First month of the 1st quarter of the 7th year of the Clinton-Bush economic depression

jgo Resume jgo Books
jgo Econ Data jgo Econ News Bits Index
Economic News Analysis Summary
Kermit home
Links jgo's Work in Progress
Bottom

updated: 2013-12-09
 
2006 January
UMTWRFS
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

Batman Begins
Batman Begins

2006 January

1st month of the 1st quarter of the 7th year of the Clinton-Bush economic depression

  ""Economists think we are headed for an 'exponential growth in intrusiveness', as computers become faster, cheaper and smarter... sophisticated data bases will flourish and be accessed through networked computers." --- Anne Eisenberg 1996 March _Scientific American_ pg 120  

2006-01-01

2006-01-01
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Study Debunks Industry Lobbyists' Claims on Numbers of Engineers
"[Vivek Wadhwa's Duke University] study debunks the typical 'education is the problem/solution' rhetoric of the industry lobbyists concerning H-1B and off-shoring.   And I agree with him.   As some of you may recall, I've said that (a) at least in the case of [Red China], the reported figures are misleading, as many 'engineering' graduates are working as building inspectors, factory managers, etc., not doing what we call engineering, and (b) we in the U.S.A. have a surplus of engineers, not a shortage, since we are using only a small fraction of the ones we have...
Wadhwa is a very unlikely candidate to be disagreeing with the industry lobbyists on globalist issues, since he has been a strong supporter of H-1B and off-shoring.   [He was quoted to that effect on Monster by Allan Hoffman in his article 'Are Tech Jobs Headed Off-Shore?' and in an article in Entrepreneur.]   A check of the Dept. of Labor's H-1B web page shows that Wadhwa hired an H-1B Software Engineer for $44,144, and a Computer Programmer for $31,933 [nearly $6K and $18K below prevailing average compensation for new grads]...
What is motivating him?   Actually, Wadhwa himself answers that question in his BusinessWeek column enclosed below, saying, 'Unfortunately, the message students are getting is that many engineering jobs will be out-sourced and U.S. engineers have a bleak future of higher unemployment and lower remuneration.   This could result in a self-fulfilling prophecy, as fearful young scholars stick to supposedly out-sourcing-proof professions.   IOW, we have more to fear from fear itself.'
Get it?   Now that Wadhwa has a high position in a university engineering school, he is suffering from the same disease as I've written about so often -- engineering deans, etc. are terrified by the drop in engineering enrollment.   In academia, numbers are power, so if the numbers plummet, the university engineering schools see their power plummet.   And Wadhwa's not abandoning his former industrial pals anyway...
the U.S.A. is moving away from the brainy jobs toward the 'blarney' jobs, i.e. the talking jobs.   '''You cannot out-source leadership.'', [Dean] Johnson said.   The Pratt engineering school has research programs, leadership dinners, and an ethics program so its students have an edge over others graduating from Indian and [Red Chinese] universities, she said.'   So you see, what Duke wants to do is produce graduates who know something about engineering but will never do engineering themselves.   Wadhwa's message that engineering students need not worry about jobs is misleading, because they don't know that he means non-engineering jobs...
An AP article which ran last year [had the same theme]: 'At Stanford, career experts are urging engineering and science majors to get internships and jobs outside of their comfort zones -- in marketing, finance, sales and even consulting. They suggest students develop foreign language skills...'"
see a related Matloff article
Barbados
Yee
Engardio

2006-01-01
_Washington Times_/_AP_
John G Roberts asks congress to raise already hugely over-paid corrupt federal judges' compensation
Seattle Times
"In his first year-end assessment of the federal judiciary, chief justice John G. Roberts jr urged Congress to increase judicial pay to help keep good judges on the bench and to recruit new ones...   In many of his 19 year-end reports, former Chief Justice Rehnquist put judicial pay raises at the top of his wish list...   He said the courts spent 16% of its 2005 budget on rent, while the Justice Department paid only 3% of its budget to the GSA.   In FY2005, Chief Justice Roberts said, the judiciary paid $926M to GSA in rent.   The GSA's actual cost for providing space to the courts was only $426M, he said."

2006-01-01 08:40PST (11:40EST) (16:40GMT)
_KCRA_
After a century, Chicago City News Service is out of business
"It was founded in the 1890s as a cooperative service for all of Chicago's newspapers.   It recruited young and usually untrained reporters and let them prove themselves."

2006-01-01
Natalie Gott _Charlotte Observer_
Bank of India closed on deal to take over MBNA for $34.2G: 6K more jobs to be eliminated
"Bank of [India] Corp. on Sunday completed its acquisition of MBNA Corp. in a deal worth about $34.2G, the nation's second-largest bank said.   Bank of [India] now has 40M active credit card accounts on its ledger, making it one of the leading worldwide payments-services companies and issuers of credit, debit and prepaid cards based on total purchase volume...   As part of the deal, Bank of [India] plans to eliminate 6K jobs across both companies, which the Charlotte-based bank has said will help it achieve overall cost savings of $850M by 2007.   The company said Sunday that no decisions had been made on where the jobs would be eliminated.   Before the deal, MBNA had about 10,500 employees in its home state and 28K overall.   Bank of [India] had more than 177K employees, and operated 2 credit card call centers in Delaware that employed about 1,300 workers."

2006-01-01
Alex Miller _Greely Tribune_
Surge of illegal immigration from the south
"On one side, opponents say being in the country illegally is clearly wrong, and anyone who fits that description should leave immediately.   At the other extreme, employers say they couldn't make it without the supply of cheap, reliable labor surging up from the south.   Because of their dicey status in the country, illegal immigrants are generally willing to work for less; even cut-rate wages are a vast improvement over what they can make at home in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador...   it's not too hard to imagine why illegal immigrants continue to come north in the face of significant adversity.   Against a back-drop of those loudly saying 'We don't want you!' is the much quieter assertion from employers who promise better-paying work when they get here...   Schultheis said Colorado needs to make itself less attractive to illegal immigrants -- much as Arizona did with its Proposition 200, which barred illegals from access to state services like welfare.   'We need to put the squeeze on employers.', Schultheis said.   'The ski areas may not like that, the Mexican restaurants, some parts of agriculture.   But it's a myth that no one else will do the work.'   Schultheis said the state's reliance on illegal immigrants to work for low wages has created a 'slave wage' that both drives illegal immigration and acts as a disincentive for U.S. citizens to take certain jobs.   'We need to stop creating a slave class in the U.S. and ask these people to leave the country.', he said.   'We are a nation of laws, and if we don't like that we need to change the laws, not ignore them.'   Schultheis also points to other dangers from illegal immigrants.   They carry diseases, like tuberculosis and leprosy, he said. Our porous border is making it easier for terrorists to gain access to the U.S. through Mexico."

2006-01-01
Barbara Demick _San Francisco Chronicle_
North Korean women work as near slaves in Czech Republic
"But as she spoke, an older woman with stern posture and an expressionless face -- a North Korean security official -- passed by in the corridor.   The young women scattered wordlessly and disappeared into another room, closing and bolting the door behind them...   Experts estimate 10K to 15K North Koreans work abroad on behalf of their government in jobs ranging from nursing to construction work.   In addition to the Czech Republic, North Korea has sent workers to Russia, Libya, Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia and Angola, defectors say.   Almost the entire monthly salaries of the women here, about $260, the Czech minimum wage, are deposited directly in an account controlled by the North Korean government, which gives them only a fraction of the money.   To the extent that they are allowed outside, they go only in groups.   Often they are accompanied by a guard from the North Korean Embassy who is referred to as their interpreter.   They live under strict surveillance in dormitories with photographs of North Korea's late founder Kim Il Sung and current leader Kim Jong Il on the walls.   Their only entertainment is propaganda films and newspapers sent from North Korea, and occasional exercise in the yard outside."

2006-01-01
Michael Doyle _Contra Costa Times_
Resolving immigration disputes top law-makers' priorities
"Literally every week, law-makers introduce their latest bid to reform immigration and improve border security...   But while it's easy to write an immigration bill and give it a stern name, it's awfully hard to pass one...   Dan Lungren...He's floating some trial balloons -- like granting legal residency to illegal immigrants who agree to perform national community service...   On Dec. 16, following 2 days of debate, the House by a 239-182 margin approved a multibillion-dollar border security bill.   Naturally, it has a compelling name....   The reinforcements include [only] a 25% increase in the number of border canine teams.   The penalties include a new felony crime called 'illegal presence' in the United States, potentially covering some 11M illegal immigrants.   The multilayered fence would span [only] 700 miles along the [2600 mile] U.S.-Mexican border [and none of the 5500 mile US-Canada border]; loaded with cameras, lights and sensors, it would cost upward of $2.2G [less than what GM spends on off-shore out-sourcing per year]...   For instance, law-makers are certain to soften or remove altogether the new provision creating a crime called 'illegal presence'.   Currently, illegal entry to the United States is a misdemeanor.   However, overstaying a visa -- which accounts for about 40% of all illegal immigrants -- is a civil rather than criminal matter.   As currently written, the House bill would turn visa overstays into a felony punishable by a year and a day in prison.   The White House wants this reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in prison."

2006-01-01
Neal R. Pierce _Houston Chronicle_
CEOs' immigration proposals
"These folks broke the law to enter America.   They're swelling the costs for our schools, they're putting big burdens on health care and criminal justice systems.   We want them gone...   Check the individual illegal immigrant and you often find a worker from a pitifully poor rural village, desperate for a better life, sending money back to family.   He or she lives in constant fear of arrest and deportation, subject to raw exploitation by employers...   Amazingly, we grant 5K permanent visas for low-skilled workers annually...   Peter Weber, himself an immigrant from Lima, Peru, in 1959.   Now retired from CEO-level positions in several major corporations, Weber has plunged into civic leadership roles in Fresno -- a city especially heavily impacted by immigration.   Weber's plan includes a guest-worker program, but one specifically offering the prospect for long-term U.S. residency, even citizenship, for workers who demonstrate a serious, long-term track record of job-holding and responsibility.   First step -- all [illegal] immigrant workers would be given 4 months to make a choice: Sign up for the new guest worker program, leave the U.S., or risk deportation and life-long ineligibility for residence.   Those electing to sign up would be offered tamper-proof identity cards and told they can stay for up to 3 years, or 6 more years with renewals, with a big 'if' -- if they can show they have a specific 'guest worker contract' with an employer or labor contractor.   Employers would have to assure some type of health benefits for all guest workers.   Fines would triple for any that then hire illegal immigrants.   Second, there'd be a 'step-up' for guest workers -- to permanent U.S. residency.   But they'd first have to be a guest worker at least 30 months, demonstrate English proficiency, pass a 'residency exam' on the basics of U.S. governance, and have a clean police record.   They could also apply for citizenship -- but only after they leave, and then re-enter the country legally.   Third, the country would continue to protect its borders as vigorously as it can, especially in view of post-2001/09/11 security considerations."

2006-01-01
Richard Gonzales _Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram_
The tug of security and prosperity
"Even if the United States builds tall fences, people will come because it's not just U.S. security interests at stake but Mexican and U.S. economic interests as well.   Immigrants are hardy, relentless and risk-taking with the same moxie that pushed the Irish, Italians, Poles, Swedes and Germans to leave their motherlands for America...   For immigrants, their border crossings have nothing to do with national pride and everything to do with prosperity.   The worst-kept secret in the land of the free is the U.S. businessmen's love affair with illegals.   They've opened the back doors and welcomed immigrants into their factories, warehouses, kitchens, laundries and construction sites.   Business people are attracted to them because illegals work hard, complain little and accept low pay...   Illegal immigration in essence will foster an economic boom in surveillance and tracking...   Over time, illegal workers will bring families and settle in Dixie.   With the influx of immigrants, the region will change, as will the rest of the country...   In Latino family discussions, immigration stirs heated debates about heritage vs. acculturation..."

2006-01-01
Jose Carvajal _North San Diego County Times_
Illegal immigration continues to rile southwest Riverside county
"In the same year that activists took to patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the Minuteman Project and other similar efforts, KFI's John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou broadcast their daily show in November from Warm Springs Middle School in Murrieta to amplify the effort attempting to put the measure before voters.   The ballot initiative was the brainchild of Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Murrieta, and though backers were unable to garner the 600K signatures necessary to get the measure on the 2006 June ballot, the initiative received a lot of local support.   In August, more than 30 supporters rallied for 4 hours in front of Brunswick Cal Oaks Bowl in Murrieta with petitions in hand...   'I would say that this [Bush's amnesty/additional guest-worker proposal] is absolutely the worst idea that has come along in a long time.', Sawyer said.   'We have currently in the U.S. an estimate of 20M illegal aliens.   We have 10% of Mexico's population living in our country.   Most people are not interested in bringing more illegal aliens into the U.S., no matter what you call them or how you get them here.   We have enough.'"

2006-01-01
_South Bend Tribune_
Import Tax Could Help Pay America's Bills
"In order for US companies to compete they're cutting costs by eliminating health care and pensions, reducing salaries and out-sourcing [and giving top executives huge increases in compensation]."

2006-01-01 Chen _e-Gov Taiwan_
Republic of China Taiwan New Year Message
"Today marks the 2006 Founding Anniversary of the Republic of China (Taiwan)...   In my mind, the most beautiful and moving imagery of Taiwan is its 23M people guarding their homeland together and working shoulder to shoulder alongside one another.   To me, this truly embodies the courage and resilience of Taiwan...   More than 60 years ago, this building was a symbol of colonial dominance, subsequently becoming the icon of authoritarian rule in Taiwan.   Ten years ago, a direct presidential election transformed this majestic structure into a landmark of democracy -- one that truly symbolizes 'popular sovereignty'.   Today, we gather here, among legislative leaders from opposing parties, as well as senior social leaders and government officials--irrespective of political affiliation.   People of this nation freely elect public representatives and heads of local governments, as well as the national leader, through regular elections; they also, through referendum, partake in the policy-making process -- remarkable achievements that remind us of the hard won democracy we treasure so dearly, and the precious experience of peaceful transfer of political power...   Under the impact of globalization, the trends of industry relocation and out-sourcing have swept across industrial countries; Taiwan is of no exception.   According to the latest government statistics, the proportion of orders placed domestically but filled over-seas is more than 40% of total manufactured goods, and approximately 90% of which is concentrated in [Red China]...   Yet these trends have undoubtedly brought enormous pressures to Taiwan in the forms of structural unemployment and difficulties in raising the average wage and salary income."

2006-01-01
S. Mitra Kalita _NW Arkansas Democrat Gazette_
India call centers sway lives of workers
"Donning head-sets and fake American names, they placed and fielded phone calls to and from the United States, collecting bills, selling products and raising credit limits...   It was Diwali, after all, and the Hindu festival of lights couldn't pass unmarked at Convergys, the Ohio-based operator of one of India's largest call centers...   Companies such as Convergys now employ more than 5K in India to perform 'back-office' functions.   This suburb south of New Delhi also boasts offices for IBM Corp., General Electric Co., American Express Co. and Nestle SA...   Managers seem to have absorbed management lessons from US-based bosses.   'They're ruthless.', said Pundir, her tone reflecting admiration...   Indeed, because many BPO workers spend their days dealing with Americans and their kkkredit kkkards, they have a comfort level with debt that other Indians [and many Americans] might not."

2006-01-01
Ann Johnson-Stromberg _Times-Standard_
Businesses bow out: economic hardships cited
"Jacqueline Debets, Humboldt County economic development coordinator, said that there is free help available for businesses that are walking the line of staying up or going under.   The key is to avoid waiting too long to ask for help, she said.   The Prosperity Network can help businesses restructure their finances, provide credit or loans to help them get over a hump, and make referrals for other resources."

2006-01-01
Jim Wright _Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram_
Good intentions are not enough
"Whatever we concoct, let us resolve that it shall not be employed as a device to reduce wages for US working families...   [The braceros] program was designed in good faith, I believe, mostly by fair-minded people in both countries, to be a win-win-win situation.   American farmers would get their crops harvested; consumers would enjoy abundant seasonal foodstuffs at decent prices; poor Mexican families through the eager work of their braceros, would be lifted from despairing poverty, promoting a rising Mexican standard of living...   Enter human greed!   Smooth-talking lobbyists hired by corporate farm owners persuaded gullible appointees in Labor and Agriculture that there were virtually no domestic farm workers.   They had no interest in the welfare of small U.S. farmers and the hard-working braceros and saw lower wages as a way to enrich their patrons and themselves.   Congress -- prodded by people like Cesar Chavez and Texas' representative Henry Gonzalez -- came to see that we were driving down farm wages and pinching out of existence a class of U.S. citizens: farm workers and small farmers.   These were, in the misbegotten name of efficiency, being left high and dry -- and hungry.   U.S. law-makers, realizing that in their zeal they'd been driving down wages and drying up jobs for some of America's most vulnerable families, stopped funding the bracero program.   The same unhappy awakening has slowly dawned upon many people, myself included, who enthusiastically supported the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other such pacts in the 1980s and 1990s...   Instead of raising living standards in Mexico and Asia, these agreements have lowered real wages in the United States, promoting massive domestic lay-offs like the 30K who are losing their jobs at General Motors and now, we hear, at Ford -- once the very symbols of America's superior working environment.   Companies whose enlightened management once cared about the well-being of the working stiffs who made their assembly lines throb with vitality are today down-sizing and out-sourcing abroad, attracted by the lure of sweatshop wages that keep poor foreign laborers and their children in virtual serfdom.   Many U.S. companies are reneging on promised health and retirement benefits, in expectation of which their faithful employees have given to those companies many productive years of their lives.   Meanwhile, the new breed of management floats away on fleecy clouds of affluent retirement, supported by multi-million-dollar golden parachute contracts."

2006-01-01
Lewis M. Branscomb _Los Angeles Times_
Hire and retain innovators or perish
"The origins of the decline can be traced to the 1960s, when the U.S. trade surplus in high-tech manufactured goods began slipping.   By 1972, the surplus had disappeared.   In the 1980s, U.S. manufacturers rapidly lost market share in high-tech goods to companies based in Asia...   In the 1990s, the Japanese real estate bubble burst, and U.S. business leaders stopped reading books about Japanese 'quality circles' and Theory Z and started implementing Japan's 'lean' production technologies.   The in some cases reversed...   The 21st century has brought globalization and the emergence of such new high-tech competitors as [Red China] and India.   Out-sourcing technically skilled jobs has become the chief indicator of a newly perceived U.S. comparative weakness.   For instance, the salary of one engineer or chemist in the U.S. is equivalent to 5 in [Red China] and 11 in India...   But the economic facts paint a grim picture.   The U.S. annually imports $24G more in high-tech products than we export.   Our share of global production has fallen from 30% to 17% in the last 2 decades.   The U.S. is closing chemical plants (70 in 2004, 40 last year) and constructing only one new billion-dollar plant.   By contrast, there are 50 chemical plants under construction in [Red China].   U.S.-owned firms' share of all new patents awarded is now less than one-third.   This may only worsen because the number of U.S. students pursuing technical careers is declining.   About 59% of under-graduates in China study engineering.   In Japan, the number is 66%.   In the U.S., only 32%.   Nor is the pre-college engineer pipeline promising.   In head-to-head match-ups with other countries, U.S. high school seniors consistently score [in the top 3] in general mathematical and scientific knowledge...   The U.S. venture-capital industry is shying away from more exciting but risky innovations.   Only about 1% of venture firms' money now seeds such promising high-tech innovations as high-capacity data storage using holography and nanotech devices for use in new surgical methods.

2006-01-01
Joe Robinson _Los Angeles Times_
Bring back the 40-hour work-week, and vacations
"It was a great year for labor -- if you worked at a call center in India, made your living as a CEO or sold real estate to big-box stores.   But deep in Cubicle Nation, the average American worker remained on a fast track to the Industrial Revolution, with soaring work-weeks, declining wages and health, pension and vacation benefits vanishing faster than you can say job security.   Add to the siege out-sourcing, cut-backs, the dismantling of ergonomics rules and forced over-time -- all while business is racking up historic profits -- and even a near-sighted dingo could see that the trends are unsustainable for families, personal health, company medical plans or an informed and involved citizenry.   And completely unnecessary.   As all the productivity research shows, we can get the job done without finishing ourselves off...   Almost 40% of us are working more than 50 hours a week, not exactly what the Fair Labor Standards Act intended when it set the 40-hour workweek in 1938.   Chronic 11- and 12-hour days result in lousy productivity, expensive mistakes, burnout, triple the risk of heart attack and quadruple the risk of diabetes -- and families without a quorum for dinner.   Two-thirds of people who work more than 40 hours a week report being highly stressed.   Job stress costs American business more than $300G a year...   Make Lou Dobbs secretary of Labor...   Tighten the salary test.   One of the main -- and unacknowledged -- drivers of over-work is the expanding definition of salaried employees.   When the Fair Labor Standards Act codified the salary designation, it was intended to apply only to top administrators and managers.   Over the last 2 decades, the classification has been stretched to include more and more of us, particularly after new, elastic rules by the Bush administration that could turn everyone from chefs to preschool teachers into salaried workers.   In addition, hundreds of thousands of hourly workers, from burger flippers to insurance adjusters, are misclassified as salaried.   The explosion of salaried employees -- now 40% of all workers (including a huge jump in salaried care-givers) -- is without doubt having major repercussions on divorce rates, child care, civic responsibilities and drug sales."
 

2006-01-02

2006-01-02
Michael Krauss _Chicago Sun-Times_
Now it's the knowledge economy
"If education is so valuable, why aren't college towns filled with millionaires?...   What should be done to grow Chicago's knowledge economy?   Why aren't there more millionaires in those college towns?   'College towns aren't the most prosperous because their knowledge isn't deployed in the most economically productive occupations.', explained Robert Weissbourd, president of Chicago based RW Ventures...   'Learning to learn is the skill that is critical.   Be able to read, write and learn new things...   Educated people go places that are rainy, snowy and cold.', he said.   They may not love the climate but people go where there are concentrations of high-paying, knowledge-intensive jobs.   Chicago can't control the weather but we can work to keep the knowledge occupations here...   'We need to focus on gaining those high-paid knowledge economy jobs across all our diverse economic sectors.'"

2006-01-02
Don Curlee _Porterville Recorder_
Work Mexicans Will Not Do
"Traditionally day workers from Mexico supply a large percentage of the harvest work-force, crossing the border each morning at Calexico, being bused to farms and returning to their homes at the end of the work day.   But this year they stayed home in droves.   A traditional mid-December breakfast for farm workers in Calexico sponsored jointly by the Employment Development Department and the chamber of commerce attracted about 3,500 workers.   In years past the attendance has been greater by 1K or more.   Opinions vary about the shortage.   Some say development in Mexico is attracting workers away from their farm backgrounds...   Most agree that the tighter border has reduced illegal entry substantially...   Mordechai Orian maintains an office in Los Angeles for his Global Horizons, a company that recruits foreign laborers and brings them to the United States to work under a federal program called H-2A."

2006-01-02 07:00PST (10:00EST) (15:00GMT)
Debra Schiff _EE Times_
CIS & US House of Representatives Eye H-1B Abuses
"Embarrassingly low wages are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to employer abuse of the H-1B temporary-visa program, new legislation and other data have revealed.   Discrimination on the basis of immigration status, the loss of 'at will' employment rights, the use of 'bodyshops' and outright fraud have also surfaced, resulting in at least one class-action law-suit.   Legislation now before the U.S. House of Representatives targets a range of abuses, from fraud to discrimination on the basis of immigration status.   Still, the hot-button issue of wage discrepancies between visiting workers and their American counterparts remains at its heart.   As if to under-score the point, on the heels of the bill's introduction in mid-November, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released a... report that measures a $13K difference between what employers typically pay American employees vs. visiting workers...
Introduced by representative Bill Pascrell Jr (D-NJ), the Defend the American Dream Act [HR4378] seeks to reform the H-1B visa program by requiring employers who apply for the visas to use locally determined prevailing-wage data, and either the median average wage for all workers in the occupational classification or the median wage for skill level 2 in the occupational classification in the most recent Occupational Employment Statistics survey, whichever is greater...
On Miano's personal web site, he lists the lowest-paying employers of H-1B computer workers with more than 100 visa workers in fiscal year 2004.   More often than not, he said, these H-1B workers have no actual assignment when they enter the United States as a body shop employee...
right of private action detailed in the bill is designed to strengthen safeguards for workers affected by the H-1B program.   'No matter how much you reform the visa, and no matter how much government monitoring may be set up, you still have to give power to the people.', Shah said.   'You have to give both American citizens as well as these H-1B petitioners the ability to stand up for themselves in a civil court.   That ability to counter any mistreatment will be the greatest deterrent of ongoing abuse by a company.'   When it is no longer profitable, she said, the incentives for abusing the visa program will be removed...
'Right now, ''Americans get displaced, and foreigners are under-paid'' is the prevailing accepted attitude.'   Meanwhile, other factors may be damping enthusiasm for H-1B workers...   Although 'there remains a healthy number of U.S. workers available', [Brewer] said, 'for some high-tech companies who need specialized EEs, foreign nationals are still one of their main options.'...
Norm Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis, wrote a seminal work on the subject, published in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform (pdf).   H-1Bs save employers money in 2 ways, he said...
'Type I savings' occurs 'when an H-1B is paid less than an American of the same qualifications, i.e., same experience, educational level and so on.', Matloff said.
'Type II savings are incurred by hiring a younger, thus cheaper, H-1B [worker] instead of an older, thus more expensive, American.   Everyone talks about Type I, and it is, of course, very important, but Type II is typically over-looked.'   The wage inequities cited in the Miano report reflect a mixture of Type I and Type II salary savings, Matloff said.   'What that really means is that unemployed Americans are being rejected as over-qualified while H-1Bs are hired.   What that shows is that the ''labor shortage'' claimed by the industry is in fact a shortage of cheap labor, not of qualified American workers.'
Miano, who wrote the CIS report, believes the H-1B program is in need of a major overhaul that may entail more than the changes outlined in the Defend the American Dream Act -- which he nonetheless supports.   'This program has had no [significant] reforms whatsoever.', Miano said.   'The U.S. Congress has been aware of the problem since 1995 and has done nothing about it.   Up until this year, the government could not investigate companies on its own initiative for abuse.   The only way to track down companies was if the visa holder complained, if they were caught as part of some other investigation or if they had been caught previously' and thus fell into the category known as 'willful violators'.   The Labor Department can 'investigate on its own initiative', but doing so requires 'personal approval of the Secretary of Labor herself.   It's prohibitive.', Miano said.   To tighten the loop-holes, Pascrell's bill authorizes random audits of visa applications and raises penalties for willful violators...
The bill also triples the fees for H-1B visa processing to $4,500, with the purpose of providing funding for mandatory auditing and enforcement.   The bill's sponsors include representatives Rosa L. DeLauro and John B. Larson of Connecticut, Carolyn C. Kilpatrick of Michigan, Major R. Owens of New York and Maxine Waters of California."

2006-01-02
Gary Endelman _Immigration Daily_
An immigration lawyer's analysis of recent congressional action which may negatively affect his personal bottom-line

2006-01-02
Christine Romans & Casey Wian & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
American kkkredit kkkard debt has nearly tripled since 1989
"American credit card debt has nearly tripled to almost $800G since 1989.   The average household owes more than $8,600.   It's compounding the income pressure facing many middle class Americans from job losses, out-sourcing, rising health care costs and benefit reductions...   Debt levels are going up while interest rates are rising.   So it's becoming even tougher to pay those bills...   And interest rates are expected to keep rising, especially since the U.S. government is now $8T in debt.   That's more than $27K for every American.   It's likely to put even more pressure on the middle class through higher taxes, cuts in federal programs, or both..."

2006-01-02
_Reading Eagle_
Technology changes have pluses, minuses: dead-line 2009-02-17
"2009-02-17. That's when the transmission of ana-log television signals will cease.   Anyone still depending on an old-fashioned antenna on that date will be starring at a blank television screen.   Even cable and satellite service customers with analog television sets could lose a few channels...   The cheapest digital television sets cost around $800...   The plan is to give each household up to two $40 vouchers each with which to purchase equipment that would convert digital signals into analog signals.   Converter boxes are expected to cost $50 to $60 each."

2006-01-02
_Louisville Courier-Journal_
Only 118 US CEOs left jobs in November
"A total of 118 top executives left U.S.-based companies in November, representing an increase of 23% over October, when 96 changed spots.   That brought the total CEO departures in 2005 to 1,228, compared with 663 in 2004."
 

2006-01-03

2006-01-03
_Dice_
Dice Report: 76,454 job ads

Total76,454
UNIX11,743
Windoze12,238
JavaNR
C/C++11,180
body shop28,906
permanent52,114

2006-01-03 13:34PST (16:34EST) (21:34GMT)
Walaika K. Haskins _News Factor_
iPod Designer, Jonathan Ive, Recognized by Queen Elizabeth
Yahoo!
"Jonathan Ive joined Apple in 1992, but it was not until Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1998 that Ive's impact began to be felt when the redesigned iMac hit the market.   Jonathan Ive, the Apple Computer design engineer who brought the world the iMac and the iPod, has been named a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.   The award was presented during the Queen's New Year's honors ceremony.   The award recognizes Ive's international achievement in the field of industrial design and for having led the team responsible for the design of 'ground-breaking products such as the iMac, iBook, PowerBook, and iPod'.   Created by King George V, the CBE honors those who have served the British empire."

2006-01-03
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Comments on EE Times article on Pascrell proposal and Miano report
"The indentured nature of H-1Bs is actually de facto, not de jure.   The 2000 legislation made it technically much easier to move to another job -- IF the worker is not being sponsored for a green card by his/her present employer.   If the worker is being sponsored for a green card, a complicated multi-year process, he/she does not want to start the process fresh with a new employer.   Since over the years most H-1Bs in the computer area have been sponsored for green cards, most have been de facto indentured servants for this reason.   But Ms. Shah's point, that the indentured nature of the program is to many employers even more attractive than the salary savings, is quite valid and quite important...   I certainly agree that the vast majority of the H-1Bs are not 'the best and the brightest'.   But I strongly disagree with the notion that the main abuses of the H-1B program come from the bodyshops.   The fact is that the H-1B prevailing wage requirement is riddled with gaping loop-holes (which Pascrell's bill would plug), and that virtuall all companies take advantage of those loop-holes -- just like virtuall all companies take advantage of loop- holes in the tax code.   This most definitely includes the major firms...   It's not that some companies are making a sham of the law -- the law itself is a sham...   [They quote Nanci Brewer of Start-Up Resources, formerly with Decision Technologies.]   Well, let's see how much Decision Technologies pays its H-1B workers.   Go to the Dept. of Labor web page and plug in 'Decision Technologies'.   Here you will find that DT hired an H-1B as a Software Developer/ Programmer for a salary of $39K and an Associate Software Engineer for the salary of $30,181!   Remember, even new graduates in the field have average salaries of $50K."
Dr. Matloff's analysis of Intel's pay to guest-workers
clarifying comments from Norm Matloff 2006-06-22
"it is perfectly legal to pay below-market wages to H-1Bs, because the prevailing wage laws are full of loop-holes.   The official prevailing wage can be well below the market wage.   IOW, Ms. Brewer was simply doing her job well, just as a tax accountant attempts to make maximum use of provisions in the tax code that are favorable to her firm...   I was using the Decision Technologies wages to illustrate my point that the fundamental problem is in the law itself, not in the enforcement of the law.   Thus there was no implication intended that Ms. Brewer did anything wrong; on the contrary, the point was that she was doing her job well.   BTW, Ms. Brewer also wishes to point out that it was the firm's immigration attorneys who had determined the prevailing wage, rather than HR.   All of this is very relevant to a hearing held today in the House, titled 'Is the Labor Department Doing Enough to Protect U.S. Workers?'.   Once again: There is basically nothing that the Labor Department CAN do to protect U.S. citizen and permanent resident workers (in terms of wages), because the law itself is the problem, not enforcement of the law.   I will say more about this tomorrow, including on non-wage issues. &nbp; [Most would say that both the statute and its reluctant enforcement are the problem...jgo]"

2006-01-03 08:11PST (11:11EST) (16:11GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM factory index fell from 58.1% in November to 54.2% in December
ISM report

2006-01-03
Rob Sanchez _V Dare_/_Job Destruction News-Letter_
Near Thing: Americans' Jobs Saved in Congress, but for how long?
"Foiling their tricks will take relentless vigilance -- and ruthless determination.   This bipartisan betrayal of American labor began when Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced an amendment to the Omnibus Spending bill allowing the government to sell an additional 350K employment-based visas -- ostensibly to raise money to fund the U.S. budget deficit.   Supporters of the scheme, such as Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ), claimed that by selling these visas the U.S. could raise $113M (phooey!) to help finance for our $2.6T (aargh!) federal budget.   Senator Chambliss made a comment on the floor of the Senate that was all too typical: 'The reconciliation package, passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, by a vote of 14 to 2, will generate $45M annually from H -1B visa fees.'   Only in Washington DC is it a good idea to finance an infinitesimal fraction (less than a hundredth of one percent [0.01%]) of the U.S. budget by forcing unemployment on thousands U.S. workers.   The foreigners who enter the U.S. on employment-based visas often seek some of our most desired jobs, in fields such as engineering, computer programming, science, teaching, and medicine.   Employment-based visas are supported by industry because the importation of foreigners cuts labor costs by replacing U.S. workers with immigrants who are willing to accept lower salaries and fewer benefits.   But, despite the fact that middle class workers are having increasing difficulty finding meaningful employment, and despite the fact that salaries for U.S. workers are declining, the Senators of the 109th Congress seemed unfazed...   Arlen Specter's amendment included the sale of 90K employment-based Green Cards for permanent residency, and to sweeten the pot further, approximately 270K spouses and children of the visa holders would be given authorization to work in the U.S.A.   Employers were to get an additional 30K H-1B temporary guest-worker visas on top of the current 85K per year cap.   All told, up to 350K foreigners would be given permission by Congress to work in the United States."

