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|"The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided." --- Harlan F. Stone 1941 chief justice Supremes|
Brian Bakst _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Some Minnesota government operations shut down pending budget enactment
"Some state offices closed and about 9K state employees were jobless Friday after parts of Minnesota's government shut down for the first time in state history, leaving most rest stops closed for the Independence Day weekend. The shut-down came at midnight after law-makers failed late Thursday to pass even a stopgap plan to keep the government up and running while negotiators keep working... Minnesota had never before had to suspend services because of a budget dispute. The last state government shut-down was in Tennessee in 2002."
Maura Reynolds & Elizabeth Douglass _Los Angeles Times_
US House of Representatives says "No" to Red Chinese proposal to buy Unocal
"Voicing concern about national security and the U.S. economy, the House of Representatives passed 2 measures Thursday aimed at blocking the proposed take-over of El Segundo-based Unocal Corp. by a [Red Chinese] oil company. In a strong bipartisan vote of 333 to 92, the House approved an amendment to a Treasury Department spending bill forbidding the administration from using federal funds to approve the bid by CNOOC Ltd., an arm of government-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp., to buy Unocal for $18.5G. The Treasury Department reviews proposals for significant foreign investment in U.S. companies to ensure that national security isn't damaged, a process that would involve use of federal funds. The review is conducted through the multi-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which has seldom blocked foreign investments or mergers... Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) [said], 'The problem we have now is… we are as addicted to the [Red Chinese] loans, to their credit to us, as we are to Saudi oil.'"
2005-07-01 06:36PDT (09:36EDT) (13:35GMT)
Jim Abrams _AP_/_San Francisco Chronicle_
The US senate ratified CAFTA
"The House vote, expected in July, on the Central America Free Trade Agreement is certain to be close, but supporters expressed new confidence Thursday after a 54-45 vote in the Senate... Ten Democrats joined 43 Republicans and one independent to vote in favor of the agreement... The United States signed CAFTA a year ago with the five Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and the Caribbean nation, the Dominican Republic... Florida's two senators, Republican Mel Martinez and Democrat Bill Nelson, both came out for the agreement... Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, said she... was backing CAFTA because the Central American countries, trying to emerge from years of civil war and political strife, deserved the chance for greater prosperity."
S1307, bill to approve CAFTA with summary
2005-07-01 09:56PDT (12:56EDT) (16:56GMT)
Deb Riechmann _AP_/_Seattle Post Intelligencer_
Sandra Day-Oh Connor resigned: Shrub gets first chance to appoint a Supreme
"The president spoke with O'Connor before he appeared in the Rose Garden to express appreciation for her 24 years of service. 'For an old ranching girl, you turned out pretty good.', he told O'Connor, who grew up on an Arizona ranch... Bush said he would be pick a successor to O'Connor in a timely manner so her vacancy can be filled by the time the Supreme Court resumes work in the Fall... Anticipating a tough confirmation battle in the Senate, Bush called for a dignified process of considering his nominee... the resignation of a moderate woman instead of a conservative man... 'I have directed my staff, in cooperation with the Department of Justice, to compile information and recommend for my review potential nominees who meet a high standard of legal ability, judgment and integrity, and who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our country.', he said. 'The nation deserves and I will select a Supreme Court that Americans can be proud of.', Bush said [thus vowing a radical departure from practices of the last 75 years."
O'Connor's resignation letter
Carrie Kirby _San Francisco Chronicle_
MSFT, Tata & dictatorial Red Chinese government to provide global off-shore out-sourcing services in Red China, two days after hypocrite Gates admonished Japanese executives against too much out-sourcing
"MSFT Corp. is teaming up with the Indian out-sourcing firm [body shop] Tata and the [Red Chinese] government to form a software company in Beijing. The joint venture, announced Thursday by MSFT CEO Steve Ballmer along with representatives from Tata and various Chinese government-owned entities, will provide technology out-sourcing services both to the global market and domestically in [Red China], beginning in 2006, the group said... [Red China] [is] a good base for servicing multi-national clients [rather than serving them]... The MSFT deal could accelerate the flow of skilled technology jobs from the United States over-seas, warned researcher Ron Hira. '[Red China's] talent will come on-line much faster as a result of this joint venture. This is more bad news for U.S. IT workers. It is more competition... for them, coming on sooner rather than later.', said Hira... MSFT provided little information about why it was investing in the venture, except to point to a 2002 memorandum of understanding it signed 'for supporting the development of [Red China's] software and IT industry'."
Tens of thousands protest in Hong Kong against Red China's rights violations
"Tens of thousands of people on Friday marked the anniversary of Hong Kong's return to [Red China] by marching to demand full voting rights... Holding banners and placards which read 'Return power to the people', the protesters also called for an end to what they said were cozy government relations with big business... Beijing has ruled out universal suffrage for Hong Kong for several more years..."
My heart just bleeds for the farmers used to ripping off illegal immigrants
Selwyn Duke _Reality Check_
When Polite Words Are a Vice
The American Thinker
"I look at politicians, infamous for writing the book on deceit and prevarication, and it strikes me that I never hear, no matter how egregious the lie, a politician label it as such... the problem with not calling a liar a liar is that you end up with more liars. The first step toward eliminating immoral behavior is labeling it as such. After all, imagine if we refused to call a rapist a rapist and simply said, 'I don't think the woman was entirely on board.'. Or, it's a bit like the all-too-common practice of calling illegal aliens 'undocumented workers'. Why did the illegal alien apologists adopt this practice? It's because words influence thoughts; the side that defines the vocabulary of a debate wins the debate. If you want to sanitize a behavior, you start by sanitizing the language you use to describe it. But we humans have a very difficult time calling a scoundrel what he is when he has ingratiated himself to us, or when we benefit from his affection, or, when he's powerful. Speaking truth to power isn't easy... I only ask one favor: please take me out of the category in which we find 'measured' social commentators, 'sober' politicians and 'scholarly' jurists. Please place me in that of honest 9-year-old boys... What I am saying is that to bestow upon both sincere and lying lips the same kind of honored place at the table of reasoned discourse is folly. I am saying that to give a liar a forum in which to deceive and not do your utmost to unmask him makes you party to the deception. I am saying that bad manners can take many forms, and the worst form of impoliteness is insincerity in discourse. I am saying, one and all, that a man who is polite to a liar is worse that a man who won't defend his family from a bandit. For, he is refusing to defend the truth."
2005-07-01 13:28PDT (16:28EDT) (20:28GMT)
Leslie Wines _MarketWatch_
Stocks end up
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 28.5 points at 10,303, the Nasdaq composite up 0.41 points to 2,057, and the S&P 500 up 3.11 points to 1,194. Stocks were little changed on the week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average's close at 10,303 just a bit above its week-earlier finish at 10,297. The Nasdaq composite's finish at 1,194 was only slightly higher than its finish at 1,191 a week before. Volume was light due to early exits by many traders for the Independence Day holiday. About 1.2G shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange and another 1.2G shares moved on the Nasdaq market."
half of Irish firms given grants to create jobs would have created them anyway
"The Irish Independent reports that around half the Irish firms given grants to create jobs would have created them anyway, even without State support, it was claimed yesterday. In the Shannon Development region, the figure rises to more than 70%, according to the report in today's quarterly commentary from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). It says there has been little study of the benefits from the 5.5G euros spent on grants to industry in the past 20 years. And a separate analysis casts doubt on the policy of spending large sums on research and development to create 'clusters' of innovation between third-level colleges and high-tech firms. It finds that 70% of high-tech firms rarely or never interact with colleges and state agencies when developing new products. Official figures from the Central Statistics Office yesterday showed the net out-flow in the country's balance of payments hit a record of almost 1.5G euros in the first three months of the year. Davy Stockbrokers said a slump in exports and rising imports may have knocked two percentage points off economic growth, making it 3.5% rather than 5.5% over the previous 12 months. Despite the poor external performance, the ESRI expects the economy to grow by 5.4% this year, as measured by GNP... 'We estimate that a permanent 50% rise in oil prices adds 1% to unemployment over 3 years and reduces the nation's disposable income by almost 4%.'"
Robert Trigaux _St. Petersburg Times_
Hungry states are quick to fight incentive wars
"European Aeronautic, Defense and Space (EADS) Co., the parent of Airbus, shopped aggressively for the best U.S. location for a planned $600M aircraft plant. EADS North America played one state off another, promising the winner 200 $50K engineering jobs and 1K more if the company won an Air Force contract for refueling tanker planes. Ever on the hunt for higher-wage work and a chance to diversify the Florida economy, Enterprise Florida pitched Melbourne International Airport as its best site, along with a $300M array of state and local incentives... But last week, the deal was handed to the competing site in Mobile, AL... When it comes to aggressive economic tactics, Alabama simply had the greater hunger - and a history and willingness to offer heavy incentives to attract corporations... For the record, the official goal of Enterprise Florida this past year was to generate 24K jobs. It got close, by its own accounting, with 22K... Kelley earned $272K in salary and bonus last year... The half-public portion of Enterprise Florida acts in place of the state's former Department of Commerce. It requires the group to meet state government rules on disclosure and accountability. Florida's governor serves as Enterprise Florida's permanent chairman, and the group must spend ample time communicating its goals and needs to state legislators... The half-private portion of Enterprise Florida must appeal to a large board of directors composed largely of executives from power companies, banks, development and construction businesses, tech and law firms, and universities. They pay upwards of $50K in order to sit on the Enterprise Florida board... While South Florida is economically aggressive, increasingly Hispanic and eager to exploit its natural trade advantage as a gateway to Latin America, Florida's Panhandle is wrestling with rapid real estate development, rising costs and clearly lagging infrastructure of roads, schools and hospitals... [Rural people remain] resistant to economic development efforts that threaten more population and higher taxes... critics... bash the dependence on tax breaks and subsidies as short-term fixes and unfair advantages that benefit big corporations."
Computer Expert Forged Documents for Illegal Immigrants
"The computer science graduate had no shortage of eager customers and in just six months banked 10K pounds sterling -- at the same time as she cheekily pocketed Job Seeker..."
Dice Report: 69,858 job ads
link to all reports
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Ron Hira interview part 1
"The fact is that for most displaced engineers, there is no direction to go but downward. As I've emphasized before, even the industry's own economic forecast, by a well-known economics firm, confirmed what I've been saying: Globalization means that Americans will lose jobs requiring more education in exchange for gaining jobs that require less education. (see CACM article)... 'One policy that was part of the presidential campaign last year was about tax deferrals that companies got for expanding off-shore operations. Companies are able to defer their taxes on profits that are earned off-shore as long as they don't repatriate those profits... [Companies have been using H-1B visas] as a purely temporary means to bring in rank-and-file employees who will work for less money. They're not even bothering looking for American workers. This is pretty rampant in the I.T. sector in particular. Those workers then gain experience in the U.S. on the latest technologies, interfacing with customers, and then they are able to take that back to their home country.'... H-1B has been abused since its very inception, by firms large and small.... 'The main thing is to ensure that American companies are looking for American workers first. That's the way Congress believes the program works, but more and more it doesn't.'"
Cary Leider Vogrin _Colorado Springs Gazette_
High-tech nomads: Body shopping persists
"Like countless others, Watson [a systems administrator] has been trying for the better part of 3 years to rebound from the local high-technology down-turn. More than 8K tech workers in the Springs lost their jobs, most in 2001 and 2002. Tech employment plummeted nationwide on the heels of a recession and the trend of U.S. companies moving jobs to countries such as India and China, where labor is cheaper. It's been a few years since the technology bust dominated head-lines, but many local residents are still experiencing the fall-out. Some who were laid off gave up on the local market and relocated to other states. Some stayed, went back to school and changed careers, said Peggy Herbertson, director of the Pikes Peak Workforce Center... tech lay-offs have slowed... To date this year, three tech companies have reduced their work forces by fewer than 200 workers, compared with 2001, when about two dozen companies laid off more than 4K workers, according to statistics from the Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. Still, in 2000, 45,800 employees worked in the Springs tech sector, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and at the end of 2004, it had dropped to 37,400... The city was able to attract 6K other jobs to the area from 2001 to 2004, 'but they were not as good as the ones we lost', said Mike Kazmierski, interim CEO of the Economic Development Corp. About one-fifth are information technology or tech support jobs... Indeed, getting the pink slip isn't the biggest psychological hit in a layoff, said Richard Price, a senior researcher at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan who has been studying the psychology of lay-offs since 1981. It's what comes after -- what he calls a 'cascade of negative life events' including loss of health insurance, family tension, conflict."
Pike's Peak Work-Force Center e-mail
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Ron Hira interview part 2
"computer science enrollment at U.S. universities has been plummeting in recent years. The 'official' explanation of this has been (a) the let-down after the dot-com bust and (b) the major publicity in the popular press on off-shoring of software development work. To that I would add (c) the increasing tendency of U.S. employers to fill on-site jobs with H-1Bs. I would also point out that even (a) is fundamentally an issue of the shift of U.S. firms to using foreign labor, whether in off-shoring or in imported H-1Bs. The industry's shrill and false claims in the 1990s of a software labor shortage not only provided the basis for Congress's expansion of the H-1B program, but also produced a huge, unwarranted growth in the labor supply, as CS enrollment soared as a response to the 'shortage' claims. Those hordes of additional graduates hit the job market just when the dot-com hysteria stopped, causing huge over-supplies. As I've reported on a number of occasions, this implosion of CS enrollment has been causing the CS academic establishment major angst. To them, this is a horrific threat against their very way of life. If this reduction in enrollment turns out to be permanent (which I believe it will), they will suffer the worst fates known to academia: Their departments will contract, since faculty size is largely determined by under-graduate enrollment. The amount of research money -- of supreme importance -- will shrink, due to having fewer faculty. Even with smaller faculties, there will be too many professors chasing a fixed number of research dollars. And it has already become very difficult to get research money, again a consequence of CS academia's unholy alliance with the industry lobbyists. There will be fewer graduate students, due to reductions in both the domestic under-graduate pipeline and the foreign graduate well. That means lower PhD production (another supreme issue), and horror of horrors, a forced shift from teaching graduate courses to teaching at the undergraduate level. I must again make the disclaimer that I am not anti-research. I consider research to be one of the big attractions of a professor's job. But I believe that we should be scholars, with funding being a means of doing research, rather than an obsessive end in itself, which is what it has become. I've also stressed the point that the CS academic establishment has itself to blame, because they were complicit with actions taken by the industry that have now come back to haunt academia: Support of the industry's false claims in the late 1990s of a tech labor shortage; support of the industry's push for expansion of the H-1B program; and support for off-shoring. These actions were in the short run a boost to academia's own expansion, but now have become the very source of CS academia's current woes... It's absurd for Gates and the rest of the industry to expect today's young people to go into a field in which those same industry firms are laying off engineers and offshoring the work. Note especially that the July 1 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle had news of a deal between MSFT and the Indian offshoring/H-1B giant Tata Consultancy Services to develop off-shoring facilities in [Red China]. Gates' claim that everything will work out as long as R&D is retained in the U.S. is unrealistic. First of all, that won't draw in the young people, because (a) it's too much of a gamble, to go through a CS major, first for a Bachelor's and then a Master's degree, on the slim chance of getting an R&D position, and (b) many if not most of those 'domestic' R&D jobs will go to H-1Bs, not U.S. citizens and permanent residents... To put that BLS projection in proper perspective, it forecasts a 45.5% increase in software engineers between 2002 and 2012. Compare that with the 13K-worker DROP in software engineers during the first quarter of this year (during a period of putative recovery in the tech sector), according to statistics by...the BLS!... most under-payment of H-1Bs is done in full compliance of the law. There are so many loop-holes in the law that there is no reason for employers to use illegal methods... The term 'system analyst' is both broad enough to include programmers, thus fulfilling the needs of these employers and of a nature that lends itself to low salaries (again fulfilling the needs of these employers). That nature is that the term 'system analyst' is an old-fashioned term mainly used for people working on IBM main-frames. Due to the non-modern nature of their jobs, their pay tends to be lower. In other words, the employers of the H-1Bs can hire people with modern skills but pay them at the same levels as those without modern skills, a typical -- and quite legal -- loop-hole. (See the Programmers' Guild article.)... we've always used far fewer CS grads than we've produced, and also used many people with degrees in non-CS fields [and used people without degrees to do work in CS fields]... The obsession with research money has reached the point (and has been there for quite some time) at which major researchers spend all their time writing research grants, rather than doing actual research. This is exactly what has happened, and I know of many major researchers who have rather little knowledge of the details of the methods and results of their own research projects, a bizarre situation... the reduction in foreign applicants for U.S. CS graduate programs [is mainly] due to the fact that the job markets in the U.S. have dried up while things are booming back in [Red China] and India."
Norm Matloff's archives
Olaf Kuebler _Neue Zuercher Zeitung_ (New Zurich Times)
Reform never ends at Institute
"The Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary, is preparing for another change with its president about to leave... Over the past 12 years, enrolment has remained steady, with about 2K new students coming in each year. What changes is the redistribution of the students from year to year. Computer science, for example, had up to 350 new students before the internet bubble burst, when it dropped to 140. However, enrolments didn't fall, and those who opted out of computer science probably ended up in electrical engineering. It's a pattern that repeats itself."
