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updated: 2013-02-11
 
2004 August
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2004 August


 

2004-08-01

2004-08-02

2004-08-02 07:09PDT (10:09EDT) (14:09GMT)
_Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
US Home Affordability Fell in Q2
"The National Association of Realtors said its housing affordability index fell to 133.6 in the second quarter of 2004, down from 144.1 in the first quarter and also lower than 143.8 in the second quarter of 2003."

2004-08-02 09:30PDT (12:30EDT) (16:30GMT)
Jo Best _ZD Net_
44K prisoners to be tracked with RFID tags
Silicon.com
"One state prison system reckons it's cracked how to keep track of all of its 44K inmates: radio frequency identification technology, or RFID.   The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has approved a $415K contract to try out the tracking technology with Alanco Technologies.   The Ross [county] Correctional Facility in Chillicothe, OH, will be the site of the pilot project."
Privacy links

2004-08-02 08:01PDT (11:01EDT) (15:01GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Construction spending slipped in June: Residential construction down 1st time in 16 months
census bureau report
"Overall June construction spending fell 0.3%, falling to a $985.2G seasonally adjusted annual rate.   This was the first decline in 5 months."

2004-08-02 10:40PDT (13:40EDT) (17:40GMT)
_AP_/_Forbes_
Manufacturing Activity Expanded in July
Washington Post
USA Today
CBS.MarketWatch.com
"The Institute for Supply Management [ISM] said Monday its manufacturing index registered 62.0 last month, up from 61.1 in June.   It was the 14th consecutive monthly increase..."

2004-08-02 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Kitty Pilgrim & Peter Viles & Lisa Sylvester & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Lou Dobbs Tonight
"We've reported extensively on a controversial bill before Congress that would grant corporate America billions of dollars in tax breaks.   Democrats call the bill a Christmas tree, full of presents for big business, but even those Democrats missed a key sentence that could mean a multi-million dollar wind-fall for the owners of professional sports teams...   With lost jobs a campaign issue, it's no surprise Congress has a response, what the House calls the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 [HR4520].   But the bill is truly a hodgepodge of special tax breaks and buy-outs, nearly $10G for tobacco farmers, and one change that even critics of the bill missed...   the bill would effectively increase the value of pro sports franchises...   New owners could write off the full value of their teams over 15 years.   Analysts say that would make teams more valuable if they're sold, benefiting any current owner who decides to sell...   Well, supporters say it's pro-business and it brings in new revenue.   Owners want to end years of bickering with the IRS about depreciation rules, and the government thinks it will get new revenue, $382M, over 10 years...   A new study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found lay-offs in the last 3 years soared: nearly 11.5M workers lost their jobs since President Bush took office.   That's almost 9% of all adult job holders, the second highest level since the Great Depression...   The survey found that while two-thirds of the unemployed workers were able to find work relatively quickly, 57% of those rehired took pay cuts in their new jobs."

2004-08-02
Debra K. Rubin, Peter Reina, Mary B. Powers & Tony Illia _Engineering News-Record_
Off-Shoring Is Enraging More Engineers, Owners & Politicians (this is a pro-off-shoring puff piece)
"The cost-influenced move to send or sub-contract design and other tasks to over-seas locations with cheaper pay-rolls, from India and the Philippines to Ukraine and Poland, is not new.   Large contractors such as Bechtel Group, Fluor Corp., Jacobs Engineering Group and Washington Group International (WGI), have been off-shoring for private owners for years, often at clients' request.   In some cases, work is just spread to contractors' less expensive over-seas offices.   In others, it goes to outside enterprises [i.e. is out-sourced]...   Opponents see thousands of U.S.-based positions headed over-seas to individuals willing to work for much less...   At least 36 states have introduced about 100 bills to ban public-sector off-shoring or give it a competitive disadvantage, says the National Foundation for American Policy, a pro-off-shoring lobby with Republican ties.   Some bills died or languish, but others passed.   And some anxious governors, such as in Minnesota, imposed their own restrictions by executive order..."

2004-08-02
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee & Eric Chabrow _Information Week_
Total IT employment down, but future looks better for those with specific skills (with graphs)
"Joblessness has nearly doubled in the last 3 years, while the number of Americans calling themselves IT professionals has decreased by nearly 160K.   Behind the overall stats -- the latest from the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- is a shift in the make-up of the nation's IT labor force.   The number of programmers, analysts, and support specialists has fallen 15% since the first 6 months of 2000, while the ranks of managers and administrators grew 56%, according to InformationWeek's analysis of the bureau's numbers...   At the job market's apex 3 years ago, 3.47M of the 3.57M Americans identifying themselves as IT workers held jobs; this year, that's down to 3.23M employed out of 3.41M.   IT unemployment, which was less than 3% in 2000 and 2001, has stabilized between 5.5% and 6% in the past 3 years.   Tech manager jobs have grown faster than any other IT job category, up 54% in the last 4 years.   Still, managers account for only 10% of employed IT workers, up from 6% four years ago...   Where employment is down -- programmers, computer scientists and systems analysts, network-systems and data-communications analysts, and support specialists -- off-shore out-sourcing gets much of the blame.   This is particularly true for programmers.   'There's been hundreds of thousands of these jobs created in India, the Philippines, and other places.', says Howard Rubin, executive VP at Meta Group and professor emeritus of computer science at the City University of New York.   In a recent study of the 100 largest New York companies, Rubin found that 70% off-shore some work -- predominately programming and support -- and, within the next 2 years, 90% plan to do so."

2004-08-02
Jill Mahoney _Globe & Mail_
Lactating animals have less fright-inducing hormone
Nature
Doctor Koop
"Professor Gammie and his colleagues concluded the behaviour is linked to low levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone, a neuro-peptide, or sequence of amino acids, that acts on the brain to control fear and anxiety."

2004-08-02
Lady Liberty
Free Speech Isn't So Free
Lady Liberty site

2004-08-02 17:03PDT (20:03EDT) (2004-08-03 00:03GMT)
_AP_/_San Diego Union-Tribune_
US trade negotiators bet export gains will exceed subsidy losses for farmers under new WTO frame-work
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20040802-1703-wto-tradetalks.html
"The consensus reached Sunday in Geneva is aimed at reviving WTO talks on liberalizing international trade.   It commits negotiators to work toward ending subsidies that help sell exports, and to reduce many domestic subsidies that help support farmers...   In the first year of any new agreement, WTO-allowed caps on domestic subsidies, currently about $19G for the United States, must fall by 20%...   Government-backed loans to exporters, a sales method used by the United States, cannot be any longer term than 180 days and will be more closely monitored..."

2004-08-02 04:35PDT (07:35EDT) (11:35GMT)
_Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
Scientists Make Mad-Cow-Disease Prion in Lab
"Researchers have for the first time made a prion in the laboratory and used it to demonstrate that the misfolded proteins are indeed the sole cause of mad cow disease, the U.S. and German scientists reported Thursday.   The research, published in the journal Science, also may help open the way to treatments for the currently untreatable and incurable family of prion diseases, which include not only mad cow but the human Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, and a related human form of CJD caused by eating mad cow-infected beef.   'Our study demonstrates that misfolding a particular segment of the normal prion protein is sufficient to transform the protein into infectious prions.', said lead researcher Giuseppe Legname at the University of California San Francisco.   Scientists from the Heinrich-Heine Universitat in Duesseldorf, Germany also took part in the study.   The researchers created a synthetic prion by using bacteria to grow prion fragments and then folding them into larger protein structures."
 

2004-08-03

2004-08-03 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
James E. Rankin
BEA report
"Private wage and salary disbursements decreased $2.7G in June, in contrast to an increase of $35.0G in May.   Goods-producing industries' pay-rolls increased $0.5G, compared with an increase of $7.6G; manufacturing payrolls were unchanged in June; manufacturing payrolls increased $5.1G in May.   Services-producing industries' payrolls decreased $3.2G in June, in contrast to an increase of $27.3G in May.   Government wage and salary disbursements increased $1.4G, in contrast to a decrease of $3.3G."

2004-08-03 06:06PDT (09:06EDT) (13:06GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US incomes & spending weak in June; Biggest spending drop since 2001 September
AP/Yahoo!
"Personal incomes increased 0.2% last month, as wages were unchanged.   It was the slowest income growth in 14 months, as incomes decelerated from growth of 0.6% seen in May.   Meanwhile, consumer spending dropped 0.7% -- the biggest decline since 2001 September.   Spending increased 1% in May...   The personal consumption expenditure price index rose 0.2% in June, while the core PCE index -- which excludes food and energy prices -- rose 0.1%.   The core PCE index is up 1.5% in the past year, the same rate as May's."

2004-08-03 06:39PDT (09:39EDT) (13:39GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
IMF says European economy improving: Lobbies for more work hours per year
"The IMF staff raised its forecast of real gross domestic product [GDP] growth for the euro-zone to about 2.0% this year from the previous forecast in April of 1.75%.   The euro-zone economy barely grew in 2003, increasing by 0.5%.   The economy is projected to improve marginally to a 2.25% growth rate in 2005...   In 2004, inflation is expected to grow 2.0% in 2004, but then ease to a 1.75% growth rate next year."

2004-08-03 06:53PDT (09:53EDT) (13:53GMT)
_Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
US Chain Store Sales up 3.9% for last week of July: Down 0.1% from June

2004-08-03 06:59PDT (09:59EDT) (13:59GMT)
Yeoh En-Lai _AP_/_Yahoo!_
George Lucas Builds Animation Studio in Singapore

2004-08-03 07:08PDT (10:08EDT) (14:08GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US lay-off announcements increased 8.1%, hiring plans down 30% in July
Sacramento CA Business Journal
CNN/Money
NC News 14
Boston Globe
"U.S. corporations announced 8.1% more job reductions in July than in June, according to a monthly tally by out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas released Tuesday.   Corporations announced 69,572 job reductions in July, up from 64,343 in June, Challenger reported...   The 12-month average of job reductions fell to 88,590 in July from 89,886 in June...   In the first seven months of the year, lay-off announcements are down 24% from the same period in 2003.   Meanwhile, corporations announced plans in July to hire 26,880 workers, down 30% from the 38,377 in June."

2004-08-03
Anahad O'Connor _NY Times_
New Ways to Loosen Addiction's Grip
"a year and a half ago, a quiet scientific advance gave... 60K... Americans - a chance to break their dependence on drugs without shame.   Buprenorphine, made by Reckitt Benckiser and sold under the brand name Suboxone, became the first prescription medication for people addicted to heroin or pain-killers.   The small orange tablet is available by prescription at any neighborhood pharmacy.   It relieves symptoms of opiate withdrawal like agitation, nausea and insomnia.   But unlike methadone, buprenorphine (pronounced byoo-pre-NOR-feen) is only weakly addictive, and is thus less tightly regulated.   Above a certain dosage, more will not produce a high, so it has a far lower risk of overdose than methadone.   And once a patient has taken a pill, the effects last for about 3 days, greatly decreasing the chance of a relapse.   Serious drug addiction is a problem that afflicts more than 10M Americans...   In laboratories around the country, researchers are creating prescription medications to alleviate craving or blunt euphoria, and working on vaccines that can prevent people from getting high by mopping up a drug in the blood-stream.   In some cases, the research is already bearing fruit: Campral, a new prescription drug to block cravings for alcohol, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last week...   Researchers have known for some time that all substances of abuse, including nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and heroin, activate the same pleasure pathway in the brain.   But they are now finding that many drugs cause subtle changes in brain activity that remain for weeks, months or years.   Such alterations, studies have found, help unleash the cravings that can plunge recovered users back into the throes of addiction long after their last puff or snort."

2004-08-03
George Raine _San Francisco Chronicle_
WMs cost state
"Employment practices at WM, the nation's largest employer with relatively lower labor costs in the retail sector, cost California tax-payers about $86M annually in public assistance to company workers, according to a study released Monday by a UC Berkeley research institute.   The study estimates that low wages force employees to accept $32M annually in health-related services and $54M per year in other assistance, such as subsidized school lunches, food stamps and subsidized housing...   Authors Arindrajit Dube of the UC Berkeley Institute of Industrial Relations and Ken Jacobs of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education make a number of assumptions in their study, beginning with a work-force estimate of 44K WM employees at 143 WM and Sam's Club stores in California who earn an estimated 31% less than workers in the large retail sector as a whole.   The wage difference is even greater when comparing Bay Area WM workers with other union retail workers: The estimate is that WM workers earn on average $9.40 an hour compared with $15.31 for union grocery workers, 39% less, and the study estimates that they are half as likely to have health benefits...   [WM's spokes-person claimed that] Bay Area workers earn an average of $11.08 an hour while statewide it is $10.37 [that] 90% of WM's workers have health insurance [and of those], 50% have coverage through WM and 40% through other sources."

2004-08-03
Roger Fillion _Rocky Mountain News_
Petition effort to curb off-shoring came up short
Hire American Citizens
"Coloradans won't be voting in November on whether to curb the hot-button practice of sending work over-seas...   By last count, the petition drive had collected about 45K names - short of the 67,799 required by Monday's dead-line."

2004-08-03
Todd Bishop _Seattle Post-Intelligencer_
E&S Shortage Propaganda Continues Amid High Unemployment and Enrollment Drop
"a May study published by the Computing Research Association [CRA] showed a 19% decline in enrollment last year in under-graduate computer-science and computer-engineering programs."

2004-08-03
Alison Overholt & Devon Bowman _Fast Company_
The Labor-Shortage Myth
"It's not happening -- and it's not likely to happen.   Rather, it's an over-blown theory, fed by questionable assumptions, that has gained credibility through sheer repetition.   Here's the Cliff Notes version of the labor-shortage argument: The work-force is aging.   By 2015, nearly one-fifth of workers will be over age 55.   Around then, huge throngs of baby boomers will begin retiring to Florida (or wherever), leaving the much smaller "baby bust" generation unable to fill all those jobs.   The past 3 months of strong job and wage growth in the United States, proponents would say, is a preview of things to come...   First, folks are working longer...   After declining for decades, the labor-force participation rate for Americans aged 65 to 69 jumped to 26.1% in 2002 from 21.9% in 1994, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], with a comparable increase for folks 70 to 74.   The AARP reports that half of its 35M members (50 and over) are still working today.   More telling, it says that more than 80% of baby boomers it surveyed plan to work well into their seventies...   Some 0.93M bachelor's degrees a year were conferred at the height of the boomers' run through college -- while the smallest graduating class for busters produced 1.16M grads.   Now college-educated members of the 'Echo Boom', a group close in size to the boomers themselves, are starting to enter the work-force.   No evidence there of a shrinking skilled labor pool...   The United States' gross domestic product, he observes, is 6 times larger than it was at the end of World War II, yet the labor force is only twice as large.   That's about productivity, folks.   And this time, the... increase in off-shoring will curb job growth even more dramatically...   But the coming labor shortage?   The job boom?   They're myths, kept alive mostly because they allow employers easy solutions...   'They learned it's easier to lobby for more Indian engineers on H-1B visas than to address their own retention policies and training programs.', Cappelli says.   The real solution, of course, is more difficult.   It requires companies to invest in the right technologies and in their own employees in order to stay ever more productive."

2004-08-03
_Prophet.net_/_Business Wire_
Monster: 61% of Americans Consider Themselves Over-Worked, 86% are Not Satisfied with Their Job
Globe & Mail
"82% of Americans are unhappy with their work/life balance (a) (up from 80% in 2003) and 72% work more than 40 hours per week (b) (up from 71% in 2003).   Additionally, 89% of workers hope to change jobs in the next 6 months (c), with 84% also saying the economy has hindered their ability to change jobs in recent years (d)."
 

2004-08-04

2004-08-03 18:44PDT (21:44EDT) (2004-08-04 01:44GMT)
Andrea Coombes _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Salaries are slightly up: More get raises, but still near last year's lows
"Budget Salary Survey by WorldatWork... 87% of employees will get raises, up from 83% last year, but still far below the 94% who received an increase in 2001, according to the annual survey of about 2,700 U.S. companies employing 12.7M people.   Raises will average 3.5%, the same increase received last year, and a historic low for the 31-year survey...   Average raises tend to mirror inflation, which rose 3.3% in the past 12 months, as measured by the Labor Department's consumer price index...   Salary hikes have been declining since the early 1990s when they averaged about 5.6% and inflation was about 5.4%.   In 1981, when inflation was running about 10.3%, salary raises averaged 10.6%, according to the WorldatWork report...   77% report using at least one form of performance-based bonus pay, up from 75% last year, and 66% in 2001...   3.6% of companies plan to give executives salary increases of 7% to 30%.   For workers at other job levels, fewer than 2% of companies are offering raises of 7% or higher...   78% of companies will pay executives and officers with stock options this year, down from 84% last year.   Meanwhile, 58% of companies will proffer stock options to exempt salaried employees, down from 63% a year ago.   12% of non-exempt salaried workers will receive stock options, down from 14%, and 13% of hourly non-union workers, down from 15% last year."

2004-08-04 08:11PDT (11:11EDT) (15:11GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Factory orders rose 0.7% in June
census bureau report
"Orders for U.S-made factory goods increased 0.7% in June, the fourth gain in the past 5 months, the Commerce Department estimated Wednesday.   Much of the increase came from a 79.1% rise in orders for defense aircraft.   Orders for core capital goods increased 1.1%...   Factory orders increased 0.4% in May, in contrast to the 0.3% decline originally reported."

2004-08-04 08:19PDT (11:19EDT) (15:19GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
ISM non-manufacturing index up to 64.8%, but job index fell
"The ISM's non-manufacturing index rose to 64.8% in July from 59.5% in June, indicating a faster pace of expansion...   68.4% in April.   The index is still below the 65.2% level set in May...   the employment index fell to 50% from 57.4%...   The prices paid index fell to 73.1% in July from 76.6% in the previous month."

2004-08-04
Douglas Jehl & Richard W. Stevenson _NY Times_
New Qaeda Activity Is Said to Be Major Factor in Alert
"Officials said that new intelligence pointed to a current threat of an attack on targets in New York and Washington."

2004-08-04
Carlotta Gall _NY Times_
Pakistan Allows Taliban to Train, a Detained Fighter Says
"Militant Islamic groups in Pakistan are training fighters and sending them into Afghanistan to attack U.S. forces."

2004-08-04
Fara Warner _NY Times_
Bargains Help Auto Industry Recover in July
"Auto sales rebounded in July, driven in part by big incentives on sport utility vehicles."

2004-08-04
Rachelle Garbarine _NY Times_
Making Room for Technology Start-Ups
"A 50-acre campus of the Technology Centre of New Jersey has research and production facilities with 380K square feet in 6 buildings."

2004-08-04
George P. Schultz _NY Times_
Let's look at the economic record (especially the graphs, which peaked about 1994 December and 2000 April)
Petroleum World
Free Republic
George P. Schultz

2004-08-04
Terrence Dopp _Gloucester County NJ Times_
1 in 8 NJ jobs endangered by out-sourcing
Asbury Park Press
Newark Star-Ledger
"According to a report issued by New Jersey Policy Perspective, 492K jobs in the Garden State are vulnerable to the phenomenon, referred to as both off-shoring and out-sourcing.   Unlike the manufacturing exodus of the 1980s and 1990s, recent job losses have moved into the higher-paid white-collar work force...   The jobs going over-seas now pay an average of $47,389, compared to an average $40,520 for all New Jersey jobs, according to the report...   The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics estimates the nation's work force at roughly 130M.   At the same time, one estimate places at 1.6M the number of jobs that will be moved out of America by 2010.   Over the past few years, over 2.5M jobs have been shed, according to labor groups."

