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|Economic News Analysis Summary|
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|"Careful householders have fire extinguishers to preserve their property in case of fire, weapons to protect it if necessary, probably also fire- & burglar-proof safes, & many similar goods. Indeed, even among the goods of the poorest people I believe that some goods will be found that are expected to be utilized only in unforeseen contingencies." --- Carl Menger 1871 _Principles of Economics_ (translated by James Dingwall & Bert F. Hoselitz) pg 82|
2005-09-30 22:27PDT (2005-10-01 01:27EDT) (05:27GMT)
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
No shortage of foreign workers with US graduate degrees
"'H-1Bs Not Going Like Hotcakes' -- this was the head-line of an article by Ed Frauenheim on CNet last May... on 2005 September 23 USCIS announced that those 'urgently needed' visas still are languishing..."
Steve Miller, Alisa Priddle & Tom Murphy _Ward's Auto World_
Glut & Shortage
"It sounds almost non-sensical, but even though the U.S. auto industry leads all industries in lay-offs, it soon may face an acute labor shortage. The problem: There is a huge gap forming between the kind of workers and skills currently available and those that will be needed in the future. Some companies already are struggling to find the appropriate skilled workers for their facilities, and the problem only shows signs of intensifying... According to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., the auto industry led all business sectors in lay-offs with 72,598 expected job cuts through July... The potential short-fall of skilled workers is news to some auto makers. 'We have no shortage of workers.', says a GM spokesman. 'We pay good wages, and that makes these jobs very attractive. We do all of our training in-house, and (a worker shortage) is not an issue.'"
Gary Endelman _Immigration Daily_
What If They Gave A Visa And Nobody Came?: Why The H-1B Feels Unloved
"Other than Hurricane Rita, the most explosive force to hit the Gulf Coast in recent days was the announcement on 2005 September 23 by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that large numbers of cap exempt H visa numbers for graduate degree holders from American colleges and universities remained unused for both FY2005 and FY2006, still ripe for the picking... of September 19th, only two weeks before FY2006, and several months after USCIS started accepting applications, only 12,058 cap exempt H approvals have come down with an additional 868 pending for a grand total of 12,926 out of a possible 20K. The tote board for FY2006 is equally uninspiring: 7,099 approvals and 5,340 cases pending... This comes at a time when 5 US Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, wrote to DHS Secretary Chertoff to argue that his agency should make the unused FY2005 Chile/Singapore H-1B visa numbers available on 2005 October 1 as required by Section 214(g)(8) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, rather than on 2006 October 1, the start of FY2007, as previous DHS press releases indicated would be done. It seems as if once again our policy makers have misjudged what the H demand is all about... There is no carry-over mechanism in the H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004... The H visa is not really a temporary visa but a half-way house on the road to the green card... The only purpose of any employment-based immigration is to serve the American economy and make it more competitive in the world arena for the benefit of US employers and the [American] workers who provide the talent and energy that makes them run. [following is a lot of open-door propaganda]"
Alex Meneses Miyashita _Stories in the News_
Caution: Immigration Lobbyists At Work
"Congressional members and pro-immigrant groups are stepping up their efforts to pass legislation that could legalize millions of [illegal] immigrants, at least temporarily, before the end of the first session of the 109th Congress this Fall. National advocacy groups and members of immigrant, labor and religious groups from 29 states joined elected officials September 20 in Washington to kick off a series of rallies to press Congress on the issue. The groups followed with a day of lobbying September 21... John Keeley, communications director for the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, said he expected"high profile" hearings in the House and Senate, but no legislative action. He said the McCain/Kennedy bill does not have much of a chance to pass, even if the White House has expressed interest in pushing through a guest-worker program that includes undocumented immigrants." e-mail to the editors
Paul Nowell _Lakeland FL Ledger_
Dell plant scheduled to open next week in NC
"For 17 years, CM worked at a Procter & Gamble plant making tooth-paste and other products. Then, like thousands of North Carolinians with a career in manufacturing, her job was eliminated. She's back at a factory these days, working for Dell Inc. at its newest and largest desk-top computer plant that formally opens in Winston-Salem next week. But things couldn't be more different at this manufacturing job. CM's productivity is strictly monitored, as often as every 15 minutes. And teams of Dell computer 'builders' are pitted against each other to see who can produce the most computers per shift... Officially open on Wednesday, when company chairman Michael Dell cuts the ribbon, the plant is Dell's third in the United States and its largest at more than 750K square feet. Dell plans to employ 700 workers at the plant by the end of the year and 1,500 within 5 years... Workers are told from the first day that their new jobs - which pay an average of about $28K a year - will be demanding... Artzer said, 'There was no shortage of applicants.'... She [CM] has embraced the work and its demands, [believing] Dell's success ensures her future. 'You really feel valued as an employee.', she said. 'We are all here for the same thing - job security.'"
|"[C]hanges in campaign finance policy have consistently tended to dampen electoral competition, thus favoring the very people who do the legislating. Because of the divergent utility of campaign money to challengers & incumbents, members enhance their own security each time they restrict the flow of funds into or out of campaigns." --- Gary C. Jacobson 1980 _Money in Congressional Elections_ pg xviii|
Ashok Deo Bardhan and Dwight M. Jaffee _Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics_
Innovation, R&D and Off-shoring (Report #1005)
"A fifth of the firms located at Haidian are wholly foreign owned or joint ventures and constitute a veritable who's who of the US high tech industry. The official web site claims that nearly 90% of the firms are involved in research, development, production and marketing in cutting edge fields, such as new materials, electronics and energy. Around 38% are state-affiliated in some form or the other... The OECD report 'OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2004' data show that, on average, 'R&D performed abroad by foreign affiliates represents 12% of total expenditure on industrial R&D in the OECD area. Out-flows of R&D to developing countries are on the rise, especially to [Red China] and India. US foreign affiliates in [Red China] performed $506M worth of R&D compared to only USD 7M in 1994 (OECD, Activities of Foreign Affiliates data-base).'... While domestic out-sourcing is not the focus of our report it needs to be stated that it is the largest and most common form of out-sourcing resorted to by the firms in our sample and interviews indicate that perhaps the possibilities for domestic out-sourcing have not been exhausted yet. However, while earlier there was an element of sequencing involved, i.e. firms often first resorted to domestic and then as the cost pressures mounted adopted foreign out-sourcing, more recently firms have, in many cases, directly resorted to a foreign presence, leapfrogging and bypassing the domestic option... close to half (45%) of the firms surveyed had more than half of their current sales from products and services that were less than 3 years old... While manufacturing is the most common form of activity off-shored overall, there is a significant amount of R&D off-shoring as well. Two thirds of the off-shoring resorted to by firms in our sample is to developing countries, primarily [Red China] and India, followed by OECD countries and then the transition countries of Eastern Europe. This pattern does not change even when we look at off-shoring of R&D activity alone, whether to arms length contractors or to subsidiaries... In terms of gross spending on R&D, US expenditures have been quite robust and have indeed shown a significant increase in the last decade or so... In current PPP (purchasing power parity adjusted) dollar amounts the US expenditures have increased by around 60% over the 8 year period. The figure points to [Red China's] rapid rise, with the country having doubled its R&D expenditures as a proportion of its GDP. Indeed, OECD data on full time equivalent researchers employed shows [Red China] out-stripping every country except the US... Between 1999 and 2003, the number of scientists has increased from about 268K to about 355K... a total number of R&D employment at 1.73M in 1999 and 1.95M in 2003, an increase of over 220K; this, at a time when the number employed in all occupations went from 127.274M to 127.420M, i.e. an increase of about 146K over the same period... During the same period, the average weighted nominal wage for these 37 R&D occupations has increased by a healthy 20% (see Figure 7), again, a figure that is higher than the nominal 15% increase for all occupations as a whole."
Blake Schmidt _Yuma Sun_
Cleared from Danger
"The Cocopah Tribe, in conjunction with the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, will clear a 100-acre plot of land along the border, where tall, thick vegetation has been providing a haven for what Michael Gramley, spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol's Yuma sector, called 'bandit activity'. Tunnels have been created through the thick brush on the Cocopah reservation by the foot traffic of illegal immigrants. The brush makes it almost impossible to spot illegal aliens and makes escape easy if they are spotted. The vegetation-clearing project was allocated $37,500 from the funds made available in August after governor Janet Napolitano declared a state of emergency on the Arizona border. The Cocopah Tribe will add $12,500 to that amount. The 100 acres runs along the Colorado River near County 18th Street. Most of it is Cocopah tribal land. 'We've had shootings, robberies, sexual assaults in the area.', said Tracy Register, Cocopah tribal emergency response committee chairman and environmental director, adding that the area has become an increasingly popular thoroughfare for human and drug smuggling... When Cocopah police detain illegal immigrants, they turn them over to the Border Patrol for processing, said Cocopah police captain Angelica Novoa. The Border Patrol also has surveillance cameras in the area, Gramley said... This will be the fourth land-clearing project overseen by the Cocopahs recently, for a total 253 acres after this project is finished later this fall, Register said."
Rod Thompson _Honolulu Star Bulletin_
10th planet, Xena, has a moon
"The discovery of 'Gabrielle' from Mauna Kea adds fuel to a debate over celestial definitions. Astronomers on Mauna Kea who found a possible 10th planet on the edge of our solar system have made another discovery -- it has a moon. Using the W.M. Keck Observatory, a team of astronomers spotted a faint object trailing next to it on September 10. The new planet has been temporarily nicknamed Xena after a 'warrior princess' character on a television show, so the moon is being called Gabrielle, after a sidekick of the television warrior, the Keck Observatory said. The planet Xena was first detected in 2003 and publicly announced on July 29 by a team that included Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology and Chad Trujillo of Gemini Observatory. It normally circles the sun farther away than the ninth planet, Pluto, but it sometimes comes inside Pluto's orbit... The moon is about 155 miles wide and 60 times fainter than Xena. It is currently 9G miles away from the sun, or about 3 times Pluto's current distance from the sun."
_San Francisco Chronicle_
Flawed immigration and border security system
"...take a look at a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center. It shows that for the first time in our nation's history the number of illegal immigrants coming to the United States exceeds the number of those coming in legally. Yes, that's right. Despite the expenditure of at least $10G spent over the past decade to [marginally] tighten controls on the Southwest border, some 562K [to 1M illegal] immigrants came into the United States in 2004. In contrast, 455K [to 800K] came here as legal permanent residents... it is hard to imagine that any more than a tiny number of the 11M [8M to 20M] or so illegal immigrants in the nation would sign up for the temporary visa. Why would they risk a life that many have established over many years -- often with continuous employment with the same employer -- knowing that they would have to return to their home country in 3 to 6 years?... illegal immigrants live in families with 'mixed' immigration status. As Jeffrey Passell, co-author of the Pew study, points out, an estimated 3.6M legal-immigrant children in the United States have illegal-immigrant parents."
Marta Hummel _Greensboro News-Record_
NC is biggest user of migrant program: 3-day bus trip north, 4 months of farm labor for a year's worth of pay
"For the 6500 legal migrant farm-workers who entered the state this year this is their first destination: the NC Growers Association in Vass... They lined up at an outdoor sink, small duffel bags at their feet, toothbrushes in hand, grubby from the long ride from Monterrey, Mexico... The men will work every hour of sunlight, backs bent to the tobacco and to the sun. They will wear thick clothing to guard against chemical sickness from the fertilizers and nicotine that seeps from tobacco leaves.They will live in cramped quarters, sharing a bathroom, a stove and a refrigerator with their fellow workers... For all this, they will earn $8.24 an hour for as many hours as they can cram into daylight, save Sundays. There is no over-time, no holiday pay... the Lewises, like most owners of small farms, can't do all the work themselves, and they can't pay a high school student or day laborer enough to come help. The Lewises sell beef cattle and raise soybeans and corn. But they rely on tobacco -- and the migrant workers who plant and harvest it -- to pay for the big expenses such as mortgages and college... Since the state began using it in 1989, migrant workers have grown from 0.11% of the total agricultural work force to 10% in 2001, according to a 2003 study by Duke University graduate student Neal Fann. About 90% of the workers come to plant and harvest tobacco, the main crop for many people in the state. About 2,300 of the 6,500 workers in the state this year work in the Piedmont Triad... HSO, 51, who works for the Lewises, says he needs about $100 per week for groceries and eating out on Saturday evenings. The rest he sends home to his family in Tlaxcala, Mexico, every Saturday -- pay-day -- through a wire transfer service at a store in Reidsville. Sending money costs about $10. Calling cards for dialing home each weekend run about $5 for 200 minutes... Representatives from the NC Department of Labor outline safety measures for the field in Spanish, such as how to prevent tobacco sickness. They hand out pamphlets and provide phone numbers to call in case of emergency. On this particular morning, they hear a plea for help for a fellow worker injured in the field. They pitch coins beneath a statue of the Virgin Mary to help pay his medical bills. And, for the first time ever, they are offered the chance to join a union. The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, represents the workers. It organizes workers in Florida and Ohio, too. The FLOC can operate in the state as a result of a legal settlement between the union and the Mount Olive Pickle Co. over living conditions for migrant workers. So far, 4,100 of the 6,500 legal workers have joined, says Leticia Zavala, 27, the FLOC's lead organizer in the state. An additional 500 illegal migrant workers have also joined."
W. James Antle _Conservative Voice_
Republicans Are Foundering
Mens News Daily
"Many of the voters who were most enthusiastic about the 1994 elections results are today among the most disenchanted. The quick, bipartisan confirmation of John Roberts as chief justice is a single success floating in a sea of failure and increasing incompetence. Consider: In the last few months, every major Republican policy initiative has stalled. Social Security reform, once the great hope for a second Bush term, appears to be headed nowhere. Moderate senators are objecting to the extension of the 2003 tax cuts on dividends and capital gains. The transportation bill came in at $286G, containing 6,300 pork-filled earmarks, making a mockery of the administration's earlier veto threat... Excluding national defense and homeland security, federal spending has increased $300G between 2001 and 2005. Under George W. Bush and a Republican Congress, inflation-adjusted federal spending has risen faster than under Lyndon B. Johnson... We can pay for this spending by borrowing, putting our currency valuation at risk and relying on [Red China] and other foreign countries to help finance our federal government. We can inflate our way out of our fiscal irresponsibility. Or we can raise taxes. The Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire unless Congress specifically extends them or makes them permanent. The deficit puts those tax cuts at risk... M. Stanton Evans' quip about conservatives coming to Washington thinking it's a sewer but then treating it like a hot tub has never seemed more apt... The flow of illegal immigrants into this country now out-numbers that of legal immigrants, but work-place enforcement is down since 1999 and all Washington can contemplate is amnesties and guest-workers programs."
Chuck Muth _Common Voice_
Tom Tancredo targeted
"A few years back, representative Tancredo, Colorado Republican, became the most out-spoken member of Congress in opposition to President Bush's amnesty proposal for millions of illegal aliens currently residing illegally in the United States. (The key word here, by the way, is 'illegal'.) For his trouble, Tancredo says he was called a 'traitor' by Bush adviser Karl Rove, and was warned to never again 'darken the door-step of the White House'... Tancredo is a reliable and consistent conservative Republican. His life-time ACU Conservative Rating over 6 years in office is an astounding 98. A Republican like that isn't welcome in a Republican White House? But a [leftist] Republican like senator Lincoln Chafee is? What's wrong with this picture? Then there's Chris Cannon. Representative Cannon, Utah Republican, is the darling of the 'open borders' set. Indeed, he's been the White House's point man on amnesty for illegal aliens and is the go-to guy in Congress for radical Hispanic groups such as La Raza and MALDEF. They give him awards and honor him at dinners on a regular basis. Indeed, many have questioned whether Cannon actually represents Provo, Utah... or Tijuana, Mexico... Now, in addition to a number of Republicans vying for the seat, Jim Gilchrist, founder of the volunteer border-monitoring Minuteman Project, is running as the American Independent Party candidate [for the California 48th district]. Gilchrist was a Republican until 1996 when, he told me in August, he left the party because the GOP was ignoring the illegal immigration problem. He flirted with joining the Libertarian Party back then - because at heart, he really is a limited government kinda guy. But the LP is primarily an open borders organization, so that wasn't an option. Rather than be politically 'homeless', Gilchrist decided to register as a member of the conservative AIP... He has, however, sent a letter to House Speaker Denny Hastert informing Hastert that, if elected, he will most assuredly caucus with and vote for continued Republican leadership in the House (if that's not too much of an oxymoron these days)... A number of years ago, a reporter asked another California Republican congressman to talk about illegal immigration. 'What's to talk about?', replied representative Sonny Bono, 'It's illegal.'. Sadly, such a level-headed, common-sense response today would mean there'd be no place for Sonny Bono in a Tancredo-free GOP. I'm starting to think there isn't a place for me here, either. How about you?"
Civilian border patroller membership branches out: Women, Latinos join in
Free New Mexico
Salt Lake Tribune
"Many of the hundreds who make up the self-appointed civilian patrols monitoring the border to deter smuggling of people and drugs are unemployed or underemployed ex-military men who have long resented Mexicans who come to the United States illegally and, in their view, compete for jobs, crowd hospitals and schools and threaten English as the nation's dominant language... There are urban dwellers, young women, even some Latinos... RW, who battled 2 hours of rush-hour traffic to get here, has taught immigrants English for 2 years... More than 200 people signed up with the California Minutemen, who spent three weeks at the border this Summer... HE, a 25-year-old Los Angeles microbiologist, was initially uneasy about joining the patrols which she'd seen on a television news report. But when she drove 3 hours to the border one July weekend, her fears quickly evaporated... 'What's happening here is unacceptable!', shouted the driver, a portly man who stepped outside the car. 'We have to tear (the border fence) down. You want to build it up.'... The son of a California Highway Patrol officer and an elementary school teacher, RW never followed illegal immigration when growing up. He said he rarely mingled with Mexicans in high school... 'It's like being at an amusement park and waiting for two hours in line, then someone just cuts right in front of you. That isn't fair.' When RW brought his current girl-friend, who is Japanese, with him to the Minuteman patrol, he said she was terror-stricken during the night and feared being kidnapped or killed. RW acknowledged a lack of economic opportunity back home often drives illegal immigrants, but he was unsympathetic. 'They're really poor, they have no skills, it's almost like Mexico just wants to unload its undesirables.', he said. RW said he felt right at home with the Minutemen and plans to return when his schedule permits. 'I'll do it as long as it takes -- until it's just as hard to get across the border as it is to get in through an airport.', he said."
Alan Scher Zagier _AP_/_Columbia MO Daily Tribune_
Pillar of community faces deportation
So, why didn't/doesn't he immigrate legally?
Jim Kouri _Lincoln NE Tribune_
3 Illegal Aliens Arrested at Nuclear Power Plant
"3 illegal aliens in Blair, Nebraska, on September 15 when they attempted to enter the outer secure area of the Omaha Public Power District's Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station to perform contract work at the plant for the first time. The three men, all citizens of Mexico, had been hired by an independent contractor to perform maintenance work at the nuclear facility. As they attempted to enter a secure area of the plant, the men presented identification documents that raised the suspicions of Omaha Public Power District security officers."
2005-10-02 07:01PDT (10:01EDT) (14:01GMT)
Minutement Prepare for Patrols along New Mexico Border
"On Saturday, he joined a group of Minuteman volunteers as they prepared to fan out over the remote landscape, starting a monthlong effort to patrol the Mexican border in search of would-be illegal aliens. 'He's going out today with about six horses.', said New Mexico Minuteman Corps leader Bob Wright, shortly after finishing a volunteer training session at the group's base camp. 'He will be riding through the rough country, up on hills where you can see forever.' Organizers said 34 volunteers were starting patrols. They spent most of the day tending to organizational matters such as training sessions and setting up communications equipment... B claims he has directed U.S. Border Patrol agents in apprehending over 200 illegal aliens. W said the group plans to use about 20 horses to 'patrol the lines' during October. 'Volunteers will be bringing their own horses. Some will be coming over from El Paso and other ranches.', he said."
Milton Gun _Daily News Transcript_
Driver sentenced to 18 months for transporting illegal aliens
"Framingham Police stopped his vehicle and found that he and a fellow van driver were transporting illegal aliens, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment to be followed by his immediate deportation to his native Mexico. Jose Marcillio Cavazos junior was facing a 1-year prison term until authorities learned that his real name is Mario Bustos and was not a United States citizen as he originally claimed. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Moore advised Judge Mark Wolf that Bustos had agreed to an added obstruction of justice charge and deportation upon completion of sentence. According to court files, Bustos and fellow driver Timoteo Rosas were arrested 2004 August 26, after they admitted they were in the process of dropping off passengers who had illegally entered the United States. During questioning, the drivers acknowledged that they had been paid to drive the van from Houston to various states, delivering their passengers along the way."
Judge Threw Book at Kidnapper of Illegal Aliens
"A man convicted of stealing illegal aliens from a human smuggling ring and holding those aliens for ransom has received one of the longest sentences ever..."
Timo Poropudas _Nordic Wireless Watch_
Taxes hinder mobile electronic device ownership
"In 16 of the 50 developing countries in the study, taxes represent more than 20% of the total cost of owning and using a mobile phone. In 14 of the developing countries, the average mobile phone user pays more than $40 a year in taxes on hand-sets and mobile services... The study, which was conducted by Pyramid Research and Frontier Economics, with support from Deloitte & Touche LLP and Tarifica, on behalf of the GSMA... These special taxes average $13 per year for each user. Development experts say such taxes are ill conceived... In 2004, an estimated 39% of all handsets sold were distributed via the black market representing a loss of $2.7G tax revenue in the 50 markets examined. If that trend continued, that would mean lost tax revenue of $24.5G over the next 5 years. If low-cost handsets were exempt from import duties and sales taxes, the GSMA study found that up to 930M additional low-cost handsets would be sold in the 50 markets covered by the study between 2006 and 2010... Eliminating all telecom-specific and other special taxes would boost the number of mobile users in the 19 affected markets by 34M by 2010 and mobile voice traffic in these markets by 25%. Of the 50 countries in the study, Turkey levies the highest rate of taxes on mobile communications - nearly 44% of the cost of owning and using a mobile phone is made up of taxes. That represents an average of $73 in taxes each year for each user... About halt of Turkish people have mobile phones. The lowest average taxes were in Asian countries, 6.9%, but the penetration was only 16%."
Marcy Gordon _Seattle Times_
It will soon be more difficult to get out of debt
"The most sweeping rewrite of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in a quarter century, making it harder for debtors to erase credit-card and other obligations in court proceedings, goes into effect October 17. The legislation was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in April after an 8-year campaign by banks, retailers and credit-card companies... The change will affect an estimated 30K to 210K people a year... those with income above their state's median income who can pay at least $6K over 5 years -- $100 a month -- will be forced into Chapter 13, under which a judge orders a repayment plan."
2005-10-02 14:54PDT (17:54EDT) (21:54GMT)
Palestinian police clash in Gaza with Hamas
"A Palestinian police commander and two bystanders have been killed in clashes in Gaza City between security forces and Hamas militants. At least 50 other people were injured in the fighting, which flared up when police tried to stop a car carrying Hamas activists in Gaza City."