2006-01-03 (5766 Tebet 03)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Serious or Suicidal?
see also _Dismantling America_
 

2006-01-04

2006-01-04 10:00PST (13:00EST) (18:00GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
USA factory orders rose 2.5% in November
census bureau data

2006-01-04 13:30PST (16:30EST) (21:30GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Stocks up: S&P 500 sets new 4.5 year high
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 32.74 points higher at 10,880.15.   The Nasdaq Composiite rose 19.72 points to 2,263.46, while the S&P 500 Index ended up 4.66 points at 1,273.46, marking its highest closing level since mid-2001."

2006-01-04
Hanah Cho _Baltimore Sun_
Employment agencies, companies are expecting a seasonal bump in people switching jobs
"A recent poll of 1,047 workers for Adecco Staffing North America [a body shop] found that getting a new job was among the top New Year's resolutions, behind the #1 resolution -- getting a raise...   John A. Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global out-placement company in Chicago, said more hiring is done in the first quarter than any other.   But it's also a time when considerable lay-offs occur as well...   At Booz Allen Hamilton, a global [body shop] with offices in Maryland, recruiters are expected to hire up to 700 people in its 4th quarter that begins in January, said recruiting manager Julie Martin."

2006-01-04
Victor Greto _Bethany Beach Wave_
Polish up those job-hunting skills
"'What job candidates need to do is sit and make a list of all of the duties and skills they've gained throughout their career.', said Pat Troy-Brooks, president and CEO of Advanced Staffing. 'As they're going on job-posting boards and Internet sites, don't focus on the job title, but the essence of the job requirements.'   One also may take solace in the fact that, today, one normally changes careers up to a half-dozen times, said John Challenger of Challenger, Gray & Christmas in Chicago, an out-placement firm."

2006-01-04
Thomas J. Donohue _US Chamber of Communists_
State of American Business 2006
"The unemployment rate should drift down to 4.9% by mid-year, with monthly job gains averaging [only] about 145K [i.e. less than parity with the growth in population through births and immigration, both legal and illegal, and not enough to re-absorb the many mal-employed and under-employed through the course of the Clinton-Bush depression]...   Companies face an accumulating burden of rising health care, pension [all of which they have been assertively dodging via abrogation of past agreements], and energy costs.   Restrictive immigration and visa policies [which have allowed a record influx of legal and illegal immigrants over the last decade], along with inadequate education and training have tightened the supply of qualified workers -- very bad timing with the first wave of baby boomers about to retire.   Rising anti-trade sentiments threaten the openness of our markets, while over-seas, many markets remain closed and our intellectual property is being stolen.   Growing government deficits make business an appealing target for additional taxes and mandates -- even though, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, the United States has the highest corporate income tax rates of the 30 richest countries.   And, a brass-knuckles political battle for control of the U.S. Congress is already under way, which could affect our ability to get things done."
immigration issues

2006-01-04
Richard Phelps _Control Engineering_
90% of the world's engineers Asian by 2010?
"In a speech to San Jose State University's College of Engineering, James W. Bagley, chairman of Lam Research Corp. addressed the U.S.A.'s diminishing capability to maintain competitive manufacturing leadership and parity...   The solution is simple: convincing political leaders that the results of the U.S.A.'s degenerating competitiveness problem can be far greater than the national disasters -- such as have been recently experienced...   He focused on [Red China], which now is becoming competitive in manufacturing technology, software and engineering capability across the spectrum, physics, chemistry, and bio-technology.   Whether through design or luck, [Red China] has co-opted the largest retail organization -- WM -- into being its worldwide distribution system...   [Red China] got their warehousing, distribution, and retail outlets at no cost.   During these 20 years, what was happening in the U.S.A.?   It has promoted fair trade, open-market access, lower duties, and so on.   U.S. motivations were positively based, expecting open trade improvements to the economies of most of the third-world countries, allowing them to be markets for U.S. life-enriching products based on U.S.-developed intellectual property and value-added services which would in turn improve the standard of living of U.S. citizens.   The result has been somewhat different from what was envisioned 20 years ago.   The U.S.A. is out-sourcing manufacturing at an alarming rate.   [Red China] is creating manufacturing jobs at a rate equivalent to the entire U.S. manufacturing work-force each year.   The U.S.A. is facilitating that growth rate by out-sourcing its manufacturing jobs to [Red China] in order to compete with Chinese goods derived from U.S.-created intellectual property...   Approximately 80% of (Lam Research's) advanced etcher systems are sold and installed in Asia [i.e. they're selling US capital on the cheap].   Three companies in Taiwan are building more leading-edge 300mm plants than are being built in the United States.   The vast majority of the leading-edge 300mm facilities being built in the world are being built in Asia.   (The U.S.A. has) gone from the largest market for semiconductors and the largest producer of semiconductors to a deteriorating second place when compared to Asia...   How is the U.S.A. coping with the problem today?   It's importing roughly 60K engineers/ scientists with the H-1B visa program.   In the most positive light, this is a stop-gap [but in a realistic light it is driving young Americans away from these fields by driving down job prospects, life-time job security prospects and compensation prospects]..."

2006-01-04
Yeh Ling-Ling _Brownsville Herald_
Is Mexico trying to extend its borders?
"If they were serious about securing our borders, why have they not fully funded and enforced immigration provisions in the amnesty law passed in 1986, which legalized 3M illegal aliens?   According to the 2000 Census, the U.S. population increased by about 13% from 1990 to 2000, while people who identified themselves as Mexican increased by 53%.   If this trend continues, within just a few decades the majority of people in the United States could very well be of Mexican ancestry.   Last December, the Mexican government published a guide advising Mexican nationals on how to survive after crossing into the United States.   In 1997, then-president Ernesto Zedillo said in Chicago that 'the Mexican nation extends beyond the territory enclosed by its borders and that Mexican migrants are an important -- a very important -- part of it.'"

2006-01-04
Nathan J. Russell _Mackinac Center for Public Policy_
Introduction to the Overton Window of Political Possibilities
 

2006-01-05

2006-01-05 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 474,290 in the week ending Dec. 31, an increase of 40,340 from the previous week.   There were 540,927 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending Dec. 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 2,851,341, an increase of 159,474 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.4% and the volume was 3,025,945."
graphs

2006-01-05 08:27PST (11:27EST) (16:27GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM non-manufacturing index was up from 58.5% in November to 59.8% in December
"The ISM non-manufacturing index rose to 59.8% from 58.5% in November, nearly returning to the 60% level set in October...   Readings over 50% indicate a plurality of purchasing managers at firms across the nation reported increased activity.   The index has averaged 59.8% over the past 12 months.   New orders rose to 61.9% in December from 59.5% in November.   The employment index remained strong, inching higher to 57.1% from 57.0% on a month-to-month basis...   In December, 11 of 17 industries as tracked by the ISM were growing, led by entertainment, services, and retail.   Three industries reported activity was steady from the last month and 3 industries were contracting: agriculture, real estate and construction."

2006-01-05
Louie Gilot _El Paso Times_
Guest-Worker Visas Drive Down Compensation
ComputerWorld
"In fact, the study found that the H-1B workers were paid an average of $13K less than their U.S. counterparts, a situation that exploits foreign workers and depresses U.S. wages.   The findings will resonate at UTEP, where 15 to 20% of computer information systems students are not U.S. citizens.   As many as half of the graduate students in the program are foreigners...   Worse, [many] of the top applicants for H-1B visas are bodyshops, or labor contractors, that sponsor large numbers of foreign workers and then contract out their services to high-tech companies, often in direct competition with U.S. workers...   some companies use H-1B visas to train foreign workers in U.S. business practices, only to send them back abroad to head out-sourcing efforts...   enrollment at UTEP's computer information systems program has been down for the past 3 semesters because students fear that IT jobs are going over-seas, Udo said.   The program used to graduate 80 to 100 students each semester."

2006-01-05
Marty Nemko _US News & World Report_
Excellent careers for 2006
Jewish World Review
"...Professor. This career offers stimulating work, lots of autonomy, status, and the comforting confines of academe.   The job market has been tight, but that should start to improve–there was a wealth of hiring in the 1960s, and most of those professors are approaching retirement age.   Long term, the job market should remain good because we're in an era of degree proliferation [a.k.a. hyper-credentialism]: More students go on to college, and more adults return to school.   Here are the draw-backs: Colleges, more than most organizations, like to [body shop].   Over 30% of faculty hold part-time positions, and that percentage is increasing.   It's ironic that universities decry the way management treats labor, yet when colleges hire, they assiduously try to avoid providing healthcare benefits and job security.   Office politics can also be intense -- in few work-places is there as much conniving over so few resources.   And finally, it's dangerous to be politically incorrect.   Harvard President Lawrence Summers nearly got fired recently when he suggested, in a private brain-storming session, that genetic predisposition might help explain why there are so few female scientists.   He survived after promising to spend $50M to increase the number of women and members of minority groups on Harvard's scientific and engineering faculty."

2006-01-05
Jim Carlini _Wisconsin Technology_
Back-Lash Against Flood of Guest-Workers Continues Amid IT Down-Sizing
"The inference from the Cato Institute director that there is a shortage of skilled people in IT in the U.S. is very questionable.   He is putting forth propaganda to justify the erosion of a lot of middle-class jobs in this country that will only be the demise of non-related industries.   Cheaper (not better) workers are what many tech companies are pursuing.   It's all about reducing pay-roll with foreign workers for the last couple years and it's surprising that the host could not pick up on that.   Representative Pascrell did.   There are countless IT people who have been either laid off or caught in an out-sourcing frenzy that looks good for immediate corporate gains in cutting expenses but will impact other areas of the economy drastically as their $80K to $120K annual salaries dropped to $30K or $40K (if they can even find work)...   'Last year, 9 out of 10 American IT jobs went to H-1B and L-1 workers.   There are more than 1M American IT workers on the street looking for work.   There are more than 1.5M H-1B workers in the U.S.A.   In the next 18 months, one out of 10 American technology jobs will be moved off-shore...   About 40% of the workers in a typical off-shoring project are H-1B and L-1 visa holders working in the U.S.   The Indian off-shoring firms have stated publicly that off-shoring depends crucially on H-1B and L-1 visas.'"

2006-01-05
Eric Chabrow _Information Week_
Harris Miller resigns from ITAA; May Run for US Senate
"The chief voice for American IT [executives] in Washington is seeking to switch sides and become a target of Capitol Hill lobbyists...   As head of the ITAA, Miller has lobbied Congress to liberalize laws such as the H-1B visa program to allow a greater number of foreign IT workers to be employed in the United States, as well as opposed efforts to penalize American businesses from out-sourcing work over-seas...   Replacing Miller as interim ITAA president is Robert Laurence, who had been Sybase VP of public sector [IOW, he's been in the massive privacy violation business]."
Greg Priddy article 1
Greg Priddy article 2
Norm Matloff article

2006-01-05
Grant Gross _IDG_/_TechWorld_
Oracle and Harris Miller both leave ITAA
"Oracle has pulled out of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) for what appear to be national political reasons.   The [data-base] giant chose not to renew its ITAA membership for several reasons, it said, one of them being that ITAA President Harris Miller is reportedly considering a challenge to Virginia Senator George Allen, a Republican, said vice president of congressional and legislative affairs at Oracle, Robert Hoffman...   Oracle belongs to several other technology trade groups, including TechNet and the Information Technology Industry Council...   In addition to his position at ITAA, he's also president of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance, a group representing 38 high-tech trade groups from around the world.   [Oracle is, perhaps, best know politically for their adamant opposition to privacy.]"

2006-01-05
Jon Sarche & Colleen Slevin _Daily Herald_
Group starts campaign to bar some services to illegal immigrants
"Citing mounting frustration at a perceived lack of government action, Republicans and Democrats in Colorado separately announced Wednesday they will push to crack down on illegal immigration, setting the stage for what could be a bruising political battle.   A Democrat-led advocacy group, Defend Colorado Now, said it would start gathering signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to deny many government services to illegal immigrants in the state.   Republican legislators outlined a series of bills designed to enlist local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration laws, punish companies that hire illegal immigrants and require school districts to record students' immigration status."

2006-01-05 13:14PST (16:14EST) (21:14GMT)
Jennifer Waters _MarketWatch_
Holiday sales levels show buyers were cautious
"Overall, same-store sales rose a respectable 3.2%, in line with estimates, according to a final tally by the International Council of Shopping Centers.   Thomson First Call's December same-store index rose 3.3% for the month, which was just a touch below the 3.6% average analysts had reached...   Federated Department Stores Inc. solidly out-paced expectations of a gain of 2.1% with a 3.4% as sales doubled since the acquisition of the May Department Stores.   Luxury department-store operator Nordstrom Inc., which has been a strong performer, said same-store sales were higher by 7.7% for the month, more than double the 3.6% expectation."
 

2006-01-06

2006-01-06
Fred Akers _Arcadia Weekly_
Drier-ized?
Pasadena Independent
"The House of Representatives' latest bill advertised to stop the illegal alien invasion, HR4437, could be beneficial if it were strengthened and fully implemented.   Unfortunately, it could instead be step one of an attempt to legalize tens of millions of illegal aliens now in our country.   Commentators say the devious plan is to (1) pass a tough-sounding enforcement bill in the House, (2) pass a 'temporary worker' bill in the Senate in early 2006, then (3) merge the bills in conference and try to sneak it past the American people with 'temporary worker' amnesty included.   According to representative Howard Berman, D-Van Nuys, HR4437 serves to shield Republican representatives from being 'Dreier-ized' in the 2006 election.   This refers to the beating taken by representative David Dreier in the 2004 election for talking tough on illegal immigration but campaigning to legalize millions of illegal aliens and their families.   Drier uses sham terms like 'guest-workers' and 'temporary workers'.   He fantasizes allowing [these illegal aliens] to reside, work and raise families, then magically expecting them to voluntarily return to their country of origin after a number of years.   If we do nothing, Congress's refusal to halt the invasion by illegal aliens could tragically become moot."

2006-01-06 09:56PST (12:56EST) (17:56GMT)
Chris Oliver & Rachel Koning _MarketWatch_
Red China signals gradual shift from dollar-peg to balance with other currencies
"[Red China's] latest signal this week that it will diversify foreign exchange reserves away from U.S. dollars and government bonds could ripple through U.S. and global markets, analysts said Friday.   [Red China] announced several steps this week in follow-up moves to its decision last summer to drop a decade-long yuan-dollar peg.   Policy changes continue to come at a pace frustrating to U.S. manufacturers and some global financial officials but more change may be in store...   As of November last year, [Red China] had $769G in foreign exchange reserves.   Up to $247.6G are invested in U.S. Treasurys.   Unofficially, [Red China] is believed to invest roughly 70% of its reserves in U.S. dollar assets...   [Red China's] yuan slipped to 8.0668 per dollar, a decline of 0.001 yuan on the day Friday."

2006-01-06 12:16PST (15:16EST) (21:16GMT)
Alistair Barr _MarketWatch_
Private equity funds eye tech: Barbarians are storming the gates of Silicon Valley (table)
"As some parts of the technology industry mature, more companies are becoming buy-out targets for private-equity firms, investment bankers said this week.   Despite slower growth, many tech companies retain large, steady cash flows and relatively little debt -- attributes favored by private-equity funds that often finance acquisitions by loading their targets up with debt that can be paid off with future earnings.   Private-equity firms historically have targeted more established businesses that may not be growing that quickly, but generate lots of cash...   Of more than 2000 North American technology M&A deals last year, financial buyers such as private-equity firms were involved in 9% of them, up from 7% in 2003, Jefferies Broadview estimates.   Measured by the dollar value of deals, the trend is even stronger.   Of almost $100G in U.S. technology M&A volume in 2005, private-equity backed transactions accounted for more than a quarter of that, according to Dealogic, a firm that tracks data for investment banks.   In 2001, private-equity funds accounted for just 2% of tech M&A volume."

2006-01-06
Lou Dobbs & Christine Romans & Casey Wian & Kitty Pilgrim _CNN_
Republicans Call to Elect New Party Leadership in the House of Representatives; Israelis Pray for Ailing Ariel Sharon; Bush Says US Economy Is Strong; Mine Survivor Making Some Progress, Tapes Released; IBM Backing Away from Future Pension Obligations; Chertoff Promised Crack-Down on Border Violence; Congress-Critters Rush to Return Tainted Jack Abramoff Cash; M$ Shuts Down Web-Log Critical of Red Chinese Government; Florida Supremes Reject School Vouchers
"we're just getting word.   CNN has confirmed with two sources close to a separate case that former congressman, Randy Duke Cunningham, wore a wire in which conversations were recorded for a short time after he agreed to cooperate with the FBI and before he pled guilty to accepting bribes...   Jack Abramoff is only one among 14K lobbyists covering Washington...   IBM is one of the largest, most profitable corporations in the world, recording almost $100G in revenue last year.   But this company still says it needs to cut costs by ripping up a key financial contract with its middle class work force.   This is just the latest firm to go back on its pension promises...   The company says it's following, quote, 'a global strategy to move toward defined contribution retirement plans for both existing employees and new hires'.   That means freezing pensions and pushing employees into more unpredictable 401(k)s...   Nearly half of traditional pension plans have disappeared in the last decade.   At IBM 125K current retirees will not be affected; 117K current employees will...   M$ has shut down a popular Chinese blog solely because it was critical of the [Red Chinese] government.   M$ has now joined Cisco Systems and Yahoo! in censoring the Chinese people all in the name of doing business with communist China...   [Red Chinese] media reports say M$ is investing even more in China.   Another $13M partnering with a Chinese software firm.   Reporters Without Borders, an international organization that monitors free speech in [Red China] says it's a case of business at any price...   Reporters Without Borders charges you cannot enter search strings such as democracy or human rights in [Red China] or capitalism, as they are automatically rejected by the system.   They also blame Yahoo! and Google for similar restrictions in [Red China]."

2006-01-06
Ruben Navarrette _San Diego Union-Tribune_/_Muskogee Phoenix_
Mexican appointment of American propagandist causes concern
"It wasn't surprising [to me] that the Mexican government would hire an American public relations firm to improve its image in the United States.   Nor was it surprising [to me] that Mexican President Vicente Fox tapped my friend, Dallas-based political consultant Rob Allyn, to be Mexico's [propagandist].   Allyn worked on Fox's 2000 presidential campaign, after which a Dallas magazine dubbed the consultant 'Mr. Mexico'...   Allyn is doing a 'PR campaign for illegal immigrants' and generating public support for a guest worker plan backed by the Mexican government.   Allyn, who is to earn about $720K for his efforts, should have asked Fox for more money."

2006-01-06
Deanna Spingola _ReNew America_
The American Empire and Big Business
"Guatemala has been a haven for violence, war and civil unrest since the early 1950's.   In 1998 'As a result of the continual war, Guatemala's Supreme Court registered more than 35K widows and 200K orphans due to political violence; more than 440 villages were destroyed; at least 100L civilians have died due to political violence since 1954.'...   The symbiotic relationship between government and big business makes no distinction between political parties -- they are both compromised.   It is really all about money.   The liberals, the conservatives, the Democrats, the Republicans -- they are all influenced and prostituted by lobbyists, who often write congressional bills.   The majority of politicians have their hand out for big business campaign contributions.   There are exceptions, of course -- I can think of one, Ron Paul."

2006-01-06
_Cincinnati Enquirer_
Enquirer 80 stock index up 0.82%
"The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks rose 2.40 points, or 0.82%, to close Friday at 291.79.   52 issues were up, 26 were down and 2 were unchanged.   Leading gainers were Ashland, up $5.05 to $64.11; Gannett, up $1.30 to $63.82; Emerson Electric, up $1.25 to $76.33; Toyota Motor, up $1.20 to $107.28; Multi Color Corp., up $1.10 to $26.67.   Biggest laggers were Meridian Bioscience, down 59 cents to $24.16; NB&T Financial Group, down 45 cents to $20.35; AtriCure, down 41 cents to $10.90; J.M. Smucker, down 41 cents to $45.80; LSI Industries, down 41 cents to $15.89."

2006-01-06 13:47PST (16:47EST) (21:47GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Stock are up
"Equities began their week-long rally on Tuesday, when new Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes hinted at a timely halt to rate hikes.   The Dow industrials closed 77.16 points higher at 10,959.31, its best level since mid-2001.   The bench-mark index registered a weekly gain of around 2.2%.   The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 28.75 points, or almost 1.3%, to 2,305.62, allowing the tech-rich index to set yet another fresh multiyear high.   During the first trading week of 2006, the Nasdaq has risen 4.5%.   The S&P 500 Index increased 11.97 points, or nearly 1%, to 1,285.45, giving it a weekly gain of about 3%...   [Seasonally adjusted] U.S. job growth slowed in December to 108K new jobs, even as the unemployment rate fell to a cyclical low of 4.9%, the Labor Department reported.   Economists polled by MarketWatch had been looking for a gain of 205K and a jobless rate of 5%.   However, helping offset the short-fall in December, net job growth in November was revised higher to 305K from 215K."
 

2006-01-07

2006-01-06 16:56PST (19:56EST) (2006-01-07 00:56GMT)
_MarketWatch_
Weekly news summary

2006-01-07
Diane Levick _Hartford Courant_
CIGNA laying off another 109
"CIGNA HealthCare said Friday it will lay off 109 service employees nationwide, including 56 in Bloomfield, as it out-sources the work off-shore, another expense-cutting move...   The employees were notified Friday that their jobs will be eliminated during the first half of this year as the work is sent to the Philippines through a vendor, Accenture [formerly known as Andersen Consulting before they were caught in the Enron fraud]...   As of the end of September, CIGNA had 4,572 employees in Connecticut, down 457 from the end of 2004.   The company is not expected to release year-end 2005 employment figures until it announces year-end and fourth-quarter earnings.   It isn't clear how much of the 457-job drop was from layoffs and how much was from attrition.   In 2004, CIGNA laid off 665 employees in Connecticut...   As of last September, CIGNA's Connecticut work-force had shrunk by 2,098 since the end of 2003, including the sale of its retirement services unit with 800 employees to Prudential Financial.   Companywide U.S. employment dropped to 26,139 as of 2005-09-30, which was 1,584 lower than at the end of 2004.   CIGNA had planned about 1,700 job cuts companywide in 2005."

2006-01-07
Greg Priddy
ITAA + Diebold lobbyist Harris Miller to run for Senate
"'We oppose the idea of a voter-verified paper trail.' -- Harris Miller.   Miller... departed earlier this week as head of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), a lobbying group for big information technology [executives].   But you will certainly hear about him next week, as he is expected to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, as a Democrat from Virginia, running against George Allen.   In fact, the media trial balloons this week have treated him as a presumptive nominee, who has the backing of the party leadership, even though they haven't made any formal endorsement."

2006-01-07
Scott Condon _Greeley Tribune_
Unwelcome "guests": Many think illegal immigration threatens U.S. economy, security
"About 70% of Americans said they consider reducing illegal immigration 'very important', according to a 2002 national survey by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations...   Tancredo has championed the cause of reforming and controlling legal immigration, and ending illegal immigration altogether.   He has openly criticized the Bush Administration over its immigration policy and is considering a bid for the presidency in 2008 to force debate on the issue...   The influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico is an invasion that saddles [tax-victims] with higher costs just so a few employers can take advantage of cheap labor, Lamm charged...   'illegal immigration is hurting the average American worker'...   Colorado spends about $7K per student per year in public schools, according to the Colorado Department of Education.   Lamm said an estimated 30K to 40K children of illegal immigrants are in schools throughout the state.   That's $210M to $280M spent annually on those children, Lamm calculates...   Tancredo and Lamm decry the loss of jobs to illegal immigrants.   Tancredo claimed Congress is afraid to clamp down on illegal immigration because it fears crippling American businesses...   The guts of Tancredo's reform is to reduce legal immigration from the current level of about 1.25M to 300K annually for 5 years, then consider if numbers can be increased again.   He wants to eliminate illegal immigration by requiring better background checks by employers and stiffer fines for violators, as well as stricter border control.   Tancredo does, however, endorse the idea of a guest worker program, where a certain number of foreigners would be allowed into the Unites States for a limited time."
 

2006-01-08

2006-01-08
Patrick Crowley _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher to outline programs for 2006
"The governor is expected to continue the themes he has talked about over the last few weeks, including Medicaid reform, allowing workers to opt out of unions, using a budget surplus to pay for infrastructure projects and making health care more affordable, particularly for small businesses..."

2006-01-08
_Macon Telegraph_
Tough talk but how much action to stop illegal immigration?
"According to a poll taken in 2004 by National [Socialist] Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, 59% of respondents said illegal immigration has hurt the U.S. economy and 54% said immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans...   According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the illegal immigrant population in 1996 was 5.8M, with more than half coming from Mexico.   The INS estimated that the undocumented population in 2000 had grown to 7M and there are other estimates as high as 11M [with some estimates as high as 24M].   Back in 1996, Georgia wasn't among the top seven states (California with 2M, Texas 700K, New York 540K, Florida 350K, Illinois 290K, New Jersey 135K, and Arizona 115K).   But by 2000, the INS estimated there were 228K illegals in Georgia.   A number of industries in the state depend on immigrant labor - legal and illegal."

2006-01-08
_Communication Workers of America_
US Department of Labor Agrees to Provide Required Training for Workers Whose Jobs Were Off-Shored: Law-Suit Alleged That Government Broke Law by Approving Training That Failed to Meet Statutory Requirements
"A federal judge in El Paso has entered an order ending a lawsuit filed by Spanish-speaking workers who lost their jobs in the wake of NAFTA and sued the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) because they were not provided the vocational training promised by Congress in the Trade Act...   Association of Border Workers, was represented by Public Citizen and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid...   workers are supposed to receive training so they can obtain jobs that pay at least 80% of what they made previously.   However, the DOL offered only remedial English classes for thousands of Hispanic workers even though the classes did not prepare the workers for new jobs.   The DOL's own Office of Inspector General documented the waste of more than $100M of federal money on ineffective English classes in El Paso alone.   The suit alleged that the DOL violated the law by: (1) allowing state agencies, including the Texas WorkForce Commission, to approve incomplete training; (2) allowing state agencies to renounce Congress' 80% wage replacement objective for Trade Act training; and (3) making on-the-job training – which the law requires as much as possible – an option that state agencies could ignore.   The settlement requires the DOL and the Texas WorkForce Commission to spend $6.5M on job training..."

2006-01-08
Kristina M. Johnson _Philadelphia Inquirer_
US Engineers Are Top Notch
"A new study by a class in Duke University's Master of Engineering Management Program indicates that comparisons of U.S. engineering-graduation numbers with the 350K in India and 644K in [Red China] may be like comparing apples and oranges...   The Duke engineering-student study, led by executive-in-residence [and former bodyshopper] Vivek Wadhwa and sociology professor Gary Gereffi, performed a detailed analysis of the kinds of 'engineers' counted in the numbers from India, and they found that in addition to 4-year baccalaureate degrees, these numbers contain a significant number of 3-year, sub-baccalaureate degrees.
If you add up all the engineering and technology graduates (computer science, information technology and engineering) in the United States, we see that the United States actually is graduating about the same number of students as India - and India has more than 3 times the population...
A rigorous technical education is not enough to compete successfully in a global society.   Concentration solely on the technical aspects ignores the crucial human skills and talents best imparted by a broader approach to education.   Companies are keen to hire students who have a holistic perspective of their field, are able to integrate knowledge across the disciplines, work well in teams, possess persuasive communication skills, and have respect and an understanding of other cultures.   Such 'dynamic engineers' also may possess leadership skills.   And you don't out-source leadership.
In the United States, the American Society of Engineering Educators and the Accreditation Board on Engineering and Technology (ABET) help engineering educators define what is 'best'.   The 70K engineers graduated yearly in the United States do so from ABET-accredited programs that seek to ensure their graduates are skilled in the traits described above.   ABET-accredited degrees have a senior-year, capstone design course that focuses on integrating the knowledge gained from fundamental coursework in the applied sciences and engineering.   To be sure, the degrees also are calculus-based, and require in-depth knowledge of the natural sciences and mathematics."

2006-01-08
Jennifer Foreshew _Australian IT_
IT jobs take holiday dip
"The seasonal slow-down saw IT&T job vacancies dip 1.13%, seasonally adjusted, last month, but the sector performed better than the national average of, a survey shows.   According to the Olivier Internet Job Index, hi-tech positions vacant in December were up 30.24%, seasonally adjusted, on a year ago.   In terms of the growth in jobs offered over the year, IT&T ranked third behind sales and marketing and engineering and mining.   The total number of technology vacancies on-line last month was 18,705, seasonally adjusted, down from a high in November of 18,919 when the sector boasted a 5.46%, seasonally adjusted, increase.   It ranked 10th out of 21 sectors surveyed in December.   The total jobs advertised overall last month was 160,035, compared with 183,709 in November..."
 

2006-01-09

2006-01-09
Michael Daigle _Morris Daily Record_
American high-tech workers feel betrayed by guest-worker visa programs which give foreigners an unfair edge
"An organized group of engineers and computer programmers is backing federal legislation to cap the number of skilled foreign workers who are allowed to enter the United States.   To them it's personally urgent, and, they say, it's crucial for the entire country...   'If engineers are laid off, the innovators, the designers are out of work.   It is a loss of one overall function, one engine of the country's economy...   50% of engineers work in the manufacturing sector...'...   Representative Bill Pascrell, D-Paterson, has filed legislation that would address issues with the H-1B visa program, and representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, R-Harding, is co-sponsor of a bill that would make changes in the administration of the L-1 visa program...   Shah said reform of the H-1B program would help two groups of workers: Americans who are being displaced by foreign workers -- and the foreign H-1B workers...   In its position paper on H-1B visas, IEEE-USA said that from 2001 to 2004, while federal immigration officials processed 856K H-1B visa applications, national unemployment among high tech managers and professionals increased from 725K in 2001 to 1.3M in 2004...   The effect, said Mike Rinaldi of Hanover, who now teaches science and math in Rutherford after a career as a computer programmer with Lucent Technologies, is that 'the middle class is under attack'.   [From Norm Matloff's commentary of the evening of 2006-01-09: According to her, Frelinghuysen refused to support the Pascrell bill, and also refused to explain his reasoning.   They felt that this was the major story here, and the reporter had promised to pursue it.   It certainly would have been interesting if the reporter had asked Frelinghuysen why he is not backing the Pascrell bill.   The Nancy Johnson proposal, HR3322, is aimed at L-1 visas, and the Pascrell bill, HR4378, is aimed at H-1B visas.   HR3322 adds a prevailing wage requirement to L-1, which currently has none, but it uses the same language as the current H-1B prevailing wage law -- making it useless.   This is the central issue in both visas, low wages.   The Johnson bill also has provisions that would require employers to give Americans hiring and retention priority over L-1s, and add a requirement that employers of H-1Bs must give priority to Americans.]"
Dr. Matloff's article on lack of requirement to prove no capable Americans are available

2006-01-09
Frosty Wooldridge _News with Views_
If I were President of the United States of America
"We've got Muslim terrorists trying to blow us up.   We've got Mexicans colonizing us.   We've got millions of the world's poorest immigrating to our shores legally and illegally.   We've got a $7.9T national debt larger than the debts of most of the world's countries combined...   Last fall, General Motors announced 30K jobs vanishing in 2 years.   With the loss of those jobs, hundreds of thousands of related jobs disappear for American workers.   According to '60 Minutes', we've got one million homeless children and over a million homeless people wondering the streets of America.   We're spending $300G building a democracy in Iraq while thousands of our own hospitals in America bankrupted out of existence in the past few years.   While over one million high tech American workers can't find jobs, our own government handed out one million H-1B, H-2B and L-1 visas to foreigners in the past decade.   We've got 14M unemployed Americans while our government allows 3M illegal aliens crossing our borders annually.   Our working poor watch their jobs vanish and wages drop under immigration's tsunami crashing onto our shores without end.   While 20M illegal aliens tap into our schools, welfare systems, free lunches, hospitals, usurp our English language, defraud our tax system and bring us diseases, tension, unrest and horrific crime -- our government does nothing...   I would gather the greatest economic minds together in the United States and create a plan for solving our $7.9T national debt.   Since American taxpayers pay something like $400M in interest on the debt daily, I would take the advice of those brilliant economists and work to stop the debt from growing and move to pay it off...   I would concentrate on assisting American citizens by making powerful executive decisions to stop in-sourcing, out-sourcing and off-shoring of American jobs.   I'd make sure our citizens are employed before people from other countries took those jobs.   I'd rescind all H1-B, H2-B and L-1 visas immediately and send those foreign workers back to their own countries.   I would support the American worker, period!   I wouldn't make excuses and I wouldn't denigrate my fellow Americans by telling them they won't work the jobs.   I'd give 14M unemployed Americans a chance to work their jobs at a living wage...   I would enforce our immigration laws by locking up and prosecuting employers of illegal aliens.   I'd do it slowly and methodically.   I'd use my presidential power to create the greatest exodus of illegal aliens out of this country since Ike in 1954.   For those jobs requiring farm work, I would create the ‘pink card' that lasts for three months.   It would feature a finger print, picture ID and tax number.   If you break the law by forging it, you instantly go to prison and you will never be allowed to come back as a seasonal worker again.   If an employer doesn't check it for authenticity, the employers is fined and locked up...   I would create a five year moratorium on all immigration.   I understand that when the rate of immigration exceeds the rate of assimilation, it is a recipe for disintegration of our society.   At the end of 5 years, I would allow a maximum of 100K annually and only if that maintains a stable population.   They must speak English and no dual citizenship allowed.   No more diversity visas and chain migration.   No amnesty now or ever for anyone breaking into America illegally...   I would end foreign aid other than humanitarian because I know that such money goes into the hands of those in power and never reaches the poor people of an intended country.   I would take our 37K troops out of South Korea and place them on our southern and northern borders along with multiple surveillance drones to stop any and all illegal migration into the United States."