2004-08-04
Neil Gibson _The ic Newcastle Journal_
Banker blasted by union for double standard on off-shoring
"A union leader who fought Lloyds TBS's decision to move 960 Newcastle call centre jobs to India has accused the bank of double standards after it complained about foreigners being allowed to dominate British banking.   Lloyds's Newcastle call centre - which once employed 960 people - will close in November.   Despite fierce opposition from Lloyds TSB Group Union (LTU), the closure is going ahead and more than half of the work-force has already gone.   What infuriated the union was that against the backdrop of the off-shoring of these Tyneside jobs, bank chairman Maarten van den Bergh objected to restrictions on UK banks bidding to take over Abbey, whose board is recommending a take-over by Spanish bank Santander Central Hispano.   Mr. van den Bergh is reported to have asked: 'Would British banking be best-served if it is dominated by foreigners?'"

2004-08-04
Paul Craig Roberts _NewsMax_
US Economy Is a Colossus with Weak Knees
"Recession could return by the inauguration, before the economy ever regains the jobs lost to the 2001 recession.   Second quarter 2004 economic growth came in 20% less than expected.   The consumer is showing weakness, and crude oil prices have reached record highs.   Personal savings remain low...   only about 3.5M of the 5.3M laid off workers were able to find new jobs during two years of economic recovery.   Of those who found new jobs, 57% - about 2M workers - took jobs paying less than their previous positions.   About 1.2M of the workers who found new jobs experienced pay cuts of 20% or more...   BLS data show 131K fewer American computer software engineers employed in the second quarter than in the first quarter of 2004 - a decline of 15% in 3 months.   Employment of computer scientists and systems analysts declined by 51K in the second quarter.   Employment of computer programmers fell 16K...   One of every 8 who had been earning more than $200K fell below that figure in 2002.   The ranks of the super rich (adjusted gross income of $10M or more) were cut in half to 5,280 persons, who together experienced a 63% drop in income."
 

2004-08-05

2004-08-05 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
unemployment compensation insurance claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 280,886 in the week ending July 31, a decrease of 35,961 from the previous week.   There were 333,770 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending July 24, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,823,796, a decrease of 113,271 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.8% and the volume was 3,508,332.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending July 17.   5,105 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending July 17."

2004-08-05 07:13PDT (10:13EDT) (14:13GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Seasonally adjusted US unemployment insurance claims fell 11K
"The [seasonally adjusted] number of people filing for unemployment insurance for the first time fell by 11K to 336K in the week ended July 31, the Labor Department said Thursday.   The 4-week average of new claims, which smoothes out distortions in the weekly figures caused by weather and other one-time factors, rose by 6,750 to 343,500, the highest level since the end of June...   Meanwhile, the number of Americans continuing to receive state unemployment benefits fell by 35K in the week ended July 24, to 2.91M."

2004-08-05 07:50PDT (10:50EDT) (14:50GMT)
Benjamin Taylor _StockWatch_
US Workers See Off-Shoring as Bad for Economy, but few see their own jobs at risk
"While 85% of U.S. workers believe off-shoring has a negative impact on the U.S. economy, less than 10% of workers are strongly concerned that their own jobs are in danger of being sent over-seas, according to a new survey by Watson Wyatt, a leading human capital consulting firm.   Workers in professional or technical roles feel at slightly greater risk compared with those in supervisory or hourly job functions...   regarding off-shoring's impact on market-place image, customer satisfaction and HR management costs, most respondents report a neutral effect or that it is simply too early to tell."

2004-08-05 14:01PDT (17:01EDT) (21:01GMT)
Susan Lerner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Dow down most in 5 months: Stocks tumbled as oil prices rose
"The Dow dropped 163.48 points, or 1.6%, to close at 9,963.03 -- its sharpest loss in points since March 11.   The gauge last closed below the 10K mark on July 26.   The Nasdaq Composite Index, meanwhile, skidded 33.43 points, or 1.8%, to 1,821.63 and the S&P 500 slumped 17.93 points, or 1.6%, to 1,080.70.   Oil for September delivery jumped $1.58, or 3.7%, at $44.41.   The contract rose as high as $44.50 -- an intraday record for futures prices."

2004-08-05 13:01PDT (16:01EDT) (20:01GMT)
Jennifer Waters _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
July retail same-store sales mixed
"International Council of Shopping Centers. With 71 chain-store retailers reporting, his collective tally stood at an average 3.1% gain at stores open longer than a year for July, at the low end of his 3% to 4% forecast."

2004-08-05
Jim Rutenberg _NY Times_
Ads for (and at No Cost to) Kerry Keep Flowing
"To a voter's eye, the senator's advertising campaign marches on seamlessly - and usually on message.   And the campaign is not a penny poorer for it."

2004-08-05
Stephen Labaton _NY Times_
FCC Supports Violation of Privacy of Internet Calls
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/05/technology/05phone.html
"Responding to a request by law enforcement officials, the Federal Communications Commission tentatively concluded Wednesday that new Internet-based telephone services should be subject to some of the same [unconstitutional] laws that enable the government to monitor conversations... with relative ease."

2004-08-05
Stephen Gordon _PR Web_
We Won't Get Fooled Again: Libertarian Michael Badnarik dismisses Hastert tax plan
"'The Republicans come up with nifty ideas for cutting taxes in August of even-numbered years.   Then right after the first Tuesday in November, they see their shadows and scurry back into their budget conferences...   Bush promised us tax cuts, too.   And he delivered -- a whopping 1%, phased in over 10 years...'   Badnarik's proposal has teeth.   He wants to repeal the 16th Amendment.   'If we don't get rid of the authority for the income tax, it won't go away.   We'll end up with Hastert's national sales tax or value added tax or whatever... and the income tax, too.'   The key?   'If you want to cut taxes, you have to cut spending.', he says."

2004-08-05
Brad Buck _Palatka Daily News_
Presidential candidate Badnarik visits Hastings, FL

2004-08-05
_TMC_
ICCM International Contact Center Management Conference in Chicago to promote off-shoring next week

2004-08-05
Ian Katz _Florida Sun-Sentinel_
CWA takes step toward strike against BellSouth
"The CWA said 97% of its members voted to give union leaders authority to call a strike.   If the CWA strikes, about 5,800 BellSouth workers in South Florida would walk off the job.   'We're working, but I'm not very optimistic.', Smith said.   'BellSouth seems to have no desire to reach an agreement.'...   The CWA has never held a strike against BellSouth in the 20 years since the [local monopoly] was broken off from the AT&T Corp. [national] monopoly...   BellSouth pays 100% of medical insurance premiums for its employees, but is asking the CWA to accept less...   Smith said the CWA is debating BellSouth on health benefits for retirees, who he said face difficulty paying insurance premiums.   The union, which represents more than 45K of BellSouth's 64K workers, is also demanding greater job protection and wants to prevent positions from being moved off-shore.   In June, BellSouth said it would eliminate 349 jobs, including 37 in Broward County and 3 in Miami-Dade..."

2004-08-05
Paul Knapp _BrainBox_
Demand for IT skills in Australia to out-strip supply by 20% in 2004 and other bed-time stories
"Demand for IT skills is expected to out-strip supply by 20% this year, even with the workforce growing at 10% annually.   'Super choosy' IT professionals are soon expected to be able to interview employers, rather than the other way around.   'By 2004, IT professionals will interview employers so stringently that 40% of employers will substantially miss recruitment goals.', John Roberts, research director for Gartner Group told its Predicts conference.   Meanwhile, local staff churn rates sit between 10% and 20% in the IT industry - around 50K jobs a year.   In order to tackle the 'chronic skills shortage', employers will have to offer substantial training, market-based pay and other benefits...   The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) 'conservatively predicts a shortfall in IT skilled staff of over 87K by 2002'...   For those who haven't yet guessed, these facts and figures are taken from stories in the IT press between 1999 and 2000."

2004-08-05
Paul Bass _New Haven CT Advocate_
Give Him Liberty & Give Us Silver
Doug Kenline's Badnarik logo
"Most Americans had to settle for watching presidential candidates on TV last week.   Not James Nigretti.   He spoke to one up close.   He didn't even have to leave the Italian ice cart he works across from New Haven's Green.   The presidential candidate was Michael Badnarik, a 50-year-old computer programmer...   Badnarik was making sense...   Why do people sell drugs?', he 'asked' Nigretti.   Before Nigretti could answer, Badnarik did.   'Because they make a lot of money!'   And why do they make a lot of money?   Because it's illegal.   That drives up the profit...   He plans to privatize all our currency and put us on the gold standard, for instance.   He plans to return American school-children to number 1 in the world in math and science skills -- by abolishing the U.S. Department of Education.   (They used to be number 1 when the department was founded 50 years ago, Badnarik pointed out; now they're 29.   He sees a causal relationship.)   Unlike the Democrats and Republicans, he plans to help low-skilled workers -- by abolishing the minimum wage...   He'll cut crime down -- by boosting gun ownership.   And the income tax?   It's history...   Back at his Via Veneto ices cart, James Nigretti chewed over his encounter with the possible next president.   'It was pretty cool.   He took some time out to talk to me about things I'm concerned about...'"
 

2004-08-06

2004-08-05 22:00PDT (2004-08-06 01:00EDT) (05:00GMT)
_World Net Daily_
Internet lights fire to ax income extortion: Citizens excited about false hopes of doing away with the dreaded IRS
"When WorldNetDaily asked its readers Tuesday what they thought of Hastert's claim the GOP would push for the abolition of the IRS, over 46% responded, 'It's the perfect ace in the hole, and if Bush could guarantee its reality, then he's a sure winner.'.   The second-highest response, at 16%, indicated the GOP would use it to get Bush re-elected, but its future is anyone's guess.   13% of participants chose, 'We've heard the same bogus promise before, and it just won't happen.'.   At least one other person running for president feels the idea is a trick on voters.   'How do you know it's election time?', Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik mused.   'The Republicans are babbling about eliminating the IRS again.   Give me a break.'   Badnarik has also proposed eliminating the IRS, and is looking to repeal the 16th Amendment [as have Libertarian candidates for 32 years].   'If we don't get rid of the authority for the income tax, it won't go away.   We'll end up with Hastert's national sales tax or value added tax or whatever... and the income tax, too.', he said."

2004-08-06 02:13PDT (05:13EDT) (09:13GMT)
_WSB TV_
Cartersville Plant Closure to Result in Job Cuts
"Glad Manufacturing is closing its plant in Cartersville after 45 years of producing plastic bags, cutting 350 jobs...   The Glad jobs pay about $15 to $17 per hour, compared with the northwest Georgia city's average of $13 to $14 an hour."

2004-08-06 04:00PDT (07:00EDT) (11:00GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_/ZD Net_
Brain drain in tech's future?
"Miano was a programmer who tried for years to get into computer science doctoral programs.   Despite earning a 'B' average in college and publishing 2 technical books, he never was accepted.   So he took the law school admission test and promptly won a full scholarship to Seton Hall.   The result: one less computer scientist, one more lawyer...   Two years ago, 24,550 science and engineering doctorates were earned by students attending U.S. universities.   That was down from slightly more than 25,500 in 2001 and from a peak of 27,300 in 1998, according to data from the National Science Foundation.   More recently, a survey by the Council of Graduate Schools found a 32% decrease in applications from international students to U.S. graduate schools for the Fall.   Analysts offer different explanations for the drop, ranging from declining interest in the sciences among Americans to a temporary shift in the labor market and to financial disincentives to pursue doctorates in science and engineering.   The trend doesn't worry everyone.   Some observers argue that the country already has plenty of Ph.D.s and that a drop in foreign doctorate students isn't cause for alarm.   In fact, some view the influx of foreigners as a source of trouble -- such as low salaries for scientists and fewer grad school openings for Americans...   'Despite recurring concerns about potential shortages of (scientific, technical, engineering and mathematics) personnel in the U.S. work force, particularly in engineering and information technology, we did not find evidence that such shortages have existed at least since 1990, nor that they are on the horizon.', concludes a recent report from the Rand think tank...   Between 1998 and 2002, the number of science and engineering doctoral degrees awarded to U.S. citizens at U.S. institutions fell 11.9% to 14,313, according to the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology, a non-profit research group.   The number of doctoral degrees conferred in most other fields remained roughly the same in 2002, and has hovered around 15,400 annually since 1998, the NSF said...   Eric Weinstein, who has analyzed the issue of high-tech labor for the National Bureau of Economic Research.   He says Americans are shunning technology-related doctoratal programs because of low wages and poor career prospects.   Graduate students in science and engineering can spend 5 to 10 years earning their doctorates, all the time scraping by on $15K to $20K annually, he said.   Many who earn their degree then end up in post-doctorate research fellowships, which may mean a salary of $30K.   According to Weinstein, the NSF's own data and analysis indicate that wages for graduate students and doctoratal students have been kept artificially low through immigration rules that allowed for a deliberate glutting of the scientific labor force.   He estimates that a true market wage for graduate students who teach or do research would be $40K to $60K per year, while many newly minted doctorates should be earning as much as $100K...   the annual output of science and engineering bachelor's degrees rose steadily from 303,800 in the mid-1970s to 398,600 in 2000, according to NSF...   Miano, who founded the Programmers Guild activist group, argues that no more than 5% of students in U.S. computer science doctoral programs ought to be foreigners."

2004-08-06 06:04PDT (09:04EDT) (13:04GMT)
Peter Guinta _St. Augustine Record_
Libertarian presidential candidate Badnarik: "We are for liberty."
"'In New Mexico, I'm polling at 5%, and we haven't even started yet.', Badnarik told about 100 enthusiastic Libertarians here at a reception in his honor.   Two 30-second TV commercials coupled with a week-long bus tour through that state should reach 90% of its population, he said...   Badnarik, of Buda, Texas, is a computer programmer who has been teaching classes on the Constitution for the past 3 years...   Libertarians believe in 'individual rights and personal responsibility', he said.   They oppose restrictions on gun ownership and oppose the federal drug war, would not oppose gay marriage and would repeal the Patriot Act as a violation of civil liberties, among other positions...   Wayne Harley, a Melbourne engineer, said he was a Libertarian since 1967, though the party wasn't officially started until 1971...   Ralph Swanson of Pierson, director of the Libertarian Party of Florida said he joined the party in 1980...   Webster Marlowe of Palatka, who works with Mission Harvest Ministries, said he decided to become a Libertarian...   Badnarik was introduced by Jerry Cameron of St. Augustine, running for the District 20 legislative seat on the Libertarian ticket."

2004-08-06 13:46PDT (16:46EDT) (20:46GMT)
Susan Lerner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stocks slammed by disappointing employment data: Fell to new lows for the year
"The NASDAQ Composite Index plunged below 1,800 for the first time since October to its lowest close since 2003-08-26.   The Nasdaq finished down 44.74 points, or 2.5%, at 1,776.89.   The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, closed at its lowest level since November 28, down 147.70 points, or 1.5%, at 9,815.33, making for a drop of more than 300 points over the last 2 sessions [days].   The S&P 500 skidded 16.73 points, or 1.5%, to 1,063.97, its lowest close since December 10.   For the week, the Dow stumbled 3.2%, the NASDAQ was crushed for a 5.9% loss and the S&P shed 3.5%."

2004-08-06 13:53PDT (16:53EDT) (20:53GMT)
Susan Lerner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Canadian stocks fell on weak employment data
"The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 91.20 points, or 1.1%, at 8,176.68, while the S&P/TSX 60 Index of blue chips fell 1.1%, the Nasdaq Canada Index of U.S.-listed Canadian stocks slumped 3.5% and the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index of small-cap issues slipped 0.2%...   Statistics Canada reported that employment rose just about 9K in July, far below the 30K expected, and down from 24,700 in June, 56,100 in May and 49,600 in April.   Canada's unemployment rate dropped to 7.2% from 7.3% as 10,400 individuals left the job market."

2004-08-06
Stella M. Hopkins _Charlotte Observer_
India off-shorer plows wealth into Indian charities
"Pride is a precious new feeling for Sudhakar Meriga and 2 fellow drop-outs.   The 3 men, all 21, quit school as teenagers because their families needed the paltry sums they made at odd jobs, running errands and such.   They had little hope of improving their lot until nearly 3 years ago when they heard of a free program to help poor teens learn to use computers and other job skills.   Hundreds competed for the 25 openings in each course...   Today, he and his two friends are building a web design and graphic arts business.   They are the main support of their families.   Life holds promise.   They credit their turnarounds to a training program started in 2000 by Satyam Computer Services Ltd., one of India's top software out-sourcers.   The firm's projects include one for Matthews-based Family Dollar Stores Inc."

2004-08-06
Douglas Jehl & David Johnston _NY Times_
Terror Detainee Is Seen as Leader in Plot by Al Qaeda
"Abu Issa al-Hindi led surveillance of financial institutions and prepared reports about them, senior government officials said."

2004-08-06
Alex Berenson _NY Times_
Radical Cleric in Iraq Sets Off Day of Fighting
"Moktada al-Sadr called for a national uprising against U.S. and allied forces, then backed off after a day of fighting."

2004-08-06
Gretchen Morgenson _NY Times_
Suit Accuses Halliburton of Fraud in Accounting
"Former finance employees at the Halliburton Company contend that a high-level and systemic accounting fraud occurred at the company between 1998 and 2001."

2004-08-06
Floyd Norris _NY Times_
Job Picture Doesn't Look Too Bad, Now, but Depression Sustains Fears That Endure
"New numbers from the Labor Department show that the job down-turn of 2001 and 2002 was surprisingly damaging to experienced workers, particularly older ones...   But by early 2004 - after anyone laid off in [2000 or] 2001 or 2002 had had more than a year to find work - many long-tenured workers who lost jobs in the down-turn were still suffering.   During 2001 and 2002, tenured workers were more likely to lose their jobs than in any down-turn since 1981-1982, when the unemployment rate hit 10.8%.   And those who found new jobs took bigger pay cuts - an average of 18.7% - than in the past...   Of those experienced workers who lost their jobs in 2001-2002, 36.1% stayed out of work so long that they exhausted their unemployment benefits...   the numbers are consistent with a surge in [off-shore] out-sourcing of jobs.   Such out-sourcing may be affecting long-established plants and companies, which are more likely to have experienced, older workers who will have trouble finding jobs comparable to the ones they lost.   And people who see friends losing such jobs may be more likely to conclude that the job market is bad, whatever the statistics say."

2004-08-06
Will Lester _AP_/_Yahoo!_
AP-Ipsos consumer confidence index up
"The AP-Ipsos consumer confidence index climbed to 104.8 in August, up from 92.0 in July, led by consumers' perceptions of their own finances and optimism about the future...   The AP-Ipsos confidence index is bench-marked to a 100 reading on 2002 January, the month the index was started by Ipsos."

2004-08-06
James Temple _Contra Costa Times_
Bay Area firms expect to increase workers and move a lot of work out of the region
"30% of businesses expect to increase their Bay Area work force over the next 6 months versus only 2% forecasting a decline, according to the Bay Area Council survey of 527 local CEOs and top executives.   At this time last year, 18% expected lay-offs, while only 10% anticipated adding jobs...   Nearly 1 in 4 Bay Area companies have 'seriously considered' moving their entire operations out of the 9-county Bay Area during the past 2 years, 31% have considered shifting business functions outside the region, and 18% have considered off-shoring jobs now in the Bay Area...   59% of respondents forecast continued improvement in the Bay Area economy over the next 6 months, a 10 percentage point drop from the previous 3 months.   After reaching its high-water mark in the first quarter, the Bay Area Business Confidence Index fell one point to 63...   The region added 13,600 new jobs in June, the fifth consecutive month of job creation."

2004-08-06
_Times of India_
"India seems to have finally acquired some trade chutzpah.   It is all set to offer a free trade agreement on services to the champion of free trade, the USA...   Moreover, Indian professionals like software engineers, accountants and doctors can take up jobs in America without worrying about H1B quotas.   Indeed, if the deal materialises, it could open the door to the vast US market for India's large pool of service professionals, particularly in the IT and health sectors, and boost business process out-sourcing from the US to India."

