Dennis Hastert lambasted him, saying, 'His theory fails a basic test of real economics.'"
Jonathan Fuerbringer _NY Times_
Americans Pour Money Into Stock Funds in Near Record Amounts
"Americans poured a near record amount into stock mutual funds in January, suggesting investors' confidence in stocks has been restored."
Kent Hoover _San Francisco Business Journal_
Abuse of L-1 visas to replace American workers could be restricted
"Business groups have pleaded with Congress not to restrict visas issued to company employees who are transferred from abroad [on a contract basis], saying flexibility to move people around is crucial. But critics of L-1 visas say companies are [abusing] the program to out-source jobs now held by Americans... The number of foreigners transferred to the United States via L-1 visas has tripled since 1994 to more than 300K in 2002... Critics of L-1 visas want Congress to impose [curbs similar to those on H-1 visasa] on L-1 visas. They have won support from both Republicans and Democrats."
"The second largest bank [in the USA, Bank of India, formerly known as Bank of America] has signed a MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government for the setting up its BPO facility in Hyderabad. To be located in Mindspace under construction by Raheja group, the BPO center is likely to go live in the second quarter of 2004. The BPO operations will be run through a subsidiary Continuum Solutions headed by Avtar Munga and the center will largely be a transactional center handling processing work for the bank with a head-count capacity of 1K."
2004-02-14 05:00PST (08:00EST) (13:00GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Gasoline prices expected to reach $3/gallon
"Get ready to dig deeper into your pockets at the gas station this summer: $3 per gallon gasoline could be headed to a pump near you... The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies 40 percent of the world's oil, agreed February 10 to rein in an estimated 1.5M barrels of daily over-production [sic]. Members also voted to cut their official out-put target by 1M barrels to 23.5M barrels a day, excluding production from Iraq, starting April 1. The cartel's action comes as the national retail price of gas is only 10 cents below the all-time average high of $1.73 a gallon reached last August."
A Triumph for Big Sugar
"In a set-back for the liberalization of global trade, the American sugar lobby has managed to exempt itself from a free trade deal with Australia... A system of quotas restricts the amount of sugar imported into the United States, inflating domestic prices. Americans pay as much as 3 times the world price, which is one reason candy manufacturers have had to export thousands of jobs in recent years."
Erika Hayasaki _LA Times_
Report Details Long Road to English-Language Fluency: Immigrant students from nine ethnic groups average from 3.6 to 7.4 years to become fluent, a state study finds.
"Spanish speakers take an average of 6.7 years to become fluent, compared with 3.6 years for Mandarin speakers, who take the shortest time among nine major language groups, the report by the legislative analyst's office found. Hmong-speaking students take 7.4 years, the longest of the groups... In the Los Angeles Unified School District, nearly 42% of its 740K students are not completely fluent in English, and more than 90% of them speak Spanish, said school board President Jose Huizar."
David Cay Johnston _NY Times_
Talking Simplicity, Building a Maze
"Despite pledging to simplify the tax system, Congress has done anything but... For decades, Congress has used the tax code to engineer social goals and hand out favors, a trend that accelerated during the Clinton administration and became supercharged during the administration of George W. Bush, which has introduced vast changes in such rapid-fire order that not all the consequences are understood even by people who study tax policy... Giving tax cuts to specific groups can be a powerful way for politicians to raise money, so it is not surprising that the size of the tax code has grown - along with the volumes of money from campaign donors - even though nearly all elected officials in Washington say that they favor simplification. Congress is so hooked on complexity that it cannot seem to keep things simple even on matters that would not seem to offer any prospect of currying favor with contributors."
Ellen Rapp _NY Times_
Demand for Workers Surges in Computer Security
"Computer viruses, identity and information theft, and other kinds of computer crime are no longer exotic problems, and the demand for information technology security specialists reflects that change, according to experts in employment in the field... According to a recent survey by Secure Enterprise Computing, an information security company in North Carolina, 35% of United States companies expect to add dedicated information technology security staff members within the next two years. The CERT Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, which collects information on Internet security, said it had received 137,529 reports of computer security problems worldwide from individual and corporate computer users in 2003, roughly six times the number of incidents reported in 2000. And according to a survey by the Computer Security Institute, an information security membership association, viruses and other computer crime cause, on average, economic losses of $803K per company in the United States."
Mark Andrew Dwyer _Alamance Independent_
Most Favored Hostile Nations
"Many Americans were shocked to learn about Mexican fans booing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' and shouting 'Osama, Osama!' during the recent soccer Olympic qualifying games when the U.S. team won with Canada in Zapopan... Here comes the Mexican nation that would have perished or gone broke several times now (see ,  and  for but a few examples) if it weren't for America's assistance and strength of her economy, a pet nation of our ruling elites that is cherished by the main-stream media, and yet the Chicanos can hardly miss a chance of showing their open hostility towards the country they voted (with their feet) superior to their own."
Steve Lohr _NY Times_
Many New Causes for Old Problem of Jobs Lost Abroad
"The chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, N. Gregory Mankiw, stepped forcefully last week into an issue that has touched off an escalating, often strident, political debate: the migration of jobs, ranging from call center operators to computer programmers, to lower-cost countries like [Red China] and India. The movement, known as off-shore out-sourcing, is growing, Mr. Mankiw acknowledged. But he said it was 'just a new way of doing international trade' and 'a good thing' that would make the American economy more efficient and would free American workers to eventually get better jobs... Still, many industry executives, analysts and academics -- not distraught American workers alone -- say the nature of the economic challenge appears to be fundamentally different this time. The differences, they say, include the kinds of jobs affected by out-sourcing, the number of jobs potentially at risk and the politics of developing an effective policy response... From 1984 to 1986, the American semiconductor industry lost $4G and shed 50K jobs in the United States... 'But now, it is the workers who are suffering and not the companies.', said Ronil Hira, an assistant professor for public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. 'The companies out-sourcing jobs over-seas are profitable and mostly gaining market share. There's no gun to their head this time, no real motivation to address the issue.'... job growth remains frustratingly sluggish, even among skilled workers... The Senate recently passed a bill sponsored by Republican Senators Craig Thomas of Wyoming and George V. Voinovich of Ohio, that prohibits the use of off-shore workers on some government jobs. The House has not voted on any similar bill... After 2 years of slight declines, the number of professional software developers rose in the United States last year to 2.35M, according to IDC, a research company. Today, America has more than 4 times as many software developers as India, and nearly 7 times as many as [Red China]."
Claudia H. Deutsch _NY Times_
Companies Hope Profits Run From Clean Water
"The money to be made from providing clean water for industrial and municipal use has attracted the attention of industrial behemoths."
Anita Debro _Birmingham Alabama News_
Aaron Russo, Libertarian presidential candidate, visits area
"American citizens should have the right to live their lives without government intervention. Aaron Russo spoke Saturday to members of the Free State Project at the Homewood Public Library."
Mary Umberger _Chicago Tribune_
Off-Shore Out-Sourcing No Longer Foreign to #3 Lender
"Angelo R. Mozilo, chairman and CEO of Countrywide Financial Corp., told an industry gathering in New York that his firm's mortgage operation intended to open a 250-employee call center in India this year. This news came just a few months after Mozilo told a mortgage-industry trade journal that his company wouldn't do that."
Michael Daigle _New Jersey Daily Record_
UnEmployed try to cope with market blood-bath
"The place where the best and brightest come for hope each week is a small room at the state Department of Labor office in Dover, where they sit on 11 rows of folding chairs, 5 chairs to a row, and hear tips on how to find a job. Some have been looking for work for a few months. Some have been searching for 2 years. They come dressed as if for work in neatly pressed charcoal gray pants that match their jackets and dress shirts in conservative stripes... 'It's a blood-bath.', said Linda Zamer, who runs a program for older unemployed workers -- older than 45 -- at the Jewish Vocational Service in Hanover. 'I've been doing this 1985. It's the worst I've ever seen.' The jobless rate in Morris County -- 2.9% in 2001 -- jumped to 4.2% last year. Zamer said her group includes workers from Verizon, Lucent Technologies, AT&T, Pfizer, ExxonMobil...some of Morris County's leading employers who, since 2000, have aggressively dumped thousands of jobs... They have been spun off, out-sourced, off-shored, down-sized, merged, out-placed, let go, separated, displaced -- pick a buzz-word, they mean the same thing: No work. Among them are wireless communications engineers, business development managers, administrative managers, finance vice presidents, accountants, software engineers, manufacturing engineers, technical writers, computer programmers, systems analysts, web site developers, marketers, controllers, data analysts and lawyers. They are the computer operators, customer service representatives, maintenance personnel and boiler operators... The issue is that the jobs disappeared. 'I was working 12 to 14 hours a day.', he said. 'I wanted to show them that I was willing to do that, to work the extra 1 or 2 hours a day. But it wasn't enough.'"
2004-02-16 12:30PST (15:30EST) (20:30GMT)
_Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal_
India warned about off-shore out-sourcing
"Efforts in Congress to clamp down on shipping of jobs by U.S. companies to lower-wage countries such as India could have an impact in American farm fields. Saying trade is a 2-way street, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick told officials in India Monday that the New Delhi government needs to open the country to American agricultural products. But, according to the Press Trust of India and several of that country's news-papers, the Indian government pointed to proposed out-sourcing restrictions in the United States and said opening the domestic agriculture market to U.S. exports would become very difficult if the U.S. stopped or curtailed the exporting of jobs to India. Through a combination of job out-sourcing and the high-tech recession, Silicon Valley has lost more than 200K jobs since 2001. The number of people fired only to be replaced by cheaper workers in India, China and other countries has not been calculated."
2004-02-16 14:42PST (17:42EST) (22:42GMT)
David Kirkpatrick _CNN_/_Fortune_
Rage against off-shoring
"The topic is off-shoring -- and the anger over it is hard to avoid. Politicians are shocked and outraged at the prospect of U.S. service and back-office jobs going to places like India... A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute, an economics think tank [and off-shore out-sourcer], calculated that for every dollar spent on a business process that is out-sourced to India, the U.S. economy gains at least $1.12. The largest chunk -- 58 cents -- goes back to the original employer."
2004-02-16 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Dana Bash & Peter Viles & Kitty Pilgrim & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
"He surrounded himself with small-business owners, who say that they have actually been benefiting in the last couple of years from his tax cut, that they haven't fired workers. Instead, they've hired them... N. Gregory Mankiw chair of the council of economic advisors: 'I think out-sourcing is a growing phenomenon, but it's something that we should realize is probably a plus for the economy in the long run... [and on January 22:] This can be difficult for workers who are displaced, but the economy overall benefits... [December 5:] Like all forms of international trade, [off-shore] out-sourcing benefits an economy overall, though there are short-term costs as workers are displaced.'... The president did acknowledge last week that some American jobs have been lost to [off-shore] out-sourcing. But the administration is still standing by that economic report that says [off-shore] out-sourcing makes sense... In the last election, 96% of Americans did not give a penny to a candidate or a party. And the allowable donation to a candidate, a $2K check, comes from less than one-tenth of 1% of Americans... In general, the Republican Party is supported by pharmaceuticals, energy, defense and banking, the Democrats by trial lawyers, labor unions and the entertainment industry... Charles Schumer (D-NY): 'It's always been the theory that all American citizens benefited from free trade. But if the best jobs are going over-seas, if the high-paid jobs are going over-seas, then it may be the rest of the world at the expense of the United States.'... This election season, Wal-Mart, one of [Red China's] largest trading partners, has given more than $1M in campaign contributions... so far, according to election data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the business round table spent more than $20M in lobbyist spending in 2000. The Cato Institute is also pushing the free-trade agenda. The think tank was co-founded by Charles Koch, a billionaire who made his money in the American energy industry. Today only 7% of it's $13M dollar budget comes from corporations, but the...biggest corporate sponsors include FedEx, MSFT and Time Warner, the parent company of CNN... The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers [IBEW] donated nearly $5M in 2000, 98% to Democrats. That same year, Teamsters gave Democrats the bulk of $3M in federal campaign donations. Labor unions have also pushed their message through the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think-tank backed by more than two dozen unions... Corporate groups have been very effective using money to gain access. They did so in 2000 when they successfully lobbied to permanently open commercial ties with [Red China]... [Having been challenged by FAIR, we reviewed our programs for October and found that of our guests on the topic] 23 [were] pro-illegal alien, or pro-immigration, depending on how you want to construe it, to 19 the other way... [Referring to a 1997 NAS study] Benefit, $1G to $10G. Cost, $11.4G to $20.2G... You cite _The New York Times_ 1997 May 18...that benefits out-weigh the costs. That's totally inaccurate. In point in fact, on page 6 of the study, 'the domestic gain may be on the order of $1G to $10G'. That was reported by _The New York Times_, which failed to take note, on page 288, page 286, this number, which is the net cost. In point of fact, we not only say it costs $20G, based on the definitive work, as you say, we say that it costs workers, hard working American citizens, $190G a year, $190G to $200G a year in depressed wages as a result of excessive immigration. And that's the study of George Borjas at Harvard University... Scientists have found a new galaxy...13G light years away."
A Revolt of the Flag-Ship Government Universities
"The gap between state aid and the real cost of an education is glaringly evident at the flagship public colleges, which often receive a pittance from the legislature while maintaining expensive, world-class programs that compete with those of top private colleges and universities. On average, the flagship public campuses get only about 30% of their budgets from the states, and in some cases the percentage dips into the single digits. The state legislatures have in effect become minority stake-holders that never the less control everything the schools do, from how they purchase paper towels to how much tuition they charge."
William Safire _NY Times_
The 5 Media Sisters
"The media giant known as Viacom-CBS-MTV just showed us how it controls both content and communication of the sexiest Super Bowl. The 5 other big sisters that now bestride the world are (1) Murdoch-FoxTV-HarperCollins-WeeklyStandard-NewYorkPost-LondonTimes-DirecTV; (2) G.E.-NBC-Universal-Vivendi; (3) Time-Warner-CNN-AOL; (4) Disney-ABC-ESPN; and (5) the biggest cable company, Comcast."
Michael Daigle _? New Jersey Daily Record_
Jobless recovery creates atmosphere reminiscent of 1929
"In terms of employment growth, the current recovery is the worst on record since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking employment in 1939, a report by the Economic Policy Institute of Washington, DC, concluded last year. The agency said that with the loss of 3.2M private sector jobs since 2001 March, the current atmosphere is the worst hiring slump since the Great Depression. The national unemployment rate, while falling slowly -- 6.2% in early 2003 to 5.7% by December and 5.7% in New Jersey -- reflects an economy that is not creating jobs at a sufficient rate to meet the needs of a growing population looking for work, the EPI said... A report issued in November showed that since April the average length of unemployment has reached 19.5 weeks -- almost 5 months... The state labor department said the projected 1.1% job growth through 2010 will be slower than the 1.3% growth seen in New Jersey in the 1980 to 2000 period. And nationally, the 1.6% job growth rate will be slower than the 1.9% growth in the same period."
Kent Hoover _South Florida Business Journal_
Off-shore out-sourcing abuses may spell visa restrictions
"Business groups have pleaded with Congress not to restrict visas issued to company employees who are transferred from abroad, saying flexibility to move people around is crucial to competing in a global market. But critics of L-1 visas say companies are using the program to out-source jobs now held by Americans to foreigners who will work for less money... Fluno's case is just one example of an out-sourcing epidemic that is decimating white-collar workers at U.S. companies, says Michael W. Gildea of the AFL-CIO's professional employees department. The number of foreigners transferred to the United States via L-1 visas has tripled since 1994 to more than 300K in 2002. These visas have grown in popularity because there is no limit on how many of them can be issued, and there are no restrictions against using them to replace American workers. Plus, companies are not required to pay workers with L-1 visas the prevailing wage for their occupation."
