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Dice Report: 42,192 job ads
Michael Snider _LA Times_
Off-Shoring Hits Americans Hard
"Atul Vashistha, Robert Lewis and others like them are true enemies of the Unites States. Off-shoring is essentially a form of economic terrorism and an effective redistributio of wealth [armed robbery] that under-mines the US economy and the quality of life and well-being of Americans. It also makes Americans' sensitive data vulnerable..."
John Schwartz & Micheline Maynard _NY Times_
F.B.I. Got Records on Air Travelers
"In the days after the 2001 September 11 attacks, the nation's largest airlines turned over millions of passenger records to the F.B.I."
John Schwartz _NY Times_
High-Tech Voting System Is Banned in California
"California has banned the use of more than 14K electronic voting machines made by Diebold Inc. in the November election because of security and reliability concerns."
Landon Thomas jr _NY Times_
A Meddlesome Priest of Sorts on Wall Street
"Executives on the New York Stock Exchange's board are frustrated with interim chairman John Reed's approach toward the Grasso case."
Barnaby J. Feder _NY Times_
WM Stages Additional Tests of Privacy Violating RFID Systems
"The company said yesterday that it had begun to receive radio-tagged shipments of 21 products from 8 manufacturers at a distribution center in Sanger, TX. It said it was also using the technology... to track the goods as they are sent out to 7 of its... stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Products being tracked in the trial include personal care items from companies like Procter & Gamble and Gillette, Purina pet food from Nestle and 3 electronic products from Hewlett-Packard [4 more sets of products to boycott]."
Nicholas D. Kristof _NY Times_
Sweet Sound of Dissent
"Experiments in home-grown democracy are happening in the Arab world under our noses."
David Brooks _NY Times_
Sex and the Cities
"A new study suggests we are replacing marriage, one of our most successful institutions, with hooking up."
Peter T. Kilborn _NY Times_
An All-American Town, a Sky-High Divorce Rate
"About 1 in 10 American adults are divorced or separated, but in Roanoke, VA, a city of 94K, the rate is closer to 1 in 5."
Noam Scheiber _NY Times_
As a Center for Off-Shore Out-Sourcing, India Could Be Losing Its Edge
"Wages in India's major out-sourcing sectors have been rising by close to 15% per year because of increased competition for labor."
Matt Richtel _NY Times_
See the Big Picture? Don't Forget to Examine the Fine Print
"When it comes to technology, consumers often must decide between buying something new and cool, or waiting until the engineers turn the schematics right side up."
Jessica M. Vaughan _Washington Post_
Some Lost Jobs Never Leave Home: Foreigners Flow In To Fill Them
"A couple of weeks ago, Nandan M. Nilekani of Bangalore, India, threw a huge party for more than 10K people. Nilekani is the CEO of Infosys Technologies, a leading Indian software services company, and his employees and guests were celebrating a major mile-stone: reaching the billion-dollar mark in annual sales. Noticeably absent from the party, though, were the employees most responsible for the company's spectacular success. Those Indian workers were half a world away, here in the United States, where they labor as guest workers for Infosys's U.S. clients... These firms and others like them have blazed a new trail in international trade, selling services instead of goods... it, too, contributes to American job losses and disadvantages our workers in significant ways. And yet facilitating this activity is a primary item on the global 'free-trade' agenda being actively promoted by both the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the WTO... the United States has signed on to an international framework for trade in services that binds us to dysfunctional immigration policies, notably professional guest worker programs... while about 150K guest workers were admitted in 1997, more than 865K were in 2003... The TN visa was created by NAFTA and originally included a cap of 5,500 on Mexican entries (but unlimited admissions for Canadians). The cap expired in January, and now Mexican admissions are also unlimited. TN guest workers can renew their visas every year, pretty much forever... Indeed, Canada, which sends between 5K and 7K nurses here each year, has considered registering a complaint over new licensing rules for foreign nurses that include a requirement that they speak English, which would exclude some nurses from French-speaking Quebec... These companies, which bank on the availability of guest worker visas to enable them to keep their labor costs lower than their competitors' by hiring foreign workers for lesser salaries, want a category for Indians and others that is just like the TN, with no annual caps and no limits on how long workers can stay. Other Indian recruiting agencies are pressuring their government to demand through the WTO that the United States ease teacher certification requirements."
2004-05-03 12:02PDT (15:02EDT) (19:02GMT)
Luisa Beltran _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Jury convicted Frank Quattrone on all counts
"Frank Quattrone, the once powerful Credit Suisse First Boston investment banker, was convicted Monday of obstructing a federal probe into the allocation of IPO shares at his former employer CS First Boston. Quattrone was convicted of two counts of obstructing justice and one count of witness tampering for sending a 2000-12-05 e-mail encouraging employees of CSFB to 'clean up' their files. He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. Sentencing was set for September 8. Quattrone will remain free on bail in the interim, and his lawyers promised an appeal."
2004-05-03 13:14PDT (16:14EDT) (20:14GMT)
Mike Tarsala _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Bill Gates to pay $800K for merger-reporting violation
"According to a government law-suit, Gates, through his personal investment company, acquired more than $50M of the voting securities of pharmaceuticals maker Icos Corp. without complying with anti-trust notification requirements."
2004-05-03 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Bill Tucker _CNN_
"inside this door is a technology services company that does work for more than 20 Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. government. It's the head-quarters of ASR International. On first impression, ASR's CEO Rao Anumolu might seem just like the kind of CEO you'd expect to out-source. He's Indian born. And he tried off-shoring, but found the approach short-sighted... Rao Anumolu: 'Having the job done by local professionals at local sites is done in America, with our workers here. They are citizens and they pay taxes here. They work here. They live here, they produce here and it is a win-win for everybody.'... At Bladelogic based in Walter, Massachusetts the CEO couldn't agree more. 'When we looked at deploying resource in India we found that actually a competive (ph) advantage was mitigated. We found that even if there was a cost advantage of 3x in India, there was a productivity advantage of 6x here in the U.S.'... The idea that now 35 states out of some 40 who are in point of fact out-sourcing tax-payer-funded jobs over-seas, 35 of them now have legislation in front of them to stop it... now we're equating the activity, the competitive activity within the domestic market to out-sourcing to cheap foreign labor markets...
Tom Donohue, US Chamber of Commerce: 'our economy is a $12.5T economy.'... One, we're not out-sourcing because we can't find the talent here. We're out-sourcing because, & the Mackenzie study verifies it, because it's cheaper... We've got over 600 companies right now, it's growing rapidly. If people who can't find the talent in this country, then shame on you guys. Because... you haven't been a very impressive stake holder representative, because, in your community, what are you doing for education,... with your wealth and your power and your influence with public education it is inexcusable...
According to one study, 50% more jobs will be going out of this country... will be out-sourced to cheap foreign labor markets next year than this...
Three fires broke out in southern California over the weekend, scorching more than 2K acres on the Camp Pendleton Marine Base and in 2 areas of Riverside County. 31 cities in southern California have record-high temperatures. Last year, California saw its worst fire season in more than 70 years, one fire alone burned almost 300K acres. Officials worry this year could be just as bad."
William J. Broad _NY Times_
U.S. Is Losing Its Dominance in the Sciences
"Foreign advances in basic science now often rival or even exceed America's, according to federal and private experts."
John Schwartz _NY Times_
Who Hacked the Voting System? The Teacher
"It might seem unusual to teach computer security through hacking, but a lot of what Prof. Avi Rubin does is unusual."
Sharon Waxman _NY Times_
Writers and Studios Exchange Offers After Contract Expires
"Negotiators exchanged proposals for a new 3-year contract on Sunday but did not reach an agreement."
Sam Zuckerman _San Francisco Chronicle_
Job losses slow to a trickle: SF Bay Area firms expected to start hiring this year
"The bleeding has stopped. The Bay Area continued to shed jobs in 2003 as nearly half of The Chronicle 200 companies reporting employment figures pared pay-rolls. But by the end of the year, with the region's dominant technology sector firmly on the mend, mass cut-backs and overall job losses slowed dramatically. And this year is shaping up as the first of rising regional employment since 2000...
All told, the Bay Area lost more than 400K jobs from 2001 to 2003, or about 1 job in 9. That makes the period from 2001 to 2003 epic in the annals of regional recessions... In the San Francisco metropolitan area, which includes Marin and San Mateo counties, pay-rolls dropped by 34,900 in 2003, ending the year at 951,300. That represented a loss of 3.5% of total jobs, about the same percentage decrease as 2002. By contrast, job losses moderated in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley. Pay-rolls fell through the year by 31,100, or 3.5%, reaching 848,500 in December. That was well short of the 7.7% decline in pay-rolls in 2002. In the Oakland metropolitan area, consisting of Alameda and Contra Costa counties, the job picture worsened. Pay-rolls fell 25,100, to 1,026,400 at year's end, a 2.4% drop. That compared with almost no change the year before...
From January to March, the San Francisco area gained 5,300 jobs, the San Jose area 8,600 jobs and the Oakland area 7,600 jobs."
2004-05-03 21:09PDT (2004-05-04 00:01EDT) (2004-05-04 04:01GMT)
Bambi Francisco _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Internet vs. other media
"If Google goes out at $35G, together with Yahoo's $35G valuation, the two companies would practically equal Warner Time's $78.5G market valuation. Warner Time is expected to grow sales to $41G this year, about 10 times as much as Google and Yahoo combined. Google alone would be closing in on Walt Disney's $47G valuation and would stand at more than half of Viacom's $67.4G value."
2004-05-04 04:37PDT (07:37EDT) (11:37GMT)
Mike Yamamoto & Ed Frauenheim _ZD Net_/_CNET_
Off-Shore Out-Sourcing: Reforms needed, not just rhetoric (with graphs)
"'The realism is missing: Unless they're in the top 5% of schools, they haven't got any hope. The very jobs we're training students to do are the ones we're exporting.'... Job security in the future will be defined largely by the future of research and development -- the intellectual capital that has always kept the country at the competitive forefront...
'Technology moves in quantum jumps, then you have to back-fill. We're now in the back-fill phase...'... R&D in all fields grew just 1% last year to $284G, according to the National Science Foundation, a steep drop from its average annual growth of 5.8% between 1994 and 2000... 'R&D budgets are migrating off-shore.'...
Preliminary figures from San Jose State University, which counted 765 students in its computer science program in spring 2002, show a drop of about 30%, to 535, in the same period this year. Similar decreases have been reported throughout California State University's 19-campus system, including the one in San Francisco, which had recently considered closing its School of Engineering altogether."
2004-05-04 07:00PDT (10:00EDT) (14:00GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US lay-off announcements were up 6.1% in April (with graph)
"U.S. corporations announced 72,184 job cuts in April, up 6.1% from the 10-month low of 68,034 seen in March, according to the monthly tally released Tuesday by out-placement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. Announced lay-offs are down 51% from 2003 April's 146,399. So far in 2004, U.S. employers have announced 335,024 job reductions, down 33% from the first 4 months of 2003. In all of 2003, 1.24M jobs were cut, down from the 1.47M in 2002..."
2004-05-04 07:00PDT (10:00EDT) (14:00GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US factory orders increased 4.3% in March
"shipments from factories increased a record 3.8%, the Commerce Department estimated Tuesday... Orders for durable goods in March were revised sharply higher to a 5% gain from 3.4% estimated a week ago."
2004-05-04 14:03:41PDT (17:03:41EDT) (21:03:41GMT)
Michael Cowden _Medill News_/_CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Immigration policy threatening US economy, says Harvard study
_Investor's Business Daily_
"Taking a harder line than most elected politicians, Harvard economist George J. Borjas said Tuesday that immigration significantly reduces the wages of 'native-born' workers and that the U.S. should deal with 'people already here' before offering amnesty to illegal immigrants... Both Republicans and Democrats have introduced legislation calling for the legalization of some illegal immigrants and the continuing issuance of temporary work visas. The parties, however, differ on how such policies should be implemented. Borjas, regarded by some as the nation's leading immigration economist, released a study suggesting that the increase in immigration from 1980 to 2000 has reduced the average American income by 4%, or $1,700...
Programs that bring in skilled workers from developing countries on temporary visas, he said, also threaten college-educated workers like engineers and software developers. Borjas is the author of 'Heaven's Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy', a look at the impact of the wave of immigration in the late 1990s and its impact on the U.S. economy... '[Immigration] redistributes wealth from workers to employers, it's as simple as that.', Borjas said."
2004-05-04 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Casey Wian & Kitty Pilgrim & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
Iraq, California fires, illegal aliens
"Major fires are burning now near the cities of Corona and Temecula. Another fire burned thousands of acres at Camp Pendleton Marine Base... 16K acres have burned so far, along with a handful of homes... an ongoing drought and millions of acres of dead, bark beetle infected trees have turned much of the west into a potential tinder-box... Last year in California, 14 major fires killed 24 people, destroyed 3,700 homes and burned 3/4 of a million acres...
Korean owned Samsung Electronics employs 1K people in Austin, TX, and will add 300 more jobs when their expansion is complete. They say it helps to be closer to the U.S. customers... Some 6.4M Americans work for foreign companies here in the United States, but through direct investment many foreign companies simply buy U.S. firms. In 2002, foreign companies spent $52G to buy or set up businesses in the United States. Robert Scott, EPI: '...94% of all those jobs created by multinationals are, in fact, simply acquisitions of jobs.' Scott estimates only 275K jobs were actually created by new foreign operations started in the United States over the last 10 years... Foreign auto companies were forced to set up manufacturing operations in the United States starting in the 1980s because of import restrictions. Toyota now has 9 plants in the United States, has invested $15G and employs 31K Americans...
Congressional Democrats want to give millions of illegal aliens the right to stay in this country legally... The Democratic plan would apply to illegals who have lived in the United States for five years and worked here for 2 years. It would lift visa caps to make it easier to bring in relatives, and it would ease restrictions for unskilled workers to enter the United States under an expanded H2B visa program. But it does not include a massive guest worker program, the corner-stone of President Bush's proposal, unveiled earlier this year. The White House plan would allow an unlimited number of foreign workers to enter the country, as long as there is a willing employer. It would offer temporary work cards to illegals already in the country, but workers must leave after the period expires..."
James Dao _NY Times_
States' Extortion Receipts Rise, Leading to Some Surpluses
"States are reporting stronger [extortion] collections for the first time in 3 years, fueling hopes that the budget-cutting days of the economic down-turn are over."
"Amid [allegations of] a nationwide shortage of nurses, the Lompoc Hospital District has found a possible solution: It's making its own."
2004-05-04 21:51PDT (2004-05-05 00:51EDT) (2004-05-05 04:51GMT)
_Billings MT Gazette_
Immigrant workers cause pay cuts
"Two decades' growth in the supply of immigrant workers cost native-born American men an average $1,700 in annual wages by the year 2000, a top economist has concluded. Hispanic and black Americans were hurt most by the influx of foreign-born workers, says a new report by Harvard University's George J. Borjas, considered a leading authority on the effects of immigration...
U.S.-born high school drop-outs suffered the most -- a 7.4% drop in annual wages by the year 2000. For high school graduates and workers with some college, the loss was a little more than 2%. And for college graduates, wages were held back an average 3.6%. Borjas found that U.S.-born Hispanic workers saw their wages reduced by an average 5%, and U.S.-born blacks experienced a 4.5% drop. These two groups faced the most direct competition from foreign-born workers, he said."
2004-05-05 07:46PDT (10:46EDT) (14:46GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
ISM services index sets record high for 2nd month in a row
April non-manufacturing ISM report on business
"The ISM's non-manufacturing index rose to a record high of 68.4% from the previous record of 65.8% set last month, indicating more strength in the services sector."
2004-05-05 09:06PDT (12:06EDT) (16:06GMT)
Robert Powell _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Many older Americans are deeply in debt
"The percent of Americans age 65 to 74 steering 40% of monthly income toward debt payments -- mostly credit cards and home-equity lines of credit -- rose to 7.5% in 2001 from 4% in 1992, according to a new Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) study. 10% of households headed by a 55- to 64-year-old spent more than 40% of their income servicing debt."
2004-05-05 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
Over-Time Pay Statute Blocked, Iraq, electronic voting systems
"One week after images of prisoner abuse in Iraq shocked the world, President Bush today told Iraqis that the United States does not tolerate such behavior. President Bush said the actions of a few American soldiers in Iraq do not reflect the values of the America he knows. The president made his remarks in rare interviews with two networks, Al-Arabiya and the U.S.-funded Al-Hurra... major general Geoffrey Miller, US Army: 'I would like to personally apologize to the people of Iraq for the actions of a small number of leaders and soldiers who violated our policy and may have committed criminal acts. We are investigating those acts as rapidly as possible, and we'll bring those responsible to the bar of justice.'...
The first public hearing yet on electronic voting held in Washington today. Computer experts have raised serious concerns about the reliability and the security of the ATM-like voting machines, machines that could be used by more than 50M voters in November... 30% of all voters are expected to cast their ballots electronically in this year's presidential race. But very few counties using electronic machines have backup paper records should a recount be necessary. At a rally in Washington, critics said the electronic voting system is vulnerable to glitches and fraud...
The Senate this week began debating a bill intended to revive this country's manufacturing industry. The bipartisan bill, called Jump Start Our Business Strength Act, also known as the jobs bill, would reduce corporate income taxes for manufacturers. Senator Bob Graham sponsored an amendment to the legislation, which was voted down late today... Bob Graham: 'If this bill passes in the form it is before the Senate today, it will add another $37G of incentives for U.S. firms to move jobs outside the country.'... 1-800-DENTIST, the nation's largest dental referral service handles 120K phone calls a month. Unlike many call centers, 1-800-DENTIST refuses to move to India or another country where costs are cheaper because many people detest dental visits, the company tries to make its interaction with patients painless..."
Mary Williams Walsh _NY Times_
Many Cities May Fail to Keep Pension Promises
"Many cities that offered their workers large retirement pensions find that their pension funds cannot support the pay-outs."
_PR News Wire_
Worker Shortage Propaganda Continues: US Employers To Have Limited Access to 2004 Advanced Degree Grads
"Diverse Group of Companies and Associations Call on Congress... to exempt foreign nationals that have received Masters and PhDs from U.S. universities from current H-1B visa caps. The letter to all Members of Congress was signed by 94 companies and major trade associations..."
Jeff Sanford _theWHIR.com_
FatCow Shuns Trend Toward Off-Shoring
"tech CEO, Jackie Fewell of Albuquerque-based hosting firm FatCow Hosting (fatcow.com), recently weighed into the off-shoring debate with an interesting and practical argument of her own - off-shoring vital services such as customer contact will ultimately disadvantage a company by severing the most direct link management has to its customers... Along with the strong stream of referrals, FatCow has developed a strong tradition of communication-not only did a recent customer satisfaction survey come back with a 98% rating, but a good portion of the responses came back within twelve hours."
Bill DiPaolo _Jupiter Courier_
International concrete shortage threatens to bog down construction boom
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Duluth News Tribune
Las Vegas Business Press
WBAY TV Wisconsin
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Waits up to 2 weeks are being reported by home-builders, boat dock contractors and pool builders. Projects are being delayed. Prices have increased... Despite the shortage -- which began in mid-March -- the construction boom in the Jupiter area is continuing. Normally, Jupiter Acting Building Official Tony Carpentiere does about 15 inspections daily. Currently, he's doing between 20 and 25...
Florida consumes about 10M tons of concrete annually. Only California and Texas use more. About 60% of the state's supply is produced in Florida's 6 plants, the rest is imported from countries such as Greece, Norway and parts of Asia... Tarmac has one plant in Dade County that produces about 500K tons annually...
A lining up of several international events has combined to create the shortage, said Johnson, the Tarmac spokesman. [Red China's] booming economy is sucking up a huge percentage of cement. Add in the Iraq war. Several American cement plants have had break-downs. There is an international shortage of large hauling ships. America's housing market is booming. 'It's a nationwide shortage. It's not something that will go away soon.', said Johnson."
2004-05-06 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Un-employment compensation insurance weekly claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 280,417 in the week ending May 1, a decrease of 34,588 from the previous week. There were 377,383 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured un-employment rate was 2.3% during the week ending April 24, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,934,769, a decrease of 102,684 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.9% and the volume was 3,621,019. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending April 17. 23,334 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Un-employment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending April 17...
The highest insured un-employment rates in the week ending April 17 were in Alaska (5.9%), Puerto Rico (3.9%), Oregon (3.6%), Michigan (3.5%), New Jersey (3.5%), Pennsylvania (3.5%), Rhode Island (3.3%), Wisconsin (3.2%), California (3.1%), and Washington (3.1%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending April 24 were in Massachusetts (+5,228), Michigan (+2,458), North Carolina (+2,006), Connecticut (+1,781), and Florida (+587), while the largest decreases were in New York (-14,224), New Jersey (-4,510), Pennsylvania (-2,499), Wisconsin (-2,178), and South Carolina (-2,155)."