2004-08-06
Joseph T. Salerno _Ludwig von Mises Institute_
Deflation and Depression: Where's the Link?
 

2004-08-07

2004-08-07 03:47PDT (06:47EDT) (10:47GMT)
Chris O'Brien _San Jose Mercury News_/_Silicon Valley_/_Yahoo!_
31% of Silicon Valley firms have considered leafing
"The figures were part of the latest Bay Area Council survey of more than 500 local CEOs and top executives...   According to the survey, 31% of companies had thought about moving at least part of their businesses elsewhere -- including 14% who considered moving their whole businesses.   Of those contacted, 18% also said they either had or planned to move some operations off-shore...   San Jose...has been trying to address businesses' concerns and step up its recruiting and retention efforts...   The overall Business Confidence Index has hit a plateau the past 3 quarters.   It dipped slightly from last quarter to 63 from 64, but it remains up from a year ago when it stood at 55.   The index is a weighted average of the response to four questions, including the outlook for the local economy for the next 6 months.   On that note, there seems to be growing hints of pessimism that echo other mixed economic indicators.   The number of respondents expecting the Bay Area economy to improve over the next 6 months fell to 59% from 69% in the spring and 72% in the January survey.   The latest council survey reported that 30% of valley companies expected to increase the size of their Bay Area work-force, while only 2% expected a decrease.   The majority -- 59% -- expected no hiring."

2004-08-07 16:39PDT (19:39EDT) (23:39GMT)
_CNN_
Lynndie England's lawyers want VP Dick Cheney to testify
"The fifth day of military hearings for private first class Lynndie England on charges connected to the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad included a defense request for Vice President Dick Cheney to appear as a witness.   Cheney was among a long wish-list of potential witnesses, which included many of the generals involved with the prison.   Defense lawyers did not explain in open court Saturday why they want Cheney's testimony."

2004-08-07
Kate Zernike _NY Times_
At Abuse Hearing, No Testimony That G.I.'s Acted on Orders
"There have been no witnesses and no evidence in the military court hearing for private first class Lynndie England to back up the defense that the soldiers were simply following orders."

2004-08-07
David Brooks _NY Times_
Selling the Sizzle
"Could at least one presidential candidate propose policies in proportion to the problems that confront us?"

2004-08-07
Craig Gustafson _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Challenge to Escondido down-town business fee may break up association
"The leader of a petition drive to eliminate a mandatory fee charged to down-town businesses threatened to create a new voluntary organization if the association isn't willing to change its ways...   In a letter sent to the Down-Town Business Association, the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce and newspapers, McCullock called on it to make membership voluntary and solicit dues rather than rely on mandatory fees collected by the city.   McCullock also accused the association of skipping an election this year to choose new board members and demanded that one be held...   The dispute began in February when a group of merchants began a petition drive calling for the elimination of fees charged in the business-improvement district the association oversees...   All businesses within the district ñ about 68 square blocks in central Escondido ñ are required to pay an annual fee to the city.   The association, under its contract with the city, uses the money to promote down-town.   To date, nearly 270 association members have signed the petition."

2004-08-07
Guy Boulton & Barid Helgeson, Michael Sasso & David Simanoff _Tampa Tribune_
Local Hiring Hums Along
"The unemployment rate in Hillsborough County was 4% in June, the most recent month for which figures are available, according to the Agency for Work-force Innovation.   That's down from 4.4% in 2003 June.   The rate was 4.1% for the metro area and 5.1% for the state in June.   The unemployment rate nationally was 5.6% in June and 5.5% in July.   Florida leads the nation in job growth...   Kforce Inc., for instance, has seen an increase in temporary and permanent hiring, said Frank Ferreri, market vice president for Tampa.   The [body shop] has about 550 employees in the Tampa area, up from about 425 a year ago."

2004-08-07
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Economics of leftist values part 3: production and savings vs. consumption
 

2004-08-08

2004-08-07 19:46PDT (22:46EDT) (2004-08-08 02:46GMT)
Gary Olson _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
CWS and BellSouth tentatively reach 5-year contract
"The old contract was to expire at midnight, with a strike dead-line threatening to hinder service to BellSouth's 24M phone connections...   The union said Friday night that a wage proposal was sweetened to a 1% raise effective with a new contract date beginning Sunday, and 2% increases each year through 2008.   Employees would get a 3% bonus if a contract was ratified, according to CWA...   The main issues in talks that began June 14, Battcher said, were health care and job security...   BellSouth spent $1G in 2003 on health-care...   Battcher said the union was seeking 'job for life' contract language, as well as restrictions on the use of outside consultants or contractors..."

2004-08-07
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
post-graduate degrees

2004-08-08 03:10PDT (06:10EDT) (10:10GMT)
Rachel Konrad _AP_/_Forbes_
Silicon Valley's Slump Is Eroding Optimism
Canadian Business
Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Australian IT
Chicago Sun-Times
"Silicon Valley's optimistic entrepreneurs and venture capitalists insist an economic rebound is around the corner, despite all the shuttered office parks and business plans that anticipate hiring more employees in India, Russia or [Red China] than in California...   Traffic jams are returning.   Office vacancy rates have stabilized at about 17%.   The moneyed crowd has to wait for seats again at posh Palo Alto restaurants...   Workers in the Bay Area are the most pessimistic in the nation, with 27% worried about losing their job, according to a July survey by staffing firm Hudson Highland Group.   Only 18% of workers nationwide share that fear.   Santa Clara County - which comprises San Jose [the nation's 11th-largest city] and the corporate hubs of Cupertino and Palo Alto - has lost 231K jobs since the peak of the dot-com bubble in 2000 December [actually 2000 March], according to a recent report from San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales.   By contrast, the entire state of Ohio has lost about 200K jobs in the same period...   Seattle, Boston, Denver and Austin, Texas - all of which attracted technology companies during the boom - also are facing longer and sharper busts than cities with more diversified economies, said Creighton University professor Ernie Goss...   San Jose's unemployment rate in June dropped to 6.2% from a peak of 9.1% last year, but that may reflect job seekers leaving the area or giving up, since the number of jobs in the county hasn't grown since 2000...   Cynthia Kroll, senior regional economist at the University of California, Berkeley, said 1 in 6 jobs in Silicon Valley - 1 in 9 nationwide - could be vulnerable to off-shoring."

2004-08-08
William C. Taylor
Companies Find They Can't Buy Love With Cheap Trinkets
"Companies are offering the best bargains [sic] in history, yet the harder companies work to make products cheaper..., the less they seem to impress their customers...   The American Customer Satisfaction Index... is hardly a cause for celebration...   A decade ago, on a scale of 0 to 100, the overall index was 74.8.   The most recent score was 74.4.   Back then, the airline industry was at 72; the most recent score was 66.   Telecommunications was at 81; the most recent score was 71.   Personal computers were at 78; the most recent score was 72...   the most recent score for Hewlett-Packard, Silicon Valley's fabled innovator, was 70, down from 78 in 1994...   Amazon [got] an eye-popping satisfaction-index score of 88.   By comparison, WM, which trumpets its low prices, registers a score of 75."

2004-08-08
Andrew Ross Sorkin _NY Times_
Flipping the Public Off
"Some companies, fed up with the scrutiny of share-holders, earnings targets and second-guessing research analysts, are contemplating going private."

2004-08-08
_NY Times_
Pension Tension
"Congress should tackle the problem of bankrupt companies dumping their pension obligations on the federal government before it becomes a crisis."

2004-08-08
Adam Cohen _NY Times_
Rolling Down the Highway, Looking Out for Flawed Elections
Politics links
"Activist Bev Harris travels all over the country to investigate flaws in electronic voting and give on-the-fly computer security tutorials."

2004-08-08
_UPI_/_Washington Times_
Oil fire expert Red Adair died Saturday at age 89
http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20040808-034545-9894r.htm

2004-08-08
_Jerusalem Post_
Demand for high-tech workers grows by 30% in Israel
"The demand for hi-tech workers in Israel has grown by 30% in the last month ñ a 120% rise compared to the same period last year.   A report by Manpower's MIT subsidiary, quoted on IBA news, bases itself on advertisements for job applicants in Israel's written press."

2004-08-08
Geoff Mulvihill _South Carolina State_/_AP_
NJ at risk of losing jobs again
"A report released last week by the non-partisan New Jersey Policy Perspective found that about 12% of New Jersey's jobs are in fields where off-shoring - the practice of moving jobs over-seas by contracting out work or opening facilities abroad - is a real risk.   The average yearly salary for those 492K at-risk workers is about $40K.   'The people who have these jobs thought their education, their knowledge, their skills would keep them safe.', said NJPP president Jon Shure, who commissioned the University of California at Berkeley's Institute of Business and Economic Research to conduct the study...   In 1943, about 55% of the state's workers were in manufacturing.   That portion eroded quickly from 1969 until 1988 when, for the first time, New Jersey was less industrial than the nation as a whole...   By 1988, both the U.S.A. and New Jersey had about 18% of their workers making goods.   Now, 10% of the nation's workers are in manufacturing while only 8% of New Jersey's are...   Before 1980s, Hughes said, the Garden State was not a player in the office world.   Now, it's the fifth-largest market in the nation.   And it's the state's 28K computer programmers and 30K accountants and auditors who seem to be at risk, according to the study."

2004-08-08
Michael L. Diamond _Asbury Park Press_
Jobs at risk
"After 25 years in information technology, LH is in a precarious position.   She was laid off from her computer support job in March, and at times she's thought about changing her career altogether.   Stable, full-time technology jobs are hard to find, [she] said.   Companies are doing more work over-seas, and the U.S. economy isn't creating new jobs fast enough to compensate...   Companies are off-shoring white-collar jobs at a faster and faster pace, leaving industry groups defending the practice as the natural course of a worldwide economy.   At the same time, displaced workers are wondering if they have taken a wrong career path...   A study released last week by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal think tank in Trenton, found 492,401 jobs in the state, or 12.2% of the state's total, risk being sent over-seas.   Those jobs pay on average $47,389.   By comparison, 11% of the nation's jobs, which pay an average of $39,631, are at risk.   New Jersey has a heavier concentration of service and information jobs and a higher cost of living than the rest of the country, the group said...   Cognizant Technology Solutions in Teaneck, Intelligroup Inc. in Edison and EPAM in Lawrence Township, offer off-shoring services to clients, and they've grown fast.   Cognizant, for example, operates 10 development centers in India, one in Ireland and planned to open another this summer in [Red China]..."

2004-08-08
Steven Meloan _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Little Up-Side to Career in Software Today
"I was a programmer for nearly 20 years, during the 1980s and 1990s ('Tech Bust Zaps Interest in Computer Careers', July 20).   Virtually no one I know from that era is still working as a software developer.   They've either been driven out by the ever- increasing intensity of the work, by foreign out-sourcing or by age discrimination..."
 

2004-08-09

2004-08-09 05:45PDT (08:45EDT) (12:45GMT)
_AP_/_San Diego Union-Tribune_
79 illegal aliens found in trailer in Fort Worth
"A trucker was jailed after 79 illegal immigrants were found in the trailer of his Dallas-bound 18-wheeler during a traffic stop.   Alvin Auxter, 52, was stopped Sunday morning on Interstate 20 at Interstate 820 in southwest Fort Worth.   He was held on suspicion of human smuggling and was to appear Monday in federal court, said Fort Worth police and U.S. Border Patrol officials.   The truck was taking the immigrants from El Paso to Dallas when a state law officer saw the vehicle didn't display required state identification numbers, said Trooper John Forrest of the Texas Department of Public Safety."

2004-08-09 12:03PDT (15:03EDT) (19:03GMT)
Mike Martin _NewsFactor_/_Yahoo!_
New Math-Based Algorithm Foils Digital Forgery
NewsFactor
The Dartmouth
"Dartmouth University professor Hany Farid, who, with graduate student Alin Popescu, has developed a mathematical technique that can discern a 'real' digital image from one that has been tampered with...   The Dartmouth algorithm seeks evidence inevitably left behind after image tinkering.   Statistical clues lurk in all digital images, and the algorithm seeks those that have been tampered with and therefore contain altered statistics..."

2004-08-09
Edmund L. Andrews _NY Times_
It's Not Just the Jobs Lost, but the Pay in the New Ones
"the weakness in job creation and the apparent weakness in high-paying jobs may be opposite sides of a coin.   Companies still seem cautious, relying on temporary workers and anxious about rising health care costs associated with full-time workers...   manufacturers have added only 91K jobs this year, having eliminated more than 2M jobs in the previous 3 years...   Industries ranked in the bottom fifth for wages and salaries have added 477K jobs since January, while industries in the top fifth for wages had no increase at all, according to an analysis of Labor Department pay-roll data by Economy.com, an economic research firm...   a recent survey of displaced workers by the Labor Department found that 57% of those who had found work were earning less than they did in their old jobs.   As of December, when the survey was taken, 4 of 10 displaced factory workers had yet to start a new job."

2004-08-09
Eleanor Yang _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Under-graduates working over-time
"Bravo is one of a growing number of under-graduate students engaged in independent research projects, which are typically reserved for graduate students.   [Though they've existed for decades across the country] in the past several years, both the number of under-graduates conducting research and the quality of their research has grown significantly...   At San Diego State University, officials estimate 10% to 15% of upper-classmen, roughly 1,500 students, are now working on or contributing to research projects...   The goal is 3-fold: to advance the professors' research [with essentially free labor], enrich the students' learning experience and make an original or creative contribution to the field of study."

2004-08-09
_Bloomberg_/_AP_/_San Diego Union-Tribune_
CWA and BellSouth Reach a Deal: 10.5% raise over 5 years (2.1% per annum)
"pension improvement and 'a health-care solution that enables BellSouth to continue to provide high-quality, affordable health-care', the union said."

2004-08-09
Ed Frauenheim & John McCarthy _CNET_
Clearing up the confusion over off-shore out-sourcing: An interview
 

2004-08-10

2004-08-10 07:42PDT (10:42EDT) (14:42GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Crude fugures top $45 for the first time ever
"September crude traded as high as $45.04 before easing to $44.90, up 6 cents."

2004-08-10
Martin Crutsinger _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Productivity Posts Least Increase Since 2002
CBS.MarketWatch.com
BLS report
detailed reports, historical data
"the increase in productivity, the output of workers for each hour worked, in the April-June quarter, followed a 3.7% rate of increase in the first quarter.   The 2.9% increase was the smallest gain since productivity rose at an annual rate of 1.6% increase in the fourth quarter of 2002...   Unit labor costs...were up at an annual rate of 1.9% in the 2nd quarter, the biggest rise in 2 years, following a 0.3% advance in the 1st quarter."

2004-08-10
Robert Pear _NY Times_
US Is Linking Immigrant Patients' Status to Hospital Aid
"The federal government is offering $1G to hospitals that provide emergency care to undocumented immigrants.     But to get the money, hospitals would have to ask patients about their immigration status...   The largest allocations are going to California, $72M a year; Texas, $48M; Arizona, $42M; New York, $12M; Illinois, $10M; and Florida, $9M...   Under a 1986 federal law, a hospital has to provide a medical examination and treatment to stabilize the condition of any patient who requests care in its emergency room, regardless of the person's ability to pay...   Under the new guide-lines, photo-copies of pass-ports, visas, border crossing cards or other documents that establish the patient's status should, if available, be included in the patient's file...   Hospitals [have been collecting] a variety of demographic and clinical information on patients, including details of any insurance they might have."

2004-08-10
Jennifer 8. Lee _NY Times_
Crucial Unpaid Internships Increasingly Separate the Haves From the Have-Nots
"As internships rise in importance for success, questions are emerging about whether they create a class system that discriminates against students from less affluent families...   About 80% of graduating college seniors now have done a paid or unpaid internship, according to surveys by Vault, compared with about 60% a decade ago...   internships will be another means, like the rising costs of college tuition, of squeezing voices from the working class and even the middle class out of high-level policy debates."

2004-08-10
Lee Price _TomPaine_
Needed: Jobs And Wages
http://www.tompaine.com/print/needed_jobs_and_wages.php
"Just to keep even with population growth, we need to add 140K to 150K jobs every month.   To absorb new workers and to put the unemployed back in jobs, we ought to create at least 250K to 300K jobs each month...   inflation-adjusted hourly pay, which had been rising, has fallen about 1% in the past year."

2004-08-10
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Fed lifts rate target to 1.5%: Crushing weak job market
on the FOMC rationalizations
FOMC rationalizations
"The Federal Reserve on Tuesday boosted its overnight interest rate target to 1.50% from 1.25%, saying economy appeared poised to resume a stronger pace of expansion after being hurt by higher energy prices.   The statement from the Federal Open Market Committee repeated earlier language that rate increases can proceed at a 'measured' pace [while raising it far too rapidly].   The Fed also raised the discount rate to 2.5% on the recommendation of all 12 Fed banks."

2004-08-10
Meg Sullivan _UCLA_
FDR's policies prolonged Great Depression by 7 years
Paul Detrick: Business & Media Institute
"After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for 7 long years...   In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law 1933 June 16.   'President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services.', said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics.   'So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25% above where they ought to have been, given market forces.   The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.'   Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression.   By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt's policies not gone into effect.   They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.   In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt's policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25% higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate.   But unemployment was also 25% higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.   Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23% above where they should have been, given the state of the economy.   With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27% below where it otherwise might have been...   Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found."
 

2004-08-11

2004-08-10 17:16PDT (20:16EDT) (2004-08-11 00:16GMT)
Jennifer Openshaw _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
The Love Budget
"We're actually a fairly traditional bunch, given that 75% of all romantic dates are paid for by men.   And how much does a first date cost these days?   Try $114 for the average cost of a dinner and a movie for 2, while the average cost of 6 dates -- ranging from a mix of coffee dates to an evening out with a show -- stands at nearly $800...   [Women spend] 6% of their expendable income according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor -- in several other areas related to their romantic lives, including on-line dating, cosmetic surgery and cosmetics."

2004-08-11
Rachel L. Swarns _NY Times_
U.S. to Give Border Patrol Agents the Power to Deport Illegal Aliens
"The move represents a broad expansion of the authority of thousands of border law enforcement agents."

2004-08-11
Lucy Ward _Guardian_
Over a third of class of 2003 not in full-time employment
"Despite evidence of graduates' mounting debts on leaving university, more than 7% of those graduating last year -- 12,900 out of a total of 182,300 -- are not in work or study and are assumed to be unemployed, the statistics say.   Though almost 63% have left their student days behind and found full-time jobs, 8% are combining further study and part-time work -- an apparently growing trend -- while the remaining 16% are continuing their studies...   Graduates might not rush into jobs but were ultimately more likely to be in work than non-graduate counterparts, a spokesman said...   HESA figures for previous years show 66% of 2002 graduates were in full-time work six months later, and 67% of the 2001 cohort...   The survey reveals that unemployment rates among 2003 graduates are lowest -- just 0.2% -- among those studying medicine and dentistry, and highest -- 12.4% -- among graduates with computer science degrees, followed by those with creative arts and design and engineering and technology qualifications."

2004-08-11
Steven Sisson _Augusta Free Press_
Badnarik or bust
Badnarik for PresidentDoug Kenline's logo for Badnarik
"Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik told The Augusta Free Press in an exclusive interview that the Patriot Act is 'one of the vilest, ugliest crimes ever perpetrated on the American people.   It's right up there with the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and Wilson's equivalent.   It's patently unconstitutional.   As president, I'd refuse to enforce it on that basis, veto any renewal or extension of it, and direct the solicitor general, the attorney general and the nation's U.S. attorneys to oppose it in cases brought to the federal courts under it.'   Honestly ladies and gentlemen, I totally agree with Mr. Badnarik -- does the federal government need to know what library books you check out?   The Washington Times recently reported that representative Ron Paul, R-Texas, said no member of Congress was allowed to read the first Patriot Act that was passed by the House on 2001-10-27."
 