Pete Carey _San Jose Mercury News_
Economic Depression Lingers
"In little more than 6 years, despite one of the worst local recessions on record, the median home price in Santa Clara County has doubled, to $714K. And in just 5 years, Bay Area homeowners' equity has swelled by an impressive $234.5G, according to the California Building Industry Association. For many in the valley, their homes now produce more income on paper than their jobs. The county's median-priced house last year earned $90K -- substantially more than the median household income of $74,509... the valley overall lost 2,400 jobs over the past year... Property taxes were up 8% to approximately $2.5G in Santa Clara County last year... In 2004, the average house sale resulted in a $369K increase in assessed value, according to Assessor Larry Stone."
2005-10-02 15:14PDT (18:14EDT) (22:14GMT)
Paramount Backs Blu-Ray DVDs
Tech News World
"Paramount said Sunday it will join a growing list of media and technology companies endorsing Blu-ray that includes Sony Corp., Apple Computer Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Dell Inc. Paramount will still market all its DVD movies in the competing HD DVD format so consumers can have a choice, company officials said... Paramount decided to support the Blu-ray format after an analysis of the cost and copy protection solutions available, according to a prepared statement. Paramount also said it was attracted by Blu-ray's storage capacity, which is 5 times that of current DVDs. [ESST has had a format for 5 years that supports 8 times the curent DVD capacity. Others claim to have 16 times current DVD capacities.]"
Dion Nissenbaum _Charlotte Observer_
Key Palestinian militant vows to continue attacks on Israel
"Jamal Abu Samhadana hardly looks like a man with a target on his back. 'All of Israel is a military base.', Samhadana said in a rare interview with Knight Ridder Newspapers. 'All the Israeli people are soldiers in the Israeli army.'"
Jim McKay _Pittsburgh Post-Gazette_
People 40 and older say they face age discrimination when seeking work, but it is easy to hide
"Age bias -- often based on stereotypes that older people can't keep up with technology, are more expensive to hire and are not as flexible, productive or hard working as younger people -- persists even as the U.S. population grows older, according to government and private human resources experts. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency that administers the 1967 law barring discrimination against workers 40 and older, received nearly 18K age-related complaints in the 2004 fiscal year. That's down from slightly more than 19K in 2003 and nearly 20K in 2002, but higher than the preceding 7 years... The EEOC said only 17% of the complaints it received last year were rsettled in favor of the person claiming age bias... AARP, the advocacy group for older Americans, tested the market a few years ago by mailing resumes to employers from fictitious candidates both young and old. Resumes depicting younger candidates drew more positive responses from employers than those depicting older workers. At least a quarter of the time, the fictitious older workers were told there were no openings while the younger person was courted for an opening... Citing U.S. Labor Department statistics, Bayer said it typically takes people over 55 four weeks longer than their younger competitors to find a job."
2005-10-03 10:42PDT (13:42EDT) (17:42GMT)
No bail for convicted former Tyco executives
"A state appeals court, Monday, denied bail for former Tyco International executives Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz while they appeal their convictions on charges of stealing about $600M from th ecompany. The order denying bail for the two pending their appeals was signed by Justice Angela Mazzarelli of the State Supreme Court's Appellate Division in Manhattan. Kozlowski, 58, and Swartz, 45, have been in custody since they were sentenced on September 19 to 8 and one-third to 25 years in prison. They were convicted in June on charges of first-degree grand larceny and other charges related to accusations they stole $180M outright and improperly made about $430M by manipulating Tyco's stock value."
New ADHD treatment passed tests for long-term use
"A Boston scientist says an extended-release stimulant for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is effective for 2 years with no side effects... Concerta, a once-daily form of the drug methylphenidate..."
Midwest Economy at a Glance
"Since 1994, the Creighton Economic Forecasting Group has surveyed supply managers in a 9-state region each month to gauge the Mid-America economy. Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota are the states involved in the survey."
ISM Mid-Amreica Business Conditions Survey
Michael Smith _Med Page Today_
Discoverers of germ cause of peptic ulcers snag Nobel prize
"Two Australian physicians have won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for showing -- at least partly by accident -- that many ulcers are the result of a bacterial infection. The finding by Barry Marshall, M.B., and Robin Warren, M.B., transformed the treatment of peptic ulcers, and has led to an increased understanding of the role that infection plays in several diseases... Dr. Warren, who retired in 1999 from his job as a pathologist at the Royal Perth Hospital, was the first to observe curved bacteria associated with the stomach epithelium of patients with peptic ulcers... Dr. Marshall, currently a researcher at the University of Western Australia, near Perth, was intrigued by Dr. Warren's work and tried unsuccessfully to grow the bacteria in the lab. Then, over the Easter holiday in 1982, a set of culture plates was left in the incubator instead of being discarded... Currently, said Dr. Normark, the medical establishment recognizes that between 80% and 90% of all peptic ulcers are due to infection by H. pylori - an understanding that has revolutionized the treatment of the condition."
Jill Lawless _AP_/_San Jose Mercury News_
Hollywood doesn't show consequences of casual sex and drug use
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
"Dr. Hasantha Gunasekera, the study's lead author from the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, said the findings are troubling, 'given the HIV and illicit drug pandemics in developing and industrialized countries'. The Australian researchers studied a 2003 September list of the 200 biggest box-offices successes of all time as ranked by the Internet Movie Database. They excluded animated features, films with G and PG ratings, and movies released or set before the start of the AIDS pandemic in 1983. Of the 87 remaining movies in the study published Monday in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 28 contained sex scenes - a total of 53 scenes in all. Only one film - 1990's 'Pretty Woman', in which Julia Roberts plays a prostitute - contained a 'suggestion of condom use, which was the only reference to any form of birth control... There were no depictions of important consequences of unprotected sex such as unwanted pregnancies, HIV or other STDs.'... 8% of the films contained depictions of marijuana use, and 7% other non-injected drugs... Just over half the marijuana scenes - 52% - showed use of the drug in a positive way. In the other 48% of cases it was depicted as neutral. Characters smoked tobacco in 68% of the films and got drunk in 32%."
Patrick Thibodeau _ComputerWorld_
IT executives continue to push congress to raise H-1B visa limits while IT professionals continue to push congress to lower them
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Minutemen Watching Canadian Border
"About 20 local volunteers completed training over the weekend. Leader Tom Williams of Deming says volunteers who spot anyone suspicious call law enforcement. They don't confront anyone themselves."
_WSFA TV, Montgomery_
Alabama to more than double troopers trained to arrest illegal aliens
"Governor Riley said 25 state troopers will begin federal immigration law enforcement training next month at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston. After completing the five-week training course in mid-November, the 25 state troopers will join 21 others who went through the special training in 2003. Alabama, Florida and Arkansas are the only states that have the authority to use troopers as federal immigration enforcement officers."
Tim Funk _Charlotte Observer_
Immigration legislative proposals stir range of responses
"Representative Sue Myrick's recent legislation to get tough on illegal immigration... would deport illegal immigrants convicted of drunken driving and dock businesses $10K -- 40 times the current fine -- for every undocumented immigrant they knowingly hire... WJ of Morganton wrote: 'While fining employers is worthwhile, the process is too slow and cumbersome to really affect the problem. A more effective approach would be to deny the expense deduction for wages knowingly paid to illegals. Much greater care would be taken by businesses in the hiring process if they faced the prospect of the loss of such an important deduction.'..."
Monica Campbell _Christian Science Monitor_
Post-Katrina easing of labor laws stirs debate: Foreign workers may get first dibs on Gulf Coast reconstruction
"the Department of Homeland Security has temporarily suspended sanctioning employers who hire workers unable to prove their citizenship, essentially allowing contractors to hire undocumented workers. That move followed President Bush's September 8 decision to lift in Katrina-hit areas the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal contractors to pay at least the average regional wage... 'Katrina is producing a large demand for undocumented workers.', says Mr. Bustamante, a professor at Notre Dame University in Indiana. 'That's why they're bending the rules. But then once the job is done, it's back in the shadows. The hypocrisy is astounding.'... Tom Tancredo, a Republican congressman from Colorado, is pushing another bill called the Real Guest Act, which would require [illegal] immigrants to return to their home country before being granted guest-worker status and would limit their US stay to 365 days every 2 years. 'My bill contains no amnesty.', says Mr. Tancredo, who also heads the House Immigration Reform Caucus... 'If the president doesn't like the current laws, then he should repeal them altogether and stop pretending that we've got an immigration policy.' 'Our rule of law means nothing.', says Chris Simcox, head of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, a volunteer border-patrol group, referring to the decision not to fine federal employers hiring [illegal alien] workers. 'We're very unhappy with such moves by the administration at a time when border states are more concerned about immigration than they've been in a century.', says Jack Martin, special-projects director for the Washington-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)... FAIR supports an immigration proposal introduced last week by representative J.D. Hayworth (R) of Arizona, that would slap heavy fines on employers who hire [illegal alien] workers and put military forces on the border... 'I can make 10 times what I earn in Mexico working construction in the US.', Sánchez said..."
Joseph C. Phillips _Black News_
A Government That Cares
"government has a duty to protect our lives and property. This compact is similar to the one we have with our local grocer. In exchange for our dollars he has a duty to give us fresh bread. How much he cares about us is of little consequence. Laws against theft are not enforced because government cares about us, but because it is government's duty to protect our property regardless of who we are. In fact, we might do better if government didn't 'care' so much. Government has, as of late, demonstrated so much caring for us that it has neglected its far more important mission, which is to shield us from, say, attack by Islamic fascists, being over-run by illegal immigrants and of course, destruction of our property due to neglect of vital infrastructure... I would much rather a government that is deliberate in its duty to secure our natural rights than one that seeks to raise its empathy quotient among the masses."
Chris Murphy _Information Week_/_Tech Web_/_Developer Pipe-Line_
Is IT Still Worth It?
"Stanford Computer Science chairman Bill Dally... saw a 'bimodal' student body during the dot-com boom -- those who loved IT and science and those looking for a dot-com wind-fall... [Senior MIT lecturer Jack] Rockart agrees: 'This is not just a problem WRT information technology. This is a US problem WRT all technology.'... At its low in 2004, there were 25% fewer US programming jobs than in 2000 -- that's more than 190K people who [were drive out of] the field... Employment of IT managers, meanwhile, has risen 75% in the last 4 years... Total IT employment is around 3.35M, after bottoming out last year at around 3.15M. The totals hide the turmoil that individuals face... The average computer science grad started at $50,664, [only] a 3.3% increase from last year [while executive packages have been increasing by about 12% per year], according to the Fall quarterly survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Information sciences and systms grads posted [only] a 3.6% increase to an average of $34,902. Graduates in MIS saw a bigger jump, rising 5% to an average starting salary of $43,653... in a program starting this Fall by the Society of Information Management and MSFT [they're] planning to visit campuses in a dozen cities this year and next to [sucker] college kids to consider IT... Remember, it was engineering students tinkering with what's possible that brought us Google and Yahoo!, not a marketing major with a business plan..."
Tom Tancredo Is Alarmed that Green Cards May Go to Terrorists
"Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) noted the front page Washington Times article this morning, which alleges widespread mismanagement at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service including CIS officials who exchanged sexual favors for green cards, were bribed and who granted green cards to persons with terrorist ties... The Washington Times story claims that there are more than 2,500 allegations of misconduct for the mere 15K employees at CIS -- that's 1 charge for every 6 employees."
Yuri Kageyama _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Next-Generation DVD War Heating Up in Tokyo
"The CEATEC 2005 exhibition in Chiba, Japan, is opening as the battle escalated a notch after Paramount Pictures, which had previously supported the HD DVD backed by Toshiba Corp., became the first major movie studio to support both rival formats. And Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which backs Blu-ray Disc, the other technology, was openly gloating... Blu-ray, also backed by Sony Corp... Matsushita, which makes Panasonic brand products, is demonstrating how it has been able to lower production costs for Blu-ray... Complicating the issue is that the consortium backing HD DVD includes chip maker Intel Corp. and software giant MSFT, but PC makers such as Apple Computer Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. are backing Blu-ray. HD DVD players are set to arrive at stores later this year in Japan and early next year in the United States. Sony's Blu-ray recorder models are already on sale in Japan, and the Sony PlayStation 3 video-game console, which supports Blu-ray, is set to go on sale in spring next year. But when Blu-ray players and other models will be available isn't clear so far... The Walt Disney Co., Sony's Columbia Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox, which support Blu-ray..."
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Factory orders of US-made goods increased 2.5% in August, inventories fell
"Orders for durable goods rose 3.4%, revised from last week's preliminary estimate of 3.3%. Orders and shipments for nondurable goods rose 1.6%, led by a nearly 20% rise in tobacco and a 4.6% increase in petroleum... Orders are up 7.7% in the past year... Shipments of factory goods increased 1.7% in August... Inventories dropped 0.1%... Orders for core capital goods - a key metric for business investment - increased 3.1% in August after a sharp 3.9% contraction in July. Shipments of core capital goods rose 1.5% in August after a 1% drop in July. In the past year, core capital goods orders are up 11.4%, while shipments are up 10.9%."
census bureau data
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
Privacy violators go after schools, accountants, land-lords, doctors, protection rackets, employers, retailers
"With identity fraud, 'the future is burglaries -- not burglaries of your home, but of dentists, CPAs, insurers.', said James Hudson, a former fraud detective and co-founder and president of Amcrin Corp., in West Linn, OR... Identity fraud these days ranges from scammers using stolen information to apply for student loans and grants through the federal student aid program -- as much as $1.3M in one case -- to lower-level fraudsters who are in the business simply to sell consumer 'profiles' for $10 to $100 each, conference speakers said. Often, an insider at a company will collect information and then give or sell it to others, these experts said... Those attending included policemen, federal investigators, school-district inspectors and bank executives. Many said identity theft is a growing problem in their jurisdictions."
Munir Ahmad _AP_/_Wilkes-Barre Times Leader_
Pakistan arrested Taliban spokes-person
San Luis Obispo Tribune
"Mullah Hakim Latifi, who has often claimed responsibility for attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces, was caught in the southwestern Baluchistan province after using a local cell phone, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said."
Nearly 500K H-1B visas have been issued in the last 4 years and about 300K visas have been issued for the professionals' dependents
"Economists estimate that in major cities a family of three (husband, wife and child) needs to earn $47K to $62K a year to get by. And not all skilled workers earn enough to live a normal middle class life in America, without the supplementary income of their spouse."
Rebecca Hagelin _World Net Daily_
Don't be manipulated by the master marketers
"When you refer to people who have entered our country illegally, what do you call them? Not long ago, they were labeled 'illegal aliens'. This term, with its two negative words, accurately conveyed two things: 1) the fact that those who enter our country illegally have committed a crime and 2) that they weren't one of us, i.e., American citizens. But as Kupelian noted, the terms of the debate began to shift. First, the phrase became 'illegal immigrants' -- a negative and a positive. After all, America is a nation of immigrants and their descendants, so the term 'immigrants' evokes positive images and makes us feel more warmly toward these law-breakers (although it happens subconsciously, so we're hardly aware of it). Since then, still nicer substitutes have emerged, such as 'undocumented guest workers'... you've been sold a bill of goods. The fact is, those who hope we'll ignore the crime committed by illegal aliens used proven marketing techniques to sell you something -- and if you weren't paying attention, you bought it. This pernicious practice doesn't stop with border security. We're bamboozled daily on a wide variety of subjects... As [David] Kupelian notes in his new book _The Marketing of Evil_..."
Feds charge 3 working at Fort Bragg with immigration violations
"The suspects from Indonesia and Senegal did not have access to classified material, a JSOC spokeswoman said. Two Indonesian natives, Nurkis Qadariah, 34, and Sayf Rimal, 37, were arrested Tuesday and charged with possessing and using false documents, U.S. Attorney Frank Whitney said in a prepared statement. Ousmane Moreau, 38, of Senegal, was arrested Monday and charged with being in the United States illegally... B.I.B. Consultants is a Florida-based company that provides contract language instruction services to U.S. Special Forces and other U.S. military personnel at the JSOC at Fort Bragg, federal prosecutors said."
Mac Johnson _Phoenix News_
What Did We Every Do without Illegal Aliens?: Cheap labor aint cheap
"It is with unhappiness and great reservation that I recall for you the America of my youth. America in that time was a dysfunctional wasteland. Without masses of illegal aliens there to do the necessary work that no American will do, the place simply fell apart. Lawns went unmown for years at a time. The problem was so bad that children simply disappearing into their overgrown lawns became the third leading cause of childhood fatality for a time. Also, there were no restaurants in those days. Without an illegal servant caste there to bus the tables, wash the dishes, cook the food, and take the orders, no restaurants were possible... We all know that no American can pick an apple, or process a chicken, or pack even a single blueberry or peanut. Without the agricultural underclass, there was no food in those days... Oh wait. That's not what happened. All those jobs got done just fine back then -- before we had the army of illegal immigrants that I am told are absolutely essential to our 'modern' globalized economy. How was this possible? Who did these thankless menial jobs for reasonable wages? Wait. It's coming back to me. I know. I did them! My friends did them. Young Americans did them. After school we worked at restaurants. In the summer-time we cut grass. More than once, I was paid actual cash money to clean up construction debris -- at work sites where every worker was an American. And every one of those workers spoke English and supported a family (or a bass boat or a drinking problem) working at a job that few Americans can take today, because you often can no longer make enough money to support a family, or even a proper drinking problem. My cousins worked the summers on nearby farms, an unthinkable thought today. What farmer would bother teaching or tolerating a fifteen year old American kid who might want Friday off and expects to go home and eat dinner with his family?... I have lived through an age of modest immigration and I live now through an age of obscene uncontrolled illegal immigration -- and I have yet to see one vital job go undone. The second reason I bring these points up is to illustrate that the effects of open borders are not simply economic; there are also cultural effects. Among these is the disappearance of entry-level jobs that would normally be offered to American youth... the most important thing we learned was independence... A society of equals must serve itself. And a society that cannot serve itself must [unavoidably] cultivate inequality."
Jeffrey Gautreaux _Yuma AZ Sun_
Yuma sector Border Patrol statistics soared
"After a 2005 fiscal year in which the U.S. Border Patrol's Yuma sector broke records for illegal alien apprehensions, deaths and rescues, 28 more illegal aliens were rescued over the week-end, the first 2 days of the 2006 fiscal year. Yuma sector agents apprehended 138,486 illegal aliens between 2004 October 1, and 2005 September 30, according to Michael Gramley, spokesman for the Yuma sector Border Patrol. This figure was nearly 41K more than the number apprehended in 2004... The previous apprehension record was 108,747 from 2000. The apprehension numbers recorded in 2005 were 41.7% greater than 2004 and 27.3% greater than 2000. The Yuma sector extends from the southeastern corner of California to the Yuma-Pima county line."
Heather MacDonald _Front Page_
Crime Is the Open Borders Lobby's Dirty Little Secret: The Unreality of Media Coverage of the Illegal Alien Crime Wave
"The editorial describes the unending series of maimings, stabbings, killings, that have been unleashed recently in the Northern Virginia area by Mara Salvatrucha -- usually shortened in the media to 'M13' -- a gang predominantly of Salvadoran descent that has spread from its home in Los Angeles across the country... The Justice Department estimates that more than 50% of all members of Mara Salvatrucha are illegal. I talked to an LAPD Officer who deals with this gang daily, and he puts the figures much higher... Now, the policy -- the prohibition I'm mentioning regarding the contribution of illegal criminals to gang and other types of crimes -- has a policy counterpart. And that's the prohibition on the police, local police, from taking any hand in getting rid of illegal [alien gangsters] in this country... Now, the scope of the illegal crime wave is difficult to measure, because we're not supposed to ask. But some figures are illustrative. In Los Angeles, the LAPD has a fugitive warrant section. And 95% of all murder outstanding warrants target illegal aliens, and two-thirds of all outstanding felony warrants target illegal aliens. This doesn't mean that 95% of all murders or crimes are committed by illegals, but the people who have turned fugitive are predominantly [illegal aliens]. The California Justice Department estimated that 60% of the 18th Street Gang is illegal. Jill Stuart recently suggested that in California 14K inmates are illegal aliens... And a lot of kids who are born here are getting sucked up into gang culture."
James Edwards _Front Page_
Crime Is the Open Borders Lobby's Dirty Little Secret: The Unreality of Media Coverage of the Illegal Alien Crime Wave
"Let me read you some newspaper headlines: 'Gang Violence Puts Idaho Town on Edge', 'Dad Slayer Was to be Deported', 'Maryland Driver Receives 10 Years in Fatal Crash', 'Miami Police Say Serial Rapist Caught', 'Man Who Raped Strangled Nun Sentenced to Life in Prison', 'Man Stabs Infant Hostage', 'Gang Rape Pack Bares Evil Scheme'. Nearly all of these crimes involved illegal aliens. Nearly all of the aliens could have been prosecuted or deported or both, solely on their immigration violations. Many of the aliens had already crossed paths with American police... Aliens make-up about 11% of the U.S. population but are 30% of the Federal prison population. Criminal aliens, whether legal or illegal, simply stay put in our country. There are more than 400K alien absconders who remain at large. 80K of those have dangerous criminal records. 89K State and Federal inmates are foreign born."
_US Border Control_
40 years later, illegal immigration has become the elephant in America's room
Greg Sowinski _Lima Ohio News_
Sheriff responds to letter from Mexican consulate
"After receiving a letter from the Mexican consulate warning him about profiling Mexicans, Sheriff Dan Beck said Monday his agency may increase enforcement against illegal immigrants. 'If this is the type of attitude he wants, it appears he's trying to coerce me into doing nothing. It tells me this is a more important issue. He just raised the priority here.', Beck said. Beck was talking about a letter he received from Antonio Meza, the consul for the Mexican Consulate in Detroit. The letter was sent to Beck last month after Beck announced a plan to train his deputies on recognizing fraudulent forms of identification. In the letter, Meza said he's been informed that Beck's agency is targeting Mexican nationals living and working in the area. He also said Beck's officers have gone as far as to ask Mexicans for their immigration papers as they wait to be picked up by their employers... Beck said his deputies do not profile Mexicans and the letter is full of misstatements... Meza's letter came on the heels of Beck's announcement to form a 'working group' to address crime associated with illegal immigrants. Beck expressed his concerns after a triple fatal car crash July 24 involving illegal immigrants. He also was concerned after an accused child molester from Hamilton fled to Lima to avoid prosecution... In 2002, the court spent $466 on interpreters. Through August of this year, the court had spent $834, according to records. Municipal Judge William Lauber said the Spanish-speaking people appearing in his court are usually accused of the same crimes as anyone else appearing."
Kark Riitter _AP_/_Yahoo!_
2 Americans & a Frenchman Share Nobel Prize in Chemistry
"Americans Robert H. Grubbs and Richard R. Schrock and Yves Chauvin of France won the Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for discoveries that let industry produce drugs and advanced plastics more efficiently and with less hazardous waste. The trio won the award for their development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis — a way to rearrange groups of atoms within molecules that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences likened to a dance in which couples change partners... Grubbs, 63, is a professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, and Schrock is a chemistry professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chauvin, 74, is the honorary director of research at the Institut Francais du Petrole in Rueil-Malmaison, France... Chauvin explained in 1971 how metathesis reactions work and what kinds of metal compounds can be used as catalysts to make the reactions happen. Schrock was the first to produce an efficient metal-compound catalyst in 1990. Two years later, Grubb developed the first in a series of improved catalysts that have found many uses... On Tuesday, Americans John L. Hall and Roy J. Glauber and German Theodor W. Haensch won the 2005 Nobel Prize in physics for their work in advancing the precision of optic technology [by applying quantum physics to it], which could improve communication worldwide and help spacecraft navigate more accurately to the stars."