_Medical News Today_
Glial derived neuro-trophic factor brings hope to Parkinson patients
"Infustion of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) into the brain of people with Parkinson disease induces the growth of nerve fibers in one of the brain regions affected by this disorder, as shown by a Correspondence article in the July issue of _Nature Medicine_. In Parkinson disease, the chemical messenger dopamine is lost in a brain region known as the putamen, leading to the motor abnormalities characteristic of the pathology... after GDNF. They found that dopamine-containing nerve fibers had sprouted back in the putamen."
Jennifer Bails _Check BioTech_
Scientists' program helps uncover genetic history
"Dannie Durand, a biology and computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University since 2000, has designed a new software tool called 'Notung' to make it faster and easier to dig through the molecular ruins -- a nascent field known as genetic archaeology... Notung uses information about gene duplications and disappearances to reconstruct the history of genes. It is the first program to take into account the large-scale changes along with smaller-scale mutations in the chemical sequence of a DNA molecule. The 'family' trees generated by Notung provide the simplest explanation for how a gene developed, based on the scientific principle that less complicated solutions are more likely to be right. But if the tree generated by the software doesn't match what scientists already know about the evolution of a particular gene, they can move branches around to jibe with reality."
Jon E. Dougherty _Conservative Voice_
Terrorists at the Gate
"In all of 2003, the patrol says its agents caught 39K OTMs, but already this year that figure has climbed to more than 85K -- more than double two years ago. Of this number, the largest ethnic group is comprised of Brazilians -- in excess of 12K in the first half of this year alone... al-Qaeda suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- suspected master-mind of the 2001/09/11 attacks who was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 March -- visited Brazil for 20 days in late 1995, before heading to The Netherlands. Authorities believe Mohammed, while still in Brazil, may have traveled to an area of the country bordering Paraguay and Argentina, a region suspected of harboring a militant Islamic movement believed to be a fundraising conduit for terrorist activities. The tri-border area is one Osama bin Laden is suspected to have visited that same year. Months before, Egyptian national Mohammed Ali Soliman was arrested in Brazil in 2002 April... Brazil is one. I's a visa-waiver country with Mexico. A bad guy who wants to go to the United States can first go to Brazil and then go to Mexico, and at that point it's easy to go north and cross illegally and not be caught -- or be caught" then released, said Cathy Travis, a spokeswoman for representative Solomon Ortiz, D-TX. (Note: OTMs are required to be released, by law, pending a deportation hearing that is usually months in the offing. Needless to say, most don't show up for the hearing.)"
_AP_/_St. Petersburg Times_
Chicago police step up privacy violations, adding microphones to surveillance camera system
"The city is employing technology that recognizes the sound of a gunshot within a two-block radius, pinpoints the source, turns a surveillance camera toward the shooter and places a 911 call... The technology isn't gaining favor in just Chicago, where 30 of the devices have already been installed in high-crime neighborhoods alongside video surveillance cameras (Baker says dozens more installations will follow). In Los Angeles County, the sheriff's department plans to deploy 20 units in a pilot test, and officials in Tijuana, Mexico, recently bought 353 units, Baker said. Police in Philadelphia and San Francisco are close to launching test programs... SENTRI is the brain-child of Safety Dynamics and Dr. Theodore Berger, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California [USC]."
2005-07-05 05:44PDT (08:44EDT) (12:44GMT)
Tim Richardson _Register_
WTO says damage from off-shoring jobs is exaggerated
"predicts the WTO, while the off-shoring of IT and IT-enabled services will increase significantly over the coming years, it will do so 'without upsetting national employment levels in the countries which off-shore'... Despite the assurances of the WTO, fears still remain - especially among those whose jobs are at threat. In the UK, for instance, trade unions are busy lobbying government and employers over the threat of jobs being exported over-seas... 200K UK jobs could be punted overseas by the end of the decade... David Fleming, Amicus National Secretary for Finance, has predicted that, unless we take action now, the UK could be left as a nation of 'fat cats and hairdressers with nothing in between'."
2005-07-05 09:05PDT (12:05EDT) (16:05GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Factory orders were up 2.9%, down 0.3% excluding aircraft
"The 2.9% growth marked the biggest gain in factory orders in 14 months... Factory orders had increased 0.7% in March and April after small declines in January and February. Orders are up 7.1% in the past 12 months... Excluding the 165% surge in civilian airplane orders and the 17% rise in defense aircraft orders, however, orders for factory goods fell 0.3% in May... Shipments are up 7.5% in the past year. Inventories were flat in May, while unfilled orders rose 1.9%... Orders for core capital goods, adjusted to exclude aircraft and defense goods, fell 2.5% in May after a 1.7% gain in April. Core capital goods are up 10.5% in the past year, indicating robust order demand for investment goods."
census bureau data
Sydney P. Freedbert, Connie Humburg & Carolyn Edds _St. Petersburg Times_
Keeping Motorola Inc... at all costs
"A decade ago, when Motorola Inc. asked for $7M in incentives to create 1K more jobs here, long-time Mayor Frank Veltri said the city would do 'everything we can short of bankrupting' itself to help. He was exaggerating, but not by much. For more than 30 years, tax-payers have been lavishing incentives on the electronics giant. Mayors, county commissioners and governors reduced taxes and rewrote laws. They let Motorola pump metal waste into a lagoon. They helped it build a day care center and exercise room. And when the company began laying off workers, they paid for new jobs anyway... Meanwhile, a Motorola factory in nearby Boynton Beach was demolished last year, and the company, once one of Florida's largest high-tech employers, has slashed its state work force from a high of 6,500 in 1995 to 3K... Government routinely invests millions of dollars -- everything from loans and tax breaks to cash and free services -- to certain companies that promise to retain or create jobs. Sometimes the jobs don't pan out, however, or they disappear after a few years. And that underscores the 'central confusion' the public has about incentives, says Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a labor-backed group that tracks incentive deals... Jobs come and go because of the economy and the market, not because of incentives, he says. 'States perpetuate a fiction that incentives create jobs. But they often subsidize companies for doing what they would have done anyway.' In Florida, much of the largesse appears to flow to a small number of the state's 1.5M businesses, but the tax-payers' bill is substantial... Motorola, which reported $1.53G in worldwide earnings last year, declines to disclose how much it has paid in state taxes or how much it has saved because of incentives... In 1970 January, Motorola paid about $800K for 80 acres on the fringe of the Everglades 6 miles west of Fort Lauderdale, near the tiny town of Plantation... Governor Chiles' administration agreed to give Motorola $4,500 for each new job, or up to $4.5M for 1K jobs, with 80% from the state and the remainder from the county and city... But by 1999 January, it had still 'not filled all of the qualified positions', the city reported... It also was filling some Florida slots with foreign workers. Between 1996 and 2004, federal documents show, Motorola filed petitions to bring 110 foreigners to Florida on permanent work visas, mostly for higher-wage engineering jobs paying an average of about $63K a year... In 2000 and 2001 Motorola slashed its worldwide work-force, moved jobs from Boynton Beach to Plantation and shifted some manufacturing over-seas... Motorola cut 7K jobs worldwide... But the governor's office reassured Taylor that it carefully checked all the job numbers. And in 2002 October, Motorola got another $365,625 refund, this one for creating 503 jobs. In addition, records show, the company got $553,469 in sales tax refunds in 2002 and 2003 for equipment purchases - a break designed for businesses that increase jobs in the state. While revenue officials and the governor's aides dispensed the tax refunds, another state agency was using federal money to assist 634 laid-off Motorola workers."
Cris Prystay _Wall Street Journal_
Math Tutoring Is Being Off-Shored to India
"Career Launcher charges between $20 and $30 an hour, with rates rising for more complex material, on par with U.S. companies like tutor.com and E-Sylvan.com."
2005-07-05 11:39PDT (14:39EDT) (18:39GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
USDA seeks to alter cotton subsidies, knuckling under to WTO, again
"Acknowledging pressure from a World Trade Organization ruling, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns on Tuesday said the Bush administration would ask Congress to repeal a cotton export-incentive program. The WTO, ruling on a dispute between the United States and Brazil, found in March that the "Step 2" program and other cotton-related subsidies violated international trade rules. The Geneva-based organization gave the United States until July 1 to comply with the ruling. Brazil has asked the WTO for permission to impose trade sanctions on the United States. Johanns said the proposed changes would eliminate the Step 2 program, which compensates exporters and domestic millers who buy pricier U.S. cotton."
Jessica E. Vascellaro _Wall Street Journal_
The Hot Major for Under-Grads is Economics
"U.S. colleges and universities awarded 16,141 degrees to economics majors in the 2003-2004 academic year, up nearly 40% from five years earlier, according to John J. Siegfried, an economics professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, who tracks 272 colleges and universities around the country for the Journal of Economic Education... Behind the turnaround is a clear-eyed reading of supply and demand: In a global economy filled with uncertainty, many students see economics as the best vehicle for a job promising good pay and security... According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, economics majors in their first job earn an average of nearly $43K a year -- not as much as for computer-science majors and engineering majors, who can earn in excess of $50K a year. But those computer and engineering jobs look increasingly threatened by competition from inexpensive, highly skilled workers in places like India and [Red China]... Marvin Lazerson, historian of education and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education in Philadelphia. He cites the recent example of computer science majors, whose ranks swelled in the 1990s and quickly subsided in the early 2000s, soon after the dot-com bubble burst and many companies started out-sourcing computer-programming jobs abroad."
|Starting Salaries for New Grads NACE 2005 Winter|
Michelle Chen _New Standard_
Slavery slips through cracks in USA
"despite recent progress in anti-trafficking policies and enforcement, what many consider the basest form of human exploitation continues to thrive in the US... According to government estimates, each year, 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the US... Intimidation, Lack of Awareness Keep Forced Labor Victims Shackled... In the case of Lakireddy Bali Reddy, for example, a wealthy California businessman was charged in 2000 with importing young girls from his home village in India, forcing them to work in the buildings and restaurants he owned, and repeatedly sexually abusing them. Reddy ultimately received a plea bargain involving $2M in restitution and an eight-year prison term. Although activists decried the sentence as too lenient, the millionaire's public image had nearly enabled him to elude law enforcement completely... the Department of Justice reports that sentences for convicted traffickers in 2003 ranged from 33 to 270 months."
US lay-off announcements highest in 17 months (since 2004 January)
"The number of planned job cuts in the U.S. rose to 110,996, the highest in 17 months, according to out-placement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. Corporate announcements of job reductions increased 35% from May's 82,282, and were up 73% from June 2004's 64,343, Challenger said Wednesday. Cuts are up 92% since April. So far in 2005, planned job reductions are up 14% year-to-date to 538,274."
2005-07-06 10:20PDT (13:20EDT) (17:20GMT)
Jennifer 8 Lee _Forbes_
June Proves Worst Month for Lay-Offs
"June was the worst month for U.S. lay-offs in 17 months, according to employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The firm reported more than 100K jobs were lost, the majority in the automotive and retail industries."
2005-07-06 12:36PDT (15:36EDT) (19:36GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _MarketWatch_
Crude oil futures closed above $61 per barrel
"Crude-oil futures marked their first-ever close above $61 a barrel Wednesday as severe weather shut down several oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, intensifying anxiety over whether U.S. inventories are adequate in the short run to meet strong demand. Tropical Storm Cindy forced the shut-in of 12.7% of daily oil production, representing 190,506 barrels, in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said Wednesday... Against this back-drop, crude for August delivery climbed as high as $61.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before closing at $61.28 a barrel, up $1.69, or 2.8%. Prices surpassed the previous record of $60.95 on June 27. They're up around 70% from a year ago and up 44% year to date."
Bill Cotterell _Tallahassee Demagogue_
Florida State University professors protest for higher pay raises
"protesting low salaries and the administration's hard-nosed tactics in negotiations with their union. 'It's a matter of priorities.', said Ted Baker, a computer-science professor who chairs the faculty union bargaining committee. 'It seems that, at FSU, faculty salaries are a lower priority than at other State University System schools.' Business management professor Jack Fiorito, president of the campus chapter of United Faculty of Florida, said FSU has offered a 2% pay raise for the just-concluded fiscal year, plus some promotion increases and unspecified 'merit' raises for selected faculty members. For the new fiscal year, he said, the university wants to fund only the 3.6% raises all state employees get on August 1... Fiorito said the administration refuses to take seriously the faculty's right of collective bargaining, through 18 months of negotiations on salaries for the 2004-05 and 2005-06 fiscal years... UFF said other universities have given or proposed raises of 3% to 5% for last year. The union said at least 2, Florida Gulf Coast and the University of Florida, are proposing 5.1% and 5% raises, respectively, for the new fiscal year... Physicist Curtis Johnson said that in 17 years at FSU, 'I have never once, not once, had a salary increase which matches inflation. In real terms, I'm getting paid about one-third less than when I started.' Fiorito said FSU got a 10.75% increase in its operating budget and authorization for a tuition hike of 7.5% in the past legislative session... [One of the signs appearing in the photo says, 'Average annual raises 2002-2005: 8% top administrators, 2.4% faculty']"
2005-07-07 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 325,672 in the week ending July 2, an increase of 38,206 from the previous week. There were 349,920 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending June 25, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,423,460, an increase of 18,803 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.2% and the volume was 2,741,743."
2005-07-07 07:58PDT (10:58EDT) (14:58GMT)
Steve Goldstein _MarketWatch_
4 bombs in London kill over 45, wound hundreds: BBC says al-Qaeda says they're guilty
"Four explosions, which U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair called a series of terror attacks, rocked central London during the morning rush hour Thursday, killing at least 45 people and injuring hundreds."
2005-07-08 12:01PDT (15:01EDT) (19:01GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _ZD Net_
Tech jobs increased in June
"In its monthly employment report, the U.S. Department of Labor on Friday said pay-roll employment in computer and electronic products manufacturing rose by 7,400 in June to 1.34M. The field of computer systems design and related services added 5,200 pay-roll jobs, to a total of 1.18M... Techies' optimism about the job market improved in June from a low point in May, according to a study released Wednesday. From the beginning of the year to June 1, job postings on tech-focused Dice.com rose 26% to 69,957, with strong gains in eastern cities. And a study released earlier this year indicated that the U.S. tech industry may have turned a corner last year when it comes to employment woes... The average number of unemployed workers in 9 high-tech categories fell by 64K last year but remained close to 150K, according to the Labor Department. And in the first 3 months of this year, technology companies slashed nearly 60K U.S. jobs -- twice the number trimmed in the same period last year."
more employment data
Brian Monroe & Wayne T. Price _Florida Today_
MC Assembly lays off 53 in consolidation
"MC Assembly, a contract-manufacturing company in Palm Bay, laid off 52 people this week, company officials said Thursday... MC Assembly now employs 1,145 people... there is 'more work than we can handle. We have hired 250 people this year, and plan on adding 100 more.'... Florida Agency for Work-Force Innovation said Brevard's unemployment rate in May -- the latest numbers available -- fell to 3.7%, as the county gained 400 nonagricultural jobs during the month. The 3.7% rate in June was down from 3.9% in April. The last time Brevard's unemployment rate was lower than 3.7% was the 3.6% rate in 2001 July."
Julie Price _NACCB_
IT employment still suffers from extremely slow growth
"Employment of information technology (IT) workers grew by 8,200 to 3,594,100, which was a 0.23% gain from the previous month according to the newly developed IT Employment Index calculated by the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses (NACCB), the national trade association representing IT staffing and solutions firms that supply [bodyshops that abuse] America's IT talent... The employment data also reflects that of the nearly 3.6M IT workers, computer software engineers make-up almost one-quarter of all IT professionals, although their ranks have been declining lately as other IT occupations including computer system analysts and administrators make up an increasingly larger proportion of the IT work-force."
Enquirer 80 index up 0.87%
"The Enquirer 80 index of local interest stocks was up 2.40 points, or 0.87 percent, to close Friday at 276.91. Sixty-four issues were up, 13 were down and 3 were unchanged. Leading gainers were Gannett, up $1.44 to $72.40; Armor Holdings, up $1.17 to $40.90; Griffon Corp., up $1.15 to $24.97; Emerson Electric, up $1.06 to $63.84; Hillenbrand, up $1 to $51.18. Biggest laggers were LCA-Vision, down $3.17 to $45.35; Multi-Color, down 58 cents to $24.24; Frisch’s, down 50 cents to $25.15; Kendle, down 47 cents to $14.18; First Franklin Corp., down 36 cents to $15.59."
2005-07-08 14:26PDT (17:26EDT) (21:26GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
optimism lifted stock prices
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 146.85 points, or 1.4% at 10,449.14, putting in its best one-day gain in more than 2 months. This week, Wall Street's main market gauge climbed 1.4%. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 37.22 points, or 1.8%, to 2,112.88, taking the tech-rich index to its highest level in six months. Strong gains for semiconductor, networking and software stocks underpinned the move. On the week, the index rose 2.7%. The S&P 500 climbed 13.99 points to 1,211.86, with the broad gauge posting a weekly gain of 1.5%."