Rachel Konrad _Fort Wayne Indiana News-Sentinel_/_AP_
Scrutiny Increases over Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
"Executives from Silicon Valley to Wall Street are adamant that shifting white-collar jobs from the United States to developing countries is good business, but a back-lash is brewing. Indiana's state government canceled a $15M contract with an Indian consulting firm in November. And 8 states voted on bills last year that would ban the use of tax-payer money on contracts with foreign workers... 'Politicians can't out-source the vote.', said Scott Kirwin, founder of the Wilmington, DE-based lobbying group Information Technology Professionals Association of America, which compiles data from nearly 100 anti-out-sourcing web sites... India's info-tech minister, Arun Shourie, told officials from 30 Asian countries at the summit... 'We must come together to find a consensus approach to fight this back-lash.'"
Kent Hoover _Louisville Business Journal_
Out-sourcing abuses may spell visa restrictions
"critics of L-1 visas say companies are [abusing] the program to out-source jobs now held by Americans to foreigners who will work for less money... The number of foreigners transferred to the United States via L-1 visas has tripled since 1994 to more than 300K in 2002. These visas have grown in popularity because there is no limit on how many of them can be issued, and there are no restrictions against using them to replace American workers. Plus, companies are not required to pay workers with L-1 visas the prevailing wage for their occupation."
2004-02-17 05:54PST (08:54EST) (13:54GMT)
survey on priests accused of abuse
"Children accused more than 4K priests of sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002, according to a draft [report based on a]2004-02-17 08:26PST (11:26EST) (16:26GMT)
Emily Church & Jeffry Bartash _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Cingular to acquire AT&T Wireless at $15/share
"Cingular Wireless agreed Tuesday to pay a whopping $41G to acquire rival AT&T Wireless, out-lasting U.K.-based Vodafone in a week-end bidding war. Under the agreement, Cingular will pay $15 a share in cash to obtain AT&T Wireless -- well above the company's initially reported offer of around $11 a share, or $30G. Cingular was forced to pay more after Vodafone upped its own initial offer Sunday."
2004-02-17 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Bill Tucker & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
State legislators consider limits to off-shore out-sourcing
"40 state governments are now sending work over-seas... New Jersey was the first state to consider prohibiting the out-sourcing of state contracts to over-seas workers. It now has a lot of company. But, as of yet, not a single state has been able to pass a bill. And none will if the National Foundation of American Policy gets its way... Forty states already rely on over-seas help desks for their food stamp recipients. And workers in over-seas call centers also process a great deal of private and financial information. Concerned about the issues of privacy and jobs, one legislator in North Carolina has a pending bill to address both. Eric Reeves NC state senator: 'First of all, I thought it was a bad idea to be able export citizens' personal information to another jurisdiction, No. 1. And then, No. 2, I thought it was a real outrageous activity to be getting this work to be done outside of the country.'... 22 states currently have some sort of anti-off-shoring legislation pending, ranging from forcing call centers to tell people where they are located to banning state contracts from over-seas workers. Robert Sanchez of zazona.com: 'In most other cases, they allow for what we call the in-sourcing of jobs by using H-1B and L-1 visas to import cheaper foreign labor.'... we're also exporting capital. We're also exporting our knowledge base and intellectual property. And it is the basis of the next wave of innovation... David McCurdy, president of the Electronic Industries Alliance: 'First of all, you have to look at the education system in this country, K through 12... science and technology education. We have to look at the R&D funding... in most of our meetings rather than talking about just trade or tax or environment, which are critical issues for us, our own business leaders want to talk about education.'... Gaping loopholes in U.S. customs inspections are also costing American jobs. Less than 0.1% of 3M textile shipments to this country is inspected. Foreign manufacturers, as a result, are exploiting those security gaps at a significant cost to the American textile worker, the very few workers who are left in that industry... This piece of clothing says it's made in Honduras, but it may actually be made in [Red China]. Foreign manufacturers have been skirting U.S. customs rules, smuggling garments into the United States, according to a recent General Accounting Office report... In 2002 June, U.S. customs agents visited 65 factories in Hong Kong that were supposedly manufacturing goods destined for the United States. 26 of them were shell fronts for other foreign manufacturers. And there are other ways to get around the rules. U.S. customs allow shippers to pass cargo through the United States en route to another country free of charge and free from quota restrictions. But according to the GAO report, customs does not adequately track shipments to make sure they leave the United States. Shipments are often diverted, ending up on U.S. store shelves without a penny in tariffs ever being paid. This kind of cheating makes it hard for American textile manufacturers to compete. Last year 37 textile factories closed in North and South Carolina... in one single case 5K containers were stopped in Long Beach, CA. The exporter was trying to avoid paying $65M in duties..."
2004-02-17 15:14PST (18:14EST) (23:14GMT)
Rex Crum _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
IBM shorted pensions: appeals judgement
"Judge G. Patrick Murphy ruled that IBM owes back payments, which plaintiffs claim could be worth up to $6G. IBM had argued that it should not have to make the retroactive payments because it had no way of knowing Murphy would declare the pension plan illegal on age discrimination grounds when he originally ruled on it last July. In a February 12 ruling, Murphy struck down IBM's arguments, saying the computing giant could not claim it was surprised by his earlier decision. Murphy, who sits on the U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, IL, said IBM presented a 'clever, but ineffectual, response to law that finds it too restrictive for its business model', and that the need to prevent age discrimination under such circumstances existed long before IBM changed its plan."
Leslie Wayne _NY Times_
Arabs in U.S. Raising Money to Back Bush
"Arab-Americans and foreign-born Muslims who back the decision to invade Iraq are adding their names to the ranks of Bush supporters."
Carolyn Marshall _NY Times_
Rushing to Say 'I Do' Before City Is Told 'You Can't'
"Intent on getting a marriage license before court hearings on Tuesday, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples continued to descend on City Hall in San Francisco."
Barbara Novovitch _NY Times_
Strange Little Town May Be Ignorant, Irrational, Anti-Intellectual, and Just Plain Stupid, But They Can Read
"The first indication that Dr. Larry J. Sechrest's neighbors and students had read his article titled 'A Strange Little Town in Texas' was when he began receiving death threats and obscene phone calls and his house was vandalized. The article by Dr. Sechrest, an economics professor at Sul Ross State University, was published in the January issue of Liberty, a small libertarian magazine with a circulation of about 10K and only 2 local subscribers, one of whom is Dr. Sechrest. But it was weeks before people heard about it in remote Alpine, which is 3 hours from the closest Barnes & Noble, in Midland, TX. The article lauded the beauty of West Texas, the pleasant climate, the friendliness and tolerance of the locals. But Dr. Sechrest, who has a Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Texas, also contended that 'the students at Sul Ross, and more generally, the long-term residents of the entire area, are appallingly ignorant, irrational, anti-intellectual, and, well,... just plain stupid.' Criticizing the academic standards at Sul Ross State University, part of the Texas State University system, he told of a student who, after graduation, typed a note to a favorite professor, saying, 'Thank you for all your patients.'. In the fall of 2002..."
Most Siemens Software Jobs Moving East
John Blau _Computer World_
Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"The German firm Siemens will move most of the 15K software programming jobs from its offices in the United States and Western Europe to India, [Red China] and Eastern Europe... employs about 417K people worldwide... About 3K of the 30K software programmers Siemens employs worldwide are already in India."
Siemens supplies equipment for stainless steel works in Shanghai
"The Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services Group (I&S) has received an order from the [Red Chinese] company, Baoshan Iron & Steel Group Co. Ltd., to supply all the automation and electrical equipment for the second production line of the Shanghai No. 1 stainless steel works. With an order volume of around EUR 19M, the new stainless steel line is to start operating in 2005 September. Producing around 20M metric tons per year, Baosteel is [Red China's] largest steel manufacturer and the number 5 worldwide. As a net importer of steel and steel products (18M metric tons per year), [Red China] now comes second, directly behind the US. The main demand is for stainless and special steels for aircraft and automobile construction and for the consumer goods industry."
Rick Armon _Rochester Democrat & Chronicle_
Border guards add fire-power
"The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection plans to station armed agents in Rochester to help patrol Lake Ontario against potential terrorists and drug runners... More than 1K agents are now stationed on the northern border."
Joseph A. d'Agostino _Human Events_
Illegal Immigration on the Rise Since Bush Revealed Amnesty Plan
"Border Patrol union officials told _Human Events_ last week that official figures show that apprehensions of illegal aliens are up nationally by 10% to 11% over last year. The President announced his immigration proposal on January 7."
Caitlin Liu _LA Times_
B.M. Reyes _AP_/_Hawaii Star Bulletin_
Workers' comp reforms
"Research compiled by the Labor Department during the past year shows that Hawaii employers pay $3.48 in workers' compensation premiums for every $100 paid in wages -- the third-highest rate in the country behind California ($5.23) and Florida ($4.50)."
Cathy Zollo _Naples Florida Daily News_
Libertarian Robert Levy cites need to reform Patriot Act
"Robert Levy says being a Libertarian gives him a clear view of American politics from the center, and lately he's been watching an odd flip-flop in positions by the two leading parties... Levy [is a] senior fellow in constitutional studies at the CATO Institute... [and an] adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University... 'The government is legitimately charged with defending our lives, liberty and property.', Levy said... The 10th Amendment forbids the federal government from assuming powers that aren't outlined for it in the Constitution. Any needs not covered there are supposed to be handled by the states or the people themselves, Levy said. He said the current administration has flouted that amendment by trying to federalize criminal law... 'No matter how worthwhile a goal, if the Constitution does not provide for it, the federal government should not pursue it.', Levy said... Topping his list of problems with the Patriot Act is that it allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens by the government without charging them... The Department of Justice can listen in on communications between attorneys and their clients. Military tribunals can be held inside the United States and for those other than direct enemy combatants. Deportation trials by the Immigration and Naturalization Service are held in secret with no jury and without access to legal counsel for those being tried."
Labor Department Says Future Work Force Will Be Smaller
"The nation's future work force will be smaller and more diverse, more mobile and more vulnerable to global competition, according to a study conducted for the Labor Department... the study by Rand Corp... American workers should brace for continued global out-sourcing of manufacturing jobs and high-skilled, white-collar service jobs -- a touchy political issue this election year. Out-sourcing refers to the loss of American jobs over-seas... Economists think globalization will continue to have 'a favorable effect on income, prices, consumer choice, competition and innovation in the United States', the report said... But the out-sourcing of American jobs over-seas is a growing economic reality that, according to the study, will lead to unemployment and permanent wage losses for some workers."
2004-02-17 22:00PST (2004-02-18 01:00EST) (2004-02-18 06:00GMT)
Bill penalizes bosses who hire illegal aliens: Arizona would suspend license after 1st violation, revoke after 2nd
"The proposed state law would suspend an employer's license for 6 months after a first offense and revoke it after a second."
2004-02-18 12:18PST (15:18EST) (20:18GMT)
Martin Crutsinger _AP_/_Seattle Times_
Fed chief Greenspan says to trim Socialist Insecurity
"Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday that Congress should make President Bush's tax cuts permanent and cover the $1T price [sic] by trimming future benefits in Social Security and other entitlement programs. Greenspan told the Senate Banking Committee that Congress, 'as a first order of business', should restore budget rules that cap discretionary [and, I would add, so-called non-discretionary] government spending and require increases in entitlement benefits or cuts in taxes to be off-set by other program cuts or other tax increases. Greenspan was asked how he would come up with the decade-long cost of $1T to pay for [sic] extending the 2001 and 2003 individual tax cuts. 'I would argue strenuously that it should be taken out on the expenditure side.', he answered. Greenspan, chairman of a commission that recommended solutions to a Social Security funding crisis in 1983, said he has felt for a long time that the promised program benefits greatly outweighed the government's ability to pay for them. He recommended two items for study in terms of trimming benefits: linking the retirement age to the population's longer life spans and tying annual cost-of-living benefits in Social Security to a less-generous inflation index than the Consumer Price Index."
2004-02-18 12:27PST (15:27EST) (20:27GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
Lobbying intensifies as H-1B visa limit is reached
"The federal government has received enough H-1B visa applications to meet this year's cap, prompting one business group to call for reform of the controversial guest worker program... The news prompted a quick response from American Business for Legal Immigration, a coalition of 200 corporations, universities, research institutions and trade associations."
2004-02-18 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & John King & Peter Viles & Casey Wian & Kitty Pilgrim _CNN_
jobs & international trade
"For the record, Kerry voted in favor of permanent trade status for [Red China], in favor of fast-track negotiations, in favor of NAFTA. He now wants to review NAFTA and all other trade deals and use the tax code to discourage outsourcing and encourage manufacturing. Edwards voted in favor of the [Red China] bill, but against fast track. He opposed NAFTA and now wants to renegotiate it, and would also use the tax code to discourage outsourcing. Now, whoever wins that fight will face a president who does not apologize for his free trading ways. His White House says out-sourcing makes sense and has continued the Clinton policy of global deal-making. This was September, signing trade deals with Singapore and Chile... President Bush proposes spending $300M for community college job retraining and personal re-employment accounts. Already, the Labor Department spends $6G a year on a dozen re-training programs, which some say isn't enough. Andy van Kleunen, executive director of the Work-Force Alliance: 'We have two million long-term unemployed Americans out of work who are likely going to need new skills to get back into the job market. We are currently funding federal programs that at best might be retraining a tenth of those workers every year.'... In 1996, the General Accounting Office studied the Federal Job Training Partnership Act. It found no significant impact on long-term employment rates or wages... Re-training works best when it goes beyond basic skills and prepares workers for specific jobs... Of the 1,200 exhibitors at the New York toy fair only a handful still make their products in America. Scale Models put it right there on the sign. The toy tractor company, based in Iowa, employees 130 people... Step 2, a company based in Cleveland, says because everything is made here, they can design a new toy and get it in the stores in less than 2 months."
_Times of India_
"The H1-B visa freeze [the limit having been exhausted] will not hurt IT bigwigs in the next 6 to 8 months, as they have already stocked enough visas. In fact, IT majors have been out-pacing each other since October to secure as many visas as possible, whether they needed them or not."
Roger Vincent _LA Times_
Orange County Home Prices Hit New High
"The median price of a previously owned home in Orange County hit $500K for the first time last month as property values continued their meteoric rise... John Karevoll of DataQuick Information Systems, the real estate data provider that released housing statistics Tuesday. The latest resale record reflected a 26.6% price jump from $395K in 2003 January."
Nancy Cleeland _LA Times_
Grocery Strike Talks Continue
"met for the 7th straight day Tuesday... Mediator Peter J. Hurtgen said he expected talks to continue today. Hurtgen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, called the continued discussions 'promising' but provided no further comment... UFCW"
Dana Calvo _LA Times_
US Shrimpers Harmed by Dumping
"After reviewing thousands of pages of briefs and hearing testimony from fishermen and processors along the Gulf Coast and Southeastern seaboard, the ITC issued a 6-0 ruling that there was 'a reasonable indication' that low-priced competition had harmed the domestic industry... But Matthew Nicely, an attorney representing Thailand and VietNam in the petition, said the standard for the ITC's preliminary ruling was too low to be considered a victory for domestic shrimpers... Tuesday's ruling by the ITC, an independent agency that evaluates the effect of imports on U.S. companies, moves the matter to the Commerce Department, which can impose anti-dumping duties on an estimated $2.4G of annual shrimp imports from Brazil, [Red China], Ecuador, India, Thailand and VietNam. That decision is expected by June 8... Currently, more than 85% of the shrimp consumed in the United States comes from over-seas. Chloramphenicol is often prescribed to patients with meningitis after other antibiotics have failed, and can cause leukemia or trigger aplastic anemia. Shrimp farmers in the 6 defendant countries allegedly use the antibiotic in shallow ponds where shrimp is grown to disinfect the water from fecal matter left over from previous harvests."
Suzanne Gamboa _AP_/_LA Times_
Guest-Worker Visa Limit Reached
San Francisco Chronicle
"The federal government won't accept any more applications for a popular visa program that provides skilled foreign labor to U.S. companies, Citizenship and Immigration Services said. Less than 5 months into the fiscal year already there are enough applications to fill all 65K slots for H1-B visas, said Chris Bentley, a spokesman for the agency, a division of the Department of Homeland Security. The agency planned to stop accepting applications at the end of the day Tuesday. No new applications will be accepted until April and no additional visas will be issued until October 1... Critics of the H1-B visa program say it allows businesses to fill jobs with cheap foreign labor rather than hiring Americans at higher wages."