2006-01-09
Barbara Simpson _World Net Daily_
The fox is in the hen house
"The issue is immigration -- the issue is illegal aliens in this country.   And before any of you get on your high horse at my choice of words, note that I like accuracy.   Citizens of other countries who are in the United States are 'aliens' and if they got here by jumping the border or not having the proper papers, they are ILLEGAL ALIENS.   Get used to it!
They're not immigrants, no matter what the loony left says.   They're not migrants, no matter what Mexico's president Vicente Fox says...   They are illegal aliens and this country has the right and the obligation to prevent such illegal entries and to deport the people who have committed their crime.   Yes, it is a crime.   Like it or not, those people are criminals by the very fact of their being here.   Those people break federal law by entering the country illegally.   It is the obligation of our government to put a stop to it.   It is the obligation of our government to protect the sovereignty of this country for the benefit and protection of our citizens...
Mostly, we don't know who they are.   There are individuals and there are families.   Some come here with the intent to stay but not to become American.   Others come to earn money to send home.   Some, officials fear, have terrorist connections and are spreading their poisonous treasons across the land, hidden in the sub rosa world of illegals in our midst.
They come from across the world.   The bulk are from Mexico, but illegals also come from Central and South America -- and, Southeast Asia and China and Russia and other Eastern European nations, and the Middle East, and just about anywhere else that the right amount of money can be paid to those who make a career (and a lucrative one at that) of smuggling people across the world and illegally into our country...
Businesses across the country employ illegals.   That is, in itself, illegal.   But they do it and get away with it because the authorities, who should be enforcing the law, do nothing...
President Bush wants to reward law-breakers with the most precious gift there is: citizenship in the United States of America.   Too many people sacrificed to create this country and our form of government, too many people have spilled their blood and given their lives to protect what we have, too many people worked to preserve and maintain what we have.   It is neither the right nor privilege of the president or any other elected official or any business owner to undermine our system and give it away for any reason."

2006-01-09
Lisa Hoffman _Scripps Howard_
New immigration cop, Julie Myers, criticizes as inexperienced
"The swearing-in Monday of Julie Myers as head of a massive agency in the front lines of the fight against terrorists and illegal immigrants came amid criticism that she is too inexperienced for the job.   Myers, 36, took the reins of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau after her June nomination by the White House stalled on Capitol Hill...   a Border Patrol union leader, Senate Democrats and several immigration think tanks in Washington... say someone with a more proven track record is crucial for the bureau, which has a $4G budget and more than 15K personnel.   Among its duties are tracking down and expelling illegal aliens, busting firms that hire employees without green cards, chasing foreign students and tourists who over-stay their visas, and combatting child pornography, money laundering, and weapons and drug trafficking."

2006-01-09 06:30PST (09:30EST) (14:30GMT)
Rober Bate _Washington Examiner_
Fighting Malaria
"The U.S. Agency for International Development has elected to use nearly half of its budget to buy proven interventions against the disease, which affects 500M people and kills more than 1M children around the world each year.   USAID has promised $15M expressly for insecticides, recognizing their unique effectiveness in reducing the burden of malaria.   The agency has opted to streamline more funding to fewer countries in order to improve accountability and focus on results."

2006-01-09
Shelly Schwartz _Bank Rate_
Where the jobs are
"Network systems and data communications analysts, the second-fastest growing occupation on the BLS list, will enjoy a 55% bump in employment between 2004 and 2014, while computer software engineers who specialize in applications and systems software will watch their numbers climb roughly 48%.   The IT sector, of course, was hit hardest during the dot-com collapse.   Fueled by speculative demand, employment in the field surged to unsustainable levels during the late 1990s, adding millions to the unemployment rolls when the economic recession took hold in [2000]...   The National Association of Colleges and Employers in Bethlehem, PA, notes computer science grads this year received average starting salaries of $50,820 -- with many offered software design and development positions starting at $58K.   Those with information science and systems degrees received starting offers of $44,775, a figure that climbed to nearly $50K for those engaged in systems analysis and design."

2006-01-10
James Riley _Australian IT_
IT enrollments down due to flood of migrants
"[Enrollment] in university computer courses have slumped to their lowest levels in 15 years because a flood of skilled migrant visas issued to over-seas students has made it tough for graduates to find a job.   A Monash University study on employment in the technology sector, released yesterday, claims the federal Government's general skilled migration (GSM) program has been 'an abject failure in public policy terms' for the IT industry...   'The GSM was effectively increasing the IT graduate labour supply by nearly 80% at a time when 30% of Australian ICT graduates could not find full-time work.', he said."

2006-01-10
James Riley _Australian IT_
Migration program is a failure
"The federal government should reduce the number of visas granted to over-seas computer science graduates under the skilled migration program, a Monash University immigration expert has said.   The quota should be cut 'by close to 100%' until the technology sector's unemployment rate improves, according to a paper issued by Bob Kinnaird.   The General Skilled Migration program has been 'an abject failure' in the technology sector, driving up unemployment rates and leading to serious reductions university computer course enrolments.   'The program was effectively increasing the IT graduate labour supply by nearly 80% at a time when 30% of Australian IT graduates could not find full-time work.', Mr Kinnaird [wrote] in People and Places, the magazine of Monash's Centre for Population and Urban Research.   Until school leavers can be more confident about getting a job in the tech sector when they graduate, the number of locals applying for places in university computer courses will continue to decline, he writes.   'It is unrealistic to expect any upturn in Australian student demand for IT courses without an improvement in IT graduate employment outcomes.'   Australian Computer Society chief executive Dennis Furini said the society had lobbied the government to reduce the number of skilled migrants working in the industry..."

2006-01-09 12:51PST (15:51EST) (20:51GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Consumer credit fell for second month
"Outstanding U.S. consumer debt fell for the second month in a row in November for the first time in 13 years, the Federal Reserve said Monday.   Outstanding credit dropped at an annual rate of 0.4%, or $649M, in November to $2.156T.   In October, credit fell a revised $8.4G, or 4.7% annual rate.   The October decline was the largest ever in dollar terms and the largest in percentage terms in 15 years.   The last time outstanding credit fell for two straight months was in May and June of 1992.   Consumer credit is up 3% in the past 12 months, the same as in October, the slowest since 1993 May."
Federal Reserve consumer credit statistical release

2006-01-09
Lou Dobbs & Christine Romans & Casey Wian _CNN_
Leftism in Latin America
"the rising threat to US interests from leftist governments across latin America.   How some Hollywood liberals are rushing to support Latin America's new extremists...   Relations between the United States and Latin American nations are at the lowest point in years as communist China gains new influence in the region...   Hugo Chavez, using his country's oil bonanza to fund a populist agenda across South America, vowing a new regional economic model, free from what he calls American imperialism.   With contempt for capitalism, he's seizing vast tracks of farm-land to turn over to peasants, and further insulting the White House by giving discounting heating oil to America's poor...   Bolivian socialist Evo Morales won in a landslide with a stated mission to be 'The United States' worst nightmare'.   He pledges more cultivation of coca, used to make cocaine...   And Morales declaring [Red China] his ideological ally.   And that ideology and [Red China's] cold hard cash inspiring numerous strategic partnerships between communist China and Latin and South American companies -- countries.   [Red China] eagerly stepping into a diplomatic breach.   Larry Birns of the Council of Hemispheric Affairs, says it's a breach caused by Washington's many years now of inadequate diplomacy...   We've got the Monroe Doctrine, the Roosevelt adjunct to that.   It's an interesting situation, and one which is all but ignored by our politicians and the national media...   Federal officials today announced that they have arrested the masterminds of two major illegal alien smuggling networks.   Immigration officials say Mike Lynn Price (ph) and Samuel Walter Jarvis (ph) smuggled as many as 600 illegal aliens into this country over the past two years.   They took in more than $1.5M for doing so.   Fourteen other people were also indicted today for their role in those two networks.   Also tonight, U.S.-based fringe groups with bizarre notions about Mexico's right to American territory are at it again.   These groups say much of the southwestern United States actually belongs to -- you guessed it -- Mexico.   They say Mexican illegal aliens have every right to make the Southwest their home...   at day laborer sites in six southern California cities...   UNIDENTIFIED MALE IN CALIFORNIA: 'This is Mexico.   This is our land, you racist pigs.   Go back to Germany.'   The idea that the southwestern United States rightfully belongs to Mexico has become the rallying cry for a growing number of agitators demanding open borders and expanded rights for illegal aliens.   They were in Costa Mesa last week protesting the city's decision to help enforce immigration laws.   They desecrate the American flag, clash with police, chanting, 'We didn't cross the border, the border crossed us.', and harass the Minutemen civilian volunteers with signs saying, 'Smash the border and free Aztlan.'.   Aztlan is their name for U.S. territory they claim was stolen form Mexico.   The Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War in 1848.   Mexico agreed to give up much of what's now the American southwest to the United States in exchange for $15M.   Five years later, the U.S. purchased a smaller portion of Arizona and New Mexico for $10M.   In today's dollars, that adds up to $120G.   In retrospect, a good deal, perhaps, but hardly a steal.   Though the so-called Reconquista protesters are becoming more vocal and visible, scholars say they don't represent the views of most Latinos..."

2006-01-09 13:32PST (16:32EST) (21:32GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Dos at 4.5 year high
"The Dow industrials ended up 52.59 points at 11,011.90, the first time the bench-mark index has closed above the psychologically key 11K mark since 2001-06-07.   At one stage, the Dow rose as high as 11,020.15.   The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 13.07 points at 2,318.   The tech-rich index is now at its best levels in nearly 5 years.   The S&P 500 rose 4.7 points to 1,290.15...   On the broader market for equities, advancers out-paced decliners by more than two to one on the New York Stock Exchange and by 18 to 11 on Nasdaq.   By sector, housing, semiconductor companies, brokers, drug, retail and computer hardware stoccks put in some of the most significant gains.   With the pullback in oil prices, oil services stocks was one of the weaker sectors.   Utilities also ended the session lower.   Volume was 1.67G on the Big Board and 2G on the Nasdaq."

2006-01-09
Last
DJIA11,011.90
S&P 5001,290.15
NASDAQ2,318.69
10-year US T-Bond4.38%

 

2006-01-10

2006-01-09 17:51PST (20:51EST) (2006-01-10 01:51GMT)
_Yahoo!_
Hubble Telescope Has Revealed Companions to North Star
"Astronomers now have photographic proof that Polaris, as the bright star and navigational aid is formally called, has two stellar companions.   The first, Polaris B, has been known since 1780 and can easily be seen with even a smaller telescope; the presence of the second, Polaris Ab, has been inferred but eluded direct detection because it was close to Polaris and relatively faint.   The North Star is a super-giant more than 2K times brighter than the sun, while its newly photographed second companion is a dwarf star just 2G miles from it, astronomers said.   They presented the results Monday at the 207th meeting of the American Astronomical Society."

2006-01-10
_National Center for Policy Analysis_
Immigration Anarchy Threatens Our Economy
"In 2005 November, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the most important immigration reform bill in a decade says representative Tom Tancredo (R - CO).   Among other things, it calls for the construction of a security fence along our southern border, requires federal and local law enforcement to cooperate on immigration matters, and mandates that employers use an instant check system to verify their employees' legal status.   Some 60% of Americans support a fence...   The bill's mandatory employer verification will reduce the jobs magnet that drives mass illegal entry and is an effective and fair way to fix the system, says Tancredo...   In the long run, waves of illegal immigration will have a much more negative effect on America's economy than fixing the system, says Tancredo."
Tancredo's LTE to the Wall Street Journal

2006-01-10
Ron Paul _Lew Rockwell_
Lobbyist-Congress-Critter Scandals Are Symptoms, Not Causes
"'The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.' --- James Madison   The Washington political scandals dominating the news in recent weeks may be disheartening, but they cannot be considered surprising.   We live in a time when the U.S. government is the largest and most powerful state in the history of the world.   Today's federal government consists of 15 huge departments, hundreds of agencies, thousands of programs, and millions of employees.   It spends $2.4T in a single year.   The possibilities for corruption in such an immense and unaccountable institution are endless."

2006-01-11 05:51PST (08:51EST) (13:51GMT)
Dayana Yochim _Yahoo!_
Abuses and blunders of companies and governments assist identity thieves
"Next to the recipient's name and address was a 40-character source code containing the addressee's 9-digit [Socialist Insecurity] number.   For alert fraudsters, it was one special delivery.   According to the company, the inadvertent glitch was included in less than 3% of the promotional mailings.   (The expanse of the campaign was not made public.) Within 72 hours of the December mailing mishap, H&R Block notified customers whose private data it broadcast via the postal system.   Unfortunately, this is the season when such data is legitimately plastered all over the place.   We're now entering the identity thief's version of the annual donor drive.   'January is when we all get our tax documents from banks, credit unions, brokerage houses, state and federal governments, and employers.   And thieves know this.', says credit expert John Ulzheimer, formerly of Equifax and Fair Isaac.   These documents contain the magic ingredient that's missing from most mass mailings -- our [Socialist Insecurity] numbers.   'The [Socialist Insecurity] number completes the loop on what most lenders require to complete some sort of credit application.', Ulzheimer says...   the actual theft of her identity had taken place in late January.   The timing was no coincidence: The fraudster (who was caught) admitted that she targeted mail-boxes in Laura's townhouse community when she knew pay-checks and bills would arrive.   During the last two weeks of January, she struck gold daily, prying open the mail-boxes with a knife to get to W-2s, 1099s, and other information-rich tax-related documents.   (According to a recent CNET article, only about 8% of identity theft cases were linked to mailbox breaches.)   It's quite another when the companies that compile and profit from this data practically hand the butter knife to bad seeds...   Last year, data warehouse ChoicePoint made headlines after it admitted unwittingly giving database access to fraudsters, who then used the information to get into a reported 144K individual files and rip off at least 700 people.   More than 300K files were breached at LexisNexis (owned by Reed Elsevier Group, a company that compiles and sells consumer personal and financial data.   Time Warner reported that a cooler-sized container filled with 40 computer back-up tapes with the names and [Socialist Insecurity] numbers of 600K current and former employees and contractors, as well as the information of some of their dependents and beneficiaries, was misplaced by an outside storage company it had hired.   More recently, folks who bought a Marriott time share, shoppers at ladies' footwear retailer DSW, and BJ's Wholesale Club customers have gotten more than vacation homes, kicks, and giant cans of mayonnaise for their patronage -- they got hacked.   That's a lot of oopsy daisies...   as more providers require customers to submit sensitive information, the opportunity for security breaches widen."
Privacy links

2006-01-10
Vivek Wadha _Business Week_
Dealing with the Engineer Glut
"As India and [Red China] strive to catch up, the debate continues about what the U.S.A. needs to do to maintain its lead.   While it seems inevitable that other economies will grow, the issue here is whether their success will lead to greater prosperity for Americans or threaten our way of life...   The statistics that are being cited are inaccurate.   And simply mandating that the country should graduate more engineers may lead to a situation in which we graduate the wrong types of engineers and discourage future generations from studying engineering...   the U.S. actually graduated more engineers than India last year, and the Chinese numbers aren't comparable...   Washington apples were being compared to Alphonso mangoes and Chinese litchis...   The most perceptive feed-back we received was from Professor Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University.   He was impressed that a team of students was quickly able to make a contribution to the factual aspects of the debate.   He wrote, 'I have never believed all the moaning and groaning about how hard it is to figure out the numbers...   I learned the main problem was that no one chose to break a sweat doing the research...   '''Facts''' are few because few people work on ascertaining them, and many of those who want to use the '''facts''' are happy to use a misleading selection that serves their interests.'...   The Duke study was a small step toward establishing certain base-line facts and reliable statistics...
The Duke study tried to differentiate between the skill and education level of engineers and suggested that those with higher-quality education would always stay in demand.   Study contributor Dr. Richard Schroth of Katzenbach Partners, who coined the terms 'dynamic engineers' and 'transactional engineers'...   Dynamic engineers are individuals capable of abstract thinking and high-level problem-solving.   These engineers thrive in teams... have strong interpersonal skills, and lead innovation.   Transactional engineers may possess engineering fundamentals, but not the experience or expertise to apply this knowledge to larger problems.   These individuals are typically responsible for rote and repetitive tasks in the work-force.   What differentiates the 2 types of engineers [are] their [individual talents and] education...
both [India and Red China] may actually face severe shortages of dynamic engineers.   The vast majority of graduates from these counties have the qualities of transactional engineers."

2006-01-10 15:55PST (18:55EST) (23:55GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
SEC eyes executive pay transparency
"The Securities and Exchange Commission is preparing a package of measures to improve the public disclosure of top executives' pay packages, including perks and how much officials would earn if their company was purchased, according to a report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal...   'There is a huge problem with CEO pay -- it continues to go up.', Minnow said.   A survey by the Corporate Library of CEO pay at the 2K largest U.S. corporations showed median total compensation rising 30% in fiscal 2004, with the average increasing 91%.   In comparison, government data show weekly earnings of American workers rose only an average of 2.2% in 2004.   When adjusted for inflation, earnings fell 0.4%."

2006-01-10
W. David Gardner _CRN_
Shift to Intel Chips Will Likely Be Bumpy for Apple Software Developers
"Users of PowerPC-based Apple computers will likely face a difficult transition when they shift to new Intel-based Apple computers, according to processor expert Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst of Insight64.   On the other hand, upgrades from dual-core processor-based machines are likely to proceed relatively smoothly when they are upgraded from 32-bit to 64-bit architectures, he said in an interview on the eve of Apple's annual MacWorld bash...   Brookwood said the models based on 32-bit dual-core processors will likely be up-graded later this year to 64-bit models without significant discomfort to users..."

2006-01-10 02:53PST (05:53EST) (10:53GMT)
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
Genentech tops list of best firms with which to work
"Genentech, a biotechnology firm whose chief executive regularly fields questions from workers and where employees have access to $10K in annual tuition reimbursements, earned top honors on Fortune's list of 'best companies' to work for this year.   As well as offering on-site child care, dry cleaning, car washing, dental care and a farmer's market, the company pays 95% of workers' health-care premiums, said Brian Muma, senior director of compensation, benefits and services at the firm, which is located in South San Francisco, CA...   Wegmans Food Markets, the Rochester, NY-based grocery chain that led the list last year in part because of its rich tuition-reimbursement practices, generous pay packages and penchant for inspiring worker loyalty, dropped to second position.   Valero Energy, the San Antonio, TX-based energy company, pulled into #3 spot...   Companies must be at least 7 years old and employ more than 1K U.S. workers to participate...   81 of this year's 100 best companies offer some type of compressed work week, such as four 10-hour days with Fridays off, up from 25 companies who offered this type of benefit in 1999, Levering said.   79 of this year's winning firms let workers telecommute regularly, up from 18 in 1999, and 70 offer a job-sharing program, where two people share one job, up from 18 firms in 1999.   But the trends aren't all good for workers: Only 14 companies on this year's list pay 100% of employees' health-care premiums, down from 33 firms in 2001, and just 26 of this year's companies offer a pension plan to all new hires, down from 40 who did so in 2003...   #8 on the list -- food-maker J.M. Smucker in Orrville, OH -- provides a 100% tuition reimbursement with no limit."

  1. Genentech
  2. Wegmans Food Markets
  3. Valero Energy
  4. Griffin Hospital
  5. W.L. Gore & Associates
  6. Container Store
  7. Vision Service Plan
  8. J.M. Smucker
  9. Recreational Equipment (REI)
  10. S.C. Johnson
  11. Boston Consulting Group
  12. Plante & Moran
  13. Quicken Loans
  14. HomeBanc Mortgage
  15. Whole Foods Market
  16. Edward Jones
  17. Republic Bancorp
  18. Baptist Health Care
  19. Alston & Bird
  20. Kimley-Horn & Associates
  21. QuikTrip
  22. American Century Investments
  23. Qualcomm
  24. David Weekley Homes
  25. Cisco Systems
  26. Goldman Sachs
  27. Network Appliance
  28. Four Seasons
  29. Starbucks
  30. SAS Institute
  31. Robert W. Baird
  32. Alcon Laboratories
  33. Nugget Markets
  34. CDW
  35. American Fidelity Assurance
  36. TDIndustries
  37. American Express
  38. Milliken
  39. Amgen
  40. JM Family Enterprises
  41. Timberland

 

2006-01-11

2006-01-11
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoing e-News-Letter_
Pascrell debating
"'The law must have teeth, and the Labor Department must have the resources [and incentives] to make sure the companies are doing the right thing by paying the prevailing wage.'   The problem is NOT in DoL's enforcement of the prevailing wage law, but rather in THE PREVAILING WAGE LAW ITSELF. [No, it's both...jgo]   This is sad and ironic, because one of the best provisions in Pascrell's bill -- in my view, THE best provision -- is that it closes the loop-holes in the prevailing wage law.   It has been a rare congressperson indeed who has taken up the H-1B issue on behalf of American (U.S. citizen and permanent resident) programmers and engineers.   Pascrell has attracted quite a following among the activists on this issue, some of them even outside New Jersey, and I must say that I admire him too.   Thus it is especially frustrating to see Pascrell unwittingly play right into the hands of the industry lobbyists...   (the real abuse is done legally, via the loop-holes.)...   the industry lobbyists [will] point to Computech as an example which they would say proves that 'the system is working' [when it really is not].   Well, that's exactly what the Johnson did in his debate with Pascrell!...   Most employers under-pay H-1Bs with full compliance of the law.   We have to plug the loop-holes in the law.   [Pascrell also failed to challenge the 'talent shortage' claim.]"
Pascrell debate with Cato's Griswold on CNBC (owned by GE & M$)
Pascrell's debate with US Chamber of Communists' Randel Johnson

2006-01-11
Jay Vegso _CRA Bulletin_
BLS projects that IT work-force will add 1M new jobs between 2004 & 2014
"The professional IT workforce is projected to add a little over 1M new jobs between 2004 and 2014, an increase of about 30%.   In 2004, there were [estimated to be] 3.4M IT professionals out of a total work-force of 145.6M.   The total work-force is expected to add 18.9M jobs between 2004 and 2014.   6 of the 30 occupations that are projected to grow the fastest (i.e., percent gain) between 2004 and 2014 are in the IT profession.   Among the 30 fastest-growing occupations, 17 have median salary earnings of $43,605 or above, including all 6 IT occupations...   Note: I have adopted the definition of 'professional IT occupations' that is used by the Department of Commerce's Office of Technology Policy.   This adds two occupations to the ten listed under the 'Computer specialists' category (15-0000 through 15-1099) in the BLS tables: Computer and information system managers (11-3021) and Computer hardware engineers (17-2061)."

2006-01-11
"eobanb" _Apple X Net_
Why Windoze XP will NOT dead-start on the Core Duo Macintoshes
"unlike nearly all [Windoze] hardware, Apple's new Intel-based Macintoshes use EFI [Estensible Firmware Interface].   Most PeeeCeees [still] use BIOS [Basic Input/Output System]...   EFI, like BIOS, was designed by Intel...   BIOS technology, which was first introduced in 1981 with the original IBM PeeeCeee...   the 32-bit version [of Windoze XP] cannot dead-start from EFI.   However, the 64-bit version can...   the initial version... [of] the intel Core Duo, is not 64-bit, it is 32-bit."

2006-01-11
Scott McNulty _The UnOfficial Apple Web Log_
MacWorld 2006 Stevenote: boon or bust?
"The dust has cleared.   Steve's Reality Distortion Field has faded away.   The key-note is a mere memory.   Now is the right time to ask you, dear readers, if you thought this key-note was great or a yawn."

2006-01-11
Rob Pegoraro _Register-Guard_
Apple makes quick switch to kludgey Intel chips
"Apple chief executive Steve Jobs loves his surprises, and his keynote speech opening the annual Macworld Expo trade show had a big one: The company shipped its first machines with [a kludgy] Intel processor Tuesday, 6 months earlier than it had predicted when it announced this switch last June. The new iMac desk-tops he unveiled on stage at the Moscone Center look like the iMac he introduced last year -- they offer the same basic design and sell at the same prices ($1,299 for a model with a 17-inch screen, $1,799 for a 20-incher), but instead of a G5 PowerPC processor, each has an Intel Core Duo processor. Jobs said testing showed these machines to be 2 to 3 times faster than their predecessors. The iMacs will be joined in February by the MacBook Pro, an Intel-based lap-top running on the same Core Duo chip. Jobs said this model was even faster than the PowerBook it will replace -- 4 to 5 times as fast, he said. It will sell for $1,999 and $2,499."

2006-01-11
William F. Jasper _New American_
On the Look-Out for Amnesty for Illegal Aliens

2006-01-11
Sherwood Olin _Lincoln county Maine News_
Former WM Manager Talks Reluctantly

2006-01-11
_Post Chronicle_
Crack-Down Ordered on a Small Fraction of Illegal Aliens
Washington Times
"The U.S. government plans a major crack-down on more than half a million illegal aliens who are still in the country despite deportation orders.   The unprecedented move calls for tripling the number of federal teams assigned to round up such fugitives, reports USA Today.   The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will deploy 52 fugitive-hunting teams across the nation this year, up from 17 teams last year, John Torres, the agency's acting director of detention and removal, told the newspaper."

2006-01-11
_Daily Mining Gazette_
Case Demonstrates ICE Problems
"They want to deport him back to his native Germany.   But for the fact that an immigration court judge stopped deportation proceedings to allow Bartsch to have a hearing, the lad probably would have been sent away already...   Bartsch found out that his step-grand-father, a U.S. citizen, apparently forgot to fill out the necessary paper-work to ensure that the student could stay here legally...   He went to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and explained the problem.   Officials there probably began proceedings to deport him.   Contrast Bartsch's treatment with that of many illegal aliens from Mexico.   Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of them, are in this country illegally.   Yet from President Bush on down to officials of the immigration service, there seems to be little inclination to apprehend them and send them home."

2006-01-011
_American Chronicle_
Tancredo Blasted Foreign Ministers' Immigration Demands
"Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) blasted demands from the foreign ministers of Mexico and some Central American countries that the U.S. pass a blanket amnesty for illegal aliens and open up its borders to millions of additional immigrants.   Yesterday, the foreign ministers of Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize and Panama met in Mexico City to respond to the immigration reform bill which passed the House of Representatives in December.   The bill, HR4437, would secure our borders and crack down on illegal immigration by requiring employers to verify the legal status of their employees, mandating that federal and local law enforcement cooperate on immigration matters, and constructing a security fence along our southern border...   'countries from which illegal aliens come are lobbying to keep our border security weak.', said Tancredo...   'They have a direct economic interest in undermining the security of the United States, so when Congress tries to get tough, Mexico and Central America start complaining...   After a decade of neglect, Congress may now be on the cusp of bringing order to our immigration anarchy.   If we prevail, America will be safer and our economy will be stronger for all Americans.   Foreign powers who try to undermine Congress' work will permanently harm their relationship with the United States.'"

2006-01-11
Jim Kouri _American Chronicle_
Saudi Embassy Worker Smuggled Illegal Aliens Into USA
"An Egyptian national pled guilty today to using his position at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC to secure fraudulent Saudi diplomatic visas to help aliens enter the United States illegally.   Mohamed Abdel Wahab Yakoub, a.k.a. Mohamed Wardi, a 61-year-old native of Egypt and a resident of Maryland, pled guilty... to one count of smuggling aliens into the United States.   Yakoub is facing a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years when he is sentenced by Judge Brinkema on 2006-04-07.   Yakoub is also facing deportation to Egypt...   The aliens eventually used the fraudulent visas to enter the United States illegally and none of them ever worked for any diplomat or any other employee of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia after arrival in this country.   Yakoub admitted that he charged each alien between $5K and $7K for securing the false Saudi diplomatic visas allowing them to enter the United States."

2006-01-11 03:18PST (06:18EST) (11:18GMT)
Jim Kouri _Conservative Voice_
Feds Bust Leaders of Illegal Alien Smuggling Networks
"Three masterminds of 2 major alien smuggling organizations and 9 of their associates were arrested Friday, following a Dec. 21 sealed indictment charging them with smuggling and transporting more than 600 aliens from the El Paso area to Dallas and beyond in the past 2 years...   ICE special agents assisted by U.S. Border Patrol agents late last week arrested 12 of 16 people named in 2 sealed indictments returned Dec. 21 by an El Paso federal grand jury.   The indictments were unsealed Jan. 6 just before the arrests.   The defendants are charged with conspiracy to smuggle aliens.   The indictments name 14 El Paso County residents and 2 individuals from Dallas, and are the result of an ICE investigation that spanned more than two years.   Three of the defendants remain at large, and another, Roger Alvin Auxter, is already in La Tuna Federal Correctional Institute on a previous alien smuggling conviction.   The 54-year-old truck driver was arrested in Fort Worth in 2004 after ICE special agents discovered 79 illegal aliens in his trailer.   Mike Price, 53, and his wife Fabiola del Carmen Moguel de Price, 39, and Sam Jarvis, 52, headed two separate organizations that generated more than $1.6M in smuggling fees between 2003 March and 2005 October.   Jarvis and the Prices, all of Socorro, Texas, originally worked together.   However in 2003, the Prices left the Jarvis organization to establish their own alien smuggling criminal enterprise.   The ICE investigation revealed Jarvis and both Prices headed 2 networks that smuggled Brazilians, Colombians, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Ecuadorans, and Mexicans.   Depending on the nationality, they charged each alien between $1,500 and $6K to be smuggled into the United States, and were then transported to: Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Illinois, Florida and New York.   Both organizations housed the aliens in 'drop houses' throughout El Paso County after smuggling them into the United States from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.   The following defendants are named in an indictment charged with conspiracy to smuggle aliens: Mike Price, a.k.a. 'Panocho', 53; his wife, Fabiola, a.k.a. 'La Huera', 39; Ronald Dean Anglin, a.k.a. 'Domino', 54; Juan Carlos Rios, 31; Lluvia Christa Pantoja, 24; Pedro Cruz Moreno, 26; Melissa Santibañez, 35; Ruth Dolores Santibañez, 33; Pedro Escobar, 27; and Marco Antonio Moguel-Lozano, a.k.a. 'Huero', 28.   The following are named in a second indictment charging them with conspiracy to smuggle aliens: Sam Jarvis; Raul Lorenzo Lezama-Landeros, 35; Maria Guadalupe Castro, a.k.a. 'Maria Hernandez', 46; Michel Rodriguez-Rincon, a.k.a. 'Charro', 27; Fermin Rodulfo Dominguez, a.k.a. 'Mecate', 37, and Auxter...   Eleven of the defendants arrested Friday remain in the El Paso County Jail today.   Rios, who was arrested in Dallas, is in custody there.   The El Paso defendants are scheduled to go before a federal magistrate Monday afternoon.   Dominguez and Lezama-Landeros, of El Paso, and Maria Castro, of Dallas, remain at large."

2006-01-11 03:19PST (06:19EST) (11:19GMT)
Sher Zieve _Conservative Voice_
Burbank to open day-laborer center for illegal aliens
"The City of Burbank, CA announced Tuesday that it has approved an agreement to open a day-laborer center at a Burbank Home Depot.   The Burbank City Council approved the contract, which is with Catholic Charities."