Jeremy Iggers _Minneapolis Star Tribune_
Faith & Values: Germany facing the future & past
"Decades earlier, Germany also opened its doors to millions of Muslims -- mostly Turkish and Kurdish guest-workers from Turkey, but also from the Arab world and the former Yugoslavia. The country that once proclaimed itself 'One People, [One Nation, One Leader]' is now faced with the reality of ethnic and cultural diversity. Each of the sub-groups that make up the new multi-cultural Germany presents social and political challenges -- whether it is the 16M former East Germans, or the 2M Russian-speaking ethnic Germans who have emigrated from the former Soviet Union, or the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Bosnia or Iran."
Melanthia Mitchell _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Scientists continue detailed study of Kennewick Man
"Researchers on Sunday offered details of their first comprehensive study of the 9K-year-old Kennewick Man, one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found in North America... Certain skull measurements, including the shorter face and less width across the cheek-bones, don't match that traditionally associated with Native American characteristics, said Dr. Douglas W. Owsley, a forensic anthropologist with the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC... the skeleton was found by 2 college students along the banks of the Columbia in 1996..."
2005-07-11 08:46PDT (11:46EDT) (15:46GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Top US trade official sees "progress" on US trade with Red China
"concerns remain about the openness of the [Red Chinese] markets to U.S. goods, the office of U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman said Monday... '[Red China] is a major beneficiary of the global trading system. Along with that comes responsibilities, including opening their market to our products and services just as we have opened ours.', Portman said, in a statement following a regularly scheduled U.S.-[Red China] trade meeting in Beijing."
Thomas Wagner _AP_/_Guardian_
London police searching thousands of surveillance tapes
"Police were poring over more than 2,500 closed-circuit television tapes Monday in search of anything - a man leaving a backpack on a subway floor, an anxious passenger - that could provide a break in the London bombing case. Since last week's attack, authorities have been collecting such tapes from traffic and transportation agencies, local authorities and businesses. Thousands of cameras monitor London's streets, trains and buses."
Vince Vittore _Telephony On-Line_
Out-source this!: US Cellular takes home-grown approach to customer care
American Workers Coalition
"Inside the cavernous building just off Illinois Route 53 in Bolingbrook, you occasionally can hear echoes. In the middle of a space that looks big enough to land a plane, U.S. Cellular is germinating what CEO John 'Jack' Rooney says is the call center of the future. Opened in May, the place from all outside appearances could pass as any modern call center. But take a deeper look and listen into the rooms that snake around the central core of the facility, and it becomes immediately apparent that this is not just any warehouse for customer service representatives (CSRs), or 'associates' in U.S. Cellular parlance. Entering into one room where about 15 soon-to-be customer care reps are in the middle of a four-week training regime, Rooney casually tosses out the phrase 'customers expect it'. Almost immediately and in unison, the class thunders back a room-rattling 'And we deliver!'... U.S. Cellular, which is majority owned by TDS Telecom, continues to expand customers service operations in the U.S... At the end of the first quarter, the company reported a churn rate of 1.5%, which is one of the lowest in the industry. 'Customer care is a core competency.', Rooney said... other facilities are in Knoxville, TN; Waukasha, WI; Cedar Rapids, IA; Tulsa, OK; and Medford, OR... The company looks instead at the percentage of times a customer care rep can resolve a subscriber's issue on the first call."
more from Vince Vittore in _Telephony Independent_
see also US Cellular merger
2005-07-11 16:36PDT (19:36EDT) (23:36GMT)
Stephanie I. Cohen _MarketWatch_
New FERC chair, Kelliher, looks at agenda
"The commission regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and wholesale electricity... Kelliher's agenda includes securing congressional authority to approve deals limited to transferring ownership of power plants, a review process that currently rests with antitrust agencies that typically do not intervene unless there is evidence of a monopoly, according to the chairman. 'Some of the transfers of generation facilities are enormous in size.', the chairman added, pointing to Duke Energy Corp., which last year sold power plants in the Southeast with an overall generating capacity of more than 5 gigawatts... In recent years, the commission has overseen the formation of a handful of regional transmission organizations, known as RTOs, in an effort to encourage utilities to turn over their transmission assets and join competitive wholesale markets. While RTOs are run as non-profit organizations, Kelliher worries they may be passing down substantial costs to customers."
Pricier Oil Won't Send US Economy Crashing
"The Conference Board reported its consumer confidence index rose to 105.8 in June, from 103.1 in May. The index is at its highest in 3 years. Attitudes about the current state of the economy led the increase, though the expectations index also rose. The percentage of consumers who said jobs were 'hard to get' fell to 22.6% from 24.1%, while the proportion saying jobs were plentiful remained at 22.9%. The board noted that June was the first time in 3 1/2 years that the percentage of consumers viewing jobs as hard to get did not exceed the number saying jobs were plentiful."
Scott Jaschik _Inside Higher Ed_
Cutting Tuition, Increasing Revenue
"Alberton has also seen its 'discount rate' (or the percentage of tuition revenue that is turned right back into financial aid) cut to 45% from 54% in 2 years, and the rate is expected to drop even more when the lower tuition rates apply to all students (Albertson kept the old rates in place for continuing students). That decline in the discount rate is why some colleges can make more money by charging less. Discount rates have gone up drastically over the last 15 years, according to data from NACUBO. Many colleges worry about the financial implications of their high rates, but fear that cutting aid could lose them students. And that's why some colleges end up thinking about major cuts. Diane Hutchinson, vice president and treasurer of Wells, said that the discount rate at her college was a major concern of trustees and accreditors. Before Wells cut its tuition by 30% in 2000, to $11,850, the discount rate was 59%... Four years later, enrollment is up substantially (and expected to grow more now that the college has become coeducational) and the discount rate is down to 41%... Muskingum cut its discount rate from 54% to 39% in the 3 years after it cut tuition by 29%, in 1996, to $9,850... "
Marty Lich _Michigan News_
More Bang for your Buck
"I will ask you all in complete sincerity, if illegal and legal immigration did not take away from your child's education in our public schools, if allowed illegal immigration did not strip you of your local hospitals that have closed due to un-reimbursed non-citizen patient care, if it did not add to your escalating health insurance costs, nor take away from your retirement future of Social Security, and lower your wage expectations, and if it did not overtax an already over-taxed system of welfare, would it bother you if illegal aliens, verified as not terrorist affiliated (and most are not) guest workers resided among you? I will be truthful here, I would not care. If my life, my job, my health care, my country and my child's education were not affected in the least, I would not even broach the subject. But today all those serious life needs in America are affected in a detrimental way. To me, this is the real issue at stake. Three basic items; my life, my country and my future. [OK so far, but then s/he goes off the deep end carrying on about every American needing to have a Socialist Insecurity Number - SIN - before being permitted to breathe.]"
Patrick Cox _Tech Central Station_
London government abuses over 500K surveillance cameras: over 1M in Britain
"Within moments of the 2005/07/07 bombings, English authorities were backing up data recorded by the half million surveillance cameras that monitor constantly London's streets, subways and other public places. Another million cameras, at least, are placed throughout Britain, and may help identify the perpetrators if it is determined that they commuted into London from outlying areas to plant the explosives."
2005-07-12 08:08PDT (11:08EDT) (15:08GMT)
Irwin Kellner _MarketWatch_
Car Wars: In spite of discounts, prices remain high
"Even at employee-discount prices, new cars and trucks aren't as affordable today as they were during the halcyon days of the early 1970s, when sales were at record levels compared with the size of the car-buying population... In 1974, the average new car cost an amount equal to less than 17 weeks of median family incomes. Car sales per 100 people in the 20-to-65 age bracket, to whom most vehicles are sold, reached a peak of 13. Then, Detroit was hit by the need to adapt to three new laws. Doing so sent production costs soaring. First, the car companies had to make their vehicles more fuel-efficient. This came in the wake of the quadrupling of oil prices in 1973-74. At practically the same time, Washington wanted cars to pollute less. This required re-working engines, mufflers and transmissions. Finally, the automakers were ordered to make their vehicles more crashworthy by installing heavier bumpers and adding side-door rails. This boosted the cost of materials. Generous labor settlements also added to the cost of production, as did higher prices for steel, copper, aluminum and rubber, during the inflationary years of the 1970s. Meanwhile, 'voluntary' export quotas on Japanese cars allowed domestic auto-makers to raise selling prices without fear of losing market share... By 1982, at the end of the 1981-82 U.S. recession, sales of cars and light trucks had sunk to a low of only 7.5 per 100 people in the main car-buying population... By 1985, they reached 11.5 cars per 100 people. Emboldened, Detroit continued to boost prices faster than household incomes. At their high point in 1994, car prices equaled nearly 26 weeks of median family incomes. As a consequence, car sales dropped back to 8.5 per 100... zero-interest financing...brought the ratio of prices to incomes down to 21 weeks. [N.B. From the 1960s through the 1980s -- especially in the 1980s -- auto manufacturers stepped up use of computers to try to cut design and manufacturing costs, and reduce materials. From WW2 to the present, cheaper and lighter plastics and alloys replaced the heavy metal and wood parts that had been used before.]"
Ventoro 2005 Off-Shore Out-Sourcing Report (pdf)
Duke Energy & Cinergy submit merger application to FERC
"Specifically, the combined company will create a stronger and larger portfolio of regulated utility businesses that will contribute a substantial percentage of stable earnings and enhance the financial strength of the combined company. The increased scale and scope will strengthen the balance sheet of the combined company, improving financial flexibility and positioning it well to meet future energy and infrastructure needs. As stated in the application, the combined merchant power operation, with a fleet of more than 16 gigawatts of unregulated generation, will benefit from increased fuel and market diversity. Consolidation of the trading and marketing units and Midwestern merchant generating fleets will enhance scale and efficiencies -- reducing the cost structure of the merchant operation and improving its ability to meet the needs of the competitive wholesale market. Further, the application [claims] that the combination raises no horizontal or vertical competition issues..."
2005-07-13 07:02PDT (10:02EDT) (14:02GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Trade deficit reduced 2.8% in May to $55.3G
"The deficit has stabilized after setting a record of $60.1G in February... The Commerce Department also revised the trade deficit for April slightly lower, to $56.9G from an initial estimate of $57G... exports rose 0.2% to $106.9G, with imports falling 0.9% to $162.2G... Exports [of civilian aircraft] fell 28.4% to $2.3G. Imports of goods alone fell 1.2% to $135.3G... Imports of consumer goods remained strong in May, rising 0.7% to $34.0G... The U.S. trade deficit with [Red China] widened to $15.8G in May compared with $14.7G in April and $12.2G in 2004 May..."
Oil import prices rose 7.6%, other import prices fell 0.4%
2005-07-13 15:27PDT (18:27EDT) (22:27GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Deficit forecast reduced to $333G for FY2005
Europe & Asia ousting USA from lead in science & engineering
"Richard Freeman, from the National Bureau of Economic Research in Washington, has published a paper showing that changes in the global job market for S&E workers are eroding US dominance in this field. This diminishes the USA's comparative advantage in high tech production and creates problems for American industry and workers in favour of the EU and Asian emerging economies. The USA has been the global leader in science and technology since World War II. With just 5% of the world's population, it employs almost a third of science and engineering researchers, accounts for 40% of research and development spending and publishes 35% of science and engineering research papers. The U.S. is the leading capitalist economy because it applies new knowledge in more sectors than any other country... The U.S. job market for graduates in science and technology fields at all levels has weakened, and deteriorating opportunities and comparative wages for young science and engineering graduates discourage U.S. born students to these fields."
Phyllis Schlafly _Eagle Forum_
CFR's plan to integrate USA, Mexico & Canada
"The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has just let the cat out of the bag about what's really behind our trade agreements and security partnerships with the other North American countries. A 59-page CFR document spells out a five-year plan for the 'establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community' with a common 'outer security perimeter'. 'Community' means integrating the United States with the corruption, socialism, poverty and population of Mexico and Canada. 'Common perimeter' means wide-open U.S. borders between the U.S., Mexico and Canada... This CFR document, called _Building a North American Community_, asserts that George W. Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin 'committed their governments' to this goal when they met at Bush's ranch and at Waco, Texas on 2005-03-23... A follow-up meeting was held in Ottawa on June 27, where the U.S. representative, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, told a news conference that 'we want to facilitate the flow of traffic across our borders'. The White House issued a statement that the Ottawa report 'represents an important first step in achieving the goals of the Security and Prosperity Partnership'... the CFR document calls for 'a seamless North American market' and for 'the extension of full labor mobility to Mexico'."
2005-07-13 13:00PDT (16:00EDT) (20:00GMT)
_Auto Web Log
Chrysler Salaried Employees Walk Out
"In a lunch-time rally organized by the UAW, 700 Chrysler designers and other professionals gathered to demonstrate their solidarity."
Selwyn Duke _American Thinker_
A tutorial on judging supremes
"there are only 2 types of judges in the world: good judges and bad judges."
2005-07-13 19:18PDT (22:18EDT) (2005-07-14 02:18GMT)
Stephanie I. Cohen _MarketWatch_
US House members rip CNOOC/Red Chinese government bid to buy Unocal
"U.S. law-makers voiced mounting opposition Wednesday to a proposed merger between [Red China's] CNOOC Ltd. and Unocal Corp., vowing to fight a transaction that many politicians have derided as a threat to national security... at a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, law-makers declared that an acquisition Unocal by a Chinese state-owned company would give Beijing access to a strategically vital asset. Critics said that would allow [Red China] to quicken the pace of efforts to modernize its military, representing a greater threat in Southeast Asia, especially against Taiwan... Additionally, 2 senators wrote a letter to President Bush Wednesday voicing concern about CNOOC's use of government subsidies to finance the offer... Of the more than 1,500 foreign takeover proposals that have come before it, the committee has only rejected one [Red Chinese]-backed bid."
2005-07-14 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 425,632 in the week ending July 9, an increase of 98,659 from the previous week. There were 444,531 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending July 2, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,410,668, a decrease of 4,566 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.2% and the volume was 2,720,765."
2005-07-14 07:36PDT (10:36EDT) (14:36GMT)
Retail sales up 1.7%
"May's overall sales were revised to a drop of 0.3% compared with the initial estimate of a 0.5% fall. Sales over the past two months were revised by a total of 0.5 percentage points... U.S. retail sales were up 9.6% in the past year, the Commerce Department said."
2005-07-14 07:54PDT (10:54EDT) (14:54GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
2005 June CPI generally flat: Core CPI up 0.1%
2005-07-14 07:58PDT (10:58EDT) (14:58GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _MarketWatch_
Companies reducing offering stocks to lower-level workers, increasing the trend toward shifting more rewards to execs and more of the risks to production workers
"More than 75% of 340 companies in the media, telecommunications and life-sciences sectors surveyed by Deloitte said they will reduce or already have reduced the number of stock options granted. Among those cutting back, 45% said reductions would be concentrated among the rank and file; 42% of public companies and 31% of private ones aren't offering any other benefit in return. Even employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs), which allow workers to set aside after-tax pay to purchase company shares at a discount, are losing some luster. Slightly more than half -- 51% -- of firms said they would lower the discount or shorten the look-back period, which provides workers with higher discounts in a rising market... Another 29% will conform to so-called safe-harbor rules to avoid [having] to expense the plans on their balance sheets and 8% said they'd drop their ESPP altogether... Most companies are considering alternatives [to block production workers from benefiting from stock plans], with 52% favoring time-vested restricted stock or units, followed by performance-vested restricted stock or units at 40%. Workers can cash them in as long as they're still employed at the company when the stock vests, either after a set date or upon meeting predetermined performance standards. [And with the long-term shift toward temping over long-term employment, this is a not so clever dodge to take the productivity of production workers and shift the benefits to the executive suites.]"
2005-07-14 10:21PDT (13:21EDT) (17:21GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Federal Reserve economist's report says labor force participation rates have not rebounded: US unemployment rates therefore under-state the problem
"The current low U.S. unemployment rate probably understates the true level of joblessness by 1 to 3 percentage points, the senior economist at the Boston Federal Reserve says. Millions of potential workers who dropped out [were pushed out] of the labor force during the recession 4 years ago have not returned as expected and are thus not counted in the official unemployment statistics, said Katherine Bradbury in a paper published by the Boston Fed."
Report from the Fed (pdf)
see also these graphs
2005-07-14 11:07PDT (14:07EDT) (18:07GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_/_ZD Net_
Tech sector lay-off announcements are down 33% from 2005 Q1
"the study, from employment services firm Challenger Gray & Christmas, cautioned that the pace of tech-sector down-sizing is still ahead of the rate a year ago. Companies in the telecommunications, computer, electronics and e-commerce industries announced 39,720 job cuts last quarter, down from 59,537 job cuts in the first quarter of 2005, according to the report. OTOH, the second-quarter figure was 16% higher than in the same quarter a year ago. And the 99,257 tech job cuts announced through the first 6 months of 2005 are 56% higher than the number of cuts recorded in the first half of 2004, the firm said... The average number of unemployed workers in nine high-tech categories fell by 64K last year but remained close to 150K, according to the Labor Department."