"In the aftermath of devastation by Hurricane Katrina, the US administration has announced a $200G reconstruction package. And several Indian companies like Punj Lloyd have been approached to facilitate the reconstruction. [So, where are the US construction firms? Where are the US construction workers? Millions of Americans are unemployed; why aren't they being recruited? For that matter, where are the Canadian and Mexican firms and construction workers?]"
Andy McCue _Silicon_
BT dismisses critics of off-shoring, calling them bigots
"BT's chief procurement officer Meryl Bushell, speaking today at the annual Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply conference in London, said the company will continue the off-shoring drive... Bushnell... hit out at those who claim language and cultural differences in India have had a negative impact on the quality of customer service... BT has been out-sourcing work off-shore - predominantly to India - for more than 20 years and has led a concerted drive to off-shore IT work since 1995, followed by call centre work in 2000. Bushell said a lack of skills in the UK has been a bigger driver for off-shoring than cost savings... She also warned companies to specify requirements in fine detail to off-shore suppliers, including everything from the maximum staff attrition rate to data protection and health and safety. But during a question and answer session with Bushell, one delegate disagreed that language differences have not had a negative impact on Indian call centres and said it is dangerous to label those customers who have bad experiences with off-shore operations as 'racist bigots'."
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM non-manufacturing index down from 65% to 53.3% in August: 58% of firms report paying higher prices
"The ISM non-manufacturing index fell to 53.3% from 65.0% in August -- the sharpest one-month decline on record. The previous largest decline came in the wake of the 2001 September 11, terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, the prices paid index jumped to a record level, with 58% of firms reporting that they paid higher prices in September..."
ISM press release
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US had 71,836 lay-off announcements in September, up 1.8% from 70,571 in August
Rocky Mountain News
"Lay-offs were down 33% from 2004 September. In the third quarter, lay-offs fell 2.5% from the third quarter of 2004 to 245,3478, the smallest number of lay-offs in 5 quarters... For all of 2005, lay-offs are up 8.2% year-to-date, with the auto industry, airlines and retailers accounting for about a third of planned reductions... Through September, employers have announced 783,652 job cuts compared with the 724,320 cuts announced through September a year ago, the group said... transportation and retail industries... led all other industries in September with a combined 26,046 job cuts, 36% of all cuts announced during the month... Through September, auto-makers and their suppliers have cut 82,732 jobs, nearly 11% of all cuts announced this year."
Aaron Bernstein _Business Week_
Off-Shoring: Just the Bright Side, Thanks
"After holding off for more than a year, the Commerce Dept. has quietly released a study of off-shoring -- the movement of white-collar jobs to low-wage countries. But it's not the even-handed assessment completed by staff analysts in 2004 June, after 6 months of research. The staff report was largely ditched, say outside experts who heard the staffers' views. Instead, these critics charge, Commerce political appointees put out a 12-page report that portrays off-shoring as an unconditional boon to the U.S. economy... Commerce has only released its final report to representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) who ordered it up, but BusinessWeek has obtained a copy, as well as a slide show tied to the original research, presented by staffers at a conference last December. The staff researchers' presentation gave both the pros and cons, comparing factors that favor U.S. high-tech job growth with those that favor off-shoring. The official version dispenses with most of the disadvantages. Instead it points to pro-off-shoring studies done by McKinsey Global Institute and uncritically cites data from a lobbying group that represents the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies. 'No objective analysts, even if they were in favor of out-sourcing, would write a report like this.', says Ron Hira, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, who saw the December presentation."
official report (pdf)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 312,394 in the week ending October 1, an increase of 19,569 from the previous week. There were 279,591 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending September 24, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,422,567, an increase of 72,842 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 1.9% and the volume was 2,368,048."
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
Compensation concerns renew opposition to H-1B visas
"nearly 15 years after its inception under the Immigration Act of 1990, the [H-1B] program remains in full force and headed for new battles. Just last month, the Indian government made a proposal to the World Trade Organization [WTO], demanding that the annual cap for H-1B visas be raised from 65K to 195K... If jobs are leaving U.S. shores, is the program still needed?... In 2003, 39% of H-1B visas approved were for workers in computer-related occupations [down from about 60% at the beginning of the depression]... The Programmers Guild, an advocacy group for US technology workers, claims to have found new evidence [in federal data] indicating that H-1Bs in computer occupations are being paid relatively little by a lot of employers -- raising the prospect that visas are being used to hire cheap workers who threaten US jobs and wages. The median annual wage paid in the United States to workers in computer and math occupations was $62,620 in 2004 May, according to the Department of Labor. Among companies seeking at least 100 H-1B visas last year, many employers planned to pay substantially less than that amount, according to the Programmers Guild report. Of 100 employers in the category that planned to pay the lowest salaries, the report said, none intended to offer more than an average of $48,355 a year. 74 of these companies pledged to pay an average salary of less than $45,820 -- a figure in the 25th percentile for U.S. math and computer workers... Companies are now required to pay 100% of the prevailing wage, up from 95%, and the Labor Department's investigative power has been strengthened. But critics maintain that another change in the law last year, one involving surveys used to determine the prevailing wage, worsened the wage problem. The shift increases the number of wage levels in surveys from 2 to 4, a change Berry said makes it easier for unscrupulous employers to pay a low wage by categorizing experienced H-1B workers as novices. Employers can also choose a job title with a lower pay level, said Norm Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California at Davis... [Before, during and while the dot-com boom [and crash worked through], the H-1B system was rocked by reports of corruption. Technology staffing firms, sometimes called bodyshops, allegedly were trafficking workers from other countries. The Programmers Guild sees its study as a sign that bodyshops abusing the program are alive and well -- even as American tech professionals are trying to recover from years of lay-offs in what seems to be a tepid hiring climate... chief problem of the visa program: tech staffing firms bringing over low-paid H-1B workers even when [capable] U.S. employees are available... 'If U.S. immigration laws change and make it more difficult for us to obtain H-1B and L-1 visas for our employees, our ability to compete for and provide services to clients in the United States could be impaired.', India-based tech services giant Wipro Technologies wrote in a public [SEC] filing this month. (The L-1 is another type of work visa.)... H-1B-dependent employers do not have to worry about recruiting, hiring or displacing U.S. employees if the guest workers have master's or doctorate degrees in fields related to the jobs in question or if they are paid at least $60K a year [below the median for several of the targeted professions]. Critics note that the $60K threshold was set in 1998 and hasn't been adjusted to keep pace with inflation or the salaries of U.S. tech professionals, effectively making it easier for employers to bring in more foreign workers. The U.S. cost of living has risen 19% since then, and the average annual salary of computer programmers in the United States climbed 23% between 1998 and 2004 May (the latest available statistic), to $65,910."
Dan Burrows _MarketWatch_
"However, sales in the aggregate did manage to exceed tempered forecasts. The ICSC-UBS tally put same-store sales at a better-than-expected 4%. By Thomson Financial's reckoning, same-store sales grew 3.9%, which was ahead of analysts' average projection for 3.4% growth."
Sharon Gaudin _Datamation_
IT Jobs "Stable" Despite Mergers and Related Lay-Offs
"In the overall American economy, September job cuts were 33% lower than a year ago -- with 71,836 lay-offs compared to 107,863, according to analysis from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global out-placement firm based in Chicago... Right now, the computer industry is showing more job cuts than in all of 2004. Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that there have been 61,907 lay-offs in the computer industry so far this year, compared to 48,917 in all of 2004... 'We're still over 8% ahead of last year's pace for the first 9 months, but the last 2 months have been relatively flat and benign.'... According to Dice's numbers for September, the number of 'contract' positions being advertised on the job site was 31,310, compared to 50,603 for full-time positions... The top skill being sought on Dice is C and C++ programmers; The number of available tech jobs posted for September was 76,608;..."
Dice Report: 76,608 job ads
Total 76,608 UNIX 11,352 Windoze 11,966 Java C/C++ 11,317 body shop 31,310 permanent 50,603
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Regarding CNET special report on H-1B visa program
"The CNet article... goes into much more depth than most articles... in my CACM article [pdf], where I pointed out, 'Though programmer salaries in India are very low, the overall cost savings for off-shoring tends to be in the range of 15% to 40%... This is about the same range of savings accrued for work done in the U.S.A. by hiring H-1Bs... Given the similarity in salary savings between off-shoring and labor importation, and the fact that having the work done on-site is far more productive, it is much more cost-effective from a CEO's point of view to hire H-1Bs than to off-shore the work.' So of course it's not a mystery that the demand for H-1Bs is still very strong...
* Of course loop-holes are exploited. If this were an article about the tax code, would the author here have said, 'Opponents say large corporations exploit loop-holes in tax code'? I think not. Instead, he would assume without question that firms make full use of every loop-hole in the tax code that is legally available to them. But somehow with H-1B it's a matter of 'opponents' saying this. And there is no doubt that the loop-holes are numerous, as even the employers and immigration lawyers have publicly admitted. For example, the GAO, Congress' research arm, stated of their interviews with employers, 'Some employers said that they hired H-1B workers in part because these workers would often accept lower salaries than similarly qualified U.S. workers; however, these employers said they never paid H-1B workers less than the required wage.' In other words, the employers are paying their H-1Bs whatever is legally required, even though that is less than they pay comparable Americans, due to loop-holes. And of course there is the famous comment by immigration lawyer Joel Stewart on loop-holes to avoid hiring Americans when sponsoring foreign workers for green cards: 'Employers who favor aliens have an arsenal of legal means to reject all U.S. workers who apply' (Legal Rejection of U.S. Workers Immigration Daily 2000 April 24); there is just as big an arsenal of loop-holes to use to pay the H-1B low wages...
* First, 'computer and math occupations' is far too coarse a category. This would be like using a category of 'health care occupations' -- including hospital orderlies, LVNs, etc. -- to gauge how much surgeons are making. Second, and much more importantly, by looking at the low end of the pay spectrum, the Guild and this article are falsely giving the impression that it is only the 'bodyshops' that are the abusers of H-1B [larger, high-end firms are abusers, too]...
* Everyone is abusing the H-1B program, not just the bodyshops, not just the Indian-owned firms... Well, the evidence on H-1B as cheap labor is well established too, and the only ones who deny it are those with a vested interest (industry lobbyists and immigration attorneys). So why is the press still calling it a controversy?... The various studies which have shown that H-1Bs are paid less all use publicly available data. The Guild study here, for instance, used the Dept. of Labor data. If the reporter didn't trust the Guild's analysis, he could have checked it on his own. Same for the census data, etc. And one hardly needs data when the employers themselves are admitting to paying the H-1Bs less than comparable Americans, as seen in the GAO quote shown above, as well as in the National Research Council study, again sponsored by Congress. The NRC subcontracted Hal Salzman of the University of Massachusetts to study the issue, and reported, '...based on interviews with some H-1B employers, Salzman reported that H-1B workers in jobs requiring lower levels of IT skill received lower wages, less senior job titles, smaller signing bonuses, and smaller pay and compensation increases than would be typical for the work they actually did.' (See my University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform article [pdf] for a discussion of the term 'lower levels'.) Why isn't the press reporting this? Why do they still call it a controversy?... the real reason [not to use overall average figures] is to prevent the larger abuses, such as hiring a programmer with a hot skill but paying him the wage of a generic programmer or hiring younger (thus cheaper) H-1B instead of an older (thus more expensive) American...
* The (de facto) indentured servitude situation has not changed. Just as in the past, it arises when an employer of an H-1B sponsors him for a green card. This takes years, during which the H-1B is essentially immobile, as changing jobs would mean starting the green card process all over again. The 2000 legislation made a small technical amendment to the law, but of minor consequence, as it only allows those being sponsored for green cards to change employers during the very last stage of the green card process."
Gerard Wevers _CNET_
H-1B prevailing compensation requirements have designed-in loop-holes
Maureen O'Hagan _Seattle Times_
Diploma Mills: Degrees of Deception
"With little more than a network of web sites, telephones and bank accounts, a group of 8 people ran a million-dollar diploma business that churned out thousands of bogus degrees, according to a federal indictment. The group, which ran St. Regis University and several related businesses, was based in the Spokane area, although it purported to run accredited colleges in Liberia. About half of the diplomas issued by the group went to foreigners, leading authorities to worry that some may use their phony degrees to qualify for U.S. work visas... Named in the indictment, handed down Wednesday, are Dixie Ellen Randock, Steven Karl Randock Sr., Richard John Novak, Blake Alan Carlson, Amy Leann Hensley, Heidi Kae Lorhan, Roberta Markishtum and Kenneth Pearson, all charged with mail fraud. In addition, the Randocks are charged with money laundering. The U.S. Attorney is also seeking to seize a number of assets, including $480K in bank accounts and a 2001 Jaguar... They set up 'verification' businesses, with telephones manned by group members in case an employer called to ask questions. And they even created a business to 'accredit' the diploma mills as a way to make them seem legitimate, the indictment alleges. [Hmmm, this is sounding more and more like any state university.] One of the related businesses purported to evaluate credentials for an H-1B visa, which has authorities concerned that a foreigner may use a bogus diploma to get into the United States, according to Rice of the U.S. Attorney's Office. To get an H-1B visa, a foreigner must be sponsored by an employer and have at least a bachelor's degree in a specialty occupation, such as chemical engineer, said Steve Miller, a Seattle immigration lawyer. The number of H1B visas is limited and employers pay thousands of dollars for them, including a fee intended to help weed out fraud."
Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
The Proof Is in the Raisins
"One of the amusements in the immigration reform game is to watch the protestations from the other side... Harvesting raisins is one of the toughest jobs in agriculture -- no question about it... Here are 4 questions I'd like answered before we open the flood-gates again with another guest-worker program. First of all, can we at least try to find last year's raisin workers? Hiltzik quotes the Nisei Farmers League's claim that 40K of 2004's 50,600 pickers have vanished. But have they? Some probably latched onto better jobs in construction. A handful may have returned to Mexico. But the vast majority have not strayed very far, believe me! Priority number one is to find them. Second, once we locate them, how about paying a decent wage for a change? According to Hiltzik, contributing to the so-called labor shortage is 'Low pay and harsh conditions.'... Even the growers concede that their pay scale is not competitive with other job options available to illegal aliens. Hiltzik pointed specifically to construction jobs that offer $9.00-$12.00 an hour. (Why isn't Hiltzik screaming about the long-gone American construction worker done in by that paltry wage offered to and accepted only by illegal aliens?) The UFW has consistently argued that there is no labor shortage. According to it, the farmers want more guest worker programs so that they can continue to pay rock bottom wages. Third, whatever happened to mechanical harvesting? Fourth, if the raisins are always rotting in the fields (this same claim was made by the Nisei Farmers League in 1998 but little came of it), why isn't there a shortage in the market? As an avid home baker and ice cream maker, I am an above-average consumer of raisins. For 15 years, I have been buying all types and varieties at the Lodi Farmers Market for $3.00 per pound. No serious shortage is anticipated this year, according to my sources... What Hiltzik is guilty of the immigration enthusiasts' characteristic flaw: intellectual dishonesty... he prefers to see America made over into Mexico rather than pay living wages to U.S. workers. [Ask Michael Hiltzik why: firstname.lastname@example.org ]"
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
The Police State Is Closer Than You Think
"Sam Navy" _CNET_
"the employees are not getting paid what they were promised. But even this aside, when the immigrants start here it's usually at a lower salary... For many, the H-1B program has become a black-mailing tool. There are business who would threaten and intimidate the employees by using this trump card. Because by law, the H-1b status for an immigrant allows him to work and live in this country. Without this, his stay is illegal. Its a very effective tool for the business to use. Who is the winner?
1. The business [executive] who gets 'cheaper' resources
2. The [H-1B] employee who has a much better deal than he would if he was in India/China.
3. The Indian/[Red Chinese] government who are more than happy about the incoming dollars.
4. The US government since the business can account for greater profits which translate to more taxes. Who is the loser?
1. The American Joe who has lost his job."
Enquirer 80 stock index up 0.37%
"The Enquirer 80 index of local interest stocks was up 1.34 points, or 0.37%, to close Friday at 277.04. 45 issues were up, 28 were down and 7 were unchanged. Leading gainers were Kendle, up $1.54 to $27.48; Toyota Motor, up $1.51 to $90.58; Meridian Bioscience, up $1.29 to $21.51; Ashland, up 79 cents to $54.50; LCA-Vision, up 79 cents to $36.31. Biggest laggers were Emerson Electric, down 48 cents to $69.92; Griffon Corp., down 40 cents to $23.50; Peoples Community Bancorp; down 36 cents to $20.64; Rex Stores, down 26 cents to $12.93; Penn National Gaming, down 24 cents to $29.05."
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
stocks down over week: fears of inflation, crude petroleum down 5%
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 5.21 points to close at 10,292.31. On the week, the benchmark index fell 2.6%. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 6.27 points to 2,090.35, but the tech-rich index posted a weekly loss of 2.9%. The S&P 500 Index rose 4.41 points to 1,195.90. For the week, the broad gauge was down 2.7%... On the broader market for equities, advancers outpaced decliners by 19 to 12 the New York Stock Exchange and by 4 to 3 the Nasdaq. Volume was 1.6G on the Big Board, and 1.46G on the Nasdaq."
Jasin Saine _Lincoln Nebraska Tribune_
Walter Jones, John Hostettler, Lamar Smith & Tom Tancredo urge president to better enforce immigration laws
"In a letter yesterday to President Bush, Third District Representative Walter B. Jones joined representatives John Hostettler (IN), Lamar Smith (TX), Tom Tancredo (CO) and other Members of Congress in calling for better enforcement of current immigration laws before a guest worker program is considered. Citing their concern over the neglectful enforcement of current immigration laws, Members of Congress sent the following letter to President Bush: 'We write as Members of Congress concerned about immigration. Recently there has been much discussion of new guest worker or temporary worker programs. However, we believe that there should be no new guest worker program or any expansion of the number of lawful residents in our country until the Executive Branch better enforces current immigration laws. History has shown that enforcement provisions are ignored and underfunded while guest worker and amnesty provisions are always implemented... Today an estimated 12M to 20M illegal aliens are in the United States... The American people need to see that the current laws against illegal immigration are being enforced before any guest worker program can be considered.'"
Jim Kouri _Lincoln Nebraska Tribune_
Is the Federal Government Profiting from Illegal Immigration?
Mark Phelan _Detroit Free Press_
Delphi executives promised bigger severance packages
"With reports circulating that Delphi Corp. could file for bankruptcy as early as today, the company promised about 21 of its top executives Friday that they'd get more money if they are fired or laid off... the company wants to cut [production workers'] pay as much as 63% and reduce health care and retirement benefits... Until Friday, severance packages for Delphi's white-collar employees were capped at 12 months of pay. But in a report to the federal agency that supervises publicly traded companies, Delphi said the top executives are now eligible for up to 18 months of pay and some of their regular bonus... Robert S. (Steve) Miller, Delphi's chairman and chief executive, who works under an exclusive contract -- $1.5M a year and a $3M signing bonus -- he negotiated before joining the company earlier this year... Delphi's top 5 executives were paid between $800K and $1M last year..."
Saluting science's parade of miracles
Leo Hindery _Denver Post_
Education Is Only Part of Key To Jobs
"what are we doing today to preserve the kinds of jobs we tell students will be there for them once they graduate? What are we doing today to preserve the ladder of success? Not much. During the last 4 years, at least 3M U.S. jobs have been moved off-shore, and over the next decade another 10% to 15% of today's 134M jobs will be lost to foreign operations. And the jobs flowing to countries such as [Red China] and India are not just low-paying manufacturing jobs. This year alone, 830K high-quality service and information technology jobs will be lost off-shore... cheaper consumer products here at home in exchange for higher corporate profits from off-shore operations - isn't an equitable deal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. jobs that are expected to grow the most this decade include food service providers, waiters and waitresses, retail sales-persons, cashiers, janitors and cleaners... very few Americans are benefiting from the higher corporate profits being generated by off-shoring... education will not fulfill its promise if quality jobs aren't there at the end of these paths. And we'll be further reneging on our 'contracts' with students if workers don't share more fairly in the rewards from their increased productivity and the profits they produce."
New Orleans police caught beating civilians
"At least one police officer repeatedly punched a 64-year-old man accused of public intoxication, and another officer assaulted an Associated Press Television News producer as a cameraman taped the confrontations."
Red China's September trade surplus likely topped $10G for 3rd straight month
Michael P. Mayko _Connecticut Post_
Illegal alien children smuggled into state
"The victims can be everywhere but still invisible. They come in all sizes, colors and nationalities. Some were Mexican children brought to lower Fairfield County several years ago to sell their bodies in a brothel. Others were Rwandan children living briefly in a Meriden home before being smuggled over the Canadian border. Still more -- maybe hundreds more -- were illegal aliens from India who paid as much as $35K to be transported to Great Britain, then New York, before being delivered to their final destination by a Danbury man... Already $500K has gone to the State Police to fund a Human Smuggling and Trafficking Task Force. By the end of this month, O'Connor expects nearly $500K more to go to the International Institute of Connecticut to provide social services to the victims... It's called human smuggling when aliens pay others to transport them illegally into the United States. The cost can range from $500 for a simple border crossing to $35K for an itinerary that may begin in the Balkans with a brief stop in Mexico and then into the United States, said Weiss, now working as a special assistant to Myra Oliver, the executive director of the International Institute. It becomes human trafficking when the aliens arrive at their new jobs but aren't allowed to leave... Boyle said the majority of illegal aliens smuggled into Connecticut are from South America and the Far East. Their jobs primarily involve landscaping, construction, restaurant work, massage parlors and escort services... That's where he expects the nearly $500K going to victim's services to help. If received as expected, Oliver said, the institute would use it to fund an outreach program and a hot line with translators in 40 languages available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It also would pay for housing, medical and legal help to those victims who come forward... In July, Amit Patel, 38, of Danbury, was sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for his role with the Great Britain smuggling ring. Patel, himself an illegal alien from India, mailed their falsified travel documents back to co-conspirators in Great Britain so they could be reused with the next group. In February, Hussein Mutungirehe was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison for harboring a female child and transporting male children to the Canadian border. The children, all from Rwanda, arrived illegally in Connecticut after Abiba Kanzayire, a co-defendant, obtained visas from the U.S. Consulate in Burundi. She did so by claiming they were her children. The visas were used on numerous occasions in 2002 and 2003 to smuggle at least 4 children here. Kanzayire spent a year in prison before being deported to Rwanda. 'We know the children came in through New York, stayed in Meriden and were taken to Canada.', O'Connor said. 'We don't know what happened to them after that.' Just last month, O'Connor was a keynote speaker at a conference on human trafficking conducted in Bangkok, Thailand, by the U.S. Department of Justice's International Law Enforcement Academy... O'Connor said the federal government has funded 20 task forces, including the one in Connecticut, to work on the problem... 'We can now prosecute these people for having the intent to travel over-seas to have sex with children.', O'Connor said."
Chicago Minutemen to Host Summit on National Security and Illegal Immigration 2005-10-15
"The Chicago Minuteman Project will host the 'America First: Summit on National Security' on Saturday, 2005 October 15, from 09:00 to 16:00. Minorities and immigrants are among the leaders who will speak at the summit held at the Christian Liberty Academy, 502 W. Euclid Ave., in Arlington Heights, IL."