2004-05-06 07:04PDT (10:04EDT) (14:04GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US un-employment compensation insurance claims fall by a seasonally-adjusted 25K: 4-week average down 3,750 to 343,250
"[Seasonally adjusted] Initial claims for state un-employment benefits fell to their lowest level in 3 and a half years in the latest reporting week, the Labor Department said Thursday. First-time claims in the week ended May 1 fell by 25K to 315K, the department said. This is the lowest level since the week ended 2000-10-28... The average number of initial claims over the past 4 weeks fell by 3,750 to 343,250... Meanwhile, the number of un-employed workers receiving state benefits fell 69K to 2.94M in the week ended April 24. This is the lowest level since 2001 July. The nation's insured un-employment rate fell to 2.3% from 2.4% in the previous week."
2004-05-06 11:08PDT (14:08EDT) (18:08GMT)
Jeanne Sahadi _CNN_/_Money_
Job outlook brightens marginally for class of 2004
"the college labor market was dismal for many seniors over the past few years. So there are grads from the classes of 2001, 2002 and 2003 who are either still un-employed or are dissatisfied in jobs they took because they had to... A quarterly survey released last week by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that employers expected to hire 11.2% more college grads than they did last year... 57% of seniors surveyed by Monster said they planned to move home after graduation. Still, that's down from 61% who planned to do so last year."
2004-05-06 07:33PDT (10:33EDT) (14:33GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US non-farm productivity rose 3.5% in 2004 Q1: Unit labor costs rose 0.5% (0.4% after adjustment for inflation)
full BLS report
"Productivity in the U.S. non-farm business sector rose at a 3.5% annual rate in the first quarter, the Labor Department estimated Thursday... Productivity rose a revised 2.5% in the fourth quarter, down from the 2.6% rate estimated two months ago. Defined as output per hour worked, productivity increased 5.4% in the past year... productivity growth averaged 2% to 3% during the late 1990s. Output in the nation's non-farm business sector rose 4.9%, while hours worked increased 1.3% and unit labor costs rose 0.5%..."
2004-05-06 09:44PDT (12:44EDT) (16:44GMT)
Jennifer Waters _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Shoppers curb spending in April
"Overall, the nation's largest chain-store operators are posting a 4.3% gain in sales compared to last year, a slow-down when measured against previous months and notably below earlier projections at Thomson First Call of a 4.9% increase... At the International Council of Shopping Centers, 72 retailers reported a cumulative increase of 4.4% compared to the 5% estimate... Sears Roebuck came in short of expectations with a 1.8% drop in same-store sales as 'unsatisfactory' apparel sales off-set strength in home appliances and consumer electronics. Total sales at the Hoffman Estates, IL-based department-store retailer fell 2.8% to $1.94G... J.C. Penney beat First Call with a 5.3% gain at the department stores... Federated said April same-store sales climbed 5.4%... Saks glided past expectations with a 6.6% increase in sales over the 7% at First Call."
2004-05-06 10:44PDT (13:44EDT) (17:44GMT)
Leticia Williams _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
SEC charges fraud at PIMCO Advisors
"The SEC charged that PIMCO allowed Canary Capital to engage in about 100 'round-trip' exchanges among its funds from 2002 February to 2003 April involving more than $4G."
2004-05-06 10:44PDT (13:44EDT) (17:44GMT)
Lea Fastow, wife of former Enron CFO sentenced to a year in prison
"Lea Fastow, wife of former Enron chief financial officer Andrew Fastow, was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to helping her husband disguise kickbacks from Enron's notorious partnerships. Lea Fastow, 44, pleaded guilty in a Houston federal court to a misdemeanor charge of filing a false tax form."
2004-05-06 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles _CNN_
"Small town publisher Sam Pennington puts out the Maine Antique Digest, a treasure cove of Americana. You can find everything from Wild Bill Hickock's autograph to a $70K Tiffany lamp. Some months it runs 360 pages, which requires 20 people to sell the ads, lay out the pages, write the copy, all of them good jobs in Waldoboro, Maine... But recently Sam got a weird letter, an out-sourcing firm called Boma (ph) that said it would do all that work in the Philippines and reduce costs by 50% or more. Naturally, he told the staff. Sam Pennington: 'I told them. I said somebody from the Philippines wants your job. I thought it was funnier than they did.'... he never for a second considered sending these jobs over-seas... Clayton Pennington: 'These people are the back-bone of the business. They built it. You can't just cut and run and hire the cheapest worker you can. It doesn't work that way.'..."
Stephen Kinzer _NY Times_
WM's Big-City Plans Stall Again
"Set-backs in Chicago and Inglewood, CA, reflect the increasing difficulty WM is facing as it tries to enter urban markets."
Timothy L. O'Brien _NY Times_
SEC Looking at Citigroup's Accounting in Argentina
"Citigroup said in its filing that the investigation 'originated with the company's accounting treatment regarding its investments and business activities, and loan loss allowances, with respect to Argentina' in the fourth quarter of 2001 and the first quarter of 2002. The investigation is examining 'the timing and support documentation for certain accounting entries or adjustments', the company said. It also said that the S.E.C. 'requested certain accounting and internal controls-related information' regarding the booking of Argentine transactions in 2001, 2002 and 2003."
Eduardo Porter _NY Times_
Cottage Industry for Economists in Foretelling Job Data
"As economists and analysts anticipate Friday's monthly jobs report, at least one well-known analyst -- Rich Yamarone of Argus Research -- remains a bear."
Roy Mark _Internet News_
US Senate Blocks Anti-Off-Shoring Measures
"Part of the much broader Jumpstart Our Business Strengths Act (JOBS), the foreign dividends tax break has drawn the outspoken support of TechNet, the influential network of CEOs and senior partners whose members include Intel, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and MSFT. TechNet was founded by Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr to lobby Washington on national technology issues...
'The Breaux-Feinstein amendment would not allow companies to use their profits for job training to upgrade the skills, capabilities and productivity of their U.S. workers. They would not be able to fund start-up U.S. businesses.', [George] Allen said. The amendment was defeated with 15 Democrats and Independent Jim Jeffords of Vermont joining the unified Republican majority. Later in the day, a similar majority defeated an amendment by Democrat Bob Graham of Florida to substitute pay-roll tax cuts for the foreign dividends tax breaks. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was attending a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Los Angeles and was the lone senator not voting on the amendments."
Kimberlee Winterton _BYU NewsNet_
Lack of funding admitted to be possible cause of alleged teacher shortage
"Researchers foreshadow a shortage of teachers because of the [high] turn-over rate among teachers and the current growth of Utah students. Some teachers are going out of state, others are retiring and others are deciding a change of career... A study from Utah State University showed Utah schools currently lose about 11% of the teaching work force (2,777 teachers) each year, with 3% to retirement. USU researchers recommend supplying the need for teachers by employing past teachers who have left the profession and hiring recent graduates."
David McAlary _Voice of America_/_Truth News_
National Science Board Alleges Future Scientist Shortage Despite Widespread Un-employment of Scientists & Engineers
"A scientific panel that advises U.S. leaders warns that American pre-eminence in science and technology is in jeopardy because the country is facing a shortage of scientists and engineers. U.S. students are losing interest in the sciences... The National Science Board, a non-government body created to advise the U.S. president and Congress on scientific and engineering matters, says the United States still retains its technical edge. For the present, it continues to lead the world in research and development spending. As a result, the panel says the United States generates the largest share of research articles, produces a multitude of technical innovations, and develops numerous high-technology industries that exploit these innovations for the country's economic benefit."
Amy Waldman _NY Times_
Low-Tech or High, Jobs Are Scarce in India's Boom
"India may be 'shining', in the description of a government publicity campaign, but it is also struggling to generate jobs."
2004-05-06 17:14PDT (20:14EDT) (2004-05-07 00:14GMT)
Lisa Sanders _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Costliest & cheapest cities for gasoline: Disparities hinge on air quality rules and government extortion
"Thursday's national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline hit a record $1.857, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Retail prices have now set new national records for five straight days, said Ben Brockwell, editor-in-chief of the Oil Price Information Service. Drivers in Santa Barbara, CA face the highest average price in the country Thursday at $2.30 a gallon, followed by San Francisco at $2.24 and Los Angeles at $2.18. California's stringent requirements for gasoline mean refiners in that state can't draw supplies from Houston, Canada or Asia during shortages because the formulation isn't up to the state's standards... Honolulu at $2.15 and Seattle at $2.11. The average drops to $2 for the next costliest markets - Chicago and New York... motorists in Charlotte, NC, enjoyed the lowest prices in the country Thursday at $1.65 a gallon. That was followed by Augusta, GA, and Philadelphia at $1.69 a gallon; Houston at $1.70 and Dallas at $1.725... 'Refiners don't ship one type of gasoline, they ship 15 to 20 to 30 types of gasoline.'"
2004-05-07 13:00PDT (16:00EDT) (20:00GMT)
Mark Cotton _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stocks set for another choppy week
"Closing levels on US market indices at 2004 May 7 16:30EDT"
|10-Year U.S. T-Bond||4.77%||+0.164|
2004-05-07 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
"the federal government is trying to prevent states from passing laws against the export of American jobs to cheap over-seas labor markets... the U.S. trade representative has asked all 50 states to support new trade agreements with Australia and central America. But there is definitely some fine print that governors and legislators in those states should be reading. And those details, in fact, could take away state's rights when it comes to trade, including state efforts to stop the flow of American jobs to cheap over-seas labor markets... the U.S. trade representative sent a letter to governors asking for a voluntary commitment on procurement. 27 state governors signed up. But some of the provisions could severely restrict states' decisions... The trade agreements could prohibit a state from giving subsidies to local farmers and small businesses as well as limit states which prefer not to do business with polluters or states that have by American laws given U.S. companies an edge over foreign corporations. Any state law that aims to curb off-shoring could be illegal under the new trade agreements... It is normally the state legislature's job to decide how money is spent, not the governors. Washington state representative Velma Veloria questions if her governor even has the proper authority. She fears trade deals are being made without enough over-sight. Velma Veloria, Washington state house of representatives: 'The people elected us to protect their rights, to be able help with part -- to develop laws and regulations, to help our own economy. If these international trade agreements take that away, where then, do the people go?'... I think this is really being slipped under the radar. I'm not sure if many of these governors are... aware of exactly what they're giving up... the fact is the World Trade agreement and NAFTA both have provisions that supersede our court system. Now [this is] moving to the state legislatures and the governors almost without examination...
The Department of Veterans Affairs today announced the most sweeping overhaul of veterans healthcare in this country in half a century. The plan will cost up to $7G over the next 7 years. Three hospitals will close, one in Brecksville, OH, Gullport, MS and Pittsburgh. Two new hospitals will be built in Orlando, FL and Las Vegas, Nevada. Joining me now from Las Vegas, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi..."
_St. Louis Business Journal_
Amidst glut of highly-educated and skilled workers UMStL study alleges skill shortage for menial labor
"St. Louis-area employers have jobs to fill, but not enough qualified applicants to fill them, according to a new study released Friday by the Metropolitan Information and Data Analysis Services at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In the 12-county metro area, there were 28,011 job openings at the time of the survey in 2003 October. More than 97% of the available jobs were in Madison and St. Clair Counties in Illinois; and St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson Counties in Missouri and the city of St. Louis. Nearly 60% of the openings were in health care and social assistance, retail and hospitality and food services. More than 18K were in entry-level positions, of which nearly half paid less than $8 per hour."
Fox Butterfield _NY Times_
Mistreatment of Prisoners Allegedly Routine in U.S.
"Several sources say that the abuse of prisoners, similar to that in Iraq, takes place in U.S. prisons with little public knowledge or concern."
More Mad Cow Mischief
"The Department of Agriculture's actions on mad cow disease suggest it is more interested in protecting the beef industry than consumers."
Noam Sheiber _NY Times_
As a Center for Off-Shore Out-Sourcing, India Could Be Losing Its Edge
"Though [off-shore] out-sourcing shows no sign of fading, rising wages and turn-over in Indian hubs may reduce the savings American companies reap when they send work abroad."
Peter Smith _Mansfield OH News Journal_
Rabbi Shortage Easing
"The nation's largest Jewish denomination reports an easing shortage of rabbis, while the second-largest denomination says it has an adequate supply... The nation's largest Jewish denomination, the liberal Reform movement, has faced an ongoing shortage, though it 'is not as acute as it was several years ago', said Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. The seminary is the official rabbinical training ground for the Reform denomination, which has 1.1M adult members."
Richard Armstrong _Denver Post_
American Worker Replacement Program
"Some of us think 'American worker replacement program' is a better description for the use of cheaper foreign workers in countries such as India, [Red China], the Philippines and Ireland to do service-related work such as customer service, computer programming, bill processing, legal research, income tax preparation, accounting, mortgage processing, medical transcription and X-ray interpretation. Economic patriotism is something you don't see very much in American business anymore, and American worker replacement programs are not accidental trends. They are carefully orchestrated to obtain the cheapest labor on Earth, even if at the expense of the American worker... It doesn't matter what your job is, how good you are, how loyal you are, how experienced you are, or how much you 'think' they need you. Someone will eventually take your job and give it to a cheaper foreign worker."
2004-05-10 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles _CNN_
college & university costs soaring
"$43K for tuition, room and board at New York University... Over the past 20 years overall inflation totalled 80% but college was off the charts. Tuition and fees alone up 287% at private schools to an average of $19,700, even worse at public colleges up 309% to just under $4,700... Over those 20 years colleges became more accessible. Nearly 30% of young Americans now earned degrees and more minorities are enrolled, 28% of all students... College grads earn roughly 87% more than those who finished only high school... But there's great competition to pay these prices to get into these colleges. A lot of the complaints from the parents are why aren't there more services, not why isn't it cheaper?"
2004-05-10 15:03PDT (18:03EDT) (22:03GMT)
Steve Gelsi _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Citigroup takes $5G charge: Shuts books on MCI WorldCom, ups settlement reserves
"Citigroup, the nation's largest bank, settled with WorldCom investors for $2.65G, or $1.64G after tax. The class action law-suit charged that Citi misled investors while the disgraced telecom giant was engaging in accounting violations. New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, the court-appointed representative for plaintiffs in the case, said in an interview with CBS MarketWatch that the $2.65G figure marks the second-largest share-holder settlement in history, smaller only than a $3.2G deal with Cendant in 2000."
Kathleen Chapman _Palm Beach Post_
Florida government's over-seas contracts draw ire
"When Florida food stamp recipients call an 800 number about their benefits, they can reach friendly customer service representatives with names like 'Amy' and 'Nelson'. Although [their] salaries are paid with Florida tax money through state contract, they actually are half a world away -- in India. When callers ask whether they work in the United States, the operators politely reply that they cannot reveal their location. Nine computer programmers, also recruited over-seas, helped the state of Florida develop a new system to detect food stamp billing errors and fraud... Critics in the Florida Legislature have joined a national debate over out-sourcing, saying the state should not hire companies that are laying off Americans in favor of cheaper foreign labor. House and Senate proposals requiring state contractors to hire U.S. workers were defeated this session, but some law-makers still are demanding a more thorough examination of the issue... Citicorp Electronic Financial Services... Unisys... J.P. Morgan Chase... But Florida has steadily reduced the number of state employees who handle welfare and food stamp programs, eliminating 443 jobs the past 3 years. The number of Florida families relying on food stamps has increased in the same time, from about 693K in 2000 to 847K last year . Critics of out-sourcing say the changes are hurting Florida workers... For all the debate, little is actually known about the extent or the effect of out-sourcing in Florida, said Mark Amen, director of the Globalization Research Center at the University of South Florida. Most of the studies have been done by industry lobbying groups or labor unions and are biased from the beginning, he said. Amen hopes a USF study this summer will help show whether the global economy is creating new business opportunities or draining jobs from Florida."
"Patel Center for Global Solutions Mark Amen (email@example.com) received his Ph.D. in Political Science from The Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland in 1978... USF report"
US Workers' Wages Lag in Recovery While Profits Soar
"U.S. corporate profits surged 87% from the third quarter of 2001 to the end of 2003, according to Commerce Department figures. Wages and salaries grew 4.5%. The increase in workers' pay was the smallest for the first 9 quarters of any recovery since World War II, said Barry Bosworth, who directed the White House Council on Wage and Price Stability during Jimmy Carter's administration. After inflation, real wage gains were 1.1%, Bosworth said. 'What you have here is a dual economy.', said Bosworth, now an economist at the Brookings Institution, a research group in Washington...
Wage gains have been curbed by a loss of 1.5M jobs since 2001 January and productivity gains of more than 4% in each of the past 2 years, the first time that's happened since records were kept in 1947. Because of the rise in worker output per hour, companies have been able to meet rising demand without having to lure new employees or retain existing ones by boosting wages...
Labor's share of the income of non-farm businesses, the broadest measure of what workers gain from the economy, fell to 60.2% in the fourth quarter of 2003 -- the lowest since 1947 -- from 64.6% in the third quarter of 2001, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said."
Germany's green card numbers for cheap, young, pliant, low-skilled foreign "IT" guest-workers are below target
"...German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder unveiled the initiative in 2000 March at the computer fair CeBit in Hanover. The aim was to fill the gap in the German high-tech sector caused by an acute lack of 'qualified' 'IT' specialists in the country. At the time the computer industry was booming and experts estimated around 200K qualified personnel would be needed to keep it going... In the first 3 years of the program, an estimated 15K 'IT'-specialists took Germany up on its offer. But the euphoria soon passed. The technology sector fell on hard times, and that also affected the green card holders. In a wave of bankruptcies and lay-offs, many lost their jobs..."
2004-05-10 18:26PDT (21:26EDT) (2004-05-11 01:26GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Business group plans insurance pool for their part-timers, temps, etc.
"A group of 45 large employers is banding together to extend health insurance to part-time and contract workers who can't afford to buy individual policies on the open market, the coalition said Monday. The group of Fortune 500 companies plans to launch an insurance pool, using its purchasing power to expand access and lower costs for about four million nonstaff workers and their dependents, according to the HR Policy Association, a group of human resources executives at 200 large companies that is spearheading the campaign. The initiative, which is expected to be available in early 2005, will save affiliated workers an estimated 15% to 20%, depending on coverage preferences, compared with what they would pay for a non-group policy, said Dan Yager, senior vice president of the HR Policy Association."
2004-05-11 05:00PDT (08:00CST) (08:00EDT) (12:00GMT)
Chris Martin & John Pontarelli _Rush University Medical Center_
Small, Frequent Doses of Caffeine Best Strategy for Staying Awake
"People who take small amounts of caffeine regularly during the day may be able to avoid falling asleep and perform well on cognitive tests without affecting their night-time sleep habits. Researchers from Rush University Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School have discovered that caffeine works by thwarting one of two interacting physiological systems that govern the human sleep-wake cycle. The researchers, who report their findings in the May issue of the journal _SLEEP_, propose a novel regimen, consisting of frequent low doses of caffeine, to help shift workers, medical residents, truck drivers, and others who need to stay awake get a bigger boost from their tea or coffee... Caffeine is thought to block the receptor for adenosine, a critical chemical messenger involved in the homeostatic drive for sleep. If that were true, then caffeine would be most effective if it were administered in parallel with growing pressure from the sleep homeostatic system, and also with accumulating adenosine."
2004-05-11 06:05PDT (09:05EDT) (13:05GMT)
_Norwich Evening News_
Survey warns of risks of off-shoring jobs
"Firms like Norwich Union are alienating their customers by moving work to call centres in foreign countries, according to a new report. A survey of 1K adults found that three out of four were negative towards a company if they off-shored work to other countries. Customers said they were 4 times more likely to change a supplier if they had contact with a call centre based over-seas rather than one in the UK."
2004-05-11 12:03PDT (15:03EDT) (19:03GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Crude petroleum futures end Nymex session above $40/barrel
"Crude futures closed above $40 on the New York Mercantile Exchange -- the first close above that level in over 13 years. June crude rose $1.13, or 2.9%, to end at $40.06 per barrel, a closing level the futures market hasn't seen since 1990 October."
2004-05-11 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & David Ensor & Louise Schiavone & Peter Viles & Kitty Pilgrim _CNN_
murder in Iraq, government subsidies, and college/university costs
"Radical Islamists terrorists have beheaded an American civilian taken prisoner in Iraq. The terrorists released a video of the beheading on an Islamic web site, that web site associated with al Qaeda. Before he was killed, the American identified himself as Nick Berg, a 26-year-old contractor from Westchester, PA... a group claiming to be Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's gang... The web site where the tape was shown appears to suggest that Berg was killed by Abu Musab Zarqawi himself...
Lieberman recommends giving companies tax breaks to keep research jobs in the United States. He says the government should get serious about fighting for U.S. industries and protest foreign currency manipulation and industrial subsidies in the World Trade Organization, if necessary... Law-makers in Kansas voted overwhelmingly to ban the call center for their state's food center program. Kansas contracted that work to a company using call centers in India. Under this new legislation, the jobs would be returned to the United States. The legislation passed as part of the state's budget. It is now before the governor...
the government-backed European Airbus continues to take market share from Boeing. And that threatens the aerospace industry in this country itself... Senator Patty Murray says Airbus has so much government support it is not even close to a fair fight... [Airbus's] American subsidiary, EADS North America recently hired the Washington lobbying firm, Quinn Gillespie, the firm founded by Republican national committee chairman Ed Gillespie... Pat Murray: 'we have lost 700K jobs in aerospace industry in this country... All of us need to start calling on this administration to take a trade action against the European subsidies Airbus has.'...