MarketWatch Weekend TV Show Preview:
"What's less than a half-inch long, implantable under your skin, and capable of relaying medical information? VeriChip. It's a tiny radio transponder that can store and transmit pertinent health data, such as allergies. With approval from the Food and Drug Administration, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson recently joined the board of the chip maker's parent company, Applied Digital (ADSX). The company sees huge growth potential, but opponents [note] the chip [is] used to track humans and [violate] privacy."
2005-07-14 13:07PDT (16:07EDT) (20:07GMT)
John Shinal _MarketWatch_
Tech lay-off announcements down about one third
"Tech companies announced 39,720 job cuts last quarter, 33% less than the 59,537 for the first 3 months of the year, Challenger said in a statement. The telecommunications sector showed the most improvement, with 76% fewer jobs eliminated. Still, tech firms eliminated nearly 100K jobs in the first half of the year, a rise of more than 50% from the same period in 2004."
2005-07-14 13:39PDT (16:39EDT) (20:39GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Nasdaq reaches new high for the year
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 71.5 points to 10,628.89, a 4-month high for the bench-mark index. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 8.71 points to 2,152.82 to end a fraction above its previous high for the year of 2,152.15, reached on 2005 January 3. The S&P 500 Index rose 3.21 points to 1,226.50, its highest close since 2001 July."
2005-07-14 15:49PDT (18:49EDT) (22:49GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Red China bill helps CAFTA win another vote
"A nod to worries about [Red China] on Thursday helped backers of the controversial Central American Free Trade Agreement pick up at least one vote in the narrowly divided House of Representatives. Representative Phil English of Pennsylvania, the only Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee to oppose the proposed agreement in a recent committee vote, announced Thursday that he would back the pact when it comes up for a vote on the House floor. 'I'm comfortable now voting for CAFTA.', English told reporters. He said '5 or 6' other House members may also be swayed by the bill, which faces stiff opposition from Democrats and some Republicans from sugar-, textile- and manufacturing-heavy districts... English was swayed after Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-CA, agreed to back separate legislation that would let the United States impose countervailing duties, a form of punitive tariffs, on non-market economies such as [Red China] [that rig money markets, abuse workers, and heavily subsidize nominally independent businesses]... The bill presented by House Democrats would also allow the United States to use countervailing duties against [Red China], and would require the U.S. Trade Representative to file a case within 90 days with the World Trade Organization challenging Beijing's longstanding peg of its currency to the U.S. dollar... Senators Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Lindsey Graham, R-SC, agreed earlier this month to delay a vote on legislation that would have imposed 27.5% punitive tariffs on [Red Chinese] goods unless the yuan currency was allowed to appreciate. The law-makers backed off after Treasury Secretary John Snow and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan assured them that [Red China] would move soon to loosen the peg."
K. Yatish Rajawat _Economic Times of India_
Indian government pushes international job hopping permit as end-run around US visa limits
"India plans to propose that workers' movement in the services sector be monitored by global work permits not covered under the current immigration or tourist visa quotas in the US and EU. The new global work permit will be issued to the employer, not the employee... If workers want to change their employer, they will have to come back and reapply for the work permit with the new employer... While most developed countries have signed GATS, and approved the free movement of people under Mode-3, they have not been able to frame regulations. In countries like France and Germany, where unemployment rates are at historic highs of 8-10%, the issue of free movement of workers has taken political overtones... Therefore, under GATS, countries like India are trying to delink the free movement of knowledge workers needed to work on projects from immigrants or low-wage workers looking for jobs."
Jonathan Tasini _Tom Paine_
The productivity problem
"For decades, workers' wages were tied to productivity. The idea was simple: When workers produce more -- either tangible products or services -- in an hour of work than before, they are being more efficient and, usually, that means more profit for a corporation. Historically, increased efficiency flowed to workers in the form of higher wages. Not anymore. The link between productivity gains and wages has been broken. Recently, the Economic Policy Institute showed that productivity has grown almost 3 times faster than wages since 2001. During that time, 70% of the nation's income growth has gone straight into corporate coffers as profits -- presumably to continue to finance staggering pay and benefits for executives -- a complete reversal from the previous 7 business cycles when 77% of the overall income growth went to wages. Although the theft of workers' sweat of the brow is even more obvious today, the erosion began about 3 decades ago... No matter how hard you work, you won't get a fair return on your labor." [Note that the site's banner-head says "Progressive insight and action.", a euphemistic version of radical leftist insight and action.]
Nicole Gaouette _Los Angeles Times_
Immigration over-haul seen as key to domestic security
"Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, portraying immigration policy as a vital weapon against terrorism, pledged Wednesday to tighten border security but also called on Congress to approve a guest worker program that would make it easier for foreign workers to enter the country legally [and continue to drive down domestic employment and compensation]... by linking the guest worker plan to calls for tougher border controls, the plan could mollify those conservative Republicans in Congress who had opposed such programs on grounds that enforcement must come first... [Tom Tancredo said,] ' They've taken our rhetoric, they're using the right words -- enforcement, security. What they're really describing is, ''if we make everybody legal, we'll have solved the problem of illegal immigration in this country.'' They use the right words, they just don't do the right thing.'"
Mayank Chhaya _Indo-Asian News Service_
Out-sourcing hurting USA as firms misrepresent numbers
"US firms frequently 'misrepresent' the true impact of out-sourcing jobs to countries like India even as the fate of America's workers is no longer part of corporate decision-making, says expert and author Ron Hira... Both US-head-quartered and foreign-head-quartered companies operating in the US are taking advantage of out-sourcing. So it is in their interest to present a bright picture (often false or misleading) of the impact of out-sourcing on US workers and America, Hira said. 'US CEOs are not compensated by how many US workers are on their pay-rolls, they are paid by how much they drive up their earnings. So, the companies and their lobbyists are acting rationally by advocating their position. The fate of US workers is no longer a part of corporate decision-making.', Hira told IANS in an interview... He cited the examples of IBM (leaked documents about expansion in India while cutting in Western Europe and America), Accenture [formerly Andersen Consulting before they were caught up in the Enron fraud] (plans to expand by 30K in [Red China], India and the Philippines) and Wachovia (announcing IT off-shore out-sourcing plan to its 3K workers)."
2005-07-15 07:18PDT (10:18EDT) (14:18GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index up from 96 in June to 96.5 in July
2005-07-15 07:34PDT (10:34EDT) (14:34GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Industrial output up 0.9% in June: Utilization rates up to 80%
Fed report & data
"Industrial production rose 0.9% in June, and at 119.7% of its 1997 average, it was 3.9% higher than its level in June 2004. The increase in June was the largest for the overall index since February 2004; a jump of 5.3% in the output of utilities... the production of computer and electronic products rose 0.7% in June..."
2005-07-15 07:47PDT (10:47EDT) (14:47GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US PPI flat: core rate fell 0.1%
"The PPI had dropped 0.6% in May while core prices increased 0.1%. Despite the mild reading in June, inflation accelerated on a year-over-year basis to 3.6% from 3.5% a month earlier. Yearly inflation peaked at 5.2% in November. The core PPI is up 2.2% on a year-over-year basis..."
Steven Musil _CNET_
Still trying to get back to work
"In another sign of a possible turnaround in tech employment, a report said job cuts announced by tech companies in the second quarter fell 33% from the first quarter. But the study cautioned that the pace of tech sector down-sizing is still ahead of the rate a year ago. Companies in the telecommunications, computer, electronics and e-commerce industries announced 39,720 job cuts last quarter, down from 59,537 job cuts in the first quarter of 2005. However, this second-quarter figure was 16% higher than in the same quarter a year ago... Millions of American television sets that receive only analog over-the-air broadcasts could go dark if not upgraded by 2009-01-01. That dead-line was suggested in a pair of hearings by members of the U.S. Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee... Under current law, analog television would be cut off on 2006-12-31, or when 85% of households are capable of receiving digital signals, whichever comes sooner."
Tim Gray _Internet News_
Brain drain in the tech world?: Many job prospects for computer science grads have been shipped over-seas
"Conducted by the Computing Research Association (CRA), a group of more than 200 North American universities and laboratories, the study shows a 19% drop in U.S. college students majoring in computer science... According to Knowledge at Wharton, the research resource publication of the University of Pennsylvania's business school, American companies have invested about $1.5G in IT business processing operations and call centers in India alone. Wharton expects that trend to continue, further affecting university programs. Ron Hira... Enrollment in computer science bachelor degree programs nationally plunged 19% in 2004, and the number of under-graduates majoring in the field dropped 23% overall, to 17,706. But, during the peak enrollment period in the late 1990s, the number of computer science majors had doubled since the 1970s, the CRA survey said."
David Lazarus _San Francisco Chronicle_
Privacy is easy to breach
"this episode under-lines how little effort is required in this info-rich age to identify and locate virtually anyone. You don't even need that person's name. This should alarm anyone who relies on a measure of secrecy for his or her well being, as well as all others who value their privacy. It also should serve as a wake-up call for legislators that existing privacy and national-security laws haven't kept pace with dazzling improvements in information technology. The intent of current laws might be to keep certain info under wraps. The reality is that nearly all data are exposed and accessible, there for the taking by anyone with a computer and a small measure of resourcefulness."
links to info about privacy
Bernie Ebbers' just deserts: It's good to see judges finally cracking down on white-collar crimes
"WorldCom chief executive officer Bernie Ebbers looked pitiful when he cried in court Wednesday after he was sentenced to 25 years in prison in an $11G fraud scheme. Yet he deserves no one's sympathy. He's a criminal who didn't use a gun to steal but caused immeasurable harm to thousands of people. The penalty fit the crime he committed."
Enquirer 80 index up 0.15%
"The Enquirer 80 index of local interest stocks rose 0.43 points, or 0.15%, in morning trading. The index stood at 278.19 at 11:10. Thirty-one issues were up, 44 were down and five were unchanged. Leading gainers were Cintas Corp., up $4.28 to $44.08, Pomeroy IT Solutions Inc., up $1.69 to $12.82; NB&T Financial Group Inc., up $1.53 to $24.75; Wellpoint Health Networks Inc., up $1 to $69.20; and Humana Inc., up 70 cents to $41.44. Biggest laggers were Federated Department Stores Inc., down $1.19 to $72.91; Cummins Inc., down $1.16 to $77.82; Gannett Co. Inc., down 77 cents to $71.92; Midland Co., down 67 cents to $35.25; and Smithfield Foods, down 65 cents to $26.68."
2005-07-15 14:03PDT (17:03EDT) (21:03GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
stocks posted 3rd week of gains
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 11.94 points at 10,640.83, a 4-month high. For the week, the benchmark index rose 1.8%. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.96 points at 2,156.78, with the tech-rich index putting in a gain of 2.1% for the week as it rallied for seven sessions in a row. The S&P 500 Index climbed 1.4 points to 1,227.92. The broad gauge put in a weekly gain of 1.3%."
Loren Steffy _Houston Chronicle_
The sins of Ebbers taint honest CEOs unfairly
"Why, it asked, do I so frequently criticize executive pay? The message caught my attention because the sender claimed to be a CEO who earned $100K a year, a fraction of the $11M Ebbers received in salary and bonuses for 2000. Presumably, the sender's board didn't guarantee him $400M in personal loans, either... Ebbers oversaw a criminal enterprise that defrauded investors and the markets as a whole... [Many CEOs] simply run their companies and try to build strong businesses. They follow the rules, even if they don't like some of them. They try to be fair to their employees, they work to keep their customers happy, and they're mindful of their investors."
David Radin _Pittsburgh Post-Gazette_
Verizon puts your privacy in precarious position
links about privacy
2005-07-16 11:47PDT (14:47EDT) (18:47GMT)
Rebecca Boone _AP_/_NewsDay_
Idaho County Sues Over Illegal Immigrant Workers
"Faced with the costs of coping with illegal immigrants, one county is looking to the courts for help -- by filing a racketeering law-suit against the businesses that hire these workers... 'Their presence lowers the labor wage for American citizens and removes employment opportunities.', county Commissioner Robert Vasquez, an ambitious politician who just started a bid for Congress, said of the illegal workers. 'Certainly it uses tax dollars to provide them with educational services, medical care, unemployment compensation for those that are injured on the job. They are a drain on the taxpayers of Canyon County, the state of Idaho and the U.S. in general.' The county's attempt to recoup its expenses would be filed under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly called the RICO Act... [Idaho has] 19K illegal aliens, and ranks 35th among the states, just above Rhode Island, according to estimates from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services... He estimates the county has spent at least $2M on costs related to illegal aliens... On the surface, Canyon County seems to have a solid case, said G. Robert Blakey, one of the authors of the RICO Act and a law professor at the University of Notre Dame."
How Costco Became the Anti-WM
"Street analysts assert that Mr. Sinegal is overly generous not only to Costco's customers but to its workers as well. Costco's average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42% higher than its fiercest rival, Sam's Club. And Costco's health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco 'it's better to be an employee or a customer than a share-holder'."
Paul Craig Roberts _Independent Media_
What kind of country destroys the job market for its own citizens?: America's descent into the third world
"Readers have sent me employment listings from US software development firms. The listings are discriminatory against American citizens. One ad from a company in New Jersey that is a developer for many companies, including Oracle, specifies that the applicant must have a TN visa. A TN or Trade NAFTA visa is what is given to Mexicans and Canadians, who are willing to work in the US at below prevailing wages. Another ad from a software consulting company based in Omaha, Nebraska, specifies it wants software engineers who are H-1B transferees. What this means is that the firm is advertising for foreigners already in the US who have H-1B work visas. The reason the US firms specify that they have employment opportunities only for foreigners who hold work visas is because the foreigners will work for less than the prevailing US salary. Gentle reader, when you read allegations that there is a shortage of engineers in America, necessitating the importation of foreigners to do the work, you are reading a bald faced lie. If there were a shortage of American engineers, employers would not word their job listings to read that no American need apply and that they are offering jobs only to foreigners holding work visas. What kind of country gives preference to foreigners over its own engineering graduates? What kind of country destroys the job market for its own citizens? How much longer will parents shell out $100K for a college education for a son or daughter who end up employed as a bartender, waitress, or temp?"
Dominic Rushe _Times of London_
Ebbers sentence is a warning for corporate crime
"Now, having been found guilty of orchestrating one of the largest corporate frauds in history, he faces one of the longest sentences ever meted out to a former chief executive. Ebbers joins the sentenced-to-jail list of other once-celebrated business leaders: Martha Stewart, Timothy and John Rigas of Adelphia, Enron's Andrew Fastow and Frank Quattrone of Credit Suisse First Boston... Like WorldCom, Enron's fall wiped out billions in savings for pensioners and workers. Unlike Ebbers, Lay sold shares in the company shortly before the collapse."
Barbara Rose _Chicago Tribune_
White-collar jobless blues
"For some professionals who lost their jobs in the 2001 recession, weeks of unemployment have stretched into years, forcing them to take 'survival jobs'... Laid off 2 years ago at age 62 from a bank vice president's job, he took the $7.50 per hour job because his health insurance was running out. He felt lucky to find it... [He] is one of hundreds of thousands of professionals who lost their jobs during the 2001 recession and its aftermath, a long jobless recovery. They were caught in an unusual economic down-draft, a period marked less by the sheer number of people thrown out of work -- 2.7M in all, or about 2% of the work-force -- as by unrelentingly high rates of long-term unemployment, economists say. While previous recessions hit less-educated blue-collar workers harder, this downturn took a greater toll on white-collar workers, who made up 44% of the long-term unemployed during 2001-2004, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute and National Employment Law Project. In 2005 June, long-term unemployment dropped below 20% of total unemployed for the first time in nearly 3 years... High-paying industries such as software, telecom and finance fueled the late 1990s boom, she said. 'In the down-turn, those same industries were the ones shedding jobs.'... 'That puts the long-term unemployed in an incredible bind.', said National Employment Law Project policy analyst Andrew Stettner. 'People who have been out of work longest are going to have a hard time getting back to work.', Stettner said... [In 2003 July] unemployment was near a 9-year high and 2M Americans had been unemployed for more than 6 months... The market was so glutted with tech workers in early 2002 that more than 500 resumes poured into a downtown bank in a single day after it announced information technology openings... Hoping to improve her chances, she's back in training for the third time since her lay-off to add yet another credential to her resume..."