Israeli & American Win Nobel in Economics for Study of Development of Cooperation and Conflict
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
"Israeli-American Robert J. Aumann and American Thomas C. Schelling won the 2005 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences on Monday for their work on game theories that help explain political and economic conflicts from arms races to price wars. 'Why do some groups of individuals, organizations and countries succeed in promoting cooperation while others suffer from conflict?', the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. Aumann is a professor with the Center for Rationality at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem while Schelling is a professor with the Department of Economics and School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland in College Park."
Domenic Donatantonio _Professional Recruiter_
Hot-Line Tech Support Compensation Fell in UK: Off-shoring forced IT wages down
"Off-shore out-sourcing has forced a sharp fall in pay for UK IT helpdesk workers in the last 12 months, according to a report commissioned by the Association of Technology Staffing Companies. The iProfileStats/ATSCo research shows that hourly rates for contract/temp IT helpdesk workers have fallen from 16 pounds sterling per hour in 2004 to 12 pounds sterling per hour in 2005, while average salaries for permanent IT helpdesk workers fell 3% to 17,538 pounds sterling... 'In contrast, highly skilled managers and consultants are receiving pay increases more than treble the rate of inflation.'"
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Blue Chip Economic Index predicts 3.3% growth in GDP in 2006
Delphi CEO plans major job cuts
"Delphi Corp., the U.S. auto-parts supplier that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Saturday, plans to shut down or sell off a substantial part of its U.S. operations, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. But Delphi Chief Executive Robert 'Steve' Miller told the Journal in an interview he was not sure if the company would ask the U.S. government to take over its pension obligations. Miller said Delphi's troubles would require the company to divest, consolidate or close 'a substantial segment' of its 45 manufacturing sites in the U.S. and Canada, which employ 49K workers. He said he also plans to renegotiate the contracts and retirement plans of Delphi's 33K union workers and 12K retirees, the paper reported... Analysts estimated GM's obligation for retiree benefits at somewhere between $1.6G and $6.6G. The company's tab for retiree pensions could run another $3G to $4.5G if Delphi terminates its plan, the Journal said."
Frank Newport _MarketWatch_
Retail sales are down, but there is room for hope
"Newly released government data suggest that retail spending dropped significantly in August. Some analysts assume that this depressed spending pattern accelerated in September and will continue to spiral downward in the months ahead... There's little question that Americans at the moment have very negative views about the economy."
Mike Maynard _MarketWatch_
US same-store sales up 0.2% since last week
"U.S. retail chains' same-store sales increased 0.2% in the week ended October 8 compared to the prior week, data compiled by the International Council of Shopping Centers show. It marked the third week-to-week gain in same-store sales. On a year-over-year basis, same-store sales were 2.7% higher in the latest week..."
Time need to find work in USA up in 3rd quarter survey
"The median time for an average worker to find a job increased to 3.6 months in the third quarter, up from 3.1 months in the second quarter, employment research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said."
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Tax panel leans toward caps on health, mortgage deductions
"President Bush's advisory panel on tax reform indicated Tuesday it was leaning toward recommending some form of caps on income-tax deductions for employer-provided health-care benefits and mortgage interest payments. In its next-to-last meeting, the panel also indicated it would not recommend a national retail sales tax. The committee will hold its final public meeting on October 18 and is scheduled to deliver its final recommendations to the Treasury Department by November 1."
Myra P. Saefong _MarketWatch_
Crude Oil futures above $64 per barrel
"Crude for November delivery traded as high as $64.70 [per] barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract closed at $64.12 [per] barrel, up 59 cents and its highest since October 3... [EIA] sees petroleum demand growth remaining strong in 2005 and 2006 but slowing from 2004 levels, averaging 1.8% per year over the 2-year period, compared with 3.2% in 2004. Average worldwide oil demand growth is now projected to be about 1.2M barrels per day in 2005, down from 1.7M projected in the EIA's previous report. As for total U.S. energy demand, that's expected to fall to 25.1 quadrillion British thermal units in the fourth quarter of 2005, from 25.2 quadrillion BTUs in the third quarter, the report said, blaming hurricane-related destruction and higher energy prices."
FOMC: Pause Would Have Misled Markets
"Federal Reserve officials argued against holding interest rates at their September 20 meeting, saying financial markets would think the Fed was more concerned about the economy and less worried about inflation than they actually were, according to a summary of the meeting released Tuesday."
Federal Reserve press release
Rex Crum & Michael Paige _MarketWatch_
Apple unveiled video iPod, iMac
"At a media event held in San Jose, CA, Chief Executive Steve Jobs also rolled out a new iMac personal computer with a built-in video camera and remote control access to music, photos and movies... The new iPod models will be available next week in a 30GB version priced at $299 and a 60GB model retailing for $399. The larger model will be capable of holding up to 15K songs, 25K photos or more than 150 hours of video... The new iMac models, which will also be available starting next week, will be priced at $1,299 for a 1.9-GHz version with a 17-inch screen or $1,699 for a faster 2.1-GHz model with a 20-inch screen."
Tom Elias _Hollister CA Free Lance_
Bush Immigration Agenda Likely Not to Fly
"The Bush immigration proposal calls for combining toughened border enforcement with a program of legal 'guest workers' who would go home after a set period of years. One idea his aides have floated would legalize undocumented immigrants already here at least for some period of time. It's a package that pleases almost no one, from the Minutemen volunteers who patrolled parts of the Arizona and California borders with Mexico this spring and summer to immigration advocates who want amnesty and full citizenship made available to illegal immigrants already in this country... Meanwhile, Colorado's Republican representative Tom Tancredo, leader of the hard-line faction on immigration, counters with a bill making it a felony to live in this country without lawful status. He would also set up a guest worker program, but open it only to employers who produce evidence that they need new immigrants to fill jobs legal residents won't take, while sharply limiting guest-worker stays here... It's not just Hispanic immigrants who don't leave once they've arrived, no matter what the law says. Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis, Poles and others here on H-1B visas with strictly limited stays almost always remain after their legal time is up."
Richard McCormack (author of _Lean Machines_) _Manufacturing & Technology News_
Political Appointees Re-Wrote Commerce Department Report on Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
"The Commerce Department has responded to a half-year-old request by Manufacturing and Technology News for the release a long-awaited study on the issue of 'off-shore out-sourcing' of IT service-sector jobs and high-tech industries. But the 12-page document represented by the agency as its final report is not what was written by its analysts. Rather, it was crafted by political appointees at Commerce and at the White House, according to those familiar with it... A 12-page version, entitled 'Six-Month Assessment of WorkForce Globalization In Certain Knowledge-Based Industries', was released on 2005 September 8, as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request that MTN had filed on 2005 March 17. The report, which carries a 2004 July date, has not been posted on the Technology Administration's web site and is not available to the public... After the November election, a draft of the report prepared by a 'brain trust' of Technology Administration analysts went into a vetting process among political appointees at the Commerce Department and White House. It never resurfaced. The analysts never received any feedback on their work, which is unusual, say those who have written similar reports... two Technology Administration analysts involved in writing the IT services and software section of the report made a public presentation to the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in 2004 December describing their findings. The 43-page PowerPoint presentation, provided to MTN by those attending a meeting of ACM's Job Migration Task Force, offers a detailed analysis of the trend, including charts on the growth of Indian out-sourcing firms and strategies adopted by IBM, Hewlett Packard, MSFT, Google and Yahoo. It also describes the IT jobs that will likely remain in the United States and notes that most over-seas IT companies are not doing research. It states that 'knowledge work can move off-shore more quickly and cheaply than manufacturing', and notes that 'companies are moving up the off-shoring learning curve'. The analysts say that there is a 'surplus of low-cost, technically skilled labor in other countries' that is taking advantage of the 'digitization of work' and standardization of softw're platforms... Foreign workers have benefited from the 'development and adoption of standard IT training programs and skill certification'. A large Indian-American IT business community is 'tapping [the] low-wage Indian work-force... Off-shoring destination nations [are] expanding technical work-force skills training.' They noted that venture capitalists are encouraging IT start-ups to use off-shore software developers to reduce their cash burn rates. And that there is 'growing pressure in corporate America to off-shore IT work'. There is also 'political pressure to stem the flow of jobs'."
Mark Trumbull _Christian Science Monitor_
Ramped-up R&D in Red China and India challenge US supremacy in innovation
"But amid new calls to address a scientist 'shortage', the need is not so much to match [Red China] and others numerically as to do something that may be even harder: to stay way ahead in the quality of research and the jobs it spawns. 'The jobs that exist are all going to go away.', says Gerard Alphonse, who heads the US branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 'What we need to do is create the new jobs that will not go away for the next 15 or 20 years... 'Companies are taking the latest tools and technologies to that foreign talent.', says Ron Hira, an expert on out-sourcing at the Rochester Institute of Technology... By 1999, [Red China] ranked behind only the USA, Japan, and Germany in publications on 4 emerging technologies. By 2004, [Red China] was third and closing in on Japan in one of those fields, nano-technology. Companies are increasingly locating R&D facilities in [Red China] and India... Pay for electrical and electronics engineers fell in 2003 for the first time since surveys began in 1971. In that same year, their jobless rate hit 6.2%, well above the national average... Spur research along with the rest of the economy, they argue, by keeping a lid on taxes, healthcare costs, and litigation... Promote spending on research, recruit and retain talent from at home and abroad, and guard against provisions such as tax laws that help employers move jobs over-seas."
Karin Rives _Raleigh News & Observer_
Off-shoring companies hypocritically cite access to workers... while erecting barriers to hiring Americans, Britons, Aussies
Alistair Barr & Steve Gelsi _MarketWatch_
Phillip Bennett, former Refco CEO charged with fraud: Allegedly hid $545M debt as company went public
"Phillip Bennett, the ousted chief executive of Refco Inc., was arrested Wednesday and charged with securities fraud on after federal prosecutors alleged he was involved in an alleged scheme that duped thousands of investors in the futures broker's August initial public offering. Short-term loans between Refco Group Holdings (RGHI), a company controlled by Bennett, and an unnamed Refco customer helped the executive hide as much as $545M in debt that RGHI owed Refco, according to the complaint filed against Bennett by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York."
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 378,980 in the week ending October 8, an increase of 65,262 from the previous week. There were 338,711 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending October 1, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,384,431, a decrease of 15,894 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 1.8% and the volume was 2,320,254."
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US trade deficit grew 1.8% in August to $59G
BEA news release
"August's imports rose 1.8% to a record $167.2G, while exports rose 1.6% to a record $108.2G... The petroleum deficit widened $1.5G to $20.6G. The value of U.S. oil imports rose to a record $17.2G in August from $15.3G in July. The price of a barrel of oil was a record $52.65. Imports of goods alone rose 2.1% to $140.5G, as auto imports rose sharply. However imports of consumer goods declined in August... The U.S. trade deficit with [Red China] widened to a record $18.5G in August and totals $126.2G so far this year. The U.S. also reported record monthly deficits with the European Union, South/Central America and OPEC."
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
Import prices rose 2.3%, Export prices rose 0.9%
"Prices of goods imported into the U.S. climbed 2.3% in September, the biggest increase in 15 years, as costs of natural gas and oil soared. Prices for imported natural gas rose 28.8% in September, while imported oil prices rose 7.3%, the Department of Labor said Thursday. Excluding oil, import prices climbed a record 1.2%. Excluding all fuels, prices rose 0.4%... Building materials rose 2.5% while chemicals rose 1.4%... Prices of U.S. exports, meanwhile, rose 0.9%, the largest increase in 10 years. In August, U.S. export prices were down 0.1%. Agriculture exports decreased the most since 2004 August, down by 1.4%... Prices of [Red Chinese] imports fell by 0.2% in September, the third decline in 4 months."
Abby Deveney _MarketWatch_
No agreement between USA and Red China over textile trade
"A U.S. textile industry group is seeking further sanctions against Chinese imports after the latest round of talks between [Red China] and the United States ended Thursday without an accord. 'We have just ended the fourth round of negotiations with the [Red Chinese] aimed at reaching a broad agreement.', said David Spooner, the U.S. Trade Representative's special textile negotiator. 'We have not come to an agreement that meets the needs of our domestic manufacturers and retailers.', Spooner said... Spooner said United States reserves the right to impose sanctions to limit the influx of [Red China]-made clothing and fabrics... The National Council of Textile Organizations said it and other groups had filed another complaint against the [Red Chinese], this one alleging that subsidized imports of Chinese-made towels had surged 224%."
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Samsumg pled guilty to price fixing conspiracy
"Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and its U.S. subsidiary pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $300M fine for taking part in a conspiracy to fix the prices of semiconductors for computers and other electronics, the Justice Department said Thursday. This is the second-largest criminal antitrust fine in U.S. history... South Korea's Samsung is the latest to settle charges in the multinational investigation into the conspiracy to fix prices of dynamic random-access memory chips... According to the Justice Department, the chipmakers agreed to fix the prices of chips sold to makers of computers and other devices from 1999 through 2002..."
US & Mexican governments agree on plan to suppress border violence
"U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he would send a 'Violent Crime Impact Team' to Laredo, TX, that would double the federal law enforcement presence in the border city... Hundreds of people have been killed in the past 18 months in northern Mexico as organized crime gangs battle for control of the lucrative drug trade into the United States. That violence, which has paralyzed the northern Mexican cities of Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana, is increasingly spilling across the border... The U.S. team heading to Laredo will include agents from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Marshals Service and Department of Homeland Security... The United States will help train Mexican customs officials, the FBI will provide advanced forensic testing of evidence and will provide equipment to Mexican officials, and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will offer new technologies to reduce contraband in Mexico's notoriously corrupt prison system. U.S. victim and witness protection programs will be expanded to help Mexican officials secure the testimony needed to prosecute drug criminal in Mexico. Cabeza de Vaca acknowledged reports that former Mexican Army Special Forces troops, known as 'Zetas', had worked as hired killers for drug cartels, but denied they were currently operating in the area or were responsible for murders in the United States."
Cannabinoid HU210 helps regrow nerve cells, counters depression
"The Journal of Clinical Investigation study showed rats given a cannabinoid were less anxious and less depressed... different cannabinoids acting at different levels [may] have contradictory effects... The Canadian researchers gave rats injections of high levels of one artificial cannabinoid, HU210, for a month. The animals were seen to have nerve cell regeneration in the hippocampus, which is linked to memory and emotions. The hippocampus has been shown to generate new nerve cells throughout a person's or an animal's life, but this ability is reduced if cells are engineered to lack a cannabinoid receptor protein called CB-1..."
Michael Singer _CNET_
HP Labs set to open in Red China
"Hewlett-Packard is preparing to open a research laboratory in [Red China] later this year with a focus on computer security and services among other projects, according to an HP Labs executive... 'This plant along with the one in Bangalore will help us serve our next billion customers.', HP Labs Associate Director Howard Taub revealed Wednesday during a meeting with CNET News.com reporters at HP's Palo Alto facility... HP Labs currently employs about 600 worldwide. HP supports facilities in areas such as Beijing, Shanghai, GuangDong, Shenzhen, and JiangSu. Each one has its specialty... While an executive team for HP Labs in [Red China] has yet to be publicly announced, a people search on HP's web site found Wenbo Mao named as a principal engineer for HP Labs [Red China]. Mao recently sat as a technical contributor to the trusted systems lab at HP Labs in Bristol. He is also the author of a book on modern cryptography and focuses on computer security, formal methods, computational grids and trusted computing."
Seanna Adcox _The State_
South Caroline State Senators Discuss Sales Tax
"State Senate sub-committees studying ways to cut property taxes discussed Wednesday how to give home owners relief without shifting the burden to businesses or the working poor. Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell said a bill will be written by year's end that substitutes sales taxes for property taxes. The package would include increasing the state sales tax by two or three cents on the dollar, while decreasing sales tax on food, increasing the sales tax cap on cars and eliminating property taxes on vehicles. It should protect both renters and businesses, he said... Thomas said raising the sales tax ensures tourists and illegal aliens help foot the bill for public services."
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
Subsisting in plastic: Many use credit kkkards to cover living expenses
"7 out of 10 low- and moderate-income households said they use credit cards to cover basic living expenses such as car repairs, utility bills, groceries or house repairs, according to the telephone survey of 1,150 adults who had owed credit-card debt for at least 3 months."
Rick Rothacker _Charlotte Observer_
Corporate executives taking credit for employees' charitable donations irks amidst off-shoring
"As Wachovia Corp. out-sources technology work to India, some employees are irritated about requests to make donations to the United Way's fund-raising campaign, according to an internal company memo... 'Several (employees) indicated they do not give because they resent Wachovia looking good while Wachovia is off-shoring, etc.," wrote Church, chief information officer for shared services.'... The Charlotte bank in June told a division of 3K employees it was out-sourcing work to India through three outside firms... The off-shoring initiative is part of a larger effort to trim $1G in annual expenses by 2007. The nation's #4 bank by assets has said the initiative will eliminate as many as 4K of its 93,385 jobs. Wachovia spokeswoman Christy Phillips said the company has started displacing technology employees, but declined to give a number."
_San Jose CA Mercury News_
We Cannot Hide from Down-Side of Off-Shoring Jobs
Fort Wayne IN News-Sentinel
"In 2004 December, Commerce Department staffers who were instrumental in preparing the report made a presentation of their findings at a meeting of the Association for Computer Machinery, an organization of technology professionals. The presentation was balanced. Importantly, it highlighted some of the risks that the growth of over-seas out-sourcing presented to American workers and the U.S. economy. It noted, for example, that venture capitalists are increasingly demanding that start-ups hire technology workers over-seas. It characterized the abilities of Russia's tech workers as 'comparable to U.S. skill levels'. It described as a 'rapidly changing landscape' the dizzying growth of Indian out-sourcing firms. IOW, out-sourcing may not have had a dramatic impact on the U.S. economy yet, but it's a fast-growing trend that should be a cause for concern. Nothing controversial about that. But the report that the Commerce Department issued quietly, and which was recently obtained by Business Week, shows nothing of the sort..."
Fran Foo _ZD Net_
if 10 days is an acceptable turn-around time to respond to a customer, then out-sourcing could be for you
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Retail sales inched higher 0.2% in September
"Car sales were weak in September, falling 2.8% on the continued impact of dealers ending sweetheart deals. Excluding autos, sales increased 1.1%... Excluding gasoline, sales fell 0.2%. Excluding autos and gas, retail sales rose 0.6% in September for the second straight month."
census bureau release2005-10-14 06:25PDT (09:25EDT) (13:25GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
CPI up 1.2%: Core rate up 0.1%
"A record 12% rise in energy prices fueled the historic jump in consumer price index, but core inflation - which excludes food and energy - increased just 0.1%. Energy goods and services accounted for more than 90% of the increase in the CPI... Consumer inflation has now risen 4.7% in the past 12 months, the highest since 1991. Core inflation is up 2% in the past year, down from 2.1% in August."
more CPI info
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
Industrial output dropped 1.3% in September
"It was the biggest drop since 1982 January, the Fed said... Capacity utilization, meanwhile, fell to 78.6 in September from a revised 79.8 in August."
Federal Reserve report
Fed releases and historical data
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index fell from 76.9 in September to 75.4
Lisa Hoffman _Capitol Hill Blue: Because nobody's life, liberty or property are safe while congress is in session or the White House is occupied_
ICE is an Agency in Turmoil
"It's the second-largest law-enforcement agency in the U.S. government, a mammoth operation that bills itself as a vital bulwark against terrorists and illegal immigrants... Money, personnel and bed-space shortages continue to mean that many of those caught in America illegally -- including potential terrorists -- may be let free with only a promise to appear at a future court hearing... In June, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff picked Myers, 36, for the post of ICE commissioner, which oversees a $4G budget and more than 15K personnel. Its duties include tracking down and expelling illegal aliens, busting firms that hire employees without 'green cards', chasing foreign students and tourists who overstay their visas and combatting child pornography, money laundering and weapons and drug trafficking."
Tara Slate Donaldson _Centreville Times_/_Gainesville Times_
Delegate candidates agree on region's pressing needs
"Combine 7 candidates for 4 House of Delegates seats into 1 debate and you might expect to get a variety of opinions and stances on a number of different issues. But that was not the case last Thursday at the Prince William County Bar Association's candidates debate... Higher education was the topic of one of the earlier questions. Marshall and Roemmelt were asked how they would help get more in-state students into Virginia colleges when the college administrations would rather offer their spots to out-of-state students, who pay much higher tuition. Marshall said the first step is to keep illegal aliens out of public universities, in part to ensure that more spots are open for legal in-state students... Marshall also said he supports the expansion of the state's community college system... Roemmelt,...On-line programs are an inexpensive way to bring higher education to more people."
Kelli Hewett Taylor _Birmingham News_
Police focus on illegal aliens engaged in other criminal acts
"The officials said their agencies aren't focused on rooting out and deporting all [illegal aliens], but on responding to [additional] criminal actions such as drug trafficking, document forging and violent acts."
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
US federal government deficit fell to $319G for FY2005
"Citing a surge in tax revenues, the federal government on Friday posted a deficit of $319G in fiscal 2005, down $94G from the previous year's record... The data showed that receipts in fiscal 2005 totaled $2.154T, up from $1.880T the previous year. Spending also rose, with outlays totaling $2.473T in fiscal 2005. Spending totaled $2.293T in 2004. [Total expenditures by the US federal government for all of the years from 1789 through 1908 added together were about $17G.]"
Peter A. Brown _Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel_
Immigration costs more than previously believed
"UF economist David Denslow found a net cost of $1,800 per year to the state per immigrant family... $1,800 is the total of how much more public services immigrants consume mostly Medicaid and education and how much less in taxes they pay than does the average resident... The work on the cost of immigrants is a small, until now ignored, item in a much bigger report on the future of the Florida economy commissioned by Florida State University's [a.k.a. Felonious State University's] LeRoy Collins Institute... Denslow did not calculate the net amount of federal taxes paid and federal government services consumed by immigrants compared to residents, so the impact on the U.S. Treasury is unknown. Because he did not distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, the $1,800 figure is the average of both."
Chris Simcox _Washington Post_
First secure the border
"85 members of Congress sent a letter to the White House urging that border security be addressed before any guest-worker programs are implemented."
Nick Bunkley _Detroit News_
Tech pay has risen despite job losses: Field employs 1 of every 6 workers
"Information technology 1998: 68,338, 2003: 65,349, Wages 1998: 3,363,941, 2003: 3,942,715... High-tech employment fell from 361,900 in 1998 to 337,787 in 2003, according to the report released Thursday by Troy-based Automation Alley. After losing technology jobs in 2001 and 2002, the region gained about 21K positions in 2003, the most recent year with available statistics... high-tech workers collect one quarter of the region's pay-roll. The sector's average wage rose 4.4% annually, more than double the rate of inflation, from $52,904 in 1998 to $65,722 in 2003... More than nine out of every 10 technology companies in southeast Michigan have fewer than 100 employees, the report shows. The number of large high-tech businesses declined 2% over the 5-year period studied, from 590 to 536... In the past 5 years, the University of Michigan has spun off 45 new businesses based on technology developed there."