Elizabeth Douglass _LA Times_
Gasoline Prices Climb for a 7th Week
"Pump prices in California jumped 4.7 cents in the last week to an average of $1.868 a gallon for self-serve regular, marking the seventh consecutive weekly increase, according to a federal survey released Tuesday. The steady climb in retail gasoline prices -- up 27.3 cents so far in 2004 -- is uncomfortably similar to the increases that led up to last year's record-high fuel prices in California. At this time last year, statewide gas prices averaged $1.862 a gallon, up 33 cents from the beginning of 2003, according to figures from the Energy Information Administration, an arm of the Energy Department. The statewide average hit a record $2.145 a gallon March 17, bolstered by refinery outages and high crude oil costs."
A. Lee Graham _Plano Texas Star Courier_
Out-Sourcing of American jobs draws increasing protest
"Cheap labor and eager workers have made India and other nations popular among many employers. But unemployed workers - particularly telecom professionals - complain that saving money abroad costs jobs at home... Since 1990, EDS has employed workers in foreign nations... building a global presence now totaling 8,700 employees in 25 countries. The number is expected to reach 14,500 by year's end. EDS currently employs more than 135K worldwide... the off-shore component in the delivery of U.S. information-technology services could rise to as much as 23% by 2007, up from 5% in 2003, according to IDS analysts in Framingham, MA. According to McKinsey & Co., a consulting firm, the United States accounts for 70% of the world's out-sourcing."
David Kirkpatrick _Fortune_
Rage Against Off-Shoring Is Very Real
"Seldom have so many been so angry at a writer they [think] understood so little... When I asked my colleague Justin Fox what he thought about my column, he said it was sometimes too easy for people like us to talk about how 'we' all will benefit from the macroeconomic outcomes of off-shoring and other disruptive economic changes, when the reality is that the changes are felt personally and painfully by real people. 'It's inaccurate to say we all benefit.', says Justin. 'In aggregate, the economy probably benefits but within that upward trajectory a lot of people are permanently hurt while many others gain.'"
Jenny Price _San Jose Mercury News_
Michael Badnarik ekes out win in Wisconsin primary
"Michael Badnarik defeated Gary Nolan by just 9 votes in Wisconsin's Libertarian presidential primary, a neck-and-neck race both candidates attributed to their mirror-image platforms... The contest for the Libertarian presidential nomination was too close to call on election night Tuesday. Unofficial results Wednesday showed that with 100% of precincts reporting, Badnarik and Nolan each had 44% of the vote. An additional 12% of voters who cast Libertarian ballots were undecided... Badnarik, 49, a computer programmer and technical trainer from Austin, Texas, launched his campaign at last year's state Libertarian convention. The party will pick its nominee in May at its national convention in Atlanta. Both candidates said it was possible they could be running mates come November."
"Just so voters will be prepared on March 2, there will be 4 ballots available on March 2. Voters who belong to a party will have to take the ballot for their party; unenrolled voters can take their pick from Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Green-Rainbow ballots. The presidential candidates on the ballot are: Libertarians: Jeffrey Diket, Ruben Perez, Aaron Russo, Michael Badnarik and Gary Nolan. Democrats: Richard Gephardt, Joseph Lieberman, Wesley K. Clark, Howard Dean, Carol Moseley Braun, John Edwards, Dennis J. Kucinich, John F. Kerry, Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. and Al Sharpton. Republican: George W. Bush. Green-Rainbow: Kent Mesplay, Lorna Salzman, Paul Glover and David Cobb."
2004-02-18 17:45PST (20:45EST) (2004-02-19 01:45GMT)
Andrea Coombes _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
More employees seek financial help through EAPs
"Despite stock-market gains and an improving economy, more workers sought help with their finances through employee-assistance programs last year. Employee-assistance programs now span the range from mental-health and drug abuse services to child-care referrals and legal aid, but financial aid is a fast-growing segment, providers said. 40% of all work-life calls (not related to mental health) made by workers were related to financial help, up from 26% a year earlier, according to ComPsych, a Chicago-based employee assistance provider covering about 25M people worldwide. Most of those calls were related to debt, refinancing and failed investments."
2004-02-18 22:00PST (2004-02-19 01:00EST) (2004-02-19 06:00GMT)
Gary Nolan to talk on John Farah's WorldNetDaily RadioActive: The program is broadcast daily from 15:00 to 18:00 Eastern. http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=37205
2004-02-19 04:30PST (07:30EST) (12:30GMT)
Tomi Kilgore _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Despite negative PR on abuses, WM sales, revenues continue to rise
"WM said an 'excellent' January helped it post double-digit percentage growth in earnings and sales in its fiscal fourth-quarter, as strength in its international and Sam's Club divisions helped the world's largest retailer match Wall Street expectations. Earnings from continuing operations for the quarter ending January rose to $2.7G from $2.5G in the year-earlier period, with earnings per share increasing 13% to 63 cents. The company said better-than-expected gross margins were achieved through sales mix improvements rather than price increases. Operating profits increased 17% at its Sam's Club division, 15% at its international division and 8.3% at its WM Stores division... Total sales rose 12% to $74.5G, amid 17 percent growth in international, an 11% increase in WM stores and a 9.5% rise in Sam's Club sales."
2004-02-19 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
_Department of Labor_
UnEmployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 340,973 in the week ending February 14, a decrease of 92,263 from the previous week. There were 397,703 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0% during the week ending February 7, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,803,967, a decrease of 45,742 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.2% and the volume was 4,089,677. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending January 31. 53 states reported that 496,346 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending January 31... The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending January 31 were in Alaska (6.7%), Pennsylvania (4.8%), Idaho (4.7%), Michigan (4.7%), Oregon (4.7%), Puerto Rico (4.7%), Wisconsin (4.5%), Washington (4.2%), Massachusetts (4.1%), Montana (4.1%), and New Jersey (4.1%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending February 7 were in North Carolina (+20,187), South Carolina (+5,821), Texas (+3,202), Georgia (+3,026), and Virginia (+2,180), while the largest decreases were in Ohio (-2,569), Wisconsin (-2,419), Maryland (-2,009), Maine (-1,411), and Connecticut (-1,081)."
2004-02-19 09:43PST (12:43EST) (17:43GMT)
_San Diego Union-Tribune_
I-5 + I-805 merge gives county one of country's worst bottle-necks(with photo)
"San Diego is home to the 23rd-worst highway bottle-neck in the country, according to a study released today. The Interstate 805 and Interstate 5 interchange causes nearly 11M hours of traffic delay each year, according to the American Highway Users Alliance, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization... The Greater Los Angeles Area has 5 of the worst highway bottle-necks in the country, including the San Diego (405) Freeway - Ventura (101) Freeway in Sherman Oaks, which was ranked the nation's worst. One of the 5 is the interchange of the Santa Ana (5) Freeway with the Garden Grove (22) Freeway/Orange (55) Freeway -- Orange County's infamous 'Orange Crush' -- which was ranked 13th worst in the country. The study says modest improvements to the I-805/I-5 interchange would yield tremendous benefits to local motorists. After factoring in construction delays and annual traffic growth predicted by the state transportation department, traffic improvements over a 20-year span would mean: * 3,150 fewer crashes. * 13 fewer fatalities and 1,547 fewer injuries. * Reductions in emissions of carbon monoxide by 49%, smog-causing volatile organic compounds by 45% and carbon dioxide by 75%. * Fuel savings of more than 244.9M gallons. * More than 20 minutes in time savings per round-trip for the average commuter. [Welcome to my neighborhood.]"
2004-02-19 07:08PST (10:08EST) (15:08GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims fall: weekly filings return to 344K level
"First-time claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 24K to 344K in the week ending February 14, the Labor Department said Thursday. The 4-week average for first-time state jobless claims rose to 352K from 351,750 in the week ending February 14, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It's the highest this year. The insured unemployment rate rose to 2.5% from 2.4%... Initial claims have fallen by about 40K over the past 4 months, just as the monthly pay-roll survey began to show modest hiring after nearly 3 years of job erosion."
2004-02-19 08:38PST (11:38EST) (16:38GMT)
Matt Andrejczak & Lisa Sanders _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling indicted on 42 counts
"Former Enron Chief Executive Jeff Skilling was indicted Thursday on 42 counts of securities fraud, insider trading, and making false statements to auditors, according to published reports. 'Jeff Skilling has nothing to hide.', said Skilling attorney Daniel Petrocelli. 'He didn't lie, he didn't steal, he did not take anyone's money and in the 60 pages of charges filed by the U.S. government, they don't accuse him of these things and it's not for lack of trying.'"
2004-02-19 11:50PST (14:50EST) (19:50GMT)
Vaccine halts lung cancer in small study
"An experimental vaccine wiped out lung cancer in some patients and slowed its spread in others in a small but promising study, researchers say. Three patients injected with the vaccine, GVAX, had no recurrence of lung cancer for more than three years afterward, according to the study of 43 people with the most common form of the disease, non-small cell lung cancer. The findings were published in Wednesday's Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The research was funded in part by CellGenesis, a pharmaceutical company that hopes to produce the vaccine."
2004-02-19 14:19PST (17:19EST) (22:19GMT)
Jennifer Loven _AP_/_San Francisco Chronicle_
Bush urges making tiny tax cuts permanent
"President Bush on Thursday pressed his election-year complaints against 'tax raisers and spenders in Washington', arguing that failure to make administration-backed tax cuts permanent would raise taxpayers' bills by billions. 'When you hear people say, ''Oh, let's just let the tax cuts expire,' it's a tax increase," Bush said in an event at the White House to promote his economic record. 'It's a code for, ''I'm raising your taxes.'' to increase the amount of money we have to spend here in Washington on new programs, on programs that meet a particular political desire of the appropriators.'... All the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are to vanish by 2011. Expiring at the end of this year are some of the most popular: most of the increase in the child tax credit to $1K, an expansion of the bottom 10% tax bracket that lowered taxes for virtually every worker, and some changes lessening the marriage penalty, which causes some couples to pay more than they would as 2 single individuals."
2004-02-19 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles & Eric Philips & Casey Wian _CNN_
Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling indicted, illegal aliens
"For 500 workers at Tower Automotive in Milwaukee, a painful lesson. They make the frames for Dodge Ram pickup trucks, but that work and their jobs going to Mexico... employment in the auto industry has fallen by 200K jobs over the past 4 years... Imports of auto parts from China have doubled in 4 years... General Motors has a new Chevy, the Equinox, that will be assembled in Canada with a Chinese-made engine... Ford, for example, closing its Edison, New Jersey, plant this month -- is investing heavily in Asia... Honda, Nissan, Toyota, are investing in this market. In fact, they are providing all of the production growth in the United States... The Muscogee County Sheriff's Department today fired a deputy who, more than two months ago, shot and killed an unarmed black man. Authorities have still not released a videotape of that incident. And neither has the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, nor the FBI explained any part of it to a community desperate for answers... Muscogee county sheriff Ralph Johnson: 'I have this day provided Deputy Glisson with a letter of termination from employment with the sheriff's office.'. Muscogee County Sheriff's Deputy David Glisson shot and killed Kenneth Walker during a traffic stop on December 10... Dramatic new evidence tonight that Phoenix, Arizona, is the center of a huge smuggling operation for illegal aliens. Authorities there have discovered two more houses sheltering 100 illegal aliens. Officials say smugglers use Phoenix regularly as an major hub from which illegal aliens are transported to parts, all parts, of this country. This house is an up-scale Phoenix suburb sits next to a golf course. You'd think it's a safe neighborhood. Think again. Police discovered more than 160 illegal aliens here last week living in filth, under armed guard by suspected alien smugglers. The home-owner who rented the property to 2 couples who said they were landscapers still struggles to understand what happened... As immigration officials have cracked down on smugglers, the price for their services has gone up to between $1,500 and $5K per alien. With so much money at stake, violence here is on the rise... Last year, Phoenix set a record with 257 murders, a 22% increase over the previous year. The police chief estimates that 60% to 80% of those were directly related to immigrant smuggling... With the help of local law enforcement, federal immigration officials say they have made progress targeting smugglers, with 148 arrests during their Operation Ice Storm crackdown since September... California regulators have rejected a request for the U.S. Border Patrol to seal off the western-most stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border, including an area known as Smugglers Gulch. The California Coastal Commission said damage to the natural habitat would outweigh any security benefits... Davie Dreier: '70% of the engineers for the semiconductor industry are right here in this country.'... the trade adjustment authority that you seek, has been denied to service workers and specifically software workers, because of the determination that software is not a 'product'... Adam Smith: 'If we are going to bring [Red China] into the WTO, as you mentioned, I voted for that, we ought to make sure that they live up to the responsibilities of being there. Right now, they are enjoying the rights but we're not enforcing the rules against them. I certainly would not have supported... [Red China] and the WTO if they had said we're not going to enforce the rules against them. We need to aggressively enforce the rules.'"
Russia's Old Television News
"For a nation trying to shed its totalitarian past, the censoring of Russian television is a treacherous slide in the wrong direction."
John Finnerty _Dow Jones_
Large Hog Farms Debated
"'For you people to say I should not be allied with a corporation is ludicrous.', Russell said, adding that in just about every other industry, local operators survive by belonging to larger corporations. Opponents of factory farms responded that if the local Wal-Mart pollutes a nearby stream, Wal-Mart corporation would be held liable. The lack of accountability of pork-producing companies due to the contract arrangements they use with local growers is one of the most often-cited complaints about factory farming... And ultimately, as long as those in the grocery store continue to buy meat raised on factory farms, then meat will continue to be raised on factory farms. 'You have no right to complain about a company producing cheap food when you go out and buy cheap food.', said Larry Breech, president of the Pennsylvania Farmers Union."
Stephanie Chelf _Newburyport, MA Daily News_
Police earn top salaries in Port
"Seven Police Department employees were among the city's top 10 highest earners in 2003, according to city pay-roll reports. Police Marshall Thomas Howard was the city's highest paid employee, earning $129,443. Howard's total earnings includes a base salary of $128,559, plus $884 in detail pay. Howard edged his co-worker, police Inspector David Foley, who was the city's top earner in 2001 and 2002. Howard was the second-highest wage earner in 2002, earning $124,555. Foley had a base salary of $102,480 coupled with $24,690 earned in detail work for a total of $127,170, slightly less than the $128,629 he totaled in 2002. Many police officers supplemented their base salaries with funds from police detail work. Detail, such as directing traffic during road construction, is funded by the employer, but funneled through the city's pay-roll. School Superintendent Mary Murray earned $114,678, placing her third. In 2002, she was sixth with $107,484. Fourth on the list was Sewer Department Superintendent Brendan O'Regan, who earned $113,317."
_Wall Street Journal_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims fell: Leading economic indicators rose
ETA unemployment compensation insurance claims
"Jobless claims fell by 24K last week, although other data indicated that new jobs just aren't being created at the expected rate. Leading indicators rose 0.5% in January, and a pair of reports showed signs of life in manufacturing."
_AP_/_Las Vegas Sun_
Penalties for failing to pay prevailing wages
"The Legislative Commission has approved a new state regulation on penalizing contractors who violate Nevada laws requiring payment of prevailing wages on government construction projects. Labor Commissioner Terry Johnson told the commission Wednesday the prime contractor on any job would be penalized, instead of the sub-contractors, for any violations... Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, asked Johnson if illegal aliens working on government jobs have a right to file a claim if they aren't paid the prevailing wage. Johnson said he has ruled they are entitled to the pay. He said he issued such a ruling last year and the case is now on appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court."