The cost of a college education in this country is soaring up 14% just in the past year while [general] inflation has been running less than 3%. The average federal grant only covers a third of the price of education and many colleges are trying to help low-income students but middle- income students are feeling the squeeze on the college campuses around the country... Private college tuition has shot up 14% in the last year and state schools have seen tuition hikes of 6%. The average federal grant used to cover 98% tuition at a state college, but even the maximum Pell grant now covers only 41% of tuition, fees, room and board. Students make up the difference by borrowing and the amounts of debt are staggering, averaging $18K but it can go higher... The College Board says the average tuition and room and board at a four-year state school is costing nearly 20% of the annual income for middle-class families..."
2004-05-11 16:33PDT (19:33EDT) (23:33GMT)
Ray Martin _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Auto-financing pot-holes: Switches, mark-ups, stacking can jolt consumers
"This year will be no exception. Auto sales were up slightly in March, led by unprecedented sales of SUVs and sales of luxury vehicles. Hoping to increase this momentum, auto-makers launched new incentives this spring. Car shoppers will find increased cash rebates and new offers of zero-percent or low-interest-rate financing... unless they have stellar credit (that is FICO scores above the low 700s), they may not qualify for these offers. As a matter of fact, 40% of people who recently went to a dealership to explore zero-percent financing had to pay a higher rate, according to Consumer Reports... Once they obtain a loan commitment from the auto-makers financing company, many dealerships mark up the loan by adding 2 to 3 percentage points to your rate... If your car's trade-in or resale value isn't enough to pay off the loan, you'll have to come up with the cash to pay off the loan. In these situations, car salesmen are trained in a technique they call 'stacking loans'. They offer a loan that pays off your old loan and finances your new car. If you accept the offer, you'll owe more on your new car than it is actually worth -- you will essentially be taking out a loan for up to 120% of the new vehicle's purchase price."
2004-05-11 16:40PDT (19:40EDT) (23:40GMT)
William L. Watts _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Bill to change federal extortion of corporations clears the senats
"The Senate, finally overcoming numerous delays and complications, passed a tax bill Tuesday that would repeal a portion of the U.S. tax code that has triggered billions of dollars in European tariffs. The legislation also would offer $170G in corporate tax breaks. The chamber voted 92-5 in favor of the bill, which repeals a portion of the tax code known as the 'foreign sales corporation', or FSC, which amounted to a $5G a year tax break for U.S. exporters...
The World Trade Organization has declared the FSC an illegal subsidy. The European Union earlier this year began implementing retaliatory tariffs against U.S. goods..."
Economic Growth in USA Out-Paces Socialistic Europe
"Economic growth is accelerating in the major industrial nations, but the performance gap between the United States and the 12-nation euro zone is widening, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report published Tuesday. In its twice-yearly Economic Outlook, the Paris-based OECD raised its combined growth forecast for its 30 industrialized member countries to 3.4% from the 3% predicted in November. U.S. growth was seen at 4.7%, up from the 4.2% earlier forecast. But the OECD cut its euro-area growth prediction to 1.6% from 1.8%."
Chris Starkie _EDP: The Business_
Firms that off-shore alienate customers
"the gain would be wiped out if only 0.3% of customers defected in protest... But David Fleming, national officer of the Amicus union, said: 'This backs up research that Amicus has done which shows there is a growing gap of trust between customers and companies that go abroad.'"
2004-05-12 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles & Casey Wian & Kitty Pilgrim _CNN_
un-employment, trade deficit, college costs up
"And nearly 100K jobless Americans run out of un-employment benefits every week. Legislation that would help stalled on Capitol Hill...
The American appetite for cheap, Chinese goods, Japanese cars and OPEC oil set new records in March. The nation's trade deficit shooting up to $46G... The trade deficit with [Red China], 10.4G in March, that's up 26% from February. Other large deficits, 9.3G with the European Union, $6.7G with Japan. $5.6G with the OPEC nations. The deficit in autos and auto parts widened as foreign auto-makers continued to feast on the world's richest market, Toyota reported a stunning $10G profit this week. The Detroit- based American auto industry with an older work force and huge pension liabilities is at a disadvantage. Its cost structure is higher than even Japanese transplants operating in the United States... Even counting Germany-based Daimler Chrysler, the big three's share of the U.S. market is now below 60%. Japanese companies hold 30%, Europeans 6.5 and Korean auto-makers just under 4%...
Community colleges all across the country are in financial trouble. Students piling into classes, state governments slashing budgets. Caught in the middle, students who, in many cases, are having trouble paying for their education... California plans a 3% reduction in per pupil spending next year and a sharp tuition increase of nearly 240% of last year's rate."
Jeannine Aversa _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Trade Deficit Swelled to All-Time High
"The trade deficit swelled to an all-time high of $46G in March as a stronger U.S. economy stoked Americans' appetite for foreign-made cars, TVs and other goods. Although imports grew faster than exports, sales of U.S. goods and services to other countries also climbed in March, to their highest level on record."
International Nurses Brought in to Staff Alleged Shortage
"The Willis Knighton System says they have a registered nurse shortage, so they have recruited 18 nurses from abroad. The nurses come from around the globe -- from Kenya to Taiwan to the Bahamas. All nurses are all licensed and certified to nurse in the state of Louisiana, but they still go through extensive training to adapt to new methods of documenting patient data and technology."
2004-05-13 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Un-employment compensation insurance weekly claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 290,799 in the week ending May 8, an increase of 7,779 from the previous week. There were 364,287 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured un-employment rate was 2.3% during the week ending May 1, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,846,262, a decrease of 75,102 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.8% and the volume was 3,502,794. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending April 24. 20,647 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Un-employment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending April 24...
The highest insured un-employment rates in the week ending April 24 were in Alaska (5.4%), Oregon (3.6%), Puerto Rico (3.6%), Michigan (3.4%), Pennsylvania (3.4%), New Jersey (3.3%), Massachusetts (3.1%), Connecticut (3.0%), Vermont (3.0%), and Washington (3.0%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 1 were in Oklahoma (+2,539), Kentucky (+557), Puerto Rico (+457), Iowa (+282), and Maine (+264), while the largest decreases were in Massachusetts (-5,065), North Carolina (-4,898), California (-3,593), New York (-3,386), and Michigan (-2,528)."
2004-05-13 06:50PDT (09:50EDT) (13:50GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Retail sales fell 0.5% in April
census bureau report
"U.S. retail sales dropped 0.5% in April, reversing only part of March's 2% rise, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday. It was the first decline in seasonally adjusted sales since September... Excluding the 1.8% drop in auto sales, retail sales fell 0.1% compared with the expectation of a 0.3% drop... Retail sales, which represent about a third of final sales in the U.S. economy, are up 8% since April 2003 at $331.8G. So far in 2004, sales are running 9.2% higher than in the first 4 months of 2003. Economists are divided about the strength of retail going forward..."
2004-05-13 06:53PDT (09:53EDT) (13:53GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US un-employment compensation insurance claims rose: 4-week average falls to lowest level since 2000 November as many exhaust eligibility
"[Seasonally adjusted] First-time claims in the week ended May 8 rose by 13K to 331K, while the average number of initial claims over the past 4 weeks fell by 7,750 to 335,750, the department said. That's the lowest 4 week average since the week ended 2000-11-25... The total number of un-employed workers receiving state benefits rose 53K to 2.97M in the week ended May 1. The 4-week average of continuing claims rose 1,750 to 2.98M. The nation's insured un-employment rate rose to 2.4% from 2.3% in the previous week."
2004-05-13 10:15PDT (13:15EDT) (17:15GMT)
Jeannine Aversa _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Alan Greenspan's First Career Passion Was Music
"'I suspect most of you have not as yet figured out what career you would like to pursue.', said Greenspan, who is 78. 'As with all the generations of teen-agers that have gone before you, something will grab your interest and engage you.', he said. 'With me, it was music. I was entranced with sound and visualized myself playing with the likes of the Glenn Miller orchestra or becoming another Benny Goodman. Greenspan said he practiced clarinet and saxophone 3 to 5 hours a day and after graduation from high school, toured the country for a couple of years with a dance band. 'I was a good amateur but only an average professional.', Greenspan confessed. 'I soon realized that there was a limit to how far I could rise in the music business, so I left the band and enrolled at New York University.' There, he first majored in finance, then in economics and then in mathematical statistics, he said. He graduated in 1948 with an under-graduate degree in economics, joined a research firm and continued with his education, earning a masters degree in 1950. New York University awarded Greenspan a doctorate in 1977. Greenspan stressed that in today's work-place it is important to keep refreshing and adding skills and that education can be a lifetime pursuit."
2004-05-13 10:40:10PDT (13:40:10EDT) (17:40:10GMT)
Madeline Bennett _IT Week_/_VNU NET_
Customers turn against off-shoring
"Of 1,000 UK adults questioned by contact centre specialist ContactBabel, 7% had changed a supplier over the past year because their previous supplier had used off-shore customer support. And more than a quarter said they intended to change suppliers in the next 12 months because of discontent with off-shoring. Of those who had experienced off-shore customer support, almost three-quarters rated the experience as worse than a UK equivalent."
2004-05-13 11:02PDT (14:02EDT) (18:02GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
PPI up 0.7% in April: excluding food & energy wholesale prices are up 0.2% as inflation continues at a slow but inexorable pace (with graph)
"In March, the PPI rose 0.5%, while the core PPI rose 0.2%... Over the past year, the PPI has risen 3.7%, the largest 12-month change since December. The core PPI has risen 1.5% in the past year... Finished food prices rose 1.4% in April, led by a 10.4% jump in dairy prices, the most in nearly six decades. Energy prices rose 1.6% in April, including a 3.4% rise in gasoline prices. Natural gas prices rose 2.5%. Prices for intermediate and crude goods increased sharply in April, after moderating in March. Intermediate-goods prices rose 1.4% after rising 0.7% in March. The core intermediate goods PPI rose 1.1% in the month. Prices for steel mill products rose 6.3%, the largest gain in 30 years. Prices of crude goods increased 3.0% in April after rising 0.7% in March."
2004-05-13 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Wolf Blitzer & Peter Viles & Lisa Sylvester & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
off-shoring, college costs
"In 'Exporting America' tonight fighting back against a White House effort to block anti-out-sourcing legislation. As Lisa Sylvester reported here last week, U.S. trade representative is lobbying all 50 governors that that trade rules that would guarantee foreign companies equal access to state government contracts. Now, governors are becoming upset by out-sourcing and they're starting to say no way. Peter Viles reports. From Iowa to Pennsylvania, back-lash against the Bush White House and its trade policies. It started when the president's man on trade, Robert Zoellick lobbied all 50 governors seeking their, quote, 'voluntary commitment' to agree to procurement rules that mean, quote, 'treating foreign suppliers in the same manner as domestic suppliers'... Lori Wallach of Public Citizen: 'What's at stake is whether or not the different states and enough tax-payers in the states will decide how our tax dollars are spent...' Politicians are responding to the outrage that results when state money supports out-sourcing. Michael Veon, Pennsylvania state house of representatives: 'It really is adding insult to injury. You lose your job because the job is out-sourced over-seas. The insult is the company who did it is being paid tax-payers' dollars on a state contract...' Also saying no to the White House on this, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack saying he needs every tool available to help workers in his state... As Pete just reported, Iowa and Pennsylvania have pulled out of that procurement agreement portion of the trade agreements. According to _Public Citizen_, there are 25 states that continue to support the U.S. trade representative's effort to undermine the state's anti-out-sourcing positions and legislation. The other 23 states have not signed on to that agreement.
On Capitol Hill today, Democratic Congressman Edward Markey of Massachusetts entered his legislation that would block companies from spending consumer's personal information out of this country. The Markey Bill would require any company to notify its customers and receive their approval and consent before sending their personal information to foreign countries...
Scientists have been measuring the sun's brightness for more than four decades. Their findings show a dramatic decline in the amount of sunlight hitting the Earth. Beate Liepert of Lamong Observatory: 'It really has gotten less by about 4% in 30 years.'... In some parts of the world, the decline has been greater. Hong Kong has lost 37% of its sun-shine. And across the United States, the actual reduction in light is twice what scientists expected...
Aviation pioneer Burt Rutan and his firm called Scaled Composites, today, set a new civilian altitude record of 40 miles with space-ship one. This craft was carried 50K feet by the so called white knight aircraft, before they separated, and then rocketed into the stratosphere. After landing back on earth, 62-year-old pilot, that's right, 62-year-old pilot, Mike Melville said he would pay $1M to do it over again. He may have a chance to do it sooner than he thinks and at somewhat considerably less cost. Scaled Composites is one of 24 companies competing for the X-prize, a $10M reward for the first private funded group that will send three people on a sub orbital space flight...
at Georgetown where the room and board is more than $42K a year. He's receiving the maximum Federal Pell Grant of just over $4K a year. It barely makes a dent... Two decades ago the average Pell Grant covered 84% of the cost of attending a four-year public or college university. Today it's lucky if it covers 40% of the costs... According to a survey by student loan company Nellie Mae, a graduate will have $19K in debt, up 66% since 1997."
Eric Lichtblau _NY Times_
F.B.I. Agent Pleads Guilty in Deal in Red Chinese Spy Case
"The agent, James J. Smith, will likely avoid any prison time as a result of pleading guilty to falsely concealing a long affair with a [Red Chinese] double agent."
Michel Marriott _NY Times_
Computer Graphics Still Constrained to Cutting Corners
"The improvements have been in the form of a 3-D graphics technique called normal mapping. The technique, Mr. Wanat said, permits game designers to create finely detailed virtual worlds that can change as the game is played without overtaxing the computers and consoles that run them. (The word 'normal' refers to a vector, or line, that defines which way one face of an object is pointing.)... sometimes called polybump mapping... special software is used to translate, or map, all that rich detail onto the same object in a model made with far fewer polygons. The result is a realistic-looking object that, because it is made up of few polygons, does not require much computer power to manipulate... By adding additional layers to low-polygon models of walls, warriors and weapons that are encoded with specific instructions about reflectivity (called "specular" information) and color, objects can be made to look even more realistic, particularly when they move or when other objects pass before them."
_Scotsman Evening News_
Bosses finally invest a token amount in training
"[Phony] skills and labour shortages are causing employers to invest more money on in-house training, researchers said today. Figures showed 87% of firms would prefer to develop skills in-house, while 77% said they would raise staff training to meet skill gaps."
Sean P. Murphy _Boston Globe_
1st responder shortage alleged: Police, fire lack personnel to fight terror, chiefs say
"Since the 2001-09-11 terrorist attacks, towns and cities statewide have collectively shed 945 police officers and 798 firefighters because of lay-offs or attrition, and 83% of police chiefs and 92% of fire chiefs say their departments are unprepared for a terror attack, according to a survey of the state's police and fire chiefs by a state Senate committee."
Fears over door supervisor shortage: Inflated requirements to blame
"Pubs could be hit with a serious shortage of door supervisors when new security regulations come into effect. The introduction of expensive licences and a training programme has led to fears that many door supervisors will give up their jobs and opt for something more straightforward. The Security Industry Authority, which is responsible for enforcing the new regulations, has revealed that very few door supervisors have applied for licences in the first enforcement area of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It has warned that licensees could be forced to close if they operate with unregistered supervisors."
Roy Mark _CIO_/_Internet News_
Senate approved provision to encourage off-shoring
"A key provision favored by U.S.-based multi-nationals in a corporate bill has survived a final vote by the U.S. Senate. Part of a much broader, complex bill aimed at halting European Union (EU) trade sanctions, the provision enacted late Tuesday reduces foreign dividend taxes from 35% to 5.25% for one year. Tech proponents say the tax break will 'repatriate' more than $300G into the U.S. economy and create as many as a half million new jobs. Critics of the provision say it rewards companies for shipping jobs over-seas. The tech tax break has drawn the outspoken support of TechNet, the influential political lobbying group of CEOs and senior partners... [S1637]"
Steve Martin _Information Week_
Off-Shoring Is an Issue for Start-Ups: Venture capital firms & VC-funded execs drive off-shoring
"Venture-backed companies are mixed on off-shore out-sourcing, with some saying its low costs... make it attractive for start-ups. Others worry that these benefits are mitigated or even eclipsed in some cases by quality-control problems. Contrasting views of off-shoring were offered by VC-backed entrepreneurs at a gathering in San Francisco hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and attended by Silicon Valley venture capitalists, in town this week for a meeting of the National Venture Capital Association... The perception by many that VCs push the companies they own into off-shoring is well-founded, says David Spreng, managing partner of Crescendo Ventures. Crescendo's $1G portfolio includes 35 companies involved in building telecom infrastructure."
2004-05-14 03:49PDT (06:49EDT) (10:49GMT)
Lisa Twaronite _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Red China's CPI leap fuels fears of over-heating, but S&P report says "soft landing" likely
"Data Friday showed [Red China's] consumer prices rose in April at their fastest pace in 7 years, which dragged down Chinese shares on fears the government will take further steps to tighten credit. But economists cautioned that rising food prices behind the headline figures probably won't prompt the government to take more drastic steps anytime soon... [Red China's] consumer price index rose 3.8% in April compared to the same month last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Food costs, which account for about a third of the index, rose 10.2% as grain costs soared 33.9%. But non-food prices were up a modest 0.5% from last April."
2004-05-14 07:11PDT (10:11EDT) (14:11GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
UMich consumer sentiment index unchanged
"The consumer sentiment index remained at 94.2, the same level as reported in late April."
2004-05-14 07:43PDT (10:43EDT) (14:43GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
CPI continued to rise at 0.2% rate in April
BLS CPI report
"With energy prices nearly flat, U.S. consumer prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in April, the Labor Department reported Friday. The gain is the smallest of the year. The core rate of the consumer price index, which strips out food and energy costs, rose 0.3%."
2004-05-14 14:35PDT (17:35EDT) (21:35GMT)
Mark Cotton _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stocks stall on concerns over oil prices and likely Federal Reserve funds rate-hike
"Gains for ExxonMobil and Altria helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average move fractionally higher Friday, while the NASDAQ Composite fell on weakness in semiconductor shares, in a market dominated by concern over surging oil prices and the timing and scope of future interest rate hikes... The Dow ended up 2.13 points at 10,012.87, off its intraday low of 9,938.42. The benchmark index was down 104.47 points on the week. The Nasdaq Composite was down 21.78 points, or 1.1% at 1,904.25, as weakness in semiconductor stocks capped gains on the tech-rich index. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index tumbled 1.9%. The S&P 500 dipped 0.1% to 1,095.70. The Nasdaq fell 13.71 points on the week, and the S&P 500 lost 3 points. Crude oil futures surged to new highs. The June crude oil contract ended up 30 cents at $41.38, after hitting an intraday high of $41.56. June unleaded gasoline settled at a fresh all-time high of $1.4101 a gallon, up 96 cents. Retail prices of regular unleaded are nearing $2 per gallon. The national average stood at $1.953 on Friday -- another record, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report...
On the broader market, advancers out-paced decliners by 18 to 14 on the New York Stock Exchange. On the Nasdaq, decliners out-paced advancers by 2 to 1. Volume was 1.3G on the NYSE, and 1.5G on the Nasdaq. On a sector-by-sector basis, airlines, bio-tech stocks, networkers and telecom shares all moved lower. Gold shares put in a strong positive performance, buoyed by gains for the precious metal, while energy stocks ticked up as crude oil prices continue their ascent."
2004-05-14 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Iraq, prices vs. income
"It has been more than a year since then 1st Lieutenant Brian Chontosh's Marine platoon was ambushed by Iraqis firing mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. Trapped, Chontosh ordered his driver, Lance Corporal Armand McCormick, to turn directly into a heavily armed enemy trench. Their machine gunner bought them a few seconds. Then Chontosh and Lance Corporal Robert Kerman came out firing with small arms and pistols and quickly ran out of ammunition. First Lieutenant Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack. When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others...
The government now says prices rose at an annual rate of 4.4% in the first 4 months of the year, more than double last year's rate. Energy costs now rising at an annual rate of 28%. And with wages flat... Lee Price of the Economic Policy Institute: 'The GDP growth doesn't translate into pocket-books. Wages have not done very well. Profits have done quite well.'...
the cost of a college education... has nearly quadrupled over the last 2 decades...
Jim Ellis of _Business Week_: 'the types of jobs that are coming back are not the types of jobs a lot of people want to see. And also wage growth isn't going up.'...
My guest tonight [Ed Rendell, governor of PA] just made a decision to keep jobs in his state and away from cheap over-seas labor markets. Other states are following suit. They include IA, MN, MO and other states are ready to sign on as well. The governors of those 4 states have refused to sign a trade deal that would take away their right to choose American workers over foreign workers when awarding contracts... Ed Rendell: 'the trade rep sent us a letter saying, send me a letter agreeing to allow African countries and Latin American countries that we're negotiating with to have access to your state contracts. And in the country of Australia. I sent a letter back saying, no, we won't do it for the African nations and for the Latin American nations but we have agreed to do it for Australia. The difference is Australia has agreed to live by International Labor Organization standards... We, as you know, Governor Granholm of Michigan and Governor Doyle of Wisconsin and I spent a day in Washington seeing both congressmen and senators but also seeing administration officials. We had a very nice talk with Secretary Evans, secretary of commerce and we told him quite frankly that we thought that the administration had not done a good job representing American interests in front of the WTO... I mean, take the treaty that was negotiated by the Carter administration where we get killed on the VAT tax and you know what I'm talking about, Lou, of foreign companies get to deduct the VAT tax from what they can sell their products for here. American companies get the VAT tax added in Europe.'...