EU warned about Red China's threat to high-tech firms
"Millions of European industrial jobs are under threat from [Red China], India and other emerging economies as these countries combine growth in low-skill, low-wage manufacturing with an expanding presence in innovative, hi-tech sectors, 2 EU reports warned. They challenged the assumption that Europe could offset its loss of traditional manufacturing jobs by retaining a lead in knowledge-based industries and exporting higher-value goods to emerging economies... Launching plans to upgrade R&D in the EU, Janez Potocnik, science and research commissioner, said research investment in [Red China] is growing by 20% a year while that in Europe is stagnating. The share of [Red Chinese] GDP devoted to R&D is growing 10% annually while in the EU it is rising by 0.02%."
_abc 12 WJRT_
Despite soaring compensation packages executives are leaving at a high rate
NewsWatch 50 WWTI abc_
"The monthly CEO Turn-Over Report from the global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas shows 121 chief executives left their firms in September. That's more than twice the number a year earlier. So far this year, more than a thousand corporate bosses have either retired, been fired or left voluntarily... some executives are being forced out due to poor performance or questionable leadership, but many are simply deciding that it's time to let someone else take over."
Enquirer 80 stock index up 1.11%
"The Enquirer 80 index of local interest stocks rose 3.03 points, or 1.11%, to close at 274.17. 63 issues were up, 12 were down and five were unchanged. Leading gainers were WellPoint, up $2.44 to $73.58; Omnicare, up $2.02 to $54.42; Armor Holdings, up $1.57 to $43.48; Humana, up $1.19 to $44.88; Midland, up $1.17 to $34.64. Biggest laggers were Ford, down 38 cents to $8.61; Johnson & Johnson, down 32 cents to $63.70; E.W. Scripps, down 26 cents to close at $48.55; Harris Corp., down 26 cents to $37.98; REX Stores, down 12 cents to $12.78."
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Friday rally reins in weekly loss
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended just off its session high of 10,291.91 [at 10,287.34], with the bench-mark index virtually unchanged on the week. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose but posted a weekly loss of 1.2% [at 2,064.83]. The S&P 500 Index booked a weekly loss of 0.8% [at 1,186.57]... Volume was 1.7G on the Big Board, and 1.54G on the Nasdaq."
Silla Brush _US News & World Report_
USA immigration debate lands on Main Street
"Over the past year, battles like the one in Herndon, which finally approved the center, have been waged from Laguna Beach, CA, to Jupiter, FL. Day-labor [bodyshopping] centers have become a flash-point in the broader struggle to over-haul the nation's immigration system. As the federal government stumbles in that challenge, local officials find themselves forced to develop their own piece-meal solutions... Once prevalent only in heavily immigrant communities like Los Angeles, day-labor [bodyshopping] sites have sprung up all over, thanks to a skyrocketing illegal immigrant population now estimated at more than 10M and a building boom -- fueled in part by [depressed] wages... Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network... More than 350 day-labor [bodyshopping] sites now exist nationwide, including 63 formal centers like what's envisioned in Herndon, says Nik Theodore, a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago."
Michelle Pilecki _Huffington Post_
Trade Paper Digs for Buried Commerce Department Off-Shoring Report
"As far as I can find out, there's been no main-stream, non-trade coverage of the non-appearance of the original report, nor of what the MTN finally got for its FOIA request... So a politically hot report about out-sourcing gets sat on and de-sexed, and the press doesn't notice? Although a lot of university types were involved in the original research and analysis, this isn't just an academic issue."
Chris O'Brien _San Jose Mercury News_
Silicon Valley confidence at a 2.5 year low
"Silicon Valley consumers may be the latest victims of down-sizing. A survey of South Bay residents shows consumer confidence has plunged to its lowest point in 30 months. The culprits are mounting: rising energy prices, poor job creation, higher interest rates and a string of natural disasters... Philip Trounstine, director of the Survey and Policy Research Institute at San Jose State University, which did the consumer confidence survey."
Elaine Kurtenbach _AP_/_NY NewsDay_
Red China and USA Face Off Over Economics
"Top U.S. economic officials, led by Treasury Secretary John Snow and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, began talks with their [Red Chinese] counterparts Sunday on rancorous economic issues, including Beijing's currency controls and its huge and growing trade surplus... U.S. officials said they would press Beijing to move faster on easing controls on the yuan, which critics say is under-valued by as much as 40%, pushing exports higher and contributing to a bilateral trade imbalance that topped $162G last year. But officials said they also wanted to include a wider range of reforms to [Red China's] economy, lobbying Beijing to open its financial and other markets to foreign firms, encourage more domestic demand and reduce its dependence on exports... Washington also wants [Red China] to remove the $10G minimum requirement in assets that restricts the ability of foreign institutional investors to buy domestic securities, and to end foreign ownership caps on financial institutions and allow 100% foreign ownership of subsidiaries... This is the 17th meeting of the U.S.-[Red China] Joint Economic Commission since the forum was founded in 1979 to thrash out economic issues."
Roger Strukhoff _Sys-Con France_
Will India's i-Technology Triangle Fail?
"To say that many engineers in Silicon Valley are angry about out-sourcing to India -- and to 'in-sourcing' engineers from India under the H1B non-immigrant visa -- is to say that it gets warm in India. Yes, many people are very, very angry, and yes, it gets very, very warm in India... I think everyone just needs to be a little more patient... The average large-company C-level executive -- or entrepreneur of any size company -- possesses extreme willfullness and the attention span of a house cat, in my experience... Meanwhile, this is a country of more than 1 billion people that seemingly doesn't think it has a population problem, a country with millions of people living on the street in its largest city Mumbai, and a country characterized by an ingrained command-and-control culture that can drive Westerners mad with its endless bureaucratic procedures and uncomprehending stares from rank-and-file employees confronted with a question or problem to solve that has not been specifically detailed in the instruction manual..."
Charles Stein _Boston Globe_
Does it seem like you're earning less? You're not alone.
"Pay is under pressure for a great many workers -- not just blue-collar people with limited skills. 'The combination of trade and off-shoring has increased the supply of labor available in the United States.', said Frank Levy, an economics professor at MIT. To Levy's list you could add competition, technology, and immigration. All of them have allowed employers to tap into a expanded pool of workers -- both at home and abroad. As everyone who takes Econ 101 knows, when you increase supply, prices, in this case, the cost of labor, are bound to fall... In construction, the threat to wages comes from immigration. Over the past decade immigrants, both legal and illegal, have made huge inroads in the construction field, especially in residential construction. In 2004, 20% of the country's 10.7M construction workers were foreign-born. According to Mark Erlich, executive secretary of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, many of the illegal immigrants get paid in cash -- about $10 or $12 an hour -- and work for employers who pay neither taxes nor benefits. Those contractors clearly have an edge when it comes to submitting bids for work. 'Wages are depressed because the underground economy has taken over.', Erlich said... Over the past year, wages nationally climbed 2.4%. That was the smallest increase in more than 20 years, but it was a gain nonetheless. With benefits included, the gain was somewhat bigger."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Department of Commerce reports on off-shoring
"The difference between the 2 reports is not dramatic, but certainly noticeable. The original report is very frank in stating that the wage differentials form the major motivation for off-shoring, while the new report down-plays this. The original report specifically mentions the H-1B program, and interestingly, notes that the large Indo-American business community plays a major role. It also notes that many U.S. businesses have soured on globalization. It makes a point almost never seen in these reports concerning technical innovation, noting that the number of jobs the U.S. can acquire from innovation is decreasing, as the work can be done abroad."
Assemblyman Tom Harman Endorsed California Border Police Initiative
"The California Border Police Initiative would create a state police force (like CHP) established in the state constitution and under the authority of the Governor. California Border Police officers will be authorized to patrol the border and enforce all federal immigration laws statewide, including laws against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. 'Illegal immigrants are costing California [tax-victims] nearly $9G each year.', said Harman. 'The California Border Police will save [tax-victims] at least $10 for every one dollar it costs.' According to Harman, [tax-victims] pay $750M annually to house the 18K illegal aliens in California prisons."
John Eby _Niles Daily Star_
Dobbs's truth trumps "fair & balanced"
"'The truth is seldom fair. It is seldom balanced. I am committed to only one side of the story, and that's the truth. Facts are often difficult to get... There is, ladies and gentlemen, and this may come as a shock to many of you and to my colleagues in the national media, an independent, non-partisan reality that it is our obligation to report - and your obligation to demand. Facts are tough to get, but it's our job, our responsibility. The independent, non-partisan reality is we are a nation confronting profound challenges.' Dobbs ripped bankrupt Delphi Corp. for suggesting executives be paid more while 'ripping the guts' out of worker pay by as much as 63%. 'Unfortunately, it's the view of too many CEOs.', Dobbs said. 'I've been a CEO. I'm a Republican to the bone.'... 'The middle class is the least represented' in Congress, though it is the largest group. 'Until we take back our government' and quit focusing on our differences in favor of 'our commonalities and the common good, we're going to face challenges that could destroy our democracy'. Dobbs said he would like to see a Congress more representative of America -- with plumbers, carpenters and nurses -- than career politicians there for the pensions. In 2004, 99% of congressional incumbents were returned to office... The truth is, Dobbs said, America's middle class remains in decline, with prices rising an average 5% while wages have been stagnant for 25 years. 10M people are unemployed... 'The economy must succeed for all Americans.', Dobbs said. 'I don't think anyone's guaranteed success, but I do believe every American is owed the opportunity at an education and an opportunity, a good job, to provide for their family.'... 'Our enemy is not terror, but the radical Islamists who commit terror. We are waging war on 2 fronts, Iraq and Afghanistan. How can we expect to win if we have trouble protecting our own borders? 3M illegal aliens crossed our borders last year. How can our borders be secure if 3M people can cross without being obstructed? This is a nation of immigrants.', Dobbs acknowledged. 'I embrace immigrants in whatever numbers our political leaders decide is appropriate. But we are also first a nation of laws', and if they are not enforced. 'I suggest the cost is greater than we can bear.' U.S. population could approach 1 billion people by the end of the century. 'If we triple the population of this country, we're going to have a whole set of new questions to ask.' He said the president of the National Chamber of Commerce told him the influx of illegal aliens was necessary to sustain the 77M baby boomers' impact on the system. Only 4% of incoming cargo is inspected, Dobbs said. 'The global war on terror costs $6G a month.', he said... 'there are... a host of policy choices between economic isolationism and free trade, [between] cutting and running and following the course."
David A. Lieb _AP_/_Information Week_
States plan projects to violate privacy by tapping into cellular phone GPS broad-casts
"'Even though its ''anonymous'', it's still ominous.', said Daniel Solove, a privacy law professor at George Washington University and author of _The Digital Person_. 'It troubles me, because it does show this movement toward using a technology to track people.' Cell phone monitoring already is being used by transportation officials in Baltimore, though not yet to relay traffic conditions to the public. Similar projects are getting under-way in Norfolk, VA, and a stretch of Interstate 75 between Atlanta and Macon, GA. But the Missouri project is by far the most aggressive -- tracking wireless phones across the whole state, including in rural areas with lower traffic counts, and for the explicit purpose of relaying the information to other travelers... Delcan uses data from Cingular Wireless LLC phones in the Baltimore project... The private sector marketing helps drive down the states' cost. Missouri expects to spend less than $3M a year on the service, Rahn said, although the exact price won't be known until the contract is finalized. Maryland is spending just $1.5M, although the entire Baltimore project costs more than $5M, said Mike Zezeski, director of real-time traffic operations for the Maryland Department of Transportation. By contrast, the San Francisco Bay area spent about $35M over several years to install roadside scanners and develop computer programs, web sites, and call centers for a real-time traffic service based on electronic toll passes, said Randy Rentschler, a spokesman for the region's Metropolitan Transportation Commission."
Families account for large portion of illegal alien population
"The Pew Hispanic Center, which claims to be a non-partisan research organization, estimates that the country has 11M illegal immigrants, says 2.3M illegal immigrants are men who came without their families and the remaining 8.7M are people living in family settings, The Arizona Republic reported."
Proposed immigration legislation draws praise & criticism
"U.S. senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said Wednesday that local officials should be given extended immigration powers to stop the 'hemorrhaging' at U.S. borders, drawing criticism from advocacy groups who claim the move would open the door for an increase in unreported crimes and racial profiling."
Tech sector lay-off announcements up 4.3% since 2nd quarter: Up from 2004
"U.S. technology firms announced 41,439 job cuts in the third quarter, up 4.3% from 39,720 in the second quarter. For the year, tech job cuts totaling 140,696 were 18.8% higher than the 9-month total of 118,427 in 2004, Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a Chicago-based out-placement firm, reported Tuesday. The 41,439 job cuts announced between July and September were 24% lower than the 54,701 cuts during the same period last year... In the first quarter of 2005, 59,537 tech cuts were more than double the 29,513 cuts announced in the first quarter figure of 2004."
Tim McElligott _CRiMinally inclined Buyer_
Oracle Opened an Incompetency Center in Red China to Continue Efforts to Eradicate Privacy and Security
Irwin Kellner _MarketWatch_
Rising Health Care Costs
"Blame it on supply and demand. The passage of Medicare and Medicaid back in the mid 1960s increased the effective demand for medical services before the industry had a chance to build hospitals, graduate doctors and boost supplies of prescription drugs. Add to this our system of insurance, in which the consumers of medical care services (sick people) were not the payers; the funds by and large came from health care insurance and most people's employers. Under this set up there was little or no reason for people to be concerned about soaring costs; after all, they were not the ones who footed the bill... In the early 1970s, when per-capita sales were at their peak, the average motor vehicle cost less than 17 weeks of the average family's income. It got as high as 26 weeks during the 1990s before falling back to about 21 weeks today."
VerySlime, the untrustworthy internet company, Acquired news Aggregator Moreover Technologies for $30M
Todd R. Weiss _ComputerWorld_
Tech sector job cuts up 18.8% so far in 2005
"For the third quarter of 2005, U.S. businesses in the technology sector cut 41,439 jobs, an increase of 4.3% over the 39,720 jobs cut in the previous quarter, according to the Chicago-based company [Challenger, Gray & Christmas]. For the first 3 quarters of the year, job cuts in the tech sector are up 18.8% over the same period in 2004, with a total of 140,696 jobs lost. That compares with 118,427 jobs lost in the first 3-quarters of last year... The number of cuts announced between July and September was 24% lower than the 54,701 job cuts reported during the same period in 2004... The only significant tech-sector job growth has occurred in the professional services area, where employment in computer systems design and related services grew by about 30K since 2004 September. Management and technical consulting service firms also added about 29K jobs during that period. [These growth areas are generally lumped together under the name 'bodyshopping' or 'contingent employment' in contrast with sub-sectors which feature full-time permanent employment.]"
Jack Kapica _Globe & Mail_
Tech employment lags in USA
"U.S. technology companies have cut so many jobs that they are dragging the American economy down, an out-placement company says. A report released New York-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. says that technology is one of the few areas of the economy that has failed to add jobs consistently over the past 12 months."
Japan is struggling to continue to be a main player at WTO
"Nakagawa, who took part in the WTO negotiations with farm minister Mineichi Iwanaga, said he is afraid that Japan 'will be cast out' of the talks, which have gained momentum in the agricultural sector..."
USA aims to expell all illegal aliens
"U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Tuesday his department aims without exception to expel all those who enter the United States illegally. 'Our goal at DHS (Homeland Security) is to completely eliminate the catch and release enforcement problem, and return every single illegal entrant, no exceptions.'... 'The problem is especially severe for non-Mexicans apprehended at the southwest border.', Chertoff explained. 'Today, a non-Mexican illegal immigrant caught trying to enter the United States across the southwest border has an 80% chance of being released immediately because we lack the holding facilities.', he added."
Dave Montgomery _Lexington Herald-Leader_
Chertoff & Chao discuss revamped proposals for guest-workers
"Under the updated guest-worker program, immigrants who are living in the United States illegally would be able to step 'out of the shadows' to work in the country for up to 6 years before being required to return to their home countries. But they'd first be required to pay 'substantial' fines and wouldn't be put on paths toward permanent residency or U.S. citizenship... Under questioning, the homeland security chief effectively ruled out mass deportation for the nearly 11M immigrants who live in the country illegally [estimates range from 8M to 20M]... 'Bringing workers out of the shadows is simply another way of saying we should legalize illegal immigrants.', said representative Tom Tancredo, R-CO, the leader of a coalition of House conservatives who oppose a guest-worker plan. 'That's amnesty for people who have broken the law.'... The proposed fine appeared to be the only new element of the administration's guest-worker plan. Chao didn't specify an amount. The McCain-Kennedy plan proposes fines of [only] up to $2k."
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
PPI creeps up 1.9%: most since 1974
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
President's Advisory Panel on Federal Extortion Reform finally includes consumption-based extortion in considerations
"A federal advisory panel on Tuesday indicated it would send President Bush 2 proposals to over-haul the U.S. tax code - one designed to significantly simplify the income tax, and another that would largely replace the current system with a modified consumption tax. Either approach would leave Americans' tax burdens largely unchanged, panel members said at their final public meeting, and would be expected to eliminate many tax-preparation headaches and unleash stronger economic growth... The committee's plan to simplify the federal tax code would create new accounts to encourage retirement and family savings, replacing 401(k) and many other retirement savings plans, echoing proposals touted by Bush in his first-term. It would eliminate taxation of Social Security benefits, would do away with taxation of income from corporate dividends and would slash capital-gains tax rates. It would institute a 'family credit' that would replace and simplify child-related tax deductions. It would also institute a 'work credit' for low-income working families to replace the earned-income tax credit and the refundable child credit. The proposal reduces the number of income-tax brackets from 6 to 4, and slashes the top individual income-tax rate to 33% from 35%. Around 75% of filers would be in the lowest 15% bracket, said panel member Charles Rossotti, a former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner, who helped draft the proposal. The plan would do away with depreciation provisions for small businesses, allowing them to immediately write off capital purchases. The corporate tax rate would fall from 32% from 35%."
Patricia Keefe _Information Week_/_CMP_
"First, my commentary wasn't driven by or about unemployed or disaffected workers. It was fundamentally a direct response to the kvetching that's starting to ratchet up from businesses that fear an IT worker shortage. Sorry, kids, but you'd have to be blind not to see some irony here. The same people who ship jobs off-shore, however rightly or wrongly, who hire permatemps to duck having to pay benefits for full-time work, and who post job openings that specify what one writer summed up as asking for '21-year-old graduates with 10 years of .Net experience who will work for journeyman wages', are wondering aloud why no one wants to go into, or stay in, IT? Why not ask what they're smoking? If they want American workers -- and the interviews, stories, and web-casts I've seen indicate that they do -- then yes, businesses have to provide some incentive, some evidence that there is life left in this field. Otherwise, they should stop complaining, start lobbying for even higher H-1B visa caps, and focus even more of their recruiting over-seas."
Why we need IT
David Streitfeld _Los Angeles Times_
Production Workers' Pay and Benefits Squeezed by Executives
"4 years into an economic recovery [in the 3rd week of the 1st month of the 4th quarter of the 6th year of the economic depression], workers across America should be riding high. Instead, they're facing new demands to surrender hard-won benefits and agree to wage concessions. Companies say these cutbacks are essential to stay competitive in an increasingly globalized economy... Jerry Jasinowski, president of the Manufacturing Institute at the National Assn. of Manufacturers, said such givebacks would simply become a fact of life... Workers' reduced leverage has many origins, including a slack labor market and the off-shoring of jobs to low-cost countries such as [Red China] and India... Companies also are asking workers to produce more for the same pay. The result is that the cost of living has been outpacing wage increases for most workers all year. Driven by high energy costs, inflation rose twice as fast as wages in September, the government reported last week. The liberal Economic Policy Institute called it 'the largest decline in real earnings in decades'... 'Companies cannot provide gold-plated healthcare benefits and open-ended pension commitments.', said economist Peter Morici, a trade negotiator in the Clinton administration... Vacations reportedly will be slashed from 6 weeks to 4 weeks. Health care [insurance] premiums will be higher. The company's pension contributions will be lower. Paid holidays will shrink from 17 a year to as few as 10. And wages will fall sharply, to as low as $10 or $12 an hour..."
Peter G. Miller _Realty Times_
New Wage Standards Threaten US Economy
"General Motors, according to The New York Times, is now building a truck in [Red China] for local consumption. The 'Wuling Sunshine' minivan is tiny by U.S. standards, but it gets 43 MPG and sells for roughly $5K. One reason for the low price is the local wage rate: Workers are paid $60 a month... In the Rust Belt, U.S. workers at Delphi, the huge auto parts supplier that has some 215K employees worldwide, have been getting $27 -- an hour. You don't need an MBA to see the problem: If workers in [Red China] are paid $60 a month and workers in U.S. plants are paid $27 an hour, U.S. workers and companies are in trouble. Delphi, for its part, filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 8th and according to the Detroit Free Press is hoping to reduce worker wages to $10 to $12 an hour... Under Chapter 11 Delphi will remain in business. But even if Delphi is able to successfully re-organize, how are workers expected to maintain their homes and life-styles if wages fall by 50% or more? And if worker wages drop, what happens to local home values, mortgage payments, neighborhood businesses and community tax revenues? The traditional standard of a fair day's work for a fair day's wages -- wages that can support a decent standard of living -- is being demolished... One would have more sympathy for the company -- a company that lost $338M in the second quarter -- had it not both laid off 6,175 workers over a 15-month period and given increased potential severance packages for top executives."
Paul Horn _Business Week_
Boomers' Wealth of Knowledge: Older workers offer a key element in short supply - experience
"In the U.S., the proportion of the population over 60 grew from 13% in 1960 to 17% in 2005. Estimates put that figure at nearly 25% by 2025... Increasing longevity [life expectancy is nearing 80 years], better health, declining birth rates, and the large number of baby boomers have created an unprecedented age-distribution shift in the population of the world's developed countries... As experienced IT workers retire, post-industrial nations are not graduating enough engineers to replace them. The best and brightest students are pursuing other disciplines, partly because of declining social prestige associated with the field [but mostly due to dwindling career opportunities]... While developing countries are churning out more IT skills, there's still no substitute for experience. Until very recently, developing countries' economic environments have not provided opportunities for applying advanced IT skills to real-world business processes and issues. So our current pool of knowledge and experience will need to be preserved and shared as much as possible. This will require new techniques to keep older, experienced workers engaged... While it may sound simple, this represents a profound shift in how corporations view retirement and the relationship between older skilled workers and the company. But as with other precious resources, if we don't recognize their value and find ways to nurture and preserve it, we'll quickly lose it."
USCIS approval of about 72K H-1B non-immigrant visas for FY2005 violates federal law
"Despite the Inspector General's report, Grassley and Hostettler have now asked for further details about CIS actions prior to reaching the cap. They have asked for email exchanges and communication that took place in the days and weeks leading up to the congressional mandated cap of 65K petitions. The Inspector General report was requested after Grassley and Hostettler learned that CIS accepted and approved more than 72K H-1B visa petitions for fiscal 2005. Specifically, the report said that the Agency lacks the technology and methodology to accurately count the approved visas. It also said that the traditional business practice of counting is flawed and will continue to cause an overcount of H-1B visas. The report shows that CIS would prefer to over-count rather than to under-count, despite federal law prohibiting it."
inspector general report (pdf)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Housing permits highest in 32 years
"Construction of new homes in the United States reaccelerated in September, climbing 3.4% to seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 2.108M, the Commerce Department estimated Wednesday... Building permits issued by local jurisdictions increased 2.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.189M, the highest in 32 years. Starts of single-family homes rose 2.6% to 1.747M, while single-family building permits increased 4.4% to a record 1.749M."
census bureau data
Cisco investing $1.1G in India over the next 3 years instead of in the USA
"Cisco, based in California, started its India operations in 1995 and plans to triple its workforce from the current 1,400 by 2008. The company has its global research and development center in the southern city of Bangalore and offices in 7 other Indian cities. Chambers said that $750M will be spent on research and development activities, including training, development and staffing. The rest would be spent on providing leasing and other financial solutions to the company's customers, investing in Indian start-up companies and customer support operations."