2005-07-17 21:59PDT (2005-07-18 00:59EDT) (04:59GMT)
Mark Johnson _AP_/_USA Today_
Cornell/UC Berkeley study suggests ethanol not worth the energy
"researchers at Cornell University and the University of California-Berkeley say it takes 29% more fossil energy to turn corn into ethanol than the amount of fuel the process produces. For switch grass [i.e. to turn the grass into ethanol], a warm weather perennial grass found in the Great Plains and eastern North America United States, it takes 45% more energy and for wood, 57%. It takes 27% more energy to turn soybeans into biodiesel fuel and more than double the energy produced is needed to do the same to sunflower plants, the study found... The ethanol industry claims that using 8G gallons of ethanol a year will allow refiners to use 2G fewer barrels of oil... Michael Brower, director of community and government relations at SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry, points to reports by the Energy and Agriculture departments that have shown the ethanol produced delivers at least 60% more energy [than] the amount used in production. The college has worked extensively on producing ethanol from hardwood trees."
Whirlpool offers to buy Maytag for $1.37G
"Whirlpool Corp. has offered to buy fellow appliance maker Maytag Corp. for $1.37G in cash and stock, topping an earlier offer that Maytag had accepted from an investment group. Whirlpool said late Sunday that its offer of $17 per share for Newton, Iowa-based Maytag represents a 21% premium over the offer from Triton Acquisition Holding Company. Whirlpool would also assume Maytag's debt of $969M... But on June 20, Maytag said it was considering a preliminary $1.28G bid from Bain Capital, Blackstone Group and [Red China's] Haier America that valued Maytag at $16 per share."
2005-07-18 07:17PDT (10:17EDT) (14:17GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Capital in-flows to USA increased to $60G in May
"It was the strongest inflow since February's $79.6G. Inflows had slowed to $40.5G in March and $47.8G in April. Capital inflows are a prime method of financing the growing U.S. current-account deficit. The United States must borrow about $2G a day to cover the current-account deficit... Foreign central banks purchased $13.2G in long-term U.S. assets in May, up from $11.5G in April and compared to net sales of $14.4G in March. Central banks bought $6.8G in U.S. Treasury bonds and notes, or about half of April's $13.9G. Some central banks, particularly China, have been buying Treasurys to maintain a weaker currency relative to the U.S. dollar."
Treasury press releases
2005-07-18 13:35PDT (16:35EDT) (20:35GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Stocks snapped winning streak
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 65.84 points to 10,574.99, with the bench-mark index also posting its first loss in 4 sessions. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 11.91 points to 2,144.87, while S&P 500 Index dipped 6.79 points to 1,221.13 after ending the prior week at its best level in 4 years."
_McAll Morning Call_
Hillary Clinton, speaking to Hispanic group, advocates US tax-victims subsidizing education for illegal aliens
Dena Bunis _Orange County Register_/_Mississippi Sun Herald_
Tancredo immigration plan to change visas and border control
"Among other things, the sweeping legislation would eliminate such popular programs as the H-1B visa for foreign professional workers, institute a new single visa for skilled and unskilled workers and give the military authority to stem illegal immigration at the borders. Tancredo's guest worker program would not become effective until certain enforcement goals were met. Those include finding and deporting 80% of visa over-stayers within one year of their visas expiring, and deploying 10K more border patrol agents."
Ina Fried _CNET_/_TechRepublic_
Gates continues tech shortage propaganda
David Utter _Web Pro News_
Mamas Won't Let Their Babies Grow Up To Be Programmers
"Mr. Gates has been very vocal in his calls for raising H-1B caps, if not eliminating them altogether, to allow for the hiring of more foreign workers. Those calls have come in spite of MSFT's meager increase of 500 net jobs from 2003 to 2004, according to the company's SEC filings. HP reportedly will begin laying off thousands from its global work force, in a move widely reported last week. Analysts call for losses of 5K to 25K jobs. And IBM announced job cuts of some 13K positions worldwide. The New York Times later cited a confidential IBM memo stating the company was preparing to create 14K new jobs, though. In India. Numerous workers in the tech industry, particularly in California's Silicon Valley, have lost jobs and have no prospects of reentering the field. Many of those jobs move to low-wage countries paying a fraction of a US-based salary. If a number of C programmers with valuable experience can't find jobs, do new engineering graduates face better prospects?"
Stan Gibson _eWeek_
Out-Sourcing Violates Existing Agreements
Matthew Fordahl _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Hewlett-Packard to cut 14,500 jobs
Times of London
San Jose Mercury News
"Computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. on Tuesday said it will cut 14,500 jobs, about 10% of its full-time staff, as part of a restructuring plan designed to save $1.9G annually and boost business performance. The job cuts will occur over the next 6 quarters, the Palo Alto-based company said. Most of the job cuts will come in support functions -- such as information technology, human resources and finance -- and the rest will be made inside business units."
Mike Soraghan _Denver Post_
Tancredo bill counters Bush guest-worker plan
"Tancredo's measure, unveiled at a Capitol Hill news conference, would establish a 'guest worker' program that allows immigrant labor only when employers can show a need and would limit the workers' stay in the United States. It also says that the workers' children would not automatically become U.S. citizens. Besides making unlawful presence in the country a felony, the proposed legislation would fund a 'substantial' increase in border and immigration law enforcement. Also, employers who knowingly hire illegal workers could face jail."
2005-07-19 07:58PDT (10:58EDT) (14:58GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
CAFTA vote expected next week in House
2005-07-19 10:50PDT (13:50EDT) (17:50GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US housing starts steady
"Construction of new homes was unchanged in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.004M, the Commerce Department estimated Tuesday... Starts of single-family homes fell 2.5% in June to a 1.667M annualized rate. Starts on multi-family dwellings increased 14.2% to 337K. Building permits for new housing -- a signal of future activity -- increased by 2.4% to a 2.111M rate in June from 2.062M in May. Permits for single-family homes increased 1.3%, reaching 1.649M. Housing starts in May were revised slightly lower to a 2.004M rate from 2.009M estimated last month."
census bureau report
2005-07-19 13:31PDT (16:31EDT) (20:31GMT)
Alan Eisner _Red Nova_
Republicans introduced immigration bill
"All of the estimated 10M to 12M illegal aliens in the United States [estimates published or stated on the news have ranged from 8M to 16M] would have to leave the country under an immigration bill introduced on Tuesday by two conservative Republican senators. The bill by Arizona senator Jon Kyl and Texas senator John Cornyn is a tougher alternative to a rival bipartisan bill introduced two month ago that would allow some illegals to get jobs legally and eventually gain citizenship without leaving the country... The bill does envisage the creation of a guest worker program. But foreign workers would only be allowed to stay in the country for 2 years at a time for a maximum of six years, and would not be allowed to bring their families with them. At the end of 2 years, the workers would have to return home for at least a year before being allowed to return for a further 2 years."
Jo Best _Silicon.com_
Morale of techies has been falling in face of low compensation and off-shoring
"According to research from SWNA on behalf of e-learning firm SkillSoft, over half of all IT professionals don't feel valued at work and 70% don't feel their job reflects their true potential. The research also found that staff churn is higher among IT professionals than their colleagues, with 24% having changed their jobs in the last 6 months, compared to an average of 11% for non-IT workers. Yet IT professionals are still more likely to get promotions than their non-tech colleagues, with 23% of IT staff moving up the corporate ladder in the last 6 months compared with just 11% of non-IT staff."
Darryl K. Taft _eWeek_
Gates: My lack of spending on Computer Science education and training is "Kind of a Crime"
Hong Kong unemployment rate remains unchanged at 5.7%, but expected to drop to 5.2% before end of year
"The under-employment rate dropped to 2.8% from 3% in the two periods, the Census and Statistics Department said in a statement. Hong Kong considers a person under-employed if he or she works less than 35 hours a week."
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_/_Tech Republic_
Tech skills finally generating increasing compensation
"Though the value of application development, networking and systems administration skills declined in 2003 and early 2004, pay for those abilities has grown strongly in the past 12 months, said David Foote, co-founder of the research firm... Job postings on tech-focused Dice.com rose 26% between January 1 and June 1, with strong gains in eastern cities. And second-quarter job cuts at tech companies fell 33% from the first quarter. OTOH, the pace of tech-sector down-sizing is ahead of the rate a year ago... And the average number of unemployed workers in 9 high-tech categories fell by 64K last year but remained close to 150K, according to the U.S. Labor Department... Overall pay for 89 non-certified technical skills grew 3.8% in the first 6 months of 2005, and 4.9% for the 12 months ended July 1, Foote Partners said. For 87 certified tech skills, it rose 1.3% in the first half of this year and 3% for the 12 months ended July 1. [This doesn't mean much without a break-down of the 'skills' and pay for each.]"
Kim McCoy Vann _Tallahassee Demagogue_
FSU sued for rejecting $11M donation for chemistry research building
"A foundation that researches cures for cancer wants to stop Florida State University from backing out of a deal to build a new chemistry building on the campus. The MDS Research Foundtion filed suit last Thursday seeking an injunction to prevent FSU from returning an $11M donation from the company that would go toward the construction of the building. FSU and the foundation have an agreement that the new building would be used for the chemistry department and the foundation's research... MDS president and FSU professor, Robert Holton... Holton [and his grad students] invented [a way to synthesize] Taxol, a drug that has helped women fight breast cancer [and a related chemicals, some of which have also shown some promise against various cancers]. The university received $350M in royalties from the drug's manufacturer, according to the law-suit. MDS has been financed primarily from Taxol royalties and it has given FSU $11M to build the chemistry building. The state matched it by contributing another $11M. FSU also agreed to pay for 4 endowed faculty chairs for the chemistry department with $20M from its Taxol royalties, according to the suit."
REAL GUEST Act of 2005, HR3333
2005-07-19 22:00PDT (2005-07-20 01:00EDT) (05:00GMT)
Richard Poe _World Net Daily_
The Left vs. the Web
"Posting of full-length articles for discussion purposes has been a standard practice since the earliest days of the Internet. On 1997-09-12, however, the practice suddenly became controversial -- at least for FreeRepublic.com. The trouble began when a Freeper posted an article from that day's Washington Post, revealing new developments in the Chinagate scandal. The article cited intelligence sources accusing Indonesian businessman Ted Sioeng, a suspected agent for the [Red Chinese] government, of having donated $250K to the Democratic Party -- possibly as part of a broad [Red Chinese] plan, confirmed by electronic intercepts, to influence U.S. policy through illegal campaign contributions... The Washington Weekly identified Debevoise and Plimpton -- a law firm used by the Clintons and the Democratic National Committee -- as the coordinator of the attack... Hillary's attack machine bullied, black-mailed, terrorized and intimidated every serious investigator -- from journalists to federal prosecutors and independent counsels -- until they simply gave up. In many cases, Hillary's operatives carried out these attacks openly and in full sight of major media. No one blew the whistle. No one cried foul. No one stopped her... And so the Clintons got off the hook... not once, but many times. That the Clintons ruled by fear -- and that fear alone kept them in office -- has long been an open secret in Washington."
Bob Mims _Salt Lake Tribune_
Utah's job growth endures
"The Department of Workforce Services reported Tuesday that 57,800 Utahns, or 4.7% of the state's labor pool, were without jobs last month. That compared to 4.9% in May, and 5.3% for 2004 June... Utah job growth during June continued at a 3.3% -- the same as the previous month, and far out-performing the 1.7% pace of the country as a whole... 'Perhaps not everyone has the kind of job they would like, though... there is still evidence of under-employment, such as people who lost jobs in the high tech bubble burst.' During 2000-2002, Utah's tech work force shrank from more than 68K to 55K. Recent Workforce Services figures show tech employment hovering around 58K, still well short of the high-paying sector's better times."
Carolyn Said _San Francisco Chronicle_
Experts see HP lay-offs as sign of tech's vigor, not fall-off
"Michael Greeley, managing general partner of IDG Ventures, a billion-dollar venture capital fund in Boston... But he, along with a range of other industry experts, emphatically said the technology sector was not in its dotage. The key factors are technology's adaptability, evolution and its ability to constantly reinvent itself... It follows 4 years during which the nation's tech employment plunged from about 6.5M workers in 2001 to 5.6M in 2004, according to AeA, an industry trade [tech executive lobbyist] group in Washington, DC... Economics, a Mountain View firm that produces an annual snapshot of the region's economy for Joint Venture: Silicon Valley, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties produce $224K of value per employee; for the nation as a whole, the number is $85K. Silicon Valley's higher productivity 'generates per capita income and average wages much higher than the nation' -- but it doesn't create jobs, Henton said. Indeed, tech industry profits have been steadily growing since 2001, even while employment has continued to decline... Keith Benjamin, a partner at VC firm Levensohn Venture Partners in San Francisco... Perry Wong, senior economist at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica, noted that tech companies had been moving production over-seas and shedding slower-growth businesses for years, through good times and bad... the typical Silicon Valley cycle of forming new businesses, getting venture capital funding and selling to an established company..."
California senator Bill Morrow & staff on visit to Minutemen, is assaulted by protestors
"Senator Morrow rode down to Campo, CA, with Jim Gilchrist (founder of the Minuteman Project, Inc), a legislative aide and a CHP officer. There he met up with Jim Chase, organizer of the California Minutemen. As the Senator and his fellow patriots were heading out for a tour of the operation and to meet some Minutemen in the field, their vehicle was approached by a loud and angry gang of protestors. The protestors flooded into the street and surrounded the vehicle in which Senator Morrow was riding... They shouted racial epithets and baited Senator Morrow... These same protestors later assaulted another individual in the same location and stole his car keys... Later that same day...more protestors stormed the Campo VFW and attempted the same tactics with Senator Morrow's aide, Mark Belgen. The angry protestors screamed obscenities... using a bull horn, spit in his face... screamed at him, kicked dirt on him, and [kicked] him in the shins. Mr. Belgen has identified the individual who kicked him as University of California, Riverside, Ethnic Studies Professor, Armando Navarro... [Police failed to intervene.]"
Calls for Fall demonstrations show signs of a new direction: Putting protest back on the agenda
"Meanwhile, in California, the anti-[illegal-]immigrant bigots like the Minutemen are stepping up their activity. But a core of activists has come together to confront this threat, opposing the racists whenever and wherever they mobilize."
2005-07-20 10:22:38PDT (13:22:38EDT) (17:22:38GMT)
Joe Segura _Long Beach Press Telegram_
Dana Rohrabacher stepped up the tempo
"Now in his ninth term, the 58-year-old congressman has stepped up his political tempo somewhat during recent months, pushing issues that more and more differ from the Bush Administration's stances, including: Legalization of medicinal marijuana. Broadening stem-cell research. Resisting Bush's call to give 'guest-worker' status to [illegal aliens]. Opposing 'most favored nation' status for [Red China]... He wants the government to cut off [illegal aliens] and their children from access to any benefits, including health care... After the speech, the congressman said he would support a change in the Constitution to deny citizenship and benefits to children born to [illegal aliens]... 'Most of the illegals are workers, and they are not bad (people).', he said. 'We should use Christian charity. If we were there (in the impoverished countries), we'd be doing the same thing.' Rohrabacher said the country must not permit illegal immigration to go on. But he's also critical of employers who exploit [illegal aliens]. During an interview this week, the congressman said this has been his message all along... [Red China] is run by 'a group of gangsters', he said... 'You have to have free people on both sides of the equation.', he emphasized."
Ben Dobbin _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Kokak Is Cutting Up to 10K More Jobs, for a total of about 25K
"Eastman Kodak Co. said Wednesday it is cutting as many as 10K more jobs as the company that turned picture-taking into a hobby for the masses navigates a tough transition from film to digital photography. Kodak, which earlier targeted 12K to 15K job cuts by 2007, made its shock announcement of more job cuts as it swung to a disappointing loss for the second quarter in a row. It missed Wall Street forecasts by a wide margin, largely because of a steady slide in revenues from film and other chemical-based businesses."
David Utter _Web Pro News_
Apple takes a bite out of micro-computer market
"Apple shipped 1.182M Macintosh units and 6.155M iPods during the quarter, representing 35% growth in Macs and 616% growth in iPods over the year-ago quarter, according to a company statement."
Michael Bazeley _San Jose Mercury News_/_Silicon Valley_
Google expanding R&D in Red China: Hires former MSFT exec in Red China
"Google said Tuesday that it is opening a research and development office in [Red China] -- quickly drawing a law-suit from MSFT for hiring away one of that company's top [Red China] experts to lead the new effort. The R&D center, to be headed by former MSFT executive Kai-Fu Lee, will open sometime in the third quarter of 2005, the Mountain View search technology company said. Google would not say where in [Red China] the center will be located... Lee is widely known for his speech recognition and artificial intelligence work... Before MSFT, he worked in Silicon Valley, running a unit of Silicon Graphics called Cosmo Software and spending 6 years at Apple Computer... Google already has research centers in Mountain View; New York; Santa Monica; Kirkland, WA; Tokyo; Zurich and Bangalore."