2004-08-12

2004-08-12 09:19PDT (12:19EDT) (16:19GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
retail sales rebounded in July
BLS report
"U.S. retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in July, rebounding from a disappointing decline in June, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday.   Sales were powered by a 2.4% gain in auto sales.   Excluding autos, sales rose a modest 0.2%.   Retail sales are up 6.3% year-over-year, not adjusted for price changes."

2004-08-12
_Taiwan News_/_AP_
US blasts PRC over detention
"The United States is protesting [Red China's] treatment of a Chinese-born American university professor who was detained for 2 weeks on espionage charges, calling it harsh and inappropriate, the U.S. Embassy said yesterday.   Fei-ling Wang's arrest was the latest in a string of such cases against academics with ties to the United States.   He was arrested July 25 in Shanghai and released August 8, when he returned to the United States, where he teaches at the Georgia Institute of Technology, an embassy spokes-woman said.   She said Wang was accused of stealing state secrets but she had no details of the charges, why he was later released, or the status of his case.   Wang, a naturalized American citizen, told U.S. diplomats that he was held in solitary confinement for 4 days and deprived of sleep and water for 'extended periods', the spokes-woman said, speaking on condition of anonymity."

2004-08-12 09:46PDT (12:46EDT) (16:46GMT)
_Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
Group to Propose New Higher-Speed Version of 802.11n Wireless Protocol
"The group, calling itself 'WWiSE', said their version of an 802.11n standard would be compatible with the technology currently in use, known by various code names such as 802.11b and 802.11g.   Their technology could operate at speeds up to 540 megabits per second."

2004-08-12 14:39PDT (17:39EDT) (21:39GMT)
Michael Paige _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
IBM boosts hiring plans by 88%: Plans to hire 18,800 in 2004
"The world's largest technology company, which last month posted a 7% rise in second-quarter revenue to $23.2G, will end the year with about 330K employees -- the highest level since 1991."

2004-08-12
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
unemployment compensation insurance claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 290,226 in the week ending August 7, an increase of 8,312 from the previous week.   There were 348,207 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending July 31, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,771,143, a decrease of 43,161 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.7% and the volume was 3,417,741."
graphs

2004-08-12 06:42PDT (09:42EDT) (13:42GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Seasonally adjusted unemployment insurance claims at 5-week low
"The number of initial claims in the week ending August 7 fell 4K to 333K.   It's the lowest level since the week ended July 3...   Claims in the previous week were revised to a decrease of 9K to 337K compared with the initial estimate of a fall of 11K to 336K...   The average number of workers filing state unemployment claims over the past 4 weeks fell 4,250 to 339,250...   Meanwhile, the number of Americans receiving unemployment checks fell by 5K in the week ending July 31 to 2.9M.   The 4-week moving average of continuing claims fell 14,500 to 2.88M, the lowest since 2001 June."

2004-08-12 12:13PDT (15:13EDT) (19:13GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Petroleum futures mark first-ever close above $45 per barrel
"Crude for September delivery traded as high as $45.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, before closing at $45.50 a barrel, up 70 cents, or 1.6% for the session.   Futures prices have never traded at levels this high and hadn't closed above $45 before.   Elsewhere on Nymex, September unleaded gasoline rose 3.59 cents, or 2.8%, to close at $1.297 a gallon, while September heating oil closed up 2.04 cents at $1.191 a gallon."

2004-08-12
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Retail sales rebound in July: Revisions show June sales weren't as awful as thought
census bureau report
"U.S. retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in July, rebounding from a disappointing decline in June, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday.   Sales were powered by a 2.4% gain in auto sales.   Excluding autos, sales rose a modest 0.2%.   Retail sales are up 6.3% year-over-year, not adjusted for price changes."

2004-08-12
Ralph Blumenthal _NY Times_
New Strains and New Rules for Agents Along Mexican Border
"In addition to tracking illegal immigrants and drug smugglers, using weapons as varied as night-vision cameras and horse-back patrols, border patrol agents are on terrorism watch."

2004-08-12
Samme Chittum _NY Times_
IBM Agrees to Take Steps to Clean Up Polluted Soil
"IBM has agreed to clean up decades-old industrial pollution in Endicott, NY, that has sent chemical vapors into hundreds of basements."

2004-08-12
_TMC net_
Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership Got $3M Grant from H-1B Fund
"MEP and Work-Force Central Florida, helped these workers secure a brighter future by providing the means to retrain them and keep them from losing their jobs.   'We're talking about manufacturers along Florida's High-Tech Corridor'...   The program targeted manufacturers in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Sumter, Flagler, Brevard, Volusia, Manatee, Pinellas, Sarasota and Polk counties...

The Florida MEP is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)...   For more information on the Florida MEP program call 321-939-4000."

2004-08-12
Avery Johnson _Wall Street Journal_/_Lexington KY Herald-Leader_
Lumber costs sap home remodeling
"Lumber prices have risen sharply during the past year, because of factors as diverse as the war in Iraq, trade with [Red China], strength of the dollar, the housing-construction boom and wild-fires in the American West.   The wholesale price of low-grade boards and plywood used in home-improvement projects is up 24% from June of last year, according to the government's producer price index.   In Lexington, a sheet of 1/2-inch plywood sky-rocketed from $12.86 in 2002 August to $21.54 yesterday at Congelton Lumber Company."
 

2004-08-13

2004-08-13 03:46PDT (06:46EDT) (10:46GMT)
Karl Schoenberger _San Jose Mercury News_/_SiliconValley_/_Yahoo!_
Bills to curb off-shoring targeted by lobbyists
Silicon Valley
"A business lobbying group warned Thursday of 'unintended consequences' if a package of anti-off-shoring bills pending in the state Legislature is passed, saying proposed regulations aimed at protecting California jobs and privacy rights could raise the cost of state services to tax-payers and invite retaliation by trading partners.   The group, led by the California Chamber of Commerce, did not introduce new data or raise new arguments in the contentious debate over off-shoring...   The lobbyists took aim at the nine separate bills pending in the California Legislature, including two that are expected to go to the floor of the Senate for debate next week.   AB 1829, sponsored by Assemblywoman Carol Liu, D-Pasadena, would prohibit state-services jobs from going over-seas, and AB 2449, introduced by Assemblyman Manny Diaz, D-San Jose, would require state service contractors to disclose any work done over-seas.   Both bills passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday...   Carl Guardino, president of the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, noted that New Jersey had to spend $900K to bring back 12 call-center jobs from India related to its state food-stamp program because of legislative action."

2004-08-13 06:38PDT (09:38EDT) (13:38GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US PPI was up 0.1% in July
BLS report
"The U.S. producer price index is up 4% in the past 12 months... Core prices - which exclude volatile food and energy prices - also rose 0.1% in July. It was the slowest gain in the core PPI since February."

2004-08-13 06:58PDT (09:58EDT) (13:58GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
UMich consumer sentiment fell to 94 from July's 96.7 (graph)

2004-08-13 09:05PDT (12:05EDT) (16:05GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US trade deficit hit record $55.8G in June as imports rose & exports fell (graph)
BEA report
"The trade gap in May was revised up to $46.9G...   After the first 6 months of 2004, the trade deficit is on track to surpass the record $496.5G set last year.   The deficit for the first 6 months is $287.7G, ahead of last year's pace of $248.8G...   Imports rose 3.3% to a record $148.6G, marking the largest increase since 2002 November.   Exports fell 4.3% to $92.8G, marking the sharpest decline since the month of 2001/09/11.   Exports had risen 2.7% in May."

2004-08-13 09:24PDT (12:24EDT) (16:24GMT)
_Heritage Foundation_
CBO Tax Report Supplies Proof that Reporters Cannot Read
CBO report
"According to the CBO report, the top 20% of income earners would have paid 64.0% of federal taxes in 2004 without the Bush tax cuts.   As it is, with the Bush cuts, they will pay 'only' 63.5%.   And what happens in 2005?   The top earners would have paid 64.0% of federal taxes but now, because of this egregious 'transfer,' will pay only 64.3%...   Now let's look at the middle 20% of earners.   In 2004, they would have paid 10.4% of federal taxes without the Bush cuts.   With the cuts, they will pay 10.5% of federal taxes.   Note, however, that because of the cuts, the federal tax burden for the middle 20% of earners dropped from 16.5% to 14.6%.   In other words, these earners are paying a slight bit more of federal taxes, but a lot less in federal taxes.   In other words, their taxes were cut."

2004-08-13 09:39PDT (12:39EDT) (16:39GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Petroleum futures pass $46 per barrel

2004-08-13 13:51PDT (16:51EDT) (20:51GMT)
Susan Lerner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stocks close slightly down
"An attempted rally following encouraging numbers from Dell Computer fizzled amid news of a record trade deficit and a surge in oil above $46, but stocks still closed with small gains Friday...   The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 10.76 points, or 0.1%, at 9,825.35, after climbing as high as 9,854 intraday.   The Nasdaq Composite Index added 4.73 points, or 0.3%, to close at 1,757.22 -- well off its 1,768 intraday peak.   The S&P 500 added 1.57 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 1,064.80.   Over the course of the week, all 3 of the major indexes touched new 2004 lows.   The Nasdaq slid 1.1% on the week but the Dow added 0.1% and the S&P 500 gained less than 1 point."

2004-08-13 14:14PDT (17:14EDT) (21:14GMT)
Steve Kerch _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
High worldwide demand for cement, lumber prices concern home builders
"A nationwide survey in July conducted by the National Association of Home Builders found companies worrying about shortages of cement, gypsum wallboard, oriented strand board, steel framing and insulation materials.   Of immediate concern, builders say, is cement, with 41% of respondents saying they faced a shortage.   That's in contrast with May, when only 11% of those polled viewed cement supply as an issue; in March, only 3% of builders reported that cement was in short supply.   Cement shortages first appeared in Florida and a handful of other states in the spring as imports were crimped by demand in other countries, particularly [Red China].   While about 22% of the cement used in the United States is imported, in some states such as Florida imports run as high as 40%.   The Portland Cement Association, a trade group for the manufacturers of that particular type of cement, said 29 states now have either shortages or tight supplies of cement...   The typical new home contains 19 tons of cement, most of it in the foundation, at a price that runs as high as $50 a ton.   That $950 cost is just a small part of a new home with a median price of $210K...   'Rising wholesale prices of building materials have added $5K to $7K to the cost of building an average new home, and construction delays caused by supply shortages could translate into further cost increases.'...   The price of 1K board feet of framing lumber hit a yearly high of $472 last week, up 52% from $311 a year ago, according to Random Lengths, a trade publication based in Eugene, OR.   For a typical new home, a move from $300 per 1K board feet of lumber to $500 adds just under $5K to the price.   During the past 6 months, 90% of home builders reported paying higher prices for framing lumber and oriented strand board, along with 88% for plywood, 86% for cement, 80% for steel, 75% for gypsum wall-board and 68% for insulation."

2004-08-13
Fox Butterfield _NY Times_
Many Local Officials Now Make Inmates Pay Their Own Way
"To help cover the costs of incarceration, many corrections officers have started to bill inmates for their room and board."

2004-08-13
_AP_/_abc News_
Category 4 Hurricane Charley Slammed FL
"Hurricane Charley struck the Florida mainland at Charlotte Harbor as a dangerous Category 4 storm Friday, pounding west-central Florida with 145 mph winds and a wall of water expected to exceed 10 feet."

2004-08-13
Pam Baker _CIO Today_/_NewsFactor_
The Off-Shoring Factor
"Not everyone agrees that government is powerless to solve the off-shoring dilemma.   'Politicians could take the savings back by taxing and red-taping off-shore out-sourcing to death.', W.C. Bradley CIO Jim Poole says.   'Companies that commit to off-shore out-sourcing now may regret it after the election.'...   '70% of the companies we surveyed are off-shore out-sourcing now.   We expect that to climb to 90% in 2005.', Howard Rubin, executive vice president of Meta Group told NewsFactor's CIO Today Magazine...   'too few U.S. companies look outside New York, Los Angeles, and the like to see what is really available.'"

2004-08-13
John Ribeiro _Computer World_/_IDG News_
Edward Yourdon argues for more worker training as counter to off-shoring
Info World
"It might take another generation to produce a core of Chinese knowledge workers who can speak English 'comfortably and effectively', according to Yourdon.   But the consensus among executives in the Indian IT industry is that it might be less than a decade before [Red China] reaches the same level of knowledge-based exports that India has taken 15 to 20 years to achieve, he said.   [Red China's] emerging knowledge-based out-sourcing industry will not only affect American jobs at the low end, but could also affect product developers...   The U.S. government, however, could employ strategies such as greater investment in education, reform of the public school educational system and investments in 'life-long education', particularly for adults who find their university training is no longer relevant, according to Yourdon.   He also recommended a change in U.S. tax and accounting rules to encourage long-term corporate investment in workers and productivity improvement."

2004-08-13
John Tsapogas _National Science Foundation_
Science & Engineering Jobs Are Not Just for Those with 4-Year Degrees
"More than 4M individuals with at least a high school education were employed in science and engineering (S&E) occupations in the United States as of 2003 April.   Within this group, a substantial proportion, 22%, reported either a high school diploma (5%) or an associate's degree (17%) as their highest level of educational attainment (table 1).   Among the remaining proportion, 48% held a bachelor's degree, about 22% held a master's degree, 7% held a doctorate, and about 2% held a professional degree."

2004-08-13
Batman Begins yahoo
Batman Begins
 

2004-08-14

2004-08-14
Marisa Lowe _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Solana Beach Eagle Scout projects benefit community: kestrel house, bat houses, brick path
"He built 6 bat homes and a kestrel box in the park, near the southeast corner of Via de la Valle and San Andres Drive.   The boxes will serve as an educational tool and as a way to repopulate the area's bat population, Stepien said.   As many as 125 bats can live in one box.   'It's estimated that the bat population has declined as much as 80% in our state in the last 50 years.', Stepien said."

2004-08-14
Elena Gaona _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Meeting on illegal immigration gets heated
"Angry shouts from the crowd often drowned out comments by Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security, as he tried to answer questions yesterday about what is being done to stop illegal immigration...   They came from San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County and Temecula to ask for the return of roving Border Patrol agents who check for illegal immigrants.   Tensions were high outside as Latino and immigrant supporters clashed with those who want illegal immigrants gone...   In June, a 12-member 'mobile patrol group' from the Temecula station, which operated in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, arrested more than 400 undocumented immigrants in less than a month.   Immigrants were arrested at bus stops, stores and on the street.   Most were deported...   Employers are being checked.   Last year 5K businesses were audited, he said, most in Southern California, and the number could double soon...   People from other countries in the Americas who are in the U.S. illegally for fewer than 2 weeks will no longer have access to immigration court before being sent home.   The move has been criticized by many...   Some Border Patrol agents in the audience who asked Hutchinson to let them do their jobs received standing ovations."

2004-08-14
Bill Sing _Los Angeles Times_
California lost jobs in July
"California's employers went into a hiring funk in July, cutting a net 17,300 jobs and raising concerns that the state's economic recovery has lost steam along with the nation's.   The state's first decline since February in seasonally adjusted non-farm pay-rolls followed revised gains of 19,100 in June and 33,200 in May, the state Economic Development Department reported Friday...   The state's July jobs report paralleled the nation's in another way: Both revealed a sharp discrepancy between the pay-roll survey and a smaller but separate survey of households.   In the state's case, the household survey showed a solid increase of 44K positions.   Nationally, the Labor Department's household survey showed a net job surge of 629K in July in contrast with the measly gain in the pay-roll survey...   The categories losing jobs tended to be in services.   The information category notched the largest decline, at 10,300 jobs.   This was accounted for almost entirely by a decline in the volatile motion-picture production business, Callori said."

2004-08-14
Norma Sherry _OpEd News_
Michael Badnarik: Libertarian Candidate for President
http://www.opednews.com/sherry_081404_libertarian.htm
"I've been interviewing all of the candidates from the local Sheriff to the national candidates on my television show, The Norma Sherry Show.   On August 6th, my guest was Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian candidate for president.   A soft-spoken, confident, man...   He said, 'The managed trade that we see today, where politically connected corporations and favored nations get special deals, is anything but free.'   He went on to express that, 'Although free trade is a blessing, managed bureaucratic trade is not.   It is a dangerous misconception to think of the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and other international quasi-governmental structures as free trade organizations.   They rely on thousands of pages of confusing regulations and corrupt agreements between multi-national corporations and oppressive governments.   True free trade - the kind that fosters peace - does not depend on such organizations and rules, but is actually hindered by them.   Managed trade - the kind that fosters resentment and poverty - is all that these organizations have so far delivered.'...   On every topic, and I raised quite a few, Mr. Badnarik never stumbled, never voiced a faux pas our present president is so infamous for, and he never stammered for the lack of an answer, nor did he carefully couch his comments.   He was candid and direct."

2004-08-14
Alex Berenson & John F. Burns _NY Times_
Najaf Fighting Pauses to Allow Talks on Truce
"Gun-fire fell silent across most of the city as Iraqi representatives met with emissaries of the populist Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr."

2004-08-14
Todd Zaun _NY Times_
Despite a Jolt, Japan's Mood Remains Up-Beat
"An unexpectedly sharp slow-down in the Japanese economy caught nearly everyone by surprise, but economists say that the country's recovery is far from over."

2004-08-14
Lisa J. Tabet _El Defensor Chieftain_
Presidential candidate's tour includes Socorro
Badnarik for PresidentDoug Kenline's logo for Mike Badnarik
"Badnarik, whose party boasts more elected officials than all other third parties combined, was in Socorro on Tuesday as part of an extensive swing through New Mexico...   'My platform is based on constitutional and individual rights.', he said.   'There is only one choice for the November election; vote Libertarian.'   Badnarik said the purpose of the Constitution is to protect life and liberty.   'The pursuing of happiness is up to you.', he said."
 

2004-08-15

2004-08-15 08:02PDT (11:02EDT) (15:02GMT)
Deb Riechmann _AP_/_San Diego Union-Tribune_
Bush tours Florida to assess destruction left by hurricane Charley: initial estimate of damages total $5G to $11G
Houston Chronicle
Orlando Sentinel

2004-08-15 10:12PDT (12:12CDT) (13:12EDT) (17:12GMT)
_AP_/_Houston Chronicle_
Bomb killed 15 at Independence Day parade in India
USA Today
San Diego Union-Tribune

2004-08-15 12:16PDT (15:16EDT) (19:16GMT)
Melissa Harris _Orlando Sentinel_
Some in wake of hurricane Charley won't get electricity for over a week

2004-08-15 (18:56CDT) (19:56EDT) (23:56GMT)
Avrum D. Lank _Milwaukee Journal Sentinel_/_Houston Chronicle_
Health savings accounts rapidly gaining popularity

2004-08-15
_AP_/_abc News_
Wild-Fire Raged through Northern California Town Destroying 20 Homes
North San Diego County Times

2004-08-15
_Washington Post_
Don't Count on Tech for Another Bail-Out of the Economy
"The good news is that during the 3 months ending in June, tech spending by businesses increased 15% compared with the same period a year earlier, which is nothing to sneeze at.   The bad news is that these increases are coming off a very low base, with many companies still feeling the hang-over from the binge of tech spending during the 1990s.   Now that reluctance is translating into a build-up in unsold computer chips, an increase in order cancellations and a spate of disappointing quarterly reports."