Karin Rives & Jonathan B. Cox _Raleigh News & Observer_
36 illegal aliens caught at Cree semiconductor
Job Destruction News-Letter
"An early-morning immigration sweep at Cree Inc. resulted in the arrest of 36 undocumented workers Tuesday. Most of the people arrested were employed by a contractor to Cree, which makes semiconductors. The bust was the first at a high-tech company since U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began focusing on facilities that the government considers strategic or sensitive. Anyone with a federal defense contract could be in line for an immigration audit, authorities say... The sweep at Cree netted unauthorized immigrants from Kenya, Gambia, Congo, Togo, Israel, Pakistan, Venezuela, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala... All but 10 of those arrested were employed by a maintenance and cafeteria services subcontractor, GCA Services Group of West Conshohocken, PA... The others included professionals who allegedly lied about being U.S. citizens on their I-9 [forms]... One is a Pakistani mathematician with several master's degrees who had been working legally for another company on an H-1B visa, but illegally switched employers, O'Connell said."
Grant Gross _InfoWorld_/_IDG_
Senate proposal would nearly double number of H-1B visas
"The draft legislation would increase the number of skilled foreign workers U.S. companies can bring to the U.S. under the controversial H-1B visa program. By recapturing unused H-1B visas from years going back to the early 1990s, U.S. companies could bring in up to 60K more foreign workers this fiscal year. [Not mentioned is whether the years in which excess visas were issued would subtract from the resultant cap.]... The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), both IT trade groups [lobbyists for tech executives], have voiced support for the draft bill, which would be part of a 2006 federal budget legislative package. The Judiciary Committee is expected to debate budget items in a Thursday hearing... The proposal includes a $500 fee increase, to $3,685, for an H-1B application, commonly paid by the hiring company. ITI supports the increased fees if the cap is raised, Calvert said... IEEE-USA has said the H-1B program takes jobs away from U.S. workers. U.S. IT and electrotechnology professionals saw a 1.5% decrease in their salaries in 2003, the first decrease since IEEE-USA began surveying members in 1972, the group said in December. IEEE-USA blamed H-1B visas, out-sourcing and other factors for the salary decrease."
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 301,498 in the week ending October 15, a decrease of 78,406 from the previous week. There were 279,846 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.8% during the week ending October 8, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,369,928, a decrease of 2,224 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 1.8% and the volume was 2,293,444."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
H-1B cap increase approved by senate judiciary committee
"In 2000, the vote in the House on the H-1B expansion bill was literally done in the dead of the night. It had been announced in the afternoon that no further votes would be held that day, so the congress-people could go home for the day. Yet a vote on the H-1B bill was held that evening, with only 40 of the 435 members of the House present, with ordinary voting rules bypassed, and the ballot being a voice vote. Members of Congress, in a couple of incidents of rare candor, admitted that the H-1B legislation was purely because of the industry's campaign contributions. Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) remarked, 'Once it's clear (the visa bill) is going to get through, everybody signs up so nobody can be in the position of being accused of being against high tech. There were, in fact, a whole lot of folks against it, but because they are tapping the high-tech community for campaign contributions, they don't want to admit that in public.' Representative Tom Davis (R-VA), said, 'This is not a popular bill with the public. It's popular with the CEOs... This is a very important issue for the high-tech executives who give the money.' A Harris Poll in 1998 found that 82% of those surveyed were opposed to the H-1B expansion bill which eventually passed that year. (There was a lot more publicity that year, before the industry lobbyists and Congress found that stealth was better.)"
Miracles do happen: Oracle posted a job ad for a "Privacy Compliance Engineer"
"We are part of the data-base security group in Server Technologies... Data-base security is one of the focus areas for Oracle in the coming years. The group is chartered to provide security infrastructure components for Oracle product groups and develop security solutions for Oracle customers. We develop solutions that address enterprise-wide security challenges, especially by consolidating and centralizing security relevant information and policies, thereby enabling better manageability and stricter enforcement. Homeland security, Privacy Compliance, Application Hosting, Defense and Health Care are among the industries that benefit from this technology. Project Audit Vault will address issues associated with large amounts of fragmented audit information... As part of Oracle's U.S. employment process, candidates will be required to complete a background check, prior to an offer being extended. These background checks include: Prior Employment Verification, Education Verification, Social Security Trace, Criminal Background Check, Motor Vehicles Records (where required for position) [One wonders whether they do as much to H-1B candidates.]"
Ellison Evangelizes Big Systems
Oracle boss urges national ID cards, offers free software
Ellison Proposes National Identification System
Privacy Villain of the Week: Oracle's ID-happy CEO Larry Ellison
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
72K H-1B visas were issued
"The Department of Homeland Security inspector general finds that too many temporary worker visas were given out this year. Senator Charles Grassley says the Citizenship and Immigration Service has broken the law by giving out 72K H-1B visas this year instead of 65K."
George J. Borjas _NBER_
Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment: Immigration in High-Skill Labor Markets: The Impact of Foreign Students on the Earnings of Doctorates: George J. Borjas (pp 131 - 161)
alternate link (pdf)
"The supply shock to the U.S. labor market is sizable: the number of foreign-born doctorates who intend to stay in the United States after graduation rose from 2K in 1968 to over 7K by the late 1990s. This supply shock increased the immigrant share in the flow of doctorates to the U.S. labor market from about 15% in the early 1970s to around 30% in the late 1990s... Consider, for example, the supply shock in electrical engineering. The immigrant share in this field rose rapidly in the 1970s, from about 19% in 1970 to about 40% in 1985, and then remained stable at that level through 1998, when it began to rise again. In contrast, the immigrant share in biological sciences actually declined throughout the 1970s, from 10.6% in 1970 to 7.8% in 1982, rose rapidly until 1996 to 31.4%, and then began to decline again... The 1999 wave of the SDR reported there are 114.6K foreign-born doctorates in the sciences and engineering employed in the United States. The 2001 wave enumerated 123.3K such persons... On average, the 1993 to 2001 influx increased the supply of doctorates by 13.9%. This supply shock reduced the wage of the average worker with a doctorate in science and engineering by approximately 3.6%. The predicted losses are sometimes very large because the supply shock in particular fields has been substantial. In computer science and mechanical engineering, for example, immigration increased the supply of doctorates by over 36%. This supply shock resulted in predicted wage losses of nearly 10%... The last column of the table reports what actually happened to the logadjusted annual salary between 1993 and 2001. The typical doctorate experienced a 5.2% increase in real wages. The foreign student influx, therefore, reduced wage growth by about 40% of what it would have been in its absence. Note, however, that there is a great deal of dispersion across fields in the relative impact of foreign students. In earth sciences, for example, the foreign student influx explains most of the 3.8% drop in real wages experienced by doctorates in that field. In contrast, the real wage of economists would have risen by 20% more had there been no immigrant influx during the period."
Morton Kondracke _Ocala Star-Banner_
Bush cannot continue to ignore immigration issues
"Chances are good that Congress will dead-lock, borders will remain insecure, illegal immigrants will continue to live in the shadows and hundreds of people will die each year in the Arizona desert... The parts are: stronger border controls, including more man-power [a more extreme glut], technology and co-operation with Mexico; tougher internal enforcement, possibly including a new tamper-proof ID card for legal immigrants; and an expanded guest-worker program that would allow immigrants to stay in the U.S. for 2 periods of 3 years. Illegal immigrants already here would pay a fine to receive a temporary work visa. As presented, the plan would require immigrants to return home after their visas expire and includes no path to permanent legal status... An estimated 70% of illegal immigrants have been in the United States for five years or longer and have families."
Gary Gentile _Charlotte Observer_
Warner Brothers backs Blu-Ray DVD format
Tech News World
San Jose Mercury News
San Diego Union-Tribune
"Warner Brothers Entertainment said Thursday it would join the board of Blu-Ray Disc Association and will release its films on both the Blu-ray and rival HD-DVD format, which is backed by a group led by Toshiba Corp... NBC Universal is the only company that has said it will release films in the HD DVD format only. None of the 3 early backers of Blu-ray, including The Walt Disney Co., have said they will release their films in HD DVD."
Jim Puzzanghera _San Jose Mercury News_
Amidst a glut of science and tech workers, Senate judiciary committee approved a move to increase the basic H-1B cap to 85K
State College PA Centre Daily
"Under a proposal by senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, the annual number of H-1B visas would increase from 65K to 95K. The increase was approved by the Judiciary Committee after it rejected a proposal by Specter for an increase of twice the size, to 125K a year. High-tech executives have been pushing for more of the controversial H-1B visas, which critics say displace American workers in favor of less expensive foreigners beholden to the company that sponsors them. The fate of the proposed increase is uncertain. The measure, which also would raise the fee employers pay for each six-year visa by $500, was added to a broad budget bill intended to save $300M over the next 5 years. The House has proposed increasing fees by $1,500 for L-1B visas, which companies use to transfer foreign employees already working for them abroad to the United States. Feinstein's proposal also included an L-1B visa increase, but only of $750. The current fee for L-1B visas is $685; it is $2,185 for H-1B visas, with an optional $1K expedited processing fee that most companies pay because of the high demand."
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
More than a third of New Orleans jobs were lost: Katrina cost 310,700 in Louisiana & Mississippi
"In Louisiana, non-farm pay-rolls fell by 251K to 1.68M. In Mississippi, non-farm pay-rolls dropped by 51,700 to 1.08M. In New Orleans, non-farm pay-rolls fell by 232K or 38% year-over-year from 610,400 in 2004 September to 378,400. Non-farm pay-rolls dropped by 26.7% in Gulfport, MS, and by 11.1% in Pascagoula, MS. The unemployment rate in Louisiana rose to 11.5% in September from 5.8% in August. It's the largest monthly increase since the government began tracking the data in the 1970s. The jobless rate in Mississippi rose to 9.6% from 6.8%."
_Channel 5 Cincinnati_
Butler County officials To Crack Down on Illegal Aliens
"Butler county Sheriff Richard K. Jones, Butler county Commissioner Michael Fox, and state representative Courtney Combs held a joint news conference Friday morning to discuss their plans to encourage lawmakers to make it a crime, and possibly a deportable act, for an 'undocumented alien' to be anywhere in Ohio. Jones said he's spent hundreds of thousands of dollars jailing illegal immigrants, and starting Monday, Jones said, his office will start impounding the vehicles of [illegal aliens] if they're pulled over. Fox also said ther3e should be more [negative] consequences for businesses that hire [illegal aliens]."
Tony Spilde _Bismarck Tribune_
More illegal aliens were arrested in Bismarck, ND
"Bismarck Police assisted on the arrest of 18 illegal aliens this morning. That brings the total of illegal immigrants arrested since Sunday in Bismarck to 28. The first two, arrested Sunday, were charged with gross sexual imposition in a case involving two 13-year-old Belcourt girls... The immigrants were working locally in the roofing industry, Counts said. They were taken into ICE custody and placed in county jails in the Bismarck area, awaiting deportation processing."
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_
MSFT lobbying heavily
"the word is out in Washington DC that this was the result of intense lobbying by MSFT. Last week lobbyists from MSFT went to every Congressional office to lobby for more visas. Some people on Capitol Hill are actually referring to the Senate proposal as the 'Bill Gates' bill...
Don't bet on anything improving unless the American public wakes up and starts to protest the Senate plunderers. The H-1B increase is not the worst thing that was approved yesterday. Perhaps the worst part of the bill allows the family of H-1B visa holders to be exempted from the visa limits, which means the spouse and all their children can get automatic work visas...
Dianne Feinstein voiced concern that issuing thousands of new H-1B visas would threaten many high-tech jobs in California, but that didn't stop her from voting in favor of a 30K increase. Feinstein didn't do American workers much of a favor because she also lowered the proposed $1,500 fee for L-1 visas to $750. Thanks to Feinstein, H-1B and L-1 visas will be about the same cost -- $500 compared to $750 [not even a drop in the bucket compared to compensation depression]. Arlen Specter's proposal to sell over a hundred thousand green cards for permanent worker visas remained untouched."
Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
How to Solve Problem of People Over-Staying Visas: Pay Americans More!
"Two weeks after my first column, I wrote in a follow-up that Clark County rejected dozens of qualified candidates including hundreds of local residents including educated professionals, scientists, retired military officers and former teachers including the former Stockton Teacher of the Year, Teresa Porter. All have excellent subject knowledge and are skilled leaders... According to an October 14th Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial titled 'Foreign Teachers Struggling?: Hiring of facilitators highlights hypocrisy'. the school district is seeking two 'facilitators' to show the new teachers how to do their jobs. The cost for the 2 new positions will be in excess of $100K annually. Typically Clark County, the nation's fifth largest school district, hires 2K new teachers each year. For every 400 new employees, one facilitator is available. But the 69 foreign teachers are so out-gunned that they need 2 facilitators all to themselves. Meanwhile, the local teachers spurned during the initial interview process are working as long-term substitutes at meager wages and without benefits."
Jason Probst _Gold Country News_/_Auburn California Journal_
John Doolittle proposed bill to deport all illegal immigrants who have been caught rather than releasing them
"Representative John Doolittle introduced a bill in Congress Tuesday that would make deportation proceedings mandatory for illegal aliens... The Immigration and Nationality Act, or HR 4032... Doolittle said that 68,629 illegal aliens have failed to appear for such court dates this year alone... The bill would also amend the Truth in lending Act to prevent companies from granting mortgages to illegal immigrants... According to Department of Homeland Security statistics, in 2004, the United States conducted formal deportation proceedings against [only] 202,842 illegal aliens nationwide, an all-time high."
Anne Broache _CNET_/_ZD Net_
H-1B visa cap may grow by half
"A spending measure approved on Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee will boost the number of H-1B visas... by about half -- from 65K to 95K. The proposal would also raise H-1B application fees for U.S. employers by $500, which supporters described as a way to offset spending and avoid sizable increases in the federal budget deficit."
Senate Judiciary Committee Selling American High Tech Jobs to Foreigners
Enquirer 80 stock index up 0.21%
"The Enquirer 80 index of local interest stocks climbed 0.56 points, or 0.21%, to close Friday at 272.62. 48 issues were up, 26 were down and 6 were unchanged. Leading gainers were WellPoint, up $2.42 to $78; LCA-Vision, up $1.59 to $38.18; NS Group, up $1.42 to $32.84; Midland, up $1.07 to $34.10; Armor Holdings, up 86 cents to $44.24. Biggest laggers were Cummins, down $2.41 to $78.21; Multi-Color Corp., down $1.57 to $25.29; Quebecor World, down $1.53 to $15.67; Gannett, down $1.05 to $62.68; Smithfield Foods, down 66 cents to $30.19."
Jim Kouri _News with Views_
85% of child predators arrested are illegal immigrants
"Top officials at the Department of Homeland Security recently revealed that arrests for child sex crimes during the first two years of Operation Predator have exceeded 6K and 85% of them are criminal immigrants... By matching immigration data-bases with state Megan's law directories, ICE agents have arrested more than 1,800 registered sex offenders. Since Operation Predator began on 2003 July 9, the initiative has resulted in 6,085 child predator arrests throughout the country - an average of roughly 250 arrests per month and 8 arrests per day. While arrests have been made in every state, the most have occurred in these states: Arizona (207), California (1,578), Florida (255), Illinois (282), Michigan (153), Minnesota (190), New Jersey (423), New York (367), Oregon (148) and Texas (545)... To date, more than 2,100 of these foreign-born predators have been removed from the United States to their home nations. As part of this process, ICE advises the host nation governments about the criminal histories of each sex predator it is deporting to their nations. ICE also issues Green Notices through Interpol in appropriate cases. The Green Notice provides information on career criminals who have committed, or are likely to commit, offenses in several countries."
John Dayberry _Hickory Daily Record_/_Myrtle Beach Sun_
Older worekrs face additional employment barriers
"Like thousands of other area residents, the three have filled out countless job applications, mailed hundreds of resumes and logged seemingly endless hours on the road in recent years in search of employment. And like many other people over 50, they suspect their age has been a primary barrier between them and the jobs they've sought... It's a complaint heard daily by Sheila Earp and Roberta Hungerford, local representatives of Experience Works, a national non-profit organization that helps low-income people 55 and older find job-training opportunities and employment... The Hickory region's unemployment rate was 6.8% in August, similar to what it has been for the last 2 years. That's down from a high of 9.8% in 2002, but well above the 2.5% norm in 2000... In August, nearly 21K residents of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties sought employment through the NC Employment Security Commission. Of those, more than 7,700 -- roughly 37% -- were 45 or older... According to the Employment Security Commission, more than 23,500 manufacturing jobs -- most of them in furniture and textiles -- have been lost in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties since 2000."
Chang Yun-ping _UCLA_/_Taipei Times_
Experts critize Red China's sham paper on liberty
"[Red China's] first white paper on democracy, published last Wednesday, was nothing more than 'propaganda', and it actually tells the international community to stop day-dreaming about democracy in [Red China], officials and analysts said yesterday... the propaganda-style white paper revealed how little the [Red Chinese] authorities know [or acknowledge] about democracy..."
Gary Becker & Richard Posner
Response on Immigration of Skilled Workers-BECKER
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Ben Bernanke to replace Greenspan at Fed
"President Bush will name Ben Bernanke, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisors, to succeed Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on Monday, published reports said. Greenspan, who has led the U.S. central bank for 18 years, must leave his post by 2006 January 31. Bernanke, 51, worked at Princeton University for 17 years before joining the Federal Reserve Board in 2002. At the board, Bernanke tackled some of the toughest questions facing monetary policy, including the threat of deflation."
Gregg Keizer _Information Week_
Congress wants USA to retain control on Internet
"A trio of law-makers in the House of Representatives has joined a Senate colleague in calling for the U.S. to retain over-sight control over the Internet, as a coming showdown loom with countries wanting more say in how the web is run. Representative John Doolittle (R-CA), representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and representative Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced a resolution with language similar to senator Norm Coleman's (R-MN) resolution introduced earlier in the U.S. Senate. 'The authoritative root zone server should remain physically located in the United States and the Secretary of Commerce should maintain over-sight of ICANN so that ICANN can continue to manage the day-to-day operation of the Internet's domain name and addressing system.', read the House resolution... Lately, however, several countries -- among them Brazil, [Red China], Cuba, and Iran -- as well as organizations including the United Nations and the European Union have been pushing for a place at the Internet management table. In July, for instance, a U.N. report not only called for the U.S. to cede control, but said that the United Nations should set broader Internet policy, including multi-lingualization of the web and the power to tax domains to pay for universal access."
50 detained Chinese protestant leaders released following international pressure
"'According to a reliable source from a high level government agency, the release was ordered from the [Red Chinese] central government because of increasing international pressure on this case.', a statement from the China Aid Association (CAA) on Friday read... According to the association, the leaders were attending a retreat in Gougezhuang Village, Laishui County, Hebei Province, when the Public Security Bureau (PSB) and the religious affairs officials of the City of Baoding arrested the church leaders at around 4:00 pm on October 20... According to the CAA report, an aide of U.S. Congressman representative Chris Smith, R-NJ, at the House International Relations Committee contacted the State Department to urge action to release the church leaders. The CAA believes the pressure from U.S. officials was the major factor in leading to the immediate release of the arrested house church leaders the following morning... According to CAA, one of the church leaders – 35-year-old law school graduate Dai Hong -- had been repeatedly beaten by the PSB both on the spot of arrest and during interrogation. While all of the leaders were finger-printed and forced to sign their names and ID numbers, Dai demanded to see the police IDs before she provided her ID. Although the request was in accordance with Chinese law, Dai was reportedly taken to another room and beaten by two male policemen, the CAA reported. A digital camera, a cell phone and some cash were also confiscated without receipt by the police, the watchdog group added... Over the years, with the rapid growth of the unofficial house church movement, the [Red Chinese] government has tightened the religious law and organized raids, trying to suppress Christian activities. 'We urge the international community and President Bush to pressure the [Red Chinese] government to protect freedom of religion and other human rights.', Fu stated on the CAA statement."
Tim Johnson _State_
Air pollution is takin a heavy toll in Red China
San Luis Obispo Tribune
Contra Costa Times
"A toxic cloud of smog over [Red China's] cities caused by exhaust from millions of new cars and belching coal-fired power plants is exacting a major public health toll, experts said Monday... Zhang said improving air quality in 210 medium and large cities across [Red China] from "polluted" to 'good' levels could save 178K lives a year... [Red China] has chalked up average economic growth of 9.4% [per] year over the last 2 decades, requiring a steady increase in coal to produce electricity. Coal provides 67% of [Red China's] energy. To keep pace, producers are extracting dirtier coal, Li said."
Dinesh C. Sharma _Hindustan Times_
Polishing India's swanky new sweat-shops
"Though business process out-sourcing (BPO) companies are projected as promoters of innovation, flexibility and freedom at workplace, they are actually quite inflexible, eroding even basic rights at work. This is the finding of the first major study of labour practices in Indian call centres. The BPO industry in India currently employs 350K workers, according to the trade body [tech executive lobbyists] Nasscom... But the organisational structure of call centres is basically dualistic -- consisting of a core or permanent set of employees and 'periphery' [contingent] or non-permanent workers. All call-centre agents are periphery workers, who are easily substitutable, while team leaders and managers make up the core group... The labour practices call centres follow are even much older. Take, for instance, the monitoring of workers at the workplace. 'Work is monitored on the spot and after working hours with the help of specially designed software, computer network and closed circuit cameras.', the study says. 'The degree of surveillance required at work is even comparable with the situations of 19th century prisons or Roman slave ships.' In addition, all interactions among employees in office are continuously recorded or taped, and randomly checked by the team leader or manager..."
Red China warns that HIV cases could exceed 10M by 2010
"[Red China] says it has 840K HIV-AIDS cases among its 1.3G population, but experts say at least 1M poor farmers were infected in botched blood-selling schemes in the central province of Henan alone."
Despite continued unemployment in the tech industry the Senate judiciary committee has decided to give more jobs to foreigners
"And yet, despite tech employment in our own country falling from last year to this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to give 30K more jobs to foreign workers instead of US citizens. This move comes despite losses in five major engineering and computer job classifications in the first quarter of 2005, according to Computer World and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc-USA spokesman Chris McManes said, 'Part of the reason the additional visas aren't needed is because of the abundance of unemployed U.S. tech workers. That the cap for 2006 has already been reached doesn't show demand, it shows that U.S. companies aren't even looking for Americans first.' Software & Information Industry Association President Ken Wasch said the need for additional US tech workers is 'urgent'. But what he meant to say was that the need for cheap and exploitable foreign tech workers to be brought to the US is 'urgent'."