2005-07-20 09:18PDT (12:18EDT) (16:18GMT)
Carla Sharetto _Nevada Daily News Central_
US Kids Healthier on Average but Problems Persist
Rockwell Automation to pay $180K for age discrimination
Alan Tonelson _American Economic Alert_
How CAFTA will quicken the race to the bottom for Central American workers
"Third world workers' lives won't be bettered significantly, and U.S. trade policy initiatives like CAFTA can't become win-wins for Americans and their trade partners, without radical fixes to U.S. trade policy. Tokenism like Portman's offering mocks the problem. But so does the longstanding mantra to include tough, enforceable worker rights provisions in the text of trade agreements. The labor surpluses in Central America and the rest of the third world are simply too big... Portman elaborated on the administration's plans to spend $20M already appropriated to strengthen the protection of worker rights in Central America and the Dominican Republic. That comes out to a grand total of $1.34 for every one of the DR-CAFTA region's nearly 15M workers, and speaks volumes about Portman's sincerity... Although all these facilities...are filled with advanced machinery, pay is rock bottom and working conditions are disgraceful. The median wage in Alcoa's Mexican plants is $1.22 per hour -- and that includes bonuses handed out for punctuality and extra food. Since prices for basics are relatively high along the U.S.-Mexico border where these factories are located, more than a fifth of the workers need to supplement their incomes by selling blood in U.S. border towns. Nor have Alcoa's workers been making progress over the years: their wages have long lagged inflation."
2005-07-20 11:18PDT (14:18EDT) (18:18GMT)
Gavin Clarke _Register_
On-Shore Programmers' Salaries Rose Along with Off-Shoring Fears
"IT workers are experiencing a minor uptick in their salaries as employers slowly realize that sending jobs to low-wage economies creates more difficulties than it solves... That approach means retaining on-shore those positions that require specialized knowledge of new technologies or processes that are unique to your company and sending over-seas less specialized skills, like code crunching. A new Foote Partners survey has found that, overall, salaries grew between 3.8% and 1.3% respectively for certified and non-certified individuals in the fields of application development, data-bases, enterprise software, networking and systems administration during the first 6 months of 2005. Salaries increased 4.9% and 3%, respectively, for the 12 months to July 1. For non-certified staff, operating systems led the field, growing 8.2% during the first 6 months, while knowledge of web technologies was top in the certified staff category, with salaries growing 3.8%. The increases follow a decline in pay of between 7% and 10% 18 months ago, in networking, databases and application development, according to Foote... US Bureau of Labor Statistics report last week of a 7.5% year-on-year increase in 'computer and mathematical' occupations - a category that includes programmers - to 3.2M. The Bureau pointed to increased demand for high-end programmers in new technology areas like web services and wireless... '[Employers] are demanding more industry-specific experience to go with tech skills mastery. They're also searching for workers with... specific experience within a particular industry...'"
2005-07-20 13:22PDT (16:22EDT) (20:22GMT)
Leslie Wines _MarketWatch_
Nasdaq hits highest close in 4 years (i.e. since 18 monts after this depression started, and since 17 months after the stock crash of 2000 March)
"The Nasdaq composite turned positive for 2005, rising 15.39 points to 2,188.57. The close also marked the composite's highest finish since 2001-06-08. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up 42.6 points to 10,689.2, and the S&P 500 gained 5.85 points at 1,235.20. Volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 1.57G shares, with advancing stocks out-numbering decliners by two-to-one. About 1.98G stocks traded in the Nasdaq market."
2005-07-20 18:15PDT (21:15EDT) (2005-07-21 01:15GMT)
David Callaway _MarketWatch_
Sandy Weill proves you can take it with you, while Citi share-owners wonder where it went
"Proving once again to share-holders and small investors that perks and power trump cold hard cash every time on Wall Street, the saga of Sandy Weill's 'retirement' hit the business pages this week... Weill has apparently decided to launch a buyout fund, and wants to get started before next year. But Citi's board is refusing to honor some of the perks in his retirement package if he intends to start what could be a rival business. Those perks include the use of the company's corporate jets as well as a personal security detail for the rest of his life... Citi share-holders would probably rather see him packed off as soon as possible... And it didn't help that Phil Purcell ducked out the back door at Morgan Stanley, a torch-carrying mob on his tail, with a cool $62M in his pocket. In fact, almost as if on cue, Grasso appeared on CNBC for the first time in almost two years on Wednesday to remind everybody that he's still fighting for his $180M package. Let the rehabilitation begin. The truly sad thing is that rather than joining shareholders to express outrage over the size of these packages, many CEOs will see these head-lines and wonder why their own deals are so skimpy by comparison."
2005-07-21 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 369,503 in the week ending July 16, a decrease of 57,481 from the previous week. There were 394,372 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending July 9, an increase of 0.2 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,631,385, an increase of 220,570 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.3% and the volume was 2,894,749."
2005-07-21 07:14PDT (10:14EDT) (14:14GMT)
Steve Goldstein & Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Red China takes first tentative step toward letting value of yuan float
"In a statement the People's Bank of China said it is dropping its yuan-dollar peg in favor of one vs. a basket of currencies. The government also lifted the value of the currency by more than 2%... [Red China] said it's adjusting the exchange rate to 8.11 yuan per dollar; overnight, the dollar traded at 8.2765 yuan overnight."
Congressional delay on border reforms is a sucker punch for Arizona and the nation
"workplace enforcement... those working here illegally could remain after paying a fine... mandatory departure program... felony to be in the country illegally... illegal immigration is a serious national concern. Congress needs to deal with it now."
Guillermo I. Martinez _Sun-Sentinel_
Check your hind-sight: Mara Salvatrucha
Stephen Dinan _Washington Times_
DeLay wants safe borders first
"the House will produce another immigration and border security bill this Congress and will have to pass that bill before turning to a guest-worker program. The Texas Republican also said he will act as traffic cop on the issue, coordinating competing bills that have been introduced in the House and working with the White House and the Senate to plan strategy."
Kenneth Blackwell & Arthur B. Laffer _Wall Street Journal_
Rising taxes and government spending in Ohio further impair economic growth
"In 1970, Ohio had one of the lowest tax burdens in the Union -- it now has one of the highest... Since 1970, Ohio's share of the nation's personal income has declined from roughly 5.3% to under 3.8% today. In the first quarter of 2005, Ohio had the fifth highest unemployment rate in the U.S. at 6.2% versus the overall unemployment rate of 5.3%... With falling relative incomes, high unemployment and poor job growth, it is no wonder that... State-to-state migration shows Ohio losing residents, while total population growth of 0.2% ranks it a dismal 47th in the nation."
2005-07-21 17:03PDT (20:03EDT) (2005-07-22 00:03GMT)
Stephanie I. Cohen _MarketWatch_
Law-makers approve electricity regulation changes
"A plan to reform the electricity sector, bolster reliability of the U.S. power grid, and upgrade transmission lines was approved by House and Senate lawmakers on Thursday to be included in a broad energy package. The law-makers delayed for acting a controversial proposal that would require electric utilities to produce 10% of generation from renewable energy sources, saying they continue to work on a compromise. The agreement on electricity provisions would repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 law aimed at restricting industry mergers, require utilities to adopt mandatory reliability standards for the electricity grid, provide incentives to upgrade transmission infrastructure, and increase penalties for manipulating power markets. The repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act eliminates a 70-year old consumer protection law that prevents utility holding companies that span across states from diversifying out of the utility business, or from siphoning money away from utilities for distant parent companies, clearing the way for increased merger activity in the utilities sector... federal regulators are authorized under the proposal to create an electronic system to provide market participants and consumers with regularly updated information about the availability and price of wholesale electric energy and transmission services. Additionally, the legislation would result in new federal rules aimed at protecting the privacy of consumers from companies that disclose consumer information obtained from the sale or delivery of energy."
2005-07-21 18:05PDT (21:05EDT) (2005-07-22 01:05GMT)
Alison McCook _Reuters_
High-Protein Diets Curb Appetite
Macon Georgia Daily
"low-carbohydrate diets appear to work because they force people to eat more protein, which consequently suppresses the appetite, not because of a lower carbohydrate intake, according to new study findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. These results suggest that it's not necessary for people to cut back carbohydrates to lose weight, according to Dr. Arne Astrup of the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen, who wrote an accompanying editorial. Protein appears to encourage people to eat fewer calories overall, Astrup noted, so if people simply increase their intake of protein, that should help them lose weight... Previous research shows that low-carbohydrate diets, typically high in fat and protein - are effective, the authors report, but so are low-fat diets... People reported feeling less hungry on the calorie-controlled, high-protein diet. When they continued the diet but could eat consume as many calories as they wanted, they took in nearly 450 fewer calories per day and lost almost 5 kilograms (11 pounds). Astrup explained that protein helps people lose weight because, 'calorie for calorie', protein makes people feel fuller than carbohydrates or fat... SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005 July."
2005-07-22 04:45PDT (07:45EDT) (11:45GMT)
Peter Cohen _MacWorld_
G-RAID 1000 offers a terabyte of disk storage
2005-07-22 06:40PDT (09:40EDT) (13:40GMT)
Kimberly-Clark to lay off 6K, sell &/or close 20 plants
Katherine Reynolds Lewis _Newhouse News Service_
US Workers Must Differentiate Skills to Compete Globally
American Economic Alert
"'The enormous glut of labor we see in [Red China's] market today is not going to dissipate for decades.', said Alan Tonelson, research fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council, which represents small- and medium-sized manufacturers. 'On [Red China's] heels in terms of worker availability, you've got Indonesia, VietNam and even India... Throughout the Third World, you see enormous un-employment and also under-employment [which have been shifting to un-employment and under-employment and lower compensation in the USA].'... From 2001 to 2003, Labor Department statistics show, 5.3M Americans were displaced from jobs they had held for at least three years. As of 2004 January, only 65% were re-employed, and 57% of those were earning less than in their previous positions."
Todd Bishop _Seattle Post-Intelligencer_
MSFT recruited 4400 worldwide, 1388 in the Puget Sound area in the last year
"But more than half that employment growth occurred outside the United States. MSFT added about the same number of people in the Puget Sound region -- 1,388 in all -- as it did the year before... But it's not the first time the company has added more employees outside the United States than inside in one year. The same pattern also emerged in 2003, according to company data... MSFT now employs about 29,400 people in the Seattle region, about 48% of its total worldwide employee base, which now stands at about 61,500 people [3K or 4K fewer than Control Data Corporation employed at its peak]... The addition of 4,400 people worldwide represents a boost of 68% in the company's annual hiring rate. MSFT had added about 2,600 employees in the previous year. The company says it plans to add a net total of 4K to 5K new employees worldwide in the coming year... Google, for example, added more than 400 employees in the first 3 months of this year -- rapidly boosting its work force by more than 15%... The rate of people who accept jobs after they're offered by MSFT remains above 90%."
Alan Dove _Genomics & Proteomics_
The Very Model of a Modern Model Genome
"'We provide a web interface that enables people to do lots of complex queries without being computer scientists.', says Jannan Eppig, PhD, principal investigator for the Mouse Genome Informatics Database.... Linking the information together and keeping it current requires a small army of curators, usually full-time workers with extensive knowledge of the relevant literature. Besides providing employment for many of the surplus PhDs on the job market, curation ensures the quality of information in the data-bases..."
Iain Ferguson _Ziff Davis_
Australian information and communications technology salaries up less than average and unemployment is up
"The Australian Computer Society said a survey conducted by the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA) revealed average salaries for ICT employees rose by an average of 3.8% for the period -- slightly above the increase in the consumer price index (CPI) but just below the rise in Australian average weekly earnings. The ACS also said the survey found unemployment in the sector stood at 7.2%, above the Australian Bureau of Statistics's national unemployment figure of 5.1%."
Tom Tancredo _Epoch Times_
A Closer Look Into Red China
"I remember when we had a debate in the Congress of the United States about Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with [Red]China and I was opposed to it, and I still am... The fact is of course that there are benefits and there are hopes that arise out of the fact that the [Red Chinese] economy is prospering quickly but there are also some down sides... this 56 year old death grip that the Chinese Communist Party holds on the levers of political power in China is one of the longest running of any political party in modern history... beneath the rosy reports of [Red China]’s rapidly growing economy, discontent among the Chinese people is also growing and the [Red Chinese] leaders know it... Protesters are fed up with the official corruption and lack of accountability from party officials. Now China has suffered a series of such protests in the vast, poor countryside, home to more than eight hundred million people, who have largely failed to share in the country’s economic boom. Protesters are beginning to complain more frequently about incompetent or corrupt local governments, the seizure of farmland for real estate development, pollution and other problems. Unfortunately we rarely read about these developments in Chinese state run media, or in the American business publications giddy with Chinese fever... Many Americans are disturbed and surprised that such nationalistic saber rattling plays well in China. They fail to understand however that whereas despite China’s recent economic growth most Chinese people remain closed off from much of the Western world. American companies often assist the Chinese governments to keep it that way. And that’s what I was saying about the downside of this great economic boom and the PNTR because we have provided China with not only the market for the consumer goods that it produces but we have also provided China with the technology to control the population to a greater extent than it has ever been able to do so... [The Red] Chinese version [of MSFTN] blocks words and subjects that Beijing considers subversive .. Cisco producing technology that will allow a way for the [Red Chinese] government to more carefully and effectively monitor the actions of its people... The communist party in China is also making major investments in military build ups... reports of Chinese officials quitting the communist party are certainly good news; and members of the party throughout [Red China] quitting the party. The proponents of democracy in China need help from friends of freedom around the world people who stand for a democratic Taiwan and people who stand for human rights... I believe with all my heart that one of the most dangerous games we can play in the world in a foreign policy arena are those games that encourage and are based on ambiguity; so that no one really knows what your intentions are, no one would know what you would do under any particular circumstances, the United States or anyone else. I think that this is dangerous. I think it leads to other countries testing, constantly testing, constantly pushing, constantly messaging, and trying to figure out just how far they can go and that’s a dangerous thing. And I think the common sense approach is to be quite clear in our foreign policy with [Red China] and the rest of the world as to exactly what we would do... what is best for the corporations is not necessarily best for our freedom and security in this country."
Enquirer 80 index up 1%
"The Enquirer 80 index of local interest stocks was up 2.79 points, or 1%, to close Friday at 281.42. Sixty-one issues were up, 14 were down and 5 were unchanged. Leading gainers were Multi-Color Corp., up $3.80 to $25.98; Cummins, up $2.57 to $86.11; Midland, up $2.22 to $38.09; NS Group, up $1.79 to $41.20; Meridian Bioscience, up $1.04 to $22.11. Biggest laggers were Armor Holdings, down $1.18 to $39.90; Barr Pharmaceuticals, down 78 cents to $46.12; LCA-Vision, down 64 cents to $42.58; International Paper, down 27 cents to $31.59; Frisch's Restaurants, down 15 cents to $25.10."
2005-07-22 13:27PDT (16:27EDT) (20:27GMT)
Leslie Wines _MarketWatch_
Stocks squeak to higher close
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 23.4 points at 10,651, while the Nasdaq composite rose 1.14 to 2,179. The S&P 500 closed up 6.64 points at 1,233, drawing support from strong earnings from oil services companies. For the week Dow Industrials posted a 0.1% rise from its week-earlier close at 10,640, while the Nasdaq composite rose 1% from its prior week finish at 2,156. The S&P 500 advanced 0.5% from 1,227 a week earlier. There were 1.3G stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange Friday, with advancers outpacing decliners by 2 to 1. About 1.7G stocks moved in the Nasdaq market."
Mitch Wagner _Information Week_/_CMP_/_UBM_
Kids Aren't Getting into IT Because the Employment Prospects Are Dim
"This is spoken like a man who was born well off, attended Harvard, and became the wealthiest man in the world. He's never had to work for someone he disliked, wondered where his next meal is coming from, or had to stand in the rain waiting for a bus (to paraphrase something once said about science fiction writer Larry Niven, born the heir to an oil fortune). Kids these days are worried about money and survival, in a way that we haven't seen since before the baby boom... fewer employers are offering IT students summer internships and part-time jobs this year... Why aren't more kids entering IT? It's because they, quite reasonably, don't know if there'll be any jobs for them when they graduate. That's easy to figure out, unless you're the richest man in the world."
Michael Van Winkle _Illinois Policy Institute_/_Illinois Leader_
Illinois's Lingering Jobs Deficit and How to Fix It
"federal tax receipts are booming this year, up 14% over last year... it is an indelible sign that the national economy is on the way up... The 2003 cuts to capital gains and dividends taxes spurred business investment and drove corporate income tax collection in Illinois up 12.3%. Personal income tax revenue rose 7.7% and sales tax revenue 4.2%... At the end of 2005 May we were still 52K jobs short of 2001 May numbers. Over the same 4 years the national economy has grown by more than 5M jobs... the City of Chicago passed substantial tax increases on sales, hotels, and tobacco. Meanwhile, the State has only raised a few taxes but mostly a ton of fees in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. On the spending front, Illinois has given tax dollars to particular corporations such as Target ($1M) and Hospira ($3M) in the name of job creation..."