Peter Guinta _St. Augustine Florida Record_
Michael Emmons enters district 7 congressional race against Mica
"Michael Emmons, a Democrat from Longwood, said he believes that winning the District 7 congressional race in November would give him a chance to protect American jobs. Emmons, 42, a Jacksonville native, told the Democratic Women's Club of St. Johns County this week that he plans to try unseating Republican Congressman John Mica, of Winter Park, because, he said, Mica has done little to keep U.S. jobs from being lost. 'They're replacing American workers in this district.', Emmons said. 'There's something wrong with that.' The issue strikes a chord in Emmons, because his Lake Mary employer made him train a worker from India who eventually replaced him, he said. Foreign workers are routinely admitted to the United States on L-1 work visas that enable companies to hire them cheaply, Emmons said. He said he resigned as a contractor 20 days before he was due to be laid off... He told the 40 people who came to meet him Tuesday at the St. Johns County Public Library that he repeatedly contacted Mica, his congressman at the time, to protest loop-holes in immigration law... Mica's chief of staff in Washington, DC, Rusty Roberts...said Emmons did indeed protest the L-1 visa law, but said the complaint wasn't ignored -- Mica requested a federal investigation into the issue... To stop that, Mica introduced HB2154, making it illegal for companies to out-source L-1 workers. That bill, however, is currently stalled due to other political issues. Emmons calls the bill's wording, 'Swiss cheese, full of holes so corporations can continue to import foreign workers.'"
Jerry Seper _Washington Times_
More aliens trying to enter for amnesty
"The number of illegal aliens caught crossing into the United States increased dramatically just days after President Bush proposed a guest-worker program that would give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants now in this country, according to the union that represents the Border Patrol's 9K field agents. The National Border Patrol Council said apprehension totals increased 3- fold in the San Diego area alone, adding that the vast majority of aliens detained along the border told arresting agents that they had come to the United States seeking amnesty."
Matt Hayes _Fox News_
Bush Amnesty Proposal Sparks Surge in Border Crossings
"On January 27, the Copley News Service reported that shortly after President Bush announced his plans to amnesty millions of illegal aliens in the U.S., more than half of the Mexicans trying to sneak into the U.S. through San Ysidro told authorities they were doing so to position themselves for the amnesty... As one member of the U.S. Border Patrol told me, 'They believe that they are only responding to an invitation.'... In the last several weeks, a staggering 90% of all illegal aliens intercepted in one sector in southern Texas claim they've come for the amnesty... 'The agents were soon told to stop collecting this information, presumably because it appeared as if the proposal was acting as a lure.', says my source within the Border Patrol. Word of the 2000-mile wide open door between Mexico and the U.S. has spread far beyond Mexico. It is not just Mexicans who are flooding into our border states anymore. Along with the Nicaraguans, Brazilians, Venezuelans, Ecuadorians, and Chileans, agents of the Border Patrol now encounter Chinese, Pakistanis, and Indians. Nationals of countries other than Mexico are known, in Border Patrol parlance, as 'OTMs'. Because they cannot easily be returned to their home country (whereas a Mexican national might be driven right back across the border), OTMs are permitted to enter the U.S. and given a Notice to Appear, which is a piece of paper demanding their appearance before an Immigration Judge. 'I'm an OTM and I want my NTA.', some have been known to declare to the Border Patrol. Rules require that most be given their NTA, upon which the OTM departs forever for some unknown location in America."
William O. Lipinski _Chicago Sun-Times_
Trade ideology prevails while manufacturing crumbles
"New information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -- keepers of the productivity figures -- indicates labor productivity increases are as closely linked to job creation as job destruction. The BLS also acknowledged February 4 that foreign out-sourcing can result in over-stated productivity measures. Even though U.S. manufacturing out-put remains some 4% below its 2000 June peak level, the productivity surge of recent years reinforces the impression that U.S. industry has been boosting efficiency by substituting new technology for workers -- hence, the 3M lost manufacturing jobs since 2000 June. America's policy establishment, principally the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, has actively reinforced the view that efficiency costs jobs. As Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan testified to Congress in 2003 July: 'Productivity rates in manufacturing are moving up faster than that to the nation as a whole. And as a consequence, what we find is that the share of the total employment that is engaged in manufacturing is falling even further than the rate of decline in the product originating in manufacturing as a percent of [the economy].'... Added Chicago Fed economist William Testa in the bank's November Fed Letter: 'The bulk of the current U.S. manufacturing weakness cannot be attributed to rising imports and [off-shore] out-sourcing.' But the efforts of myself and especially of my colleague, Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Rockford), chairman of the House Small Business Committee, have helped expose most of these assumptions as unfounded myths. BLS measures manufacturing productivity as gross total manufacturing shipments -- including the value of intermediate inputs -- divided by the total hours of work. Intermediate inputs could include a battery for a cellular phone or an engine for an automobile. Specifically, the BLS sees little relationship between productivity gains and job loss. At a briefing before the Labor Research Advisory Council in December, Larry Rosenblum, BLS chief of major sector productivity, compared the labor hours, productivity and growth rates for 20 major manufacturing industries from 1990 to 2000. He found that for the nation's 7 fastest growing industries and seven slowest growing industries, productivity rose by 3.5% annually. Though the fast growers were able to boost labor hours (a measure of employment) by about 1 percent annually during the decade, the slow growers saw labor hours plummet by 3% annually... According to the Chicago Fed, Chinese import penetration in the upper Midwest increased by 65% from 1997 to 2001, and many of these imports are intermediate goods."
Wealthy Candidates Hypocritically Tout Populist Message
"top... presidential hopefuls... own mansions"
Steve Zalusky _Chicago IL Daily Herald_
Libertarian R. Scott Bludorn to challenge Mathias
"Libertarian R. Scott Bludorn of Buffalo Grove has declared his desire to wrest the 53rd District [state legislature] seat from incumbent Mathias, 59, who also lives in Buffalo Grove and was once the village president..."
Gabe Carpenter _Auburn University PlainsMan_
"Aaron Russo, a successful movie and music producer, warned a small crowd of Auburn students about what he considers to be a bleak future... He is now seeking the Libertarian party's nomination as a 2004 presidential candidate. Russo said that politicians of both parties are ignoring the freedoms of Americans. Keeping in step with the fundamental beliefs of the Libertarians, Russo believes that the U.S. government has assumed roles that it was never meant to have. 'The Civil War officially ended slavery', Russo said, 'but the inclination to enslave one's fellow man is still alive and well... Every human being has a right to live their life as they please, as long as they don't commit violence, theft or fraud.'"
California Assembly Candidates to Meet at Newport Beach Forum
"The Newport and Irvine chambers of commerce will sponsor a forum Friday for the crowded field of 8 candidates for the 70th Assembly District. Greg Ricks, former local TV news anchor, will be the moderator for the 07:30 event at the Sutton Place Hotel, 4500 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach... Libertarian Mark Baldwin... Candidates for the 35th Senate District... Libertarian Timothy Johnson."
STMicro Expands in India
"Expanding in the growing India market, STMicroelectronics today inaugurated its third design and development facility there in Noida, near New Delhi. The new wing at Noida has a built-up area of 71,200 sq ft., and will be able to house 550 additional design/embedded software engineers. STMicro is also setting up a design center capable of housing 100 designers at Bangalore. Planning further expansion, the company has purchased 25 acres of land in Greater Noida..."
_International Herald Tribune_
India lures European chip maker
"STMicroelectronics, the largest European maker of semiconductors, said Thursday that it planned to spend $100M over the next 5 years to set up two additional microchip design centers in India. STMicroelectronics, which already has three development centers in India employing 1,400 people, plans to open a facility housing 100 engineers in the southern city of Bangalore by April and to build a campus in Greater Noida, near New Delhi, capable of housing 5K programmers and designers."
Alex Veiga _AP_/_San Jose Mercury News_
FBI copyright warning labels begin appearing on CDs, DVDs & Software
"FBI labels warning against illegal copying of digital music, movies and software could begin showing up soon on computer games, DVDs and CDs as part of a new effort to fight billions of dollars in intellectual property losses, federal officials said Thursday."
2004-02-19 17:55:33PST (20:55:33EST) (2004-02-20 01:55:33GMT)
Valerie Boey _First Coast News_
Florida Law-Makers To Propose Measure to Stop Jobs From Going Over-Seas
"Legislators say more than 2.9M private sector jobs were lost nationwide because of over-seas out-sourcing. 69K of those jobs were in Florida... Convergys in Jacksonville was awarded $280M to handle the state's human resources system. However, the company is using technical people and other resources out of India instead of qualified workers in Jacksonville. Convergys currently employs 7200 people in India and hopes to grow that number to 20,000 next year... state senator Tony Hill."
2004-02-20 02:00PST (05:00EST) (10:00GMT)
Kim Zetter _Wired_
"Senator Dianne Feinstein warned the chief executives of banks and credit companies this week that she would crack down on them if they didn't take steps to protect their customers' private data, such as medical and financial information, which is increasingly being handled by clerks working abroad. In a letter to the CEOs of Citigroup, Bank of America, Equifax and TransUnion, Feinstein (D-CA) said she might introduce federal legislation to protect the personal data of Americans if the companies don't establish safe-guards... Companies increasingly are out-sourcing more than just programming jobs to places like India. They are using foreign accountants to prepare U.S. tax returns, foreign radiologists to examine X-rays and even foreign clerks to transcribe dictation of sensitive medical data from American doctors. In these cases, most Americans have no idea that someone outside the United States handled private information about them. More worrisome, Americans might not be able to sue or collect damages from foreigners who misuse the information... In addition to sensitive medical data, information shipped to foreign workers can include bank account numbers, [Socialist INsecurity] numbers, stock holdings and credit card numbers -- all valuable information to identity thieves... California state senator Liz Figueroa plans to hold a hearing next month to discuss legislation that would prohibit California hospitals from out-sourcing clerical work abroad. Figueroa also is considering legislation that would make it easy for Californians who have had their privacy violated by an over-seas contractor to sue the American hiring party here. She said it's unclear whether current laws would allow this. Because the out-sourcing practice is so new, no one is tracking when companies out-source services, so Figueroa also wants to require companies to notify the state when they out-source 20 or more jobs over-seas... A study of the top 100 financial institutions worldwide by Deloitte Research predicted that financial firms would be out-sourcing about 2M jobs over-seas over the next 5 years. Already, about 10% of the medical-transcription business, which generates $20G a year, is estimated to be out-sourced over-seas. But [some say] the figure is much higher."
2004-02-20 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Consumer Price Index Rose in January
more CPI data
"Consumer prices rose a sharp 0.5% in January, the Labor Department reported Friday. This is the largest gain in the CPI since 2003 February. Over three-fourths of the increase in the consumer price index came from higher energy costs, which rose 4.7%. Excluding food and energy costs, the core CPI rose 0.2% in January. Over the past 12 months, the CPI has risen 1.9%. The core rate is up 1.1%."
2004-02-20 10:44PST (12:44CST) (13:44EST) (18:44GMT)
Ken Maguire _AP_/_Chicago Tribune_
Students Stung as Computer Schools Shut Down
"Hundreds of computer training schools that sprouted during the dot-com boom have now shut down, leaving frustrated students with big debts and little education... 'They went through teachers like water.', he said. 'We always got apologies. They'd say ''We're working on it.''' Like Massachusetts -- whose attorney general received 73 complaints last year about computer training schools, up from just 8 complaints the prior year -- other states are also reporting trouble. About a fifth of Michigan's 100 computer schools closed in 2002, as did 10 of the 59 schools in Texas, according to the National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private Schools, which surveyed members last year. 4 of 7 schools in Wisconsin closed. Only a quarter of the schools in 22 states surveyed gave notice before closing. Among the reasons cited were a poor economy, low enrollments, bankruptcy and state violations."
2004-02-20 10:45PST (12:45CST) (13:45EST) (18:45GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Greenspan says US workers need more skills: protectionism is no answer to off-shore out-sourcing
prepared remarks to Omaha Chamber of Commerce
disabuse them of their "ignorant Americans" fantasy
"American workers must constantly upgrade their skills if they don't want to find their job has been out-sourced over-seas, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Friday... to the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce."
2004-02-20 13:47PST (16:47EST) (21:47GMT)
Michael Baron _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US stocks end volatile session lower
"The late reversal echoed Thursday's action when the Dow hit a 32-month high but sold off in the final hour to close lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45.70 points, or 0.4%, to close at 10,619,03, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 8.03 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 2,037.93. The indexes' respective nadirs for the session were 10,580.66 and 2,022.79. It was the Nasdaq's fifth consecutive negative week as it fell 0.8% from last Friday's close at 2,053.56. The S&P 500 index tumbled 0.3% to 1,144.11 and the small-cap Russell 2000 slipped 0.5% to 579.89..."
2004-02-20 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Bill Tucker & Peter Viles & Lisa Sylvester & Kitty Pilgrim & Christine Romans _CNN_
privacy and off-shored services
"plutonium discovered in Libya, Colonel Gadhafi closer to having a nuclear bomb than anyone thought, a trail of deception that leads to [Red China]... The same White House economists who said outsourcing makes sense believe fast-food restaurants could be called factories and fast-food employees may soon be called manufacturing workers... the designs for Libya's proposed nuclear weapons originated from [Red China]. Those designs were transferred from [Red China] to Pakistan in the 1980s and then resold to Libya... The Fed chairman said the practice [of off-shore out-sourcing] is not as big a threat to this country as some believe. Chairman Greenspan said the greatest threat to the future of American prosperity is the lack of adequate educational training... Come April, 1,200 workers at this Carrier facility in Syracuse, New York, will walk out of these gates for the last time... New York state and the plant's union tried to stop Carrier from exporting the jobs to Singapore, Malaysia and [Red China] with a $42M incentive package... central New York state alone has lost 10K jobs since 1990... Steve Delahunty stamps 'made in the USA' on all the tax returns prepared by his office. He wants his clients to know he's guarding their salary, Social Security numbers and property information and will not send their tax returns to be processed in another country... Chris Hoofnagle of EPIC: 'many of the companies that are off-shoring [private personal] data are not telling their customers about it.'... Work may be easy to ship across the ocean, but legal protections do not travel as easily. That means American consumers could lose more than their privacy. They could also lose their right to sue if there is a problem... In January, 92K illegal aliens were apprehended, far higher than the arrests for the same period over the last 2 years. The crossings with the most traffic, San Diego, CA; Tucson, AZ; and Brownsville, TX... Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Mexican Interior Secretary Santiago Creel today announced new initiatives to return illegal aliens back to their hometowns when caught... Jim Oberweis: 'Well, I believe a half a million is approximately right. I believe Illinois is No. 4 in terms of illegal aliens in this country, roughly equal to the percentage of its population with most of the rest of the country. Chicago has kind of taken this idea of a sanctuary city where they are not going to enforce their laws. I think we need to take strong action to make sure our laws are enforced. There's a bill that was floated in Congress last year called the Clear Act that I think would take some steps in the right direction. It would require cities to follow our laws and to enforce our laws. It would provide minimal funding for local law enforcement agencies to turn over people who are arrested for other crimes, murder, theft, burglary, to the INS for deportation. I think that's the minimum that we need to do... If we are going to make this work, we have to put pressure on people who are employing them illegally. Increasing fines or at least increasing enforcement of our laws. Right now we've gone the other way. We have made it hard for companies who find out they have illegal aliens working for them to dismiss them. Because they are afraid of being sued for discrimination.'... The price Americans pay to make things is going up. The Commodity Research Bureau index of 17 raw materials, at the highest price since 1988. Oil prices are just below $36 a barrel and, Lou, steel prices are up almost 70% just since June... The U.S. produces just 10% of the worldwide steel marker. We're a net importer of steel and a quarter of U.S. steel consumption comes from over-seas. That means steel users in this country are getting hammered right now... Tom Peters: 'During the period of 1980 to 2000, we actually destroyed 45M jobs in this country and offset them with 75M new jobs.'"
Nina Bernstein _NY Times_
Teenage Rate of Pregnancy Drops in U.S.
"A new state-by-state break-down of teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in 2000 shows declines among all racial and ethnic groups and in every state."