Jim Kouri _Renew America_
Illegal aliens on military bases create uneasiness for US military personnel
"Hundreds of illegal aliens working as laborers, mechanics, construction workers and language instructors have been nabbed at military installations including naval bases around the country this past year. Government officials are fearful that security and safety for the stateside military has been dramatically compromised."
_Biz New Orleans_
Senator Mary Landrieu objects to unscrupulous labor practices
"U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-LA, called on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship today to investigate federal contractors' hiring of low-wage undocumented workers for Gulf Coast reconstruction... Landrieu called for hearings into the Department of Homeland Security's response to the growing problem, and encourage more thorough action on the part of the federal government... 'While the practice by subcontractors of employing illegal aliens is damaging under normal circumstances, at this time it is devastating.', senator Landrieu continued, noting that 478K Americans have lost their jobs following the devastation cause by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as the breach of the New Orleans levees. Last week, a group of Louisiana electricians testified before senator Landrieu and her colleagues after being dismissed from reconstruction efforts at the Belle Chase Naval Air Station and replaced by less-skilled, lower-wage, [illegal alien] workers."
David R. Usher _Mens News Daily_
Robuse Immigration Enforcement Will Strengthen Marriage in America
"We all know that the present approach towards immigration enforcement is ineffective. We also know it is absurd to apply some sort of 'amnesty' provision to grandfather-in the illegals that are already here. That is an embossed invitation for more to come... illegal immigration drives down salaries for low-skill labor, thus affecting marriage in America... The U.S. gets greatly upset when foreign subsidies allow imported goods to be made so cheaply that it unfairly puts U.S. employers out of business. Illegal immigration has the same effect on the U.S. job market – it drives market values for low-skilled salaries and benefits to levels at which Americans simply cannot afford to work. Then it adds pressure on welfare and educational systems, where legitimate Americans must then compete for limited resources against illegal aliens, for which liberal immigration advocates claim they should have equal access... When U.S. citizens cannot find work to support themselves and their families, all hell breaks loose in the marriage market - which depends decisively on whether or not men can provide a better income than the welfare-state... Without this first rung -- paying a reasonable wage -- we lose a lot of young American men to the underground economy and crime."
Mac Johnson _Human Events_
Just How Temporary Are Guest-Workers?: Ask Their Grand-Children
"First, let me say that we have no idea what 'brute enforcement' can accomplish. We've never tried it. Right now we have 'no enforcement'. So what do you say we start with pansy enforcement and work our way up to brute enforcement before we start bad-mouthing it?... During the war, with manufacturing needs high and civilian workers in short supply, Germany solved the labor shortage by bringing in huge numbers of foreigners from the occupied territories -- some of them voluntarily, even. These workers significantly increased Germany's strained war-time productivity. Those who survived Allied bombs and the moral expediencies of a war-time economy then promptly fled Germany upon her collapse... [to] make the new program more palatable, they called the imported workers 'Guest Workers', rather than 'Alien Workers' (fremdarbeiters) as they had been called during the war... So how did it work? Great -- right up until the part where the guests were supposed to go home. They didn't. Employers became dependent on them and were reluctant to find and train replacements or adapt through innovation... An American guest worker program cannot work as anything other than a back-door amnesty for our current illegal aliens."
Charles Ashby _Pueblo Chieftain_
GOP woos Hispanics and chases illegal immigrants
"other members of the Grand Old Party have called on the state to stop funding state programs to illegal immigrants. A small contingent from that camp even traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border (with sidearms strapped to their waists) to support the Minuteman Project, a grass roots organization aimed at raising public awareness about the number of illegal immigrants who are crossing the nation's southern border... As far as illegal immigration issues go, Trujillo said Hispanics are just as concerned about the problem as anyone else... Some Republicans are more concerned about security and jobs; Democrats are concerned about human rights and jobs."
Elaine Kurtenbach _Moscow Times_
Red Chinese Banks Losing $200M to Corruption
"[Red China's] state-run banks discovered 240 corruption cases involving a total of 1.6G yuan ($198M) in funds in the first half of this year, amid stepped-up efforts to police the industry, regulators said."
Kevin Murphy _Computer Wire_
VerySlime gets dot-com until 2012 in ICANN settlement
"VeriSign Inc. will get its contract to run .com extended five years until 2012 and will be able to raise prices by 7% a year under a legal settlement with the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, announced yesterday. Ending more than 18 months of what ICANN president Paul Twomey called a 'pretty full-on law-suit', VeriSign and the organization it called its 'regulator' have also agreed on rules of engagement for new services such as the controversial Site Finder."
Britain is at risk of graduate 'brain drain'
"British industry could suffer from brain drain after thousands of graduates left for foreign jobs, according to a World Bank report. Almost 1.5M skilled workers from the UK now work elsewhere. Most headed to English-speaking destinations like Canada, America and Australia. About 200K more graduates have left than entered Britain from other nations."
_Superior WI Daily Telegram_
Congress needs to get real with wages
"Here's a reality show for you. Take 100 U.S. senators and have them each trade places with an employee on minimum wage for, oh, a month. After balancing their meager budget ($10,700 a year) for 30 days, have them take another vote on upping the minimum wage. Better yet, let's take the vote while the minimum wage earners are in charge."
_US Trotting Horse Association_
Congress again debates immigration
"A key issue in the debate is whether to grant amnesty for illegal aliens who come forward and, if so, the ways in which they should be allowed to apply for permanent U.S. residency... Douglas Massey of Princeton University cited the United States' failure to control illegal immigration, and the American economy's dependency on inexpensive labor, as primary reasons why the U.S. needs immigration reform... In contrast, Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigrant Studies suggested that harsher penalties should be implemented to curtail illegal immigration and that the U.S. government needs to continue its focus on stronger enforcement."
Mark Yannone _North Lake Tahoe Bonanza_
Anti-extortion crusader continues to be persecuted by corrupt government thugs
San Francisco Chronicle
World Net Daily
San Diego Union-Tribune
"Indeed, it's true: Permitting the deliberating jury to see the IRS tax code book would be problematic for the government. The jury would discover that everything that Irwin Schiff has learned from more than 30 years of dedicated, single-minded study about the federal income tax is true. Even the few remaining doubters in this country have to raise an eye-brow when they observe the behavior of the federal government. They have done everything they possibly can to silence the truth. In every trial the evidence has been severely restricted by the government and the judges. Irwin Schiff's latest book, _Federal Mafia_, was banned! Can you imagine such a thing happening in the USA? Thousands of people, including former employees of the IRS, have written multiple letters to the head of the IRS, to the head of the US Treasury, to the head of the Department of Justice, to their congressmen, and to the president, most of them asking just 6 simple questions, some of them asking for an opportunity to be heard. In every case, the people were ignored or given irrelevant form letters... Now you've seen in Irwin Schiff's trial what kind of government abuse is used to try to bring honest men and women to their knees. The government has no case, and judges have frequently admonished government prosecutors for the paucity of evidence and the poor quality of the government's law-suits against the members of the tax honesty movement... Irwin, Cindy, and Larry have the written law on their side -- in black and white in the IRS's own code book, in the US federal statutes, in US Supreme Court decisions, and in the US Constitution. The IRS, on the other hand, has a form letter... The evidence is out, and it's irrefutable. The government's efforts to suppress evidence, intimidate witnesses, and circumvent the law are all duly noted. Eventually, the truth wins."
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Existing home sales were stable in September at 7.28M seasonally adjusted
"The median sales price increased 13.4% versus a year ago to $212K. Inventories of homes for sale increased 0.3% to 2.85M, a 4.7-month supply."
Myra P. Saefong _MarketWatch_
Natural gas prices up 10%
"the November contract for natural gas jumped $1.334 to close at $14.338 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange -- that's the highest-ever closing level for a front-month contract. Prices on an intraday basis reached $14.38 Tuesday, below the all-time intraday record of $14.75 from October 5. Crude for December delivery tacked on $2.12, or 3.5%, to finish at $62.44 [per] barrel. November heating oil added 9.26 cents, or 5.2%, to close at $1.8899 [per] gallon, while November unleaded gasoline closed at $1.6538 [per] gallon, up 7.22 cents, or 4.6%."
Alan Elsner _Herald News Daily_
Senate to take up immigration & border security early next year
St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Frist said they would start with border enforcement where there was a lot of agreement among law-makers, and then try to move beyond that to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants living in the United States. Nobody knows exactly how many people are in the country illegally. The 2000 Census estimated the number at 8.7M and said it was growing by half a million a year. Others put the number much higher [with some estimates as high as 20M]. "
Consumer Confidence Fell
"Those claiming business conditions are 'good' decreased to 23.8% from 25.2%. Those claiming conditions are “bad” increased to 18.6% from 17.8%. The employment picture was also less buoyant. Consumers saying jobs are 'hard to get' increased to 25.3% from 25.0%, while those claiming jobs are 'plentiful' was virtually unchanged at 20.8%."
_Hawaii Chancellor's Advisory Council_
"Linda Johnsrud... shared that the percentages of non-residents were different at all campuses with Kapi‘olani Community College having the highest percentage of non-resident students of all the Community Colleges. UH Hilo has 40% non-residents and UH Mānoa is at about 31%. In educating a resident student at UH Mānoa, 29% of the cost is covered by tuition and 71% is covered by the state. In the Community Colleges the percentages are 14% from the student through tuition and 86% from the state. The largest number of non-resident students come from California, and the numbers have increased because there are more students seeking admission in California schools than they have capacity to accommodate. Non-resident tuition is set higher so that non-resident students pay 100% or more of cost."
Ephraim Schwartz _InfoWorld_/_IDG_
Study confirms that execs abuse H-1B visas to hire cheap workers, not for the skills
"According to 'The Bottom of the Pay Scale: Wages for H-1B Computer Programmers — FY2004', a report by Programmers Guild board member John Miano, non-U.S. citizens working in the United States on an H-1B visa are paid 'significantly less than their American counterparts'. How much less? 'On average, applications for H-1B workers in computer occupations were for wages $13K less than Americans in the same occupation and state.'"
Chuck Hagel _SouthWest Nebraska News_
Hagel introduced package of 4 bills regarding security and immigration
"the Strengthening America's Security Act [will assist] law enforcement in their efforts to secure our borders. It will increase the number of Customs and Border Protection officers; require DHS to use updated technology at the border; increase criminal penalties for alien smuggling, document fraud, misuse of [socialist insecurity] numbers [aside from the usual abuses for which the numbers were perpetrated], gang violence, and drug trafficking at the border; authorize continued funds to reimburse states for the costs of detaining undocumented aliens; and give DHS additional tools to detain and deport undocumented aliens... the Employment Verification Act [will require] employers to verify the employment eligibility of their employees. The bill will assist all employers in their effort to hire legal workers by establishing a mandatory electronic worker verification system [thus requiring abuse of socialist insecurity numbers]... The Strengthening America's Workforce Act... will provide foreign workers for low-skilled jobs that would otherwise go unfilled by admitting a limited number of workers annually through a new temporary worker program. Employers seeking to hire foreign workers through this program must first demonstrate that no qualified U.S. worker exists and that they will provide the same wage levels and working conditions as U.S. workers... foreign students who have earned an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math from U.S. universities to receive a H-1B work visa without leaving the country and without regard to the annual cap of 65K. In addition, high-tech workers who have worked in the U.S. for three years may be allowed to adjust to permanent resident status without regard to the annual cap of 140K. The spouses and children of immigrant workers would also be allowed to adjust status without regard to this cap... the Immigrant Accountability Act [will] provide an opportunity for illegal aliens and their families to become invested stakeholders in the country if they can demonstrate that they have met all of the following requirements: Passed national security and criminal background checks; Resided in the U.S. for at least 5 years preceding the date of introduction; Worked a minimum of 3 years in the U.S. preceding the date of introduction, and 6 years after introduction; Paid all federal and state taxes [thus proving that they're spineless foreign wimps at heart rather than fine, upstanding Americans in the tradition of the Whiskey Rebellion]; Registered for Military Selective Service; Demonstrated knowledge of English language and American civics requirements; Paid a $2K fine, in addition to required application fees."
Michael Benhamou _MarketWatch_
Chicago Board of Exchange Volatility Index fell after Bernanke nomination to fed
"Monday's announcement of Ben Bernanke's nomination to replace Alan Greenspan (especially in terms of timing) created a large reversal in the Chicago Board Option Exchange's SPX volatility index. The VIX reflects a market estimate of future volatility based on the weight estimate of implied volatility for a wide range of strikes. It is one of the best indicators for market direction on the equity world. When VIX is high [many believe], market sentiment is bearish, on the opposite when VIX is low market sentiment is bullish (i.e. contrarians player sell stock when VIX is too low and vice-versa)."
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
US asks WTO to take action against Red China on intellectual property
"The United States on Wednesday initiated action at the World Trade Organization designed to pressure [Red China] into tightening enforcement of intellectual-property protections... 'Based on all available information, piracy and counterfeiting remain rampant in [Red China] despite years of engagement on this issue.', complained U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, in a written statement announcing the move... Japan and Switzerland filed similar requests for action with the WTO, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said."
John Shinal _MarketWatch_
Research In Motion lost in Supreme court
"The high court sent the closely watched case back to a federal district court, which will decide whether to reinstate an injunction it issued in 2003 August against U.S. sales of Research In Motion products. That injunction had been granted to NTP, a patent-licensing firm that sued RIM, but was later vacated by an appeals court. RIM has argued that such an injunction would unfairly harm its business and has asked the court to certify a $450M settlement it says the two sides agreed to in March."
Edwin Chen _Los Angeles Times_
Bush Reinstated Prevailing Compensation Rules and Prohibitions on Hiring Illegal Aliens
Financial Times of London
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
"Amid pressure from members of both parties, president Bush agreed, [Wednesday] to lift an order that had allowed federal contractors on Hurricane Katrina reconstruction projects to pay workers less than the locally 'prevailing wage'... The reinstatement of the wage rules will take effect November 8."
Thomas H. Maugh _Los Angeles Times_
Subtle Variations in Human DNA Have Been Mapped
Duluth News Tribune
"Humans worldwide share 99.9% of their genetic blue-print. It is that 0.1% difference that makes each of us unique and that is the root of the genetic mischief that causes diseases such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, cancer and a host of others. In the past, researchers have had to sift through the entire 3G individual chemicals that comprise the human blue-print to search for disease-causing genes. But now it has become clear that each of those individual changes is linked to a large block of DNA, called a haplotype, that is generally inherited intact... researchers are able to reduce the number of sites that must be searched to a much more manageable 1M... An international consortium of more than 200 researchers from 6 countries reported today at an American Society of Human Genetics meeting in Salt Lake City that they have completed a haplotype map, called a HapMap, using genetic information from 269 individuals from around the world. The map will be published Thursday in the journal Nature."
Yet another investigation shows that H-1B visa grantees are paid less than prevailing compensation
"According to 'The Bottom of the Pay Scale: Wages for H-1B Computer Programmers — FY2004', a report by Programmers Guild board member John Miano, non-U.S. citizens working in the United States on an H-1B visa are paid 'significantly less than their American counterparts'... 'On average, applications for H-1B workers in computer occupations were for wages $13K less than Americans in the same occupation and state.' Miano based his report on OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which estimates wages for the entire country by state and metropolitan area. The report's H-1B wage data came from the U.S. Department of Labor's H-1B disclosure web site. Miano, in his report, whenever possible gave the benefit of the doubt to the employer. When you look at computer job titles by state, California has one of the biggest differentials between OES salaries and H-1B salaries. The average salary for a programmer in California is $73,960, according to the OES. The average salary paid to an H-1B visa worker for the same job is $53,387; a difference of $20,573.... The mean salary of an H-1B computer scientist is $78,169, versus $90,146 according to the OES. For an H-1B network analyst, the mean salary is $55,358, versus the OES mean salary of $64,799. And for the title 'system administrator', there was a $17,478 difference in salary between the H-1B mean and the OES mean. H-1B visa workers were also concentrated at the bottom end of the wage scale, with the majority of H-1B visa workers in the 10-24 percentile range... 'Abuse is by far more common than legitimate use.'"
Butler County Officials Crack Down on Illegal Immigration
"Sheriff Richard Jones sent a huge bill to the federal goverment Wednesday for the immigrants housed in his jail... Starting this week, Butler County deputies can impound any person's car if they don't have a valid driver's license, [Socialist Insecurity] number, or are operating a car with illegal tags [so US citizens are being victimized along with the illegal aliens]... State representative Courtney Combs is working on a law to fine employers who hire undocumented workers... 'If you want to come to the United States, come here legally.' Jones said he doesn't expect a check from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Department, but he'll continue to bill it monthly, and if that doesn't work, he might take the undocumented immigants to the department in a van. 'If they can't find them, I'm going to show them where they're at -- they're in my jail.', he said."
Alice Lipowicz _Washington Technology_
USCIS approved more than65K H-1B visas for FY2005
"The Citizenship and Immigration Services agency exceeded the statutory limit on H-1B visas it issued in fiscal 2005, and lacks the technology and business practices to stay within the congressionally mandated 65K visa cap, according to a new report (pdf) from Homeland Security Department Inspector General Richard L. Skinner. 'CIS had neither the technology nor an operational methodology to ensure compliance with the precise statutory ceiling.', the report said. Faced with those handicaps, the agency granted 71,740 H-1B visas in fiscal 2005, which was 6,740 more than the limit set by Congress. [This is not the first such over-run.]"
see the table
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 303,125 in the week ending October 22, an increase of 162 from the previous week. There were 317,573 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending October 15, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,468,090, an increase of 124,293 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 1.9% and the volume was 2,402,533."
recent historical report calendar
data since 1967
Anne Broache _Silicon.com_
US federal district judge wrist-slaps MSFT for dragging heels on anti-trust corrections to MediaPlayer
San Jose Mercury News
"A federal judge scolded MSFT on Wednesday for devising a marketing plan that would have forced portable-music player makers to package only Windows Media Player with their products... A recent federal court filing revealed MSFT initially drafted a marketing agreement with language indicating that manufacturers which signed on would be barred from supplying software other than the Windows product... MSFT is 'way off schedule' on one piece of its plan to provide more accurate and complete technical documentation to developers who license its communication protocol, Houck said."
Mara Alexander _Washington Post_
no one is guaranteed a visa
American Workers Coalition
"H-1 visas are non-immigrant visas that allow a worker to apply for a green card if a company sponsors him or her, but that a green card is not guaranteed. Further, the H-1 visa is 'held' by the company and is issued for what are supposed to be 'shortage' occupations. The employer sponsors the worker, and the worker is restricted to this position and is able to change employers or positions only under specified conditions. So what sense would it make to require holders of H-1 visas to be subject to restrictions yet allow their spouses to freely seek work? Spouses are allowed to work, provided that they find their own sponsorships. It's unfortunate that Ms. Gill was apparently not able to find a sponsorship in her field, but her situation is hardly unique to two-career couples, regardless of whether an H-1 visa holder is involved."
Bill Varner _Bloomberg_
Paul Volcker says 2392 firms paid kicks to Iraqi government in violation of oil-for-food program restrictions
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Jefferson City MO News Tribune
San Francisco Examiner
"2,392 companies... paid kick-backs to Iraq in an aid program designed to allow Saddam Hussein to sell oil to buy food, medicine and other goods, former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker said in a report today. The European companies sold vehicles and electric-utility equipment to Iraq, according to the report issued in New York today on the United Nations program... Corruption in the Iraq aid effort has prompted a planned overhaul of UN management practices and threats from U.S. law-makers to reduce American funding of the world body unless changes are carried out to improve accountability."
Mike Boyer _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Natural gas prices to increase 50%
"Residential natural gas customers of Cinergy Corp. in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky will be paying about 50% more in November than a year ago, according to new rates posted Thursday by the utility. A typical residential customer of Cincinnati Gas & Electric using 10,800 cubic feet of gas will pay $173.02 starting Tuesday compared with $126.96 last November. This month that same customer is paying $164.14. The October rates were about 80% higher than last year. In Northern Kentucky, a residential customer of Union Light, Heat & Power using the same amount of gas will pay $191.37 in November, compared with $127.22 last November. This month that customer is paying $165.61. [CG&E and ULH&P are subsidiaries of Cinergy.]"
David Shepardson _Detroit News_
SEC has issued sub poenas for GM's pension accounting records
CNN/Money"GM received an SEC sub poena after it disclosed October 9 that its pension liability for Delphi workers could be as high as $11G."
Jeffry Bartash _MarketWatch_
Justice Department approves huge telephone company mergers
"The Justice Department on Thursday approved a pair of mega-mergers in the phone industry that would end the independence of AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc., the 2 biggest long-distance companies in the United States. Anti-trust regulators said they would allow, with minor conditions, the $16G sale of AT&T to SBC Communications Inc. and the $8.5G purchase of MCI by Verizon Communications. Consumer groups decried the decision. After the merger, SBC plans to [use] the AT&T brand, while scandal-tarnished MCI will [hide behind the name of] Verizon... Both SBC and Verizon plan to offer a one-stop shopping destination for an array of services to consumers and businesses alike -- local calling, long-distance, Internet access, wireless and data. They are even building new multi-billion dollar fiber networks over which to deliver TV service in an effort to thwart cable companies from taking their customers. Cable operators already offer speedy Internet connections to consumers and are moving to offer local, long-distance and perhaps even wireless phone service. Under the Justice Department's edict, SBC and Verizon have to divest fiber connections, known as special access lines, to more than 700 hundred commercial buildings in 19 cities."
Randall Burns _V Dare_
Everyone Wants Significant Immigration Reform Except the Rich... but they run politics
"VDARE.COM readers have seen repeatedly that there is a big gap between how political leaders vote on immigration—and what the public wants... Polls cited by the Center for Immigration Studies show there is a real systematic difference between elite and popular opinion on immigration. And poll data from FAIR breaks out this elite-popular division by ethnicity... One of the first things we used this tool for was to see how the congressional recipients of donations from the 20 richest Americans in 2001 voted on immigration issues... The average ABI rating of a congressional recipient of funds from one of the twenty richest Americans is 45.6. The congressional ABI average is 50. IOW, the rich systematically favor politicians who are pro-immigration—even by the standards of an immigration-friendly Congress. (Even an ABI rating of 75 is arguably not really going to accomplish the goal of less overall immigration that is desired by the average American.merican.) My conclusion: the voting behavior of Congress on immigration issues is much closer to the donation behavior of the very wealthy than it is to the wishes of the voters."
_Grand Forks ND Herald_
HighWay patrol arrest illegal aliens
"HighWay Patrol troopers from this city seized nearly 2 pounds of marijuana and apprehended 4 illegal aliens from Mexico, in 2 separate traffic stops. The patrol said one vehicle was stopped Wednesday night on Interstate 94 near the West Fargo exit for having no tail lights on a trailer. The 4 occupants were released to the Border Patrol. The 4 illegal aliens had been working at the new Wal-Mart under construction in Dickinson, authorities said."