Adam Entous _Reuters_
Trade with India and Red China
"Just over an hour after the White House's surprise pledge to help India develop its civilian nuclear power sector, the head of General Electric, the American company that could benefit most from the policy change, sat down for a celebratory dinner. The host was President Bush; a few feet away was India's prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and his top aides. GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt, a contributor to Bush's presidential campaigns, had a coveted seat at the president's table... Bush also invited Lockheed Martin Corp. chief Bob Stevens and Boeing Co.'s new chief executive, James McNerney. Bush cleared the way in March for the two defense contractors to compete for a potential $9G market selling combat planes to India. GE makes jet engines for Lockheed and Boeing...Washington actively promoted nuclear energy cooperation with India from the mid-1950s until the nuclear test in 1974. U.S. nuclear cooperation and exports were later halted, freezing out GE, which built the Tarapur reactor in 1963 and supplied it with low-enriched uranium as fuel... Earlier this year, the Export-Import Bank gave preliminary approval for $5G in loans to help British-owned Westinghouse Electric Co. and other U.S. suppliers win contracts to build four nuclear power plants in [Red China]."
_AP_/_Columbia Daily Tribune_
Lay-off trend worries USA industry experts
"'We won't know till afterwards, but I do think we may be seeing a tipping point in the economic cycle that these big lay-offs are flagging.', said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based employment research firm. 'I think it's a sign that leaks are breaking out.'... U.S. corporations announced plans in June to cut 110,996 jobs - the highest monthly total in 17 months - and July's toll could turn out to be steeper. Overall job cuts are on the rise in 2005, reaching 538,274 through June, according to Challenger's monthly job-cut analysis. Suffering its third-straight quarterly loss, Kodak upped its job-slashing target to 22K to 25K on Wednesday from an earlier range of 12K to 15K. By mid-2007, its worldwide pay-roll should level out below 50K, one-third what it was in 1988."
8.63M cases of personal data loss found at 423 financial institutions in Japan
Can America restore its industrial self-sufficiency?
"The wealth that the US achieved in the early 20th century has been eroded by encouraging other countries to build their industrial base while not taking care to insure a domestic industrial future for ourselves. This has been extensively documented and is evidenced by 30 years of trade deficits and the largest ever recorded trade deficit of $617G last year and a current account deficit of $665G - the US simply does not produce what it needs to sustain itself... Take the best that other countries have to offer and refine it with our own experience and objectives."
2005-07-25 00:47PDT (03:47EDT) (07:47GMT)
Jim Abrams _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Executive branch makes final push for CAFTA as ratification struggle continues in the House
"The 6 countries of the Central American Free Trade Agreement altogether do about as much trade with the United States as The Netherlands. But rarely has a trade deal been more controversial or an administration staked so much on approval. The House is to vote this week on CAFTA, and despite months of intense effort by President Bush and his trade officials, the out-come is unclear... Also spreading that message are U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns... Gutierrez in the past three months has held more than 200 meetings with individual law-makers, participated in 300 conference calls and conducted 120 media interviews, his office said... the agreement doesn't adequately protect worker rights in the impoverished region and previous trade agreements have helped send jobs out of this country."
2005-07-25 07:10PDT (10:10EDT) (14:10GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Existing-home sales increased 2.7% in June to 7.33M, even as prices leap
"Sales of previously owned homes rose 2.7% in June to a record seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.33M, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. Sales were up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis... May's sales were revised higher to 7.14M from 7.13M reported earlier."
Todd Bishop _Seattle Post-Intelligencer_
Washington state job market finally showing some signs of life
"Total annual employment growth for the state's software publishing industry is still about half the annual increase achieved at the economy's 2000 peak... 'This year was much more like 1999 and the spring of 2000 than anything else in recent memory.', said UW computer science professor Ed Lazowska. He said many students graduating from the program received multiple job offers or transferred directly from internships into permanent positions."
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Red China-Mart Takes Over
"The money is being lent to us mainly by Asians, especially the Chinese. [Red China] has so many dollars to lend to us because we send so many dollars to [Red China] to pay for the goods and services that patriotic American corporations have decided to supply to us from [Red China] instead of from America. US corporations decided that the way to get rich was to destroy their American consumer base by closing their American factories, throwing their US employees out of work and hiring Chinese instead."
2005-07-25 10:14PDT (13:14EDT) (17:14GMT)
Rachel Koning _MarketWatch_
Moody's study links excessive CEO compensation with credit risks
"Companies that sweeten executive compensation with unusually large bonuses or options plans tend to have deeper and more frequent credit downgrades and higher bond-default rates than those that don't offer such plum packages, according to a Moody's Investors Service report. Variation in CEO base salaries didn't predict credit risk alone, the study also found... Moody's found that of the 43 companies rated 'B3' or higher that defaulted between 1993 and 2003, 22 offered their CEOs much-larger-than-expected bonuses or stock-option grants or both at least once. Of the 214 that experienced large down-grades -- that is, 3 or more ratings notches within 12 months -- CEO compensation was higher than expected in 140 cases. Some 50 of those finished in the top 10% for plan generosity across their industries. Moody's sees three possible correlations between excessive compensation and default risk: excessive compensation may be indicative of weak management oversight by the board of directors; large pay packages that are highly sensitive to stock price or operating performance may induce greater risk-taking by managers; and large-incentive pay packages may lead managers to focus on accounting results, which may divert management attention from the underlying business or, at worst, create an environment that ultimately leads to fraud."
2005-07-26 04:51PDT (07:51EDT) (11:51GMT)
DBM links most USA job losses in 2004 to specific business changes
"Significant organizational transitions, implemented by employers in order to gain market-place advantage, align work-force needs with strategic initiatives, and address changing customer needs, remained the primary reason for job loss among American workers for the fourth consecutive year... Study shows that almost 30% more Americans lost their jobs in 2004 compared to 2001 because of down-sizing resulting from transitions such as mergers, acquisitions, reorganization, and restructuring... More individuals found new jobs at higher salaries last year, up 7% from 2003. Managers and professionals who lost their jobs received 3 weeks less severance pay in 2004 compared to the previous year... In 2001, 64% listed down-sizing, mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring as the primary cause of job loss. This number rose to 75% in 2002 and 79% in 2003..."
Consumer Confidence Index Down on Job Worries
BMO Nesbitt Burns
"The Conference Board said Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 103.2 from a revised 106.2 in June. The July figure was worse than the 106.2 analysts expected. In May, the index rose to 103.1 from April's 97.5... Consumers saying jobs are 'hard to get' rose to 23.8% from 22.5% [and 24.1% in May, 25.7 in 2004 July], but those claiming jobs are 'plentiful' remained at 22.5% [22.9% in May, 19.7% in 2004 July]."
Brendan Miniter _Wall Street Journal_
Uncle Sam's Tuition Bill: Breaking the culture of dependancy on campus
"The federal government first got involved in the student loan business on the grounds that, left to their own devices, rational lenders wouldn't offer loans to college students. Who'd lend money to somebody with no job, no visible means of support except mom and dad, and thousands of dollars in annual expenses? Well, the answer is just about every bank out there, as credit card company reps patrolling campus will attest... The government also guarantees private banks that they will turn a profit on student loans no matter how low interest rates fall... This year the federal government will make more than $70G in financial aid available by guaranteeing loans, lending money directly to students, or handing out grants. Pell Grants alone will cost more than $13.4G next year as 5.4M students will receive direct government funding (1M more than when President Bush took office in 2000)... Congress itself is primarily responsible for isolating academia from normal consumer pressure by shielding most students (and their parents) from the true cost of higher education. That's why schools can keep ratcheting up tuitions beyond what any middle class family can reasonably afford to pay -- because they know tax-payers stand ready to take up the slack... Congress is a long way from recognizing its own gigantic role in distorting the tuition market and driving prices out of sight."
2005-07-26 07:11PDT (10:11EDT) (14:11GMT)
Irwin Kellner _MarketWatch_
Economic speed bump: Corporate America is slimming down by dumping more production workers
"A funny thing happened on the way to solid economic growth over the next few quarters: a sudden spurt in lay-offs. Corporate America is doing what comes naturally: cutting staff. One after another, America's behemoths have announced that they plan to slim down. In just the past two weeks alone, job cuts totaling around 90K have been announced by the likes of Sprint, Nextel, International Paper, Hewlett-Packard, Northwest Airlines, Kodak, Ford and Kimberly-Clark. To put this figure in perspective, June's announced lay-offs reached 111K - the most in 17 months, according to the out-placement firm of Challenger Gray &Christmas... job creation still remains well below historical norms for this point in an economic expansion."
2005-07-26 11:38PDT (14:38EDT) (18:38GMT)
Stephanie I. Cohen _MarketWatch_
Energy bill targets CNOOC bid to buy Unocal
"Under current U.S. law, the Committee on Foreign Investments, known as CFIUS, can screen acquisitions of U.S. assets by companies controlled by a foreign government to gauge national-security impacts. But the energy bill currently being debated would give the Energy, Defense, and Homeland Security Departments 120 days to first complete a study assessing [Red China's] pursuit of world energy supplies and its affects on US economic and national security, a spokesman for Pombo said. CFIUS would then be required to wait three weeks following the completion of the study before making a recommendation to the president on whether the CNOOC acquisition might threaten national security."
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
US Falling Behind Across the Board
"Alas, according to Manufacturing & Technology News (2005 July 8), so much manufacturing capability has already left the US that American nanotechnology capability is largely limited to pilot-scale, low-volume manufacturing. In testimony before the House Science Subcommittee on Research, Matthew Nordan of Lux Research, Inc., said that any American nanotech ideas are likely to 'be implemented in manufacturing plants on other shores'. Nordan says that in some fields of nanomaterials 'the manufacturing train has already left the station'. The US may even be falling behind in generating nanotech ideas. Last year [Red China] led the world in nanotech research, producing 14% more research papers than the USA. Even South Korea and Taiwan spend more per capita on nanotech R&D than the USA... Every major trading partner of the US, including every other OECD country and [Red China], relies on border-adjusted taxes that abate taxes on their exports to the US, while taxing US goods imported from the US. This discrimination is reinforced by the US tax system, which imposes no appreciable tax burden on foreign goods and services sold in the USA but imposes a heavy tax burden on US producers of goods and services regardless of whether they are sold within the US or exported to other countries."
Joris Evers _CNET_/_Tech Republic_
Zimmermann -- creator of PGP and PGPfone -- to unveil VOIP protection
"Phil Zimmermann plans to unveil a project that uses crypto to secure VoIP calls at the Black Hat security conference... Zimmermann has developed a prototype of an Internet telephony application that encrypts calls to prevent eaves-dropping... Within the next two years, 97% of new phone systems installed in North America will be VoIP-based or will use a combination of traditional and VoIP technology, according to research firm Gartner. Cisco claims to have sold some 5M VoIP phones to customers throughout the world."
Dawn Kawamoto & Ina Fried _CNET_/_Tech Republic_
Apple announced new, improved iBook G4s and Mac Minis
"Between the 2 products, Apple's iBook G4 line features the most changes, including a scrolling TrackPad and sudden-motion sensor that protects the hard drive if the iBook is dropped. The new iBooks feature Power PC G4 processors running at up to 1.42GHz, with double the memory at 512MB. In addition to increased memory, the new iBooks offer built-in AirPort Extreme -- 54mbps 802.11g Wi-Fi networking -- and Bluetooth 2.0 wireless connectivity. The wireless features also are compatible with Bluetooth 1.2 devices, such as Apple's wireless key-board and mouse. The iBook with 12-inch screen and a 1.33GHz PowerPC G4 costs $999, while the model with a 1.42GHz chip and a 14-inch screen is $1,299."
Ron Paul _Lew Rockwell_
The Police State Act: A Report
2005-07-27 07:00PDT (10:00EDT) (14:00GMT)
Contingent and alternative employment arrangements (bodyshopping) up to 2005 February
"Contingent workers are persons who do not expect their jobs to last or who reported that their jobs are temporary. Using 3 alternative measures, contingent workers accounted for 1.8% to 4.1% of total employment in 2005 February. (See table A.) In 2001 February, the last time the survey was conducted, they ranged from 1.7% to 4.0%. The first time the survey was conducted, in 1995 February, the estimates ranged from 2.2% to 4.9%... In 2005 February, there were 10.3M 'independent contractors' (7.4% of total employment), 2.5M on-call workers (1.8% of total employment), 1.2M temporary help agency workers (0.9% of total employment), and 813K workers provided by contract firms (0.6% of total employment). (See table 8.) The proportion of the total employed who were independent contractors increased from 6.4% in 2001 February. The proportions for the other 3 alternative work arrangements showed little or no change from 2001 February... Under the broadest measure of contingency, there were 5.7M contingent workers in 2005 February, accounting for about 4% of total employment... Compared with non-contingent workers, contingent workers were more likely to work in professional and related occupations and construction and extraction occupations. With regard to industries, contingent workers were more likely to hold jobs in the professional and business services, education and health services, and construction industries... Full-time contingent wage and salary workers had median weekly earnings of $488 in 2005 February... Contingent workers continued to be much less likely to have employer-provided health insurance. Less than one-fifth of contingent workers (18%) were covered by health insurance provided by their employer, compared with slightly more than half of non-contingent workers (52%). Although four-fifths of contingent workers did not receive health insurance from their employer, nearly three-fifths (59%) did have health insurance from some source. (See table 9.) Contingent workers also were much less likely to be eligible for employer-provided pension plans. Half of non-contingent workers were eligible for such plans, while only about 1 in every 5 contingent workers was eligible. Among those who were eligible, contingent workers also were much less likely to participate in such plans."
2005-07-27 08:10PDT (11:10EDT) (15:10GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
1.37M new homes sold in June
_Federal Reserve Board_
Gary Endelman _Immigration Daily_
Purpose of immigration should be to strengthen the nation
confidence up, but jobs are harder to get
Melbourne Australia Herald Sun
"The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index unexpectedly fell to 103.2 in July, from a revised 106.2 in June. Consumers showed some concern about their job prospects, with the 'jobs-hard-to-get' index rising to 23.8 from a revised 22.5."
Paul J. Lim _US News & World Report_
A sign from the job market?
"over the past decade, there were 20% fewer lay-offs announced between May and August than there were from January to April. But so far this summer, companies are continuing to wield a big ax, which doesn't bode well for the health of the economy. Already, nearly 200K job cuts have been announced this summer. And 5 of the 6 biggest job cut announcements this year have come since May, according to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. This includes Hewlett Packard's recent announcement that it plans to reduce its work-force by 14,500 over the next year and a half."
2005-07-27 23:02PDT (2005-07-28 02:02EDT) (06:02GMT)
Japan may retaliate for anti-dumping measures
"Japan is considering imposing retaliatory duties on U.S. goods to counter subsidies paid by Washington to companies under an anti-dumping program ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization, government officials said on Thursday. The Nihon Keizai business daily reported on Thursday the tariffs could amount to some $76M on U.S. steel and ball bearing products, and would be imposed from September... The plan is likely to call for a 15% levy on about 10 steel products from the United States, including ball bearings, Kyodo news agency said, citing sources familiar with the matter. It would effectively reduce the value of Japanese imports of U.S. steel products by about 5.6G yen ($49.80M), Kyodo said. The United States has paid out more than $1G to U.S. ball bearing, steel, seafood, pasta, candle and other companies under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 -- otherwise known as the Byrd amendment after one of its chief sponsors, senator Robert Byrd (D-WV). The program distributes money raised by duties on imports the United States has determined are subsidised or unfairly priced to companies that sought the protection. Previously, those funds went into the general U.S. treasury... Brussels has imposed about $28M in retaliatory duties on U.S. paper, clothing, fabrics, footwear and machinery, and Ottawa has imposed $14M worth of similar duties on U.S. cigarettes, oysters and live swine."
Jay Bookman _Atlanta Journal-Constitution_
Both Rep & Dem measures increase furor against illegal immigration
"The continued influx of millions of illegal immigrants poses an undeniable threat to overwhelmed communities, often swamping local schools and health-care systems. On a broader scale, it undercuts the bargaining position of lower income Americans forced to compete with immigrants willing to accept lower wages... In a sense, the immigrants are the symptom of the problem, not its cause. On the other hand, if you ever hear a politician saying we have to concentrate on cutting off the jobs that draw immigrants to this country illegally, you may have found that rare leader focused on actually solving the problem. Because the truth is that only by removing the economic incentive for illegal immigration can we hope to slow the flow to a rate that our communities and institutions can handle... Increasing enforcement efforts and punishment, including the possibility of jail time for those who repeatedly hire illegal immigrants, would also have an impact... For example, the Republican Party is torn between a deepening anti-immigrant resentment among its more populist elements and the hunger among its economic elite for a cheap and hard-working labor force. For the most part, President Bush has tended to side with business interests eager for cheap labor, in part because that's where his natural sympathies lay, and in part because he seems sincerely bothered by anti-Hispanic discrimination... The Democratic Party is trapped in a similar paradox. It distrusts the underlying racism of much of the immigration debate and hopes to eventually capture a large segment of the Hispanic community as voters. But party leaders have yet to fully acknowledge that the impact of uncontrolled illegal immigration is borne disproportionately by their own constituents -- both in the wages they collect and the public services they receive."