2004-08-15
_London Free Press_
X-Prize Race Heats Up as Arrow Test Run Succeeds
Toronto Star
Digital Silence

2004-08-15
_Medical News Today_
Cannabinoids make brain tumors shrink, halts growth of blood vessels that feed tumors
Web MD
"The genes associated with blood vessel growth in tumors through the production of a chemical called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) had their activity reduced.   Cannabinoids halt VEGF production by producing Ceramide [which] controls cell death."

2004-08-15
_Orlando Sentinel_
Home-owners hit twice as insurers shift costs
"Hurricane Charley is expected to cost insurers less than initially feared, but Florida's home-owners will end up footing a significant chunk of what is expected to be a $20G storm."

2004-08-15
Steve Gutterman _AP_/_Los Angeles Times_
Siberia Is Russia's Hot Spot for Technology: Clients in US and Europe
"Although B lives in Akademgorodok, a faded former center of Soviet scientific might, his company does almost all its work for clients in the United States and Europe.   He is part of a new generation that has stemmed the brain drain that sapped the nation of many of its best and brightest after the Soviet collapse....   [B] abandoned his post-graduate studies in mathematics to go into lucrative business designing software.   The name Akademgorodok, Russian for Little Academic City, comes from some 30 scientific institutes set along its tree-lined streets.   It was founded about 1,750 miles east of Moscow in the late 1950s as the Soviet Union raced to develop Siberia and surpass Western science.   Now, one of its roles is in out-sourcing for companies in the West."

2004-08-15
_Grand Rapids Press_
32-year slippage in income, questions about manufacturing
"Released through the U-M's Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, it was authored by Donald Grimes, a U-M economist, and Lou Glazer, president of an Ann Arbor think tank. They based their findings on comparisons of Michigan and U.S. job growth since 1969.

"
 

2004-08-16

2004-08-16 05:44PDT (08:44EDT) (12:44GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
NY manufacturing index dropped fom 35.6 to 12.6 from July to August: positive number indicates expansion continues at slower pace

2004-08-16 06:24PDT (09:24EDT) (13:24GMT)
Vanessa Colon _Fresno Bee_
US tech schools & jobs lure Indians: Fresno State has seen the number of Indian students rise steadily for 5 years
"Thousands of students from India arrive each fall to study computer science or engineering at universities across the United States.   Many come with the intention of finding a job here.   For a second consecutive year, the United States got more students from India than from any other nation.   Indian students make up the second-largest population of international students at Fresno State.   Japanese students rank at the top.   The university had about 755 international students enrolled in the spring, with 184 of them from India...   The university had only 24 Indian students in 1998...   Universities see a financial benefit in maintaining the pipeline of international students coming to study in the United States."

2004-08-16
Rachel L. Swarns _NY Times_
Detention of British Travelers Brings New Policy
"In a change to US policy, travelers [from countries] that do not require visas to visit the [USA] will no longer be searched and detained for overstaying their visas."

2004-08-16
Constance L. Hays _NY Times_
WM continues, extends PR blitz rather than mend its ways

2004-08-16
Joseph Hall _Toronto Star_
More Canadians fault health service

2004-08-16
Shari Roan _Los Angeles Times_
Health care cost incentives make a difference
"Learning what a treatment or procedure costs - then deciding whether to pay for it - is a new step for most Americans with health insurance.   Even traditional fee-for-service plans, in which consumers pay 20% of a bill, don't prompt most people to analyze a procedure's cost or their actual need for it, experts say.   But when consumers are held solely responsible for a medical bill, they tend to think twice.   Having patients assume responsibility for such costs is the center-piece of this increasingly popular type of insurance, called consumer-directed health-care."

2004-08-16
_Indianapolis Star_
Foreclosures nearly tripled in Marion county IN between 1999 & 2003
"the leading causes of foreclosures in Indiana are the economy, predatory lending and mortgage fraud."

2004-08-16
Arnold Kling _Library of Economics & Liberty_
European Productivity
"The Economic Policy Institute, a left-wing think tank (well, the newspapers always refer to Cato and Heritage as right-wing think tanks, don't they?), writes, '7 OECD countries have passed the U.S. in productivity: Norway, with 131% of U.S. productivity levels; Belgium, 11%; Netherlands, 106%; Italy, 105%; France and Ireland, 103%; and Germany, 101%.   The ability of these countries to surpass U.S. productivity in 2002 suggests that their comprehensive welfare and collective-bargaining systems have not stymied income growth or improvements in economic efficiency relative to the more free-market-oriented U.S.'   Actually, it suggests no such thing.   As Brad DeLong once pointed out to me in an e-mail, you would expect hourly productivity (which the EPI is using) to be higher in Europe than the U.S., because of all the cost-increasing labor market restrictions there.   Any business anywhere will avoid hiring workers beyond the point where productivity fails to match costs [i.e. when the marginal worker fails to 'materialize the coin']."

2004-08-16
_Seattle Times_
BLS sees low demand for high-tech jobs
"each year between 2002 and 2012, ranks the replacement needs for each job title in IT as 'low' or 'very low'.   The specifics: 45K computer and information-systems managers will be needed each year during the period, according to the hand-book.   That's 19K data-base administrators, 4K computer and information scientists and 45K software engineers."

2004-08-16 17:45PDT (20:45EDT) (2004-08-17 00:45GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
Many engineers do not have a 4-year degree
"More than one-fifth of U.S. science and engineering workers do not have a bachelor's degree, according to a new report from the National Science Foundation.   Of the more than 1M workers without bachelor's degrees, 5% hold high school diplomas and 17% hold associate's degrees, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF) report, which was based on data from the 2003 April Current Population Survey...   In computer & math science [sic in NSF report], holders of high school diplomas and associate's degrees make up approximately 40% of employees.   In engineering, 20% of workers have less than a bachelor's degree.   The proportions are much smaller (10% or less) for occupations in the life, physical and social sciences."

2004-08-16
Michael Heylin _American Chemical Society_
Employment & Salary Survey
"erosion of job market for chemists [continues], although most of those with jobs post solid raises...3.6% of them were unemployed but seeking employment as of March 1 this year.   This was a record high in the 30-plus-year history of the surveys, if only by 0.1% over the previous high in 2003.   The percentage with full-time jobs reached an all-time low of 90.9%.   Of the remainder, 3.6% were employed part time and 1.9% were on postdocs or fellowships.   The median base salary of all members with full-time jobs who responded to this year's survey questionnaire was $82K.   This was 2.5% higher than the $80K median for all those who responded to last year's survey."
 

2004-08-17

2004-08-17 06:55PDT (09:55EDT) (13:55GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Housing starts were up 8.3% in July: Building permits up 5.7% reversing June down-turn
census bureau report
"Construction of new homes recovered in July, as U.S. home-builders started homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.978M, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.   Housing starts were up 8.3% from June's revised 1.826M pace, which was a one-year low...   Over the past five months, housing starts have averaged 1.949M, up from 1.933M a month ago.   Single-family starts have averaged 1.613M during the same interval, up from 1.587M a month ago.   So far in 2004, 1.147M housing units have been started, up 10.2% from last year's 1.041M.   In all of 2003, 1.848M housing units were started."

2004-08-17 07:04PDT (10:04EDT) (14:04GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Gasoline pushed July's CPI down 0.1%: Core rate up 0.1% (graph)
BLS report
another look at CPI data

2004-08-17 07:09PDT (10:09EDT) (14:09GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US July industrial production up 0.4%
Federal Reserve report
"Industrial output rose 0.4% last month to 116.2 on the Fed's index, a level just below the pre-recession peak of 116.4 recorded in 2000 June.   Capacity utilization rose to 77.1% in July from 76.9% in June, revised downward from last month's initial estimate of 77.2%."

2004-08-17 07:13PDT (10:13EDT) (14:13GMT)
Tim Richardson _The Register_
Siemens faces out-source protest strike
"In 1999, National Savings and Investments (NS&I) -- the Government-backed savings outfit -- and Siemens agreed a 10-year contract for business process out-sourcing with the option to extend the contact until 2014.   As part of the deal, 4K civil servants were transferred to Siemens but only after having won Government assurances that such a move would not lead to a change in terms and conditions for staff...   'The UK Government should set an example to UK industry.   It must reject off-shoring Government work.   It should not sanction the exploitation of workers abroad especially where that is only for the purpose of increasing the return for the private contractor.'"

2004-08-17 10:13PDT (13:13EDT) (17:13GMT)
_AFP_/_Yahoo!_
India's crumbling Silicon Valley losing its lustre: Some IT firms threaten to leave Bangalore
Singapore Straits Times
Inquirer
The Age
"The success of India's hi-tech and out-sourcing industry was built on Bangalore, but the southern city where the boom began has now become a victim of its own success.   The rapid growth is putting major pressure on the city's already congested roads and software firms complain that acute power cuts are taking a toll on business.   According to the Software Technology Parks of India, which facilitates hi-tech exports, 284 technology firms have set up base in the 'Silicon Valley' of India over the last two years taking the total to 1,322.   Since 1985 when Texas Instruments became the first multinational firm to set up a hi-tech development centre in Bangalore, the trappings of luxury such as restaurants, pubs and up-scale boutiques have sprouted up in the city.   But the wealth has come at a price.   In a city of 6M people, the narrow roads and bylanes are packed by 2M registered vehicles.   Last year 886 people died in traffic accidents.   Transport department officials said between 600 and 700 vehicles were registered daily.   To add to the woes, Karnataka has a power shortage of 1.5 gigawatts -- which officials said could grow to between 3 and 4 gigawatts in the next 5 years if the rapid growth continues."

2004-08-17
Timothy Aeppel _Wall Street Journal_
In Tepid Job Scene Certain Workers Are in Hot Demand: Ultra-Precise Machinists Typify Demand
"He eventually took a new position in Massachusetts, after he had negotiated a raise, an expense-paid move and better health coverage.   Since then, his old boss in New Hampshire has tried to woo him back...   It takes years of on-the-job training to become a skilled... machinist [though tens of thousands managed it within a few weeks during WW2], and few young people are entering the trade."

2004-08-17
Ruth Armstrong _The Scotsman_
Legal battle over India jobs switch
Personnel Today
"Lloyds TSB's plans to switch work to India are being challenged on the grounds they infringe the Data Protection Act by processing 'sensitive personal data' abroad without the consent of customers.   The case against the bank is that India does not have the same stringent standards of data protection as are legally required by the Data Protection Act 1998...   If the challenge, handled by solicitors Bindman's, is successful, thousands of customers would have to give written permission and many banks and building societies may be deterred from trying to off-shore jobs because of the difficulties this would cause."

2004-08-17
Julian Bajkowski _Computer World_
PM at odds with ministers over off-shoring government IT jobs
Computer Weekly
"The Prime Minister's office has refused to support comments made by the Trade Minister Mark Vaile and Communications and IT Minister Helen Coonan backing the practice."

2004-08-17
Chris Rees _AP_/_WIS10_
SC ESC: Employment fell by 32.1K from June to July
NW Alabama Times Daily

2004-08-17
_AP_/_Duluth News Tribune_
Minnesota's unemployment rate holds at 4.4% in July
"The number of jobs in Minnesota fell by 2,800, to 2.67M."

2004-08-17
_KWWL_
Teen-Age Credit Card Debt on the Rise
"7 of 10 college under-graduates have at least one credit card. 20% of those students have run up a debt of at least $10K, and one estimate says more young people are filing for bankruptcy than graduating from college...   Credit card debt added to college loans, books and other financial needs can leave students in quite a hole."
 

2004-08-18

2004-08-18 05:14PDT (08:14EDT) (12:14GMT)
Greg Morcroft _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Bank of India (formerly known as Bank of America) laying off 1500 as the remains of FleetBoston are destroyed
"Bank of [India, formerly known as Bank of America] is planning to lay off hundreds of tellers and other branch staff at FleetBoston banks Wednesday and will ask them to leave the building immediately, the Boston Globe reported, citing bank managers and documents sent to the Globe."

2004-08-18 10:24PDT (13:24EDT) (17:24GMT)
Michael Paige _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Copuware seeks sanctions against IBM, accuses Big Blue of sand-bag tactics in piracy suit
"Compuware on Wednesday said it filed an emergency motion in its software piracy suit against IBM, seeking 'severe' sanctions against Big Blue.   Detroit-based Compuware sought a default judgment in the piracy suit after IBM, the world's leading provider of computer hardware, disclosed source code -- which it previously claimed it did not have -- just 3 months before the trial is set to begin...   [IBM stands accused of] stealing trade secrets, software piracy and anti-trust violations."

2004-08-18 12:52PDT (15:52EDT) (19:52GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Oil futures prices reach new highs as supply projections fall
"Crude futures climbed to new heights above $47 a barrel Wednesday after two key reports showed declines in U.S. crude and gasoline supplies, but news that a battle between Shiite militants and U.S. forces in Iraq may soon end kept the gains capped under 2%.   On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude for September delivery climbed as high as $47.45 a barrel, an intraday record.   The contract closed at $47.27, up 52 cents for the session."

2004-08-18
Saritha Rai _NY Times_
Financial Firms Hasten Their Move to Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
International Herald Tribune

2004-08-18
Robert Preidt _Forbes_
Protein Found Which Regulates Sleep and Anxiety
BBC
"In research with rodents, University of California, Irvine scientists found that neuropeptide S (NPS) increases alertness, suppresses sleep and controls stress response...   The study appears in the August 19 issue of _Neuron_...   When the scientists injected mice with NPS they became more active and showed fewer anxiety responses to stressful situations."

2004-08-18
_Globe & Mail_
Population Exploding
New Zealand Herald
Washington Times

2004-08-18
Shirleen Holt _Seattle Times_
Washington jobs increase by 11,600 in step toward recovery (graphs)
King County Journal
Everett Herald
"Employment growth in May and June had slowed to a combined 5,800 new jobs after rising sharply in March, when the state added a revised 11,500 jobs...   The hospitality industry added 2,800 non-seasonal jobs, followed by professional and business services (2,100 jobs), construction (1,500) and manufacturing (1,200)."

2004-08-18
Mary Beth Marklein _USA Today_
Average ACT scores rise for the first time in 7 years
"The distribution of SAT scores in a reference population is normal with mean 500 and standard deviation 100...   ACT scores are normally distributed with mean 18 and standard deviation 6." --- David S. Moore & George P. McCabe 1996 _Introduction to the Practice of Statistics_ pg 80
"The average score rose a statistically significant one-tenth of a point for 2004 high school graduates, to 20.9 on a scale of 1 through 36.   It was 20.8 for each of the past 2 years.   The average score was 21.0 for 5 consecutive years ending in 2001.   Nearly 1.2M 2004 high school graduates, or about 40% nationwide, took the test...   just 39% of all ACT-tested graduates this year say they took 4 or more years of math in high school; 42% took 3 or more years of science, including physics...   math scores on the SAT, another college entrance exam, last year hit a 35-year high."
 

2004-08-19

2004-08-19 06:43PDT (09:43EDT) (13:43GMT)
Jeffry Bartash _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Nortel to cut 3,500 jobs, fire 7 senior execs
"Nortel Networks will eliminate 3,500 jobs and it's fired an additional 7 senior executives in connection with a damaging bout of improper accounting, the company said Thursday."

2004-08-19 (08:40PDT) (11:40EDT) (15:40GMT) (16:40BST)
Ed Frauenheim _ZD Net_
Careful look at statistics shows tough job market as number employed in tech and unemployment rate are both down
alternate link
"The unemployment rate for computer and mathematical occupations -- a category that includes computer programmers, computer software engineers and computer scientists and systems analysts -- fell from 5.7% in the first half of 2003 to 5% in the first half of this year, according to the US Labor Department.   Unemployment dropped even more dramatically for electrical and electronic engineers -- from 6.7% in the first half of 2003 to 3.1% in the first half of 2004.   But unemployment levels alone don't tell the whole story for workers still recovering from the dot-com bust.   For example, the average number of people employed in computer and math jobs dropped by 72K from the first half of 2003 to the first half of this year, to 3.038M.   A similar trend occurred among electrical and electronic engineers over the same period.   Their average employment fell by 39K, to 339K."

2004-08-19
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
unemployment compensation insurance claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 266,235 in the week ending August 14, a decrease of 25,039 from the previous week.   There were 312,087 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending August 7, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,726,472, a decrease of 37,037 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.7% and the volume was 3,379,961."

2004-08-19
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US seasonally adjusted unemployment compensation insurance claims
"[Seasonally adjusted] First-time claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 3K to 331K in the week ended August 14, the Labor Department reported Thursday...   The Labor Department's less-volatile four-week average also fell, slipping by 2,500 to 337K claims, the lowest in 3 weeks...   Meanwhile, the number of workers who continued to receive state unemployment checks rose by 16K to 2.9M in the week ended August 7, a 3-week high..."

2004-08-19
Eduardo Porter _NY Times_
Rising Cost of Health Insurance Cited as Factor in Slump of Jobs
"Data and surveys indicate that businesses remain reluctant to hire full-time employees because of health insurance costs."

2004-08-19
Katharine Q. Seelye _NY Times_
Democrats' Legal Challenges Impede Nader
Ballot Access News
"Ralph Nader's efforts to get his name on presidential ballots in important swing states are becoming mired in legal challenges and charges of fraud by Democrats [while Libertarian candidate Badnarik does much better]."

2004-08-19
Anna Salleh _ABC Science_
Chinese herb inspires new malaria drug
The Age
"Australian researcher Professor William Charman from the Victorian College of Pharmacy at Melbourne's Monash University and colleagues report their findings in today's issue of the journal _Nature_.   The researchers have developed an antimalarial drug that has chemical similarities to artemisinin (qinghaosu), the active ingredient of a traditional Chinese herbal remedy used to treat fever.   Artemisinin itself, which comes from sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), has also been used as the basis for new antimalarials, especially in Southeast Asia where the plant grows...   Charman said in recent years scientists had worked out that the part of the structure of artemisinin responsible for its action was a peroxide chemical group...   the target price for OZ was less than US$1 a day for a 3-day course...   Charman said the Indian pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy Laboratories had been selected as a partner for its ability to manufacture the drug cheaply."

2004-08-19
_UPI_/_Middle East North Africa Financial Network_
Large US companies expected to increase hiring
"Pricewaterhouse Coopers of New York said Thursday executives at leading U.S. firms plan to increase hiring and investments over the next year...   56% of companies plan net additions to their work-force over the next 12 months, up from 46% in the previous quarter.   Overall, surveyed executives said they expect to add an average of 1.1% new hires in the 12 month period, up from 0.6% estimated in the prior quarter.   About the same percentage of technology companies and non-tech companies expect an increase."

2004-08-19
Rafe Sieffe _Illinois Leader_
Raze the Minimum Wage
"Bereft of any new, salable ideas with which to burden their fellow citizens, these meddlers will seek votes by recycling the discredited ideas that define why they are the socialist branch of our two-party system.   One of these hoary ideas is to tax labor in the form of an involuntary price hike.   If elected, Democrats promise to prove their compassion for the downtrodden by increasing the minimum wage.   They observe that the dollar is so diminished that it takes more than $8 per hour to command the same purchasing power that a $1.60 did when the minimum wage peaked in real terms back in 1968.   Further, they tell us minimum wage workers are unable to rise to better status, and these workers face a lifetime of wage victimization.   The only remedy must be a rise to $8 from the current $5.15...   According to one of the Democrat support groups, the Economic Policy Institute, only 6.8M out of more than 120M Americans working earn the minimum wage.   Of those, more than 2M are youths and not likely to be a family's primary wage earner.   That leaves only 4% of all workers who may support families find themselves earning the minimum wage.   Even these workers are upwardly mobile; few workers stay at minimum wage for an extended time and many receive gratuities...   where once there were ILGW or UAW tags, the labels now say 'Made In China'."
 