Bryan O'Keefe _Front Page_
Laboring the Point
"Even today, student organizers try to play up the idea that universities are abusing teaching assistants like corporations abuse employees... a new class of employees -- high-tech workers -- were finding out the hard way that promises of high pay, good working conditions, and endless job prospects were, in their case, nothing but a mirage. In reality, high-tech workers had a lot of serious work-place concerns, many of which came to the forefront during the dot-com bust of the late 1990s. For starters, high-tech workers were expected to put in long hours, typically 60 to 70 hours a week, with little over-time compensation. Stock options would normally help make up for this, but companies that survived the bust started doing away with options in order to save money [or laid off employees before they were 'vested']. The general lack of job security also hit home. While off-shoring, out-sourcing, and lay-offs might have been unavoidable, what shocked many employees was that their companies were here today, gone tomorrow. In many union shops, employees receive advance warning of upcoming lay-offs and possibly even severance pay, luxuries not afforded to many tech workers. Adding dding to the problem was a powerful immigration threat. Every year about 500K foreign workers obtain L-1 and H-1B visas that allow them entry into the United States. Most of these visa-holders are highly skilled tech workers from India and [Red China] who are willing to put in longer hours and work for less money than their American counterparts. Companies defend the hires, saying that foreign-born workers have highly specialized skills that American workers lack. What outraged many high-tech employees was that companies were hiring these new foreign workers while simultaneously laying off American workers [and demanding that those Americans train their replacements, thus also helping prove that the replacements were less capable or knowledgeable, and that the Americans did have the needed skills]... Miano thinks that a union model for high-tech workers that resembled professional sports unions might work. 'If you structured the union more like the Major League Players Association, then it might work. That would allow individuals to determine their own compensation.'... Frustrated with low membership and what they perceive as excessive spending on politics, a bloc of unions, led by Service Employees International President Andrew Stern, withdrew from the AFL-CIO this past July... Stern has been particularly critical of Labor's close association with the Democratic party... Washington Alliance of Technology Workers,... was founded 7 years ago by contract employees upset with how MSFT treated them."
_Hamilton Journal News_/_Cincinnati Post Times Star_
Cost to jail illegal aliens is $71,610
"The federal government will soon receive the first of several hefty bills from Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones for the housing of suspected illegal aliens in the county jail. Following through on a threat made last week, Jones on Wednesday mailed a bill for $71,610 to the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the cost of housing 15 'undocumented' people, some of whom have been in the jail since June... Among the initiatives was the implementation Monday of a new booking process that includes the signing of declarations of citizenship by jail inmates. Those in jail for misdemeanor offenses who falsity their information or are found to be illegal aliens will be reported to the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement - the enforcement arm of the federal Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services - for possible immediate deportation. Those jailed for a felony offense will first stand trial and then face possible deportation."
Sharon Gaudin _Datamation_
Gartner analyst says: Stop Out-Sourcing Now
"'What we're doing is compulsive out-sourcing.', says Linda Cohen, a vice president and chief of research at Gartner, an industry analyst giant... Cohen, who is co-author of _MultiSourcing: Moving beyond Outsourcing to Achieve Growth and Agility_, says companies are in trouble because executives are making knee-jerk out-sourcing decisions. And it's causing chaos in IT departments, as well as on the business side. In that chaos is a lot of failed out-sourcing, and off-shoring, projects, says Cohen... Gartner research suggests that 50% of all out-sourcing contracts signed during the last 3 years will fail to meet expectations... And while out-sourcing and off-shoring might save a company money in the short run, it's often not a lasting result, according to Cohen, who says many companies will save money the first year. If a company was in really bad shape before they out-sourced some work, they might save money for 2 years. However, when the deal hits the third-year mark, things tend to blow up, says Cohen."
Bank of India (formerly called Bank of America) will not compete with Red China Construction Bank
"Bank of India [formerly referred to as Bank of America] Corp. (BAC), as a strategic investor in [Red]China Construction Bank Corp. (0939.HK), has pledged that it won't open any more new branches in [Red China] and will close its retail operations on the mainland, the chairman of the [Red Chinese] lender said. Bank of America has agreed to take a 9% stake in CCB and has the option to raise the stake to a total 19.9% [in a move to become the Bank of India and Red China]."
Randolph E. Schmid _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Births to UnMarried Women Set Record
"Nearly 1.5M babies, a record, were born to unmarried women in the United States last year, the government reported Friday... teens accounted for just 24% of unwed births, down from 50% in 1970, she commented. The increases in unmarried births have been among women in their 20s, she said, particularly those 25 to 29... The 20s are the prime childbearing years, regardless of whether the mother is married or not, she said. Among teens, more than 80% of mothers were unmarried. There were 1,470,152 babies born to single women in 2004, 35.7% of all births in the country, NCHS said. That was up from 1,415,995 a year earlier... The birth rate for women aged 35 to 39 increased 4% from 2003 to 2004. It was up 3% for women aged 40 to 44 and 9% for those 45 to 49... There was a total of 4,115,590 births in the country in 2004, up from 4,089,950 in 2003. Births to whites declined by nearly 18K while Hispanics were up 32K, there was an increase of more than 8K in births to Asians and a rise of just 72 births among black women. The total birth rate was 14.0 per K women, down from 14.1 [per K] in 2003. The birth rate for women aged 15 to 19 was 41.2 per K, down from 41.6 [per K] in 2003 and a record low. The teen birth rate was 61.8 [per K] in 1991 and has been declining since."
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
Total compensation to all civilian workers were up only 0.8% in 2005 Q3: Benefits rose 1.3%
"Benefit costs again outpaced wages and salaries, the Labor Department said Friday. Benefit costs between June and September rose 1.3%, while wages and salaries climbed 0.6%."
BLS press release
"The over-the-year increase in compensation for [service performing] industries was 2.6%, declining from the 3.5% gain for the year ended 2004 September. Among [service-performing] industries, compensation gains in transportation and public utilities moderated for the year ending 2005 September, rising 2.1% compared with an increase of 4.3% in 2004 September. Over-the-year compensation cost increases were 3.2% for white-collar occupations, 2.7% for blue-collar occupations, and 2.4% for service occupations for the year ended September 2005. Among white-collar occupational groups, compensation cost changes ranged from 2.3% for sales workers to 3.5% for professional specialty and technical employees."
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US GDP grew 3.8% in 2005 Q3: 3.6% in the last year
BEA press release
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index fell from 75.4 in early October to 74.2
"The UMich consumer sentiment index dropped to 74.2 in October, down from 76.9 in September and 75.4 in early October. It marked the third decline in a row and was the lowest reading since 1992 October. The sentiment index's high of the year was in July at 96.5."
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Inflation is tame, but remain vigilant
"The Fed's favorite measure of inflation, the personal consumption index minus food and energy costs, decelerated to a 1.3% growth rate in the third quarter from a 1.7% rate in the second quarter. This marked the slowest pace since the second quarter of 2003."
Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
Bill Gates bought the US Senate
"last week, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted, in a shockingly callous and venal manner, to hurt American workers by raising the ceiling for H-1B visas and employment green cards. Accordingly, I feel obligated to inform readers about how Congress continues to make it harder -- if not impossible -- for Americans to get good middle-management jobs in large corporations. When the federal government conducts its business regarding work visas, it does so in virtual secrecy. Little hard news ever sees the light of day... The final proposed Specter-Kennedy scheme would recapture unused H-1B visas from previous years and reissue up to 30K new visas annually with an added $500 fee tacked on. The fees, of course, would be paid by the corporate entity hiring the visa holder. As you can imagine, $500 to blue chip companies is not even lunch money. The Judiciary Committee didn't discuss other considerations. The most obvious question that wasn't asked, except by California Senator Dianne Feinstein, is whether America needs more foreign workers... According to the Citizenship and Immigration Services' Lauren Mack, the nation loses nearly $1M daily because of visa processing costs. More visas simply add to the losses... When I asked Capitol Hill insiders to comment on how such a hurtful proposal could even be considered in light of a slowing economy and 14M unemployed or underemployed Americans, the unsurprising answer was: 'Bill Gates'. Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA.Com told me: 'MSFT is once again running the show up there. The whole plan came from a MSFT lobbyist whose colleagues are over-powering all the House and Senate leaders this week demanding that the tripling (maybe quadrupling) of employment-based green cards and H-1Bs goes through!... This is a travesty for American students studying to enter scientific, engineering and high-tech fields, as well as to those Americans who have worked hard to become masters of their craft.'... The lobbying effort was led by Ken Wasch, president, Software and Information Industry Association."
Leslie Wines _MarketWatch_
US stocks hold GDP-driven gains
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its second day this week of triple digit gains, rising 172.82 points, or 1.7%, to 10,402.77. Only one Dow component, International Business Machines, closed lower. The Nasdaq Composite gained 26.07 points, or 1.3%, to 2,089.88 and the S&P 500 rose 19.51 points, or 1.7%, to 1,198.41. The major averages also posted gains for the week, with rises of 1.8% for the Dow Jones Industrials, 0.4% for the Nasdaq Composite and 1.6% for the S&P 500. More than 1.74G shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with rising stocks outnumbering decliners by 23 to 8. In the Nasdaq market more than 1.86G stocks traded; there were 20 advancing stocks for every 9 losers."
Intel's killing the Xeon chip program in India is result of chaos there
Gaurie Mishra _Business _Standard
Indian bodyshops may not be held liable by government for data theft
"If the government has its way, the Indian business process out-sourcing (BPO) industry will not be held liable for any leakage of confidential client data... With no data protection laws in the country, the move raised serious accountability issues in the industry, said cyber law expert Pavan Duggal. But Nasscom refused to comment on the matter when contacted. Nasscom had earlier supported a separate data protection law but did not comment on whether or not BPOs should be brought within the scope of network service providers. Some countries are pushing India to put in place data protection laws covering the entire gamut of services, from BPOs to pharmaceuticals."
Lloyd Jones _Advertiser_
No room for guest-workers
"Prime Minister John Howard fears that allowing guest-workers from the Pacific nations into Australia risks creating a labour under-class. But to some Pacific nations who want young people to do seasonal work in Australia, he is applying a double standard... One of Australia's concerns is that islanders will come to Australia to work and want to stay... Island leaders argued that Australia had a responsibility to the economies of the region. But Mr. Howard said building island economies was the answer to island unemployment -- not through a guest-worker scheme."
Human trafficking has become an elusive target in the USA
"Trafficking is a stubborn problem and a staggering one worldwide, affecting an estimated 600K to 800K victims a year. Federal officials say 14,500 to 17,500 of them are trafficked to the United States, where the myriad forms of modern-day slavery present an elusive target for those trying to eradicate it. Victims have come from at least 50 countries in almost every part of the world, and are trafficked to virtually every state -- to clandestine factories, restaurants, massage parlors, even private homes where women and girls are kept in servitude... By cooperating, Molina received a T-visa, a status created by Congress in 2000 that allows trafficking victims who assist prosecutors to stay in the United States for three years and then apply for permanent residence. Though Congress authorized up to 5K T-visas annually, less than 700 had been issued overall as of September."
Illegal aliens arrested at White Sands Missile Range
"An illegal alien from Mexico was nabbed when he tried to enter White Sands Missile Range to work on a housing project, officials say. The man, who worked for a contract company, was caught Thursday when his name and New Mexico driver's license number were run through a computer, said Larry Furrow, a spokesman for the restricted Army range in southern New Mexico... The man was among 26 immigrants queuing up to enter the base for construction work on the project, Furrow said. The other 25, who also worked for the housing project's contractor, had proper documentation, Furrow said... 'During the last month, we've detected 12 guys who didn't have proper documentation, so we called ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement).', Furrow said."
Lynn Campbell _Des Moines Register_
Iowa government projects "shortage" of physics teachers
"Today's Iowa college graduates in physics are much more likely to choose jobs in engineering or research that offer higher starting salaries than teaching. That trend, along with a slew of anticipated retirements, is projected to cause a shortage in high school physics teachers over the next four years. 'Teaching high school won't pay enough to really be competitive with any other job I could find as an engineer.', said Kyle Anderson, 21, of Des Moines, an Iowa State University student majoring in engineering and minoring in physics. Iowa joins other states in [bellyaching about projected] teacher shortages in high school math and science, said Judy Jeffrey, director of the Iowa Department of Education... Iowa's situation is complicated by the fact that its teacher salaries are among the lowest in the nation. Iowa's average teacher salary of $38,381 ranks 42nd in the nation, according to an American Federation of Teachers survey released this month. The state's minimum teacher salary is $24,500, while the average minimum is $26,967. 'We can't hope to attract and keep the best we have, attract new people into the profession, unless we pay them a competitive wage.', said Linda Nelson, president of the Iowa State Education Association, which represents 32K teachers... Yet others said they are disillusioned with the education system. 'The greatest obstacle to my desire to be a teacher is the state of the education system.', said BP, a U of I graduate student in physics... 'Three of our math teachers completed their student teaching and were ready to go out in the job market.', Wilson said. 'A company in Minneapolis hired all three. The starting salary was $45K. There's nowhere in Iowa you can start as a teacher and make $45K.'... 'They've got the one goal in mind. So many of them want to be engineers.'"
Carolyn Said _San Francisco Chronicle_
Silicon Valley still recovering, supposedly
Nicole C. Wong _San Jose Mercury News_
"In Santa Clara County, 3,588 unemployed residents were receiving extra federal government assistance last year because their professions were becoming obsolete here -- in some cases, because of innovation. Their employment prospects may not be bright: Laid-off Silicon Valley workers who are forced to switch occupations tend to earn 13% to 30% less at their new jobs... In 2 years, he had gone from charging $110 an hour to earning $12 an hour... The state Employment Development Department predicts that between 2002 and 2012, there will be 18.1% more HVAC jobs in Silicon Valley, compared with 13.9% more computer application software engineering positions and 7.3% fewer computer hardware engineering jobs."
Louis Aguilar _Detroit News_
Delphi rattle salaried and blue-collar ranks: Only the executive suites are equipped with golden parachutes
"For the first time since retiring in July after 32 years at the Delphi Electronics & Safety division in this north-central Indiana town, the engineer felt his gut churn and his temperature rise -- sensations he remembered well from his 10-hour days working as a manufacturing tech team leader. 'Who do you get angry at?", [asked] the 53-year-old Kokomo resident. 'Who do you get straight answers from? What the hell is going to happen to my pension and this town?' Fear, angst and helplessness run deep among Delphi's 16K white-collar employees and engineers in Kokomo and the company's major U.S. hubs in Brighton and Troy; Lockport, NY; and Dayton and Vandalia, OH. As Delphi battles the United Auto Workers and other unions to lower pay and benefits, the fate of the parts maker's salaried workers has been nearly overlooked. Delphi Chairman and CEO Robert S. 'Steve' Miller said Friday he does not expect pay cuts for salaried workers, but he wouldn't promise every U.S. engineer will keep their job. 'I'm not about to shut down the tech centers in the U.S.', Miller said during an interview in Washington. 'We'll continue to have a need for them. But the growth is in other locations (over-seas), because that's where the market is expanding rapidly.'... Delphi Electronics & Safety's worldwide staff has been stable at around 30K for a decade, but the number of workers in Kokomo has dropped from more than 10K in the late 1990s to 2,300 hourly and 3,200 salaried workers today... Elwood Haynes built the first mass-produced automobile here in 1898. In 1938, Kokomo engineers invented the first push-button car radio at the former Delco Division of GM, which eventually evolved into Delphi Electronics & Safety... 'People stopped believing vague promises at least 5 years ago.', said retired engineer Charles Loftis... 'Delphi's non-U.S. subsidiaries in the 39 countries outside the United States were not included in the filing... and will not be subject to Chapter 11...' Three days after the bankruptcy, Delphi announced plans to invest $10M to expand its development center in Bangalore, where employment has grown from 35 in 2000 to 360 engineers today... Delphi engineers say their insecurity and stress began to escalate about 5 years ago with the rise of constant training sessions in Japanese management practices such as lean manufacturing. The new methods require more rigorous number crunching and attention to detail than previous approaches, Sedam said. His trips overseas became more frequent and his days longer, he said. Staff levels continually shrank. Five years ago, Sedam worked with a team of 11. When he retired this year, there were 6. Many left because of the heavy work-load and haven't been replaced, he said."
Red China says current account surplus has soared
"[Red China's] surplus in its broadest measure of trade in the first half of this year soared to 9 times the figure in the same period last year, the government said Monday. The country posted a current account surplus of $67G in the January-June period, up from $7.5G in the same period last year, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange."
Stephen Dinan _Washington Times_
Federal budget bill might increase the numbers of green cards
"The Senate's budget package includes provisions that would make available hundreds of thousands of green cards for new permanent legal immigrants, in what is shaping up as the next congressional fight over immigration. The bill's measures would 'recapture' 90K unused employment-based immigration visas [though it doesn't mention how over-issuances of visas in the last few years would affect the total] and would exempt family members from counting toward the cap, which is set at 140K per year [thus effectively tripling or quadrupling the cap]... But critics say the money raised -- about $120M a year -- does not compensate for the damage to Americans seeking jobs [nor does the amount cover the cost for proper background checks which immigrants and non-immigrants should be under-going in light of terrorism and the high criminality rates of current illegal aliens]."
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Real spending fell 2 months in a row
"Adjusted for inflation, real spending fell 0.4% in September after dropping 1% in August, the Commerce Department reported Monday. It's the first back-to-back decline in spending in 15 years. Meanwhile, inflation soared at the fastest rate in 24 years in September, eroding consumers' purchasing power... The government reported incomes rose 1.7% in September after falling a revised 0.9% in August... Excluding the billions of uninsured losses to landlords and business owners, incomes would have increased 0.5% in September after rising 0.3% in August, the Commerce Department estimated... The personal consumption expenditure price index rose 0.9% in September, marking the biggest monthly increase since 1981 February. Excluding food and energy prices, however, the core PCE price index rose a more moderate 0.2% after three months of 0.1% gains. Core prices are up 2% in the past year, the same pace as in August. Core inflation rates are at the top end of the Federal Reserve's 'comfort zone', central bank officials have said... Inflation-adjusted disposable incomes increased 1% in September. The personal savings rate improved to a negative 0.4% after falling to a post-Depression low of 1.8% in August. The personal savings rate has been negative for four straight months. Nominal income from wages increased a surprisingly strong 0.3% in September, while proprietors' income rose 4.9%. Rental incomes were not computed monthly, but for the third quarter, rental incomes with a capital consumption adjustment fell 99.5%. Real spending on durable goods fell 2.4% in September, while spending on nondurables fell 1%. Spending on services increased 0.3%."
BEA press releases
Study suggests belly muscle contractions should be monitored for better lie detection
"A new study suggests that changes in gastric physiology perform better than standard polygraph methods in distinguishing between lying and telling the truth. The University of Texas study, released today at the 70th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, demonstrates a clear link between the act of lying and a significant increase in gastric arrhythmia."
Marta Hummel _Greensboro News-Record_
Their American Dream: Cheap migrant workers
NC farming alleges there's a labor crisis
NC's biggest user of guest-workers is the Growers Association
Cincinnati Enquirer 80 stock index up 1.07%
"The Enquirer 80 index of local interest stocks rose 2.96 points, or 1.07%, to close Monday at 277.42. 62 issues were up, 14 were down and 4 were unchanged. Leading gainers were Midland, up $2.29 to $37.77; Cummins, up $1.96 to $85.37; Federated Department Stores, up $1.86 to $61.37; Chemed, up $1.57 to $48.08; Toyota Motor, up $1.56 to $92.81. Biggest laggers were Fifth Third Bancorp, down 34 cents to $40.12; Johnson & Johnson, down 33 cents to $62.62; Quebecor, down 30 cents to $14.81; NS Group, down 22 cents to $34.61; Lancaster Colony Corp., down 16 cents to $40.09."
John Schmitt _Center for Economic & Policy Research_
How Good Is the US Economy at Creating Jobs? (pdf)
"After controlling for improvements between 1979 and 2004 in the 'human capital' of the U.S. work-force -- American workers today are, on average, older and much better educated than they were at the end of the 1970s -- the economy now produces 25% to 30% fewer good jobs than it did 25 years ago."
Mike Crane _Southern Party of Georgia_
H-1B visas: You have been lied to
Marloes de Graaf-Zijl _Social Science Research Network_
The Anatomy of Job Satisfaction and the Role of Contingent Employment Contracts
"In this paper I analyze job satisfaction using fixed effect analysis and a multiple equation model. Overall job satisfaction is analyzed as an aggregate of satisfaction with several job aspects. I find that overall job satisfaction is mainly determined by satisfaction with job content. All aspect satisfactions are subsequently explained from observed characteristics, with special focus on contingent employment contracts. Satisfaction with job security is the aspect of satisfaction with the strongest relation to type of contract. Since this is also the aspect that receives least weight in overall job satisfaction this has little impact on workers' total happiness. More influential is the low satisfaction with job content due to agency work. Overall, temporary agency work leads to the lowest job satisfaction."
coming 2005 October 21
others Coming Soon
"[T]he end of economy is not the physical augmentation of goods but always the fullest possible satisfaction of human needs. Trades-people contribute no less to the attainment of this end than persons who were... exclusively called productive." --- Carl Menger 1871 _Principles of Economics_ (translated by James Dingwall & Bert F. Hoselitz) pg 190
jgo Econ Data
jgo Econ News Bits Index
Economic News Analysis Summary
jgo's Work in Progress
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The Legend of Zorro
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2005-10-25 08:08PDT (11:08EDT) (15:08GMT)
2005-10-25 13:02PDT (16:02EDT) (20:02GMT)
2005-10-26 06:44:26PDT (09:44:26EDT) (13:44:26GMT)
2005-10-26 07:21PDT (10:21EDT) (14:21GMT)
2005-10-26 07:36PDT (10:36EDT) (14:36GMT)
2005-10-26 14:40PDT (17:40EDT) (21:40GMT)
205-10-26 15:44PDT (18:44EDT) (22:44GMT)
2005-10-26 16:02PDT (19:02EDT) (23:02GMT)
2005-10-27 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
2005-10-27 2005-10-27 2005-10-27 2005-10-27 2005-10-27 2005-10-27 2005-10-27 2005-10-28
2005-10-27 21:57PDT (2005-10-28 00:57EDT) (04:57GMT) 2005-10-28 2005-10-28 06:33PDT (09:33EDT) (13:33GMT) 2005-10-28 07:47PDT (10:47EDT) (14:47GMT) 2005-10-28 08:55PDT (11:55EDT) (15:55GMT) 2005-10-28 09:28PDT (12:28EDT) (16:28GMT) 2005-10-28 2005-10-28 13:43PDT (16:43EDT) (20:43GMT) 2005-10-28 2005-10-29
2005-10-29 2005-10-29 2005-10-29 12:56PDT (15:56EDT) (19:56GMT) 2005-10-30
2005-10-30 04:40PST (07:40EST) (12:40GMT) 2005-10-30 2005-10-30 2005-10-30 2005-10-30 2005-10-31
2005-10-31 2005-10-31 2005-10-31 09:59PST (12:59EST) (17:59GMT) 2005-10-31 2005-10-31 2005-10-31 2005 October 2005 October 2005 October The Legend of Zorro
2005-10-27 21:57PDT (2005-10-28 00:57EDT) (04:57GMT)
2005-10-28 06:33PDT (09:33EDT) (13:33GMT)
2005-10-28 07:47PDT (10:47EDT) (14:47GMT)
2005-10-28 08:55PDT (11:55EDT) (15:55GMT)
2005-10-28 09:28PDT (12:28EDT) (16:28GMT)
2005-10-28 13:43PDT (16:43EDT) (20:43GMT)
2005-10-29 12:56PDT (15:56EDT) (19:56GMT)
2005-10-30 04:40PST (07:40EST) (12:40GMT)
2005-10-31 09:59PST (12:59EST) (17:59GMT)
The Legend of Zorro