David Cay Johnston _NY Times_
Grand Jury Is Investigating KPMG's Sale of Tax Shelters
"A federal grand jury in Manhattan is investigating the sale of tax shelters by KPMG (see also Bearing Point), the big accounting firm..."
Todd R. Weiss _Computer World_
Dodd bill would ban some government off-shore out-sourcing
"In an announcement earlier this week, Dodd said his proposed United States Workers Protection Act would focus on the out-sourcing of federal work, federal procurement of goods and services and state government procurement when federal funds are used. Under the bill, state governments wouldn't be eligible to receive federal funds unless they certify each year that the money for the services won't go off-shore... A summary of Dodd's bill, Senate Bill 2094, says that an existing 1-year restriction prohibiting private companies from using off-shore labor when bidding for government contract work would become permanent. The restriction is set to expire September 30. The bill would also stop federal agencies from awarding procurement contracts to companies that use over-seas workers either on their own pay-roll or through foreign sub-contractors, though there would be a presidential waiver for such occurrences on national security grounds."
Steve Bousquet _St. Petersburg Florida Times_
Disagreement over state contract
"Their target was Convergys Corp., a Cincinnati company with a 7-year, $280M contract to handle human resources for state agencies. In the fall of 2002, weeks after winning the Florida contract, the company transferred about 40 high-tech jobs, and a $1.7M annual pay-roll, to India. That prompted law-makers to call for a law requiring companies with state contracts to hire Florida workers.... senator Walter 'Skip' Campbell of Fort Lauderdale [said] 'Florida citizens shouldn't have to surrender their hard-earned tax dollars to keep the economies of India or the Philippines or Pakistan humming.'... The state Department of Management Services said Convergys' contract requires that services be provided in Jacksonville and Tallahassee... Convergys contract as a disaster because it is taking longer and costing more than law-makers were told 2 years ago."
_AP_/_St. Petersburg Florida Times_
Florida law-makers hear citrus industry troubles
"A combination of over-production and low-carb diets is threatening the citrus industry, already endangered by canker, the possible loss of a tax for advertising, and the threat that a tariff on Brazilian juice might be lifted, law-makers were told Thursday... retail sales of orange juice have declined 5% over the last two seasons... Growers are expected to produce a record 10M tons of oranges this year. The federal government already has agreed to make one move to help, saying it will purchase as much as $50M worth of juice for USDA food programs for the needy."
Presidential Candidates Scheduled for Debate on UTC Campus
"Three candidates for President of the United States, Michael Badnarik, Gary Nolan, and Aaron Russo, will appear in Chattanooga on March 1, at 19:00 for a Presidential debate."
Gene Kemmeter _Portage County Gazette_
Primary narrows fields in 2 races
"And voters turned out in larger numbers than in recent years for the presidential primary, with Stevens Point reporting a 28.34% turn-out and Portage County Clerk Roger Wrycza saying the total county turnout was 25%. That compares to the 17% in 2000... In the Libertarian contest, Gary Nolan received 35 votes and Michael Badnarik 23..."
Randy Diamond _Hackensack Record_/_Miami Herald_
Hackensack, NJ Area Home Prices Drop at End of 2003
"the fourth-quarter drops in Bergen, Hudson, and Morris counties in 2003 were the biggest percentage decreases in the last three years, according to housing data analyzed by The Record. For example, previous fourth-quarter declines have ranged from 1% to 5.4% for Bergen County over the last few years... For the year, the rate of increase was 2.6% in Bergen County, 11.6% in Passaic County, 6% in Morris County, and 8.7% in Hudson County, according to the National Association of Realtors."
James Goodman _Rochester Democrat & Chronicle_
Despite cries of shortage, nurses to get lay-off notices
"77 Monroe County employees in the school nurse program who will begin receiving lay-off notices today. The lay-off notices will take effect at the end of March unless funding is found by then."
Donald Kennedy, Jim Austin, Kirstie Urquhart & Crispin Taylor _Science_ vol303 #5661 pg1105
Supply Without Demand
Rachel L. Swarns _NY Times_
Out-Cry on Right Over Bush Plan on Immigration
"Opposition to the plan is mounting among conservatives vying for votes in House and Senate races in Illinois, California and elsewhere."
Vinod Mahanta _Economic Times of India_
IT majors make top secret mega-deals
"They are moving in for the kill, but all too silently. When it comes to bagging new business, Indian IT companies are staying away from media glare for fear of back-lash against [off-shore] out-sourcing."
Elizabeth Becker _NY Times_
Staring Into the Mouth of the Trade Deficit
"Seattle and Washington State, which earn more per capita from trade than any other area, are caught up in the debate over whether trade and unemployment are linked... With last week's news that the annual trade deficit had reached $489.4G in 2003, a rise of about $70G, Seattle is once again caught up in the national debate over trade imbalances and the flight of jobs over-seas... The state's unemployment rate has climbed to 6.8%, one of the highest in the country, giving the [term] off-shoring a palpable meaning in this Pacific Rim city... a high level of education has failed to protect software engineers with master's degrees from losing their jobs. Marcus Courtney, a union representative for information and technology workers, said that 'if out-sourcing is a threat here, where 44% of Seattleites have a college education', then high-technology workers in the rest of the country should be worried. Representative Jennifer Dunn, a Republican from Bellevue, blames the decrease in exports for her region's unemployment rate and dismisses the focus on out-sourcing as 'a problem we are going to have to live with from now on'."
Russell Long _NY Times_
Where There's Smoke, There's Pollution
"In the past 15 years, cargo ships have become a leading and largely unregulated source of air pollution... while the 1970 federal Clean Air Act has forced regional air pollution agencies to clamp down on vehicle and power plant emissions, thousands of cargo, cruise and container vessels have remained essentially unregulated. To make matters worse, these ships burn the dirtiest grades of fuel -- literally the dregs of the oil barrel after refiners have removed cleaner fuels like gasoline and jet fuel -- to power their massive engines as they move in and out of American ports. With the consistency of mud and sulfur levels 3K times that of gasoline, these low-grade fuels must be heated simply to allow them to move through pipes to enter the engine cylinders. The result? A single cargo ship coming into New York Harbor can release as much pollution as 350K current-model-year cars in an hour."
John Borland _CNET_/_NY Times_
Judge Rules Software for Copying DVD's Is Illegal
"A federal judge said 321 Studios' software breaks copyright laws and that the company must stop selling the products."
Cindi Andrews _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Dowlin, de Wine shoot it out in Hamilton county commission race
"Commissioner John Dowlin is being challenged by Cincinnati Councilman Pat DeWine in the March 2 primary. Dowlin has more commercials coming, he said Friday, while not giving details. He has already shocked some fellow Republicans with his current spot, which accuses DeWine of changing his position on tax breaks for Convergys after the company hired a woman for whom DeWine left his wife. The ad came after DeWine said Dowlin was absent from too many meetings and traveled too much... The latest Republican to publicly rap Dowlin's knuckles for the Convergys commercial is prosecutor Mike Allen, a former party chairman who endorsed Dowlin."
Bill Cotterell _Tallahassee Democrat_
Test of Convergys pay-roll system fails: Errors in processing state employee pay-checks
"Convergys, the private company contracted to run the state's personnel systems, flunked its first test in a trial run on a small sampling of the state pay-roll, with a 37% error rate in calculating employee payments, according to the Department of Financial Services. Some of the 'fatal pay-roll processing issues' in the first of at least four side-by-side tests of the old and new computer systems might have meant that, if it had been a real payday, families of some state employees on military duty would not have received the right salary supplement from the state. In other cases, a DFS official said, Convergys would have withheld federal income taxes on amounts allocated by employees for pre-tax benefits, such as child care and medical savings accounts... 7-year, $278M contract... Doug Darling, director of auditing and accounting for DFS [said] 'Of the approximate 7,100 employees we tested using People First input, 2,655 errors were identified.'"
2004-02-22 10:40PST (13:40EST) (18:40GMT)
Jason Keyser _AP_/_Yahoo!_
"The Passion of the Christ" Revives Hope for Aramaic
"An ancient, dying language gets a new life on American movie screens this week. Some linguists, who fear the language spoken by Jesus could vanish within a few decades, hope for a boost from Mel Gibson's new film, 'The Passion of the Christ', opening Wednesday in U.S. theaters. It is performed entirely in Aramaic and Latin. Among the few places in the world where Aramaic is still familiar is a small Syrian Orthodox church in Jerusalem, though even here it is little more than an echo these days. A church elder laments that he has few people to speak to in Aramaic besides the monks. Parts of the liturgy have to be done in Arabic. And a nun who sings the Lord's Prayer says the words are just about the only ones she can recite in Aramaic. Aramaic was once the lingua franca of the Middle East and parts of Asia. Today, the Syrian Orthodox community in Jerusalem offers Aramaic in summer school, but there is little interest and fewer than half the 600 members speak the language."
Michael J. Sniffen _AP_/_Yahoo!_
US Government Wants High-Tech Spying Tools
"Despite an out-cry over privacy implications, the government is pressing ahead with research to create ultra-powerful tools to mine millions of public and private records for information... some projects from retired admiral John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness effort were transferred to U.S. intelligence offices, congressional, federal and research officials told The Associated Press. In addition, Congress left undisturbed a separate but similar $64M research program run by a little-known office called the Advanced Research and Development Activity, or ARDA, that has used some of the same researchers as Poindexter's program... Poindexter [claimed he] aimed to predict terrorist attacks by identifying tell-tale patterns of activity in arrests, pass-port applications, visas, work permits, driver's licenses, car rentals and air-line ticket buys as well as credit transactions and education, medical and housing records."
David Johnston _NY Times_
U.S. Agency Sees Global Network for Bomb Making
"Militant Islamic bomb builders have used the same designs for car bombs in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, officials said."
Sarah Teslik, the executive director for the Council of Institutional Investors, on large executive benefits. quoted in
"They reveal (a) no sense of boundary between personal and business expenses, (b) a desire to hide excessive pay by dividing it up into many pieces, including perks, and (c) a person who has no idea how much CEO perks anger other employees."
Michael Janofsky _NY Times_
Security Efforts Turning Capital Into Armed Camp as Government Functionaries Once Again Put Themselves Above the Public
"A huge effort to build safeguards for buildings and monuments is turning Washington into a fortress."
Saritha Rai _NY Times_
U.S. Pay-Rolls Change Lives in Bangalore
"Empowered by ample pay-checks, often from big American companies, some Indian workers are beginning to break social conventions."
Deborah Solomon _NY Times_
"For years, Walt Disney's nephew Roy was the passive heir. But now he's leading a crusade to push out the chairman, Michael Eisner, and take back the kingdom."
Thomas L. Friedman _NY Times_
Meet the Zippies
"The impact of out-sourcing jobs to zippies, white-collar workers in India, is unpredictable. Managing this phenomenon requires a public policy response... 6 out of 10 Indian households have at least 1 zippie"
Agim Zabeli _CareerPlanner.com_
It's the Stupid Resume Parsers
"your resume is stuck in 'screen-bot' limbo. The hiring company has your resume in their data-base. It never made it to the hiring manager because the automated search and screening methods (screen-bots) can't be perfect when it comes to lining up candidates with hiring managers... Two weeks [or 2 months] later the job is re-posted by the company, still unfilled... You have just fallen victim to a very serious glitch in the recruiting process; one that will get worse before it gets better, and one that absolutely no one wants to admit even exists... You did everything right on the job application. Unfortunately for you, the company you sent your resume to has had hard times just like everybody else, so you sent your resume to a reduced and over-worked HR department. When they programmed the screen-bot to search for your resume, maybe they didn't put in enough key words and it didn't get picked up. Maybe they programmed in so many key-words that every morning the hiring manager opens his e-mail and saw 3 hundred resumes, none of which was ever close to what he was looking for. That's why he stopped reading resumes from the screen-bot months ago... It also re-negotiated all agreements with search firms and demanded a clause: 'If a search firm sends in a resume that's already ''in the system'' the search firm doesn't get credit for it.'... There's... no head-hunter who wants your resume to go anywhere near a job where he won't get paid because they already have your resume on file."
Oppenheimer _Miami Herald_
Drop in student exchange may hurt future relations
"U.S. colleges are receiving an avalanche of Indian, Chinese and South Korean students, while the number of Latin American students remains flat or is declining... Last year, India and [Red China] -- the developing world's most rapidly growing economies -- increased by 13% and 11% respectively the number of students they sent to U.S. colleges. By comparison, the number of Latin American students remained flat, and that of South American students dropped, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Institute of International Education. There are now 325K Asian students in American colleges, compared with only 68K from Latin America, the numbers show. India has 75K under-graduate and graduate students in the United States, while all Latin American countries together have 68K... While the number of U.S. students enrolled in foreign universities has doubled over the past decade, Britain remains by far the most popular choice, followed by Spain, Italy, France and Australia. Overall, 63% of U.S. students go to Europe, while 15% go to Latin America."
2004-02-23 12:34PST (15:34EST) (20:34GMT)
Mark Gongloff _CNN_/_Money_
Education may not be the answer: Greenspan, Bush say education is the best response to off-shore out-sourcing but they may be wrong
"some people losing jobs over-seas are already highly educated, and some economists doubt education will fully ease the pain -- American workers may have to learn to live with lower wages, or policy makers may have to come up with other ideas. After several decades in which U.S. manufacturing jobs moved over-seas steadily, white-collar jobs -- including information technology, customer service, accounting and more -- have begun to flow off-shore in recent years as well, as multi-national companies take advantage of a cheaper, ever-more-skilled, global labor force. These trends, along with technological advancements, have helped keep the U.S. job market in its longest slump since World War II. Though the economy has grown for 9 straight quarters, there are still 2.3M fewer workers on non-farm payrolls than at the beginning of the 2001 recession... If the global economy does not grow fast enough to raise the level of demand to match that vast new supply of workers, some economists worry, then the price of labor -- wages and salaries -- will certainly fall, with or without education."
2004-02-23 13:15PST (16:15EST) (21:15GMT)
Matt Andrejczak _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
USDA probes bird flu at Texas farm
"A Texas farm was quarantined and about 6,600 chickens were destroyed after the flock tested positive for a serious strain of bird flu, the U.S. Agriculture Department said Monday. USDA officials said in a conference call it is not sure how many people have been potentially exposed to the H5N2 strain of the bird flu. Government officials said it is not linked to the deadly strain in Asia, which has killed about 22 people..."
2004-02-23 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
New jobs are lower-paying
"A new study concludes many of the new jobs are in the construction industry and they're being taken by Mexicans and other recently arrived Hispanic immigrants, many of whom are likely in this country illegally. And the wages they're receiving are flat to falling... Pew Hispanic Center concludes that employment among foreign-born Hispanics grew by 682K last year. That's 64% of all new jobs counted under the Labor Department's household survey. The vast majority of those Hispanic immigrants, 498K, arrived in the year 2000 or later, and a majority, 387K, found work in the construction industry. Other big categories for Hispanic workers, retail and agriculture. Because of immigration and relatively high birth rates, Hispanics contribute more than half of the growth in the U.S. labor market... But Hispanics continue to lag well behind the rest of the labor market in wages. Median weekly earnings for Hispanics are [67% of what] they are for [non-Hispanic] white workers... One helicopter program that will not be canceled is Marine One. But the competition to build the next generation of the president's helicopter has sparked an intense political battle. Two major defense companies are battling for that contract, Sikorsky with an all-American design, and Lockheed Martin with a British-Italian design... At stake, a defense contract of nearly $2G for the 26-helicopter fleet. Hundreds, if not thousands of jobs are involved. Sikorsky, with 5K employees based in Connecticut, would keep all the work inside the U.S., a big political selling point... It's tough when even your B students are still not able to cut it when they go to college. That's what happened in 2001 at Georgia's Coosa High School. Eleven out of 33 students who attended a Georgia public college, nearly half needed remedial work... A 2000 report found American 15-year-olds ranked 14th in science out of 31 industrialized nations, and 19th in math, well behind students in Korea and Japan."