2005-07-28 05:00PDT (08:00EDT) (12:00GMT)
Tech Executives Create Yet Another Lobbying Organization to Increase Supply of Scientists and Engineers and Drive Down Compensation
"The New England Council - the nation's oldest regional business organization - recently formed a Technology Committee and named MSFT Associate General Counsel Annmarie Levins as chair. More than 30 industry leaders met at MSFT in Waltham to begin to set an agenda for the committee. The Council's committees examine federal public policies and regional initiatives and develop advocacy strategies and position statements... The Council has focused on such issues as: federal [government] research and development funding [to be expended from funds obtained through extortion, counterfeiting and borrowing, largely from abroad, rather than increase their own R&D investments]; R&D tax credit programs; work-force development; H-1B visas for high tech workers; funding for small business programs and innovators; and support for the U.S. Patent and Trade Office. The Council has also prepared a set of principles on Internet privacy as it relates to medical and insurance information and weighed in on Internet taxation debates... 617-723-4009"
2005-07-28 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 294,718 in the week ending July 23, a decrease of 76,535 from the previous week. There were 313,225 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending July 16, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,634,436, an increase of 9,894 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.3% and the volume was 2,938,264."
2005-07-28 05:48PDT (08:48EDT) (12:48GMT)
Stacey Delo _MarketWatch_
Organic purchases up, air-lines bleeding
"The market for organic products is soaring -- expected to reel in $14.5G this year, and spike to $20G by 2007... There's a shiny new American Airlines terminal at New York's JFK airport -- a $1.1G investment in the future of the airline. And there's been a recent string of decent earnings from the major carriers... But U.S. airlines have lost more than $32G dollars over the past 5 years. And with fuel prices soaring, there's potential for more red-ink."
2005-07-28 06:19PDT (09:19EDT) (13:19GMT)
David Royse _AP_/_Yahoo!_
New Super Magnet Weighs More Than 15 Tons
"The new super magnet at The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory weighs more than 15 tons and has a magnetic field 420K times that of the Earth's -- strong enough to pull a metal object out of a person's hand and send it flying -- if people were allowed to get close enough. The laboratory — one of only 9 high magnetic field labs in the world -- unveiled the new magnet, 13 years in development, on Thursday... The $16M magnet also is more advanced in the stability of the magnetic field -- a lack of variation that makes for better experiments, Boebinger said. And it operates at a high frequency, making for better images in experiments where the magnet is used to essentially take pictures of cells and molecules."
2005-07-28 13:52PDT (16:42EDT) (20:42GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _MarketWatch_
Oil closes just shy of $60 per barrel
"On the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday, crude for September delivery traded as high as $60.15 [per] barrel. The intra-day record for a front-month contract was $61.90 on July 8, when August was the benchmark. September crude, which traded as high as $62.80 [per barrel] 3 weeks ago, closed Thursday at $59.95, up 84 cents."
Howard Fischer _Arizona Daily Sun_
Arizona governor Napolitano bashed Chertoff & Chao for not appearing at senate Judiciary committee meeting
"The governor noted that both Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao were scheduled to testify at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the 2 major proposals awaiting legislative action. Both, however, cancelled their appearance... The Judiciary Committee hearings that started this week are on two competing plans. One by senators John McCain, R-AZ, and Edward Kennedy, D-MA, creates 400K visas for unskilled work and allows those here illegally to apply for permanent status after paying a fine. The other, by senators Jon Kyl, R-AZ, and John Cornyn, R-TX, calls for more border patrol agents. It provides for an unlimited number of work visas when U.S. firms cannot fill jobs with legal residents but requires illegal entrants to first go back to their home countries. [Not mentioned as under serious discussion by the committee are bills proposed by Tom Tancredo, R-CO.]"
Erich Bridges _Baptist Press News_
Invasion of the SUVs
"We Americans live in the land of plenty, and whole industries dedicate themselves to convincing us we need more. More, better, bigger. Super-size that order, please. Consider houses. Over the last 35 years, reports Newsweek's Robert Samuelson, the average size of an American home has expanded 55% (to 2,330 square feet) while average family size has actually decreased. Many homes now feature playrooms, as well as rooms for entertainment, computers and exercise. According to Samuelson, about 1 in 8 new homes in 2001 topped 3,500 square feet -- more than 3 times the average size of the houses our parents and grand-parents bought in 1950."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Proposals by immigration lawyer Endelman
"The Endelman essay, published in an e-newsletter for immigration attorneys, seems to be a reprint of the testimony that Endelman presented to the Senate on Tuesday. Though it is clear his invitation to testify stemmed from the fact that they knew he would support some form of worker program (and this was true for the entire invited panel), Endelman did in fact make some good proposals...
As most of you know, various special interests with hidden agendas (industry, academia, immigration attorneys, etc.) have been actively pushing the editorial boards of newspapers and magazines to write editorials along the lines of, 'America is going to lose its economic superiority, because India and [Red China] are going to beat us in science and engineering, so we had better increase our number of scientists and engineers.'. In this case, a Fortune reporter confirmed for me that the industry lobbyists had indeed met recently with Fortune's editorial board. Of course, the demands made by these lobbyists are full of nonsense and hypocrisy, as these same entities are engaging in globalist policies which make it difficult, often impossible, for Americans to find work in science and engineering. But the editorial boards don't seem to notice this, and obediently write their editorials calling on the U.S. to increase its stock of scientists and engineers...
in the case of immigration attorneys like Endelman, the agenda is to bring in more scientists and engineers through immigration. Note that the same publication in which Endelman wrote his essay, Immigration Daily, has stated in the past that H-1B and other employment-based immigration forms the bulk of most immigration attorneys' profits...
My own proposal also features reduction of bureaucracy and use of market principles... Congress would set the user fees way too low and the visa caps way too high [as it does now and has done in the past]... All the employer would have to do is set the wage low enough, and he would find a 'shortage' which he would then remedy by importing workers from abroad...
Type I is the type everyone is aware of, in which employers pay H-1Bs less than they would pay U.S. citizens and permanent residents with the same qualifications.
But equally important is Type II, in which employers, who want to save money by hiring young workers, hire young H-1Bs when they run out of young Americans, thereby avoiding hiring the old (over 40 years old, or even 35) Americans. (There are also other ways in which employers save by hiring H-1Bs, e.g. they can make them work more hours and the H-1Bs' swelling of the labor pool reduces wages.)...
Allowing the foreign workers to move around freely in the labor market, as Endelman seems to be proposing [and similar to some of Norm Matloff's and IEEE-USA's earlier proposals], would go a long way toward reducing the Type I salary savings problem... employers want [the] de facto indentured servant status that the system currently imposes on the H-1Bs. Indeed, when Congress enacted legislation in 2000 giving the H-1Bs the ability to enter the free market during the very last stage of the green card process, immigration attorney Jose Latour wrote in his own e-newsletter that many nervous employers had anxiously contacted him, worried that they would lose the stranglehold over the H-1Bs, and thus lose their ability to attain Type I savings...
'chain migration': Person A sponsors family member B, who after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in turn sponsors C, etc. Here Person A may be unrelated to C except through marriage, and then come D, E and so on... When Congress proposed eliminating it in the early 1980s, the... activist organizations quickly mobilized (they've admitted that it is not really an issue of family for them, but rather of political power, power coming of course from numbers), and they were able to shoot it down...
Having one engineer who gets a green card and works for 40 years is not the same as having 6 H-1Bs who stay for only 6 years each; employers would rather have the latter. Immigrant engineers generally find that they face the same age discrimination problems that natives encounter...
the BLS numbers have never indicated a shortage in the tech area... The employers have shown they can't be trusted. They have lied outrageously on shortages, they have exploited the foreign workers, they've fired Americans and forced them to train their foreign replacements, and so on. And remember, this includes the big companies, not just the small ones...
If the Princeton Institute of Advanced Study were to hire someone like Einstein today, they could do so quite quickly. Indeed, Einstein could sponsor himself, using the National Interest Waiver... Endelman makes a big point about bringing people to the U.S. who will contribute in the future, rather than on the basis of what they did in the past. Einstein basically contributed nothing in the U.S.A.; his career peak was long behind him. The U.S.A. certainly did the right thing by allowing Einstein to immigrate on humanitarian grounds (and should have done much more), but if we were to apply Endelman's self-admitted selfishness, Einstein would have been turned down."
2005-07-29 07:24PDT (10:24EDT) (14:24GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US GDP increased 3.5% in 2005 Q2: Figures for 2002 through 2004 have been revised to a 2.8% rate of increase
BEA press release
_Tech Law Journal_
4th federal circuit judges rule in SWE discrimination case Venkatraman v. REI
"Kirthi Venkatraman is a U.S. citizen of Indian origin. He needs no visa to work in the U.S. However, his former employer did hire alien workers under the H-1B visa program for high tech workers. REI fired him. Venkatraman asserts that REI paid him less than its white workers and fired him for complaining of this treatment. He also alleges that REI lied to the INS to obtain H-1B visas for other workers."
2005-07-29 08:01PDT (11:01EDT) (15:01GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index rose from 96 in June to 96.5 in late July, remaining steady from earlier in the month
2005-07-29 08:19PDT (11:19EDT) (15:19GMT)
Kim Zetter _Wired_
Network Security Whistle-Blower Being Harassed by FBI
"The FBI is investigating a computer security researcher for criminal conduct after he revealed that critical routers supporting the internet and many networks have a serious software flaw that could allow someone to crash or take control of them... Lynn resigned from ISS Wednesday morning after his company and Cisco threatened to sue. He spoke at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas about a serious vulnerability that he found while reverse-engineering the operating system in Cisco routers. He said he conducted the reverse-enginering at the request of his company, which was concerned that Cisco wasn't being forthright about a fix it had recently made to its operating system... he did not reveal technical details that woudl allow anyonen to exploit the bug without doing the same research he did to discover it... [Cisco] said the vulnerability was not new and that it had already [released a patch for] the problem in April... Prior to the talk, Cisco, with agreemetn from the conference organizers, hired temporary workers to rip out pages from a conference book that contained images of the slides from Lynn's presentation. They also replaced the conference CD-ROM with a new disk that [left out Lynn's] presentation."
2005-07-29 12:38PDT (15:38EDT) (19:38GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _MarketWatch_
Oil reached $61 per barrel
Enquirer 80 index down 0.52%
"The Enquirer 80 index of local interest stocks fell 1.48 points or 0.52% to close at 282.91. Twenty-two issues were up, 54 were down and four were unchanged. Leading gainers were Kendle International, up $1.45 to $18.35; Harris Corp., up 76 cents to $37.07; International Paper, up 59 cents to $31.60; NS Group, up 45 cents to $42.45; and Humana, up 39 cents to $39.85. Biggest laggers were Midland Co., down $1.43 to $37.79, Gannett Co. Inc., the parent company of The Enquirer, down $1.02 cents to $72.96; Emerson Electric, down 95 cents to $65.80; LabOne, down 84 cents to $37.63; and Standard Register, down 79 cents to $15.25."
2005-07-29 13:51PDT (16:51EDT) (20:51GMT)
Leslie Wines _MarketWatch_
Stocks close lower for the week, but post strong gains for the month
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average Friday closed down 64.64 points at 10,641. During July, the average rose 3.6%. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed down 13.61 points at 2,184, for a monthly gain of 6.2%. The S&P 500 fell 9.54 points at 1,234. The S&P 500's monthly gain of 3.6% was its largest since 2004 November... There were 1.3G shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, where declining stocks outpaced decliners by 19 to 13. About 1.5G shares traded in the Nasdaq market... both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite [had] closed Thursday at their highest levels in 4 years."
2005-07-29 16:23PDT (19:23EDT) (23:23GMT)
Melissa Nelson _AP_/_Yahoo!_
30 Children Left Behind After Raid on Illegal Immigrants
"About 30 children, some as young as 3 months old, were left without their parents after immigration agents raided a poultry plant and took the parents away to face possible deportation. While some of the arrested workers were able to call and arrange care for their children, others were not and a local church had to help make arrangements... Federal agents arrested 119 people Tuesday in a raid that was triggered after a former worker at Petit Jean Poultry said she supplied others with fake identification cards. Authorities said 115 were from Mexico, 2 were from Honduras and the others were from El Salvador and Guatemala... Clark County Sheriff Troy Tucker said agents failed to tell his agency about the raid. If they had, deputies would have made sure the immigration officials knew about the children, some of whom had been in the local public schools for years, he said."
Katherine Reynolds Lewis _New Jersey Star-Ledger-
American workers fall in the war of the wages: US employees at a loss as even white-collar jobs travel over-seas
"U.S. workers have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs to countries with cheaper wages as technological change makes it easier for corporations to manage a multi-national work force... By some estimates, 11% of American white-collar jobs, affecting 14M people, are vulnerable. Forrester Research says 540K service jobs moved off-shore through 2004 and predicts a loss of 3.4M positions by 2015. A huge disparity in labor costs drives much of the off-shoring decision. Invacare pays line workers in [Red China] 50 cents an hour, compared with $3 in Mexico, $13 in Florida, $15 in Ohio and $30 in Germany, said Mal Mixon, chairman and chief executive of the medical products maker, based in Elyria, OH."
John F. Rohe _Stories in the News_
Jobs Americans Will Not Do: On the Veranda with Senator John C. Calhoun
"Who, actually, is unwilling to do 'the jobs Americans won't do'? Has picking up after ourselves fallen beneath our dignity? Has caring for others lost appeal? Are our sons and daughters no longer willing to work their way through college?... Who is claiming that we won't do these jobs? Do they have contempt for calloused hands? Is the unemployed American refusing to do these jobs? Or is this a disguised corporate quest for cheap labor?... What are the jobs that Americans won't do? Laundry? Making beds? Milking cows? Picking up garbage? If this is a job that only immigrants will do, then Los Angeles should be spotless, and trash should be gathering on the streets of low-immigrant communities. In fact, Americans do these jobs. Americans do these jobs with pride. Americans have thrived on these jobs over the centuries. The Americans doing these jobs don't look any different. They do not shrink from work. Americans just resist enslaved wages and indecent working conditions. The soul of America is still found in our commitment to a work ethic. To restore dignity to labor we must honor it with a living wage. Flooding the job market with cheap labor forces a debate over the minimum wage. Congress has not repealed the law of supply and demand..."
Steven K. Paulson _AP_/_Longmong FYI_
Republican Party chair says they back Tancredo even though he disagrees with Bush over border security and regulation of immigration
"Mehlman said the party backs an immigration-reform plan proposed by President Bush, a guest-worker program, which Tancredo has criticized as an amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. Mehlman said the Hispanic vote is important to both parties because it represents the fastest-growing population in the country. He said Hispanics support a number of Republican standards, including a strong military and support for religious values. Tancredo has come under fire recently from some Hispanic groups for his calls for tougher immigration enforcement and a proposal to tax some of the money immigrants send outside U.S. borders."
Janine Young Sikes _Gainesville Florida Sun_
Legal pendulum swings to unions' side in lengthy battle with UF
"Recent court decisions point the way for unions to return to the same status they had before 2003 when, after a legislative-mandated overhaul of higher education, unions were forced to start over as if they were organizing on campuses for the first time... The U.S. District Court of Appeals held in February that the universities should have inherited the union contract agreements from the state - intact... Union leaders say top-10 schools don't have unions because they employ larger numbers of extremely well-paid super-stars, who aren't concerned about building solidarity among workers... At UF, for example, the number of people in the collective bargaining unit fell from a nearly 6,400 in 2002 to fewer than 1K today... The number of people in the collective bargaining unit represented by AFSCME at Florida State University is down to less than one-third of what it was... Now instead of representing 2,079 workers, AFSCME represents only 635 people in operational services, said Robert Henley, FSU's director of labor and employee relations. At the University of Central Florida, the number of people in the bargaining unit is at 327 - down from 850 before the reorganization... Beginning 2003 January 7, UF introduced a new personnel category called 'TEAMS', which stands for Technical, Executive, Administrative, and Managerial Support... All staffers hired after [that] automatically became TEAMS - rather than union - members. These employees are granted an extra week off between December 26 and 31 and can participate in a lottery that awards 50 dependents each year with tuition to attend the university, Cavanaugh said. [It at least used to be that all nuclear family members of faculty could get tuition waivers.] They also receive 6 months of severance pay."
Stella M. Hopkins _Charlotte Observer_
Some claim computer jobs are hot, but computer wranglers haven't seen much evidence of that
"you might be surprised to find computer jobs projected to be among the fastest-growing occupations through 2012. That's at odds with workers' experiences and the predictions of white-collar job loss to low-wage workers abroad... To be sure, the most recent BLS report on hot jobs and industries came out in 2004 February, a 10-year projection based on 2002 data... Meanwhile, medical assistants top the BLS list of fastest growing occupations, projected to add 215K jobs, a 59% increase, to 579K. Computer jobs have estimated growth rates of 36% to 57%. And if you're looking for occupations likely to add the most jobs, consider food preparation. Including burger flippers, the category had nearly 2M workers in 2002 and is expected to add 454K, a hike of 23%."
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