2004-08-20

2004-08-20
Ed Frauenheim _Tech Republic_/_CNET_
Better times for techies or not?
"The unemployment rate for computer and mathematical occupations -- a category that includes computer programmers, computer software engineers and computer scientists and systems analysts -- fell from 5.7% in the first half of 2003 to 5% in the first half of this year, according to the Labor Department.   Unemployment dropped even more dramatically for electrical and electronic engineers -- from 6.7% in the first half of 2003 to 3.1% in the first half of 2004.   But unemployment levels alone don't tell the whole story for workers still recovering from the dot-com bust.   For example, the average number of people employed in computer and math jobs dropped by 72K from the first half of 2003 to the first half of this year, to 3.038M.   A similar trend occurred among electrical and electronic engineers over the same period.   Their average employment fell by 39K, to 339K.   IOW, if employment and the jobless rate are both dropping, it may not mean better times in these tech-related fields.   It may just mean that unemployed tech workers are giving up fruitless job searches...   in an update to the research this year, McCarthy increased his estimate of near-term lost jobs by some 240K.   By 2005, an estimated 830K positions will have moved off-shore, according to Forrester...   A recent report from the Rand think tank found no evidence of shortages of scientific, technical, engineering and mathematics personnel in the U.S. work force since at least 1990.   The report also said it did not find evidence that such shortages are on the horizon..."

2004-08-20
John Wildemuth _San Francisco Chronicle_
Individual liberty inspires presidential hopeful: Libertarian nominee Badnarik puts faith in people, not big government
Badnarik for PresidentDoug Kenline's logo for Mike Badnarik
"The U.S. government, whether it has been run by Republicans or Democrats, has always sought more power and influence, usually at the expense of the voters, said the 50-year-old computer programmer from Austin, TX.   The national government has to be smaller, cheaper and much less intrusive.   'Much of what the federal government now does is unconstitutional.', Badnarik told about 70 people at the Commonwealth Club of California.   'Its purpose is to protect your life, liberty and property.   Any time the government does anything more, they're exceeding their authority.'"

2004-08-20
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_
Hundreds of angry users object to HP move off-shore
"HP is using its off-shore facility in Bangalore, India, to deliver about 6% of its call center customer support, primarily desk-top support, and may shift more work over-seas in the future...   Denys Beauchemin, chairman of the HP user group Interex, said his group has received hundreds of comments from HP customers angry with the company's out-sourcing of its customer support [off-shore].   The most common problem has to do with language difficulties that U.S. customers are experiencing with HP's Bangalore-based workers."

2004-08-20 14:36PDT (17:36EDT) (21:36GMT)
Mark Cotton _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Dow, Nasdaq chalk up weekly gains
"U.S. stocks ended higher Friday, closing out the first positive week in 3 for blue chips and the Nasdaq, as investor appetite for attractively valued shares in an over-sold market trumped concern over a rise in crude prices to nearly $50.   The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 69.32 points, or 0.7%, at 10,110.14, gaining 2.9% on the week.   The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 18.12 points, or 1%, to 1,838.01.   The tech-rich index climbed 4.6% in the past week.   The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index rose 7.12 points, or 0.7% to 1,098.35.   The broad market gauge rose 3.2% on the week.   The Russell 2000 index, which tracks small-cap stocks, put in one of the strongest performances, climbing 1.9% to 547.92."

2004-08-20 15:11PDT (18:11EDT) (22:11GMT)
Chris Kraeuter _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Tech stocks gasping: Is worst yet to come?
"After hitting a two-and-half-year high in January of 2,153, the Nasdaq Composite Index traveled a fairly steady down-hill path through June.   Then it drove off a cliff.   Hammered by concerns over inventories, higher interest rates, oil prices and disappointments over second quarter results, the Nasdaq slid 14% from the start of July through August 12 to a low of 1,752.   Since then, the index has climbed back above 1,800, but the steep declines in the tech sector so far this year -- especially during the last 2 months -- have even seasoned pros clutching their stomachs."

2004-08-20
John F. Burns _NY Times_
Iraq Chief Gives Final Warning to Rebel Cleric
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/20/international/middleeast/20iraq.html
"Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said Moktada al-Sadr should move quickly to fulfill his vow to disarm and leave the shrine in Najaf."

2004-08-20
Bob Lewis _Richmond VA Times-Dispatch_
Nader denied spot on Virginia ballot
Ballot Access News
"The State Board of Elections on Friday rejected petitions by Ralph Nader's presidential campaign, denying the 70-year-old consumer activist a spot on the ballot in Virginia.   Nader campaign workers failed to meet written state requirements that the sheafs of signatures be grouped according to congressional district, and then by localities within each of the 11 districts, said Jean Jensen, the board's secretary...   Nader's campaign manager, Theresa Amato, said Nader will challenge the decision.   Amato said petitions bearing slightly more than 14,200 signatures were organized by congressional district when Nader volunteers arrived at the Elections Board office.   About 1K additional petitions arrived just before the noon deadline, and campaign volunteers began trying to group them according to their congressional district, Amato said...   The Constitution Party on Friday successfully submitted ballot petitions for its candidate, Michael A. Peroutka.   The SBE received the petitions for Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik last week, Jensen said.   Whether the signatures on all the qualifying petitions are valid won't be known until September 2..."

2004-08-20
_Computer Business Review_
Lloyds TSB customer challenges off-shoring plans
"A customer of British bank, Lloyds TSB, is to legally challenge its plans to out-source work to India, claiming that personal data could be compromised in doing so...   a recent MORI poll that found 49% of its own customers would consider moving bank rather than have their accounts managed in India."

2004-08-20
NYU Leonard Stern B-school
Labor Markets & Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
 

2005-08-21

2005-08-21
David Cay Johnston _NY Times_
2 Ex-IRS Lawyers' Licenses Suspended for Misconduct
"The law licenses of 2 former Internal Revenue Service lawyers have been suspended after they defrauded the courts so that the IRS could win 1,300 tax shelter cases."

2004-08-21
_Los Angeles Times_
3K Jobs; 500K Seekers
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-ed-docks21aug21,1,7892211.story
"an effort to fill 3K new jobs at the increasingly busy ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach led to a spectacular flood of applications, with half a million under-employed people seeking to fill the slots...   Pay ranges from $20.66 to $28 an hour, well above the average of $8.38 per hour that entry-level workers earn in Los Angeles County.   And those whose names were drawn also fall in line for possible full-time employment and membership in the powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union, with a pension and health-care coverage.   Contrast that promise with the frustrating reality facing many Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.   California employers cut 17,300 jobs in July; nationwide, just 32K jobs were created, well below the 250K most economists had predicted.   And many of the jobs being created look a lot worse than the jobs that have been eliminated.   Temporary workers remain in hot demand..."

2004-08-21
_AP_/_Los Angeles Times_
Record Labels Are Winning Most Piracy Cases
"3,935 people across the country who have been sued since the first such cases were filed in September... At least 807 Internet users have already settled their cases by paying about $3K each in fines and promising to delete their illegal song collections, said the Recording Industry Assn. of America, the trade group for the largest labels."
 

2004-08-22

2004-08-22 13:07PDT (15:07CDT) (16:07EDT) (20:07GMT)
_AP_/_WCCO_
Nursing Shortage Is a Myth
"In Minnesota, nursing vacancies have dropped from 3K in 2001 to 1,900 in the second quarter this year.   Just 3.7% of nursing jobs statewide are vacant, and in the Twin Cities area the average is just 2%.   KK spent 4 years and $100K pursuing her nursing degree, expecting a job in what forecasters had long predicted would be a field with plenty of demand.   But after graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College in May, the 22-year-old St. Paul resident still hasn't found a permanent job.   She started applying to the major metro hospitals in January, thinking the offers and interviews would come rolling in.   They didn't...   Wages for unionized registered nurses in the metro area range from $23.45 an hour to $36.45 per hour at top scale, with extra pay for additional duties, education and night shifts.   New nurses face better odds in California, Florida, Arizona or New Mexico, where vacancy rates are hovering around 26%."

2004-08-22
Diane Lindquist _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Calls to State Agencies Go Around the World: Governments Move Toward Out-Sourcing

2004-08-22
Robert P. Murphy & David J. Heinrich _Ludwig von Mises Institute_
< href="http://blog.mises.org/archives/002385.asp"> Extensions and Applications in Austrian Macroeconomies (lecture 25 of 32)
 

2004-08-23

2004-08-23 (04:10PDT) (07:10EDT) (11:10GMT) (12:10BST)
_Gartner_/_ZD Net_
Proposed sale of BBC tech division to Siemens intensifies back-lash against out-sourcing
"The threat of industrial action hangs over the sale of the BBC's technology division to Siemens Business Services...   Poor handling of people and organisations with an interest in any agreement will create problems for service providers and service recipients, and quality of service and industrial relations will suffer.   On 2004-07-07 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced that Siemens Business Services (SBS) had been selected as the preferred bidder for a new technology framework contract for the BBC...   BBC Technology was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC in 2001.   It has 1,400 staff and achieved £230M revenue and £19M profit in 2003."

2004-08-23 (07:05PDT) (10:05EDT) (14:05GMT) (15:05BST)
Michael Kanellos _Ziff Davis_
Under-skin RFID tags generate concerns
"such technologies would make it easier for government agencies to track a person's every movement and allow widespread invasion of privacy.   Abuse could take countless other forms, including corporations surreptitiously identifying shoppers for relentless sales pitches.   Critics also speculate about a day when people's possessions will be tagged -- allowing nosy subway riders with the right technology to examine the contents of nearby purses and back-packs.   'Invasion of privacy is going to be impossible to avoid.', said Katherine Albrecht, the founder and director of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, or CASPIAN, a watch-dog group created to monitor the use of data collected in the so-called loyalty programs used increasingly by supermarkets.   Albrecht worries about a day when 'every physical item is registered to its owner'."
Privacy links

2004-08-23 13:12PDT (16:12EDT) (20:12GMT)
Jackie Cohen _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
USA regaining some lost tech jobs: New opportunities in Silicon Valley/SF area
"Job postings for San Francisco Bay Area information technologists have risen 87% over the past 6 months on employment portal Monster.com...   sales, accounting and engineering fields, among others...   Monster.com's data seems to defy national statistics on unemployment.   The U.S. Labor Department continues to report that Silicon Valley has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, last tallied at 6.2%; the most recent figure for San Francisco was 4.7%...   According to the 2004 IT compensation study by InfoWorld, the average salary reported this year was $83,651, compared with $84,312 in 2003 and $87,385 in 2002... based on a [non-scientific] survey of 1,092 visitors to the publication's web site."

2004-08-23
David Streitfeld _Los Angeles Times_
Disparate Jobs Data Add Up to a Mystery
"According to the government's regular survey of the nation's households, 629K people started work in July.   But when the government asked companies how many jobs they had added to their pay-rolls, the answer was only 32K [seasonally adjusted]...   The split was also pronounced in California, where the state's pay-roll survey showed employers cutting 17,300 jobs in July.   But the household survey found a gain of 44K jobs....   free-lancers, private contractors, people working at home...   Consider... a 54-year-old free-lance writer in Boca Raton, FL.   'My take-home pay for the entire summer will be about $1,700.   I see my income and work-load dwindling every year.', she said.   To make ends meet [she] lives with her mother...   If self-employed is a euphemism for poor, all workers will suffer...   The percentage of self-employed has been going up...   Robert Fairlie, a professor at UC Santa Cruz, crunches the self-employment numbers slightly differently.   He looks only at people who go to the trouble of incorporating themselves -- a sign that they're very serious about their work.   This number, Fairlie said, has remained roughly constant over the last 25 years.   'This feeling that everyone is now an entrepreneur -- it just isn't the case.', he said."

2004-08-23
G. Tyler Sims _Salem OR Statesman Journal_
Vote for independents
"It's time to vote for our independents (Peroutka, Badnarik, Cobb and Nader) and make our leaders listen. Neither Bush nor Kerry is fit to be the next president."
Open Presidential Debates
Ballot Access News
Politics1 Guide to American Political Parties
Keele Guide to US Political Parties
ForumFed USA Political Parties
Noodle Links
US Politics Today
Politics Everyone Can Enjoy
Political Cross-Fire
Modern Vertebrate
Badnarik for President
Politics links

2004-08-23
Ann E. Marimow _San Jose Mercury News_
Legislative session winds up quietly

2004-08-23
Diana Walker _InfoConomy_
Forrester: 1.2M European jobs are expected to go off-shore by 2015(table)
"56K UK jobs will move to off-shore locations this year alone.   By 2015, the number of jobs being exported over-seas annually will increase to 760K, according to Parker, suggesting that 3% of all UK jobs will be out-sourced off-shore every year.   Following the UK will be Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy...   Across the whole of Europe, Forrester expects that almost 150K IT-related jobs will move off-shore by 2015.   A further group - representing at least 100K IT-oriented clerical jobs such as data entry - will push the IT job loss total to 250K.   But it is not only lower-level IT workers whose careers are at risk; the jobs of IT managers are also threatened.   According to the report, more than 74K executives in the general management category will lose their jobs to off-shore activity by 2015...   Russia, for example, has 40% more scientists per head than the UK, France or Germany."

2004-08-23
_Christian Science Monitor_
Emerging from credit card debt
Federal Reserve report on consumer credit
"A 2-part series in the Monitor's Work & Money section points out a troubling epidemic facing more and more Americans: mounting credit card debt...   Not only have credit card companies become more aggressive in encouraging consumers to buy now and pay later, but carrying a large debt has become socially acceptable...   the average consumer is exposed to more than 3K marketing messages daily..."

2004-08-23
Joel Achenbach _Washington Post_
The Economy vs GDP
"'[A car wreck is] a productivity killer and a GDP enhancer at the same time.', [Jared] Bernstein says.   Sure, the commuter and the cabby and the cabby's passengers will be bollixed up for a while, coping with the traffic mishap, being unproductive, but the accident causes the instant obsolescence of a lot of stuff that must now be replaced -- a radiator, a hood, a side panel.   This will drive the Gross Domestic Product forward.   Maybe the commuter will go buy an entirely new car.   'Misery makes GDP go up.', [Kevin] Hassett says.   If you want to stimulate the [GDP], 'a hurricane is excellent', Hassett says...   at the core, there's a legitimate debate about the interplay between the government and the private sector.   Ours is a 'mixed economy'...   Hassett sees a city bus and floats the idea of privatizing bus service.   It's outrageous that it's illegal, he says, to run a private bus service to compete with public bus systems...   As jobs are out-sourced to places like India and [Red China], American workers often are thrown into unemployment.   'I think there are very significant transitional costs.', Bernstein says, speaking the tongue of the economist.   'It creates losers and winners.   We've had huge classes of workers who have been hurt.   Right?   Do you agree?'   Hassett concedes the point."

2004-08-23
_San Luis Obispo Tribune_
Libertarian hopeful Badnarik to return to SLO haunts
Badnarik for President
Politics links
"In the 12 years he lived in San Luis Obispo, Michael Badnarik spent much of his free time sky-diving at Paso Robles Municipal Airport...   He worked locally for Pacific, Gas & Electric Co. from 1985 until 1997, when he moved to Austin, Texas, for another computer job.   Badnarik still misses the weekly Farmers Market in San Luis Obispo.   'College students and people living there all mingled together, and clowns blew up balloons.', he recalled fondly in a phone interview Friday with The Tribune.   'You have everybody being so hospitable to each other.   That was probably the most difficult part of leaving -- that sense of community.'...   Gail Lightfoot, chairwoman of the county's Libertarian Party, doesn't expect Badnarik to win but is excited that he is professing the party's message...   'I am a realist.', Lightfoot said.   'We just don't have the money to go up against the advertising campaign of other parties.'...   'I formally and publicly challenge them to a debate because my freedom of speech is at stake.', Badnarik said."

2004-08-23
Frosty Wooldridge _Michigan News_
Illegal Immigration's Ugly Side of a Biased Media
 

2004-08-24

2004-08-23 17:17PDT (20:17EDT) (2004-08-24 00:17GMT)
Thomas Kostigen _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Pluralistic plutocracy?
"greater parity among racial-ethnic, gender and age groups.   Poverty rates for these different sub-groups of the U.S. population have decreased, according to a recent study by Manchester College in North Manchester, IN...   the difference in poverty rates between Caucasians and other racial-ethnic classes has decreased almost 20% since 1995.   Also, the study says, fewer children live in poverty -- a decrease of 14% -- while women closed the gap versus men, albeit marginally by 3%, during that time."

2004-08-24 05:49:23PDT (08:49:23EDT) (12:49:23GMT)
Bill Liss _WXIA_
Credit Card Debt Down
Reuters
Federal Reserve report on consumer credit
local gasoline prices
"Americans paid their credit card bills on time at a record high level in June, sending credit card delinquencies to their lowest level in four years, Moody's Investors Service said on Monday.   Moody's credit card delinquency index, which measures credit card bills 30 days or more past due, fell to 4.37% in June from 5.12% a year earlier.   June marked the 11th consecutive month of declines in delinquencies and was the lowest since 2000 June, the rating agency said.   The delinquency rate fell to 4.43% for the second quarter, down from 5.2% a year earlier.   Credit card-holders paid back on average 16.81% of their credit card debt, a record high and well above the year-ago 15.2%, Moody's said.   For the second quarter, credit card payment rates rose to 16.46%, up from 15.02% a year earlier...   Moody's charge-off index, a gauge of bad debt that credit card companies write off, slipped to 6.41% in June, from 6.87% a year earlier.   The charge-off rate was at 6.58% for the second quarter, down from 6.97% for the same quarter in 2003..."

2004-08-24 10:17PDT (13:17EDT) (17:17GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US home sales fall but remain high
additional info (graph)
NAR report (pdf)
"The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that home resales fell 2.9% to a 6.72M seasonally adjusted annual rate in July from June's restated record of 6.92M. July's pace is the third highest ever recorded."

2004-08-24 12:07PDT (15:07EDT) (19:07GMT)
Fran Foo _ZD Net_
More Off-Shoring Horror Stories
Daily Mail: Baloney GP service puts lives on the line
"8 hospitals in London decided to out-source transcription services.   Instructions and letters were dictated into digital voice recorders and the files forwarded to a company called Omnimedical, which would then send the recordings to a team of transcribers in India...   The mistakes in the transcriptions were so serious, it prompted the Association of Medical Secretaries to go public with spokesman Michael Fiennes citing several horrific examples in the _Daily Mail_...   They say the prime motivation behind out-sourcing the work-load is to provide better service to patients but they fail to address the ramifications of such a move.   The root cause behind the dearth of medical secretaries -- a combination of low wages and dim career growth -- has been skirted in favor of off-shoring, the magic short-term solution."

2004-08-24
Rachel L. Swarns _NY Times_
Study Finds Most Border Officers Feel Security Ought to Be Better
"More than 60% of Border Patrol agents surveyed said the Department of Homeland Security could do more to stop potential terrorists from entering the country.   The survey also found low morale to be pervasive."

2004-08-24
Matt Richtel _NY Times_
Few Companies Make Gear for VOIP
Privacy links
Center for Democracy & Technology
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Privacy Rights Clearing House
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
PGP Phone
PGP Corporation
SpyChips

2004-08-24
Mati Wagner _Jerusalem Post_
Israel's unemployment rate steady at 10.7% in 2004 Q2
"In the second quarter of 2004 there were 23,200 more employed than in the first quarter.   However, the civilian work-force grew by 24,100, as more Israelis searched for work, thus canceling out the rise in employment.   In the second quarter there were 91,700 more employed than the same quarter in 2003.   But there were also 106,200 more participants in the work-force, a 4.1% rise, much higher than the 1.8% rate of natural population growth.   Only those working or actively searching work are considered part of the work-force...   Steady cuts in welfare payments and fines charged to those who refuse to accept employment offered by the Israel Employment Service have pushed more working-age Israelis back into the work-force.   In the second quarter the work-force made up 55.4% of those at working age (over 15 years old), compared to 55.1% in the first quarter.   This is still much lower than the OECD average of 65%.   A large percentage of haredi men and Arab women do not join the work-force...   In the second quarter there were 14K fewer public sector workers compared to the first quarter...   According to data released this week workers' productivity has increased 3.2% in the past 12 months.   Part-time job growth out-paced full time, growing 4.6% compared to 0.6% in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter.   Slightly more than a quarter of all workers are employed part time (less than 35 hours a week)."