2006-01-11
Paul McDougall _Information Week_
2005 Was a Record Year for Out-Sourcing: 9% increase, most of it on-shore
"Workers loathe it, politicians rail against it, and one TV news-man vilifies it almost nightly.   Despite it all, companies are out-sourcing work at record levels, according to new data released Wednesday.   The number of out-sourcing contracts -- through which businesses hand off routine IT and back-office work to a third party, often operating from a low-wage foreign country -- increased 9% in 2005 to 293.   It's the most deals seen in a single year, according to consulting firm Technology Partners International, which published the data...   an increasing amount of the work is performed in India or other places where labor is cheap.   Indian service providers grabbed 6% of all out-sourcing contracts worth more than $50M in 2005, compared with 2% the previous year, TPI reports.   Meanwhile, big U.S. out-sourcers like IBM and EDS are opening their own facilities off-shore...   The total value of contracts let in 2005 dropped 5% to $75G, says TPI...   According to the Labor Department, pay-rolls among IT [bodyshops] grew by nearly 32K workers in 2005, a 2.7% gain for the year."

2006-01-11 10:46PST (13:46EST) (18:46GMT)
W.J. Golz _Compete America_
American Workers Coalition
National Academy of Engineering
"As Dr. Wulf pointed out in his introductory discussion, unemployment among American-born scientists and engineers is historically high and rising in America.   In previous posts to this discussion, I and others have also pointed to good data which shows that there is no shortage of engineers or scientists in the U.S.A. nor is there any shortage of native-born Americans willing to fill all the faculty and graduate-student positions in U.S. science and engineering departments.   There is a glut of available native-born American engineers and scientists at all levels, including and especially those with PhDs.   Everyone knows this, and there is no justification for using America's tax dollars to import additional foreign labor to further flood the American labor pool and cause additional unemployment and suffering among native-born Americans.   However, this is exactly what is being done, merely to enrich the executives of international corporations and to provide university presidents and administrators with exorbitant salaries (note the signatures on the letters below).   The following open letters from 'Compete America' lobby various government officials to ease restrictions on immigration for foreign-born scientists and engineers, especially university graduates.   The letters [at] the 'Compete America' web site, unambiguously illustrate how the university system works hand in hand with corporate lobbying efforts aimed at using American tax dollars to bring foreign workers into the United States through the public university system... open [letters to the National Academy of Engineering]"

2006-01-11
James Carlini _ePrairie_
Issues with H-1B Program Begin to Erode Equal Opportunity Laws (table)
"Did you know that any job classified as H-1B is not open to American citizens?   That's job opportunity genocide, writes adjunct Northwestern professor James Carlini.   The H-1B program is like heroin to U.S. companies that are now addicted to it even though the 'shortage' of people is long over.   There are many local people who are under-employed and don't have an equal opportunity to jobs that are being restricted and awarded to foreign workers only.   Unsurprisingly, this isn't just happening in the IT area...
Did you know that Cook county IL was the fifth-largest area that gave away U.S. jobs in 2004?   More than 21K jobs at corporations, educational institutions and even educational school districts were restricted from people being able to apply due to the jobs being labeled for H-1B...   There are job orders for accountants, architects, attorneys, copywriters, credit managers, physicians, psychiatrists, teachers, hedge fund analysts and many other jobs that don't seem to have any rare skill set that a citizen couldn't fill...
'According to New York Daily News columnist and prominent immigration lawyer Allan Wernick, employers can sponsor '''H-1B status even if qualified U.S. workers want the job.'''...
California employs by far the highest number of special visa holders at approximately 30% of all H-1B workers in the U.S.A. and, at an estimated fiscal year 2004 deficit of $18G to $26G, has by far the highest [government] deficit of any state.   Other states with the highest employment of special visa holders include New York (estimated fiscal year 2004 deficit of between $10G and $12G), Texas ($4G to $7.8G), New Jersey ($4G) and Illinois ($3.6G).
The bottom line in all of this is that when corporations import H-1B and L-1 visa holders, they are being subsidized heavily by the [tax-victims] of their state.'...   [These jobs] aren't open to Americans who could easily fill them.   It's also very hypocritical to see Chicago companies touting their community involvement with ads and commercials yet they 'back-door' good jobs and neglect the local people who buy their products and services.   So much for local loyalty.   United Airlines had 231 jobs in the $70K to $90K range for financial and IT workers.   With all the job loss in Chicago, there were plenty who could have filled those positions...   When companies like Accenture [formerly known as Andersen Consulting before they were caught red-handed in the Enron scam] and Bank One can lock out 19K jobs in the Chicago area for foreign workers only in the last couple years, there is something definitely wrong with the system...   Many [of these jobs] are in the $70K to $80K range and some exceed $100K (including an IT director position and an attorney position at Bank One).   There are other six-figure jobs at Motorola, Leo Burnett, Booz-Allen and other Chicago-based companies where citizens have been locked out...
Can any of our leaders in Washington see the negative impact that this program is having?   It sure seems to have created a longer-term recession in the Chicago area...   'If I take a job for 2 days with one contract house, a job was created [as far as government job creation statistics are concerned].   If I get another contract job from another contract house, another job is created.   There is no reporting going back to the government on whether I'm still working there, that I have only worked 2 days or that I have stopped working that job.   I feel this is producing a false '''full employment rate''' and the rate of unemployment is actually quite higher.   Some quotes I have heard say the unemployment rate is actually closer to 20%.
If we are at full employment, why are there only 9 pages of want ads in the 2006-01-02 edition of the Chicago Tribune?   Why is it that Monster.com and Dice.com have mostly [body shop] jobs?   They are collecting resumes to try [to] solicit clients to place workers in some cases.'...
Carlinism: H-1B jobs are nothing more than foreign indentured servants that lock out equal opportunity."
 

2006-01-12

2006-01-12 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 556,973 in the week ending Jan. 7, an increase of 80,613 from the previous week.   There were 693,776 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5% during the week ending Dec. 31, an increase of 0.3 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,166,881, an increase of 345,318 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.7% and the volume was 3,401,253."
graphs

2006-01-12 08:09PST (11:09EST) (16:09GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Record exports help USA shrink trade deficit
"Record exports of U.S. goods and services and a decline in petroleum imports helped narrow the trade deficit in November, the government reported Thursday.   The U.S. trade deficit shrank by 5.8% in November to $64.2G, the Commerce Department said.   This is the biggest decline in the monthly trade deficit since March.   The trade gap in October was revised to a record $68.1G, compared with the initial estimate of $68.9G."
census bureau report

2006-01-12
Martiga Lohn _Duluth News Tribune_
Tim Pawlenty wants help for legal immigrants, arrest for illegal immigrants: Wants to boost H-1B visa numbers
Grand Forks Herald
"Tim Pawlenty extended a hand to legal immigrants Thursday, after weeks of talking up a crack-down on those who enter the country illegally.   The Republican governor unveiled a check-list of proposals that include tax credits for immigrants seeking to become U.S. citizens, financial training, English language instruction and immunizations.   He also said he'll push the federal government for more visas for immigrant workers in the critical areas of high technology and medicine, and will seek to attract foreign investors and give them visas to live here...
The governor's proposals include: $1.7M for a $300 tax credit available to immigrant families with incomes of less than $30K, to help cover the cost of English classes and citizenship application fees.   Tax, mortgage and business startup assistance through a public-private partnership with the Itasca Project, a group of CEOs and public officials.   Asking the federal government for more H-1B visas and green cards for immigrant college students who plan to work in areas such as biomedical engineering, medical research and software development.   Currently, about [90K] such visas are granted each year.   Creating an Immigrant Investor Visa Regional Center in the state to attract foreign investors, who could get visas to live and work here if they invest at least $500K and create at least 10 new jobs or help a struggling business avoid lay-offs.   $3M grant program for English language classes for about 1,100 workers.   More federal visa waivers for foreign doctors who work in underserved areas outside the Twin Cities.   Last year the state used 21 such waivers. $500K to immunize immigrants against hepatitis B and reduce and treat tuberculosis."

2006-01-12
Jason Kelly & Connie Guglielmo _NY Daily News_/_Bloomberg_
Steve Jobs is well-paid for a job well done
Houston Chronicle
"Apple Computer's bet on founder and 2-time CEO Steve Jobs has paid off for investors.   Now it's about to pay off ofr him.   Jobs exchanged worthless options on a split-adjusted 55M shares for 10M shares of restricted stock three years ago.   The shares, the 50-year-old's entire stake in Apple, vest in March.   Right now, they are valued at $808.6M...   Already a billionaire from holdings in animation studio Pixar, Jobs is reaping rewards from a comeback at Apple, whose share price has surged almost 11-fold since the option switch.   Monday, he said Apple's sales reached $5.7G last quarter, out-stripping the company's $4.7G prediction as demand soared for iPod music players and Macintosh computers...   Purchases of iPods, the handheld music players that were the cornerstone of Jobs's revival effort, tripled to 14M last quarter, Jobs said this week at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco.   The company has sold more than 850M songs through its iTunes service and 8M videos since Jobs announced the video iPod in October.   Interest in iPods revived consumer demand for the company's line of more-profitable Macintosh computers.   Jobs, clad in his trademark black turtleneck and jeans, unveiled this week Mac models with Intel chips 6 months ahead of schedule...   Jobs' company also is selling more products through 135 retail stores, which had more than 26M visitors during the holidays, he said.   Apple is the top-seller of digital music players in the U.S., with the iPod accounting for 69% of devices sold between January and November, according to NPD Group."

2006-01-12
Ellen Lee _San Francisco Chronicle_
iPod shuffles new recruits into Apple's army of fans
"Mac fanatics have been members of the computing cult since the beginning...   The Mac fanatic thrives on Apple's counter-culture status.   The iPod fanatic wears those ubiquitous white ear phones like a pair of Jimmy Choos, trendy, iconic, fashionable...   The two camps are meeting this week at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, the firm's annual lovefest, which is expected to draw more than 34K loyal attendees.   On the grounds of Moscone Center this week you're more likely to find the Mac faithful -- this is, after all, MacWorld, not iPodWorld -- but the show is starting to pull in a new, hip crowd, under-scoring how Apple has used the iPod as a hook to capture the digital lifes-tyle movement."

2006-01-12
_iNews_
Business shuns Tancredo, but immigration limitation backers fill campaign coffers
"As the fourth-term Republican representative has become a national figurehead in an increasingly vocal anti-immigration movement, an army of individuals from across the country is pouring cash into his campaign chest -- making up for dwindling contributions from business interests, who, according to Tancredo, 'are not served by my attempt to restrict the flow of cheap labor'...   '99% are giving on the basis of the immigration issue.', Tancredo tells the Independent.   According to the web site opensecrets.org, which tracks political donations, Tancredo has raised $370K from individuals for his campaign during this election cycle, compared with a mere $10K from political action committees representing business and other special interests.   The share of individual contributions -- 96% -- is, by far, the highest among Colorado's congressional delegation."

2006-01-12
Ben Elgin & Bruce Einhorn _Business Week_
The Evil FireWall of Red China
"At first Skype executives resisted...   TOM and Skype now filter phrases such as 'Falun Gong' and 'Dalai Lama'...   Google, Yahoo!, and scores of other outfits, both domestic and foriegn, have made concessions to [Red China's] censors...   What few westerners know is the size and scope of [Red China's] censorship machine and the process by which multi-nationals, however reluctantly, [aid that censorship].   Few also know that [Red China's] censors have kept up with changing technologies, from cellular telephone text messaging to web logs...   The [Red Chinese] agencies that watch over the Net employ more than 30K people to prowl web sites, blogs, and chat rooms on the look out for [material offensive to the rulers] as well as scammers.   In the USA, by contrast, the entire CIA employs an estimated 16K people...   Under the 'agreement', they promise not to disseminate information that 'breaks laws or spreads superstition or obscenity', or that 'may jeopardize state security and disrupt social stability'...   All Internet traffic entering or leaving [Red China] must pass through government-controlled gateways -- that is, banks of computers -- where e-mail and web site [transmissions] are monitored.   [Communication] with offending words such as 'Taiwan independence' or 'democracy' [are blocked or edited].   And when a mainland user tried to open a page that's black-listed, it will simply deny access."

2006-01-12
Dave Neuendorf _Renew America_
M$ collaborates with Red Chinese censors
"This trend toward freer flow of information has given renewed hope to many citizens that they can participate effectively in government decision making.   It should also tend to keep the conventional media honest, since cover-ups or media blackouts are likely to be noticed and exposed by any number of internet publishers...   So far, the massive influence of internet users has been able to keep even the federal government's hands off of this new medium, for the most part...   Strangely, the most dangerous attacks on free expression are coming instead from the private sector: large internet companies like Google, Yahoo! and M$.   Competing for the huge internet market in the People's Republic of China, when the communist government says 'jump', these companies ask only 'how high?'.   Integral to governing a communist country is crushing any form of dissent.   To accomplish this, the government must have tight control over the flow of information.   The internet poses a problem with that, of course.   Red China has thus enlisted the help of the companies providing search and other internet services.   Google and Yahoo! routinely block people in China from seeing search results containing any criticism of the communist government.   According to Reporters Without Borders, Yahoo also helped the communists track down and jail a Chinese dissident journalist who had posted an incriminating government document.   The actions of Google and Yahoo are examples of the craven behavior expected of those who put money above any principles...   M$ has gone a large step beyond that and killed a blog on its MSN Spaces hosting site because it was critical of the [Red Chinese] government.   Presumably the blog was hosted in the US; if so, M$ has begun censoring US-based web publication...   these actions indicate a disturbing trend."
[under this report was a link to another story "NSA wire-taps: How can we balance liberty and security?"]

2006-01-12
_Cincinnati Enquirer_
Enquirer 80 stock index down 0.09%
"The Dow Jones industrial average fell 35.46, or 0.32%, to 11,007.98 at 11:45.   The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks fell .27 points, or 0.09%, to 292.92.   25 issues were up, 51 were down and four were unchanged.   Leading gainers were LCA Vision Inc., up $2.42 to $50.63; Cummins Inc., up 76 cents to $97.71; Wellpoint Health Networks Inc., up 49 cents to $77.43; Hillenbrand Industries, up 47 cents to $50.80; and NS Group Inc., up 45 cents to $44.35.   Biggest losers were Kendle International, down 76 cents to $23.74; General Motors Corp., down 70 cents to $21.16; PNC Financial Services Group Inc., down 64 cents to $63.84; Midland Co., down 63 cents to $36.05; and Alderwoods Inc., down 59 cents to $15.83.   Broader stock indicators also fell.   The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 1.99, or 0.15%, to 1,292.19, and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 3.61, or 0.15%, to 2,327.75."
 

2006-01-13

2006-01-13 06:27PST (09:27EST) (14:27GMT)<
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US retail sales rose 0.7% in December
"Sales in December moved up 6.3% from 2004 December.   For all of 2005, sales increased 7.3%, down from a 7.6% gain in 2004.   The figures are not adjusted for price changes."
census bureau report

2006-01-13 06:29PST (09:29EST) (14:29GMT)
Paul Streitz _Magic City Morning Star_
Danbury's lazy Americanos
"Helen Ubiñas's [Helen UbiÑas's] column (The Hartford Courant 'Accusing Immigrants Misses the Point' 2006 January 10) is instructive on the economic law of wages: the more workers, the lower the wage.   And, it is instructive on her concern for American workers.   She has none."

2006-01-13 07:39PST (10:39EST) (15:39GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
PPI rose 0.9% in December: Core up 0.1% (excluding food and energy)
BLS data

2006-01-13
Bruce Einhorn _Business Week_
How Red China Controls Access to the Internet: Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong explains, and he says U.S. companies need to take a stand against Beijing
"The news that M$ shut down a Chinese blogger's site at the request of Beijing officials is bringing a renewed focus on the role U.S. companies play in helping [Red China] control the Internet.   It's no secret that Western businesses that want to enter the Internet market in [Red China] have to do some unsavory things.   The [Red Chinese] government, determined to prevent dissidents from using the Net to promote taboo subjects such as the Falun Gong religious movement, formal independence for Taiwan, or an end to Communist Party rule, pressures providers to play by [Red Chinese] rules and control the content that's available for local Net surfers (see BW Online, 2006-01-12, The Evil FireWall of Red China)...   [Red China] would not have succeeded in censoring the Net without the support and co-operation of foreign IT companies.   This is the inescapable truth.   This is the problem that has to be addressed...   The fact is that foreign IT suppliers and companies are willingly, knowingly assisting the [Red Chinese] police in suppressing political dissent...   The business interests are so large that you will never stop this.   What do you say?   Pull out of [Red China]?   [YES!!!!! And push the Red Chinese spies out of the USA!] ...   The key-stone of the censorship system in [Red China] is that basically ownership is censorship.   If you own something - [if you are a] web site editor, news-paper editor, press group owner -- you are [leaned on by the government] for what is there...   If you operate this portal, this BBS, you are [targeted] for what is on it.   They key thing is you make the decision [under government intimidation].   It's not the party that [censors most of the time].   They are not going to scrutinize every BBS.   You make the decision, they tell you...   For all these incidents you have a wave of Internet discussion, and it gives the impression that the party doesn't really control this anymore.   But this is omitting a fundamental characteristic of how information works.   Information is not only circulation.   Archiving and retrieval [are] even more important.   But none of the information stays...   In 2 months, you won't find anything, because the censors will have gotten to it."

2006-01-13
_ZD Net India_
1 out of every 5 out-sourcing contracts is up for renewal: India sees opportunity for business coup
"Huge out-sourcing contracts are soon up for grabs, and Indian companies could give big players a run for their money.   The 'Big Six' of out-sourcing -- Accenture [formerly Andersen Consulting before they were caught up with Enron], Affiliated Computer Services, Computer Sciences Corp., Electronic Data Systems, Hewlett-Packard and IBM -- are the incumbent service providers on 72% of the contract value to be renewed over the next 2 years, and could see their 'dominance challenged', according to out-sourcing advisory firm TPI.   TPI said 325 contracts are due for renewal during 2006 and 2007 -- 1 in 5 of all out-sourcing deals.   IBM and EDS alone have a combined total of $50G in contracts coming up for renewal."

2006-01-13
Declan McCullagh _Silicon.com_
Red China web censorship gives USA pause for thought: Companies should not work hand-in-glove to further ends of dictatorship
"some irritated US politicians are threatening to pass laws restricting such co-operation.   Representative Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican, said on Thursday that the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Human Rights, which he heads, will hold a hearing in early to mid- February.   Smith has invited representatives from Cisco Systems, Google, M$, Yahoo!, the international watch-dog group Reporters Without Borders and the US State Department to speak...   A similar hearing is planned for February 1 in the Congressional Human Rights Caucus said Ryan Keating, communications director for Representative Tim Ryan, the Ohio Democrat leading the parallel effort...   Reporters Without Borders this week backed a law banning a US company from hosting an email server in any 'repressive' country...   Cisco has been accused of building technology that allows [Red Chinese] officials to filter sites.   John Earnhardt, the company's senior manager for policy communications, said: 'Our routers have embedded technology in them that allows network administrators to manage their networks', acknowledging that 'this technology can be used to block access to sites they don't want users to access'.   But the same features are present in routers regardless of the country in which they are sold, he noted...   Meanwhile, the SRC said in its 2005 annual report to Congress: 'US companies continue to play an active role in [Red China's] internet censorship, providing hardware, software and content filtering services...   they had the effect of helping to build and legitimise the government's media censorship efforts.'   Representative Smith, who has conducted 25 hearings about [Red Chinese] human rights issues since taking office in 1981, said: 'There is no democracy in Beijing - it's not a democracy, and they have a very, very poor human rights record on a myriad of fronts.   I think you have to ask the question: is this money worth it?   At what cost?   People going to prison for 10 years... that to me, that's just not worth it.'"

2006-01-13 13:45PST (16:45EST) (21:45GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Stocks put in a mixed week
"The Dow industrials fell 2.49 points to 10,959.87.   On the week, the bench-mark index ended virtually unchanged.   The Nasdaq Composite Index put in a fractional gain, up 0.35 point at 2,317.04.   The tech-rich posted a weekly gain of 0.5%.   The S&P 500 Index was up 1.55 points at 1,287.61.   The broad gauge is down 0.2% on the week."

2006-01-13
Last
DJIA10,959.87
S&P 5001,287.61
NASDAQ2,317.04
10-year US T-Bond4.35%

 

2006-01-14

2006-01-14
Randall Burns _V Dare_
Progressive Indictment: Doubts About Immigration Reach Main-Stream Media... Sort Of
"Recently both the [leftist] American Prospect (2005 November) magazine and the 'conservative' Wall Street Journal ('Behind the engineer '''shortage''': Employers are choosy', Sharon Begley 2005-11-16) have published stories starting to acknowledge the possibility of a problem with current mass immigration [into the USA]...   Neither affluent [leftists] nor the corporate right seem to be aware, much less to care, how much today's immigration policy and practice are hurting Americans...   There is enough recent evidence to suggest, that if they thought they could get away with it, many would reintroduce slavery to help the bottom line in the short term -- with no thought about long term consequences...
how many American engineers have been displaced by H-1B workers.   (My estimate: at least half a million, plus many more now significantly under-employed.)...   real costs of H-1b/L-1 'scabs' to displaced and non-displaced engineers [in depressed pay and benefits]...   extraordinary benefit of H-1b/ L-1 to [executives]...   national security risks and opportunities for fraud stemming from H-1b/L-1...
Maria Echaveste did see that employers are making a lot of money from US immigration policy -- especially from the implicit [government] acceptance of massive illegal immigration...   any sane or effective immigration policy must include stiffer penalties for employers of illegal immigrants.   Unfortunately, Echaveste grossly under-estimated the level of penalties necessary to be effective.   She also totally ignored the profits made from facilitating illegal immigration by land-lords, corporate customers, and investors...
Disturbingly, some of the articles showed that the authors are holding on to the Pollyannaish belief that the only problem with US immigration is that so much of it is illegal.   More scary, many of the writers appeared to be blindly accepting long-discredited assumptions underlying current US immigration policy, as shown in this statement from Princeton sociologist Marta Tienda: 'Immigrants are good for business.   In fact, the rapid clip of U.S. economic growth might not be possible without them.'...   it failed to look at just how effective many religious groups, including Catholics and Evangelicals, are in supporting legal and illegal immigration of co-religionists...
as I showed in Everyone wants less Immigration Except the Rich [2005-10-27], the current Congressional voting patterns and public perceptions and desires about immigration are anti-thetical.   This situation is possible at the moment because all economic issues, including trade, immigration, employment, and the federal deficit, are on the political back burner...   Working Americans aren't happy about what is happening to them.   If the ruling classes continue to pursue extreme concentration of wealth as the French nobility did prior to 1789, there will be a severe crisis.   To avoid unpalatable consequences, all points in the political spectrum need to be not just realistic but creative—and to develop a package of policies that deliver real economic benefits to the broad American population without destroying the rest of the world."

2006-01-14
L.A. Lorek _San Antonio Express-News_
Radiologist's patients come first
"some hospitals and clinics have turned to out-sourcing radiology to practices in countries such as India, Israel and Australia.   But Dr. Kent Rohweder of M&S Radiology, which has been in business in San Antonio for more than 50 years, doesn't want to do that.   A radiologist for 14 years, he says he has radiologists in his practice willing to do the work.   He doesn't want to hire a firm in another country.   Instead of hiring doctors off-shore to look at patient X-rays overnight, Rohweder and the 27 other radiologists in his practice work from home during the off-hours.   Using computers, high-speed Internet lines and voice-recognition dictation systems, the radiologists can access the hospital's network to read patient scans and file reports from almost any location, Rohweder said...   out-sourcing radiology work has become common-place as technology has made it easier.   But in the past few years, concerns have arisen as more radiology work has gone off-shore.   Out-sourcing that work to other countries may help alleviate the work-force shortage, but it shouldn't reduce patient care, said Dr. Arl Van Moore Jr., chairman of the American College of Radiology's task force on international teleradiology...   The down-side is that it's difficult to gauge the quality of the care, and if something goes wrong, holding a doctor halfway around the world responsible may prove difficult, Moore said."

2006-01-14
Jack Kelly _Toledo Blade_
Government Corruption
"But what is really criminal about Washington is not what is illegal, but what is legal.   If the quid pro quo were merely implicit, if Mr. Abramoff was merely buying access and goodwill with his gifts and contributions, then Mr. Ney committed no crime, which is not the same as saying he did nothing wrong.   And if there was no explicit quid pro quo, then Mr. Ney did no more than what nearly every other member of Congress is doing.   Our whole system of campaign finance is based on bribery and extortion.   Lobbyists don't provide congressmen with campaign funds or golf outings in Scotland out of the goodness of their hearts.   They expect something in return.   And usually they get it...   Justice Department is looking closely at... senator Conrad Burns of Montana and representative J.D. Hayworth of Arizona are Republicans... senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee.   This will complicate efforts to portray this as solely a Republican scandal, as will the fact that 40 of the 45 Democrats in the Senate received campaign contributions from Mr. Abramoff or his clients...   But barely disguised bribery will be the rule as long as law-makers must rely on special-interest groups for the bulk of their campaign funds."

2006-01-14
Nicholas Wade _NYTimes_
new light on origins of Ashkenazi in Europe
"The American Journal of Human Genetics, suggests that the men and their wives migrated to Europe together.   The researchers, Doron Behar and Karl Skorecki of the Technion and Ramban Medical Center in Haifa, and colleagues elsewhere, report that just 4 women, who may have lived 2K to 3K years ago, are the ancestors of 40% of Ashkenazis alive today.   The Technion team's analysis was based on mitochondrial DNA...   many branches coalesced to single trees...   Looking at other populations, the Technion team found that some people in Egypt, Arabia and the Levant also carried the set of mutations that defines 1 of the 4 women.   They argue that all 4 probably lived originally in the Middle East.   A study by Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona showed 5 years ago that the men in many Jewish communities around the world bore Y chromosomes that were Middle Eastern in origin...   Hammer...suggests that the Ashkenazi population expanded through a series of bottlenecks -- events that squeeze a population down to small numbers -- perhaps as it migrated from the Middle East after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70CE to Italy, reaching the Rhine Valley in the 10th century."
 

2006-01-15

2006-01-15
_St. Paul Pioneer Press_
Struggle is on to control framing of immigration debate
"Indeed, we don't care about the race, color or religion of any illegal immigrants. We suspect the governor doesn't either. The fact is that they broke our laws to get here. And while the U.S. has a long history of welcoming with open arms refugees fleeing repressive regimes like those in Somalia and Laos, we don't think the fact that the local roofer is paying $12 an hour off the books puts the vast majority of the current wave of illegal immigrants into the same category."

2006-01-15
_El Paso Times_
Story about guest-worker visas sparks debate
[Those directly harmed want to close the spigot, those who have directly benefited want it opened wider.]

2006-01-15
David Tatosian _American Daily_
The Border
"From Sumeria to the present, city-states, towns and nations have erected walls and out-posts to protect themselves [from invaders].   Barriers work...   Our [2,600] mile border with Mexico is [allegedly] the only [place] in the entire history of civilization, where a barrier won't work...   Mort Kondrake... estimates [that the] average arrest costs along the border [have increased] from $300 in 1992 to $1700 in 2002.   So [he concludes] not only should there be no fence, we need to stop making so many arrests...   In 2004, estimates of illegal aliens [in the USA] were at 12M to 15M.   In 2005, Bear Stearns put the number of illegals at around 20M...   Wouldn't a 3-part plan comprised of a border fence, strict enforcement of all laws governing the hiring of illegal aliens and a sponsorship pogram eliminate the chaos and injustice that American citizens currently endure?...   A sponsorship program would... allow individual citizens, soem religious groups and some corporate entities the opportunity to give something back to the illegal alien community they are so enamored with...   As for the fence, well, 700 miles of barrier along [8,607] miles of border still leaves us with a [7900] mile breach."

2006-01-15
Barbara Anderson _American Chronicle_
Illegal Immigration: Following the Money and Passing the Buck
"Estimates of the number of illegal aliens in the [USA] range from 10M to 20M (Bear Stearns estimate) [to 24M Erwin Rubenstein estimate].   Americans who object to this influx are presented with a 'fait accompli' [argument] by apologists for illegal immigration, who say that it would be impossible to deport that many and that we need to accommodate them and make them legal.   Some of the apologists have much to gain from such a stance.   Some are making money from the illegal aliens...   Others are deriving power..."

2006-01-15
Bill Shipp _Gwinnett Daily Post_
Governor on a roll early in election year
"If you earn your living as a public school teacher, he made you wish that Georgia held gubernatorial elections every year, instead of every 4 years.   The governor promised you a big raise, a freeze of health insurance premiums, a $100 plastic gift card and smaller classes to teach.   He attached no strings, certainly not any of that hateful accountability stuff.   He vowed simply that you would be the best-paid teacher in the Southeast...   (Does it actually improve education?   That's another story.)...   At least 250K illegal aliens have poured into our state, bending to the breaking point medical infrastructures, law enforcement and social services in several Georgia areas.   Legislation is pending to prohibit illegals from using state services.   Critics say the GOP-backed bills may be unconstitutional.   A clash is sure to come.   As many as 300K Georgia children lack health insurance coverage..."

2006-01-15
Jeff Jacoby _Boston Globe_
Mass. Exodus: Massachusetts population down by 8600
"During the 12 months ending 2005-07-01, the Bay State experienced a net loss of more than 8,600 residents, or 0.1% of its population.   It was one of only three states to end the year with fewer people than it had at the start -- New York and Rhode Island were the others -- and the only one to do so for the second year running.   Not counting foreign immigrants, Massachusetts has been losing more people than it attracts every year since 1990, according to MassINC, a Boston-based research institute.   The net outflow during those 12 years from 1990 to 2002 -- the excess of people leaving Massachusetts over those entering -- was 213K, and the hemorrhaging has only gotten worse since then.   MassINC reported in 2003 that one-fourth of Bay State residents would leave if they had the opportunity to do so.   Among those who have lived in Massachusetts for less than 10 years, the proportion is even higher...   a hatred of cold winters doesn't explain New Hampshire's net gain of 78K transplanted Massachusetts residents between 1990 and 2002 or the shift of more than 6K who have moved to Rhode Island since 1999...   As for the sluggish job market that has kept, or driven, so many people away from the Bay State -- there's no denying it's a problem.   But focusing on the failure to create more jobs begs the real question: Why aren't they being created?   What is it about Massachusetts that keeps employers -- or potential employers -- from taking the risk involved in launching a new enterprise or expanding an old one?   Is it always a business issue -- some well-crunched numbers having to do with production capacity or transportation costs or market share?   My hunch is that there is often something less concrete but more pervasive at work.   I suspect that entrepreneurs frequently decide not to take a chance on Massachusetts for the same reason that young adults, fresh from graduate school and ready to start a career, frequently decide not to take a chance on Massachusetts -- or that men and women in other states, looking to make a new start in a new place, typically decide not to make it in Massachusetts...   because of its oppressive and demoralizing political culture."

2006-01-15
_Ontario Daily Bulletin_
14th Amendment Does Not Require Granting Babies of Illegal Aliens US Citizenship
"The phrase 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof' was intended to exclude from automatic citizenship American-born persons whose allegiance to the United States was not complete.   In the case of illegal aliens who are temporarily or unlawfully in the United States, because their native country has a claim of allegiance on the child, the completeness of the allegiance to the United States is impaired and logically precludes automatic citizenship.   This intent was clearly spelled out in 1866 by senator Jacob Howard, who was co-author of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment.   He stated, 'Every person born within the limits of the United States and subject to their jurisdiction is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States.   This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.'   There was further debate by the senators at this time to make sure that it was understood that this amendment would not give American Indians the right of citizenship.   So if the drafters of the amendment did not want to include American Indians, they certainly didn't intend illegal aliens to be citizens...   on 2005-02-09, representative nathan Deal, R-GA [and 16 co-sponsors], introduced bill HR698 that would deny citizenship at birth to illegal aliens."

2006-01-15
Dennis Michelini _Los Angeles Times_
Above the Border
"From my helicopter I can see the many trails leading from the southern border north through these flats.   There may be 10 within a mile, and not another for the next two.   They pass and weave across each other.   As they lead northward, the trails dip in and out of the washes that run east/west through the flats.   Illegal aliens hide in these washes.   On the rocky and sandy bottoms and under the thick, low trees, they have built sturdy lean-tos from cut wood and brush."