Gary Nolan, running for the Libertarian nomination for President, stops in Tulsa
"Libertarian Gary Nolan talked to delegates at his party's Oklahoma convention. Nolan says the answer to America's problems is the commitment to freedom that made America great. 'The major parties make it as difficult as they can, ballot access here in Oklahoma is an example, ballot access in Texas is another example. They're trying very hard to keep us from having our names printed on the ballot with party affiliation.' This was Nolan's second campaign trip to Oklahoma."
Andrew Ross Sorkin _NY Times_
Adelphia Is Next in Parade of Fraud Trials
"Corporate-scandal trial season is in full swing as John J. Rigas and his sons are scheduled to go on trial in federal court in Manhattan."
Steve Lohr _NY Times_
Debate over Exporting of Jobs Raises Questions on Policies
"There is certainly no shortage of political heat surrounding the subject of jobs migrating abroad... And N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers, faced an uproar after he said earlier this month that off-shore out-sourcing was a good thing for the economy in the long run. In a presidential election year, when few new jobs are being created despite a growing American economy, the issue of jobs lost to foreign competition - and what can be done about it - will be an important one on the campaign agenda... The first is how the United States will respond to a new wave of international competition, and the second is what policies can help displaced workers make the transition to new jobs. Transplanting work, not just call center operations but also skilled professional labor like computer programming, to lower-cost nations is a manifestation of a change in the terms of trade in global competition. Such jobs can more easily be sent to India or [Red China] largely because of technology - inexpensive telecommunications and the Internet. And [Red China], Eastern Europe and India, which all have large numbers of well-educated workers, have entered the global trading system in earnest only in recent years... This time, however, the interests of companies and workers are not as closely linked as they were in the 80's when both groups seemed to suffer together. For example, the American semiconductor industry lost $4G from 1984 to 1986 and lost 50K jobs in the United States. Today, most American companies are doing fine with profits rising, as they shop the global labor market for the best bargains... But the risk for corporate leaders is that they end up at one pole of a divisive issue - championing innovation and global competition, seeking tax breaks and other benefits from Washington, while mostly paying lip service to the need to help displaced workers... Some labor experts and economists advocate wage insurance as a way to provide displaced workers an incentive to get a new job as quickly as possible and soften the blow of lost income if the new job pays less."
Foreign Accountants Help Americans Undergo Government Muggings
"Twelve-hour shifts and 7-day work weeks exhausted accountants at Rucci, Bardaro & Barrett. But most painful for Chris Barrett was the annual 'Easter parade' - lay-offs of seasonal workers and interns after April 15. So Barrett, a partner in the Malden, MA, firm, will send about 150 of his 600 clients' tax returns this year to India, where recent college graduates will prepare Americans' 1040s. Barrett won't hire - or fire - any extra employees, and the average turn-around time for completing returns is already shrinking."
Indian government subsidizes taking jobs from Americans
"The state proposes to offer an incentive of Rs 20,000 for every job with a minimum gross monthly salary of Rs 8,000 created. This will come in the form of rebate in the buying of land or for buying of built-in office space."
Barbara Lyons _Dunn County News_
Badnarik & Nolan in tie for Libertarian nomination
"A total of 4,650 voters turned out last Tuesday to help narrow the field in the race for the Democratic and Libertarian party's presidential nominations or indicate their support for President George Bush. Voter turnout statistics are not available for the county, but in Menomonie a higher than expected 21 percent completed ballots... The President received 515 votes and Libertarian Party candidates Michael Badnarik and Gary Nolan gathered 8 votes apiece."
Alison Diana _TechNewsWorld_/_eCommerce Times_
High-tech R&D Too Vital to Out-Source Off-Shore?
"Alhough [off-shore] out-sourcing has cast a long shadow over many IT professions and functions, there are glimmers of sunlight for U.S. employees involved in certain aspects of the computing industry. For example, although it has been affected by outsourcing to some degree, research and development retains much of its shimmer... Just 4% said they do any outsourcing of this function."
Joel Dresang _Salt Lake Tribune_
US policies drive some European talent away
"The United States is losing its technological edge over some European countries because of policies and perceptions that put the nation at a disadvantage in competing for creative workers, according to a study being released Tuesday. The study, by economic development expert Richard Florida, contends that Sweden and Finland pose greater threats to America's economic leadership than [Red China] or India. Instead of worrying about large countries with low-cost manufacturing and business processing, Florida reasons, U.S. policy-makers need to pay attention to places that are attracting and mobilizing the talent needed for knowledge-based industries... the United States continues to be the world's leader in technology and drawing top talent in such fields as science, research, the arts and technology-based industries. But the report also shows rising competition from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium and The Netherlands."
2004-02-23 16:16PST (19:16EST) (2004-02-24 00:16GMT)
Alan M. Webber _USA Today_
Reverse brain drain threatens US economy
"Until recently, if Americans heard the words 'brain drain', they knew clearly what that meant: Bright, talented scientists, engineers and other techies from all over the world were migrating to the United States. They were drawn here by the world's best universities, the most dynamic companies, the freest economic and social environment and the highest standard of living... the United States is pursuing government and private-sector policies that, over the long run, could lead to a significant shift in the world's balance of brain-power... U.S. companies are happy to out-source knowledge work while, at the same time, buying out the contracts of their most experienced workers -- all in the name of reducing costs. And the one sure way to grow new brains -- a high-quality educational system -- [some speciously allege] has failed to produce enough home-grown talent. As the economy globalizes, and as first-class creative minds go abroad, stay abroad or are produced abroad, other nations may challenge the United States' role as the leader in innovation and creativity."
2004-02-24 09:02PST (12:02EST) (17:02GMT)
Mark Gongloff _CNN_/_Money_
Consumer confidence tumbles: Job worries drive closely watched sentiment gauge to lowest level since October (graph)
"The Conference Board, a business research group based in New York, said its closely watched index of consumer confidence fell to 87.3 from a revised 96.4 in January. It was the lowest level since 81.7 in 2003 October... The percentage of survey respondents saying jobs are 'hard to get' rose to 32.1% from a revised 31.6% in January, near the highest level in a decade."
2004-02-24 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Casey Wian & Kitty Pilgrim & Bill Tucker & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
Lobbying begins in earnest
"Fair trade groups form a national alliance to fight the [off-shore] out-sourcing of American jobs. Tonight, a battle for this country's oldest environmental organization, anti-population growth, anti-immigration advocates are trying to win control of the Sierra Club... From the deserts of Arizona, where illegal aliens leave trash and trample plants, to the free-ways of Los Angeles, where rising population threatens to overwhelm the city's infrastructure, it's clear that uncontrolled immigration is hurting the environment. It's the collision of concerns about population growth, including immigration, that is now threatening to tear apart the Sierra Club, the nation's oldest environmental group. Former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm is one of a handful of dissident board candidates demanding the Sierra Club take a stand against an immigrant-driven population explosion. Richard Lamm: 'Mass immigration is what is happening right now. The United States will stabilize its population by 2040 at the current birth rate. But immigration is going to double the size of America and then double it again. So I'm really very concerned about what the future of America is if we have a half a billion people or a billion people living here.'... No chicken, no beef, 90% of U.S. beef exports have been banned in countries around the world because of fears of mad cow disease. And today, several countries banned U.S. poultry because of a recent out-break of bird flu in Texas... Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Japan, and Singapore are now banning poultry products. It's a $2G market for the United States. The top 3 export markets for U.S. beef, Japan, Mexico and South Korea, all banned U.S. beef since December... the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief economist said the beef export market is nearly $4G... American students excell in math and science in grade school, but then rank near the bottom of the world by the time they graduate high school... In Russia, President Putin today fired his prime minister and his entire cabinet. Their dismissals comes 2 weeks before an election... The leaders of the 52 groups fighting international out-sourcing gathered at the National Press Club. They are trying to figure out the best way to push their message to stop the hemorrhaging of American jobs... Ron Hira of Rochester Institute of Technology: 'the debate has been shaped by off-shoring advocates who have taken the mantle or used labels like free trade and frankly are passing along a lot of misinformation to give the impression that this is all very good for us. I think that they are under-estimating the costs and also the risks there... We've got some of the worst unemployment situations for electrical engineers, for computer engineers that we have had in 30 years... This is also having a chilling effect on students deciding whether to study these disciplines that can be easily off-shored. We have also seen some wage depression amongst our consultant community... engineers are at the heart of technological innovation and the future growth.'"
Carolyn Curiel _NY Times_
In Farmingville, an American Story
"A film about an immigrant influx in Farmingville, NY, is a primer on the usually unseen cost of America's appetite for cheap labor... In the 1990s, more than 1,500 such immigrants -- most of them Mexican -- arrived in Farmingville, where the population was 15K."
Charles E. Beggs _Albany Oregon Democrat-Herald_
Tax vote reprisals up to Libertarians
Salem Oregon StatesMan Journal
"As it turns out, no Republican law-maker who has filed for re-election and endorsed the tax increase is facing a challenge from another Republican in the May 18 primary elections. But Libertarians say they hope to field November general election contenders against the 10 Republican tax-backing legislators who are up for election - 8 House members and 2 senators. Richard Burke, Oregon Libertarian Party executive director, said plans include a relatively high-profile race in which party Chairman Tom Cox will run against freshman Rep. Mary Gallegos, R-Cornelius. Cox stands to benefit from the name familiarity gained by his run for governor in 2000. Despite the Republican split on the tax issue, GOP leaders say they wanted no part of an intramural war in the primary as they're trying to keep control of the House and take over the Senate with its 15-15 partisan tie."
IT trends in Red China
"Several major industry trends also emerged in 2003. A complete software industry began to take shape. 11K Chinese firms developed more than 10K products last year. The country also built 22 software parks and 35 software colleges. The focus of the market shifted to applications from IT infra-structure."
Greenspan Says Mortgage Debt Poses Threat
"Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could pose a threat to the country's financial system if their ability to take on new debt is not restrained, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Tuesday. Greenspan lent his influential voice to calls for reforms in the operations of the 2 government-chartered companies which dominate the multi-trillion-dollar mortgage industry. Speaking to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Greenspan said he supports creation of a tough new government regulatory agency to supervise the two corporations, saying the new regulator should have similar powers to federal banking regulators, including the authority to set minimum capital standards. Fannie and Freddie, both Fortune 500 companies, have grown into two of the biggest financial companies in the world. They stand behind $4T in home mortgages, or more than three-fourths of the single-family mortgages in the United States."
2004-02-24 19:29PST (22:29EST) (2004-02-25 03:29GMT)
Paige St. John _Florida Today_
Human trafficking (slavery) trend rose in Florida
"Federal laws meant to help the victims are just taking hold, they say. And they point to local programs that coordinate with federal authorities, such as that run by the Collier County Sheriff's Office, as the needed cure. 'We hope to educate statewide officials, law enforcement officers and the general public about this human rights situation.', Terry Coonan, director of the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University, said Tuesday. With a $250K federal grant, the center launched a statewide study on the problems of human trafficking. With another $250K, the next step is to train social service workers and police officers to recognize and help victims -- most of them illegal immigrants who are fearful of authorities. A 2000 federal law gives shelter to 'severe' victims of trafficking, granting special visas that allow them to stay in the United States while they cooperate with law enforcement."
2004-02-25 09:54PST (12:54EST) (17:54GMT)
Gina Holland _AP_/_Florida Today_
Supremes Block Age Bias Suits by the Young
"younger workers can't sue their employers when older colleagues get preferential treatment. In a 6-3 decision that affects tens of millions of workers, the justices said Tuesday that the law that protects older employees from age discrimination doesn't apply in reverse... The workers, all in their 40s, sued General Dynamics when it changed its retirement benefits in 1997. Until then, long-time company employees could retire and receive full health benefits. Under the new union contract at plants in Lima, Ohio, and Scranton, PA, only long-time workers 50 or older could receive full health benefits after retirement. The workers claimed they were protected by the 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which forbids age discrimination of any worker 40 or older. About 70M U.S. workers are 40 or older, roughly half the nation's work force."
2004-02-25 11:11PST (14:11EST) (19:11GMT)
Eric Hellweg _CNN_/_Money_
Bush & Kerry deny that off-shoring is bad: decry "Benedict Arnold CEOs"
"the plan would eliminate tax credits for U.S. companies that practice off-shore out-sourcing. 'John Kerry will repeal every tax break and every loop-hole that rewards any Benedict Arnold CEO or corporation for sending jobs over-seas', a spokes-person in Kerry's California camp told me. Currently, companies that engage in off-shore out-sourcing pay taxes in the countries in which they out-source, and then pay the United States the difference between those countries' tax rates and the 35% U.S. corporate tax. The companies receive U.S. tax credits for the taxes paid in foreign countries, so they're not taxed twice on the same income. Eliminating the foreign tax credit would 'make it impossible for U.S. companies to do business abroad', says professor James Hines, research director for the office of tax policy research at the University of Michigan."
2004-02-25 08:15:34PST (11:15:34EST) (16:15:34GMT)
Jackie Hallifax _officer.com_
Slavery Alive and Well in Florida
Center for the Advancement of Human Rights
"Modern-day slavery is alive and well in Florida, the head of a human rights center said Tuesday as it released a report on people forced to work as prostitutes, farm-workers and maids across the state. Human traffickers bring thousands of people into the United States each year and Florida is believed to be one of the top three destinations, along with New York and Texas, according to the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University. Although there have been several prosecutions of human trafficking in Florida, no one knows how many people in Florida are under the control of traffickers, said Terry Coonan, the center's executive director. In south Florida, federal prosecutions have indicated hundreds of farm-workers were victims of human trafficking, and a forced prostitution ring identified as many as 40 young women and girls brought from Mexico... But the problem is not limited to those areas or those industries, according to Robin Thompson, director of the research project. 'All you have to do is look where cheap labor is required and where there is a potential for labor exploitation, which pretty much can put you anywhere in our state.', Thompson said... not all victims of human trafficking are illegal immigrants."
2004-02-25 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kitty Pilgrim & Bill Tucker & Peter Viles _CNN_
Pennsylvania threatened by off-shore out-sourcing
"Greenspan proposed having retirees collect less, lower the cost of living adjustments and collect later in life, because people live longer... George W. Bush: 'My position on Social Security benefits is this, that those benefits should not be changed for people at or near retirement. As you know, in the 2000 campaign, I articulated a point of view that we ought to have personal savings accounts for younger workers. That would make sure those younger workers receive benefits equal to or greater than that which is expected. I still maintain the same position.'... Declaring outsourcing a threat to the future of Pennsylvania, a bill has been introduced in the state legislature. It is among the toughest in the country. If approved, the bill would not allow state or local contracts to be awarded to companies that would outsource the work. It would require companies to disclose if they outsource more than 100 jobs to a foreign country. And if a company does out-source more than 100 jobs [off-shore], it would be precluded from receiving any state aid or state and local contracts for seven years. In the words of one legislator, Pennsylvania is bleeding jobs, the taste is bitter, and he says support for an anti-outsourcing bill is strongly bipartisan. Mike McGeehan, Pennsylvania legislature: 'The jobs that were lost in steel and the jobs that were lost in textiles, we retrained them for I.T. jobs. They are being displaced a second time in their life-time. That's obscene. That's wrong. And I think the legislature in Pennsylvania is going to stand up and say, enough is enough.' The issue of disclosure is also gaining attention from legislators in Florida. Two years ago, the state awarded a $280M contract to Convergys, which freely admits it [off-shores] work to India.'... 600 jobs, to be exact. And the company says that all of those jobs went to Florida residents, as required by the contract... Dan Burton: 'the president has done some things that I think have helped stem the tide, so to speak, of the loss of jobs going over-seas with the tax cuts and the incentives that the administration has pushed through the Congress. But after saying that, we have lost 2.5M to 3M manufacturing jobs that probably aren't going to come back to the United States. We're losing as many as 20K jobs a month so a lot needs to be done. We need to have regulations in this country regarding small business change. We need more tax cuts for business, which would create an incentive for them to be able to stay here. And then we need to deal with our foreign trading partners, much more severely. The value of the currency in [Red China] is 40% to 50% under-funded which gives them a tremendous advantage in trade. And as a result they have $120G surplus right now... Our industrial base is jeopardized. If we ever have to go to war again like we did in World War II we're going to have a real problem, because our industrial base is being eroded along with our jobs. We need to change that so we're safe militarily, No. 1, and we're protecting American jobs. I believe in free trade, but I also believe in fair trade. And that means we need to negotiate very hard with our trading partners and the multilateral trade agreements like NAFTA simply don't work.'... George W. Bush: 'I have heard every excuse in the book about measurement. You are testing too much, you are teaching the test. Don't test. If you don't test you have a system that just shuffles the kids through, and that's unacceptable.'... Federal education spending has rocketed 55% in 3 years to $36G last year... Goldman Sach's CEO Hank Paulson pay check doubled last year, Lou. He received $21M in restricted stock on top of $600K salary, even has Goldman grappled with regulators on several front. At JP Morgan William Harrison made $20M last year. His merger partner Jamie Dimon of Bank One got $19M. And Cendant's CEO fared even better, $23M for Henry Silverman and he exercised $37M in stock option. A good time if you're a CEO, and AT&T announcing it's going to cut another 8% of its work force, 4,600 workers, [after having] fired 18K last year."