2004-08-24
_Free-Lance UK_
Off-Shoring Wave Engulfs UK Media Professionals
"The world's leading news agency, Reuters, is to axe 20 journalists in the US and Europe because it wants to employ cheaper remote correspondents from its Bangalore office.   Currently there are only 6 news reporters employed in Southern India, but numbers are to increase to 40, leading to 20 redundancies in America and Europe...   Forrester research shows that over the next ten years 750K UK jobs will be off-shored with 4K of those lost from Britain's media sector."

2004-08-24
Walter J. Williams _Shadow Stats_
Emloyment and Unemployment Reporting

_Computing Research Association [CRA]_
Taulbee survey on enrollment, production of BSs & PhDs, and employment & compensation of BSs & PhDs in computer science & computer engineering.
 

2004-08-25

2004-08-24 17:15PDT (20:15EDT) (2004-08-25 00:16GMT)
Jennifer Openshaw _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Investing in romance
The Love Budget
"According to an FHM Grooming Survey, men spend nearly $1K a year on grooming products -- moisturizers, self-tanning lotions, hair products and the like -- double the amount spent 3 years ago.   The same survey also found that 32% of men spend more on grooming products than their female partners.   Also, a growing number of male baby boomers age 40 to 58 are turning to plastic surgery to keep themselves looking good, accounting for nearly 15% of all procedures, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery...   86M single Americans"

2004-08-25 06:44PDT (09:44EDT) (13:44GMT)
_USA Today_
Bank of India (formerly Bank of America) president Bradford H. Warner takes $20.7M with him

2004-08-25 07:40PDT (10:40EDT) (14:40GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
July durable orders rise 1.7%, led by civilian aircraft: New home sales fell
census bureau durable goods report
census bureau report on new residence sales
"However, excluding the 5.6% gain in transportation goods, orders to U.S. factories for durables rose 0.1% in July after falling 0.6% in June.   It marked the first monthly increase since March.   In addition, June's increase in total orders was revised higher, to a 1.1% rate from 0.9% previously...   Orders are up 12.4% in the year to date.   2004-08-25 09:53PDT (12:53EDT) (16:53GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Crude petroleum, gasoline futures fall to 2-week low
"September unleaded gasoline led the declines in petroleum prices.   It was down 2.68 cents, 2.1%, at $1.2335 a gallon after falling to a low of $1.227, its lowest since August 11.   Crude for October delivery recently traded at $44.65 a barrel, down 56 cents in afternoon dealings.   It fell as low as $44.50, its lowest level since August 12.   September heating oil was at $1.184 a gallon, down 0.94 cent."

2004-08-25 08:46PDT (11:46EDT) (15:46GMT)
Luisa Beltran & Steve Gelsi _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Banks to pay $3.65M over disclosures of possible attempts to bias research reports
"7 investment-banking firms agreed Wednesday to pay $3.65M to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that the banks were paid to provide research coverage of certain public companies."

2004-08-25 15:13PDT (18:13EDT) (22:13GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
IMF worried that Red China's economic boom may bust
"[In Red China] inflation is running at 6% seasonally adjusted rate over the past 4 months...   A so-called soft landing would avoid a recession by slowing economic growth so resources are not strained.   On the other hand, a hard landing would entail a recession or sharp slow-down that would interrupt the nation's development.   A number of IMF directors, and the IMF staff, recommended a tightening of monetary policy to facilitate a smooth slow-down.   In the short run, the IMF raised its forecast for [Red China's] real gross domestic product growth to 9.0% in 2004 from the previous estimate of 8.5%...   Dunaway said that additional capital may be needed to strengthen the [Red Chinese] banking system.   Non-performing loan problems have not been solved, he said."

2004-08-25
Michael Janofsky _NY Times_
E.P.A. Says Mercury Taints Fish Across U.S.A.
"The federal environmental agency's latest annual survey of fish advisories showed that 48 states - all but Wyoming and Alaska - issued warnings about mercury last year."

2004-08-25
_Reuters_/_NY Times_
Polish Cops Bust Computer Piracy Gang
"Polish police have broken up a gang of more than 100 hackers who sold pirated music and films, using academic computer systems around the world."

2004-08-25
Kay Lazar _Boston MA Herald_
Soda ups risk of diabetes & weight gain
Indianapolis IN Star
"Researchers at Harvard's School of Public Health tracked more than 91K women and found those who drank about a soda a day piled on 19 pounds over 8 years.   They also increased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes - the most common form - by 83% compared to women who drank less than one soda a month.   Diet colas were not linked to diabetes, nor were fruit juices that had no added sugars, said the study published in today's JAMA."

2004-08-25
Lindsay Christians _San Luis Obispo CA Tribune_
Presidential candidate Michael Badnarik returns to SLO for rally
Badnarik for President
"Michael Badnarik, presidential candidate and former San Luis Obispo resident, united a room full of his Libertarian supporters at the Madonna Inn on Tuesday night with a rallying cry: 'I want liberty, and I want liberty now!'...   Badnarik, 50, said he was converted to the Libertarian Party by Gail Lightfoot and Richard Venable, who were handing out leaflets at the Thursday night San Luis Obispo Farmers Market."

2004-08-25
Joris Evers _Computer World_/_IDG_
Off-Shore Out-Sourcing Isses Flare at Chip Conference: A really bad deal for workers
"On Monday, the same day the California Senate passed a bill that would ban state agencies from contracting services to companies that use over-seas labor, opponents and proponents of off-shore out-sourcing clashed at a conference at Stanford University...   Despite his criticism of the research, Hira said it is clear that off-shore out-sourcing is accelerating.   'It is a really bad deal for workers.', he said...   'Increased profit margins will create new jobs, but they may not be in the U.S. and they may not pay as well.', [Natasha Humphries] said...   wage depression...   the California bill banning [off-shore] out-sourcing for government agencies is expected to pass the state assembly..."

2004-08-25 17:21PDT (20:21EDT) (2004-08-26 00:21GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Some reasons health-care costs are rising: 15 costly conditions account for bulk of increases
"Many patients are getting much better results for their money than they did in the past...   Fifteen conditions accounted for more than half the overall growth in health-care spending from 1987 to 2000, according to a new report that examined 260 medical conditions and was published in the journal Health Affairs.   U.S. health-care spending rose an inflation-adjusted $200G, or about 3% per year, in that 13-year span.   Population growth and the rising prevalence of chronic and often preventable illnesses are among the biggest drivers of increased health-care spending in the last few decades, the study said.   Medical costs make up 15.2% of the gross domestic product this year, up from 11% in 1987.   Heart disease, mental disorders, lung conditions, cancer and trauma -- the 5 most expensive conditions -- accounted for 31% of the overall rise, the study said.   High blood pressure, cerebrovascular disease like strokes, arthritis, back problems, diabetes, pneumonia, skin disorders, infectious disease, endocrine and kidney diseases rounded out the 15 most costly medical conditions driving spending growth."

2004-08-25
Jon D. Haveman & Howard J. Shatz _Public Policy Institute of California_
Services Off-Shoring
"Moving business functions off-site – out-sourcing – has been a common practice among firms for many years. Off-shoring, the movement of business functions over-seas, started in the electronics industry in the 1960s and has spread since then."
 

2004-08-26

2004-08-26 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
unemployment compensation insurance claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 272,894 in the week ending August 21, an increase of 5,131 from the previous week.   There were 313,058 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending August 14, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,711,253, a decrease of 4,559 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.6% and the volume was 3,343,255."
graphs

2004-08-26 06:30PDT (09:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Seasonally adjusted unemployment insurance claims
"[Seasonally adjusted] First-time claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 10K in the week ending August 21 to 343K, the Labor Department reported Thursday.   It's the highest level in 4 weeks...   4-week average of new claims dipped by 750 to 336,750, the lowest in 4 weeks...   Meanwhile, the number of people collecting state unemployment checks rose by 5K to 2.897M in the week ending August 14..."

2004-08-26 13:47PDT (16:47EDT) (20:47GMT)
Jennifer Inez Ward _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Plato Learning revenue revs up
"Plato Learning said Thursday afternoon that third-quarter revenue rose 71% on the strong performance of its recently acquired Lightspan division.   Bloomington, MN-based Plato said earnings for the quarter were $6.7M, or 29 cents per share, compared with $285K or 2 cents a share a year ago.   Revenue came in at $40.6M, vs. $23.8M in the year-ago quarter, according to the educational software firm."

2004-08-26 16:03PDT (19:03EDT) (23:03GMT)
_Reuters_/_CNN_/_Money_
California bill would curb off-shoring
"California law-makers Thursday sent a bill to governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that would bar state agencies from hiring service job contractors unless they certify their work is done within the United States.   The bill is an effort to limit the off-shoring of state service jobs to countries where workers earn lower wages than U.S. workers, and it under-scores a national dialogue in labor circles about U.S. jobs being sent to foreign countries.   'We can't ignore the off-shoring trend as Californians continue to watch high-paying, stable jobs get shipped over-seas.', the bill's author, Democratic Assembly Member Carol Liu, said in a statement.   'This is about where we want to invest our taxpayer dollars -- over-seas or here at home.'...   Her bill passed the state Assembly Thursday on a 41-31 vote following the state Senate's approval Monday on a 21-14 vote.   The bill now goes to Schwarzenegger."

2004-08-26 16:54PDT (19:54EDT) (23:54GMT)
_NewsDay_/_AP_
Bank of NY sues Citigroup over Enron securities
Los Angeles Times
"Court papers say Citibank knew that the Texas-based conglomerate's growth in the 1990s was 'largely fictional' and that its cash flow was much less than, and its debt much more than, what was publicly reported.   Bank of New York, which represents several investment trusts in the law-suit, says reports from the U.S. Senate, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Manhattan district attorney's office, and other agencies show that Citibank, while knowing the 'false and misleading nature' of Enron's finances, induced investments in the company.   Since 1994, the law-suit says, Citibank loaned Enron money and helped the company hide large amounts of debt."

2004-08-26
Steven Greenhouse _NY Times_
Labor Department Wins $1.9M in Back Pay for Janitors
Los Angeles Times
"A contractor for the Target Corporation had not paid over-time to hundreds of immigrants who often worked 7 nights a week."

2004-08-26
Riva D. Atlas _NY Times_
For Mutual Funds, First the Slap. Now Comes the Pinch.
"A year after the mutual fund industry began to clamp down on abuses, critics say that questionable practices remain untouched."

2004-08-26
Lynnley Browning _NY Times_
KPMG Wrote New Versions of Shelters Ruled Illegal
"Newly disclosed internal e-mail messages may show that KPMG, the accounting firm under scrutiny for promoting abusive tax shelters, didn't heed official warnings."

2004-08-26
Saul Hansell _NY Times_
U.S. Searches Computers, Trying to Disrupt Piracy
"Federal authorities conducted 6 searches Wednesday in an attempt to disrupt a network used to trade copies of movies, software, games, and music."

2004-08-26
_AP_/_The Ledger_
Former Florida CIO Hired by Company To Which She Awarded Contract
Tallahassee FL Democrat
WJXT
"The woman who ran governor John E. Bush's technology office for nearly 3 years has gone to work for a company she once awarded a controversial $126M contract.   Kim Bahrami, who resigned in February, began work July 12 at BearingPoint, a Virginia-based technology company that is under scrutiny by the state in a review of contract concerns at the technology office and the state's social services agency."

2004-08-26
Daniel K. Lai _Daily Texan_
Libertarian Badnarik challenges Bush

2004-08-26
Karl Schoenberger _San Jose Mercury News_/Silicon Valley_
Out-source firm in India Sued: Code theft highlights risks
"In a case that exposes the intellectual-property risks of out-sourcing in India, a small San Carlos software company has sued Mumbai police for refusing to investigate the alleged theft of proprietary source code by an employee at its Indian subsidiary.   Sandeep Jolly, the founder and chief executive of Jolly Technologies, said U.S. technology companies should beware of the risks of doing business in his native land at a time when many are taking advantage of the cost savings of offshoring and entrusting sensitive software development and testing work to Indian contractors.   Protection of intellectual property is still a new concept for law-makers, police and prosecutors, he said."

2004-08-26
Alan Elsner _Reuters_/_Boston Globe_
Illegal immigration costs US government $10G: Cost would triple if legalized
Michigan News
Men's News Daily
"Illegal immigrants to the United States cost the federal government more than $10G a year, but that figure would increase almost threefold if they were granted legal status, according to a study released yesterday.   The study by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington think tank which advocates slowing legal immigration and clamping down on illegal migration, measured the amount of revenue illegal immigrants provide through taxes against the government services they and their families consume...   Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3G in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16G in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of $10.4G.', said Steve Camarota, author of the report.   These costs, derived from Census Bureau figures, included Medicaid, which by law provides emergency medical care to illegal immigrants; food assistance programs; and the federal prison system, where roughly 17% of inmates are illegal immigrants.   They did not include costs to local and state governments, which would push the deficit much higher, Camarota said."
 

2004-08-27

2004-08-27 06:30PDT (09:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US Q2 GDP Increase Revised to 2.8% annualized rate
San Francisco Chronicle
Los Angeles Times
BEA report
"Equipment and software increased 13.6%, compared with an increase of 8.0% [in Q1]."

2004-08-27 07:27PDT (10:27EDT) (14:27GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Greenspan: Retirees have been promised more than the economy can deliver
CNN/Money
San Francisco Chronicle
Los Angeles times
"On a positive note, the U.S. is relatively better prepared than other industrialized countries to support an aging population, he said."

2004-08-27 10:11PDT (13:11EDT) (17:11GMT)
Philip Klein _USA Today_/_Reuters_
Wall Street bonuses expected to rise 15% in 2004
Reuters
"how large of an increase employees receive will depend on what side of the bank they work.   Bonuses, which make up the bulk of earnings for senior positions on Wall Street, are expected to be up an average of about 15% in 2004, according to compensation consultant Johnson Associates.   This will mark the second straight year of increases, after two years of sharp declines following the record set in 2000.   But the expected increase would be lower than last year, when the average increase was 20%...   A stronger mergers and acquisitions pipeline is expected to drive investment banking bonuses up 30%, after being beaten down in the bear market, Johnson said.   Fixed income bonuses, meanwhile, which had been rising, will be flat to up 10%, he said...   Equities bonuses are projected to be up 15%, helped by derivatives businesses, and asset management is expected to be up 10%, based on average assets under management.   The increase in bonuses is likely to provide a boost to New York City's economy, which is highly dependent on big Wall Street earnings to bolster tax revenue.   Rising bonuses also contribute to higher real estate prices.   In 2003, Wall Street paid out $10.7G in bonuses, up from the $8.6G in 2002, according to the most recent data provided by the office of the New York State Comptroller.   This was sharply lower than the record $19.4G in 2000.   The 2003 bonuses contributed $182.5M to New York City tax revenue and $805.2M to the state's tax revenue, according to the comptroller's data."

2004-08-27
Alan Greenspan
prepared remarks at Jackson Hole symposium
"The fertility rate in the United States, after peaking in 1957 at about 3-1/2 births over a woman's life-time, fell to less than 2 by the early 1970s and then rose to about 2.1 by 1990.   Since then, the fertility rate has remained close to 2.1, the so-called replacement rate -- that is, the level of the fertility rate required to hold the population constant in the absence of immigration or changes in longevity.   Fertility rates in Europe, on the whole, and in Japan have fallen far short of the replacement rate...   increases in life expectancy...   sustainability rests, at root, on the level of real resources available to an economy.   The resources available to fund the sum of future retirement benefits and the real incomes of the employed will depend, of course, on the growth rate of labor employed plus the growth rate of the productivity of that labor...   Americans are not only living longer but also generally living healthier.   Rates of disability for those over 65 years of age have been declining even as the average age of the above-65 population is increasing.   This decline in disability rates reflects both improvements in health and changes in technology that accommodate the physical impairments associated with aging.   In addition, work is becoming less physically strenuous but more demanding intellectually, continuing a century-long trend toward a more-conceptual and less-physical economic output."

2004-08-27
William Welsh _Washington Technology_
Florida drops Accenture Enterprise Technology Services contract
"Florida has canceled a 7-year, $86.7M technology services help-desk contract with Accenture because the contract wasn't meeting state agencies' needs, said Simone Marstiller, Florida's chief information officer.   The service offering, known as the Enterprise Technology Services Desk, was structured in a way that really wasn't doing what it was intended, Marstiller said today...   The agreement, or 'exhibit' as Marstiller referred to it, is part of a comprehensive, statewide, technology out-sourcing contract known as MyFlorida Alliance that the state inked with Accenture of Hamilton, Bermuda, and BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, VA, last year...   The other 2 agreements [with Accenture], for applications management services and statewide data center operations, remain in effect.   Accenture is performing statewide applications management services under a seven-year, $46.7M contract, while BearingPoint is performing statewide data center operations under a seven-year, $126M contract."

2004-08-27 07:35PDT (10:35EDT) (14:35GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
UMich consumer sentiment index fell to 95.9
"The UMich consumer sentiment index fell to 95.9 in late August from 96.7 in July.   The index sank to a reading of 94.0 in early August.   Consumers expressed concerns about jobs, inflation, interest rates and terrorism."

2004-08-27 14:30PDT (17:30EDT) (21:30GMT)
Mark Cotton _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Blue chips rose for 3rd straight week
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 21.60 points, or 0.2%, at 10,195.01, putting in a 0.8% gain on the week.   The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 9.16 points, or 0.5%, to 1,862.08.   The tech-rich index gained 1.3% on the week.   The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index ticked up 2.68 points, or 0.2%, to 1,107.77.   The broad gauge rose 0.9% for the week.   The Russell 2000 index, which tracks small-cap stocks, gained 0.8%.   On the broader market for equities, advancers out-paced decliners by more than 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange and by a 19 to 11 margin on the Nasdaq.   Friday's gains came in the lightest day for trading this year, with 843M shares trading on the Big Board and 1G shares exchanging hands on the Nasdaq."

2004-08-27
Dexter Filkins & John F. Burns _NY Times_
Tentative Accord Reached in Najaf to Halt Fighting
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/27/international/middleeast/27iraq.html
"The deal calls for the withdrawal of Moktada al-Sadr's fighters from the Imam Ali Shrine and a pull-back of U.S. forces."

2004-08-27
Greg Winter _NY Times_
A Wind-Fall for a Student Loan Program
"The student loan industry is collecting a record amount of the old subsidies Congress thought it had retired."

2004-08-27
Paul Krugman _NY Times_
America's Failing Health
"The growing difficulty of getting health insurance, and the continuing difficulty of finding jobs may have a common cause: soaring insurance premiums."

2004-08-27
James F. Peltz _Los Angeles Times_
Drug Makers Sued on Price Differences in Different Countries
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-drugs27aug27,1,7934393.story
"Fourteen pharmacies accuse the companies of charging more for medicines in the U.S.A."
 

2004-08-28

2004-08-28
Dexter Filkins _NY Times_
Insurgents Quit Mosque in Najaf After Peace Deal
"Guerrillas loyal to Moktada al-Sadr ceded control of the holy site to the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, but did not give up their guns."