Today, Timken announced plans to close 3 plants in Canton, Ohio, cutting 1,300 jobs despite the productivity, of their labor force. As many as 20% of those jobs could go over-seas."
Lori Sharn _Congress Daily_
Plan to actually lift a finger to recruit nurses to VA jobs wins backing
"A House Veterans Affairs panel Thursday approved a plan to test whether professional recruiters and advertisers can lure more nurses to VA jobs. The Subcommittee on Health also approved more flexible work schedules to attract and keep nurses. The new alternate work schedules would include work weeks of three 12-hour days, seven 10-hour days over 2 weeks, and full-time for 9 months with 3 months off. The Department of Veterans Affairs Nurse Recruitment and Retention Act of 2004 (HR4231) is the latest bill over many years aimed at addressing a nationwide nursing shortage and its impact on VA facilities. A substitute amendment was passed by a unanimous voice vote."
Karen W. Arenson _NY Times_
More Youths Opt for G.E.D., Skirting High-School Hurdle
"A testing system created for World War II veterans has now increasingly become a way for teen-agers to by-pass high school."
Gary Rivlin _NY Times_
Bring Us Your Small, Unloved Start-Ups
"A pair of Silicon Valley-based venture capitalists have opened an unusual $250M fund intended to buy and rehabilitate former start-ups."
Amy Waldman _NY Times_
What India's Upset Vote Reveals: The High Tech Is Skin Deep
"India's governing party waged the country's first modern electoral campaign, but it was ousted in what has been called 'a huge popular rebellion'."
Patricia Cohen _NY Times_
Forget Lonely. Life Is Healthy at the Top: Increased health risks in a down-shifting job market
"The notion that status in and of itself -- not just as a stand-in for money, education or nutrition, quality of medical care, bad habits or good genes -- largely determines how healthy you are has become a cutting edge of public health research. Biologists, neurologists, economists, psychologists, primatologists and more have been trying to pinpoint precisely what links the two... 'Your position in the hierarchy very much relates to how much control you have over your life and your opportunities for full social engagement.'"
Matt Marshall _San Jose Mercury News_
Venture capitalist's off-shoring push goes into over-drive
"Carl Everett has a tough, politically sensitive mission: He acts as 'Mr. Off-Shore' for one of the valley's most established venture firms, Accel Partners. He's the guy who goes after Accel start-ups that are slow to move and tells them why and how they need to out-source work to other countries. And he's pretty busy these days. Accel is leading a growing trend among venture capitalists to urgently -- and mostly quietly -- push their companies to tap into larger markets and cheaper labor abroad. Lately, droves of venture capitalists have boarded planes for flash visits to [Red China] and India to test the waters for alliances, investment opportunities and potential employees. Silicon Valley Bank, for example -- which underwrites loans to local start-ups -- arranges such visits."
_Atlanta Journal Constitution_
"governor Phil Bredesen has signed a law that may have made Tennessee the first state to give businesses an incentive for not out-sourcing data-entry and call-center work..."
2004-05-17 08:46PDT (11:46EDT) (15:46GMT)
Bill Snyder _The Street_
Political Shake-Up Rattles Indian Out-Sourcing Firms
"Martin Kenney, a professor of human and community development at the University of California at Davis, said of India's booming computer services industry: 'It is inconceivable to me that Congress would do anything to disrupt this at all. The elites in India are on board.'"
2004-05-17 12:16PDT (15:16EDT) (19:16GMT)
Jeffry Bartash _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
10 former Lucent employees charged, company to pay $25M fine to settle SEC charges
"Federal regulators on Monday charged 10 individuals with securities fraud in connection with a long-running probe of Lucent Technologies. In a complaint filed Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Lucent and a handful of former employees of improperly recognizing $1.15G in sales and $470M in pretax income during fiscal 2000 - at the tail end of the late 1990s telecom boom. Lucent agreed, and three of its former employees agreed to settle the case without admitting or denying guilt. In addition, the company agreed to refrain from further violations and to pay a previously announced fine of $25M."
2004-05-17 12:42PDT (15:42EDT) (19:42GMT)
Employment-Practice Jury Awards Rose 18%, Discrimination Awards Fell Slightly
"The national compensatory jury-award median for employment-practice liability cases, which includes discrimination and wrongful termination claims, rose 18% in 2003 to $250K; while the compensatory award median for discrimination cases, including those involving age, race, disability or sex discrimination, fell 2% to $232,322."
2004-05-17 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles & Kitty Pilgrim _CNN_
mustard gas and sarin found in Iraqi artillery shells
"Nearly a million American jobs will be exported to cheaper foreign labor markets by the end of next year, that according to new estimates from Forrester Research. Forrester now says 830K jobs will be sent out of the country by the end of next year, 40% more than the company originally projected and reported... The technology lobby: 'Off-shore out-sourcing creates many more jobs than displaced.' The Business Roundtable: 'Yes, jobs are leaving, but only 100K white collar jobs a year.' McKinsey & Company: 'Oh, it's about 200K service jobs per year.' Marcus Courtney of WashTech: 'They're being published by the same corporations that are exporting jobs over-seas. So they have a direct interest to down-play the real impact and effect.' The most widely-quoted estimate comes from Forrester Research that 3.3M jobs will move over-seas by 2015. Now Forrester has a new analysis with some surprising findings. It says the long-term picture hasn't really changed, now predicts 3.4M jobs by 2015.
But, in the short term, all the media coverage of out-sourcing has actually caused the trend to accelerate. Job losses will average 257K service jobs this year and next, but those jobs will be hard to tally because 'the potential for bad PR will force more companies under-ground and into an off-shore witness protection program.'... Why in the world would fine, up-standing folks doing honorable things, taking care of the interests of their employees, their communities and their national interests feel that they have to slink around? John McCarthy, VP of Forrester Research: '... up until the _BusinessWeek_ article of 1003 January, a lot of people kind of weren't paying that much attention to what was going on in off-shoring from a services point of view... [The articles created momentum. They] all talk about the different things that people are doing and the amount that they're [allegedly] saving.'... What about the role of the enablers, the facilitators, Accenture, McKinsey, Booz Allen, et cetera?... John McCarthy of Forrester: 'The most aggressive numbers that I've seen for all of the Indian off-shoring industry are in the neighborhoods of 15% -- of $15G...'...
In the heart of Silicon Valley, Curtis Landis is thriving with a business idea he came up with two decades ago. His company, Supracor makes a unique plastic honey comb material that it fashions into products as diverse as seat cushions for wheelchairs and shoes for race horses. The products are sold around the world, but they're all made entirely in the USA... Supracor employs 50 people at the San Jose manufacturing facility and headquarters. Many have been with the company for 15 years...
[Red China] has warned Taiwan's president that his campaign for independence could cause him should he follow its path to burn in his own flames."
Robert Pear _NY Times_
Panel Urges New Protection on Federal Data Mining
"A federal advisory committee says Congress should pass laws to protect the civil liberties of Americans when the government sifts through computer records."
Bomb Killed Head of Iraqi Governing Council: Suicide Car Bomb, Also Military Confirmed Sarin Blast
"The head of the Iraqi Governing Council was killed in a suicide car bombing near a checkpoint outside the coalition headquarters in central Baghdad on Monday, dealing a blow to U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq ahead of a hand-over of sovereignty on June 30. A road-side bomb containing sarin nerve agent also exploded recently near a U.S. military convoy in Baghdad, brigadier general Mark Kimmitt confirmed Monday, saying 2 explosives experts were treated for 'minor exposure' but no serious injuries were reported."
Palm Beach Post
"Technology market researcher Forrester said in a report titled _Near-Term Growth of Off-Shoring Accelerating_ that it expects the number of U.S. business service and software jobs moving off-shore to reach 588K in 2004 from 315K in 2003. The loss of U.S. software programming, customer call-center and even legal paper-work positions [are expected to] rise to 830K jobs by 2005, up 40% over this year, the report said."
_AP_/_Los Angeles Times_
Tennessee Law Targets Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
"Governor Phil Bredesen has signed a law that may have made Tennessee the first state to give businesses an incentive for not out-sourcing data-entry and call-center work to cheaper off-shore locales. The new law asks state procurement officials to give preference in bids for such services to contractors employing workers only in the United States. It was approved overwhelmingly by law-makers last month and signed into law last week...
Legislatures in 35 states have introduced bills seeking to address the issue, usually by banning the state from contracting with companies planning to employ off-shore workers. Intense lobbying by business groups has helped prevent passage of those bills in other states."
A Visa Quagmire
"The back-log of visa applications caused by security measures could mean long-term harm to America's universities and high-tech industries."
_Snohomish County Public Utility District_
PUD Releases Enron Transcripts Showing Wide-Spread Fraud
"Snohomish County PUD today filed with federal regulators a series of telephone transcripts from Enron power traders in Portland, Oregon, that show extensive manipulation of West Coast energy markets in 2000-2001. The transcripts, filed in connection with legal proceedings at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), provide definitive evidence that Enron intentionally congested electricity transmission lines... Transcripts also provide evidence suggesting that Enronís top leadership, including Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, were aware of such illegal gaming."
Sarin, Mustard Gas Discovered Separately in Iraq
"A roadside bomb containing sarin nerve agent recently exploded near a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said Monday. Bush administration officials told Fox News that mustard gas was also recently discovered... Two weeks ago, U.S. military units discovered mustard gas that was used as part of an IED. Tests conducted by the Iraqi Survey Group (search) -- a U.S. organization searching for weapons of mass destruction -- and others concluded the mustard gas was 'stored improperly', which made the gas 'ineffective'. They believe the mustard gas shell may have been one of 550 projectiles for which former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein failed to account when he made his weapons declaration shortly before Operation Iraqi Freedom began last year. Iraq also failed to then account for 450 aerial bombs with mustard gas. That, combined with the shells, totaled about 80 tons of unaccounted for mustard gas... Gazi George, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist under Saddam's regime, told Fox News he believes many similar weapons stock-piled by the former regime were either buried underground or transported to Syria. He noted that the airport where the device was detonated is on the way to Baghdad from the Syrian border."
2004-05-17 22:00PDT (2004-05-18 01:00EDT) (2004-05-18 05:00GMT)
Cisco source code, stolen, shows up on web
"Cisco Systems said Monday it's investigating how code for some software that runs much of the networking equipment on the Internet was published on a web site, according to media reports. 'Cisco is aware that a potential compromise of its proprietary information occurred and was reported on a public web site just prior to the week-end.', the company said in a statement late Monday. 'Cisco is fully investigating what happened.' San Jose, CA-based Cisco is the world's leading maker of network routers and switches, and is a back-bone for the Internet."
2004-05-18 06:34PDT (09:34EDT) (13:34GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Housing starts slip 2% to 1.97M; permits up 1% to 2M
census bureau report on new residential construction
"Home construction continued at a robust pace in April, with new starts slipping about 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.97M, the Commerce Department estimated Tuesday. Building permits, considered a leading economic indicator, rose about 1.2% to a 2.0M annual rate, the highest since October."
2004-05-18 09:44PDT (12:44EDT) (16:44GMT)
_AP_/_San Diego Union-Tribune_
EEOC is suing San Jose for age discrimination
"The EEOC alleges in the suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose that the city violated federal law when it denied a promotion to a 72-year-old mechanic and gave the job to younger, less experienced workers."
2004-05-18 11:46PDT (14:46EDT) (18:46GMT)
Corbett B. Daly & Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
George W. Bush taps Alan Greenspan for 5th term as chair of Federal Reserve Board
"President Bush has tapped Alan Greenspan for a fifth 4-year term as the chairman of the Federal Reserve, ending speculation that the expected appointment of the 78-year-old central banker was mired in election-year politics. 'Alan Greenspan has done a superb job as chairman of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System, and I have great confidence in his economic stewardship.', Bush said in a statement read by White House spokesman Scott McClellan for the television cameras."
2004-05-18 13:18PDT (16:18EDT) (20:18GMT)
_Puget Sound Business Journal_
April un-employment in Washington rose to 6.3%
"After months of continuously falling, the state's seasonally adjusted un-employment rate rose to 6.3% in April, up two-tenths of a percent from March, in an increase state officials said 'is not necessarily a bad sign'... Strong gains were reported in construction (up 4,500 jobs) and food processing (up 1,200), due to seasonal hiring. Increases were also reported in the professional and business services (up 3,400) and leisure and hospitality (up 5,100) sectors. Ferry County, in northeast Washington, continues to have the state's highest un-employment rate at 16.2% in April. Whitman County, in southeast Washington, continues to have the lowest un-employment rate, with 1.8% last month."
2004-05-18 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Matthew Chance & Kitty Pilgrim & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
"in the Gaza Strip. The Rafah camp near the Egyptian border is densely populated. Still, it's pounded from the ground and the air, essential Israel says to destroy secret tunnels militants use as gateways to smuggle weapons. Feingold: 'We are adamant in combatting this phenomenon of smuggling. We have information that the Palestinians have been trying to smuggle very large-caliber weapons into the Gaza Strip, specifically speaking about...rockets. We know that they have to smuggle RPGs into the Gaza Strip, RPGs which are then turned against our forces patrolling the border.'...
Last month in LA they found more than 100 illegal aliens living in one small house... T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patril Council: 'People are coming for the jobs. Until we make it illegal, truly illegal to hire people who have no right to be here and make those laws enforcible, we are going to keep shoving sand against the tide.'... Dana Rohrabacher: 'There's some very powerful forces at work in the United States of America. That's why we have an out of control flow of illegals into our country. And even though we've got this -- and the American people are... angry. They know this is bringing down their wages. They know this is putting strain on health care, education, and our criminal justice systems. Yet, our government is unwilling to do anything about it because you've got the liberal left on one side who are trying to use these illegal immigrants as political pawns and you got big business trying to keep wages down on the other. It's an unholy alliance... That's why they're willing to go through the desert, take risks because we're offering benefits they could never get in their home country and we'll have the problem until we realize that... HR3722...'...
Hopkinsville, Kentucky, population 32K is the home of Ebonite International. Every 12 seconds a bowling ball rolls off the assembly line. Ebonite is the only bowling ball company that makes all of its own materials, including the shell and the sheen. The company also manufactures the Hammer line of bowling balls, has a line of accessories and carries a collector's item or two...
Woodrow Wilson: 'America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal, to discover and maintain liberty among men.'"
Voting Machines for New York
"New York State should be at the forefront of the movement to demand that voting machines produce verifiable paper records."
Vanessa Hua _San Francisco Chronicle_
Documentary tracks dot-com boom & bust: 3 views
"film-maker Jennifer Thompson, 31, from her studio in San Francisco's Mission District... Fed up with New York, the film-maker moved to San Francisco in 1998, after falling in love with the city's creativity and openness, she said. In 2000, software developer Oracle offered her an editing job. At the same time, Thompson had the opportunity to borrow expensive filming equipment from a local production house where she had free-lanced. Choosing between the two, she said, threw her into crisis. But the Bay Area was bursting with so much noise and activity. She chose to make a documentary about those times. Her instinct proved right, with the dot-com crash cutting more than 400K jobs in the Bay Area.
Thompson wanted to focus on the same moment in history, told from multiple perspectives. As 'American Dream 2.0' opens, tech worker Murali Krishna Devarakonda of Santa Clara is holding out for his green card and for the security it brings. Dancer Krista DeNio of San Francisco is fighting for Dancer's Group, a performance and practice venue in the Mission District being forced out of its space by rising rents. Entrepreneur Lawrence Axil Comras is working out of his garage in San Francisco's Richmond District and trying to raise money for his dot-com, Greenhome.com, which sells environmental goods."
Paul McDougall _Information Week_
Bad Press, Objections of Workers & Customers Haven't Dented Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
"If an informal attendee poll at an out-sourcing conference is any indication, negative press and protests are having little impact on CEOs' use of off-shore IT labor. According to a survey conducted by moderators during a seminar here at the Gartner Out-Sourcing Summit Tuesday, 86% of respondents said negative publicity wouldn't slow their off-shoring plans. Only 5% said bad press would cause them to delay an off-shoring strategy by more than 6 months. The poll represented about 150 buyers of off-shore IT-out-sourcing services."
Out-Sourcing Dominates IT Services
"'Out-sourcing is becoming the dominant way that enterprises buy IT services.', said Allie Young, research vice president for Gartner's sourcing group."
Cindy Kraft alternate e-mail _Tampa Bay Wired_
How Secure Is Your Position?
"When 952 executives were asked this question in a recent Execunet survey, 77% indicated they had concerns about their current job or career -- a 9% increase over one year ago. According to the survey, a prospective merger or down-sizing tops the list followed by limited advancement opportunities."
2004-05-18 17:37PDT (20:37EDT) (2004-05-19 00:37GMT)
Jennifer Openshaw _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Time for consumers to wise up
"After all, we spend $1.1T on food and tobacco, $405G on clothing and jewelry and another $564G on professional services, including investment advice and legal services, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. And that's just for starters. In fact, the fortunes of our $10T economy, and the economies in much of the rest of the world, depend on the confident spending of the American consumer... Our debt level is rising. Consumer debt has topped $2T for the first time, according to the Federal Reserve. Bankruptcies also reached a record of 1.6M in 2003, and Elizabeth Warren, Harvard professor and author of _The Two Income Family_, predicts that 1 in 6 families will file for bankruptcy in the next decade. The cost of 'necessary' items -- like health care, education and housing -- are sky-rocketing well beyond any increase in our incomes... Even technical jobs requiring a high level of education are rapidly moving over-seas, relentlessly chasing lower labor costs around the globe...
savings rates are at an all-time low of less than 2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite all this, we've somehow adopted a collective attitude that we can spend more, save less and it won't catch up with us. Indeed, we feel 'entitled' to that fancy new car, the lavish vacation or the dream home. After all, we're working harder and longer than ever before...
Many are under-funded, and the rules for distribution are changing fast. And, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, the government agency created to 'protect the retirement incomes of nearly 44.3M American workers' itself is under-funded by a staggering $11G."
2004-05-19 14:15PDT (17:15EDT) (21:15GMT)
Karla Gale _Reuters_
Caffeine May Protect Liver from Damage
"Coffee and other caffeinated beverages may provide some protection from liver damage in people at risk for liver disease, according to research presented here at Digestive Disease Week. Using data from the third US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted between 1988 and 1994, Drs. James E. Everhart and Constance E. Ruhl assessed the association between caffeinated beverage consumption and liver disease. Among people at risk for liver disease due to excessive alcohol use or other factors, drinking more than two cups of coffee per day seemed to protect against liver damage. Compared with people who didn't drink the beverage, those who did were 44-percent less likely to show evidence of liver damage. The risk reduction seen with consumption of any caffeinated beverage was even higher, at 69%... one of caffeine's primary effects is blocking cell structures called adenosine receptors. The early effect of this blockade is stimulation of the immune system that could protect the liver..."
2004-05-19 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Ed Henry & Lisa Sylvester & Peter Viles _CNN_
Sivits pled guilty at general court-martial, got maximum sentence; NASA book-keeping in disarray; international trade
"Armored helicopters buzzed over-head. U.S. Army troops continuously marched by. This was the Baghdad setting for court-martial of Army Specialist Jeremy Sivits and the arraignment of three more soldiers, all accused of abusing and humiliating Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. In his court-martial, Sivits broke down twice as he pled guilty...
the trial lawyer lobby is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington. They pour millions of dollars into Democratic campaigns in every election cycle...
Arizona's governor, Janet Napolitano, and her constituents have seen one of the biggest spikes in gasoline prices in the country. The average price of a gallon of gas there has jumped 54 cents since March, $2.13 today. Governor Napolitano also wants the federal government to investigate whether price gouging is to blame...
The International Space Station is 5 times over-budget. The X-33, which was to replace the shuttle, cost tax-payers nearly $1G before being shelved...
If you ever want to go back in time, get a good map and find the Alden Shoe factory south of Boston where they make men's shoes as they did a century ago, by hand, one stitch at a time... They're made with the finest leathers, including shelled cordova from Chicago, fashioned by 100 crafts-men, priced at $275 a pair and higher... Could you out-source all of this? Of course, you could, as long as you don't care about the personality, character and the integrity...