2006-01-15
_Economic Times of India_
Indian caught in visa fraud racket in New Jersey
American Techno-Politics
"An Indian citizen living in New Jersey is in federal custody after agents from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized $5,724,592 in assets from the suspect's bank and brokerage accounts in a massive immigration benefits fraud investigation.   Narendra Mandalapa has been charged with fraud and misuse of visas violations.   Mandalapa is currently in the custody of the United States Marshals Service after charges were filed in US District Court in Newark.   During the investigation, ICE agents discovered that Mandalapa filed nearly 1K possibly fraudulent labour-based petitions on behalf of Indian and Pakistani nationals seeking to enter or remain in the USA.   The petitions were for skilled computer workers.   Both US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and ICE continue to investigate those aliens who received the fraudulent immigration benefits.   Investigators are also working to determine how many people fraudulently entered the country and how many already in the USA may have received fraudulent labor benefits.   Acting Newark Special Agent in charge, Thomas E. Manifase said, 'Immigration benefit fraud is a multi billion dollar business and cannot be tolerated.   This type of fraud not only steals jobs from legitimate workers but it also provides individuals to illegally enter the United States and creates a risk to national security and public safety.'...   Investigators uncovered 2 shell companies in New Jersey owned by Mandalapa were created solely for the purpose of filing fraudulent labor-based petitions for foreign workers.   During the investigation agents armed with search warrants seized computers and documents from the corporate address of Cybersoftec, Inc.   Agents believe that at least $2.1M dollars came from fees paid by individuals seeking fraudulent benefits.   Since the accounts were used to hide those illegal profits the government seized all money in the accounts.   The assets seized come from 4 bank accounts in Edison, NJ, and 2 brokerage accounts in New York City.   Also included in the seizures were a Mercedes SUV and a Lexus sedan with a combine value of $100K."

2006-01-15
Dan Sekellick _Albany Times Union_
Tech Valley moniker doesn't do justice to the region
"If these efforts help to bring high-tech industry with jobs for well-educated and skilled workers to this region, good for you.   Just be sure to tell those folks that there's a lot more here for them besides high-tech employment...   In my travels, when I tell people where I live, names like Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, Champlain Valley, maybe even Cherry Valley may come to mind, but Tech Valley?   Now that would probably take some explaining."
 

2006-01-16

2006-01-16
_Utah Daily Herald_
Senator Chris Buttars seeks support from Eagle Forum: Schlafly addresses illegal immigration
"Schlafly also addressed the convention, which drew 150 to 200 people.   She said the Bush administration's support of a guest-worker program and other exceptions to U.S. immigration policy is feeding a $140G organized criminal racket that makes victims of citizens and immigrants alike.   Schlafly said those who want the border loosened because immigrants are needed to work jobs Americans don't want undermine the nation's egalitarian principles.   'There isn't any job that Americans are too good to do.', she said.   'This is creating a serf class, a peasant class...   That's not America.'"

2006-01-16
Jim Burns _Human Events_
Tancredo Takes Charge on Immigration

2006-01-16
Nicholas Riccardi _New York NewsDay_
While Federal Government Drags Feet States Take on Border Issues
"Frustrated by congressional inaction and pushed by rising anger at home, legislatures across the country are debating a variety of tough new restrictions on illegal immigrants...   In the first 6 months of last year, states considered about 300 immigration-related bills and passed 36 of them, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.   Florida allowed state law officers to arrest illegal immigrants.   Arizona barred day-laborer centers from receiving public funds.   Virginia denied some state benefits to [illegal alien] workers...   in Arizona, sending National Guard troops to secure the Mexican border...   Opponents of illegal immigration hope the recent wave of legislation represents a change in the way the country deals with immigration, a transformation they had hoped for 12 years ago when California voters passed Proposition 187 to end benefits for undocumented workers."

2006-01-16
Elise A. Healy _Houston Business Journal_
Immigration Reforms May Affect Employers [Duh]

2006-01-16
Jeff Johnson _Town Hall_
Hispanic Group Tries to Put "Racist" Label On Opponents To Illegal Immigration But It Just Won't Stick
"Wilkes believes that, if there are questions about the immigration status of some of the workers, those questions should be addressed only by federal law enforcement officials [which is why opponents of illegal immigration are turning over photos of suspected illegal aliens over to police]...   Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services indicate that more illegal immigrants come to the United States from Mexico than from any other country, by a margin of 25 to 1.   'Mexico's share of the total unauthorized resident population (illegal aliens) increased from 58% in 1990 to 69% in 2000.', according to an analysis completed by federal authorities in 2003.   As of 2000 January, more than 4.8M Mexican citizens were living in the United States illegally.   Other than Mexico, only 6 countries - [Red China], Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras - contributed more than 100K of their citizens to the U.S. illegal alien population.   All tolled citizens of those countries comprised less than 12% of the total illegal immigrant population - only about 835K people..."

2006-01-16
Tom Abate _Scripps Howard_
After 40 years, high-tech hub is still betting on creativity
"In a post-off-shoring world, Silicon Valley has seen more than 200K pink slips since employment peaked, and only managed a slim pay-roll gain of 2K during the period covered by the latest survey.   But the hope is that it will maintain its pre-eminence by creating fewer, super-productive jobs -- although this runs the risk of causing a sort of regional gentrification that is making it tougher for families of modest means to live in the area...   Henton's case for a regional rebound flies in the face of one cold, hard fact: Pay-roll employment in the valley -- 1.154M when the survey ended in the second quarter of 2005 -- is down 217K from the same period in 2001, when the job count was at its highest...   Setting aside the question of whether Silicon Valley can retain tech leadership in something so touchy-feely as creativity, the Joint Venture report tallied 73,826 people working for companies in the creative and innovation services sector in 2005 -- a gain of 2,710 over the prior year.   Employment in these firms ranked second in the regional job count behind the software industry, which added 3,364 positions to reach 97,455 jobs in 2005, and ahead of the semiconductor sector, which lost 3,307 positions to end the study period with 56,393 jobs."

2006-01-16
Madeline Bennett _IT Week_
IT degrees leave gaps in expertise: Research suggests IT graduates are gaining soft business skills at the cost of tech know-how
"IT graduates are leaving university without a good grounding in technical skills, a new study has warned, leaving UK firms with a short-fall of programmers and application developers.   According to IT recruitment specialist FDM, almost half of UK technology graduates feel that their degree course has failed to provide them with relevant skills.   As a result, 41% of the 500 respondents claimed that with hind-sight, they would have skipped university and gone straight into the work-place...   'For students taking IT courses, maybe only 10% to 20% is programming.   University courses need more technical skills and less soft ones.'...   Part of the problem could be the rise in off-shoring, Divett speculated."

2006-01-16
Eric Chabrow _TechWeb_/_System Management Pipe-Line_/_Information Week_
Higher proportion of IT job titles are management
"Managers now make up 10% of the U.S. IT work-force, up from less than 7% in 2000, and manager jobs out-number those in categories such as IT support specialist and network or data-communications administrator.   It's all part of a tumultuous, continuing realignment of what IT pros do -- with more managers and engineers and fewer programmers -- that's reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' year-end employment survey.   Another big finding: The United States had respectable IT job growth, breaking four years of meager growth or declines.   IT unemployment dropped to 2.9% last year, with 3.5M IT people employed.   That's back to the high-water mark of 2001, before companies slashed hundreds of thousands of IT jobs.   IT once again is looking like a healthy profession in the United States.   The 2.9% unemployment rate, down from 4.3% in 2004, is more than 2 percentage points lower than the overall work-force's 5.1%.   The IT labor pool -- everyone who considers themselves IT workers -- grew 2% from last year, to 3.6M, just shy of its 2001 high.   From 2000 through 2005, the number of IT managers in the United States grew by 123K jobs to 351K, the only category that rose every year.   Remove managers from the picture, and IT employment fell by 79K in 5 years.   The bulk of the lost jobs are computer programmers and analysts, whose ranks thinned by a stunning 254K, mostly because of increased use of packaged applications, off-shore out-sourcing, and the end of year 2000 remediation.   The United States did add about 17K programming jobs last year, a 3% increase, the first time since 2000 that the category didn't fall.   The annual statistics are based on 12-month averages of Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys."

2006-01-16
James Niccolai _IT World_
Banks, which have been throwing around personal private information like a teen-ager throws dirty clothes, won't be charged as a result of data thefts

2006-01-16
_Akron Beacon Journal_
Editorials from around Ohio
"Cleveland Plain Dealer: 'Incentives for the Math-Minded'   The flaws of U.S. science and math education relative to other industrialized countries have been well-documented.   Couple those troubles with increasing numbers of engineering graduates from nations like China and India, and it's clear that Ohio's challenges are hardly unique...   Columbus Dispatch: Ohio's leaders should keep the focus on bolstering the economy amid reports that the states economic activity lags national averages in several key areas.   Governor Bob Taft and the legislature expect better results as the positive effects of a voter-approved jobs-and-development bond package and last years tax reforms start to grow.   Still, the troubling statistics about employment, bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures provide ample reason for other issues to take a back seat to jobs and progress...   Dayton Daily News: The Maryland Legislature last week voted to pass a law that requires employers with more than 10K employees to spend 8% of their pay-roll on providing health care...   Dover-New Philadelphia Times-Reporter: On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments on a subject that is sure to stir passion the right of the government to seize private property under eminent domain.   The case involves a husband and wife who are fighting efforts by the city of Norwood, near [surrounded by] Cincinnati, to seize their home of more than 35 years and give it to a developer who wants to build a $125M office and shopping complex..."

2006-01-16 07:00PST (10:00EST) (15:00GMT)
Jim Turley _Embedded Systems Design_/_EE Times_
Engineer shortage? Get real.
"Despite all the political posturing and sleight of hand with labor statistics, there's no shortage of trained engineers in the United States...   First of all, it's hard enough to count the number of graduating engineers in the United States, much less those of other countries.   According to the universities themselves, the number of students graduating with a BS degree in computer science rose by 85% between 1998 and 2004.   That's hardly a signpost of decline.   The number of BSEE grads has risen by more than 18 percent since 1999.   The American Society for Engineering Education says darn near 120K new BS, CS or PhD degrees were handed out to newly minted engineers in 2004.   Sounds like a boom to me...   Looking now at the demand side, unemployment among engineers was 2.5% in 2004 and 4.3% in 2003.   Those figures are right in line with the 2.8% and 3.2% unemployment rates for all professional occupations in those 2 years.   So, given that employment rates are entirely average, where's the shortage?"
 

2006-01-17

2006-01-17 09:39PST (12:39EST) (17:39GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Capacity utilization up 3.2%, a 5-year high, industrial production up 0.6%
Federal Reserve Board statistical release

2006-01-17 09:44PST (12:44EST) (17:44GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
SEC approves executive pay reporting
"The Securities and Exchange Commission backed sweeping new rules Tuesday to increase disclosure to stock-holders on executives' pay and the perks they enjoy...   determining pay is up to boards, not the government.   'It is about wage clarity, not wage controls.', said Cox...   The detailed proposal includes requiring companies to present a table showing total pay and a summary of all compensation...   the table would include dollar-value listings for stock-based awards including options.   Companies would be forced to use the same valuation method for options...   The proposal also forces companies to lay out the value of pension plans and all earnings on deferred compensation that's not tax-qualified...   The new rules would apply to the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, the three other highest-paid officers and the company's directors...   'There may be a ratcheting effect as each tries to outdo its competitors.', said Atkins...   Annual reports would have to include sections written in plain English on executive pay.   Firms would also have to detail perks worth $10K, a reduction from the current $50K level...   Investors have complained to him about the difficulty of figuring out executives' total compensation, [commissioner Roel Campos] said.   Under these proposals, he said, 'share-holders will have no one to blame but themselves if executive pay continues to rocket upward' if they're dissatisfied with an officer's performance [as though they had any real influence on executive compensation]."

2006-01-17
Eunice Moscoso _Palm Beach Post_
US House of Representatives Approved Immigration Bill
"A sharply divided House approved a major immigration bill Friday that would increase penalties for employers that hire illegal immigrants, make illegal presence in the United States a felony, and add [only] 700 miles of fences along the U.S.-Mexico border. But the fate of the White House-backed measure -- which passed 239 to 182 -- is unclear because the Senate is expected to approve a vastly different bill without several of the provisions that have upset immigrant advocates and business groups."

2006-01-17
_Baltimore Sun_
Shedding Good Jobs
"The Baltimore region - enjoying rapid growth in the bioscience, health, defense, intelligence and financial-service sectors - has left the ranks of Rust Belt cities for spiffier, high-tech competitors, such as Seattle.   That's a happy conclusion, but it should be taken with at least some skepticism given that it comes from the region's leading marketers, the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council.   The report, released this month, ranks Baltimore against 19 other U.S. metropolitan areas, finding that Baltimore not only led in academic R&D but was in the top 5 in a growing number of areas, including low office vacancy rate, per capita income growth and high-tech employment.   And the Economic Alliance sees an even brighter future.   With Baltimore's two biotech parks in the works (the east-side park is expected to break ground on its first building next month), a new National Institutes of Health biomedical center at Johns Hopkins Bayview, growth at the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at [Socialist Insecurity] in Woodlawn, a proposal for a public-private vaccine plant (wouldn't that be good reuse of the former Broening Highway General Motors plant site?), and of course as many as 40K new jobs set to come to Fort Meade, the National Security Agency and Aberdeen Proving Ground, the alliance boasts that Baltimore is at a seminal moment in its economic history - much as when it developed its port to rail system in the 19th century.   Key to such confidence is that this growth would be based on sectors (science, health, defense, intelligence) benefiting from federal funding [i.e. extortion & counterfeiting & debasement of the coinage] and largely not vulnerable to out-sourcing abroad. The State of the Region report also notes the region's obvious short-falls, particularly high crime and low education levels in Baltimore."

2006-01-17
_Investors Business Daily_
Mergers sparked tech job cuts
"Companies laid off 174,744 technology jobs last year, nearly flat vs. 2004 and accounting for 16% of all job cuts nationwide, said Challenger, Gray & Christmas.   Consolidation among telecom, computer and electronics firms accounted for 26% of tech job cuts, up from 3.5% in 2004."
 

2006-01-18

2006-01-18
Malcolm Ritter _Yahoo!_
Men Enjoy Seeing Bad People Suffer
"Dr. Klaas Stephan... a senior research fellow at the University College London, is co-author of a study led by Tania Singer at the college and published online Wednesday by the journal Nature.   Singer, in an e-mail message, said the sex difference in results was a surprise and must be confirmed by larger studies.   The researchers said women might have reacted like men if the cheater suffered psychological or financial pain instead.   The scientists scanned the brains of 16 men and 16 women after the volunteers played a game with what they thought were other volunteers, but who in fact were actors.   The actors either played the game fairly or obviously cheated.   During the brain scans, each volunteer watched as the hands of a 'fair' player and a cheater received a mild electrical shock.   When it came to the fair-player, both men's and women's brains showed activation in pain-related areas, indicating that they empathized with that player's pain.   But for the cheater, while the women's brains still showed a response, men's brains showed virtually no specific reaction.   Also, in another brain area associated with feelings of reward, men's brains showed a greater average response to the cheater's shock than to the fair player's shock, while women's brains did not.   A questionnaire revealed that the men expressed a stronger desire than women did for revenge against the cheater.   The more a man said he wanted revenge, the higher his jump in the brain's reward area when the cheater got a shock.   No such correlation showed up in women."

2006-01-18
_Federal Reserve Board_
Beige Book

Summary
Production of high-technology goods was steady to slightly increasing toward the end of 2005, according to the San Francisco and Dallas Districts.   And defense and aerospace industry production improved in the San Francisco, Boston, and Atlanta Districts.   Manufacturers of machine tools and industrial equipment also reported more robust demand in the San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia Districts...   Cleveland, Minneapolis, and Richmond all cited moderate employment gains, with Richmond noting that its rate represented a slowdown.   New York, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Dallas reported evidence of stronger employment growth.   However, Boston noted that output growth had generally not translated into higher employment, while St. Louis reported a widely mixed pattern of layoffs and hiring.   Hiring at financial and legal services firms is boosting the New York District's employment growth, although New York also reported some hiring in manufacturing.   Atlanta reported strong demand for both skilled and unskilled labor, in part boosted by storm-recovery efforts.   Atlanta reported several locations with tight labor market conditions, while Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco all reported specific occupations in which jobs have been difficult to fill.   Several of these Districts cited trucking jobs.   Skilled construction workers are relatively sought after in Dallas and San Francisco, and skilled manufacturing jobs were mentioned by Boston, Chicago, and Dallas.   Atlanta listed a variety of specialties in 'extreme shortage' [but failed to define what they meant by that].   New York and San Francisco noted that finance-industry labor markets were relatively tight.   Despite reports of labor market tightness, Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco all noted that wage increases have been generally moderate.
Boston
Products that sold particularly well this holiday period include apparel and accessories, jewelry, wireless products, and other technology items such as personal computers and printers.
Richmond
Services firms reported continued solid growth in their revenues.   Trucking companies and construction subcontractors, for example, generally reported stronger revenue growth since our last report.   In addition, health care, professional, scientific, and technical services contacts reported upticks in revenue growth.   In labor markets, growth in employment and wages slowed somewhat.   Price growth in the services sector moderated as well...
St. Louis
In Memphis, contacts report that construction is underway on a new biotech research park.   In St. Louis, contacts report that construction is slated to begin in early spring on a 600-acre commercial park.   Although contacts in northern Mississippi note that November year-to-date commercial development remains below last year's levels, they report that a 325-acre industrial park is planned for 2006.   Contacts in Louisville report that nearly 4M square feet of new industrial space is currently being constructed in Jefferson and Bullitt counties.   In southern Indiana contacts report that government construction remains steady...
Dallas
Manufacturing picked up, and demand for business services increased slightly...   Workers with specialized skills remain in short supply, such as to supply the energy industry, trucking and some areas of manufacturing and information technology.   Temporary service firms [bodyshops] say a very high percentage of workers are obtaining full time positions from initial short term contracts...   High-tech manufacturers reported steady to slightly higher growth in orders and sales since the last survey.   Semiconductor orders accelerated some, according to contacts, who say the outlook has improved.   Semiconductor inventories are lean, and replenishing of inventories over the next several quarters is expected.   Communications equipment manufacturers reported steady growth in orders...   Gulf Coast capacity utilization rose from 78% to 85% in recent weeks.   Two refineries are still out of operation due to hurricane damage and 3 others are operating on at a reduced level.   Suppliers to the industry say most refineries are operating again but continue to struggle to stay up and to run at full capacity.   The service sector appears to have accelerated slightly.   Accounting firms still report very strong activity, and demand has increased for firms that supply temporary workers.   Temporary agencies [bodyshops] say new business is mostly to supply firms that manufacture durables, which they attribute to business attracted by the low cost of doing business.   Demand at legal firms has been mostly unchanged, with the strongest activity related to transactions, taxation, and real estate.   Contacts say work to support transactions in the oil and gas sector has been especially profitable and strong..."

2006-01-18 08:01PST (11:01EST) (16:01GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
CPI fell 0.1%, core CPI rose 0.2% in December
BLS data
graphs

2006-01-18 13:50PST (14:50MST) (16:50EST) (21:50GMT)
Mike Sunnucks _Phoenix Business Journal_
Attorney General introduces new immigrant employment bill
"The employer sanctions bills favored by Goddard and Napolitano would require employers in the state verify the immigration status of all prospective employees and fine companies that fail to do so and knowingly hire undocumented workers.   The penalties against businesses range between $500 and $5K per violation.   The plan somewhat mirrors an employer sanctions bill put forth by conservative Republicans, including state representative Russell Pearce of Mesa.   The Pearce bill would also revoke the business licenses of employers hiring illegals and would give displaced employees the ability to file law-suits if they lose their jobs to lesser-paid illegal immigrants."

2006-01-18 14:07PST (17:07EST) (22:07GMT)
George Leopold _EE Times_
Quota of H-1B visas for those with advanced US degrees was finally reached: Now maybe a few Americans can get jobs

2006-01-18
Joseph Anthony Dolz _American Chronicle_
Illegal Immigration Costs California $10.5G Per Year
"the state's 'cheap labor' costs the average household $1,183 a year.   It is harder to put a cost on the 'dumbing-down' of our schools to accommodate a massive number of non-English speakers, the closing of 60 Los Angeles county emergency rooms due to uninsured illegal aliens (as reported by Dr. Madeleine Melner Cosman), the clogging of our high-ways where thousands of drivers are illegal aliens, most driving without insurance; which makes uninsured motorist coverage more expensive.   Can we put a price on the harm of over-population on the environment?   American and certainly California [are] addicted to cheap desperate labor...   America turned a blind eye to the exploitation of desperate workers once before in its history, when 10% of its population were slaves.   Many free citizens before the Civil War would have picked cotton for a fair free-market wage, but not for a slave's wage.   Before the Civil War, slave owners argued that without slavery, agriculture in the South would collapse.   Following emancipation they were proven wrong...   Today, thanks to a cozy collaboration between some of our elected officials OT1H, and on the other the unethical employers and criminal cartels that line our elected 'representatives'' pockets, our country is awash in illegal aliens..   The [counts] range from 11M to 20M or more.   No one can say for sure...   the traffickers in humans rake in $10G; and unethical employers and their lobbyists enrich our politicians' campaign coffers unabashedly...   the government of Mexico which relies on $17G in remittances from illegal aliens (Mexico's second largest source of income after oil) to bolster their economy...   The most despicable are the politicians who engorged themselves with contributions from employers of low-skilled cheap illegal workers in the likes of agriculture and construction and from unpatriotic employers of H-1B visa high-skilled foreign worker who earn their way into our economy by paying Congress for their visas.   Yes, our high paying technical jobs are for sale to foreigners who then work on the cheap for the likes of M$ Corp!...   The under-funded Border Patrol arrests over 1.5M aliens per year, but the most conservative estimates are that 2.5M slip through annually and disappear among the now visible massive underclass."

2006-01-18 08:15PST (11:15EST) (16:15GMT)
Steve Chabot _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Border security is a top priority for the USA
"Ending illegal immigration should be a top priority for our nation.   Our porous borders cost American taxpayers billions of dollars every year and pose a real security threat.   Not knowing exactly who is coming across our borders, their nationality and what they may be bringing with them is a recipe for disaster.   Recently, the House passed legislation to strengthen border security, crack down on illegal immigration and protect against terrorism.   The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 passed the House at the end of last year.   As with most large, far-reaching pieces of legislation passed by Congress, it is not a perfect bill...   Importantly, the legislation will strengthen U.S. border protection by ending the "catch and release" practice.   Currently, many illegal aliens are released on bond pending an immigration hearing.   Most never attend the hearing and remain in the country illegally.   This bill will end this practice by requiring the mandatory detention of persons entering the country illegally and forcing authorities to hold them in custody until their removal from the country.   The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act also authorizes the construction of physical barriers, including 700 miles of border fencing along key areas where illegal crossings are frequent.   The use of sophisticated technology, including cameras, sensors, radar, satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles will be incorporated to monitor the borders.   The legislation also authorizes 1K new port of entry inspectors and the training of 1,500 new K-9 units to patrol our borders.   In addition, the bill makes illegal immigration a felony offense and increases penalties for alien smuggling and illegal aliens attempting to reenter the country.   Aliens who could represent potential security risks would have additional limits placed on their ability to become citizens and members of alien street gangs would be inadmissible to the United States while those already in the country could be more easily deported.   Unfortunately, the bill does have some significant flaws that could negatively impact American citizens.   Specifically, the legislation would require every current American worker to have his or her citizenship status confirmed by the federal government."

2006-01-18
Argus hamilton _Baraboo Wisconsin News Republic_
God bless America
"Los Angeles beaches were closed Monday from a sewage spill that contaminated the South Bay.   It's a seasonal event.   Movie and television producers have been pacing up and down the beaches for days waiting for the arrival of the final drafts.   Senator Arlen Specter startled Republicans Sunday by saying that impeachment might be a remedy for illegal wiretapping.   He was very careful.   He didn't say the word impeachment on the telephone, he said it on ABC News where no one would hear him.   Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed spending hundreds of billions on roads, schools and health care.   The money is available.   The California state revenue windfall reported last week is the first indication that Bob Hope's will has cleared probate.   Laura Bush traveled to Liberia Monday for the inauguration of Africa's first woman president.   It's America's source of titanium.   Republicans will put their wives at risk to protect any country that gives them thirty extra yards off the tee.   President Bush viewed the Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives Monday.   It was awkward.   If Abraham Lincoln could see today's economic system of millionaires and illegal aliens he would say we're not in the spirit of the thing."

2006-01-18
Marcus Courtney _Fast Company_
Off-Shoring Is Bad
"The drivers that are currently moving the global economy are focused on driving down wages and benefits of U.S. employees as the work moves over-seas.   It is the cost differences combined with technology that makes off-shore out-sourcing a serious threat to U.S. high-tech workers.   Also, tech workers in India are not immune from the forces around driving down costs.   More and more Indian companies will be seeking ways to off-shore their work to gain additional competitive advantage.   The U.S. high-tech industry has seen very little job growth more than four years after an economic recession.   The slowest job growth after a recovery since the great depression.   If out-sourcing is so great for the U.S., why are not more jobs getting created in the industry?   The other issue that makes off-shore out-sourcing unique is the impact it has for the U.S in terms of technology competitiveness.   Companies are sending both high and low level work over-seas, so it increases the chances of the U.S. losing its competitive advantage.   Furthermore, as products and services that were once done in the U.S. are done over-seas only to be reimported, it increases our trade deficit and balance of accounts which further jeopardizes our global competitiveness.   [Ashok Soota said,]'The drivers moving the global economy are focused on 2 things: selling and servicing the global customer...' [I.e. off-shoring is about slavery and rape.]...
India has a national policy around IT that it be export driven...   Since 2005 January, we have tracked more than 103K jobs have been off-shored.   These are only numbers that have been reported in the media, so we know the real total is much greater.   This is a significant number of jobs getting exported from the U.S. to other countries by multinational corporations to take advantage of the skilled low cost labor.   I know of many tech workers that have lost jobs and when they have found new jobs they pay significantly less.   The way off-shoring/ OneShoring is currently getting done is a zero sum game, because the jobs getting created in India are mostly serving the U.S. domestic market -- the worlds largest market.   As more and more R&D gets done off-shore, it is going to disadvantage investment in the U.S. market place -- why invest in the high-cost center when you can go to the low-cost one...   At one time, the thinking was that U.S. should not be concerned with the loss of manufacturing jobs, or our trade deficit in these areas because the service sector would be the holy grail.   How can the U.S. be the world's greatest tech innovator when it is importing more services than it is exporting?   As we can see with the explosive development of off-shoring this is not turning out to be the case.   We not only have to look at the number of jobs getting created in the macro economy but what kind of jobs.   Obviously we make distinctions around jobs.   We value computer jobs at a higher-level than fast food jobs.   The economy in the U.S. is creating many more fast food jobs than high-end computer jobs.   No one can point to what a person should be re-skilled at.   If you computer programmers lose their jobs, what should they retrain for?   Will employers hire them once they are retrained?...   We could still be importing more services than we are exporting and be the world's largest service exporter...   If the onus is to constantly update and re-skill, then we should have social policies around that imperative.   We have to look at other values such as fairness, who is really winning, losing and why.   As you point out opening markets up for competition in India created more opportunity for large multinational corporations and they became the winners and domestic producers became the losers.   We cannot have globalization and trade where the only winners are the large multinational corporations and the market.   Workers, labor rights, communities and the environment should be on an equal playing field as the market in the discussion around globalization."

2006-01-18
John J. Sweeney _AFL-CIO_
Senseless Slaughter of the Good American Job
American Chronicle
"Since 1985, the global labor force has effectively doubled, with the entrance of 1.4G new workers from [Red China], India and the former Soviet Union.  And in the absence of new rules to prevent it, corporations have pitted the new workers against American workers in a merciless race to the bottom.   The result has been a perfect storm of out-sourcing, off-shoring, tax evasion, lay offs, work speedups, wage cuts, health care cuts, pension cuts, shifting risks, bashing unions and short-changing communities.  It is a storm that has swamped the boats of middle class workers and destroyed the frail crafts of ethnic and immigrant workers...   [Louis Uchitelle, in _The Disposable American_, wrote:] 'Far more than in the past, America lives with a chronically floating, low-wage work-force, one that would not exist if the deterioration in pay and training, and the acquiescence to lay-offs, had not made in-roads into the dignity of work.'...   30M workers who, Mr. Uchitelle explains, were involuntarily displaced from their jobs from 1981 to 2001. "

2006-01-18 14:06PST (17:06EST) (22:06GMT)
Mark Wong _Yahoo!_/_News Factor_
customer support peeves
"Companies that rely on automated call centers have been weathering a consumer back-lash in recent [years].   For all its benefit to businesses, the technology that greets callers of help lines often invokes responses ranging from mild annoyance to downright fury.   Many people can relate to the experience of calling customer service and being forced to navigate a complicated maze, or to repeat information constantly, before finally reaching a live person on the other end -- if at all.   In fact, more than half of the respondents to a recent survey by the [body shop involved in the Enron fraud under the name Andersen Consulting,] Accenture said the automated customer experience was much like driving in city traffic...   Boston-based blogger Paul English had plenty of people talking in December when he posted his 'IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Cheat Sheet', which reveals the steps to take, words to say, and buttons to push to talk to a live human when negotiating the automated systems at more than 250 companies...   'The international media and consumer attention that Paul English's IVR Cheat Sheet has generated has sent a clear signal that many IVRs do not meet consumer standards.', said Michael Zirngibl, President and CEO of Angel.com, in announcing IVR U...   When asked to identify the most important aspect of fulfilling their expectations, 34%...said it was the ability to immediately assist them with a problem as opposed to being forwarded to someone else...   'Customers really look for a quick resolution of their inquiry or problem -- irrespective of whether it is provided by the IVR/self-service system or a live agent.', said Frost & Sullivan Contact Center Program Leader Ashwin Iyer...   a poorly designed system can frustrate a customer even before he or she gets to an agent, Iyer said..."
 

2006-01-19

2006-01-19 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 438,385 in the week ending Jan. 14, a decrease of 116,581 from the previous week.   There were 467,862 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5% during the week ending Jan. 7, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,169,948, an increase of 14,730 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.6% and the volume was 3,342,292."
graphs

2006-01-19
Chaim Melamed _Taipei Times_
Tale of Greed, Incompetence & Corruption
"Unscrupulous and greedy people, or rather vultures, prey upon helpless guest workers.   The corruption is endemic and systemic.   The situation in which these workers find themselves is something out of a Dickens novel.   They are treated like indentured servants at best or forced labor prisoners at worst.   These people come from countries mired in poverty with little or no opportunities.   Honest, diligent and hard working, these men and women are prepared to sacrifice years of their lives, and separation from friends and family in order to be able to send back the pittance they are able to save."

2006-01-19
Frosty Wooldridge _American Daily_
Rosie the Riveter Kicked A**!
News with Views
"During World War II, a colorful poster featuring 'Rosie the Riveter' rolling up her sleeves to show her muscle -- set the tone for every American woman to step into the factories and work for our country in a time of grave danger.   Rosie, we need you now!   Today, we need a call to arms within our own country.   The 2001/09/11 WTC plane bombings that killed 3K Americans will prove small in comparison to the accelerating Mexican invasion of our borders.   Massive, unending legal and illegal immigration has created more deaths, more destruction of American families and more chaos in our communities across the nation—than anything previous in America's 230 year history."

2006-01-19
_Alpine Avalanche_
Alpine border patrol agents grab $2.3M in cocaine
"Since 2005 Oct. 1, agents of the Marfa Sector have seized over $25M in drugs including almost 26K lbs. of marijuana and over 130 lbs. of cocaine.   The Sector has also apprehended almost 2K illegal aliens during the same period."

2006-01-19 10:00PST (13:00EST) (18:00GMT)
_CNET_
Candidate Black-Listing
"To many U.S. companies, the trend of off-shore out-sourcing is usually associated with cost savings.   But a related labor practice in India may herald another trend for American business in employee security checks.   Addressing concerns about the handling of sensitive information, India's information technology industry is creating a data-base of personal and professional information about its work-force to confirm credentials and, if necessary, help police in any investigations.   Similar ideas have been floated occasionally in the United States, most recently in the banking industry, but is typically met with immediate protest by privacy advocates and other who [note that the practice can be a form of] black-listing."

2006-01-19
Al Sacco _CIO_
Bank Call Center Jobs Have Been Moved to Texas & Costa Rica
"Yesterday, Washington Mutual informed some 1K call center employees in Chatsworth, CA that their jobs were moving to Texas and Costa Rica...   The employees won't necessarily be allowed to follow and stay employed [let alone be relocated by WM].   The move was made to cut cost, company officials said.   Starting in March, the positions will be shifted, with some employees offered new jobs in San Antonio and others no more than job-search assistance...   Chairman and Chief Executive Kerry Killinger...   The bank currently employees 1,600 workers over-seas in Costa Rica, India, Canada and the Philippines.   'We expect to grow to more than 6K over the next 2 years.', Killinger said."