2004-08-28
Jane Perlez _NY Times_
Across Asia, Beijing's Star Is in Ascendance
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/28/international/asia/28asia.html
"From the mines of Australia to the forests of Myanmar, [Red China's] rapid growth is sucking up resources and pulling the region's economies in its wake."

2004-08-28
Stephen Gordon _PR Web_
Debate of Presidential Candidates on Tuesday 2004-08-31 at 19:00 at St. Cyril & Methodius Church, 502 W 41st St; Manhattan, NY
 

2004-08-29

2004-08-29 11:45PDT (14:45EDT) (18:45GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Pay-Rolls Expected to Rise 50K to 300K
"The forecasts of economists polled by CBS MarketWatch are clustered around 150K, with a range of 50K to 300K...   Despite the recent slow-down, the economy has added jobs for 11 months in a row, totaling nearly 1.5M and making up more than half of the positions lost during the recession and lack-luster recovery.   The potential labor force grows by about 150K a month, so the employment participation rate of 66.2% is still below year-ago levels of 66.5% and more than 2% below the prerecession peak.   The burst of hiring in the Spring emboldened the Federal Reserve to begin removing some of the stimulus of low interest rates...   Financial markets are pricing in a rate hike to 1.75% in September, but after that, it's even money that the Federal Open Market Committee pauses at either the November or December meetings.   'Anything less than 100K [net new jobs] will put pressure on the Fed to step back from its rate hike track for a while, while a 150K reading would cement a September quarter-point move.', said Avery Shenfeld, economist for CIBC World Markets.   Shenfeld said 50K shouldn't make any difference.   'The unavoidable random white noise in any one-month's [Bureau of Labor Statistics] figure is almost as large as the typical range in forecast estimates.', he said."

2004-08-29
James Dao _NY Times_
Where Prosecutors Say Votes Are Sold
"The days of brazenly trading votes for whiskey may be gone in Kentucky, but prosecutors say people seeking to buy elections have simply become more artful."

2004-08-29
Andrew Blum _NY Times_
Acoustical Models for Buildings
"After centuries of guess-work, architects have a high-tech way to hear the acoustics of buildings they haven't yet built."

2004-08-29
Deirdre Conner _Roanoke_
Under-Employment
"If Cybermotion Inc., an autonomous-robotics firm, could have held on just a bit longer, this story might be entirely different.   But it didn't, and he was laid off in 2002 January when the company ceased production...   Economists say that there may be as many as 27K people in a 60-mile radius of Roanoke who are under-employed, which means they are working in jobs that don't match their experience and education.   That's out of a labor force of more than 340K.   Under-employment is a slippery measure.   But getting a grip on it could be the Rosetta stone for those who are balancing positive local economic indicators with the threat of stagnating growth and loss of professional-caliber jobs.   On one hand, economic developers sell the under-employed work force as an untapped resource for potential employers who might worry that Roanoke's low unemployment rate suggests a small pool of workers.   Area residents struggling to find work in their lifelong profession wonder, too, how many others are in the same boat.   For them, under-employment takes a more personal toll.   'If we had a really good measure of how the economy was performing, it would include under-employment.', said Nicolaus Tideman, professor of economics at Virginia Tech.   'I think everyone accepts that we don't measure under-employment very well.'   Most measures indicate that between 7% and 9% of the work force qualifies as under-employed...   The unemployment rate for the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area registers at a sunny 3.1%.   The number doesn't make sense to professionals who work far below their skill level after long periods of unemployment, nor does it do much to reassure potential employers that people would be lining up to work for their company...   They used to worry more about getting stock options than getting insurance benefits.   Where a health crisis would once have dealt a recoverable blow to their comfortable lives, it could now push them over the brink of financial ruin.   Middle-aged professionals with families, mortgages and retirement savings accounts suddenly found themselves feeling more like teenagers: moving back home, borrowing money from their parents, taking low-wage service jobs just to pay the rent...   in his current job he is making about 30% of what he made at Cybermotion...   He continues to look for engineering work...   In fact, the 'quality of life' -- low crime, bearable traffic, beautiful scenery -- may be one of the things playing a role in under-employment...   Settling for a job, said Lucas LaRocca, a counselor for the Displaced Worker Program, in the long term hurts the area economy...   When smart, skilled, well-educated people take jobs as cashiers, that hurts economic development, he said...   K, who had invested 90% of his retirement savings in Cybermotion, said he can understand why prospective employers look at his college graduation date with concern...   the next best thing could be right around the corner.   He gets more responses to his inquiries now, keeps up with every positive tidbit of news about the financial markets..."

2004-08-29
Stephen Gordon _PR Web_
If you ask for permission to protest, you deserve to be told, "No".
"'If you ask for permission to protest, you deserve to be told no.', says Manhattan Libertarian Party chair Jim Lesczynski.   'The First Amendment guarantees our right to peaceably assemble -- and we're going to do so', on Central Park's Great Lawn on August 29th.   The city has denied permits to groups which have applied for permission to gather in the park, attempting to move them to more distant, and less visible, locations...   Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate, during a campaign strategy teleconference [said,] 'I've got permission.   By definition, where I am standing is a free speech zone.   We don't need permission to protest, but George W. Bush needs forgiveness for his mistakes.   We're gathering to offer him that forgiveness... if he's willing to ask us for it...   America itself -- the whole country -- is a 'free speech zone.   That's what the First Amendment means, or it means nothing.'"

2004-08-29
Phillip Rawls _AP_/_Montgomery Alabama Advertiser_
Parties Push for Ballot Access
Ballot Access News
"No one who has scrambled to get signatures for presidential candidates this year is happy about it.   'This is all because Democrats and Republicans are terrified of competition.', said Mary Ann Crum, chairman of the Alabama Constitution Party.   The 5K signatures will get a presidential candidate on the ballot as an independent with no party label.   To get a party listed on the ballot requires 41K signatures -- a figure no one is trying to reach this year.   'It really makes it difficult for third parties to get on the ballot and to survive.', said Matthew Hellinger, an organizer for the Alabama Green Party.   The Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and Nader's supporters tried to simplify the process by circulating a combined petition that listed all 3 presidential candidates.   They had collected more than 600 signatures when Republican Attorney General Troy King issued an advisory opinion August 18 saying only one name can be on a petition.   He said the Legislature's intent was 'that ballot access be restrictive, not expansive'...   James Hines, state coordinator for Badnarik, reads the law differently.   He contends the law only requires 5K people to say they'd like to see a candidate's name on the ballot, but it doesn't require the 5K to support the candidate."
 

2004-08-30

2004-08-29 22:00PDT (2004-08-30 01:00EDT) (2004-08-30 05:00GMT)
_World Net Daily_
Traitors to the Constitution
Badnarik for President
"Neither George Delano Bush nor Krazy John Kerry respects the Constitution or your liberty.   But take heart, they are not your only options!   Perhaps you've never considered voting outside the bi-factional ruling party, but if you're displeased with the direction of your government, you would do well to consider the words of Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik: 'If you continue doing what you've always done, you're going to get what you've always got.'"

2004-08-30
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
myth of the immigrant math/science whiz kids

2004-08-30 10:24PDT (13:24EDT) (17:24GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US income growth slowed in July BEA report on National Income & Product Accounts
"Personal incomes of U.S. residents grew 0.1% in July, the slowest growth in two years, the Commerce Department estimated Monday.   Consumer spending increased 0.8% in July after a revised 0.2% decline in June.   With spending rising faster than incomes, the personal savings rate fell from 1.3% to 0.6%, the lowest since 2002 December.   Disposable incomes (after taxes) increased 0.1% in July after no change in June...   Inflation moderated in July.   The personal consumption expenditure price index was unchanged.   The core PCE index - which excludes food and energy prices - was also unchanged.   In July, the core PCE price index had risen 1.5% year-over-year for the fifth straight month."

2004-08-30 08:54PDT (11:54EDT) (15:54GMT)
Michael Paige _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
CIOs expect US IT spending to increase 7% in 2005
RFID Spy Chips
"Periods of 8 to 10 years of significant spending on IT occur after the introduction of major new technology, followed by equal periods during which companies lower new spending to focus on their investments and digest the changes, according to the researcher.   Currently, the United States is halfway through such a cycle of digestion that began in 2001, Forrester said...   spending on software is set to recover and grow 7%, although spending in the segment will rise only 3% in 2005, according to the survey.   Systems management, storage software and security applications are predicted to show the largest increases in 2005...   Forrester predicts growth in the segment in 2005 will be limited to 3%, with future growth coming from 'companies back-filling projects with consultants rather than new hires and the need for consulting on emerging technologies like RFID, open source and business process management software'."

2004-08-30
Matt Richtel _NY Times_
Directory Listings, Telemarketers Coming to Cellular Telephones in October
"Today, 65% of American households are listed in a telephone directory, a decrease from the 72% who were listed 2 years ago, according to Survey Sampling International, a company in Fairfield, CT, that keeps a nationwide data-base of white pages listings...   Of the 6 major national mobile phone carriers, 5 have agreed to participate.   But the largest carrier, Verizon Wireless, said it would not allow any of its more than 40M customers to be listed, even those who want to participate... 'Your wireless number is as private as it gets.'"

2004-08-30
Stan Beer _The Age_
Infosys Australia CEO says off-shoring model needs modification: It's all about blunting criticism for abuses
"The local back-lash against off-shoring has meant that Infosys Australia, the quintessential off-shorer, has been the object of some criticism over the past 2 years.   Adverse publicity in late 2002 over the establishment of a software development centre in Melbourne, which was to be staffed predominantly by expatriate Indians, did not help the company's cause with its detractors...   Infosys Australia now has 500 permanent Australian staff plus a floating expatriate Indian work-force of 150 to 200 workers, who visit the Australian office for about 6 weeks on 457 visas to pick up local knowledge for contracts...   ALP parliamentary IT spokeswoman Senator Kate Lundy issued [a statement criticizing] the Federal Government for not intervening to prevent IT jobs leaving our shores."

2004-08-30
Jaikumar Vijayan _Computer World_
Indian IT execs dodge off-shoring back-lash: The trouble is that the off-shoring firms shouldn't have access to personal private information in the first place
"Data security and privacy are slowly emerging as [important] new issues for rallying opposition to off-shore out-sourcing, some Indian IT executives lament."

2004-08-30
Jaikumar Vijayan _Computer World_
Intellectual Property and Privacy Violations Just Additional Reasons to Stop Off-Shoring
"In May, the company set up a small software development center in Mumbai.   Among the approximately 20 people it hired in the western India city was a software engineer who in mid-July was caught uploading substantial chunks of Jolly source code to her Yahoo personal e-mail account...   more than a month after the complaint was filed, no action has been taken against the woman..."

2004-08-30
Joan Williams & Ariane Hegewisch _Los Angeles Times_
All Work & No Play Is the USA Way
Albany NY Times Union
"As it turns out, the U.S. 'productivity advantage' is just another way of saying that we work more hours than workers in any other industrialized country except South Korea...   Europeans take an average of 6 to 7 weeks of paid annual leave, compared with just 12 days in the United States.   Twice as many American as European workers put in more than 48 hours per week.   Particularly sobering is the fact that in 2 out of 3 American families with small children in which both parents work, the couples work more than 80 total hours per week, also more than double the European rate...   many Americans (men especially) want more family or leisure time and would be willing to sacrifice up to a quarter of their salaries in return...   Some Americans just need the money, given that the U.S. has the most unequal income distribution in the developed world.   The average CEO of a major U.S. company, according to Business Week, is paid more than 400 times what the average worker is paid in the same company.   In Britain -- the European economy with the most inequality -- that ratio is 45 to 1.   Because the profits from Europe's productivity increases are shared more equitably through shorter working hours and investment in education and health care, European workers can work fewer hours without worrying about creating a domino effect in which they first lose their jobs and then health care [insurance].   Other Americans who would gladly trade time for money cannot do so because the widespread demand for more family (and life-friendly) hours has not translated into good, reduced-hours jobs.   In most work-places, a shift to family-friendly hours is the kiss of death professionally, and a refusal to work over-time is reason for dismissal.   This leaves too many Americans with only two choices: a good job with health insurance at 50-plus hours a week or a dead-end job at 20 to 25 hours a week with depressed wages and no health insurance."

2004-08-30
_BillBoard_
Laura Branigan died of aneurysm at 47
"Branigan died of a brain aneurysm Thursday [2004 August 26] in her sleep at her home in East Quogue, NY, said her brother Mark Branigan.   He said she had complained to a friend of a head-ache for about 2 weeks before she died, but had not sought medical attention...   Branigan was born 1957 July 3, and grew up in Brewster, NY."

2004-08-30
David deJean _CMP_/_Network Computing_
Privacy Needs a Lot more Attention
EETimes: e-passport security flaws
"while the official card readers weren't doing so well, testers using readers equipped with antennas (think hackers) could read chips from as far away as 30 feet.   And even worse, they got it all -- sensitive data, private information -- in the clear.   Because, as it turns out, the Department of Homeland Security had forgotten to require that data on the chips be encrypted."
Electronic Privacy Information Center
RFID spy chips
more Privacy links
 

2004-08-31

2004-08-31 07:23PDT (10:23EDT) (14:23GMT)
Rex Crum _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Apple announces all-in-one flat-screen iMac
Chicago IL Tribune
CMP/Network Computing
Silicon Valley/San Jose CA Mercury News
"The new iMac has its disk drives and processors incorporated [in] the unit housing the computer's monitor...   The computer comes in a 17-inch version with a combination CD-RW/DVD-Rom drive for $1,299, a 17-inch model with a CD-RW/DVD-R drive for $1,499, and a 20-inch version, also with a CD-RW/DVD-R drive, for $1,899."

2004-08-31 07:56PDT (10:56EDT) (14:56GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell in August
"The Conference Board's consumer confidence index declined to 98.2 in August from a revised reading of 105.7 in July -- the largest drop in the index since February...   The Conference Board's consumer confidence index declined to 98.2 in August from a revised reading of 105.7 in July -- the largest drop in the index since February...   In a separate release, the Chicago Purchasing Managers group said the Chicago PMI index sank to 57.3% in August from 64.7% in July."
release schedule
more Conference Board info

2004-08-31 09:58PDT (12:58EDT) (16:58GMT)
_CNN_/_Money_
Job Woes Slam Consumer Confidence Indices (graph)
"The Conference Board, a business research group, said its index of consumer confidence sank to 98.2 from a reading of 105.7 in July...   Those saying jobs are 'plentiful' slumped to 18.1% from 19.7%, while those claiming jobs are 'hard to get' was virtually unchanged at 25.8%. "

2004-08-31 10:13PDT (13:13EDT) (17:13GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
AARP: Workers over 50 are valued by a few employers
"AARP judged applicants based on 4 major criteria: Recruitment of older workers, continued opportunities and training, benefits and retiree relations, including opportunities for retirees to return to the workplace, said Deborah Russell, AARP's manager of economic security and work...   Other innovations include programs such as phased retirement that allow workers to reduce their hours without significantly cutting their pay, catch-up contributions for retirement plans, flexible scheduling and child care for older workers looking after grand-children, she said.   [Only 78] companies applied to make the list, and hundreds more down-loaded the application but never sent it in...   In 2002, 14% of the work force was 55 and older, a portion expected to rise to 19% by 2012..."

2004-08-31
James Glanz _NY Times_
In Iraq, a Quest to Rebuild Science: Iraqi National Academy of Sciences
"Unlike the well-financed, prestigious academies of the West, Dr. Shahristani's has only 16 members, about half of them foreigners, and no budget to speak of.   The academy members have no regular meeting place and at present huddle in an office at a university computer center.   They have been largely ignored by both Iraqi and American officials, who presumably feel that they have more pressing problems.   Furthermore, Iraqi research labs, like this one, are a crumbling, looted, odoriferous mess...   He came within a hair's breadth of being named prime minister of Iraq last spring.   He was tortured by Saddam Hussein's government for refusing to work on an atomic bomb and spent 12 years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, before escaping during the Persian Gulf war of 1991."

2004-08-31
Benedict Carey _NY Times_
False Memories
"In a study accepted for publication in the journal _Social Cognition_, the researchers describe how they fooled college students into thinking that as children they had become sick when eating certain foods.   The students answered questions about their early eating memories.   A week later, they were presented with a bogus food history profile that embedded a single falsehood among real memories [a variant of techniques used by the Nazis].   'This is called the false feed-back technique, where you gather data from the subjects and use it to lend credibility to this false profile.', said Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist at the University of California at Irvine who led the research.   But about 40% of the 336 participants confirmed in later interviews that they remembered getting sick or believed it to be true."

2004-08-31
Dan Ackman _Forbes_
CEOs who off-shore jobs get higher compensations
"The average CEO compensation at the 50 companies out-sourcing the most service jobs increased by 46% in 2003.   That increase compares to an average hike of 9% for CEOs at 365 of the largest U.S. companies, according to a report by the [leftist] Institute for Policy Studies... and United for a Fair Economy...   The study says that CEOs of the top out-sourcing companies earned an average of $10.4M in 2003, 28% more than the average CEO compensation of $8.1M...   The overall 9% pay increase is itself far in excess of pay increases enjoyed by Americans in general.   For Americans overall, personal incomes rose by 3.2% between 2002 and 2003, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.   After 2 years of narrowing, the CEO-to-worker wage gap is rising again.   The CEO-pay-to-worker-pay ratio reached 301:1 in 2003, up from 282:1 in 2002, the study says...   CEOs of the 69 companies that sponsored this summer's Democratic and Republican National Conventions saw their pay rise by 52% in 2003..."

2004-08-31
Ted Evanoff _Indianapolis Star_
Off-shoring trend costs Thomson jobs: 11 at Carmel HQ seeing work sent to Philippines
"Thomson SA, the Paris-based electronics giant, told Carmel workers last week that certain accounting tasks performed in scattered offices around the world will be handed to the financial services firm Accenture, which is consolidating the work in the Philippines [and which changed its name from Andersen Consulting amidst involvement with Enron fraud]."

2004-08-31
Richard Vedder _Claremont Institute_
What went wrong?: Gene Smiley's _ReThinking the Great Depression_

2004-08-31
Martin Perry _Agence France Presse_/_Students for a Free Tibet_
Olympics to show-case Red China as clouds loom
"[Red China] is expected to use the 2008 Olympics to showcase itself as a modern and mature world power, but the event will also be used by Taiwan and its critics on human rights and Tibet, analysts say.   World opinion was divided when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Beijing the Games over Paris and Toronto in 2001 and the debate over that decision is expected to rage up to 2008.   As Athens handed the Olympic baton to Beijing Sunday, rights groups lined up to renew their campaigns to bring issues like the death penalty, Tibet and [Red China's] suppression of the Falungong spiritual group back into the spotlight.   Two foreign Tibet activists, an American and an Australian, briefly unveiled a banner in a Beijing park Monday reading 'No Olympics for [Red China] until Tibet is Free' before being detained, in a sign of events to come.   And uncertainty over the future of Taiwan, an island off the southeast coast which split from [Red China] after a civil war in 1949, could also cloud the Games, analysts say.   'The people of [Red China] certainly deserve the Olympic Games. Regrettably, the Chinese government does not.', said Harry Wu, a veteran Chinese dissident who toiled for 19 years in labour camps after speaking out for human rights."
 

2004 August

2004 August
Julie Hotchkiss _Monthly Labor Review_
Temporary help in Georgia

2004 August
_OPPAGA_
The State Has Several Options Available When Considering the Funding of Higher Education
"In 2002-03, student tuition covered 24% of the cost for upper division students and 35% for lower division students.   If both upper and lower division students pay the same percentage of the average cost per credit hour, Florida universities could set tuition rates at approximately 28% of the total cost per credit hour.   These rates would be revenue neutral for universities but would better reflect the actual costs of instruction."

2004 August
Gene A. Nelson _American Chemical Society_
bio
Glut of Chemists (slide presentation)

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