Jim Demint: 'Our un-employment rate in this country is 1 percent lower than before NAFTA. And our manufacturing output has increased 40%. And we've got about 6.5M jobs that are American job that is came from out-sourcing of other countries. As you continue to talk about trade, let's just look at the facts. In South Carolina, we're expanding exports of 2.5 times the national average. And most of the jobs now in South Carolina and a quarter of the jobs in this country are dependent on exports.'... Marcy Kaptur: 'South Carolina has lost 250K jobs during the 1990s. And when you look at NAFTA as the template for the trade, we have gone into deeper deficit with Mexico and Canada since NAFTA signing... We ought to fix what's wrong with NAFTA and stop the hemorrhage of good jobs in this country. Over the last 3 years we've lost 3M more jobs at an accelerating rate. Our standard of living is going down. People are losing their health insurance benefits. And even education is more unaffordable to our youth who want to go on to college. We have a huge trade deficit, which is actually a job deficit, and a huge growing budget deficit. Our trade deficit with [Red China], Mexico and Canada really has cost us millions and millions of jobs. We ought to have trade reciprocity, a balance, not these huge deficits.'... Jim Demint: 'The problem is we make it too expensive to do business in this country through our tax code, our junk law-suits, the cost of energy. You go down the list. It's 22% more expensive to do business in America.'"
Jesus Sanchez _Los Angeles Times_
Army specialist Jeremy C. Sivitz given maximum sentence
"Army specialist Jeremy C. Sivits today pleaded guilty to charges of abusing Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison and was sentenced to one year in prison, stripped of his rank and he will be given a bad conduct discharge. Sivits was given the maximum sentence in the first military court martial stemming from the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, where U.S. military personnel allegedly abused and humiliated prisoners. The 24-year-old solider, who photographed the humiliation of nude Iraqi prisoners, pleaded guilty to 4 charges, including mistreating detainees and dereliction of duty... Unlike other defendants, Sivits faced a special court-martial [as opposed to a general court-martial], where the maximum term of imprisonment is one year, apparently as part of the deal to assist prosecutors."
_Los Angeles Times_
Former FBI Biologist Admits Falsifying DNA Analyses
"A former biologist in the FBI laboratory pleaded guilty to submitting falsified DNA analysis reports in more than 100 cases. Jacqueline A. Blake, 40, of Upper Marlboro, MD, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington to a single count of making false statements on official government reports she prepared. Blake faces a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $100K fine at sentencing scheduled for September 20."
Tony Perry & Patrick J. McDonnell _Los Angeles Times_
The digital war: Armed with cameras & the Internet, troops capture & transmit a relatively uncensored, front-lines view
Mike Hughlett & Julie Forster _St. Paul Pioneer Press_
Minnesota job numbers take off
"The state gained 12,100 jobs from March to April, the largest month-to-month gain since 1999 October, when adjusted for seasonal hiring patterns, according to data released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Meanwhile, Minnesota's un-employment sank to 4.1% last month, down from 4.8% in March, the largest one-month drop on record. Employment gains were spread across many industries, and were particularly strong in manufacturing, construction and professional sectors such as technology...
That doesn't mean the tech boom is back. V's new job -- at $42K a year -- pays about $13K less than his old software position in Madison. But pay cuts are common in the tech industry these days..."
Daniel S. Greenberg _Washington Post_
What Scientist Shortage?
"A scientist shortage? Again? The gloomy warnings are back... Overall, a grim picture -- of questionable validity. Obscured by the alarmist rhetoric are the repeated false alarms, erroneous forecasts and gluts of un-employed scientists -- rather than shortages -- that have been the reality in the scientific market-place for decades. In the mid-1980s, government forecasters warned that the 'baby bust' portended a crippling 'short-fall' of 675K scientists over the next 20 years. By 1990 the forecast was dropped down the memory hole as joblessness increased in scientific ranks. In 1995 an article in a publication of the American Mathematical Society noting the abundance of un-employed math PhDs observed: 'At current hiring levels, it would take several years to absorb this back-log, even if all Ph.D. production suddenly ceased.' The plight of chemists was summarized last year in a head-line in a leading chemical journal, 'Slump Continues for Chemists: Un-employment is at a record high, but opportunities exist for the well prepared.'...
Last February Donald Kennedy, editor of Science, co-wrote an editorial that asked, 'Why do we keep wishing to expand the supply of scientists, even though there is no evidence of imminent shortages?... policies are set mainly by elders, who, like the institutions that employ them, have little incentive to down-size their operations... We've arranged to produce more knowledge workers than we can employ, creating a labor-excess economy that keeps labor costs down and productivity high.' Average salary scales for professors show the market-place value of different disciplines: law, $109,478; business, $79,931; biological and biomedical sciences, $63,988; mathematics, $61,761... The post-college route to a science PhD usually takes 5 to 7 years. Post-doctoral fellowships, now a common-place requirement for most academic and many industrial jobs, run for 2 to 3 years. Post-doctoral wages average around $35K a year, without benefits... Even so, jobs remain scarce.
For scientifically talented foreign students, especially from developing countries, a scientific career based on training in the United States is a wondrously appealing opportunity, usually financed by their home countries... the 'stay' rates of foreign doctoral students have actually increased, according to the National Science Foundation, which reports that 71% of foreign citizens who received their PhDs in 1999 were still in the United States 2 years later -- up from 49% in 1987."
Samuel C. Florman _Technology Review_
How Engineers Can Fight Back: As out-sourcing turns a once-secure career into a risky proposition it's time for engineers to lose their political inhibitions
alternate Technology Review link
"Our tremendously important profession does not appeal to enough of our best and brightest youngsters-our ingenious creators, our entrepreneurs and idealists, and especially our most talented women and minorities. The fault, we usually agree, lies in the harsh and demanding characteristics of engineering education; also in the failure of society to appreciate the marvelous things we engineers do, and the great satisfaction we glean from our achievements. The problem is one of public relations-an inability to communicate to others the wonders that we appreciate heart and soul. But not so fast. A month after the appearance of the article that evoked my fervent approval, the same newspaper published a follow-up piece, by the same writer (Sharon Begley). This story -- headlined 'Angry Engineers Blame Shortage on Low Pay, Layoffs and Age Bias' -- reported that hundreds of readers, most of them irate engineering professionals, had written to comment about the earlier column. Their complaints focused on salary stagnation, age discrimination, and the infamous boom-and-bust cycle in the field. They alleged that the periodic claims of engineer shortage are a ploy to 'obtain talent on the cheap'... suddenly, while I wasn't looking, disaster had struck. In the first quarter of 2003, the unemployment rate for electrical engineers had soared to 7%, a full point higher than the national average, which was itself causing alarm... Yet here we are, engineer crusaders, still urging young people to join our ranks, and lamenting the lack of universal enthusiasm for our cause. In addition to proclaiming our own personal ardor, we march under the banner of patriotism. Technology, we insist, is essential to national health and vitality... U.S. engineering societies have reacted by spreading the bad news in their publications, and in some cases with lobbying efforts of their own. But the response is somewhat muted, partly because engineers themselves are members of the various interest groups: government, academe, and industry-with those in industry divided between ownership, management, private consultants, and employees at varying levels of responsibility and income... We wouldn't have become the leading technological power in the world if our engineers had spent all their time marching and giving speeches. But in the present situation, we must reconsider our priorities... In a series of essays, Russel C. Jones, past dean, university president, and executive director of the National Society of Professional Engineers, along with professor Bethany S. Oberst, have proposed that the engineering profession address the problem by recognizing companies for meritorious employment practices, and steering engineers away from companies that treat their employees in a non-professional way."
2004-05-19 17:42PDT (20:42EDT) (2004-05-20 00:42GMT)
Mike Sunnucks _Phoenix Business Journal_
Governor Janet Napolitano stands firm against off-shoring
"Business leaders and lobbyists met with top state officials on Tuesday to voice their opposition to a new state ban on the foreign out-sourcing or off-shoring of government contract work. [Some] Business interests do not like an anti-foreign out-sourcing directive issued by governor Janet Napolitano in April that bars state government contract work from being shipped out of the United States."
2004-05-19 18:59PDT (21:59EDT) (2004-05-20 01:59GMT)
Andrea Coombes _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Employer Tuition Aid Falls
"Back in the heady days of the booming economy, U.S. companies spent thousands to send their high-level managers back to school in executive MBA programs. These days, with the average U.S. tuition for programs running $51,250, and some topping $100K, fewer companies find it in their economic interest to foot that bill. But even as the number of companies that aid higher-level workers' educational dreams has dropped, enrollment in these programs has held steady. More executives and professionals are simply paying their own way, with an eye on keeping ahead in a tight job market, starting their own businesses or attaining that degree they always wanted...
38% of students in executive MBA programs are fully reimbursed by their employer, down from 44% in 2001, according to an annual survey by the Executive MBA Council, a non-profit association representing school programs. The number of students paying their own way is rising: 24% in 2003, up from 19% in 2001. While exact figures are unavailable, experts agree that enrollment has remained steady, with an estimated 17K people attending more than 200 executive MBA programs worldwide, said George Bobinski, co-chair of the council's Center for Research and associate dean of the State University of New York at Binghamton's School of Management. Meanwhile, business schools don't seem to fear an enrollment drop. The number of new executive programs worldwide has risen: 45 new programs emerged from 2000 to 2003, as many as were created throughout the 1980s."
2004-05-20 02:29PDT (05:29EDT) (09:29GMT)
Tim Talley _AP_/_Yahoo!_
FBI Whistle-Blower Disputes Forensic Data Interpretation
"Frederic Whitehurst told jurors Wednesday that FBI forensic scientist Steven Burmeister, whom he trained, had told two lies: that ammonium nitrate crystals found on bombing debris had been embedded by the force of the blast and that the crystals came from the kind of fertilizer believed used in the bombing. Whitehurst said there was not enough evidence to support either of Burmeister's conclusions... 'He is my student. And I trust him like a brother. But he lied under oath.', Whitehurst said of Burmeister...
Whitehurst's allegations in the mid-1990s divulged shoddy work at the FBI laboratory in Washington and led to widespread changes. The Justice Department inspector general's office investigated the lab for 18 months and subsequently criticized the facility for flawed scientific work and inaccurate, pro-prosecution testimony in major cases, including the Oklahoma City bombing... The Associated Press last year reported that Burmeister himself alleged to the Justice Department's inspector general that the bombing evidence was tainted by shoddy work and contamination problems, then recanted the allegation a few months before he testified in the McVeigh trial... Whitehurst said Burmeister began referring to the crystals as embedded after meeting with federal prosecutors who asked whether the crystals were embedded. Burmeister said then he could not tell, Whitehurst said. 'They were not embedded in that surface.', Whitehurst said. 'They were simply adhering to the surface.'"
2004-05-20 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
un-employment compensation insurance weekly claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 295,220 in the week ending May 15, an increase of 2,662 from the previous week. There were 362,276 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured un-employment rate was 2.2% during the week ending May 8, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,781,403, a decrease of 57,480 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.7% and the volume was 3,459,502. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending May 1. 17,142 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Un-employment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending May 1...
The highest insured un-employment rates in the week ending May 1 were in Alaska (5.2%), Puerto Rico (5.1%), Oregon (3.5%), Michigan (3.2%), New Jersey (3.2%), Pennsylvania (3.1%), Washington (3.0%), California (2.9%), Massachusetts (2.8%), Rhode Island (2.7%), and Wisconsin (2.7%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 8 were in North Carolina (+1,765), California (+1,730), Minnesota (+1,541), Michigan (+1,467), and Mississippi (+1,462), while the largest decreases were in Oklahoma (-2,150), Connecticut (-1,509), Maine (-661), Missouri (-609), and New York (-467)."
2004-05-20 07:21PDT (10:21EDT) (14:21GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US un-employment compensation insurance claims rose: Seasonally adjusted 4-week average fell to lowest since 2000 November as eligibility continues to be exhausted by many
"First-time claims in the week that ended May 15 rose by 12K to 345K, while the average number of initial claims over the past four weeks fell by 2,750 to 333,500, the department said. That's the lowest 4-week average since the week ended 2000-11-18... Meanwhile, the total number of un-employed workers receiving state benefits fell by 23K to 2.94M in the week ended May 8. The 4-week average of continuing claims fell by 15,500 to 2.96M. That's the lowest 4-week average of total claims since 2001 June. The nation's insured un-employment rate fell to 2.3% from 2.4% in the previous week."
2004-05-20 07:39PDT (10:39EDT) (14:39GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicator Index inched up in April: March data revised upward
"'Net of the revisions, the index is now up 4.9% year-over-year, consistent with GDP growth of about 6.75%. Hard to see a second-half slow-down here.', said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics... 4 of the 10 indicators increased in April, including interest rate spread, money supply, building permits and stock prices. Six of the indicators were negative, led by average weekly factory hours, manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods, vendor performance, consumer expectations, new orders for non-defense capital goods and weekly jobless claims..."
2004-05-20 09:33PDT (12:33EDT) (16:33GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Philly Fed index fell to 23.8
"The Philly Fed's activity index fell to 23.8 in May from 32.5 in April... On a positive note, the employment index rose to 22.6 from 12.2 in April. This is the highest level for the employment index since 1973 April."
2004-05-20 12:40PDT (15:40EDT) (19:40GMT)
Luisa Beltran _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Richard Strong agrees to ban from securities industry plus $175M for improper mutual fund trading
"Richard Strong and the company he founded, Strong Capital Management, agreed Thursday to pay $175M to settle allegations of improper mutual fund trading. Richard Strong, 62, has agreed to a life-time ban from the securities industry and will personally pay $60M in civil penalties and restitution. The former chief executive apologized to company share-holders Thursday. 'Throughout my career, I have considered it to be my sacred duty to protect my investors; and yet in a particular and persistent way I let them down.', Strong said in a statement. 'In previous years, I frequently traded the shares of the Strong funds, at the same time that the advice which we gave our investors was to do the opposite and to hold their shares for the long term. My personal behavior in this regard was wrong and at odds with the obligations I owed my share-holders, and for this I am deeply sorry.' Strong Capital also agreed to pay $80M in fines and penalties, according to a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In a separate pact with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, Menomonee Falls, WI-based Strong Capital will also cut fees by 6% over a 5-year period, a reduction valued at $35M...
Privately held Strong Capital was one of 4 firms -- along with Janus Capital Group, [Bank of India] and Bank One -- named by Spitzer in his $40M settlement with Canary Capital last year. Canary, a hedge fund, allegedly schemed with mutual funds to engage in after-hours trading and market timing."
2004-05-20 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Bill Tucker _CNN_
computers assembled in USA, off-shoring
"Richard Blumenthal, CT attorney general: 'I've taken a very strong stand, Lou, against off-shoring and out-sourcing abroad of jobs that are really vital to not only job security of these workers, but our national security. And I believe very strongly that state officials need to stand up and speak out against this trend. Certainly, we should stop doing business, as states, in the public interest, with companies that send these jobs over-seas. My view is, if they don't keep the jobs in this country, they should lose the contracts. And I think we need to show these workers that public officials will side with them in this critical fight against off-shoring... all of us as state officials have a larger obligation to the public interest to make sure that these workers know and all of us know the tremendous concealed costs that are involved in off-shoring of jobs, and the hidden subsidies that other countries offer to export these jobs from this country. And SBC is indeed the most profitable of the baby bells; $8.5G on $40.8G in revenue, was their profits last year. They can afford -- they have an obligation to keep these jobs here. And it's not only through Accenture, but through Infosys and Symbol (ph)... our contracts in the state have a provision that enables us to terminate them when it's in the public interest at the sole discretion of the state. And I believe that states like Connecticut with those provisions ought to take action right away to assure that Accenture and any other company involved in off-shoring no longer does this kind of work for the state of Connecticut.'...
Three years ago, MPC Computers was losing money and scheduled to be shut down. The company, instead was taken private and that was the beginning of some interesting decision. The acquiring company, Gores Technology listened to existing management and kept them... The company went from losing $100M a year to profitability in 120 days... The company was already successful selling to the government, educational and mid-size commercial markets. It cleared everything else off the table and then it focused on the issue of out-sourcing services and decided service was too important to give to someone else...
And in Florida, the situation is desperate. Every day construction projects are delayed and home builders are just waiting for cement. Cement producers are at full capacity. They rely on import for 20% of the demand, but you know, they're competing with [Red China] for imports. As [Red China] sucks raw material into it's ships, tied up at it's ports, and Asian shipments once headed here are heading to [Red China] instead. It's not a question of price but supply. Florida, South Carolina and the Gulf Coast, the cement just isn't there. The same story is playing out in scrap steel, prices through the roof, they're up another 33% in the past 3 months. Who says [Red China] is cooling. It's also, the same story in lumber and plywood, prices sky high."
Brian Bergstein _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Matrix Data-Base Used To Generate "Terrorism Quotient"
"Before helping to launch the criminal information project known as Matrix, a data-base contractor gave U.S. and Florida authorities the names of 120K people who showed a statistical likelihood of being terrorists -- sparking some investigations and arrests. The 'high terrorism factor' scoring system also became a key selling point for the involvement of the data-base company, Seisint Inc., in the Matrix project. Public records obtained by The Associated Press from several states show that Justice Department officials cited the scoring technology in appointing Seisint sole contractor on the federally funded, $12M project... Matrix -- short for Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange -- combines state records and data culled by Seisint to give investigators fast access to information on crime and terrorism suspects. It was launched in 2002. Because the system includes information on people with no criminal record as well as known criminals, Matrix has drawn objections from liberal and conservative privacy groups. Utah and at least 8 other states have pulled out, leaving Florida, Connecticut, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania."
D. David Beckman _WashTech_
M$ announces cuts in employee benefits
"stopped granting stock options to its employees, the company has announced that it is trimming other employee benefits, under-scoring changes in the culture of the company. The newest changes affect the Employee Stock Purchase Plan, prescription drug benefits, and the company's parental leave policy, according to the memo e-mailed to all full-time employees late Tuesday afternoon entitled 'FY05 Benefit Plan Changes'."
2004-05-21 06:54PDT (09:54EDT) (13:54GMT)
T.A. Badger _San Diego Union-Tribune_
CWA strike against SBC over health insurance and off-shore out-sourcing
"nearly 100K unionized SBC Communications Inc. workers who began a 4-day strike early Friday to protest the local-phone [monopoly's] latest contract offer... SBC, the second-largest of the 4 'Baby Bell' local-phone [monopolies] and by far the most profitable in 2003, said about 40K managers, contract workers and retirees will cover key tasks during the strike...
A reporter in Los Angeles who called it at 00:05 first received a recorded message saying SBC was having trouble handling the call, and subsequent calls rang unanswered. Six hours later, another Los Angeles reporter waited for nearly a minute before an operator picked up. After another delay, the reporter asked for her own home phone number and was given the wrong information. CWA represents more than 100K SBC workers in 13 states: Texas, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Workers include operators, linesmen, engineers, clerical workers, installers and service representatives."
2004-05-21 13:11PDT (16:11EDT) (20:11GMT)
Tomi Kilgore & Mark Cotton _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Dow rose, but closed off high
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended, unofficially, up 29.10, or 0.3% at 9,966.74, down from its intraday high of 10,036.78. The Nasdaq Composite ended up 15.5 points, or 0.8%, at 1,912.09, below its intraday high of 1,918.08. The S&P 500 Index tacked on 4.41 points to 1,093.6 and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks gained 0.9% to 545.81. Twenty-three of the Dow's 30 components were in positive territory. The blue chip barometer hasn't closed above the 10K level since May 14...
There was support from July crude futures, which ended 87 cents to $39.93 after Saudi Arabia said it would suggest to OPEC members at an informal weekend meeting to raise oil production by more than 2M barrels per day. Saudi Arabia had earlier proposed a hike of 1.5M barrels..."
2004-05-21 13:41PDT (16:41EDT) (20:41GMT)
Jeffry Bartash _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
"Union workers, represented by the Communications Workers of America, are demanding better job security, higher pay raises and the preservation of current health-care benefits. Faced with surging health costs, SBC wants workers to bear more of the burden. It also wants to hold down pay raises to better compete with rivals such as cable carriers whose labor costs are lower."
2004-04-21 15:21PDT (18:21EDT) (22:21GMT)
Luisa Beltran _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Secret Service agent faces charges of perjury in Martha Stewart case
"Larry Stewart, laboratory director and chief forensic scientist for the Secret Services, testified during the trial that his examination of an '@60' notation on a work-sheet prepared by Martha Stewart's former Merrill Lynch broker Peter Bacanovic showed it was written in different ink than other entries. But prosecutors charged Friday that Larry Stewart, who is not related to the lifestyle maven, 'had no involvement whatsoever in the original examination of the work-sheet conducted in 2002 August'. In fact, Larry Stewart did not learn of the examination until after it was completed, according to court documents filed in the Southern District of New York."
2004-05-21 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles & Kitty Pilgrim & Christine Romans & Bill Tucker _CNN_
"This is the first strike over the out-sourcing of jobs to cheap foreign labor markets... the union wants new jobs it doesn't have in new technologies and wants SBC to stop using vendors that ship some of those jobs over-seas... John Olsen: '[SBC] gave its CEO a 93% increase in his wages. He's making nearly $20M... 29K jobs have disappeared from this company in the last 3 years. One of them happened to be my son.'...
'Made in the USA'... Russell Stover started in the early 1920s in Denver... Russell Stover has 6 factories across the country, more than 5K employees...