2006-01-19 12:47PST (15:47EST) (20:47GMT)
Tariq Malik _Space_
NASA Launched Fastest Probe to Pluto
"[An Atlas 5 rocket built by notorious privacy violators Lockheed-Martin] flung the New Horizons space-craft spaceward at 14:00EST (19:00GMT), sending the probe speeding away from earth at about 36,250 miles per hour (58,338 km per hour) -- the fastest ever for a NASA mission.   The probe should pass the moon at 23:00EST (2006-01-20 04:00GMT) on a 9-year trek towards Pluto."

2006-01-19
Scott Granneman _Security Focus_
Tech Support Woes
"Technical support that's out-sourced to foreign countries can cause frustration and have a negative impact on security when the problems remain unsolved...   we've seen a tremendous increase in out-sourcing by American corporations in the last decade.   Company after company has moved manufacturing and professional service work to other countries, with India the poster child for this global transformation - in part because English is their only unifying national language among the dozens of other languages across the country.   In particular, the IT industry has been shifting technical support to Indian call centers in greater and greater volumes, to the point now where most consumer tech support calls about a problematic PC will be answered by someone sitting in a cubicle in Bangalore or New Delhi.   I recently went through quite an ordeal with the Indian firm to which HP has out-sourced its Pavillion tech support...   To this day, no one in HP can explain that one.   Needless to say, the video card isn't mine.   Thus begun several further calls and chats with HP tech support.   Without exception, the phone calls were terrible: I could barely understand the techs due to their heavy accents, the phone connections were substandard, and the help proferred was useless.   My 'repaired' PC arrived on December 27 with a note that something had been repaired that wasn't even broken.   When I turned the PC around, I found that the video card was missing.   Gone.   As in, there's just an open hole in the back of the box where the video card used to be.   Further calls and chats with HP tech support personnel in India proved increasingly frustrating.   I am continually assured that a supervisor would call.   No call came...   I finally received a replacement PC from HP.   But why should I have had to take such extraordinary steps to get the machine fixed?...   When I mentioned the problems I'd had understanding what the techs in foreign call centers were even saying, I noticed that many of the 75 people or so in the room were looking at each other and nodding.   'Holy mackerel!', I thought.   'If I've been having trouble making sense of what those guys were telling me on the phone, it must have been nearly impossible for these folks!'   Several went on to relate how they had called tech support -- HP and Dell were primarily mentioned, although there were other companies mentioned too -- and found it exceedingly hard to decipher what they were hearing, due to poor phone connections and impenetrable accents...   When I realized that phone conversations were going to be torturous, I switched to Instant Messaging chat to avoid the heavy accents.   When I was told to do something stupid or useless that was next in the script that the tech support dude was reading from, I refused and explained why...   One can also purchase a ThinkPad and be assured of decent help, or a Mac, as Apple has never used out-sourced tech support to my knowledge [some Apple tech support is done in Canada] (heck, if your city has an Apple Store in it, you can walk your Mac or iPod in and get someone behind the Genius Bar to help you face to face).   But most people buy what's cheapest, so they end up with cheap companies that out-source their support to the cheapest place possible, and end up having to call India or the Phillipines some other country when they run into a snag.   If we could only understand what they're saying, things would be much better...   Sure, HP saved a few bucks by having me call someone in India.   But it cost them in the long run.   I made call after call, and tied up their tech support personnel for hours.   There's a direct cost to the support right there.   But also as a result of my incredibly poor experience with the vendor, one can guess whether or not I'll be purchasing anything from them in the future."

2006-01-19
Siobhan Kennedy _The Age_
Niall of the 9 hostages may have 3M mail descendants alive today... compared with Genghis Khan's roughly 16M
Sydney Morning Herald
Signs of the Times/Reuters
"Scientists in Ireland may have found the country's most fertile male, with more than 3M men worldwide among his offspring. The scientists, from Trinity College, Dublin, have discovered that as many as one in 12 Irish men could be descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, a 5th-century warlord who was head of the most powerful dynasty in ancient Ireland. Research supervisor Dan Bradley said Niall's genetic legacy was almost as impressive as that of Genghis Khan [Temujin], the Mongol emperor who conquered most of Asia in the 13th century and has nearly 16M descendants."

2006-01-19
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Unions and US Chamber of Communists conspire against American workers
"In Washington today, a coalition of business, labor and religious groups announced their opposition to the House border security bill, the toughest border security measure ever to pass Congress.   Two major labor unions, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Conference of Bishops and the American Jewish Committee all coming out in support of amnesty for illegal aliens and the passage of the president's illegal alien guest worker program...   This coalition vowed to do all it can to defeat the House border security legislation and to support a weaker bill, including guest worker provisions soon to be debated in the Senate.   Howard Dean, the head of the Democratic Party, also agrees it is time to allow millions of illegal aliens to remain legally in this country.   Dean saying it's just too much trouble to uphold the law and throw illegal aliens out...   Howard Dean went on to say kicking out illegal aliens would harm the economy as well.   Dean has obviously forgotten the Democratic Party used to stand up for the American working person, now seeing their jobs disappear in part because of the flood of cheap foreign labor."
 

2006-01-20

2006-01-20 07:15PST (10:15EST) (15:15GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index rose from 91.5 in December to 93.4

2006-01-20
Libby Quaid _Yahoo!_/_AP_
Japan's Ban of US Beef Prompts Probe
"Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said Friday the U.S. government is investigating a shipment of American beef to Japan that may have contained material considered at risk for mad cow disease, a discovery that prompted Japan to announce another halt to beef imports.   Johanns said the plant that exported the meat in question is now barred from shipping more beef to Japan.   He also said the government inspector who cleared the shipment may be disciplined, and that Agriculture Department investigators are being dispatched to Japan.   He also is sending extra inspectors to every plant that exports meat to Japan and has ordered unannounced inspections, Johanns said...   Johanns said the tissue Japan found -- spinal column from veal -- is not prohibited in the American food supply but is prohibited under the agreement with Japan."

2006-01-20
Nathan Guttman _Jerusalem Post_
Lawrence Franklin's trial for passing classified info to Israel
"Naor Gilon met between 8 and 12 times with Larry Franklin and discussed with him issues regarding Iran's nuclear program and the internal political situation in Iran.   Israeli sources described these meetings as routine and common practice for any diplomat.   Franklin himself, in a court hearing Wednesday in which he pleaded guilty to three counts of communicating classified information and holding documents at his home, said he 'knew in his heart' that the Israelis already possessed all the information he was giving Gilon.   Franklin added that he received more information from the Israeli diplomat than he had given him."

2006-01-20
Robert Schmidt _Bloomberg_
11 Eco-Terrorists Indicted
"Eleven environmental activists were indicted in connection with a series of arsons in the western U.S. that Justice Department officials called acts of domestic terrorism.   The environmentalists, members of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front, are accused by prosecutors of operating as a terrorist cell.   The 65-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in Eugene, Oregon, and unsealed today.   The charges cover 17 incidents dating back to 1996, including alleged attacks at federal forest ranger stations and meat processing plants, and the torching of buildings at a ski resort in Vail, Colorado, that caused abut $12M in damages.   Justice Department officials said the activists' campaign resulted in more than $100M in costs to federal facilities and private businesses."

2006-01-20
_Business Week_
The Future of Out-Sourcing: How it's destroyed whole industries and professions
"Paper Converting Machine Company. For decades, PCMC's Green Bay (WI) factory, its oiled wooden factory floors worn smooth by work boots, thrived by making ever-more-complex equipment to weave, fold, and print packaging for everything from potato chips to baby wipes.   But PCMC has fallen on hard times.   First came the [beginning in 2000 of the Clinton-Bush depression].   Then, 2 years ago, one of the company's biggest customers told it to slash its machinery prices by 40% and urged it to move production to [Red China].   Last year, a St. Louis holding company, Barry-Wehmiller Companies, acquired the manufacturer and promptly cut workers and non-union pay.   In 5 years sales have plunged by 40%, to $170M, and the work-force has shrunk from 2K to 1,100.   Employees have been traumatized, says operations manager Craig Compton, a muscular former hockey player...   Barry-Wehmiller plans to shift some design work to its 160-engineer center in Chennai, India...   Ever since the off-shore shift of skilled work sparked widespread debate and a political fire-storm 3 years ago, it has been [identified] as the killer of good-paying American jobs.   'Benedict Arnold CEOs' hire software engineers, computer help staff, and credit-card bill collectors to exploit the low wages of poor nations.   U.S. workers suddenly face a grave new threat, with even highly educated tech and service professionals having to compete against legions of hungry college grads in India, [Red China], and the Philippines willing to work...for one-fifth the pay.   The prime motive of most corporate bean counters jumping on the off-shoring band-wagon has been to take advantage of such 'labor arbitrage' -- the huge wage gap between industrialized and developing nations.   And without doubt, big lay-offs often accompany big [off-shore] out-sourcing deals.   The changes [have been] harsh and deep...   Many executives are discovering off-shoring is really about [shifting earnings from American production workers into their own pockets]."
jj: "Why wasn't it mentioned in your article that Wachovia had to shelve 3 large IT projects that were out-sourced off-shore after realizing that they were total disasters?   After spending tens of millions of dollars, they had no choice.   Oh wait, I think I know -- maybe companies are very reluctant to discuss their off-shore IT project failures."

2006-01-20
_India info line_
Doha Round...Development to be the prime focus
India should legitimately expect to secure around 50% of the global off-shoring market of around $110G by 2010, the Minister said."

2006-01-20 09:11PST (12:11EST) (17:11GMT)
Allen Wastler _CNN_/_Money_
Congress's pension is nice and secure, unlike a growing number of US production workers' pensions
"Members are eligible to start collecting at age 62 if they have at least 5 years of service.   If they have 20 years of service under their belt, they can retire at 50.   With 25 years of service, they can retire any time.   What they get depends on a formula based on years of service and average pay (natch, right?).   So a congressman with 22 years of service and whose average salary for the top three years was $153,900 gets $84,645.   A current congressman ending up with six years of service (it's two-year terms, after all) would get at least $16,503 (at age 62, of course).   In actuality, the average congressional pension payment ranges between $41K and $55K, based on 2002 data from the Congressional Research Service.   Now, a retiring congressman isn't allowed to get more than 80% of their salary upon retirement.   But after retiring, cost of living adjustments kick in, which can add substantially to the payment...   They also have the equivalent of a 401k program (complete with a 5% employer match).   In some cases Social Security kicks in.   And given their medical, dental and travel benefits, plus expenses paid by the office, members of Congress have plenty of opportunity to save for retirement.   (And if they get into trouble, as they sometimes do, the pension often isn't up for grabs).   At $165,200 a year (after their raise this month), seems like they have some money to do it with too."

2006-01-20
Kavita Kumar _St. Louis Post-Dispatch_
WashUStL increased tuition another 5.5%: Price nears $45K
"Under-graduate tuition will be $32,800, which is $1,700 more than this academic year.   So the new, eye-popping cost to attend the school as an under-graduate -- with tuition, fees, and increased room and board rates included -- will be $44,964.   This tuition increase is slightly higher than in the past few years, when tuition has gone up 4.5% to 5% annually, said Barbara Feiner, vice chancellor for finance...   According to a report by the College Board last year, the average tuition at 4-year private institutions was $21,235 for the 2004-05 year, an increase of 5.9% from the year before.   Add in fees and room and board, and the total average cost is $29,026.   (These figures were weighted by enrollment numbers.)   But Washington University measures up better with its 25 or so peer institutions.   Among those schools with whom Washington U. receives the most overlapping applications, the school's tuition currently is slightly below the average, Feiner said."

2006-01-20 09:06PST (12:06EST) (17:06GMT)
_Libertarian Community News_
Wave of Strikes Sweeps Across India
"Toyota workers strike over wages in Bangalore.   Lorry drivers strike over welfare fund, Kerala.   Taxi and Autorickshaw fare strike, Kerala.   Junior Doctors strike over violence and police brutality, Uttar Pradesh.   Near Bangalore, 1550 workers at the Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd. went on strike on January 6th over the dismissal of 3 workers.   The company then locked them out and brought in scab labour.   The 3 workers were fired for union activity, although management claims it was 'for disciplinary reasons'.   Government mediation has collapsed.   The lock-out has continued.   Toyota owns an 89% stake in the factory, which makes the Innova and Corolla models and has a capacity for upto 60K cars per year."

2006-01-20
_Cincinnati Enquirer_
Enquirer 80 stock index fell 1.64%
"The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks closed down 4.67 points, or 1.64%, at 286.17.   9 issues were up, 70 were down and one was unchanged.   Leading gainers were PNC Financial Services, up $2.33 to $66; Multi-Color Corp., up 73 cents to $27.38; Meridian Bioscience, up 35 cents to $23.94; CECO Environmental, up 23 cents to $6.50; Eagle Hospitality, up 14 cents to $8.29.   Biggest losers were WellPoint, down $2.78 to $73.23; Cummins, down $2.04 to $93.71; Harris Corp., down $2.04 to $45.50; Federated Department Stores, down $1.82 to $70.10; Humana, down $1.76 to $55.18."

2006-01-20
Last
DJIA10,667.39
S&P 5001,261.49
NASDAQ2,247.70
10-year US T-Bond4.36%
crude oil68.48

 

2006-01-21

2006-01-21
Peter Wallsten _Arizona Republic_
GOP backing initiative to bring in even more guest-workers
Los Angeles Times
"Despite deep division within its ranks, the Republican Party on Friday formally endorsed a guest-worker program that would permit more workers from abroad to work legally and temporarily in the United States.   The vote by the Republican National Committee averted a potentially embarrassing setback for President Bush, who favors a guest-worker program.   The vote pre-empted a resolution proposed by an Arizona activist declaring that permitting guest workers would only fuel illegal immigration...   Bush aides and senior Republican strategists believe that taking a hard line against immigration risks alienating Hispanics.   But Randy Pullen, an Arizona activist and national committee member, reminded his colleagues that he represents the views of many rank-and-file Republicans, as well as the House leadership, which has pushed legislation to strengthen border enforcement but without touching on guest workers.   Permitting workers from abroad to work legally 'is not acceptable to my voters in Arizona.', he said.   'I have not yet heard a guest-worker program articulated that would possibly work.'"

2006-01-21 08:42PST (11:42EST) (16:42GMT)
Candice Choi _News Day_
NY lost aid for hospital care of illegal aliens
"A federal review of recent hospital visits by thousands of illegal immigrants across New York state found many of the state's claims did not qualify as an emergency.   The state will not recieve $32.5M in federal reimbursements as result, according to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services in Washington, DC.   In New York state, Medicaid covers the costs when an illegal immigrant goes to the hospital for emergency care, such as the treatment of broken bones or chest pains.   But the federal government, which pays for 50% of program costs in New York, recently reviewed the state's claims between 2001 January and 2004 September and found many did not qualify as emergencies."
 

2006-01-22

2006-01-22
"PWW" _Indy Bay_
Pro-Immigrant, Anti-Illegal-Immigrant Bill Moves to Senate
"The [senate judiciary] committee is expected to take up several immigration bills submitted by members as well as HR4437, an extremely punitive measure passed by the House of Representatives in December.   A growing coalition of immigrant rights, labor, religious and civil rights groups, racial and ethnic minority communities and some key business groups is building up steam in an up-hill battle to block HR4437 and other [anti-illegal-immigrant] measures.   The coalition is united in proposing increased opportunities for [amnesty] as the basis of immigration law reform."

2006-01-22
Peter Prengaman _Contra Costa Times_
Nationwide study gives first snap-shot of day laborer work-force
Amherst Times
Monterey Herald
Arizona Republic
San Luis Obispo Tribune
Monsters & Critics
San Jose Mercury News
Washington Times
"The immigrant men who wait for work on street corners across the United States have families, attend church regularly -- and their bosses are more likely to be individual home-owners than construction contractors.   The first nationwide study of day laborers also reported that 1 in 5 has been hurt on the job and nearly half have been stiffed by employers...   Nik Theodore from the University of Illinois at Chicago, one of three study authors.   The others were from the University of California, Los Angeles and New York's New School University...   49% of respondents said they were regularly hired by home-owners for everything from carpentry to gardening, with 43% getting jobs from construction contractors.   Two-thirds said they are hired repeatedly by the same employer.   In all, researchers estimate there are about 117,600 day laborers nationwide, though they warn that number is probably low...   Just over half of day laborers said they attended church regularly, 22% reported being involved in sports clubs and 26% said they participated in community centers.   Nearly two-thirds had children, 36% were married and seven percent lived with a partner.   More than 80% rely on day labor as their sole source of income, earning a median wage of $10 an hour and $700 a month.   That meant the vast majority earned less than $15K a year, putting them close to the 2005 federal poverty guideline of $12,830 for a family of 2.   Of the 20% of respondents who reported on-the-job injuries, more than half said they received no medical care because they couldn't afford it or their employer refused to cover them.   Three-fourths were illegal immigrants and most were Hispanic: 59% were from Mexico and 28% from other Central American countries."

2006-01-22
Justin Darr _WEB Commentary_
America versus Mexico's Ponzi Scheme
American Daily
"In 2005, a survey conducted by Transparency International showed that between 31 and 45% of Mexicans had someone in their family forced to pay a bribe to a public official in the past year [while every American makes extortion payments to government officials every year]...   Over 20% of the Mexican population lives in poverty, only 62% of people have access to clean drinking water, 25% of the economy is illegal, and in the oil rich state of Chiapas; 40% of all homes have dirt floors and 21% have no electricity.   All in a country with a $1T gross domestic product.   Mexico has all the resources to develop a successful economy and enable its citizens to earn a comfortable, modern life, but chooses not to do so for the simple fact that the government is unwilling to stop enriching themselves at the expense of average people."

2006-01-22
Jon Craig _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Census proposal would count illegal aliens separately
"House Speaker Jon Husted, during a Thursday roundtable with Statehouse reporters, said his staff is talking to Ohio's congressional delegation about seeking to amend the U.S. Constitution to change the way residents are counted every 10 years.   Ohio lost 1 congressional seat after the 2000 census and is expected to lose at least 1 more once Buckeyes are counted in 2010.   Ohio now has 18 congressional districts.   Husted hopes to place a ballot issue before voters next fall to clarify how state and federal legislative districts should be redrawn.   'We have to do this this year, or it's lost for another decade.', said Husted, a Republican from Kettering."

2006-01-22
_Buffalo NY News_
Feds to give NY $23.5M less than expected for health care of illegal aliens
Albany Times Union

2006-01-22
Dena Bunis _Orange County Register_
Immigration Plans Are Under the MicroScope
"For nearly a decade, there were fewer than a dozen Republican law-makers who had been pushing for restrictions on immigration and crusading against illegal immigration.   It was an uphill battle.   These members - most notably representative Tom Tancredo, R-CO, and Orange County's own representative Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach -- had not been taken very seriously [by the no-borders crowd].   Mostly they concentrated efforts on preventing any bills from passing that expanded immigration or forgave illegal immigrants, as opposed to having illusions that they could advance their agenda through the House or Senate.   Now, these House members have not only increased in number but in clout.   They managed to get a bill through the House in the final days of 2005.   This was no small feat.   And they are vowing to make sure that no measure with a guest-worker program gets to President Bush's desk.   The Republican National Committee averted a nasty debate on the issue at its winter meeting last week when it adopted a statement in support of Bush's call for a guest-worker program but not one that could be described as amnesty.   From an inside-the-Beltway vantage point, what seems to have emboldened the restrictionist members and enabled them to bolster their ranks is the animated, vocal and emotional involvement of ordinary citizens around the country who are campaigning against illegal immigration...   There's a renewed effort by the U.S. Catholic bishops -- who support a relaxed immigration policy -- to fire up parishioners."

2006-01-22
Stephen Kiehl _Baltimore Sun_
Along the border, a land held hostage: Bandits roaming the Arizona-Mexico frontier threaten illegal immigrants and Border Patrol
"He had promised to pay the 'coyote', or smuggler, two months' wages to lead him safely to Tucson.   Instead, he walked into a trap.   The group was less than a mile into the United States when three men with pistols set upon them.   Hernandez believes the coyote and the gunmen were working together...   They were the victims of border bandits -- gangs of armed men that have made the U.S. border with Mexico an increasingly violent place in the past year.   The gangs target illegal immigrants who cross the mesquite-studded desert by the thousands each night, robbing them of cash, assaulting those who resist and raping the women, officials say.   The bandits contributed to a 50% increase in deaths last year among immigrants crossing the Arizona border.   Immigrants are not the only targets.   Last year in Arizona, U.S. Border Patrol agents were assaulted a record 365 times -- more than double the 2004 total.   Ranchers whose families have raised cattle in southern Arizona for generations are selling their land and moving out.   And officials at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, south of Tucson, are worried that the attacks will force them to close parts of the refuge.   The rise in violence comes amid a growing public fervor for a border crack-down."

2006-01-22
Stephen Franklin _Chicago Tribune_
Will work for less: It used to be a good job, now it's just a job
"Then he got laid off and tumbled into an under-world of low wages and slimmed-down benefits.   This under-world is now the reality, or a disheartening look into the near future, for thousands of workers as the industrial Midwest undergoes the most wrenching economic transformation since the bad old Rust Belt days of the 1970s.   With the forces of globalization leading companies to slash costs, move out of the country or go under, workers who don't bring a clear competitive advantage to work every day are vulnerable to having their pay cut.   At this moment the risk is clearest in the auto parts industry, where Delphi Corp. has filed for bankruptcy court protection, and its chairman, Robert 'Steve' Miller, has threatened to cut wages from $27 an hour to as low as $9.50.   But look at any number of industries where American factory hands are competing against the Chinese or the Cambodians, whether in textiles or furniture or appliances, and the fall-out is the same: The standard of living for the Americans slips.   'For the United States, it's the end of labor as we once knew it.', Stephen Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, wrote recently.   A version of this new reality is taking place in Decatur, where Caterpillar Inc. introduced hundreds of new hires last year.   Job creation was the good news.   The bad news: Starting wages were cut to $10 an hour from $20.   The result is that Caterpillar and Decatur have become a laboratory of sorts for witnessing the impact of wage cuts.   Working and living side by side are Caterpillar employees doing the same kind of work for different wages.   The lucky ones are paid according to the old scale...   Caterpillar won't say how many new workers it has hired at the new lower wages, but union officials say it is 1400."

2006-01-22
Joey O'Donnell _The Student Operated Press_
Struggle for Global Power
"From now until 2100, there is a race.   That race is for who will become the leading global power.   If you think it's going to be the United States, you're strongly mistaken.   The contest is, in fact, between [Red China] and India.   Both India and [Red China] are enjoying economic growth rates that far superior to that of the United States.   Currently, while their per capita income is much less in both countries than the United States, there is a huge population; that means that, at this rate, overall their economies will eventually surpass that of the United States.   Not only are their economies growing, but so are their militaries, and they're gaining the cultural influence and the political weight consistent with that of a rising power."

2006-01-22
Don Gillespie _Kalamazoo Gazette_
Fight for jobs in the USA by buying American-made goods
"Slowly, veterans are receiving less and less, even though they are asked to do more and more.   When was the last time our elected officials cut their own benefits?   Or cut benefits for a large campaign contributor?   When do they ask any of their friends or family to sacrifice for our country?   Recently, a good friend called to tell me his factory job in Wisconsin was shutting down and moving to Brazil in 4 months.   I stay in touch with 5 close friends I served with in the military.   Three of them have lost their jobs in the last year.   While all Americans are being affected the job losses, it bothers me the most that while American men and women are fighting for freedom in Iraq, manufacturers are moving American factories.   And no one is really fighting for those jobs.   We buy ammo from foreign manufacturers because we've closed factories and can't make enough.   For the first time in history, our president is flying around in an Italian-made helicopter.   Just one generation ago, during World War II, our elected and military leaders considered such actions as treason! It wasn't tolerated.   But today, many in the current administration say these job losses are good for us.   Congress still passes laws with loop-holes allowing corporate headquarters to move over-seas and avoid taxes.   The administration stopped a bill that would give American-made goods priority for government spending.   But they have no problem using our tax dollars to benefit the well-connected."

2006-01-22 07:22PST (10:22EST) (15:22GMT)
_Libertarian Community News_
1300 striking Toyota employees arrested
"1,300 employees at Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), were arrested on Saturday as they gathered at the State Labour Secretary's office after buses failed to pick them up from work.   60 employees attended the TKM plant on Saturday after it was decided to resume talks following a wildcat action and lock-out this week, although TKM claimed 200 employees were back at work.   However a union representative stated that around 1K workers waited for State Goverment buses which did not turn up: 'We suspect the hand of BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) authorities in not allowing the buses to pick us up.', he told Business Line.   The workers then walked to the State Labour Secretary's office, but due to police issued orders preventing them from assembling in that area were arrested, however there are reports that they were released later that day."

2006-01-22
Dave Beal _St. Paul Pioneer Press_
High Anxiety in the High-Tech Sector
"Minnesota's top high-tech business and academic leaders are growing more anxious about declining interest in engineering programs at the state's colleges and universities."
 

2006-01-23

2006-01-23
Frosty Wooldridge _News with Views_
Jobs Americans Will Or Will Not Do
"Since Bush, his wife and daughters live behind gated walls with security guards and 24 hour protection, he's not aware of the sordid jobs illegal aliens 'work' in America.   He thinks they come here for a better life, but in fact, thousands kill, rape, molest, drive drunk, rob, bilk welfare services, destroy school systems, savage our hospitals and destroy our language...   On Vizzi's web site, you may view a litany of faces of sexual predators and drunken aliens who raped, tortured and killed.   Vizzi writes, 'From 2003-07-09 to 2003-03-03 Immigration Enforcement agents arrested 4,250 foreign national sexual predators in the United States.   The top states for predators included: California with 1,317; Texas 448; New York 317, Illinois 209; Florida 189; Arizona 185; Minnesota 147; Michigan 128; Colorado 125; New Jersey 369.'...   It's time Bush sealed the borders against all illegal alien entries.   Why?   Because he has the power and we KNOW it can be done because it's been successful in South Korea for over 45 years.   90% of the American public wants the borders sealed off...   Our state and federal prisons hold over 500K convicted felons that are illegal aliens...   This column doesn't address the 11K MS-13 gang members operating in 33 states with guns, drugs, killings and extortion.   It doesn't mention the 20K member '18th Street Gang' in Los Angeles.   It doesn't address TB spreading throughout our country."

2006-01-23
Dee-Ann Durbin _AP_/_News & Observer_
Ford to fire thousands, close plants
Lexington Herald-Leader
MarketWatch
"Ford has refused to release details of the plan, which also is expected to include product changes and cuts to Ford's salaried ranks.   Ford has about 87K hourly workers and 35K salaried workers in North America...   The assembly plants believed to be most at risk are in St. Louis; St. Paul, MN; Atlanta; Wixom, MI; St. Thomas, Ontario; and Cuatitlan, Mexico.   Those plants could be targeted because of their age, the products they make, their lack of flexibility or other factors...   Ford is expected to report a worldwide profit for 2005 when it releases earnings today.   But it lost more than $1.4G in its North American operations in the first 9 months of last year.   Ford operates 2 assembly plants in Louisville: Kentucky Truck Plant employs 5,592 making F-250 and F-550s; the Louisville Assembly Plant employs 3,380 making Explorers and Mountaineers."

2006-01-23
_San Jose Mercury News_
Supervalu, CVS & others to buy Albertson's
MarketWatch
"An investment group led by grocer Supervalu Inc. and drug-store chain CVS Corp. said Monday it will buy Albertson's Inc., the nation's second biggest traditional grocery store chain, for $9.7G in cash and stock.   Albertson's stockholders will get $26.29 per share in cash and Supervalu stock.   The investment group made a similar attempt to buy Albertson's about a month ago, but the deal collapsed.   The buyers are also assuming about $7.7G in debt.   Minneapolis-based Supervalu will become the nation's second-largest grocer, behind Kroger Co., with the takeover of 1,124 stores under the Albertson's, Acme Markets, Bristol Farms, Jewel-Osco, and Shaw's Supermarkets banners...   Supervalu will pay about $6.3G in stock and cash and assume about $6.1G in Albertson's debt.   Supervalu will also the acquire in-store pharmacies under the Osco and Sav-on brands...   The company currently employs about 57K people.   The Albertson's properties in the deal have about 144K workers...   CVS of Woonsocket, RI, is purchasing about 700 stand-alone Sav-on and Osco Drugstores and a distribution center in La Habra, CA for $2.93G in cash.   It will also acquire estate interests in the drugstores for $1G in cash...   The transaction assumes the settlement of the Albertson's Hybrid Income Term Security units, the companies said.   The other purchasers, led by Cerberus Capital Management, will acquire 655 stores in Dallas/Fort Worth, California, Florida, the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest.   The group plans to operate the stores under the Albertson's name.   Following the transaction, approximately 65% of the new Supervalu will be held by existing Supervalu stock-holders, and approximately 35% will be held by Albertson's stock-holders."

2006-01-23 10:44PST (13:44EST) (18:44GMT)
Katherine Jones _Aberdeen Group_/_Business Wire_
Human Resource Out-Sourcing and Body Shopping Continue Exponential Growth
Human Resources Out-Sourcing Bench-Mark Report

2006-01-23
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
Gap goes to the dark side
Retailer Gap Inc. and IBM announced last week that they have signed a 10-year IT out-sourcing deal valued at approximately $1.1G.   The San Francisco-based clothing retailer, which operates stores under brand names such as Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, is hiring IBM in an effort to stream-line its IT operations and reduce costs.   As part of the deal, about 400 Gap IT workers will be transferred to IBM's pay-roll.   [IBM is, perhaps, best known for their long history of privacy violations, from aiding the Nazis to track their victims, pushing RFID privacy violation schemes.]"

2006-01-23
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
Off-Shoring to India Continues Explosive Growth as IT infrastructure is targeted
"For most U.S. companies, a 30% year-over-year increase in employees without a major acquisition might make the national news.   But in India, that kind of growth is becoming routine for IT services firms.   For example, Wipro Ltd. in Bangalore, India, said in its latest quarterly earnings report last week that its work-force had reached 51K employees as of Dec. 31 -- up 30% from the start of 2005.   It's a similar, or even better, story at Bangalore-based Infosys Technologies Ltd., which said earlier this month that it had 49,400 workers as of Dec. 31.   That amounts to a 40% year-over-year increase...   Last month, Dallas-based Perot Systems Corp. started offering infrastructure management services from its facilities in India, where 6K of the company's 17K employees are based.   But most of Perot's employee growth in recent years has been in India, according to Mc-Claskey.   He said he isn't worried that the rapid workforce growth will affect his ability to keep wages from rising too quickly or prevent him from finding people with the right skills in India...   Pavan Chahal, managing director of NeoIT Inc., [a promoter of off-shoring to India that has offices in San Ramone, CA].

2006-01-23
_Mechanical Computer Aided Design Cafe_
McLaren Software Promotes Off-Shoring of Engineering Work
"Opening the Door to Intellectual Work Management.   Muir also points out that Enterprise Engineer's features allow users to better understand how individual engineers are performing their tasks, thanks to a concept he calls 'intellectual work management', or IWM.   'With IWM', says Muir, 'engineering executives can adjust their operations to better play off of the individual strengths of each worker.   It's a pro-active concept that will improve individual-worker performance -- not to mention the entire engineering process.'   Muir expects IWM to become a primary force for change in the engineering field.   'Take worker out-sourcing as an example.', he says.   'As major engineering projects move from Western nations to countries like India and [Red China], so too will the workers who design and engineer these projects.   IWM allows executives in the home office to maintain control of a project no matter how widely dispersed the engineering work-force...'"

2006-01-24
Simon Hayes _Australian IT_
Indians want everyone aboard Bangalore band-wagon
"That's the message from India's out-sourcing giants, as they bulk up in the expectation that they will generate more business out of Australia as the nation's technology chiefs become more comfortable with off-shoring.   While Bollywood has long pillaged Australian actors - yanking Dancing with the Stars contestant and Salaam Namaste talent Tania Zaetta to supplement former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, for instance - Bangalore is now hiring on our turf too.   Tata Consultancy Services, the technology [bodyshopping] arm of mega-conglomerate Tata Sons, is first off the rank this year with plans to hire 130 Australians to boost its local head-count."

2006-01-23
_New Zurich Times_/_Neue Zuercher Zeitung_
Swiss economy still recovering: Not all industries will shine in 2006
"The company predicts that the chemical, pharmaceutical and precision instrument sectors are the most likely to grow at an above-average rate in the medium term...   Credit Suisse economists say that the signs that 2006 will be a good year are in place and they forecast real gross domestic product growth -- GDP less inflation -- of [only] 1.7%.

2006-01-23
Dennis Jacobe _Gallup Poll News_
Investors consider energy costs, health costs and low availability of jobs are most important problems for 2006
"2 in 3 investors say energy prices (69%) and health-care costs (68%) will be extremely important for investors in 2006. Third is the availability of jobs (59%), followed by Iraq (56%), terrorism (53%), the out-sourcing of jobs to foreign countries (52%), and the federal budget deficit (51%)... tax cuts on personal income, interest rates, and inflation -- all at 42%. Illegal immigration follows at 39%, and conditions in the housing market come in last at 26%."