Alan Greenspan to House Budget Committee
"In 2008 -- just 4 years from now -- the first cohort of the baby-boom generation will reach 62, the earliest age at which Social Security retirement benefits may be claimed and the age at which about half of prospective beneficiaries choose to retire; in 2011, these individuals will reach 65 and will thus be eligible for Medicare. At that time, under the intermediate assumptions of the OASDI trustees, there will still be more than three covered workers for each OASDI beneficiary; by 2025, this ratio is projected to be down to 2-1/4. This dramatic demographic change is certain to place enormous demands on our nation's resources--demands we almost surely will be unable to meet unless action is taken. For a variety of reasons, that action is better taken as soon as possible."
Donald G. McNeil _NY Times_
U.S. Scientist Tells of Pressure to Lift Bans on Food Imports
"A Department of Agriculture scientist says experts have been pressured by top officials to approve products for Americans to eat before their safety can be confirmed, particularly to resume importing of Canadian beef."
William Safire _NY Times_
Return to Riga
"The Latvian capital suffered Soviet oppression followed by the anguish of new democracy, but freedom has taken root."
Personal Bankruptcies Rose in 2003: Business Filings Down
"Personal bankruptcies for all of 2003 rose 5.6% to 1.63M from a year earlier while business filings fell 9.1% to 35,037, according to data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Total calendar 2003 bankruptcy filings of 1,660,245 were up 5.2% from 2002 but were just shy of the 1,661,996 historic high reported for the courts' fiscal year that ended 2003 September 30."
Elizabeth Bentson, Kevin Rademacher & Michelle Swafford _Las Vegas Sun_
Feds raid ITT tech schools
"ITT Educational Services Inc. today said federal agents were executing a search warrant at the company's corporate offices in Indianapolis and at several ITT Technical Institutes, including one in Henderson. The warrant and related grand jury sub poenas relate to information and documentation regarding placement figures and rates, retention figures and rates, graduation figures and rates, attendance figures and rates, recruitment and admissions materials, student grades, graduate salaries and transferability of credits to other institutions, ITT said in a statement... Inspection agents for the U.S. Postal Service were outside the building this morning and refused to let reporters enter. They referred questions to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston... U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby... said law enforcement officers were investigating at ITT's headquarters and at campuses in Henderson and in Indiana, Texas, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, California and Oregon."
_Buffalo NY Business First_
Enrollment drop leads to job cuts at Independent Health
"Independent Health has laid off 20 staff and managers to reflect an overall decrease in membership and advances in technology. Company spokesman Frank Sava said the health insurer added 7,332 members in the fall enrollment period but the overall membership has fallen about 2.5% from 2003."
State Department Human Rights Report
Taiwan Republic of China
2004-02-25 16:57PST (19:57EST) (2004-02-26 00:57GMT)
Tiffany Kary & Donna Fuscaldo _Dow Jones_/_Yahoo!_
Apple Makes "Minor" Job Cuts as Education Unit Pressured
"Apple Computer Inc. has recently laid off people from its education division, an area which has fallen prey to state budget cuts and competition... head-count at the company continues to grow overall. Apple has around 10K employees overall. A former employee said cuts have occurred in recent weeks, coming largely from the education unit... Apple said a shift away from higher-priced Power Macintosh and iMac systems toward lower-priced eMac and iBook systems were partly to blame for declining K-12 business. Apple also noted that portables accounted for about 43% of total unit sales in the education channel during 2003, as compared with 34% in 2002."
2004-02-26 05:43PST (08:43EST) (13:43GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Durable goods orders data mixed
Advance report on durable goods manufacturers' shipments, inventories & orders
"New orders for durable goods fell 1.8% in January, far short of the 1.5% gain expected by Wall Street economists. Excluding the 10.4% drop in transportation orders, durable orders were up 2%. December's durable orders were revised higher yet again to show a 1.6% increase, ahead of the flat original estimate and the first revision to a 0.3% gain."
2004-02-26 05:43PST (08:43EST) (13:43GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
unemployment compensation insurance claims up 6K: 4-week average highest since December
"The number of people applying for unemployment benefits for the first time rose 6K to 350K in the week ended February 21, the Labor Department said Thursday. The 4-week average rose 2,750 to 354,750, the fourth consecutive increase in the more reliable measure of jobless claims and the highest level since December of last year... The number of workers who already have unemployment insurance and are seeking continuing benefits fell 4,250 to 3.1M, according to the department's 4-week average... The insured unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.5%."
2004-02-26 08:19PST (11:19EST) (16:19GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Blue-collar workers need better stop-smoking help
"'A person's occupation is a distinct and significant risk factor for smoking.', says Dr. Elizabeth Barbeau, assistant professor of society, human development and health at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health. It's not just people with lower incomes and education levels who are more likely to smoke -- those in working-class occupations such as mechanics, construction workers, laborers, machine operators, freight stock and material handlers are also more likely to light up, according to research Barbeau co-authored in the 2004 February edition of the American Journal of Public Health... Tobacco use is the nation's leading preventable cause of death, killing about 440K people and costing taxpayers more than $75G in health-care bills every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To compare smoking rates in different population groups, the study used data from the 2000 National Health Interview Survey, which polled more than 100K people. About 46M adults smoke, or 23% of the U.S. population. That percentage has nearly halved in the 40 years since the first surgeon general's report on tobacco's health consequences came out in 1964..."
2004-02-26 09:01PST (12:01EST) (17:01GMT)
Paul Erdman _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
"Greenspan has once again demonstrated his willingness to tell us the truth by stating unequivocally that the social security benefits that prior governments have promised to provide our aging population must be scaled back to levels that will be supportable by future generations of taxpayers. We still have ample time to do that in an orderly manner, before the issue is forced upon us -- which is bound to happen sooner rather than later... the easiest way to do this is to gradually increase the age when citizens qualify for full retirement. All that this requires is the changing of a few sentences in the social security enabling legislation. The sooner we begin this process, the better, since there is simply no other viable alternative. The time has also come to address the issue of globalization openly and honestly. The inescapable fact is that unless American corporations are allowed to continue to maximize their potential in terms of global market share and productivity through every legitimate avenue open to them, the United States is going to gradually relegate itself to the status of a second rate economic power..."
2004-02-26 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Bill Tucker & Casey Wian & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
European Union accuses USA of unfair trade
"As politicians talk, jobs walk. Middle class America faces an uncertain future, wages declining, jobs being exported... George W. Bush: 'Empty talk about jobs won't get anybody hired.'... Come Sunday, unemployment benefits for three-quarters of a million Americans will end... But it's not just been the last two months that have been rough on the American worker. It's been the last three decades. The average real income for 99% of Americans during that time rose just $2,700, while the top one-tenth of 1% saw their income increase by more than $20M. In relative terms, the richest sprinted the length of 2 and a half football fields, while the rest of us ran over a yard. And over the last decade, the tax burden has shifted dramatically. According to the IRS, the 400 richest Americans effectively got a tax cut of 43%, while the rest of us paid 1.5% more... In the past decade, natural gas, which most Americans use to heat their homes, rose 28%, adjusted for inflation, and gasoline 15%... The Federal Reserve earlier this month, Lou, reported that the consumer debt total now reaches $2T... Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Proposition 57 and 58 would issue $15G in bonds and restrict the ability of law-makers to borrow money in the future. Without them, the state's $95M budget could face a $25G big deficit... The Mexican president has effectively asked President Bush to make it easier for illegal aliens to cross the border between Mexico and the United States... An estimated 23M Mexicans live in this country. 5M of them are illegal, at least. Vicente Fox says he is the president of all Mexicans, including those in the United States... Jay Leno: 'That show, The Apprentice, it is a huge hit for NBC. And tomorrow night's show is especially good. Instead of getting fired, the losing contestant's job is out-sourced to India.'... 95% of the bras sold in this country are imported, one-third of them from [Red China]. By the way, only 1% of those bras, slightly less, actually, come from France... The Life Learning Academy is one of nearly 3K public charter schools in the United States. Charter schools are run like private schools. The principal has the authority to hire and fire teachers and if the schools don't improve, they are closed. Charter schools, along with magnet schools, focus on accountability and choice. Voucher programs go even further, giving parents the option of enrolling their children in private schools... 9% of all charter schools close for failing to meet their goals... [One study in Milwaukee found] that test scores are lower, not higher, in public schools that have to compete with private schools... The study I referenced is backed by Harvard University Civil Rights Project. It finds the graduation for Hispanic students this is year, 53%. For Native Americans 51%. For African-Americans 50%. The overall four-year graduation rate for high school students 68%... A trade war with Europe. Hundreds of millions in sanctions against the United States. They go into effect Monday... Thomas Friedman: 'total exports from U.S. companies to India have grown to $4.1G in 2002.'... our trade deficit with India at the same time has soared to $8G... European Union Trade Commissioner, Pascal Lamy today told congressional leaders the sanctions will end as soon as they block billions of dollars in tax breaks for U.S. companies exporting... the European Union enjoys a $94G surplus as of last year with the United States... Pascal Lamy: 'U.S. companies as you said, through tax breaks, have an advantage which is an export subsidy. And we litigated this in the WTO and the umpire of both trade has said that the U.S. subsidiaries were illegal and they have to be removed. And in order to do that Congress has to pass the legislation that repeals these tax breaks and we've been entitled in order to incentivize Congress to pass this legislation, to put together trade sanctions which will start at a low rate, I mean sort of 15M during the next month and then will increase in order to make sure that compliance comes... we exchange 1G Euro trans-atlantic a day. The volume of trade which will be hit by a 5% tariff is 300M.'"
ETA unemployment compensation insurance claim report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 327,147 in the week ending February 21, a decrease of 14,281 from the previous week. There were 387,068 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0% during the week ending February 14, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,743,681, a decrease of 34,390 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.2% and the volume was 4,089,902. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending February 7. 53 states reported that 417,609 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending February 7... The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending February 7 were in Alaska (7.0%), Idaho (5.1%), Michigan (4.6%), Pennsylvania (4.6%), Oregon (4.5%), Wisconsin (4.4%), New Jersey (4.1%), Rhode Island (4.1%), Washington (4.1%), Massachusetts (4.0%), and Puerto Rico (4.0%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending February 14 were in Michigan (+1,423), Alabama (+646), Mississippi (+241), Louisiana (+74), and Vermont (+25), while the largest decreases were in North Carolina (-16,139), California (-12,879), Pennsylvania (-6,931), Illinois (-5,586), and Missouri (-5,139)."
James Bennet _NY Times_
Israelis, in Raid on Arab Banks, Seize Reputed Terrorist Funds
"Israeli forces seized millions of dollars representing hundreds of bank accounts that Israel said were financing Palestinian terrorism."
Robert Pear _NY Times_
U.S. to Study Importing Canada Drugs but Choice of Leader Prompts Criticism
"The commissioner of food and drugs, who is opposed to drug imports, will lead a yearlong study of how prescription drugs might be safely imported from Canada."
Laurie J. Flynn _NY Times_
Trial Over Safety at I.B.M. Now in the Hands of Jurors
"Jurors began deliberations on Wednesday morning in a work-place hazards case brought against I.B.M. A verdict could come by next week, lawyers said."
Paul Meller _NY Times_
Europe Weighs Antitrust Steps for M$
"The European Commission has drafted a preliminary ruling that finds M$ guilty of abusing the dominant position of its Windows operating system."
Michael Erard _NY Times_
The Ivy-Covered Console
"An increasing number of scholars are turning their attention to the video game, creating graduate programs, conferences and journals devoted to game studies."
Simon Hayes _Australian IT_
Airline IT staff protest off-shoring to Egypt
"support operators will walk off the job tomorrow after employer Equant revealed it will cut up to 20 positions from its Sydney global customer support centre and off-shore the work to Egypt."
Paul Wenske _Kansas City Star_
Bankruptcy filings for 2003 linger in record territory
"Bankruptcies for all of last year totaled 1,660,245, up 5.2% from 2002, according to data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. But the calendar figures fell just short of the historically high 1,661,996 reported for the U.S. bankruptcy courts' fiscal year that ended 2003 September 30. Personal bankruptcies, which make up the bulk of filings, continued to increase in calendar 2003, rising 5.6% from calendar year 2002 to 1.63M. Business bankruptcy filings fell 9.1% from calendar year 2002 to 35,037, according to the court data. But farm bankruptcies in calendar 2003 rose 46.8% to 712, from 485 reported in calendar 2002... The number of bankruptcies filed during the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 (2003 October 1 to December 31) was 393,348, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. That was down 0.5% from the 395,129 cases filed in the first quarter of fiscal year 2003."
Melinda Fulmer & Ronald D. White _LA Times_
Grocery Workers Leave the Field
"Demoralized, angry, broke or exhausted, hundreds of members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union have retired, launched new careers or gone back to school since the UFCW struck Safeway Inc.'s Vons and Pavilions chains in Central and Southern California on October 11. Kroger Co.'s Ralphs and Albertsons Inc., which are negotiating with Safeway, locked out their workers the next day. Union officials say that they can't be sure precisely how many people have quit and can't predict how many of the 59K who went on strike or were locked out will return to their old jobs... 'Everything that Ralphs propagated, whether it was what they were doing in training or customer service programs, it didn't really matter.', Jerry said. 'All they cared about was labor costs.'"
2004-02-27 00:45PST (03:45EST) (08:45GMT)
Alex Veiga _AP_/_San Diego Union-Tribune_
Grocery pact up for vote
"Grocery workers will decide whether to end their 4-and-a-half-month-old Southern California supermarket strike this weekend during a two-day vote on a tentative contract agreement. Union leaders were slated to brief the 70K grocery clerks on the details of the proposed deal beginning Saturday morning. If a majority of the employees ratify the contract, many could be back at work by midweek, ending the longest super-market strike in U.S. history. The dispute between the United Food and Commercial Workers and the super-market operators ñ Albertsons, Kroger Co. and Safeway ñ resonated nationwide because it was seen as a referendum on affordable employee health care... By some analyst estimates, the strike cost the grocery chains between $1.5G and $2.5G in lost revenue. Safeway and Kroger each reported net losses exceeding $100M in the quarter ended December 31."
2004-02-27 05:31PST (08:31EST) (13:13GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US 2003 4th quarter revised higher
"U.S. economic growth slowed to a 4.1% rate in the fourth quarter from the frenzied 8.2% pace of the third quarter, the Commerce Department estimated Friday."
2004-02-27 06:36PST (09:36EST) (14:36GMT)
_AP_/_San Diego Union-Tribune_
German Retailer Stops Putting RFID Chips in Customer Loyalty KKKards
"German retail giant Metro Group said Friday it will stop putting 'smart tag' chips inside customer loyalty cards, a practice that sparked protests by privacy advocates who say the cards could allow stores to secretly track consumers as they shop. Metro has given out about 10K of the cards with embedded Radio Frequency Identification chips since April as part of a broader effort to bring wireless technology into its stores and warehouses. Card-holders will receive replacements with bar codes, Metro spokesman Albrecht von Truchsess said."