35 states still have fewer jobs than when the recession began [2001 April]. Michigan, still down 206K jobs. Washington, down 21K. Arkansas, Maine, job losses still. even since the recession ended [2001 November], in 46 states jobs haven't kept up with the growth in the working population...
The president of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Sergeant Marco A. Martinez. Martinez took charge during a fierce firefight in the battle of At Tarmiya, north of Baghdad on 2003-04-12. He single-handedly stormed a building, killing four Saddam Fedayeen fighters... Staff Sergeant Sikes charged alone across 70 meters of fire-swept ground to close on the first enemy strong point. Sikes then went on to save fellow Marines while enemy fire rained down. For his heroism, the Secretary of the Navy Gordon England presented the Silver Star. Also receiving a Silver Star, Corporal Timothy Tardif. Corporal Tardif charged across a road under intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire, inspiring his Marines to follow his example. Refusing to be evacuated and disregarding his wounds, Corporal Tardif gallantly led his squad in an assault on an enemy-held compound."
Jennifer Davis _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Security of jobs seen as snag in SBC dispute
"The Communications Workers of America, which was scheduled to begin a 4-day strike early this morning, said it was important that its members have access to jobs in new and growing divisions, such as high-speed Internet, as SBC's core phone business loses customers... The contract dispute affects some 100K SBC workers in 13 states, including California. The San Antonio-based company has about 6,700 employees in the San Diego area, with about two-thirds covered by the union contract."
Mary Williams Walsh _NY Times_
Employers continue to abrogate pension obligations: Defined benefits vs. defined investments
"More than 17K employers in the United States have discontinued their traditional pension plans in the last 10 years. Countless others have scaled them back. Such pensions, with their promise of guaranteed, gold watch-to-grave income, are considered by many companies to be too costly and cumbersome, and it is only a matter of time before they disappear completely."
Eleanor Yang _San Diego Union-Tribune_
University of California system regents raise under-graduate fees 14%: $700 increase puts cost at $6,230 per year
"For the third time in as many years, University of California students face higher fees starting in the summer. UC regents yesterday overwhelmingly approved a 14% fee hike for under-graduates, a 20% increase for out-of-state and graduate students and a 30% boost for professional students. For under-graduates, that $700 increase brings total fees for the 2004-05 academic year to $6,230. Counting that increase, the cost of a UC education will have risen 60% since 2002. The fee increases will help UC absorb some of the $200M in state budget cuts it will shoulder for the 2004-05 fiscal year ñ roughly a 7% drop in UC's state funding. Next year will be the fourth consecutive year UC's state funding will have been cut as California struggles with a fiscal crisis."
F. John Reh _Management_
Off-shoring is out-sourcing taken to an extreme
"Companies have been out-sourcing work for many years... For decades companies expanded their conglomerates by buying other companies. Initially these companies were related businesses, often suppliers. Soon the conglomerates began buying companies with no relation. Profit motives and the desire to be the biggest became sufficient motivation for acquisition. Ultimately, the conglomerates began to collapse under the weight of the acquired companies. Profits started falling and companies began to retract to their 'core' businesses. Next they discovered that they could shed even core functions by hiring them out to companies... [These contractors, while not always better or more efficient, were cheaper.]"
Off-Shoring Is a Trojan Horse to Devastate Privacy of American Consumers
"'At the same time, though, Markey's bill, HR4366, would require companies to seek customers' permission -- to ask them to opt in -- before sending data to any nation lacking the FTC's seal of privacy approval.'... Another case that same month involved an Ohio medical-transcription company that received an extortion threat from workers in India. The workers were quickly arrested by Indian authorities, but the U.S. firm, Heartland Information Services, never bothered to inform clients about the incident."
2004-05-21 17:30PDT (20:30EDT) (2004-05-22 00:30GMT)
Lisa Sanders _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Cui bono? and the blame game (graphs)
"With crude oil at $40 a barrel and average U.S. gasoline prices hitting a record $2 a gallon this week, consumers are demanding to know who, if anybody, is cashing in on the spike... Companies that are benefiting handsomely from the latest surge in prices in the commodities markets are also the ones that make money by producing crude oil and refining it into products ranging from unleaded gasoline to jet fuel to kerosene... The winners include integrated oil giants... By contrast, the main losers are retailers...
It starts at the well-head, where it's found and lifted out of the ground. After the crude producer's job is done, the oil travels by pipe-lines or tankers to a buyer, which may sell it to a refiner. Or it may refine it at its own facilities... Refined gasoline is sold to marketers, which sell the product to retail service stations...
Based on last week's U.S. average pump price of $1.98 per gallon of unleaded gasoline, about 97.5 cents of that reflects the average cost of the production of a single gallon of crude, according to an analysis by the Oil Price Information Service, a research firm in Lakewood, NJ. The firms' data was calculated assuming last week's price of $41 a barrel on futures markets... Of the 42 gallons of crude in a barrel, 19 gallons are turned into gasoline, according to the American Petroleum Institute. When that process is completed, the profit margin for refiners is about 44 cents per gallon. Meanwhile, distributors' margins are currently 3.8 cents a gallon, and retailers' margins are at about 8.2 cents a gallon. Federal and state governments, which vary state by state in their assessments, are collecting 44.6 cents."
Alastair Reed _Scotsman_
Lloyds TSB in AGM storm over off-shoring of Scottish jobs
"Lloyds TSB came under attack at its annual meeting in Glasgow yesterday, as share-holders and employees demanded clarification of its dividend policy, and the potential off-shoring of Scottish jobs... chief executive Eric Daniels... However, the re-organisation strategy included off-shoring 1,500 UK-based jobs to India by the end of the year, prompting angry protests from the Lloyds TSB Group Union outside the AGM yesterday. Steve Tatlow, assistant general secretary of the union, warned that nearly 50% of the Lloyds' customers would consider changing banks if jobs were moved to India, with only 0.5% of customers needing to make the switch to erode the potential cost savings of off-shoring. He said: 'It might bring short-term cost savings, but it's not in the interests of share-holders and it's certainly not in the interests of customers.'"
Julia Finch _The Guardian_
Lloyds share-holders back protest
"Share-holders attending yesterday's Lloyds TSB annual meeting were greeted by protesters demonstrating against the bank's decision to export 1,500 call centre jobs to India. The demonstration, organised by the Lloyds TSB Union, urged share-holders to back their campaign to halt so-called off-shoring. The staff union has collected 360K signatures in support of its campaign and large numbers of share-holders came forward to add their names. Steve Tatlow, assistant general secretary of the union, said his members believed Lloyds TSB eventually intends to export 10K British jobs, but that if just 0.5% of customers moved their accounts in protest the savings would be wiped out."
2004-05-22 16:39PDT (19:39EDT) (23:39GMT)
SBC talks continue: Phone lines cut in East Bay
"Striking SBC Communications, Inc. workers hoisted pickets Saturday while the company doubled its resources to address service interruptions in the second day of a 4-day strike. The company reported some severed phone lines in the East Bay, which did not result in a widespread outage, said Fletcher Cook, an SBC spokesman. No suspects have been identified in connection with the vandalism, he said... About 8K of those workers are in the Bay Area... Some union members participated in roving picket lines earlier saturday and Friday, in which strikers followed the company's substitute technicians to work-sites and set up picket lines there. 'We bring noise-makers and signs.', said Yonah Diamond, a service technician with SBC in Oakland. 'It's rowdy and fun, but all very peaceful.' Diamond also said very few trucks were leaving on service calls."
Bill W. Hornaday _Indianapolis Star_
CWA and SBC still talking: Company offers 3 years of "job security" in 5-year contract
"Marker said SBC's current proposal -- which includes no lay-offs for 3 years [the first 3 years of the 5-year contract], no monthly health care premiums and wage and pension increases that exceed 10% over the life of the contract -- is as far as the San Antonio communications provider can go and stay competitive... Johnson said that although progress had been made in overall job security, the issue of home-town jobs -- keeping jobs in place so workers don't have to relocate -- has 'literally gone nowhere'. A gap also remains between the 10% co-payment for doctors' visits that SBC wants and the 4% to 7% CWA wants... The company has resolved some early challenges with directory assistance, as some callers were unable to connect immediately, he said."
Day Two of CWA Strike against SBC
"It's day 2 of a 4 day walk-out against SBC for thousand of employees nationwide, and that includes hundreds here in Lubbock... 'When we lose those jobs from here and they go to India and the Philippines, it does affect America. Those are jobs that high school kids could be coming out and getting those type of jobs here in America, here in Lubbock, rather than send them to India and Philippines, so that's a major issue we are concerned about right now.', says Guy Stewart, local CWA Chairman."
Erin Kosnac _Port Huron Times Herald_
Telephone workers strike over health benefits, out-sourcing
"Colleen Malcolm, vice president of the Communication Workers of America Local 4107, led the group on her bull horn in chants for better health care benefits and an end to out-sourcing... Area employees are upset with DSL Internet jobs being sent to India. 'It's not fair to the customers.', said Andrea Charlton, 21, of Port Huron. 'They're getting upset because they call and can't understand a thing they're being told [by the foreign contractors].'... Across the country, callers were unable to get through to directory assistance. In Port Huron, calls made in the late afternoon to directory assistance were answered with a recording because of the heavy number of calls."
Rob Golub _Racine WI Journal Times_
Out-Sourcing a Key Issue in SBC Strike
"Communications Workers of America local 4611. The national leaders of the Communications Workers of America called the 4-day walk-out to protest the latest contract offer from the nation's second-largest local phone company. The sticking points in the dispute are benefits and out-sourcing... In 2003, SBC was by far the most profitable of the 4 Baby Bell local-phone companies, earning $8.5G on revenue of $40.8G [21% profit]. But the company's revenue, particularly in its core local-phone sector, has declined for 10 consecutive quarters."
2004-05-22 23:29PDT (2004-05-23 01:29CDT) (2004-05-23 02:29EDT) (2004-05-23 06:29GMT)
Sheila J. Robinson _Ardmoreite_
CWA launched strike against SBC in Ardmore
"Negotiations for a new 5 year contract between SBC and the Communications Workers of America stopped Wednesday. The 2 sides could not agree on health care, job security and pensions... The CWA contends it lost 29K jobs over the past 3 years and wants SBC to guarantee its workers access to employment in parts of the company that are still growing, such as high-speed internet service. '(With) the out-sourcing of jobs, sending them over-seas, thatπs money that is not in the community anymore -- it will be over-seas.', Blackwood said... 'They are talking what's going to accumulate to charging the employees millions of dollars when the CEO is making a $19.2M dollar bonus.', Rorrer said. 'It's hard to swallow.'"
2004-05-22 23:66PDT (2004-05-23 02:55EDT) (2004-05-23 06:55GMT)
SBC phone workers on strike
"The Communications Workers of America called the 4-day walk-out to protest the latest contract offer from the nation's second-largest local phone company. The sticking points in the dispute are benefits and out-sourcing... the Baby Bell company, which has 55M phone lines... In Detroit, Los Angeles and Oklahoma City, calls to directory assistance were answered with a recording that said they could not be completed because of heavy call volume."
2004-05-23 03:46:41PDT (05:46:41CDT) (06:46:41EDT) (10:46:41GMT)
_Fulton Sun_/_Jefferson City MO News Tribune_
CWA walks picket line in Fulton against SBC
"Local SBC customers requiring telephone repair service on Friday were stuck holding the phone as an automated message apologized for any delays that could result from a four-day strike by 102K union employees. One minute before midnight Thursday, members of the Communication Workers of America from 13 states initiated the strike in an effort to be heard on issues concerning job security and health-care costs. Members of the Local 6314 in Fulton are part of that action... 'This has, in the past, been a good job that we would have loved for our children to do, but it's not like that now.', said Fulton SBC worker and CWA member Guy Cook of Stephens. Like his fellow workers Bryant Liddle, Dave Luebbert and Dan Schaper, all of Fulton, Cook feels he has given his life to SBC and helped make it the company it is today. Between the men, they have worked 74 years for SBC."
Jessica Langdon & Lee B. Weaver _Times Record News_
SBC strike causes outages: Some could be without service until Tuesday
"Workers across 13 states picketed for health care and keeping jobs in their home towns, as their union and the company talked over contracts... The only one who still had service was a non-SBC customer, Sosa said... SBC brought in strike-breakers as nearly 100K unionized workers hit the picket lines... The issues largely boil down to job security and health coverage. Guillory said lay-offs and out-sourcing are major concerns. The company made $40G last year while paying union wages and benefits, she said."
Aubrey Fleischer _Fond du Lac WI Reporter_
Local picketers join CWA strike against SBC
"Close to a dozen SBC employees, members of the Communications Workers of America Local 4622, started walking the sidewalks at 07:00 with signs reading 'CWA on Strike Against SBC for Health Care and Hometown Jobs'. The chapter represents 36 local SBC employees... 'We want home-town jobs to stay in the area, and we want them to allow us to get into new fields like Wi-Fi, DSL services and wireless services.', Klawitter said. SBC has laid off or eliminated the jobs of 29K union employees in the last 3 years, Klawitter said, while it continues to start up new networks using non-union employees. In addition, a lot of the correspondent and technical support positions are going over-seas, Klawitter said. 'We'd like to see them come back here.', he said."
David E. Sanger & William J. Broad _NY Times_
Evidence Is Cited Linking North Koreans to Libya Uranium
"International inspectors have found evidence that North Korea provided Libya with nearly 2 tons of uranium in early 2001."
Larry Rohter _NY Times_
Tracking the Sale of a Kidney on a Path of Poverty and Hope
"The journey of one man's kidney from Brazil to Brooklyn reveals the inner workings of a global black market for organs."
Timothy Egan _NY Times_
Border Desert Proves Deadly for Illegal Immigrants
"[Only] 61 people have died in the Arizona border region since last October 1, according to the Mexican Interior Ministry -- triple the pace of the previous year. The Border Patrol, which counts only bodies that it processes, says 43 people have died near the Arizona border since the start of its fiscal year on October 1, more than in any other year in the same period. Leon Stroud, a Border Patrol agent who is part of a squad that has the dual job of arresting illegal immigrants and trying to save their lives, said he had seen 34 bodies in the last year... If the pace keeps up, even with new initiatives to limit border crossings by using unmanned drones and Blackhawk helicopters in the air and beefed-up patrols on the ground, this will be the deadliest year ever to cross the nation's busiest smuggling corridor. The 154 deaths in the Border Patrol's Tucson and Yuma sectors last year set a record."
Katherine Q. Seelye _NY Times_
Demand Grows to Require Paper Trails for Electronic Votes
"A coalition of computer scientists, voter groups and state officials hopes to force manufacturers to equip their electronic voting machines with voter-verifiable paper trails."
Dean Calbreath _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Public pressure does little to stem job losses to off-shoring
"From San Diego, where telephone workers are striking partly because they fear their jobs may be sent off-shore, to Sacramento, where legislators have been pushing new regulations on foreign work, there is growing public pressure to staunch the flow of jobs over-seas. Despite the growing pressure, recent statistics show that U.S. companies are exporting jobs at an even faster pace than they have in the past. By the end of next year, 830K service jobs, representing $36.7G in wages and 1.6% of U.S. employment in the sector, will have moved off-shore, according to a study released last week by Forrester Research, a major corporate study center. Those figures, which do not include manufacturing jobs, reflect a 40% jump from Forrester's previous projection ñ made just 18 months ago ñ that 588K service jobs would be exported by the end of next year...
Two out of 3 U.S. investors polled this month said they think out-sourcing is 'bad for the economy', according to the UBS/Gallup Index of Investor Optimism survey. Nearly a quarter of the respondents in the survey ñ adults with at least $10K of investable assets ñ said they were worried that they or someone in their household might lose a job because of off-shoring. Vast majorities of the respondents thought that legislation could help slow the flow of out-sourcing: 76% believed that requiring all government-related jobs to be performed within the United States would be effective; 72% thought tax penalties for companies that move jobs out of the country would work; 67% said tariffs on goods produced over-seas would work."
Marilyn Geewax _Palm Beach Post_
Off-Shoring on the QT: Companies Fear Bad PR
"The euphemisms arise because many U.S. companies that send service jobs to low-wage countries don't want to say they're off-shoring. And some don't want to discuss the subject at all, for fear of triggering a back-lash from workers, customers or politicians. 'Companies are being quiet about any moves they are making with off-shore out-sourcing.', said Julie Giera, a vice president for Forrester Research Inc., a research and consulting firm that advises companies on sending work to other countries. 'They want to avoid the consequences of making a big off-shore announcement.' Many of the roughly 650 company representatives who attended a Forrester-sponsored conference in Orlando last week said their employers were either off-shoring or preparing to do so. But they did not want to be quoted, knowing that their bosses would not want to be identified with a practice that many Americans fear is stealing their jobs. One who was willing to talk on the record was Nimish Shah, staff director for database and software systems for IEEE, an association for electrical engineers... Forrester estimates that about 80% of such work goes to India..."
Erika Stutzman _Boulder CO Daily Camera_
Off-shoring hits home: Sending jobs over-seas beaches local workers
"In the 1990s, he personally assisted the transfer of local disk drive manufacturing off-shore to [Red China], where volume manufacturing could be done cheaper. Today, the engineer says he is struggling to find a job. And he says the current trend in off-shoring -- sending highly paid professional jobs to low-wage countries -- is to blame. 'Now, when the next big thing hits, all of the software to run it is going to be written in India, and it's going to be built in [Red China]. What's going to happen here?', Antman [asked]... But he said many off-shoring efforts fail because the executives planning them fail to see the hidden costs of sending jobs to foreign lands... Costs such as having a staff to communicate with the foreign office during off hours and expensive -- sometimes frequent -- travel are often not considered, Tirukkala said. Costly communication break-downs and cultural misunderstandings are also factors in off-shoring failure, he said. But Antman said companies should have a wider interest in keeping jobs in the United States than just the bottom line. 'I think we're at risk of becoming a Third World country.', Antman said. 'We had taken the knowledge jobs, and sent factory jobs over-seas. And now we are chopping off the top of the pyramid. What are we going to do when those jobs are all gone?'"
Pauline Arrillaga _AP_/_Los Angeles Times_
"Smugglers packed more than 40 illegal immigrants into the unventilated cargo compartment of an 18-wheeler for a 12-hour ride to Dallas. As the Texas sun beat down on the trailer, the migrants ran out of water. And air. As the temperature inside rose to 150 degrees, some of them began to lose consciousness. No quiero morir, one whimpered. I don't want to die."
_Los Angeles Times_
FDA Warns Pre-Mixed Salads May Be Contaminated
"Pre-mixed salads containing basil and mesclun may contain a parasite that can cause food poisoning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. More than 90 people in Texas and Illinois have become ill from the Cyclospora parasite, which causes fever, diarrhea, vomiting and other severe symptoms, the FDA said."
Chris O'Brien & Jack Davis _San Jose Mercury News_/_Silicon Valley_
Pressure building for changes in compensation
"The pay-checks of Silicon Valley's top bosses got fatter in 2003 -- the first time in 3 years. And that has made the debate over executive compensation even hotter. The 749 highest-paid executives at the valley's largest public companies took home $1.33G last year, according to the Mercury News' annual executive pay study. That was up 31% from $1.02G in 2002 as a rising stock market last year boosted gains from exercising stock options. Overall pay still was well off the boom-era record of $4.7G set in 2000... In 2003, some valley companies began replacing option grants with restricted stock that's tied to performance goals... Brandon Rees, a research analyst for the Office of Investment at the AFL-CIO, a labor union whose pension fund is a large investor. 'Some are making genuine attempts to make substantive reform. Others are just making window dressing.'... Among Silicon Valley's top bosses, the average paycheck last year -- including salary, bonus and estimated stock options gains -- was $1.78M, up 32% from $1.35M the previous year. That increase was largely driven by a 32% increase in the average gain on stock options to $929,808 -- far less than the $5.09M average options gain in 2000... The number of valley companies granting restricted shares jumped from 19 in 2002 to 28 in 2003. And the value of such grants rose from $46M in 2002 to $156.9M in 2003 -- with Jobs accounting for about half. At the same time, the median size of option grants fell for the second year in a row, from 97,500 shares in 2002 to 83,340 in 2003... 'We believe that's pay for pulse.', Rees said. 'It's not pay for performance.'"
2004-05-23 (23:49CDT) (2004-05-24 00:49EDT) (2004-05-24 04:49GMT)
Edward Hegstrom _Houston Chronicle_
Job scams hurt Indian guest-workers
"How he went from legal guest worker to illegal immigrant is a troubling story... the basic formula seems to be the same: The victims pay thousands of dollars in India for the opportunity to come work legally in America. They arrive carrying a temporary work permit, known as an H visa, which allows them to work for only one company. But when they get here, they find the company has no work for them. Some get deported back to India. Others find a way to stay in America and work illegally, hoping to pay off their debts... U.S. business owners benefit in two ways. In some cases, the owners get a cut of the money the workers pay back in India, so the businesses profit even if they never put the people to work, Massey says. In other cases, the people are put to work under inhumane conditions for wages far lower than promised, and are sometimes held against their will after their passports are confiscated."