2006-01-23 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Ed Beavan _Libertarian Community News_
Civil service jobs to go over-seas
"Thousands of civil service jobs could be moved to call centres over-seas in a bid to save the government £1G, a union is claiming.   The Public and Commercial Services Union says a leaked document from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that Secretary of State John Hutton is considering the out-sourcing plan, which would hit staff in call centres in job centres and benefit agencies...   DWP staff will be holding a 2 day strike this Thursday and Friday to protest against ongoing job cuts in the department which they claim are placing unreasonable stress on staff."

2006-01-23
_Canadian News Wire_
Canadian Senior Executives Are Bullish on Growth Prospects for 2006
"Three-quarters of senior executives in North America, Europe and Asia believe their companies and industries will grow in 2006, according to the results of an on-line survey released today by Accenture [best known for being spun off from Andersen Consulting in an effort to dodge bad publicity surrounding their involvement with fraud related to Enron]...   nearly four-fifths (78%) of companies will be hiring in the next 6 months either to fill crucial positions as they are vacated or to actively recruit new employees.   In addition, nearly half (46%) of the companies expect to increase spending this year...   Most Canadian senior executives expect their companies to expand in 2 ways: by building deeper relationships with current customers (85%) and by launching new products and services (73%).   As well, 57% of Canadian executives expect to acquire or merge with companies this coming year.   From a geographic perspective, executives in [Red China] are the most optimistic about economic growth.   In fact, nearly every Chinese respondent (98%) predicted growth for his or her industry this year.   Canadian businesses are only slightly more bullish about industry growth than the rest of the world with 79% expecting their company to grow and 75% expecting their industry to grow.   [Only] 40% of Canadian senior executives are actively hiring.   Of those hiring, 67% will be hiring up to 5% more staff.   Almost 50% of Canadian businesses are trying to fill crucial and vacant positions."

2006-01-23
Vittorio Roma _V Dare_
A Catholic reader meditates on "Migration Week"
"The understandable pushback by immigration reformers like Lou Dobbs, Peter Gadiel, Joe Guzzardi and Brenda Walker against the recently-concluded 'Migration Week', orchestrated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and their ex-Carter Administration staffers, doesn't end the story.   There's more to 'Migration Week' than meets the eye…especially when seen through the eyes of faith.   Let me stipulate: History offers all too many examples of certain members of the Catholic hierarchy getting involved in particular political issues, when they would have done better by simply re-affirming Catholic moral principles for the faithful.   And, although couched ever so loosely from statements by the Holy See, the ulterior motive concealed in the USCCB's thinly-veiled celebration of the illegal alien in America was certainly plain...   All of this is deeply offensive to patriotic American Catholics, among whom I count myself...   But statements by American and/or Mexican Bishops concerning U.S. immigration policy do not speak for the Vatican, the Holy See.   In fact, the 2005 October message of Pope Benedict XVI written for use on the 2006 'World Day of Migrants and Refugees' contains no Open Borders imperative.   Pope Benedict XVI actually made reference to distinctions between 'national and international migration, forced and voluntary migration, legal and illegal migration, [and those] subject also to the scourge of trafficking in human beings'...   The Pope's message said nothing about illegal aliens having a right to enter the United States at anytime they want, as many times as they want, for whatever reason they desire.   Pope Benedict's message, as with most Papal statements dealing with refugees and other immigration-related issues, focuses entirely on Christian charity and pastoral care—especially administering the sacraments to the faithful in foreign lands."

2006-01-23
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
There Are UnFathomed Dangers in Patriot Act Re-Authorization
"A provision in the 'Patriot Act' creates a new federal police force with power to violate the Bill of Rights...   Go to House Report 109-333 -USA PATRIOT IMPROVEMENT AND REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2005 and check it out for yourself.   Sec. 605...   The new police are empowered to 'make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony.'   The new police are assigned a variety of jurisdictions, including 'an event designated under section 3056(e) of title 18 as a special event of national significance' (SENS).   'A special event of national significance' is neither defined nor does it require the presence of a 'protected person' such as the president in order to trigger it.   Thus, the administration, and perhaps the police themselves, can place the SENS designation on any event.   Once a SENS designation is placed on an event, the new federal police are empowered to keep out and to arrest people at their discretion...   the president and foreign dignitaries are already provided superb protection by the Secret Service.   The naive will not comprehend that the president cannot be endangered by demonstrators at SENS at which the president is not present.   For many Americans, the light refuses to turn on...   It is extremely difficult to hold even local police forces accountable.   Who is going to hold accountable a federal police protected by Homeland Security and the president?"

2006-01-23
Last
DJIA10,688.77
S&P 5001,263.82
NASDAQ2,248.47
10-year US T-Bond4.36%
crude oil$68.10

 

2006-01-24

2006-01-24
Gary North _Lew Rockwell_
The Ph.D. Glut Revisited
"The economist rarely uses the words 'glut' and 'shortage' without adding: at some price.   Other scholars are not equally wise.   A free market theory of pricing rests on the supposition that gluts and shortages are temporary phenomena.   Prices adjust so as to clear a market.   If this does not take place, the free market economist goes looking for evidence of state intervention...
Experienced sellers do get the picture.   The problem is a continuing supply of new sellers who are unfamiliar with the market and ignorant of the past supply-demand conditions.   Or, as has been said so often, there's a sucker born every minute...   In the worldwide suckers' market, gamblers are the only people who are slower to learn than young adults with masters' degrees.   Bright graduate students possess a pair of non-marketable skills: the ability to write term papers and the ability to take academic exams.   They are also economic illiterates and incurably naïve.   So, they become the trusting victims of the professorial class...
Academic departments grow in terms of the number of students enrolled.   We know from Parkinson's Law that growth is an institutional imperative.   Administrators advance their careers by expanding the number of subordinates in their department.   So, every academic department wants more students -- students of a special kind...
It may take 15 lower-division students to generate one FTE.   It may take only 8 Ph.D.-level graduate students to generate an FTE.   The more Ph.D. students a department can attract, the faster the growth of that department.   This is the iron law of academia...   This fact of academic economic life creates an incentive for departments to enroll lots of graduate students.   It also rewards those departments that persuade M.A. students to go into the Ph.D. program.   Also, the brightest graduate students may be asked to do unpaid or grant-paid research for senior professors.   The professors then publish the results of this research under their own names, thereby advancing their careers.   It's the division of labor at work.   The Ph.D. glut has existed ever since the Fall of 1969.   The number of entry-level full-time professorial positions has remained stagnant...   At $20K or more per year in tuition and living expenses, plus the $35K+ not earned in the job market, trying to earn a Ph.D. is a losing proposition."

2006-01-24
Anne Fisher _CNN_/_Money_/_Fortune_
Where have all the tech jobs gone?
"The job market for techies is still struggling to recover from the dot-com bust of five years ago, and it may never bounce back all the way...   First, lay-offs are slowing, according to research by Chicago career-services firm Challenger Gray & Christmas.   Tech companies announced in the fourth quarter of 2005 that they would eliminate 34,048 jobs, a decrease of 18% from the previous quarter -- and an eye-catching 41% drop from the number of lay-offs (57,686) in the same period of 2004...   Challenger's figures show that, for all of 2005, tech job losses caused by mergers shot up 800%.   As telecommunications, computer, and electronics companies acquired each other, they shed 174,444 jobs -- a huge jump from 2004, when just 6,115 lay-offs resulted from mergers."

2006-01-24
Russ Nelson _Angry Economist_
Companies are leaving money on the table
"Any time you have to deal with a company, you'll find dysfunctional performance...   What if they tried to make the person, not a better worker, but a better person?   First, they would end up with happier workers.   Frankly, you can pay happier workers less, so the company would save money there.   They would also end up with people who were better, more capable workers.   If a person's flaws get in the way of the job task, and the company can heal those flaws, then the person's labor would be more valuable to the company.   The company would end up paying less for more."

2006-01-24
Roy Beck _Numbers USA_
Arlen Specter Aims to Ruin Border Security Bill by Inserting Massive Amnesty: Drowning the US Labor Force and Importing Poverty
"immigration bill prepared in late 2005 by senator Arlen Specter (R-PA).   While the Specter proposal has many strong enforcement provisions, including mandatory employment eligibility verification through the Basic Pilot program, the benefits to the American people would be far outweighed by the proposals' massive increase in immigration and foreign worker importation...   The Specter bill would increase total immigration by a minimum of 1M a year...   Specter would more than double to 290K the current cap of 140K employment-based visas...   Specter proposal would Reward Illegal Aliens with Work Permits and, Eventually, Citizenship...   he forgot about the 'exit' part.   Specter would allow all illegal aliens to apply to adjust either to the H-5A status described below or to legal permanent residence.   As is noted below, the number of illegal aliens who adjust to H-5A status does not count toward the cap on H-5A visas...   The Specter proposal would create a new H-5A nonimmigrant visa for any foreign worker who does not qualify for an H-1B visa (skilled, specialty occupation workers), an H-2A visa (agricultural workers), an L visa (intra-company transferees, i.e., workers at corporations with U.S. subsidiaries), or an O, P, or R visa (aliens with extraordinary ability in science, arts, education, business, or athletics; internationally recognized athletes; artists and entertainers; and religious workers).   In order to qualify for an H-5A visa, an alien must have a job offer from a U.S. employer, be capable of performing the work, have a medical exam, and pay a fee of [only] $500, plus the normal visa-processing fee...   In addition, the Specter proposal would exempt from the H-1B cap any alien with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering, or math from an accredited U.S. university...   The cap on family-preference immigrants (all admissible categories of relatives except the spouses, minor children and parents of U.S. citizens) would increase by at least 254K each year.   The Specter proposal changes the formula by which the family-preference cap is determined by eliminating the requirement that the number of Immediate Relatives (the spouses, minor children and parents of citizens) admitted in the previous year be subtracted from the overall family cap of 480K.   Current law prohibits the family-preference cap from dropping below 226K, regardless of how many Immediate Relatives were admitted, so the formula results in 254K visas being subtracted each year, since the number of Immediate Relatives far surpasses that figure.   The Specter proposal also would add any 'unused' family visas from 2001 to 2005 to the current quotas.   In reality, there are no 'unused' visas, since any visas not issued to relatives in one year are added to the number of employment-based visas available in the following year.   If this fact is ignored, as Specter would do, an extra 100K or more visas could be made available to family-preference immigrants.   Specter would more than double to 290K the current cap of 140K employment-based visas.   The proposal also would add any 'unused' employment-based visas from 2001 to 2005.   Again, there are no such visas, but ignoring the facts could add an extra 100K or more visas to the cap."

2006-01-24 06:56PST (09:56EST) (14:56GMT)
Steve Goldstein _MarketWatch_
DaimlerChrysler to cut 6K jobs
Manchester Guardian
abc
Detroit Free Press
Deutsche Welle
BBC
Detroit News
"DaimlerChrysler said Tuesday it'll eliminate 6K general and administrative jobs as new CEO Dieter Zetsche puts his stamp on the company. The auto giant said it's cutting 20% of general and administrative jobs -- and 30% of those at the management level. After excluding previously announced moves, these reductions will save the company 1G euros ($1.2G) a year. Daimler plans to centralize areas such as finance and controlling, human resources and strategy... He also didn't detail where the job cuts would occur, but noted that close to 60% of administrative jobs are in Germany, about 25% are in the U.S. and Canada, and the rest around the world. The company isn't planning to move any further jobs from Auburn Hills, MI to Germany, Zetsche added."

2006-01-24
_CNN_
BlackBerry black-out could be costly: Shut-down of wireless e-mail system would have a profound negative impact on business
"RIM has been preparing a software work-around in case of a shut-down. While the company hasn't publicized details of this plan, it says it will deploy it if necessary to maintain the operation of BlackBerry services in the United States."

2006-01-24 06:04PST (09:04EST) (14:04GMT)
_NBC 30 Hartford_
Study Recommends New Laws to Combat Human Trafficking
"The Connecticut Interagency Task Force on Trafficking in Persons intends to increase public awareness and educate law enforcement and domestic violence advocates about how to recognize a trafficked victim, typically an immigrant who has been tricked and ultimately forced into the sex trade or low-skilled, manual labor...   Jose Calhelha, 46, was charged with illegally transporting and harboring illegal aliens.   He faces up to 70 years in prison and fines of up to $1.75M if convicted.   In December, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Bridgeport-based non-profit International Institute of Connecticut a $500K grant to help victims of human trafficking.   The agency will use the money to provide victims with clothing, shelter, education and other necessities.   Last July, the federal government awarded a $450K grant to a task force of local, state and federal law enforcement officials and government agencies and non-profit organizations to identify and rescue trafficking victims.   Traffickers keep victims enslaved and honor-bound to satisfy debts, isolated from family and under threats of violence and deportation.   Traffickers also confiscate passports and visas.   Between 600K and 800K people were trafficked across international borders last year, and an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 of them came to the United States, according to a report by the U.S. State Department in June.   Many of the immigrants are from Vietnam, Southeast Asia, India, Eastern Europe and Central and South America."

2006-01-24
Tim Evans _Indianapolis Star_
Bill would bar state aid to illegal aliens
"Members of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee voted today to send the full House a bill that would prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving most types of public assistance and all but emergency health care from public hospitals.   The bill also would require law enforcement agencies to verify the immigration status of suspected illegal aliens.   'I think this is the right statement for Indiana.', said representative P. Eric Turner, R-Gas City, who sponsored House Bill 1383.   'We should not reward somebody who comes here illegally by trying to figure out how to give them benefits of U.S. citizens.'   Turner said an estimated 45K illegal immigrants put a huge strain on the state's resources and divert funds that could be used to help citizens and legal immigrants."

2006-01-24
Marc Frank _abc_
Castro complains about bill-board that displays anti-Castro messages
"The U.S. electronic message board, with 9-foot-high crimson letters running through 25 windows on the building's fifth floor, can be seen kilometers away.   Even as Castro spoke, the ticker sprang to life with news interspersed between messages such as, 'only in totalitarian societies do governments talk at their people and never listen'...   'We are only trying to communicate with the Cuban people.   Only a dictator would be upset.', said Michael Parmly, the top U.S. diplomat in Havana...   Since President Bush took office -- with strong support from the Florida-based Cuban American community -- he has tightened sanctions and ordered diplomats in Havana to be more aggressive in their opposition to the Castro government."

2006-01-24
Joe Snapper _Saginaw News_
Illegal aliens jailed, then released
"Three illegal aliens arrested over the weekend in Saginaw are free today because the U.S. government has bigger fish to fry, federal officials said.   Saginaw County authorities could not find a reason to charge them with a crime, forcing the trio's release Sunday, sheriff's officials said.   The men, two Mexican nationals and a Guatemalan, are not legal citizens but apparently had not broken immigration laws severely enough to get U.S. Border Patrol agents' attention...   The trio, riding in a blue two-door 1994 Chevy sedan, were pulling out of a [closed] Bay Road Chinese restaurant's parking lot in the wee hours Sunday when they saw a sheriff deputy's flashers...   Sheriff's officials put the 3 on the phone with Spanish-speaking Border Patrol agents in Port Huron, who pegged each an illegal alien and urged their jailing, Yancer said."

2006-01-24
Thomas Sowell _Post Chronicle_
Political Corruption
Jewish World Review
"Government is corrupted whenever it is diverted from its avowed purpose and directed toward some other goal, especially goals that conflict with its purpose.   This more general kind of corruption is much bigger than a few bribes and has far weightier consequences.   Staggering as it is to think of the trillions of dollars in run-away spending by the federal government, that is just part of the story.   There are still more trillions of dollars being promised in [Socialist Insecurity] pensions and Medicare payments, for which there is not enough money in the till.   It is like writing checks without enough money in the bank to redeem them.   Present members of Congress win votes by promising such goodies.   That leaves it up to future members of Congress to figure out how to welsh on those promises, which could not be met without jacking up tax rates to unprecedented levels...   Getting millions of people to rely on pensions that are not going to be there is corrupting government on a scale that makes bribing a few Congressmen look like minor league stuff.   Misuse of the powers of government is widespread at every level of government.   Confiscating homes for which people have worked and sacrificed for a lifetime, in order to turn the property over to someone else who is expected to pay more taxes, is a corruption of the power of eminent domain, which was put there to enable government to do things like build a dam or highway to benefit everyone.   In Burbank, California, the local politicians forced Home Depot to build a little shelter in which illegal aliens can wait to be picked up for work as day laborers -- for other people.   The power to grant or withhold building permits was another power meant to be exercised for the public good, not to impose arbitrary extortions.   But that kind of corruption is common in many communities...   What we can change are the incentives and constraints.   At the heart of much government corruption is one simple thing: Re-election.   It takes big bucks to run a political campaign and all that most politicians have to sell is the power of government that they control.   That is what they do sell in various ways to various special interests...   What really needs to be done is to put a limit of 1 term in 1 office and a waiting period of several years before being elected or appointed to another office in government.   IOW, make political careers impossible."

2006-01-24
David Tatosian _American Daily_
Fun with the Minuteman Project

2006-01-24
Mason Stockstill _Daily Bulletin_
Minutemen report dozens of invaders
"Volunteers with the Minuteman civilian border watch organization spotted dozens of suspected illegal immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico divide this weekend and reported them to the Border Patrol, according to members of the group.   Two separate chapters of the nationwide organization parked themselves along the border in Arizona and New Mexico, eventually reporting nearly 50 border-crossers to authorities."

2006-01-24
Sara A. Carter & Kenneth Todd Ruiz _Daily Bulletin_
Police face Mexican military and smugglers along US border
"Mexican soldiers and civilian smugglers had an armed standoff with nearly 30 U.S. law enforcement officials on the Rio Grande in Texas Monday afternoon, according to Texas police and the FBI.   Mexican military Humvees were towing what appeared to be thousands of pounds of marijuana across the border into the United States, said Chief Deputy Mike Doyal, of the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department.   Mexican Army troops had several mounted machine guns on the ground more than 200 yards inside the U.S. border -- near Neely's Crossing, about 50 miles east of El Paso -- when Border Patrol agents called for backup.   Hudspeth County deputies and Texas Highway patrol officers arrived shortly afterward, Doyal said...   Doyal said deputies captured one vehicle in the incident, a Cadillac Escalade reportedly stolen from El Paso, and found 1,477 pounds of marijuana inside.   The Mexican soldiers set fire to one of the Humvees stuck in the river, he said...   Citing a Jan. 15 story in the Daily Bulletin, representatives David Dreier, R-Glendora, and Duncan Hunter, R-San Diego, last week asked the House Judiciary Committee, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the House Homeland Security Committee and the House International Relations Committee to investigate the incursions.   The story focused on a Department of Homeland Security document reporting 216 incursions by Mexican soldiers during the past 10 years and a map with the seal of the president's Office of National Drug Control Policy, both of which were given to the newspaper."

2006-01-24
Les Kinsolving _World Net Daily_
Virginia's new statute denies benefits to illegal aliens
"The state of Virginia has passed a new law that bars illegal aliens from receiving state-funded benefits.   No one without a Social Security number can receive Medicaid, temporary assistance for needy family, or any help from several other state and local programs, reports the Associated Press.   Nor should they.   For illegal aliens are lawbreakers – which means criminals.   State Representative David Albo, a Republican from Fairfax, sponsored this new bill and noted that the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles rightfully rejected 187K applicants the first year after 2004 legislation restricted illegals from obtaining driver's licenses."

2006-01-24
Bolaji Nafiu _Vanguard_
It's better to have a brain drain than brain in the drain
"The very sensitive issue of human capital flight has been a  highly controversial topic not only in Nigeria or Africa, but even in the more developed and richer countries.   The European Union and OECD countries as well as the developing/retrogressing nations are all having their fair share of the brain circulation phenomenon, and when it comes to brain drain, the United States is  the gigantic refuse disposal/sewage treatment system with a cosmic centripetal force that sucks in a massive amount of global cerebrocortical neurons.   The United States is the main pole of attraction for foreign skilled workers, 40% of its foreign-born adult population have tertiary level education.   It is also not very difficult to figure out why this is so and why it is not likely to change no matter how strong we may be in our cultural and patriotic sensibilities.   Brain drain essentially is capital flight, only in human terms, which makes it even more vital because capital can be moved back within a nanosecond but global statistics has shown that when people move away, most do not return to their countries of origin, and most of the few who do, will return when they are old and infirm and no longer productive to their native economies, in short, they return to become a big health burden on their native countries.   Capital flight devastated the Asian economy over a decade ago.   Human capital flight or brain drain is devastating the economies of the developing nations now but it is a myth that only developing nations are affected.  In fact, the term 'brain drain' was first coined by the Royal Society of London to describe the outflow of scientists and technologists to the United States and Canada in the early 1950s...   In the last 5 to 10 years, almost 80% of these patents and discoveries are from America.   America spends almost $300G every year on research, and as we all know, this gigantic sum pays for everything that makes the researcher's life meaningful and professionally satisfying...   it is more like brain transplant, and the poor nations that spend a fortune nurturing these brains are the unfortunate donors.   Brain drain is brain gain only from a personal perspective in that the individual is able to employ and exploit the full potential of their intellectual abilities...   When people leave, most of them leave for good and they are almost exclusively productive for their adopted nations.   The money that gets remitted back home, (in the case of Nigeria about $2G or 50% of remittance to sub-Saharan Africa) cannot jump- start the economy to any significant degree.   It is like trying to jump-start a car with empty fuel tank.   You will have to keep pushing to make it move but you will never be at the front of any auto race.   Of the $130G that gets remitted back to developing nations, two thirds go to Asia and only 15% go to the entire Africa, with Sub-Saharan Africa receiving five per cent.   Remittances have undoubtedly contributed to improving the living standards of migrants and their families but there is no evidence that they have had a positive impact on the overall economic development of the countries of origin...   Just look at the number of foreign born US Nobel prize winners.   Think about Intel, and eBay and other highly successful start ups...   The International Organization for Migration estimates that about 300K professionals from Africa live and work in Europe and America and reports of successful emigres going back home are the anecdotes and not the rule...   Haiti still has one of the highest emigration rates of its skilled professionals in the world, a whopping 70-80%.   Same for Jamaica.   Haitians and Jamaicans have also been coming to America before most Nigerians could locate the USA on a map.   Haiti is still one of the poorest countries in the world.   Most of the other countries with over 20% emigration factor of skilled professionals are poverty stricken nations."

2006-01-24
Justin Hakes & Stefan Gleason _US News Wire_/_National Right to Work Foundation_
UAW & Freightliner sued by Right-to-Work Foundation for Conspiracy to Require Union Membership to Be Employed
"With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, 5 auto-workers from 3 major facilities today filed a class-action federal racketeering law-suit against the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and Daimler-Chrysler subsidiary Freightliner LLC.   The workers announced the law-suit this morning at a press conference outside of UAW headquarters in Detroit and allege an illegal scheme to install a 'company union' and repeated violations of workers' rights.   Filed in the U.S District Court for the Western District of North Carolina under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practice Act (RICO), the lawsuit alleges a pattern of violations of longstanding federal law that bars employers from delivering 'things of value' to unions.   The RICO statutes are used to prosecute criminal enterprises, e.g., organized crime, gang activities, and union corruption.   The complaint outlines a secret quid pro quo arrangement between Freightliner and the UAW in which union officials agreed in advance to significant concessions at the expense of the Freightliner workers at its non-union facilities in North Carolina in exchange for valuable company assistance in organizing those workers.   Specifically, Freightliner and the UAW union expressly agreed to limitations on wages, cancellation of an employee profit sharing bonus, an increase in the health care costs shouldered by employees, and other concessions.   These actions effectively handed certain control of the union over to the company."

2006-01-24 15:34:01PST (18:34:01EST) (23:34:01GMT)
Sara Cardine _Lodi News-Sentinel_
Lodi Unified Schools looking around world for faculty, while turning up their noses at best US teachers
"Citing a years-long shortage of credentialed teachers in math, science and special education, Lodi Unified will look as far as the Philippines to fill in teaching gaps next school year.   In a few weeks, Tokay High School Principal Erik Sandstrom will set forth on an all-expenses paid trip to the capital city of Manila and Cebu in the south, where he will interview credentialed teaching candidates willing to teach math and science in Lodi schools...   Kenmotsu did have a problem, however, with the positions being filled before local teachers had a crack at them.   'There may be right now, in San Joaquin County, a teacher completing a program in math, science or special education who will be hired, but not in Lodi because we've hired someone from the Philippines to take their place.', Kenmotsu said.   'That disturbs me.'."
 

2006-01-25

2006-01-25
_MarketWatch_
Lay-Offs Reported at Napster
"The Hollywood Reporter cited 'a 10% work-force reduction, focused within the programming and marketing divisions', of the on-line music company (NAPS).   Earlier this month, there were rumors of a restructuring.   PaidContent.org, a media industry web site, said it heard RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK) or M$ Corp.'s (MSFT) MSN Music might be interested in acquiring the music service.   Top management at Napster has reportedly emphasized the lay-offs were not indicative of any larger trend, and dismissed any discussions of a future sale or liquidation, the Hollywood Reporter added."

2006-01-25 12:01PST (15:01EST) (20:01GMT)
Ben Hirschler _Reuters_
Google Confesses That Decision to Censor for the Red Chinese Dictators Was, and Remains, Purely Evil: Joins Other US Firms in Participation in Rights Violations
abc
MarketWatch
BBC
VNU Net
USA Today
The Age
Tech World
CNN
Voice of America
Science Daily
Boston Globe
San Jose Mercury News
RTE Ireland
Compilation: "Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin said his company's decision to self-censor its Chinese search system...   Google [confessed] on Tuesday it has been blocking politically sensitive terms on its new Red China search site and not offer e-mail, chat and blog publishing services, which Red Chinese government thugs fear can become flash-points for social or political protest.   Until now, Google has only censored its news site in Red China - a practice it began months ago.   The new Red Chinese version of its search engine will go further than that, by not offering the e-mail or blogging services that the company offers in other markets.   Those actions go further than many of its biggest rivals in Red China.   The company agreed to block some sites that cover human rights, Tibet and other topics Beijing doesn't want the citizens of this communist nation to research.   Google plans to run the service initially from U.S.A.-based servers.   Over time it plans to use servers located in Red China.   When researchers searched the words 'democracy' and 'China' on Google.com, 40 of the top 100 sites returned were found to be blocked.   Similar results emerged from searches for 'freedom china' and 'justice china'.   Last year Yahoo! turned over to the Red Chinese government information about a Chinese journalist's e-mail account.   The journalist was later convicted of violating state secrecy laws.   Today a search on Google.com for 'Falun Gong', a spiritual movement banned by the Red Chinese government, returned a web site run by followers of the sect.   That web site was not listed in an identical search on Google.cn, according to The Associated Press.   The results noted that some information had been deleted from the search.   Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog group, slammed Google -- whose corporate motto is 'Don't Be Evil' -- as hypocritical.   John Palfrey, a Harvard Law School professor and executive director of the school's Berkman Center, suggested the move was inevitable.   'The Internet has changed fundamentally.', he said.   'This move by Google is yet one more sort of nail in the coffin of that perfectly open Internet that some people thought was the point.'.   'They and other tech companies are helping to build information systems that are surveillance-friendly.', said Evan Hendricks, publisher of the Privacy Times newsletter in Washington, DC.   'It's hard to find a positive in that.'.   Human Rights Watch told the BBC that if all the search engines acted together, they would be in a strong position to argue for free access."
Privacy links

2006-01-25
Kathy Gurchiek _Society for Human Resource Management_
Firms Abuse H-1B Visas To Avoid Hiring Americans
"Employers use the H-1B temporary visa program more often to import cheaper labor than to fill vacancies for which no U.S. workers are available, says a recent report by the nonprofit Center for Immigration Studies.   Not only that, H-1B workers recruited for computer jobs are paid on average $13K less per year than Americans working the same job in the same state, it says."

2006-01-25 12:45PST (15:45EST) (20:45GMT)
Lisa Sanders _MarketWatch_
BB&T stands against abuse of eminent-domain to seize property for private projects
"BB&T Corp. said Wednesday that it would not lend to developers that plan to build on land seized under eminent domain...   Eminent domain -- whose basic tenet is that a government has the right to seize private property for public use provided it pays fair market value for the property -- traditionally has been used to facilitate the construction of airports, roads and other public infrastructure.   'The idea that a citizen's property can be taken by the government solely for private use is extremely misguided [and] in fact it's just plain wrong.', said BB&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Allison, according to a company statement.   BB&T won't lend to projects that intend to deprive citizens of their property, he said...   BB&T said 38 states may pass or have passed laws prohibiting the use of eminent domain for private projects.   At the federal level, the Private Property Rights Protection Act would withdraw federal economic-development financing for two years from municipal governments that use the right of eminent domain for non-public economic-development projects.   Shares of BB&T were down 0.5% in late-day action Wednesday.   The National Association of Home Builders opposes the use of eminent domain to promote economic development."

2006-01-25 08:46PST (11:46EST) (16:46GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Existing home sales fell 5.7% in December, but 2005 set a record at 7.072M
National Association of Realtors report

2006-01-25
_American Chronicle_
Tancredo Lauds Settlement Compensating Legal Workers for Compensation Lost to Illegal Aliens
"Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) hailed the first-ever lawsuit settlement for depressed wages against a company that hires illegal aliens.   The $1.3M settlement, announced late Monday, was the result of a law-suit filed against top executives of Zirkle Fruit Company of Selah, Washington, using the RICO organized crime statutes.   'Companies must not be allowed to purposefully and systematically break federal hiring laws.', said Tancredo.   'Corporations continue to hire illegal workers because they never really fear punishment.   Until our government enforces the law, innovative legal strategies like the ones used against Zirkle may be the American worker's last line of defense.' According to documents filed in the Eastern District of Washington, the INS audited Zirkle's employee records in 1998 and criticized the company for widespread illegal hires.   Court documents show that as late as 2004, more than 12K of Zirkle's employees -- 70% of its work-force -- gave phony [Socialist Insecurity numbers] on their employment applications.   A Zirkle employee noted that the documents the company accepted were obviously fraudulent: 'I saw a whole bunch of them, they made at home, they took a photo, they sliced the plastic and put the photo in there...   you look at the picture and it was somebody else's picture...'...   'Employers lobby Congress to keep our borders open and the cheap labor flowing.   Cheap labor is only cheap to the employers: as this law-suit shows, working Americans suffer real wage losses due to illegal, un-fair competition.', said Tancredo.   Zirkle executives settled shortly before the case was to go to trial, and the settlement amounts to approximately $2 per hour in lost wages per legal employee.   However, Zirkle remains unwilling to scrub its workforce using DHS' Basic Pilot Program -- the on-line program whereby employers can instantly check the legal status of their employees."

2006-01-25
James Carlini _ePrairie_
Companies Are Over-Dosing on Their H-1B Addictions
"some companies were saving money by using cheaper labor on projects involving national security.   When you're an addict, you don't see the damage you do to others or the damage you inflict on national security...   What about the one federal case about stealing company trade secrets at Lucent a couple years ago?...   Sam Zell was very concerned about protecting American intellectual property rights in his speech at the recent Executives' Club of Chicago luncheon.
You can get the impact of mixing visas and national security from the next reader, who pointed out the erosion of security on a government project in Ohio: 'I am U.S. citizen.   I worked for a defense contracting company based in Dayton, Ohio.   My employer brought in foreign nationals on H-1B visas and laid off all American workers.   While some of the projects we worked on needed 'secret clearance', now even foreign nationals on an H-1B visa can take those jobs.   I'm now an IT HR recruiter.   All my clients now ask me if I can get a guy on an H-1B visa.   They'd rather have foreign nationals.   They don't want qualified American citizens.   You want to know why?   Because an H-1B visa worker has no rights under the law.   A person on an H-1B visa can't leave the company.   He is under a contract.   If he leaves, his visa is cancelled.   Also, they can pay the H-1B worker less money (by something like $20K)...'...
'until U.S. employees agree to some degree of relaxed standard of living by accepting lower wages they will continue to be at a severe disadvantage to incoming H-1B candidates.'...
I too have worked with foreign CEOs and presidents.   They don't make the staggering money that most of our CEOs and presidents make.   Still, they are just as effective (if not more so) than their American counterparts.   In fact, some are a lot better than their American counterparts and have good people skills and a good business sense.   It's funny that the same 'tighten your belt' attitude doesn't apply to CEOs and other top management people.   What about the excessive lifestyles of the CEOs from some of the companies that had less-than-stellar performances?...   Right now, how many U.S. executives could take a cut of two-thirds in pay and life-style that you propose others to take?   What about teachers and government workers?   It's easy to tell someone else to take the suicide ride down with the corporate plane as you jump out with the only parachute..."