2004-02-27 13:25PST (16:25EST) (21:25GMT)
Mark Cotton _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Nasdaq in the red for first time since 2003 September: Dow posts third month of gains
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 3.78 points at 10,583.92 in the last trading session for January, off an intraday high of 10,652.36. The benchmark index closed down 1.1% on the week, but was up 0.9% on the month. The Nasdaq Composite was down 2.75 points, or 0.1% at 2,029.82, after falling as low as 2,018.83. The index closed down 0.1% on the week, and 1.7% lower on the month. The S&P 500 was up 4.68 points, or 0.4% at 1,149.58. The index closed flat on the week, and up 1.2% on the month. Volume was relatively modest at 1.5G on the NYSE, and 1.8G on the Nasdaq. On the broader market, advancers out-paced decliners by 21 to 10 on the New York Stock Exchange, while gainers had a 17 to 14 edge over fallers on the Nasdaq."
2004-02-27 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Jamie McIntyre & Lisa Sylvester & Kitty Pilgrim _CNN_
Virginia receives federal blessing to exclude illegal aliens from state colleges
"President Bush is considering whether to send more than 2K Marines to Haiti. The Pentagon said the Marines and three amphibious assault ships could be off the coast of Haiti within days if the president gives the order. The president may make a decision by tonight. In Haiti today, rebels captured the third largest city. They advanced to within 25 miles of Port-au-Prince... Ford has closed its plant in Edison, New Jersey, after more than 55 years of producing cars and trucks, this the final day. A Ford spokesman says it would be too expensive to retool that plant so that it produced different models. For hundreds of workers, today was an emotional ending... About 300 of the plant's 900 workers will retire. Others may transfer to Ford plants elsewhere in the country. At least 400 jobs will be eliminated... Executives from the country's top technology company say they will depend on cheap over-seas labor to meet a growing demand in the U.S. Executives attending the Reuters Technology, Media and Telecommunications Summit here in New York, they said they will create more jobs in countries such as India and China than they will in the United States. That trend, of course, is nothing surprising. Last year, U.S. technology employment dropped to the lowest level since 1999. Meanwhile, technology companies outside the United States continue to boom... The law-suit was filed against 7 Virginia schools accused of turning students away because they were not in the country legally. Federal Judge T.S. Ellis ruled a state university does not violate U.S. Supreme Court rulings by denying admission to illegal aliens, as long as federal standards are used to define immigration status, a major victory for Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, who represented the schools... The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that children of illegal aliens are entitled to primary and secondary education... At least 8 states not only open enrollment to illegal aliens. They also offer in-state tuition. As many as 20 other states are considering doing the same... the Virginia judge reasoned that aliens cannot receive in-state tuition unless out-of-state United States citizens receive the same benefits. The issue has taken on new urgency because state enrollment is climbing. Virginia expects to have 61K additional college students enroll in the next decade and is running out of space for U.S. citizens... Half quit in the first 5 years... And in some areas, in some poor urban areas, this may be 80% attrition in the first 5 years... Mexican president Vicente Fox who effectively asked President Bush to make it easier for illegal aliens to cross the border between Mexico and the United States. President Fox has also commented that he considers himself the president of 123M Mexicans, 100M of them in Mexico and 23M of them in the United States, he says."
Jerry Osteryoung _Miami Herald_/_Tallahassee Democrat_
Keep Your Employees' Pay in Check
"lately I have been meeting an increasing number of employers who pay their workers too well."
Laurie Goodstein _NY Times_
Two Studies Cite Child Sex Abuse by 4% of Priests
"The studies found that 10,667 children allegedly were victimized from 1950 to 2002, but even these numbers may represent an under-count."
Laura M. Holson _NY Times_
Criticism Mounting as Disney's Leader Faces Crucial Vote
"A growing number of large investors have expressed a lack of confidence in the company's management."
Charlie LeDuff & Steven Greenhouse _NY Times_
Super-Markets, Union Reach Tentative Pact
"Grocery executives and union leaders involved in a four-and-a-half month-old labor dispute in Southern California reached a tentative agreement on Thursday night."
Barnaby Feder _NY Times_
Ruling May Aid Inquiry on Chip Pricing
"A judge's decision last week dismissing a Federal Trade Commission antitrust case against Rambus, a designer of computer memory chips, is proving to be bad news for memory chip makers."
Matt Richtel _NY Times_
Ill-Begotten Monstrosities Employees Lose Cancer Suit
"A California jury ruled in favor of IBM in a case brought by 2 former employees who contended that they contracted cancer at a factory."
Judge throws out fraud charge against Martha Stewart
"The decision by U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum came just 5 days before jurors are expected to begin deciding the case against the celebrity home-maker and her stock-broker... The securities fraud count carried a potential prison sentence of 10 years and a $1M fine. The remaining 4 counts against Stewart each carry a prison sentence of 5 years and a $250K fine."
John Berhman _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Money, heat flies over Wal-Mart vote
"The San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council has spent $5,211 for a mailer aimed at defeating Proposition G on Tuesday's ballot, and 3,500 union members living in San Marcos have been recruited to go door to door and make telephone calls urging voters to reject the measure... Wal-Mart has already spent nearly $109K on the campaign to win approval for its store, according to campaign statements filed last week... By comparison, SaveSanMarcos.org, the residents group trying to stop the store, has received $6,446 in cash for its campaign since January 1 and $2,068 in non-monetary support. None of it came from labor unions. Store opponents were criticized last year when they received $30K from the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which helped pay for collecting signatures to get the Wal-Mart measure on the ballot. If Proposition G is defeated, the City Council's 3-2 decision approving the store in August would be voided... the union is opposed to Wal-Mart because of the low salaries it pays employees and the poor benefits it offers, especially for health care. The 139K-square-foot store is proposed for a 20-acre site at the northeast corner of Rancho Santa Fe Road and the future realignment of Melrose Drive. It is on the edge of the 416-acre, 1,224-home University Commons project."
2004-02-28 02:01PST (05:01EST) (10:01GMT)
Ken Schroeder (CEO of KLA-Tencor) _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Sarbanes-Oxley stifles growth
"Sarbanes-Oxley must be revised. It's flawed legislation that stifles innovation and limits economic growth... Sarbanes-Oxley also makes it more difficult for small companies to access the capital markets by increasing the costs (accounting and legal) of going public. Again, lack of access to capital stifles innovation -- a death knell for small companies with pioneering new technologies... In the Sarbanes-Oxley era, board members are more likely to be punished for risk-taking that goes wrong, than to be rewarded for risk-taking that goes right and creates new jobs... What's needed is competent enforcement of the laws already on the books -- the same laws that called for strict corporate honesty and accountability while encouraging the positive risk-taking that fosters innovation."
Landon Thomas _NY Times_
Grasso Refuses to Return Any of $139.5M Pay
"Richard A. Grasso is vowing not to return a penny of his pay from the New York Stock Exchange [claiming it was reasonable, fair and legal]."
Emily Eakin _NY Times_
Armies of Consumers: 1776's Secret Weapon?
"T.H. Breen argues that in 1776, Americans discovered a political weapon without which the Revolution might not have been successful: consumerism... In 1766 February, taken aback by the violent reaction to the Stamp Act, its latest attempt to impose taxes on the restive American colonies, Britain summoned Benjamin Franklin to Parliament in London. The interview, which lasted several hours, was less than friendly. The Americans, Franklin reminded his interrogators, were voracious consumers of British goods, buying them at a rate that far exceeded the colonies' staggering population growth. But this lucrative spending habit, he warned, should not be taken for granted. The colonists could either produce necessities themselves or do without, he testified. As for 'mere articles of fashion', he said, they 'will now be detested and rejected'. A month later the Stamp Act was repealed. And American trade in British goods ó valued at more than a million pounds a year ó continued at a galloping pace. But Franklin's words represented a turning point in the struggle for independence, says T. H. Breen, the William Smith Mason professor of American history at Northwestern. Americans, he argues, had discovered a political weapon without which the Revolution might not have been successful: consumerism."
Pankaj Mishra _NY Times_
"India, where 12M people go to the movies every day, remains culturally a world unto itself, immune to Hollywood."
Felicity Barringer _NY Times_
In Alaska, Help for Logging Comes Late
"Economists doubt that companies turning to the recently opened old-growth trees in the Tongass National Forest will find buyers who will pay enough to keep local loggers going."
At Least 3 Killed in Ethanol Tanker Explosion Off Virginia Coast
"At least 3 people were killed when a tanker carrying industrial ethanol exploded and sank about 50 miles off the Virginia coast Saturday, the Coast Guard said."
Karen W. Arenson _NY Times_
Harvard Says Poor Parents Won't Have to Pay
"Aiming to get more low-income students to enroll, Harvard will stop asking parents who earn less than $40K to contribute toward the cost of their children's education."
Adamson Rust _The Inquirer_
Carly Fiorina only got piffling $2.9M bonus for destroying HP
Richard Louv _San Diego Union-Tribune_
"For services to the manufacturers of pink slips, for increasing share-holder value, and for backing Intel to the hilt, the compensation committee at HP has awarded Carly Fiorina, the firm's CEO, a piffling $2.9M bonus in 2002, surely a sign of the miserly times we're in... She only has a miserable 4.6M shares too."
Daniel H. Pink _Wired_
The New Face of the Silicon Age: How India became the capital of the computing revolution (5 pages)
"Meet the pissed-off programmer. If you've picked up a newspaper in the last 6 months, watched CNN, or even glanced at Slashdot, you've already heard his anguished cry. He's the guy -- and, yeah, he's usually a guy -- launching web sites like yourjobisgoingtoindia.com and nojobsforindia.com. He's the guy telling tales -- many of them true, a few of them urban legends -- about American programmers being forced to train their Indian replacements. Because of him, India's commerce and industry minister flew to Washington in June to assure the Bush administration that Indian coders were not bent on destroying American livelihoods. And for the past year, he's the guy who's been picketing corporate out-sourcing conferences, holding placards that read WILL CODE FOR FOOD will code for food and chanting, 'Shame, shame, shame!'... I've come to Mumbai to see what software programmers in India make of the anti-out-sourcing hubbub in the US. Mumbai may not have as many coders per square foot as glossier tech havens like Bangalore and Hyderabad, but there's a lot more real life here. Mumbai is India's largest city -- with an official population of 18M and an actual population incalculably higher. It's a sweltering, magnificent, teeming megalopolis in which every human triumph and affliction shouts at the top of its lungs 24 hours a day... Programming jobs have delivered a nice upper-middle-class life-style to the people in this room. They own apartments. They drive new cars. They surf the Internet and watch American television and sip cappuccinos. Isn't the emergence of a vibrant middle class in an otherwise poor country a spectacular achievement, the very confirmation of the wonders of globalization -- not to mention a new market for American goods and services? And if this transition pinches a little, aren't Americans being a tad hypocritical by whining about it?... Back in the US, you can feel the rage. Application developer Mike Emmons of Longwood, Florida, for example, is running for Congress on a platform that calls for the end of out-sourcing. Emmons also wants to curtail temporary work visas for immigrant programmers, such as the always controversial H1-B and its stealthier counterpart, the L-1... 'They're using immigration to reduce the wages of Americans.' Other programmers, once resolutely go-it-alone apolitical types, have formed advocacy groups with righteous names like the Rescue American Jobs Foundation, the Coalition for National Sovereignty and Economic Patriotism, and the Organization for the Rights of American Workers. One such group has adopted a friendlier title, the Information Technology Professional Association of America. But its founder, 37-year-old Scott Kirwin, voices the same indignation.... Then [New Jersey state senator Shirley Turner] says, I'd like to know where you go from knowledge.'... The week I was in Mumbai, global business guru and former MIT dean Lester Thurow was in town trumpeting the possibilities of 'Brand India' -- as militants planted bombs in taxis and killed 53 people. None the less, as with all adolescents, through the gangliness and over-confidence you can glimpse the contours of the future... A century ago, 40% of Americans worked on farms. Today, the farm sector employs about 3% of our work-force. But our agriculture economy still out-produces all but 2 countries. 50 years ago, most of the US labor force worked in factories. Today, only about 14% is in manufacturing. But we've still got the largest manufacturing economy in the world - worth about $1.9T in 2002. We've seen this movie before - and it's always had a happy ending. The only difference this time is that the protagonists are forging pixels instead of steel. And accountants, financial analysts, and other number crunchers, prepare for your close-up. Your jobs are next. After all, to export sneakers or sweat-shirts, companies need an intercontinental supply chain. To export software or spread-sheets, somebody just needs to hit Return. What makes this latest upheaval so disorienting for Americans is its speed. Agriculture jobs provided decent livelihoods for at least 80 years before the rules changed and working in the factory became the norm. Those industrial jobs endured for some 40 years before the twin pressures of cheap competition over-seas and labor-saving automation at home rewrote the rules again. IT jobs -- the kind of high-skill knowledge work that was supposed to be our future -- are facing the same sort of realignment after only 20 years or so. The upheaval is occurring not across generations, but within individual careers. The rules are being rewritten while people are still playing the game. And that seems unjust. Couple those changed rules with the ham-fisted public relations of the American companies doing the out-sourcing and it's understandable why programmers are so pissed. It makes sense that they're lashing out at the H1-B and L-1 visas. US immigration policies are a proxy for forces that are harder to identify and combat. It's easier to attack visible laws than it is to restrain the invisible hand. To be sure, many of these policies, especially the L-1, have been abused. American programmers have done an effective job of high-lighting these abuses -- and during an election year, Congress will likely enact some reforms. But even if these visa programs were eliminated altogether, not much would change in the long run... John Bauman is 61 years old. More than a year ago, Northeast Utilities fired Bauman and 200 other IT consultants. From his home in Meriden, Connecticut, he created the Organization for the Rights of American Workers. The mission: to protest H1-B and L-1 visas."
Cynthia Barnett _Florida Trend_
Harris Corp. Just Getting Started
"Howard Lance, Harris Corp.'s youngest CEO, wants to make the company's struggling commercial divisions as successful as its government units... Harris hired 1K scientists and engineers last year and will hire another 1K this year... Companywide, revenue and earnings far surpassed expectations last year, with revenue up 12%. Virtually all of the increase came on the government contract side. The government and radio divisions grew their revenue by 23% and 26%, respectively. In contrast, revenue declined in each of Harris' 3 commercial divisions, by 11% in broadcast, 3% in microwave and 13% in network support... In May, Lance went forward with a plan that had been discussed before his hiring that slashed 230 positions at the company's head-quarters in Melbourne and within the broadcast communications division. (Employee transfers to the government divisions helped the company avoid lay-offs.) Lance also axed several product lines in the broadcast and microwave divisions..."
Jacob F. Kirkegaard _Institute for International Economics_
Out-Sourcing - Stains on the White Color? (see, especially figure 1: US job turn-over 1992 Q3 to 2003 Q2)
Information on Federal Contractors with Off-Shore Subsidiaries
"86 of the 100 largest publicly traded federal contractors from fiscal year 2001 report having a foreign subsidiary, of which 59 report having a subsidiary incorporated in a tax haven country. Of these 59 corporations, 58 also report having additional foreign subsidiaries in countries other than tax havens. However, as the SEC only requires public corporations to report their significant subsidiaries, there may be additional corporations among the 100 largest publicly traded federal contractors that have a subsidiary in a tax haven country. Likewise, some corporations that report having a subsidiary in a tax haven country could have additional subsidiaries in tax haven countries that they have not reported."
Daniel Hecker & David S. Frank _Monthly Labor Review_
Occupational Employment projections to 2012
|title||net change 2002-2012||growth +|
|Architecture and engineering occupations||222,000||802,000|
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|jgo Econ Data||jgo Econ News Bits Index|
|Economic News Analysis Summary|
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