2004-05-24 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kitty Pilgrim & Peter Viles & Bill Tucker & Casey Wian _CNN_
"U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick is on a trade push. Free trade agreements have been negotiated with 8 countries in the last six months, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Australia, and Morocco. Lael Brainard of the Brookings Institute: '...What's interesting is that the economic benefits to the U.S. just aren't that big.'... CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, to be covered on Friday, will cover Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras,El Salvador, and Nicaragua. CAFTA critics say the labor and environment provisions are not acceptable... The U.S. already has free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Israel, Jordan, Chile and Singapore. Last month, the United States started on a neighboring region to CAFTA. The first round of negotiations with Panama has started and also Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Negotiations with Bahrain have also begun and also 5 nations in Africa... several recent studies have shown that, in Mexico, after NAFTA, a decade of NAFTA, Mexican wages are lower than they were when it began...
Talks in the SBC strike continued around the clock Sunday into Monday against a back-drop that is brand new to the baby bells. If they anger their customers with poor service, the customers now can leave... Larry Irving: 'I don't know how any company that is a publicly-traded company says they won't move any jobs over-seas. The pressure on the street, the pressure from the analyst, the pressure from stock holders is such is that you've got to increase your margin and decrease your cost. And people see out-sourcing as a viable way of doing.'...
The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Visit Program is a controversial plan to say the least. It would use virtual security along this nation's borders. The plan would use technology to track potential visitors to the country before they even cross our borders. And three major companies are vying for a multibillion contract to develop the technology. One of those companies, however is not based in the United States and one of its main jobs is to export American jobs [and to encourage other companies to export American jobs]... There are 3 companies in the running for the contract, Computer Sciences Corporation, Lockheed Martin and Accenture. Two of those companies are based in the United States. Accenture is not and that's not going over well with some...
6 straight years of drought and warm weather cut snow pack levels to 20% of average this spring. Here, near its head waters, the Colorado didn't look like much more than a stream, but it provides water to 25M people in 7 states from Denver to Phoenix to Los Angeles. Now water levels in lakes downriver are shrinking. Aurora Colorado's reservoirs are only half full, so the city is rationing water...
According to a report by the group Good Jobs First, the company [WM] received more than $48M to build a distribution center in Illinois, $46M to locate in Sharon Springs, New York, and $33M to move to Louisiana. Local and state communities hope the subsidies translate into new jobs. But as Rosetta Brown found out those jobs don't pay well. She's a full-time employee at the Sam's Club and makes less than $400 a week."
2004-05-24 15:39PDT (18:39EDT) (22:39GMT)
Out-Sourcing Moves Jobs Over-Seas for Cheaper Labor: Politicians Finally Proposing New Laws to Limit or Prevent It
"A data entry person in the U.S. makes about $20 an hour. In India, the same job pays $2 an hour. A software developer in the U.S. earns $60 an hour. In India just $6. In 2000, service jobs generated $30M in revenue for India. By 2001, it had jumped to $200M. By 2008, it's projected to top $1G, by which time there will be more than 500K such jobs in India. Workers in this country say those jobs were taken from the U.S.A. -- many from Silicon Valley."
Donald G. McNeil _NY Times_
Prions Found in Sheep Muscle
"Prions, which are widely believed to cause brain-wasting diseases, have been discovered in animal flesh that many humans normally eat."
Arthur Levitt _NY Times_
Let the Little Guy in the Board Room
"Allowing investors to nominate board members would increase accountability in the corporate board-room."
Bill Londrigan _Lexington KY Herald-Leader_
Off-Shore Out-Sourcing Is a Drain on America
"From 1996 to 2000, [off-shore] out-sourcing by U.S. firms tripled from $100G to $345G a year, according to John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an international out-placement firm. A 2003 University of California study estimates that as many as 14M white-collar jobs could be lost to out-sourcing in the next 10 years. More than 450K [more than 650K] highly skilled computer programmers, software engineers, computer systems designers, Internet publishers and search portal professionals have lost their jobs since January 2001...
In 2001, Sykes Enterprises opened a telephone call center in Hazard, where employment by Sykes climbed to 650, or 5% of Hazard's work force. But the promise of continued employment was unexpectedly destroyed when Sykes announced the Hazard call center's closing only 2 years after it opened. According to press reports, the Hazard closure followed a rapid expansion of Sykes' presence over-seas, especially in countries such as the Philippines, Costa Rica and India, where college-educated employees can be hired for as little as $1 an hour. In addition to un-employment for more and more U.S. workers in the service and technology industries, there is a negative impact on all other workers whose fear of job loss from NAFTA and out-sourcing continues to dampen wage demands. This results in wage stagnation and the decline of living standards. And many of the jobs being out-sourced to foreign countries are those that workers losing their jobs in manufacturing were hoping to fill."
_Technology Review_/_The San Diego Channel_
How Engineers Can Fight Back
"The fault, we usually agree, lies in the harsh and demanding characteristics of engineering education; also in the failure of society to appreciate the marvelous things we engineers do, and the great satisfaction we glean from our achievements. The problem is one of public relations -- an inability to communicate to others the wonders that we appreciate heart and soul... Their complaints focused on salary stagnation, age discrimination, and the infamous boom-and-bust cycle in the field... the periodic claims of engineer shortage are a ploy to 'obtain talent on the cheap'...
But suddenly, while I wasn't looking, disaster had struck. In the first quarter of 2003, the un-employment rate for electrical engineers had soared to 7%, a full point higher than the national average, which was itself causing alarm... the out-sourcing abroad of ever more complex intellectual work, and the importing of tens of thousands of technical workers through the granting of special visas...
The [National Science] Board acknowledges 'growing un-employment for scientists and engineers in some fields'... In a series of essays, Russel C. Jones, past dean, university president, and executive director of the National Society of Professional Engineers, along with professor Bethany S. Oberst, have proposed that the engineering profession address the problem by recognizing companies for meritorious employment practices, and steering engineers away from companies that treat their employees in a non-professional way."
2004-05-24 20:00PDT (23:00EDT) (2004-05-25 03:00GMT)
Crista Souza _Electronics Supply & Manufacturing_
Global out-sourcing is hurting suppliers' sales reps
"North American manufacturers representatives and distributors aren't always getting properly compensated for their part in creating new sales opportunity. According to a new study by iSuppli Corp. (El Segundo, CA), the reps' expected value for out-of-region sales for which they registered the design win was only 52%, compared to 100% for in-region sales. Similarly, design win distributors are compensated only 36% of the time when another distributor in a different region provides fulfillment."
2004-05-25 07:13PDT (09:13CDT) (10:13EDT) (14:13GMT)
_Kansas City Business Journal_
CWA & SBC reach tentative agreement
"SBC Communications Inc. and the Communications Workers of America have tentatively agreed to terms of a new five-year contract for the company's 100K employees represented by the union... SBC Kansas spokesman Don Brown said the company and union reached the tentative agreement around 02:00 Tuesday. In separate written releases Tuesday, the company and the union said the agreement, which is subject to ratification by the union's membership, includes: Average base wage increases of 2.3% a year for five years and lump sums averaging $300 a year. Employees won't have to make monthly payments for their health insurance, but they will have to make co-payments for drugs, doctor visits, emergency room services and other charges. SBC will guarantee job offers for current union employees whose jobs are eliminated. The guarantee will not apply to new employees. The agreement also allows union employees 'to perform jobs of the future that are considered an extension of traditional telephone work, while other jobs in emerging technologies will be at competitive wage and benefit levels', SBC said in its release. The union said those jobs involve Fiber to the Premise, Voice over Internet Protocol, wireless Internet, video services and business data services."
2004-05-25 06:50PDT (09:50EDT) (13:50GMT)
Michael Baron _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
CWA, baby bell tentatively agree to contract
"The deal provides slightly higher raises than San Antonio-based SBC had been offering and ensure that no current worker can be laid off over the life of the contract, the Communications Workers of America said. The deal must be ratified by the union's rank and file. Yet employees will pick up a great share of health-care expenses, a key management demand. SBC will also be able to hire workers at lower compensation rates in some newly emerging businesses... In a win for the CWA, the company agreed to let union workers gain access to 'jobs of the future that are considered an extension of traditional telephone work' -- areas such as Internet phone calling, wireless Internet and fiber-optic build-outs. Excluded from the list, however, was the company's DSL, or high-speed Internet, service. In addition, SBC and the CWA 'agreed to work together to bring back tech support jobs from over-seas' when the company's current out-sourcing agreement expires. During the contract dispute, the union accused the company of sending American jobs over-seas to places like India... Over the past 3 years, for instance, SBC has eliminated more than 30K jobs, most of them belonging to union workers. At the end of 2003, SBC had 168K employees."
2004-05-25 06:50PDT (09:50EDT) (13:50GMT)
Irwin Kellner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stagflation makes a come-back
"After growing at a pretty good clip in the first quarter, the economy appears to be slowing down during the current period. Retail sales fell in April, pulled lower by motor vehicles. New home construction also declined, while most other data show slower rates of gain. Ordinarily this would not be cause for alarm except for the fact that price increases are coming on thick and fast. The consumer price index is now almost 2.5% higher than it was a year ago; as recently as yearend, the 12-month change was a full point less. You can blame some of this on the soaring cost of energy. Higher transportation costs are leading many firms to tack on a surcharge to the price they charge for their goods or services. In other words - higher energy costs are spreading throughout the economy like a cancer."
2004-05-24 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Lisa Sylvester & Casey Wian _CNN_
"CAFTA will not be kind to sugar beet farmers in North Dakota. The trade agreement will send more than 100K metric tons of sugar into the United States the first year. North Carolina textile workers are bracing for more jobs to ship to central America. Large modern textile plants are already dotting the landscape like this one in Honduras. An American family farm hammered by NAFTA expects to take a similar hit under CAFTA... In 1994, the United States had a trade surplus of more than $1G with Mexico. Now, it's running a trade deficit of more than $40G. The United States lost nearly 900K jobs due to the trade deficit between the two countries during that time period, and the U.S. agricultural trade surplus fell 47% between 1994 and 2000. Those who benefited from NAFTA will also reap the rewards of CAFTA, multi-national corporations, agri business, even countries like [Red China] that will be allowed to ship fiber and other fabric components to Central America for assembly... [In Mexico] Wages fell, farmers were displaced...
Kevin Brady: 'The fact is un-employment is lower than it was before NAFTA. Mexico is selling more to us. We're selling twice as much to Mexico. And our manufacturing wages grew at twice the rate it did in America during NAFTA than before.'...
3K tech support jobs that were sent over-seas [by SBC] under an Accenture [formerly Andersen consulting before their involvement in the Enron fraud] contract that runs through 2007...
wild-fires rage in south-central New Mexico. Also, floods and tornadoes hitting the Midwest and hitting hard... As it comes from the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River runs through Utah widening until it reaches Lake Powell, a 185 mile long manmade reservoir formed in the 1960s by Glen Canyon Dam. Today, drought has left Powell more than half empty... it would take between 15 to 20 years of normal precipitation to refill the lake... In New Mexico, the wildfire in the Capitan Mountain is racing now across the Lincoln National Forest. That fire is 9,500 acres wide. No injuries have been reported. Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency promised to cover up to 75% of the cost of fighting the fire."
_Job Bank USA_
Consumer Confidence Rose
"The Conference Board, a private forecasting body, said its index of consumer confidence rose to 93.2 in May from a revised 93.0 in April... After 2 straight months of robust increases in non-farm pay-rolls, the Conference Board's jobs-hard-to-get index still rose to 30.6% from a revised 28.0% in April, but the number of consumers saying jobs were plentiful rose to 16.6% from a revised 15.6%."
more Conference Board info
US investment over-seas declined
"Deloitte Research said foreign direct investment has dropped more than 32% from a high of $43G in 2000, representing the third consecutive year of declines."
Brenda Sandburg _The Recorder_/_NY Lawyer_
Secret Service: Firms Cashing In On Out-Sourcing Trying to Do So Covertly
"After pulling a merger or launching an IPO, transactional lawyers often get to brag. But there's one kind of work that's usually hush-hush: inking out-sourcing agreements. Given the bad PR of late, companies that farm out operations -- particularly those that send work off-shore -- tend to avoid publicity. And the law firms that help them are understandably tight-lipped. Off-shore out-sourcing has been in the head-lines almost daily...
The loss of jobs over-seas has also intensified in the last 18 months. Last week, Forrester Research predicted that 1.7M U.S. jobs would move off-shore by 2010 -- 3.4M by 2015 -- up from 315K jobs as of last year...
Latham & Watkins partner Daniel Mummery... Washington, DC's Shaw Pittman and New York's Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy were among the first to specialize as their big corporate clients began out-sourcing work. Mummery, who started doing out-sourcing deals while at Milbank, said the firm got into the area in the late 1980s and early 1990..."
T.J. Aulds _Texas City Sun_
Did SBC get the message?
"Health care costs and job security have been the major sticking points between SBC and the union, which represents the telecom giant's employees in 13 states. CWA wants its workers to have access to positions in SBC's emerging technologies, including Internet support and wireless data service. That work is now handled largely by lesser-paid contract workers, many of them in India and the Philippines."
T.A. Badger _Helena MT Independent Record_
CWA Reaches Tentative Deal with SBC
"Communications Workers of America leaders say the 5-year deal, which is subject to member ratification, improves wages and strengthens job security for the employees it represents in 13 states... On average, employees will receive base wage increases of 2.3% per year for 5 years [a little less than inflation] and lump sums averaging $300 per year, said SBC officials... The agreement also includes new access to jobs in the growth areas, protects health security for both active employees and retirees, and improves pensions. The settlement guarantees no lay-offs of employees currently on the pay-roll for the life of the agreement and calls for rehiring of several hundred workers who had been laid off at SBC Southwest and SBC Midwest. Officials of the nation's No. 2 phone provider said negotiators agreed to provide current CWA-represented employees with a guaranteed job offer should their existing job be no longer needed [but no guarantee the job offered will be as good as the one lost]... While some increases in co-payments for medical services and prescription drugs were agreed upon, SBC will continue to provide fully paid health care benefits, the union said. Active SBC employees will receive bonuses of $1K to help off-set these higher costs. Retirees, who are now under a different plan from active workers, will receive $2,500."
_PR News Wire_
South Carolinians to WM: Help Us Re-Open Textile Plant & Keep Jobs in America
Florence Morning News
"The move could create about 350 jobs in Mullins, a town of 5,200 in Marion County, where un-employment routinely hovers around 20%. In a full-page 'open letter' in today's Florence Morning News, the group acknowledges that WM has spent millions defending itself from local opposition to the company's expansion efforts. 'Today', the letter continues, 'we are asking you to do something better and more productive with that money: Become our partner in prosperity and help us get our jobs back.'"
Steve Chambers _New Jersey Star-Ledger_
Government subsidies to WM are no bargain
"A report by a non-profit group attacking government subsidies for WM cites 3 New Jersey deals, including a $1.2M road improvement project built to woo the mega-retailer to a struggling shopping center in Camden County. In another South Jersey deal, Lumberton Township in Burlington County gave the retailer property tax subsidies worth more than $500K over five years, beginning in 2001. In the third case, a WM built in Cumberland County received lower sales taxes and other subsidies that are offered to all businesses that locate in an urban-enterprise zone... $1G in nationwide subsidies... LeRoy deemed retail a terrible investment that attracts no good manufacturing jobs and pays salaries so low that employees have little disposable income to spread around."
David Sedore _Palm Beach Post_
WM aided by tax-victims' millions
"WM Stores, the company that stands atop the Fortune 500, has fueled its explosive growth with more than $1G in government subsidies since the 1980s, including about $51M in Florida, according to a study released Monday. The total also includes $14.2M from city and county sources for a $50M distribution center going up in St. Lucie County... WM last summer apparently tried but failed to persuade Palm Beach County officials to give up to $10M in subsidies for a distribution center off Southern Boulevard in the western part of the county.
Good Jobs First, a Washington-based organization that tracks government subsidies to businesses, found that the Bentonville, AR, retailing giant has received cash, free land, tax breaks and cheap loans as incentives to build 160 stores and 84 distribution centers. The United Food and Commercial Workers, a union that has dueled with WM, paid for the study. WM earned more than $9G on revenue of $256G during the 12 months ended January 31... The study found WM has received $624M for the construction of 84 distribution centers. A more conservative study last summer by The Palm Beach Post found the company got at least $150M in subsidies, and likely tens of millions of dollars more. For the construction of stores, governments have handed WM at least $383M. The study's authors said tracking tax-payer hand-outs for stores is difficult because many go unreported."
2004-05-26 08:24PDT (11:24EDT) (15:24GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
New home sales tumbled 11.8% in April: biggest decrease since 1994 January (with graph)
"The number of new homes for sale on the market rose about 1.8% to 387K, representing 4.3-months of sales at the April pace. New-home sales plunged about 22% in the South to 460K. This is the largest monthly decline since 1980 April. Sales in the region had surged 14.3% in March... The median sales price rose 16.7% year-over-year to $221,200 in April. This is up from $203,300 in March. The National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday that existing home sales rose 2.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.64M units."
2004-05-26 08:28PDT (11:28EDT) (15:28GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Durable goods orders fell 2.9% in April (with graph)
census bureau report
"New orders for goods that last more than 3 years fell in April at the fastest pace in a year and a half, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. New orders for durable goods fell 2.9% last month, after two months of large gains. Durable goods rose a revised 5.7% in March, following an earlier estimate of orders having risen 5.0%. In February, orders rose 3.9%... Shipments fell 0.8% last month, while unfilled orders rose 0.6%. Despite the 0.8% decline in April, shipments of durable goods have risen by 12.5% on a year-over-year basis -- the best growth performance since early 1992."
2004-05-26 14:42PDT (17:42EDT) (21:42GMT)
Justin Pritchard _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Despite poverty, immigrants tend to out-live native Americans by several years
"Immigrants who come to the United States live an average of 3 years longer than people born here, new research shows in a surprising finding that challenges some common beliefs."
2004-05-26 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kelli Arena & Peter Viles & Casey Wian _CNN_
"John MacArthur: 'There is no market in Central America. These are dirt poor countries.'...
there is intelligence from multiple sources indicating that al Qaeda plans to try to attack in the U.S. in the next few months, that there is intelligence suggesting terrorist groups may try to influence the U.S. elections by staging an attack like they did in Madrid... John Parachini of RAND Corporation: 'Somewhere between 20K and 120K people went through al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. It is going to take us a decade to track these people down.'...
Mexico is richer than every CAFTA nation. Mexico per capita GDP, $8,900 a year. Costa Rica is close to that. But other 4 CAFTA nations, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, lag far behind. The region doesn't buy America, but it sells to America and it sells cheap labor. Wages in the apparel industry in the region, $1 an hour if you have fast hands, in Honduras, 60 cents an hour, in El Salvador and in Nicaragua, 29 cents an hour. Yes, some American goods to these countries, but they are false exports because they go there with a round-trip ticket. Alan Tonelson of the US Business & Industry Council: 'What we send to Central America is overwhelmingly fabric. The fabric gets sewn in Central America and not consumed in Central America, but sent back here to supply the U.S. market, where people still have enough income to buy it.'... Combined, there were 36M people in the CAFTA nations... this entire region has about as much clout as a small-size American city, like Orlando, FL... Christopher Shays: 'we've seen trade double in the last 10 years with Mexico and Canada, and we've also seen jobs created in all 3 countries... There are two aspects to this. There are jobs and there's democracy... we're helping to create more jobs in an area close to our country... let's give a pat on the back to caring about what happens in Central America.'... Xavier Becerra: 'It [CAFTA] is just a prescription for expanded job out-sourcing, not just out of America, but out of the Americas to Asia.'... Manufacturing wages in Mexico have declined [since NAFTA]... Christopher Shays: 'I think it would have been worse without NAFTA... there's significantly improved anti-corruption laws, much more transparency. And remember, with the Caribbean Basin Initiative, already, a lot of the Central American countries can already export their products to us at very low tariffs.'... Xavier Becerra: 'trade agreements aren't bad by themselves. We need to have trade with countries. What we don't want is to write into law through our trade agreements that we can allow workers to be exploited, companies to abuse so that they have these advantages over the U.S. and its companies and workers that are not based on natural consequences... we can't let it have an advantage because it pays its workers 50 cents on the hour, when we pay our manufacturing workers $15, $20, $30 an hour. What you don't want is to create advantages that aren't real, because getting rid of tariffs and quotas as artificial trade barriers are good. But if you're allowing other artificial barriers to exist, you are not doing anyone any good. You are just helping export jobs to countries that are low-wage and it is a race to the bottom...'... 'Free trade' equals cheap labor. That seems to be driving so much of what we're looking at here... Xavier Becerra: 'we are forging trade agreements with these international trade partner that simply say to them, open up your market so we can send companies or other countries that can be as exploitive as your own companies have been of the labor there, thereby producing cheaper goods that we can bring back to the U.S. What we should do in these trade agreements is say, look. You can't get these kinds of advantages that aren't natural or hard work made. And if we were to do that in the trade agreements, if we were to have protections for labor, the way we have for intellectual property... in the CAFTA trade agreement we say if you violate our intellectual property, if you try to pirate one of our videos or pirate one of our CDs, we can prosecute and impose sanctions. We don't say that with regard to the most precious capital we have, which is human capital.'...