2006-01-25
_OS Views_
Apple Seeing Strong Sales of iMac Core Duo and MacBook Pro

2006-01-25
Last
DJIA10,709.74
S&P 5001,264.68
NASDAQ2,260.65
10-year US T-Bond4.48%
crude oil$65.85

 

2006-01-26

2006-01-26 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 316,992 in the week ending Jan. 21, a decrease of 122,750 from the previous week.   There were 360,582 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4% during the week ending Jan. 14, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,053,310, a decrease of 108,904 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.6% and the volume was 3,311,633.   [Seasonally adjusted claims have returned to levels not seen since 7 months into the current depression.]"
graphs

2006-01-25 21:55PST (2006-01-26 00:55EST) (2006-01-26 05:55GMT)
Steve Karnowski _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Ameriprise Notifies 226K Clients of Data Theft
"Ameriprise Financial Inc. said Wednesday it has notified about 226K people that their names and other personal data were stored on a lap-top computer that was stolen from an employee's vehicle.   Ameriprise said it has alerted 68K current and former financial advisers whose names and [Socialist Insecurity] numbers were also stored on the same computer.   About 158K clients had only their names and internal account numbers exposed.   The company says it has more than 2M customers and about 10,500 current financial advisers...   Ameriprise is the name of the former American Express Financial Advisors division, which New York-based American Express Co. spun off last Fall.   Ameriprise said the theft appeared to be a 'random criminal act' and that it has been working with law enforcement to recover the laptop, which it said was stolen recently from an employee's locked vehicle that was parked off-site.   Company spokesman Steve Connolly said the lap-top was stolen in late December outside Minnesota, but he declined to say where...   Last summer, 40M consumer accounts, primarily MasterCard and Visa accounts, were exposed to possible fraud due to a breach at Atlanta-based CardSystems Solutions Inc., which processes credit card and other payments for banks and merchants.   Other companies that have faced recent problems with data theft or losses include Citigroup Inc., ChoicePoint Inc., LexisNexis Inc., [Bank of India Corp., formerly called Bank of America], DSW Shoe Warehouse and BJ's Wholesale Club Inc.   According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 10M people fall victim to identity theft each year, costing consumers $5G in losses and businesses nearly $50G."

2006-01-26
_Yahoo!_/_Reuters_
The terrorist organization Hamas won 57% of seats in Palestine parliamentary election
Reuters
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Jerusalem Post
Scotsman
UPI
USA Today
Ely Times
BBC
abc
Deutsche Welle
Boston Globe
Houston Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News

2006-01-26 07:19PST (10:19EST) (15:19GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Durable-goods orders were up 1.3% in December
"November's orders were revised higher by a full percentage point to 5.4%."
census bureau data

2006-01-26
Jennifer C. Kerr _WTOP DC_
Identity Thieves Target Children
"Identity theft complaints involving youngsters under 18 have nearly doubled since 2003, up from 6,512 to more than 11,600 last year, the FTC said Wednesday."

2006-01-26 08:04PST (11:04EST) (16:04GMT)
Aude Laborce _MarketWatch_
Indian delegates to Davos put on full-court press for concessions
"A huge Indian delegation consisting of 150 members -- including 3 cabinet members and 41 chief executives -- is using every opportunity to tell the movers and shakers of the global community gathered in the Alpine resort that India can be a profitable market for foreign investment and not just a service-sector economy.   [India may have a lot more freedom, but the government power-mongers and business executives don't care.   They still see the billions of oppressed in Red China as an opportunity to profit, kept just out of reach for decades.]"

2006-01-26
Bambi Francisco _MarketWatch_
Google has shown its true colors
"It's profound what being a public company can do to the core values of a young firm.   It was less than 2 years ago that Google Inc. co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin thumbed their noses at the U.S. investment banking community with an auction-based IPO and their pledge not to cave in to the short-term demands of Wall Street.   Their mantra was 'do no evil'...   its high-minded philosophical goal to 'resist the temptation to make small sacrifices to increase share-holder value'...   Yet Google's announcement Tuesday that it will comply with [Red China's] repressive laws by doctoring its search results in that country makes a mockery of those values... for more access in a country that will contribute very little business in the near future...   It certainly seems to be [ironic], especially after Google's decision to resist a U.S. Department of Justice sub poena for search query data last week.   In that case, Google's decision was less about the search engine trying to protect the privacy of individuals than it was about not wanting to be strong-armed by the U.S. government...   'The real question is whether Google could have done better -- using its market power to support free speech and influence the [Red Chinese] government to allow the broadest range of speech to reach the Chinese people.', said Kurt Opsahl, an attorney at Electronic Frontier Foundation.   'Perhaps some results are better than no results [some of the time], but... it places a single gate-keeper between the people and the information, which is easier to regulate and control.'...   A successful serial entrepreneur friend once said that when starting a business, one has to know whether they're doing it because they want to change the world in a good way, or because they want to make money.   It's one or the other, not both.   He is right.   We often have lofty goals.   We often remind ourselves of them, as Google does of its own.   But more often than not we fail to achieve them."

2006-01-26
John Monroe _Federal Computer Week_
Tom Davis fails to represent his constituents in the USA
"Tom Davis (R-VA) adamantly opposes the Buy American Act, off-shore out-sourcing restrictions and other trade policies that could limit competition in the government market...   Some law-makers have pushed for laws that favor vendors who rely on manufacturing and services based in the United States rather than going over-seas where the low cost of labor makes it possible to drive down prices without eating into [executives' and politicians' extravagant pay packages].   The Buy American Act, for example, [gives US firms preference].   In recent years, some law-makers have introduced Buy American amendments that would extend the law to products made in the United States with foreign-made components.   Earlier this year, for example, representative Donald Manzullo (R-IL) proposed an amendment to the omnibus spending bill that would prohibit the Homeland Security Department from buying products in which more than half the components come from over-seas."

2006-01-26
Andrew Taylor _Financial Times_
Out-Sourcing Loses 30K Jobs Per Year
"Some 30K jobs a year are estimated to have been lost since 2000 after employers moved back-up services to cheaper off-shore locations, such as India, a survey says today.   About 30% of employers admit to being under pressure to move services over-seas to try to cut costs...according to the study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.   It estimates that for every 180 jobs cut by employers moving work over-seas only 58 jobs were created in the UK."

2006-01-26 13:37PST (16:37EST) (21:37GMT)
Padraic Cassidy _MarketWatch_
Caterpillar profit jumped to $846M
"fourth-quarter net income rose to $846M, or $1.20 a share, compared with $551M, or 77 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.   Sales at the Peoria, Ill.-based manufacturer in the 3 months ended Dec. 31 rose by more than 12% to $9.66G from $8.58G...   In 2006, Caterpillar expects sales of about $40G and profit of $4.65 to $5 a share.   At the end of the third quarter, Caterpillar predicted a profit of $4.52 to $4.91 a share...   In 2005, Caterpillar earned more than $2.85G and recorded sales of $36.34G.   The maker of diggers, dozers, scrapers and engines also added 10% more employees in 2005, to 85,116."

2006-01-26
Last
DJIA10,809.47
S&P 5001,273.83
NASDAQ2,283.00
10-year US T-Bond4.52%
crude oil$67.27

 

2006-01-27

2006-01-27 06:09PST (09:09EST) (14:09GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
GDP continued to grow in 2005 Q4, but at a slower, 1.1% acceleration
BEA data

2006-01-27
Alan Tonelson _American Economic Alert_
The Labor Shortage Hoax
"Not surprisingly, these studies are all coming from the out-sourcing lobby itself.   In November, the National Association of Manufacturers, whose sector of the economy has lost 3.34M jobs since employment peaked in 1998, reported finding 'a widening gap between the dwindling supply of skilled workers in America and the growing technical demands of the modern manufacturing work-place'.   In fact, 39% of the [executives] responding to a NAM-sponsored survey reported shortages of unskilled production workers.   The U.S. Chamber of Commerce chimed in shortly after the new year, declaring in its new State of American Business report, 'We are staring right in the face of a severe worker shortage as 77M baby boomers prepare to retire in the next 5 years...'   Added the Chamber, 'Many new jobs will require more technical skills and a greater understanding of math and science, subjects in which American students fail to show a suitable level of competence or even interest.' And the leading lobby for high-tech out-sourcers, the Information Technology Association of America [ITAA], continues to warn of a crisis in the availability of technically skilled workers and the need to greatly expand the number of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians graduating from American colleges and universities.   What's wrong with these findings?   Only 2 things: First, the main studies themselves are slipshod methodogically and internally contradictory.   Second, they clash with everything known about major trends in the U.S. labor market, and about labor shortages themselves.   The study attracting the most attention has been NAM's effort, a survey of manufacturers conducted by Deloitte Consulting.   To put it mildly, NAM should ask for its money back.   Only 10% of the 8K companies contacted by Deloitte replied, and as Wall Street Journal columnist David Wessel noted, lots of self-selection surely was at work.   Specifically, employers not perceiving any shortages probably were much less likely to bother responding than those that did.   Further, Deloitte ignored a major irony that practically shouts out from the results: Although the consulting firm recommended that companies spend at least 3% of their pay-rolls on employee training, it found that fully 75% of all respondents fell short of this threshold.   Moreover, only half the total respondents have increased their training expenditures over the last 3 years.   And 64% of total respondents are training 60% of their workers or fewer.   Does this sound like the behavior of firms that value trained workers and are desperate to secure them?...   it's hard to imagine that talented people will flock to manufacturing production careers in a nation whose trade policies encourage the massive off-shoring of such jobs.   And it's hard to imagine that talented people will flock to research, development, engineering, and design careers in manufacturing in a nation that not only encourages the off-shoring of these jobs, too, but that admits large numbers of immigrants who will do this work for bargain basement pay...   In the case of worker shortages, employers simply need to increases wages enough, and before too long, they will be able to attract whatever workers they need – either from the ranks of the voluntarily or involuntarily unemployed, or from competitors.   Of course, the opposite is equally true.   As long as workers are in over-supply, businesses can offer meager wages in full confidence that qualified workers and jobseekers will have no choice but to swallow them.   In other words, anyone believing in modern economics should recognize that manufacturers aren't facing a chronic labor shortage.   If they were, they wouldn't be cutting wages.   Instead, they face a shortage of workers willing to accept the paltry wages they have been offered.   How paltry?   The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Labor show that after peaking in1978 – yes, 28 years ago, inflation-adjusted wages for manufacturing workers have fallen back to levels they first hit in 1972...   NAM Chief Economist David Huether has added that, since 2000, wages have fallen from 84% of total manufacturing compensation to 80%, with growing health care costs the main reason...   In addition, everything known about the dominant trends in the U.S. labor market clashes with claims of chronic labor shortages...   [US department of labor projections] anticipate that nearly 40% of the new jobs that will have been created between 2004 and 2014 in the economy's fastest-growing occupations will require only short-term or moderate-term on-the-job training -- i.e., no post-secondary school at all.   Moreover, another 9% of these jobs will only require a 2-year (Associates) degree.   The predominance of jobs lacking B.A. requirements is even greater in those professions that will remain America's largest employers in absolute terms.   This sounds more like a Wal-Mart-centric economy than a technology-centric economy.   And here's a result that made me, for one, laugh out loud: These Labor Department projections do indeed generally show that the more training a job requires, the higher the pay.   But do you know what the Labor Department considers 'very high' pay -- its highest pay category?   A grand total of $43,600 in total annual earnings...   This option explains much of the record profits these companies have been earning -- profits that clearly aren't being spent on attracting skilled workers with better pay offers, or on training existing workers.   It's clear, then, that most labor shortage claims are simply meant to justify the multinationals' continued resort to the low-wage strategy to greater short-term profits, either through off-shoring jobs and production, or through flooding the U.S. labor market with immigrants.   But give credit to the out-sourcing lobby – it's not only pressing on, but has added a new twist to their argument:  The out-sourcers are turning up skilled-labor shortages in China and India, too, according to numerous news reports like the January 4 Wall Street Journal item titled 'India's Talent Pool Drying Up'...   The  higher education in these countries varies wildly in quality, and often badly lags American standards.   One big difference between the Asian situation and the American, however, is that the out-sourcers have been bidding up wages abroad for the all-stars they're seeking – though their pay is still orders of magnitude lower than U.S. levels.   Alan Tonelson is a Research Fellow at the U.S. Business & Industry Educational Foundation and the author of The Race to the Bottom: Why a Worldwide Worker Surplus and Uncontrolled Free Trade are Sinking American Living Standards (Westview Press)."

2006-01-27
Elena Temple & Karen Hinton _United States Conference of Mayors_
Jobs Created During This Depression Pay Less Than Jobs Lost: 21% Decline from 2003 to 2005 (pdf)
"New jobs created [during the current on-going depression] have paid working Americans about $9K less annually than the jobs lost [since this depression began early in 2000], a U.S. Conference of Mayors Metro Economy Report has found.   The report, released today at Conference of Mayors annual winter meeting, showed that the 10 sectors that lost the most jobs through the end of 2003 paid an average wage of $43,629, while the 10 sectors with the largest increases in employment in 2004-2005 paid only $34,378, a 21% decline."

2006-01-27
_Cincinnati Enquirer_
Enquirer 80 stock index up 0.77%
"The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks rose 2.26 points, or 0.77%, to close at 292.96.   47 issues were up, 28 were down and 5 were unchanged.   Leading gainers were Cummins Inc., up $5.99 to $99.91; Gannett, up $2.59 to $63.60; NS Group, up $1.43 to $44.10; Humana, up $1.15 to $56.05; WellPoint, up $1 to $75.50.   Biggest losers were Harris Corp., down 71 cents to $46.28; Federated Department Stores, down 62 cents to $67.75; Reed Elsevier, down 59 cents to $37.46; PNC Financial Services, down 51 cents to $66.12; Meridian Bioscience, down 48 cents to $24.52."

2006-01-27
Last
DJIA10,907.21
S&P 5001,283.72
NASDAQ2,304.23
10-year US T-Bond4.50%
crude oil67.76

 

2006-01-28

Nothing caught my eye as meriting linking today.
 

2006-01-29

2006-01-29
Ron Scherer _Christian Science Monitor_
The watch list for new Fed chair Ben Bernanke
"The cost of living... growth slowing dramatically...   Almost every new Federal Reserve head in modern times has had a crisis hit shortly after taking over the helm.   Will history repeat itself?...   he will certainly get the opportunity to earn his $180,100 salary...   Last year, the consumer price index, not counting food and energy, rose at a 2.2% annual rate - a pace that is close to optimal.   Including food and energy, prices rose by 3.4%.   In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of household fuels rose 18% and the cost of motor fuel 16%...   Arthur Burns (1970-78) faced a dollar crisis.   Paul Volcker (1979-87) took over with inflation fires burning and quickly raised interest rates, prompting a bond-market meltdown and a recession.   Within three months of taking over from Mr. Volcker, Alan Greenspan faced a stock-market crash.   Mr. Greenspan reacted to the crash by letting the markets know the Fed would provide liquidity.   He did the same after the terror attacks of 2001/09/11...   Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, FL. 'One of the concerns at the Fed is tightness in the labor markets.', he says, noting that in Florida the unemployment rate is down to 3.3%."
more on Greenspan & Bernanke
San Francisco Chronicle on Greenspan legacy
San Francisco Chronicle on challenges facing Bernanke
Chicago Tribune on Greenspan

2006-01-29 09:12PST (12:12EST) (17:12GMT)
Tim Weber _BBC_
Why Bill Gates believes the world is flat: A conspiracy of bodyshoppers
printable version
"It's ten to seven in the morning; it is dark, snowy and dozens of millionaires are patiently queueing to get inside for breakfast.   The prospect of a 90-minute breakfast conversation with [habitual prevaricator and] M$ boss Bill Gates... has persuaded them to brave the freezing cold...   More importantly, though, [more than] 1G people suddenly join the global work-force...   as Bill Gates puts it: It doesn't matter whether you sit in Boston, Beijing or Bangalore, [you are now competing] directly with the rest of the world [and Bill Gates has rigged the table to pour directly into his very own pockets]...   David Arkless of [body shop] ManPOWER predicts that 4M people will see their jobs transferred over the next 5 years...   It's wrong to tell people that going to university will guarantee them a job, says Adair Turner, the chairman of the UK's low pay and pensions commissions, because the technology sector simply won't offer that many jobs...   In Indian call centres, says Jean-Herve Jenn of out-sourcing specialist [body shop] Convergys, wages are rising by 15% - 20% [per] year...   There may be an extra 1G workers, but they come with a new market of 2.3G [still impoverished] consumers in Brazil, Russia, India and [Red China] alone...   In India, says the New York Times' Tom Friedman, there are tech islands in a sea of poverty."

2006-01-29
Michael Oneal _Chicago Tribune_
Red China aims for take-over of US auto industry
"Tarnished heart-land icons like General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. may be shedding plants and workers like old skin, but Ni and his [Red Chinese-owned] company, Wanxiang America Corp., are buying.   As the president of the Elgin-based transplant, the ambitious 41-year-old has been buying stakes in small Midwestern companies for several years and now is setting his sights on several other targets, including the distressed assets of auto-parts giant Delphi Corp., which has filed for bankruptcy protection.   His goal: to help build Wanxiang into one of the world's biggest auto-parts companies, a global manufacturing power to rival America's best...   But in [Red China], Wanxiang casts a long shadow as one of the country's largest [pseudo-]private companies and the brain-child of one of its wealthiest men, Lu Guanqiu.   Lu, a one-time black-smith's apprentice, started the company in 1969 as a bicycle and tractor repair shop in a city south of Shanghai.   He has built it into a $4G operation with interests in auto parts, financial services and, most recently, solar energy."

2006-01-29
Joe Dunning _The Leader_
More and better employment tops to-do list of 2nd-year congress-critter
"Creating jobs remains U.S. representative John R. Randy Kuhl Jr.'s top priority as he enters his second year in the House...   'I view as my role and function here as a representative to try to satisfy what I see is the number one issue here, and that's to create jobs.', he said.   'While the federal government can't create jobs, it can certainly create an environment for jobs.'...   Last year, Kuhl visited constituents in all 145 towns in the district just as he had done in prior years as a state assemblyman and senator..."

2006-01-29
Stephen Roach _NewsWeek_
Davos crowd is stunned that their policies are destroying job markets and economies across the board and around the world
"This consensus has often been challenged by street protests at Davos, and the summit has often worried itself over the impact of globalization on poor economies.   But this time was different.   Panelists from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to former senior Clinton economic adviser Laura Tyson raised tough questions about the assumed benefits of globalization... for rich economies.   This is a big shift, but not surprising.   One of the [expected] 'wins' in the win-win of globalization has failed to materialize.   Job creation and real wages in the mature, industrial nations have seriously lagged behind historical norms.   It is now common for economic recoveries to be either jobless or wageless -- or both...   Gains in U.S. worker compensation -- by far the biggest component of overall personal income -- have lagged while productivity growth has soared...   The Davos crowd is stunned by this turn of events.   The recent high-profile lay-off announcements in the global car industry only added to the grim realization.   Of course, the hollowing out of manufacturing in the industrial world has been underway for more than 30 years.   But in a year when the World Economic Forum is celebrating the emergence of [Red China] and India, their impacts on the global labor market are hitting home as never before.   After all, if India is to services as [Red China] is to manufacturing, what does the future hold for high-wage workers in the developed world?"

2006-01-29
Sara A. Carter & Kenneth Todd Ruiz _Ontario California Daily Bulletin_
Department of Homeland Security document reveals MS-13 plan for coordinated attacks on cities and regions within the USA and along the Mexico-USA border
"Members of a violent international gang working for drug cartels in Central and South America are planning coordinated attacks along the U.S. border with Mexico, according to a Department of Homeland Security document obtained by the Daily Bulletin.   Detailed inside a Jan. 20 officer safety alert, the plot's ultimate goal is to 'begin gaining control of areas, cities and regions within the U.S.A.'.   The information comes from the interrogation of a captured member of Mara Savatrucha, or MS-13, a transnational criminal syndicate born from displaced El Salvadoran death squads from the 1980s...   'After enough members have been pre-positioned along the border, a coordinated attack using firearms was to commence against all law enforcement, to include Border Patrol.', the alert states...   Estrada said crime there is 'more competitive, more profitable and more violent', and that increased scrutiny at the border and intensified law enforcement efforts have frustrated criminal elements in Mexico.   A smuggler named Pablo 'El Patron' Mercado said he will no longer tolerate the loss of contraband and has ordered smugglers to carry firearms, according to a Jan. 13 alert referenced in the document...   The incident report concluded that the men probably were from Central America and members of either MS-13 or ex-Guatemalan Kaibiles, a military special forces unit specializing in jungle warfare and counterinsurgency."

2006-01-29
Jeff Jacoby _Boston Globe_
The Hamas Victory Is Good News
Torah.org
"I think the sweeping Hamas victory is by far the best result that could have been hoped for.   I say that not because Hamas is anything other than a blood-drenched terrorist group, but because its lopsided win is an unambiguous reality check into the nature of Palestinian society.   And if there is one thing that the West badly needs, it is more realism and less delusion about the Palestinians...   If a slate of neo-Nazi skinheads swept to power in a European election, would you say that the voters were seeking 'honest government' and 'services'?   Palestinians are not stupid, and it insults their intelligence to pretend that when they vote to empower a genocidal organization with a platform straight out of '_Mein Kampf_, what they're really after is better health-care.   Islamist extremism isn't needed to fix Palestinian hospitals any more than fascism was needed to make Italian trains run on time in the 1920s.   If Palestinians turned out en masse to elect a party that unapologetically stands for hatred and mass murder, it's a safe bet that hatred and mass murder had something to do with the turn-out.   By the same token, Hamas's new duties are not going to turn it into a moderate group of diligent civil servants.   When violent Islamists win political power, their brutality and zealotry do not diminish.   (See Khomeini, Ayatollah and Taliban, Afghan).   The notion that Hamas now has 'a choice to make' is just another example of the delusional thinking that is so pervasive when it comes to the Palestinian Authority...   If that means that the Bush administration will shun the new Hamas government as it once shunned Yasser Arafat, well and good.   But why was Mahmoud Abbas treated any differently?   Like Hamas, Fatah -- the PLO faction Abbas and Arafat co-founded 45 years ago -- advocates Israel's destruction in its basic charter.   Like Hamas, Fatah has an 'armed wing' -- the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- that is guilty of horrific terror attacks.   Fatah's emblem shows crossed rifles against a map of 'Palestine' that depicts all of Israel; on the Hamas emblem, the map is the same, but the crossed weapons are swords.   The only important difference between the ousted Fatah party and the incoming Hamas leadership is that for PR purposes the former sometimes pretended to accept Israel's right to exist, while the latter is openly and unabashedly committed to Israel's elimination.   Yet that is why the Hamas landslide is good news.   It will now be much harder to wish away the unpleasant fact that after a dozen years of PLO misrule, Palestinian society is deeply dysfunctional, steeped in hatred and violence.   All but the willfully blind can now see that the Palestinian Authority is no 'partner in peace'.   Until it is decisively defeated and thoroughly detoxified, the Palestinian people will never enjoy the blessings of liberty and decent governance.   Ironically, the ascendancy of Hamas may have brought that day a little closer."

2006-01-29 12:25PST (15:25EST) (20:25GMT)
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
Short-Changing Older Workers: report challenges myth of costs of older workers
"When you're an older person looking for a job, it's hard to get past the secret fear of many employers that you are going to cost too much.   So how can you fight that bias?   Check out the ammunition in a new study done by consulting firm Towers Perrin for AARP.   While it's hardly a disinterested report, given AARP's mission to promote the interests of older people, you'll find some compelling arguments that older workers can be cost-effective...   Older workers often do cost their companies more in employer-paid medical services, according to the report.   For instance, companies paid an annual average of $7,622 in medical claims, from hospital bills to prescription charges, for workers age 60 to 64 (including their dependents), compared with $4,130 for workers 40 to 44 and $3,206 for workers 30 to 34, based on claims data in 2003 covering 7.5M medical-plan participants.   But older workers offset those higher costs by being among the most motivated employees, according to a Towers Perrin survey of 35K workers at large companies...   For workers of all ages, the average 'motivation score', on a scale of 0 to 100, is 74.8.   Among workers 55 and older, the average motivation score is 78.4.   Among those 18 to 29, the score is 71.2...   Companies with highly engaged workers perform better on average than their competitors on some financial measures, according to the study's look at 2003 data.   For instance, firms with motivated workers are likelier to exceed their industry-average revenue growth over a one-year period.   And Towers Perrin found an inverse relationship between motivated workers and the cost-of-goods-sold yardstick: At companies with a high percentage of motivated workers, the cost of goods sold was below average for that industry.   Disengaged workers tended to work at companies with a higher-than-average cost of goods sold.   Perhaps because of their higher motivation, older workers are less likely to leave their jobs, which in turn reduces turnover expenses...   'some great innovators are young, some are old.', he says.   Mr. Galenson says there are 2 main types of creativity, one based on breaking the rules and the other based on building on what's already been learned.   Individuals of the first type are 'very iconoclastic', Mr. Galenson says.   'They learn the rules of a new discipline and they say '''I don't like that rule.'''' The other type will 'get better as they get older...   They're collecting information.   They're learning more about the world and getting better about using that information.', he says...   Neil Charness, a psychology professor at Florida State University and an associate of the school's Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy [said] 'One thing managers and others have to get over is some of their... false beliefs about the ability of older workers to learn and to benefit from training.'"
The Business Case for Workers Age 50+ in a Competitive Environment
 

2006-01-30

2006-01-30
Frank Barnako _MarketWatch_
Tech companies boycott Congressional Human Rights hearings
"Half the Internet companies invited to appear at a members' briefing of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus have said no thanks, according to a spokeswoman for the caucus co-chairman.   Both Cisco Systems and M$ Corp. opted not to send representatives to the session, which was called to consider the subject of human rights and the Internet in [Red China], according to Lynne Weil, spokes-woman for representative Tom Lantos (D-CA).   Yahoo and Google have also been invited.   Scheduled to appear at the Feb. 1 briefing in Washington are speakers from Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International."

2006-01-30
_Yahoo!_
Dell set to announce expansion in India
"Personal computer maker Dell is bullish on India and is thinking about setting a separate unit in the country apart from expanding its present BPO operations. Dell Computers is slated to make a major announcement in India this week, its chairman Michael Dell said on the side-lines of a breakfast meeting organised by CII here... Dell's plans for India come close on the heels of announcements by two other IT majors Intel and AMD of plans to set up units in the country."

2006-01-30
_News Max_
Mexican police arrested 4 Iraqi illegal aliens
text format
"Wasim Francis Schamoun and Ivan Yalda, both 23, and Refon Chlil Oraha and Thaer Salem Yelda, both 27, were found on a bus in the northern city of Navajoa after police received an anonymous tip, the attorney general's office said in a statement.   The Iraqis were in Mexico illegally, the statement said...   The 4 have family names that are common among Iraq's minority Christian community."

2006-01-30
Last
DJIA10,899.92
S&P 5001,285.20
NASDAQ2,306.78
10-year US T-Bond4.54%
crude oil?

 

2006-01-31

2006-01-31
Bambi Francisco _MarketWatch_
Citizen journalism has been slow to catch fire
"Of the top 5 news sites on the web, 3 were born during the Internet era -- Yahoo, Time Warner's AOL and Internet Broadcasting.   Broaden that out to the top 15, and Google is also a player.   Yahoo News is #1, with 24.6M unique visitors in December, up 15% from a year ago, followed by AOL at #4, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.   Google News stands at #13 with 7.8M unique visitors, up 22% from a year ago.   Internet Broadcasting, which produces 70 television and news web sites, shot up 29% in December, and ranks #5."

2006-01-31
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
The True State of the Union
"The state of the union is disastrous.   By its naked aggression, bullying, illegal spying on Americans, and illegal torture and detentions, the Bush administration has demonstrated American contempt for the Geneva Convention, for human life and dignity, and for the civil liberties of its own citizens.   Increasingly, the USA is isolated in the world, having to resort to bribery and threats to impose its diktats.   No country any longer looks to America for moral leadership...   [GW Bush] talked about economic growth rates without acknowledging that they result from eating the seed corn and do not produce jobs with a living wage for Americans.   He touted a low rate of unemployment and did not admit that the figure is false because it does not count millions of discouraged workers who have dropped out of the work force. Americans did not hear from Bush that a new WM just opened on Chicago's city boundary and 25K people applied for 325 jobs ( Chicago Sun-Times 2006-01-26), or that 11K people applied for a few WM jobs in Oakland, California.   Obviously, employment is far from full.   Neither did Bush tell Americans any of the dire facts reported by economist Charles McMillion in the January 19 issue of Manufacturing & Technology News: During Bush's presidency the USA has experienced the slowest job creation on record (going back to 1939).   During the past 5 years private business has added only 958K net new jobs to the economy, while the government sector has added 1.1M jobs.   Moreover, as many of the jobs are not for a full work week, 'the country ended 2005 with fewer private sector hours worked than it had in 2001 January'...   the largest sources of private sector jobs have been health care and waitresses and bartenders.   Other areas of the private sector lost so many jobs, including supervisory/managerial jobs, that had health care not added 1.4M new jobs, the private sector would have experienced a net loss of 467K jobs between 2001 January and 2005 December...   Without the new jobs waiting tables and serving drinks, the US economy in the past 5 years would have eked out a measly 64K jobs.   In other words, there is a job depression in the USA...   during the past 5 years of Bush's presidency the US has lost 16.5% of its manufacturing jobs.   The hardest hit are clothes manufacturers, textile mills, communications equipment, and semiconductors.   Work-forces in these industries shrunk by 37% to 46%...   'every industry that faces foreign out-sourcing or import competition is losing jobs', including both Ford and General Motors, both of which recently announced new job losses of 30K each.   The parts supplier, Delphi, is on the ropes and cutting thousands of jobs, wages, benefits, and pensions.   If the free trade/outsourcing propaganda were true, would not at least some US export industries be experiencing a growth in employment?   If free trade and out-sourcing benefit the US economy, how did America run up $2.85T in trade deficits over the last five years?   This means Americans consumed almost $3T dollars more in goods and services than they produced and turned over $3T of their existing assets to foreigners to pay for their consumption.   Consuming accumulated wealth makes a country poorer, not richer...   The US 'super-power' is dependent on [Red China] for advanced technology products and is dependent on Asia to finance its massive deficits and foreign wars.   In view of the rapid collapse of US economic potential, my prediction in 2004 January that the US would be a Third World economy in 20 years was optimistic...   median household income has fallen for a record fifth year in succession...   Roach writes that 'job creation and real wages in the mature, industrialized economies have seriously lagged historical norms.   It is now common-place for recoveries in the developed world to be either jobless or wageless -- or both.'   Roach is the first free trade economist to admit that the disruptive technology of the Internet has dashed the globalization hopes...   First World employees in 'software programming, engineering, design, and the medical profession, as well as a broad array of professionals in the legal, accounting, actuarial, consulting, and financial services industries' [have been displaced]...   Globalization is wiping out the American middle class and terminating jobs for university graduates, who now serve as temps, waitresses and bar-tenders..."

2006-01-31
Bryanna Bevens _V Dare_
Voters Flee Demoblickan-Rapeyoucrat Party

2006-01-31 12:10PST (15:10EST) (20:10GMT)
Greg Robb & Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Fed hikes rates again as Greenspan retires
"At Alan Greenspan's final meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously as expected to raise the benchmark federal funds target rate by a quarter-percentage point to 4.50%, putting over-night interest rates at their highest level since 2001 mid-May."

2006 January
_Migration News_
Mexican workers, H-1B, WM and "prevailing wage"

2006-01-31
Last
DJIA10,864.86
S&P 5001,280.08
NASDAQ2,305.82
10-year US T-Bond4.53%
crude oil?

 

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Other Movies Coming Soon
 
  "[A]nything can be said to have 'worked', or to have failed, because everything works by sufficiently low standards & everything fails by sufficiently high standards." --- Thomas Sowell 1995 _The Vision of the Anointed_ pg 93  
Batman Begins
Batman Begins
Kkilo-thousand 10^31,000
Mmega-millionone thousand thousand10^61,000,000
Ggiga-billionone thousand million10^91,000,000,000
Ttera-trillionone million million10^121,000,000,000,000
Ppeta-quadrillionone million billion10^151,000,000,000,000,000
Eexa-quintillionone billion billion10^181,000,000,000,000,000,000

Except that computer people use 2 as a base raised to multiples of powers of 10, instead of 10 raised to multiples of powers of 3 because powers of 2 are handier for them, but they also want to stay somewhat close to the values of 10 most folks are used to.

1,024Kkilo-2^10
1,048,576Mmega-2^20
1,073,741,824Ggiga-2^30
1,099,511,627,776Ttera-2^40
1,125,899,906,842,624Ppeta-2^50
1,152,921,504,606,846,976Eexa-2^60

An alternate set of prefixes has been proposed.

Neither this page, nor the opinions expressed or implied in it are endorsed by Michael Badnarik, Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Warner Brothers, nor by my hosts, Kermit and Rateliff.

jgo Resume jgo Books
jgo Econ Data jgo Econ News Bits Index
Economic News Analysis Summary
Kermit home
Links jgo's Work in Progress
Top