The expense of hauling water from remote locations or drilling for wells is making it unprofitable. The drought lingered for so long even the cactus here is dying. Five generations of N's family have raised cattle on this land. But to survive the drought, he's decided to diversify by sub-dividing 1,800 acres for residential development... Since 1978, Arizona has lost nearly one-third of its farm and ranch land, nearly 12M acres, 57 acres an hour, sold to developers. Farmers are being paid not to grow crops. And because agriculture uses about 3 times as much water in the west as urban developments, it is a tempting target to expanding cities."
off-shoring band-wagon hits the brakes
"The results of a new study show that UK management is turning against the trend to relocate call centre work to countries with lower operating costs, such as India, South Africa and The Philippines. Commissioned by Intervoice the research supports other recent studies that have shown that customers are increasingly disenchanted with the service they receive from off-shore call centres. Key findings include: 76% of the 92 senior managers interviewed have a negative perception about the quality of customer service offered by off-shore call centres, with 16% of these describing their perception as 'very negative'. Despite the scale of organizations in which they work - over 50% of the sample employ more than 100 agents and 30% more than 250 agents - respondents are also very skeptical about off-shoring in their own organizations, with a clear majority (60%) replying that it will never off-shore its call centres."
2004-05-27 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
un-employment compensation insurance claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 293,457 in the week ending May 22, a decrease of 3,387 from the previous week. There were 359,500 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured un-employment rate was 2.2% during the week ending May 15, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,744,888, a decrease of 22,961 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.7% and the volume was 3,400,384. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending May 8. 15,676 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Un-employment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending May 8...
The highest insured un-employment rates in the week ending May 8 were in Alaska (4.8%), Puerto Rico (4.6%), Oregon (3.4%), Pennsylvania (3.1%), Michigan (3.0%), New Jersey (3.0%), Washington (2.9%), California (2.8%), Massachusetts (2.7%), Connecticut (2.6%), Illinois (2.6%), Rhode Island (2.6%), and Wisconsin (2.6%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 15 were in South Carolina (+2,688), Missouri (+1,700), Michigan (+1,655), Alabama (+1,245), and Virginia (+1,125), while the largest decreases were in California (-1,723), Pennsylvania (-1,541), Minnesota (-1,411), Ohio (-1,116), and Massachusetts (-807)."
2004-05-27 07:45PDT (10:45EDT) (14:45GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US un-employment compensation insurance claims fell slightly; 4-week average up a hair
"[Seasonally adjusted] First-time un-employment claims fell by 3K to 344K in the week ended May 22, while the average number of initial claims over the past 4 weeks rose by 1,500 to 335,500, the department said... Meanwhile, the total number of un-employed workers receiving state benefits rose by 19K to 2.95M in the week ended May 15, while the 4-week average of continuing claims fell by 14K to 2.94M. That's the lowest 4-week average reading since 2001 June [18 months into the current depression]. The nation's insured un-employment rate remained unchanged at 2.3%."
2004-05-27 07:17PDT (10:17EDT) (14:17GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US 2004 Q1 GDP growth revised higher, to 4.4%: Corporate profits up 36.7% from 2003 Q1
2004-05-27 08:08PDT (11:08EDT) (15:08GMT)
Greg Morcroft _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Fed fines Citigroup $70M plus restitution
"The Fed ordered Citigroup and CitiFinancial 'to pay restitution to certain subprime personal and home mortgage borrowers'... CitiFinancial Credit Company, illegally required some borrowers to have a co-signer for loans even if the original borrower independently qualified for the loan."
2004-05-27 10:07PDT (13:07EDT) (17:07GMT)
Rachel Koning _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Average US mortgage rates rise to 6.32%
"U.S. fixed-rate mortgages rose for the ninth week in 10, although short-term adjustable rates eased in the week ended Thursday, according to [quasi-non-government organization] Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac said its national survey found the average rate on the bench-mark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage to be 6.32%, up fractionally from 6.30% a week earlier. Last year at this time, rates averaged 5.31%, near a record low. Freddie Mac has been keeping records on this loan since 1972... The 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing choice, rose to 5.69%, up from 5.67% a week earlier and 4.73% a year ago. However, the one-year, Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.87% in the week ended Thursday, falling from 3.99% a week earlier. A year ago, the rate stood at 3.63%."
2004-05-27 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Deborah Feyerick & Walter Rodgers & Bill Tucker & Casey Wian _CNN_
Iraq, al Qaeda, drought
"The military is running out of bullets to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Incredibly, the Pentagon may turn to foreign companies for their ammunition...
The United States today indicted a radical Islamist cleric in Britain, charging him with helping the al Qaeda. The indictment also accuses the cleric of hostage taking and plotting to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon... Abu Hamza al-Masri has denied being connected to terrorism. The 11-count indictment alleges otherwise, Abu Hamza charged with hostage taking, with trying to set up a terror camp in Oregon, with helping raise money in New York to send followers to Afghanistan, and with encouraging followers to wage a holy war... Abu Hamza preached at the Finsbury Mosque in London. Authorities say it is the same mosque attended by alleged 9/11 conspirators Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid... The home office wants to strip him of British citizenship, calls him a danger to society, alleges he has deep links to 5 different terror organizations, including al Qaeda. He's openly praised the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States and preaches a holy war against the West... the USS Ronald Reagan left Norfolk for its new home at the North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego. The brand new aircraft carrier is powered by 2 nuclear reactors... The Army's main ammunition plant outside Kansas City is nearing full capacity, turning out 1.2G rounds a year. The Army wants to buy at least another half a billion rounds. General Dynamics proposes a global solution, ammo made by Winchester in Illinois, by Israel military industries and by SNC Technologies of Quebec Canada. And if the thought of foreign made bullets troubles you, General Dynamics says this: 'All of our teammates are currently producing small-caliber ammunition for the U.S. armed forces.'. House Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter is pushing for $59M in federal spending at home to up-grade ammunition plants in the U.S... Alliant Techsystems says that none of these bullets have to come from over-seas. It says it can increase its own production in Minnesota to meet the Army's rising demand... The United States will sign the Central America Free Trade Agreement tomorrow. Today, it agreed to yet another free trade agreement this one with Bahrain. U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick, said the deal would give American companies, quote, unprecedented economic opportunity in Bahrain. Congress must approve the Bahrain deal, plus CAFTA and trade pacts with Australia And Morocco. Zoellick today, said opposition in Congress, to the deals will not dissuade our White House... American businesses [are] already hard at work in Central America. A check of the membership rolls of Central American Chambers of Commerce reads like a Fortune 500 list. M$, Intel, Oracle, Coca-Cola, Merck, Phizer, 3M, Kimberly-Clark, Dole, and that's a partial list. Impressive, but we buy more than they buy from us. Our trade deficit with 6 countries covered under CAFTA is more than $2G, while high tech is gaining a foot-hold... The bulk of our trade is apparel... Which all start with U.S. materials. It is our textile industry's number one export market. Some in the industry argue that CAFTA is necessary. Wilbur Ross: 'The question isn't will it be made in the U.S. or made over-seas. The only question is, is it going to be made in [Red China] or Latin America.'... A battle to keep WM out of Chicago has failed. Chicago's city council approved the plan to open its first store in the windy city. It will be a 150K square foot super-store in a minority neighborhood on the west side. Opponents say the store will threaten small businesses and depress wages in the area... Since last year, about 2M square yards of grass has been torn out of Las Vegas yards, golf courses and resorts. An entire football field's worth of turf is being replaced daily by water-saving desert landscaping. The water company is even paying residents up to $1 a square foot to remove grass. Pat Mulroy of the Southern Nevada Water Authority: 'We're spending $22M this year removing turf, we'll spend $33M next year removing turf.'... [Las Vegas's] water supply is tied to nearby Lake Mead which is down 75 feet since 2000... hotels and casinos only use about 7% of southern Nevada's water. Even so, some casinos are ripping out grass in favor of desert plants. The Stardust says it will save 8M gallons of water a year..."
Kim Tae-gyu _Korea Times_
Big Genetic Gap Lies Between Chimpanzees & Human Beings
"Contrary to wide-spread belief, the gap between chimpanzees and humans is extremely big, according to a study by an international research consortium. The International Chimpanzee Chromosome 22 Consortium, comprising scientists from 5 nations including South Korea and Japan, on Thursday announced its findings based on a comparison of human and chimpanzee genes. 'By comparing the whole sequence of the chimpanzee chromosome 22 with the human counterpart, chromosome 21, we found 83% of chimpanzee coding sequences differ from that of man.', said Park Hong-seog, who headed Korean researchers in the consortium."
Maggie Fox _NBC_
Tiny genetic differences between chimpansees and humans have huge impact on protein coding
"Genetically, chimpanzees are 98.5% identical to humans. But the differences between the species are clearly profound, and geneticists have been laboring to find out how such subtle variations in DNA can be so important... Fujiyamaís team found that just 1.44% of the DNA was different at the level of single letters of genetic code... 'There is also an impressive number (68K) of small to large stretches of DNA that have either gained or lost (these are called insertions or deletions, indels for short) in one species or the other.', the researchers wrote. 'These differences are sufficient to generate changes in most of the proteins: Indeed, 83% of the 231 coding sequences, including functionally important genes, show differences at the amino-acid sequence level.', they added."
Andy McCue _silicon.com_
Inside off-shoring: Job losses and the back-lash
Carol Kleiman _Chicago Tribune_
Women say quality jobs still scarce
"a recent Gallup Poll Tuesday Briefing survey, which found that 69% of Americans think now is a tough time for anyone to find a quality job -- and only 30% think it's a piece of cake. Results are based on interviews with 1,009 women and 997 men... Could the negative feeling be due to lower pay, fewer job opportunities or that old favorite, sex discrimination? Whatever the reasons, one thing is true, according to the survey: 'Male or female, most Americans do not think this is a good time to be looking for a good job.' And they're probably right... there are few opportunities to advance to the next rung of the economic ladder."
2004-05-28 06:51PDT (09:51EDT) (13:51GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
UMich consumer sentiment at 7-month low
"The final May UMich consumer sentiment index fell to 90.2 from 94.2 in April and 94.2 in early May."
2004-05-28 13:50PDT (16:50EDT) (20:50GMT)
Susan Lerner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Wall Street takes early holiday
"U.S. stocks were stuck in neutral Friday, as Wall Street emptied out for the holiday week-end... The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded in a narrow 44 point range, generally fluctuating by fewer than 15 points for most of the afternoon. The Dow closed down 16.75 points, or 0.2%, at 10,188.45. For the week, the blue chip gauge added 2.2% while for the month it slipped 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite Index, which traded in an intraday range of 1,976 to 1,990, ended up 2.24 points, or 0.1%, to 1,986.74. The gains, though modest, were enough to extend the index's win streak to six sessions. For the week, the Nasdaq added 3.9% and was up 3.5% for the month. The S&P 500 slipped 0.60, or 0.1%, to 1,120.68. For the week, the S&P was up 2.5% while for the month it gained 1.2%... New York Stock Exchange volume was a light 1.1G shares while only about 1.2G shares traded on the Nasdaq. Advancers out-paced decliners 19 to 14 on the Big Board while winners eclipsed losers 16 to 15 on the Nasdaq."
2004-05-28 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
"The United States signs CAFTA, a free trade agreement with Central America that still requires the approval of [the US Senate]... The Iraqi Governing Council nominated a former Iraqi exile to be prime minister when the coalition hands over power and sovereignty. Iyad Allawi is the founder of the Iraqi National Accord. He survived an assassination attempt by Saddam Hussein's secret police in London 25 years ago... Chris Padilla, assistant US Trade Representative: 'Almost all Central American products imported to this country today come in duty free.'... But it is a hard sell considering the results of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico. A $1G trade surplus has become a $40G deficit, nearly 900K jobs lost in the United States, and although the agreement was supposed to leave Mexicans better off, wages there fell. Central Americans are not thrilled to face the same fate... Duncan Hunter: 'Coming out of the 1990s, Lou, we had roughly -- the specific figures are classified. But we had roughly a $10G shortage of ammo.'... From water rationing to ranchers selling out to developers, the drought's effects are being magnified by the 80-yea-old law of the river. [During] President Hoover's [administration] 7 states agreed to split the Colorado River's water between those in its upper and lower basin. Since then, the deal has been modified several times. Lake Powell and Lake Head have been built to store water for the west's rapidly growing cities. It's kept farmers and developers, state and Indian nations, from all-out water wars. But the drought and the declining levels of Mead are reviving old disputes... Sid Wilson of the Central Arizona Project: 'Under the priority system that's in place, Arizona could lose its entire 1.5M feet of water a year before California loses a bucket of their entitlement.'... California receives the biggest portion of the Colorado River's water, nearly 15 times as much as Nevada. Water is delivered here by an aqueduct that cuts through 242 miles of desert... Amy in Nottingham, NH: 'Lou, it's clear that the people that will benefit the most from CAFTA are the businesses that exploit the cheap foreign laborers, ship the product back to the United States and then sell it here at a price that would reflect it was made here in the United States.'... The [WW2 Memorial] honors the 16 million Americans who served and features 4K Bronze Stars. Each star represents 100 troops lost..."
Timothy L. O'Brien _NY Times_
Fed Assesses Citigroup Unit $70M in Loan Abuse
"The Federal Reserve said it had ordered a unit of Citigroup to pay $70M for abuses in personal and mortgage loans to low-income and high-risk borrowers nationwide."
Matt Richtel & Gary Rivlin _NY Times_
NEC Unit Admits It Defrauded Schools
"Criminal investigations into the E-rate program, a federal initiative to bring Internet access to schools and libraries, yielded its biggest legal settlement to date."
Kenneth Chang _NY Times_
After a Period of Brightness, Earth Dims, Researchers Say
"Tracking the brightness of Earth by looking at its reflection on the Moon, scientists have concluded that sun-shine on Earth brightened [earth's albedo increased] in the 1990s, then dimmed after 2000... Measurements by ground-based instruments around the world have shown a decrease of up to 10% in sunlight from the late 1950s to the early 1990s... The output of the Sun varies only slightly, so scientists theorize that global dimming probably results from air pollution. Some light bounces off soot particles in the air. The pollution also causes more water droplets to condense out of air, leading to thicker, darker clouds, which block light. For that reason, the dimming appears to be more pronounced on cloudy days. Some less polluted regions have experienced little or no dimming."
Patrick Howe _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Minnesota Government Cracks Down on "Under-Priced" Gasoline
"Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Minnesota's Commerce Department is cracking down on service stations over the price of gasoline. The problem: Some stations aren't charging enough. Under governor Jesse Ventura, the state adopted a law in 2001 that prohibits gas stations from selling gas without taking a minimum profit. These days, they must charge at least 8 cents per gallon, plus taxes, more than they paid for it. On Friday, the Commerce Department announced a $70K fine against Arkansas-based Murphy Oil for breaking the law at its 10 stations in the state, based at WM stores and elsewhere. They also fined Kwik Trip Inc. $5K for violations at one station in Apple Valley."
Aaron Nathans _NY Times_
Allen-Edmonds Keeps Its Shoes on an American Factory Floor
"The Allen-Edmonds shoe factory has resisted pressures to shift production to Asia. But the numbers behind the decision to stay show the stark economic choices facing manufacturers."
German "experts" warn of "alarming" lack of cheap, young, pliant, low-skilled workers with flexible ethics
"Foreign students will be able to stay and work in Germany... They argue there isn't enough skilled labor in the country to fill vacancies... The problem is especially evident in the health care, corporate management, technical and engineering sectors... Schäfer said their research showed that the need for 'qualified' workers in Germany will intensify hugely starting 2012 or 2015 because that's when the country's baby boomer generation will retire and birth rates will stagnate... by 2050: the experts believe that by that time the number of potential workers -- that includes working people, the jobless as well those not working -- will fall to 30M from the current 42M... At the same time the number of 'highly qualified' employees -- those with a university degree or a professional qualification -- will sink by two million to 8.9M by 2050. The researchers also claim that by 2050, Germany's population will fall to about 70M -- 12M less than the current figure..."
Barry Meier _NY Times_
The Portrait of a Family, as Painted at a Fraud Trial
"The story of Adelphia Communications is a study of business conflicts, done in broad strokes."
2004-05-30 15:16PDT (18:16EDT) (22:16GMT)
Michael Badnarik, Austin, Texas Computer Programmer Wins Libertarian Nomination for President of the United States of America
North San Diego County Times
St. Paul Pioneer Press
San Francisco Chronicle
Los Angeles Times
"Michael Badnarik, a computer programmer from Texas, won the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination on Sunday. Badnarik, 49, of Austin, defeated former Hollywood movie producer Aaron Russo on the convention's third ballot, after former radio host Gary Nolan, who was eliminated on the second ballot, endorsed Badnarik."
Warren Vieth _Los Angeles Times_
Off-Shore Out-Sourcing Ax Falls Hard on Tech Workers
"joined the growing ranks of computer professionals who so recently occupied a prized position in the U.S. economy but are now seeing their jobs disappear -- many out-sourced to foreigners. In the months leading up to his lay-off, C was assigned to work alongside programmers from India who are taking over tasks formerly done by Americans, a process his company calls Knowledge Transfer, or KT... Some remain un-employed or under-employed for long periods, and some are beginning to challenge policies that give rein to globalization. The practice of requiring U.S. workers to train their replacements has become a flash-point in the intensifying debate over off-shoring jobs to other countries and the use of temporary visas by foreign nationals who come here to learn their employers' systems... an exemplary IT professional who devotes time and energy to making sure his 'skill set' stays current. 'C does that religiously.', said JS, an independent software consultant who occasionally turns to C for help. 'He is really at the top of his field. For web-type applications, he's top-notch.' A life-long bachelor, C 'is married to his job'..."
Joe Mariani _Chron Watch_
The Left Still Trying to Ignore/Deny Discovery of WMDs in Iraq
"The main-stream media have been tip-toeing around the discovery of a 155mm mortar shell containing Sarin gas in Iraq, the contents of which have been confirmed. The shell was used as part of an improvised explosive device (IED) on a road near the Baghdad International Airport, and exploded as it was being disarmed. The shell contained 3 liters of Sarin -- nearly a gallon. It was a type of shell designed to mix chemical components during flight, which was why the explosion didn't kill anyone (though 2 soldiers were treated for exposure)... This one shell contained enough WMD material to potentially kill as many people as died on 2001-09-11, all by itself... a shell containing mustard gas was also found."
2004-05-31 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Kitty Pilgrim & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
veterans, Memorial Day
"The size of the military has decreased to just a fraction of what it was during World War II. But there are nearly 3M active duty service men and women and millions more veterans... There are an estimated 26M veterans in the United States today, more than 10% of American adults. In World War II, there were 16M service members, 9M during Vietnam, just 2M during the first Gulf War. Today, there are 1.4M active military personnel and 1.3M in the reserves. Nearly a third of all veterans are disabled. The median age is 57 years old. That means health care. The Veterans Administration, the second largest of the 15 Cabinet departments, has nearly 1K facilities, 218K employees and a $67G budget. Some say more money would help... Most V.A. facilities are more than 50 years old... Retired brigadier general David Grange: 'you think about those that were your comrades in arms and what happened to them, why some died, why some didn't, why maybe you didn't in some very close situations. And then, did they in fact die in vain? Was it worth it or was it a waste? And so those things go through your mind as you're remembering this day and attending a service or just reading an article or thinking about what happened. It's very important to veterans. And I think all veterans that I know think about that the same way... First of all is that you want to have soldiers understand over-seas that they are supported by the American people. That means more than anything else, that their will is there. And I think that that piece is critical to their morale and their ability to continue on with the mission. The other is that they know that people back here just don't look at this as a three-day weekend, a shopping spree, a cook-out, that, in fact, there's people in harm's way still today and that their service, their duty is appreciated by their fellow Americans... The older you get as a veteran, the more you look back on it. It's funny. You get the emotions, the sadness when it happens, but when you get older and you look back, it has more of an effect somehow.'... Lieutenant colonel Kirk Warner: 'Unfortunately, I'm probably fearless going into a courtroom anymore because nothing could be as fearful as some of the things that we probably went through. I didn't know there was evil on this planet until you see some of the things that were going on there. We were in a position of dealing with the people that had their hands chopped off. I was also involved in the mass grave situation. When you see that type of devastation and what they have done through this regime, man, I'll tell you -- it just knocks you back... You see the results. And you see the kids smiling. You see the rest of the Iraqis giving you thumbs up.'..."
Felicity Barringer _NY Times_
Parks, Forests Filled with Air Pollution, As They Have Been for Centuries, but Ingredients Shift
"The Cherokee called the lush Appalachian upheaval 'the land of blue smoke', in homage to the steamy billows that roll up from the valleys of Great Smoky Mountains National Park after summer thunder-storms. The summer-time haze that often swallows up the majestic views of forested ridges these days is something else entirely: a pollution-rich brew of sulfates that scatter light and small particles that obscure it. Not only can one often not see clearly in the park, the most visited in the nation, one often cannot breathe cleanly. Nitrogen oxide cooks in the sun with other chemicals to form ozone pollution, which discolors leaves and pains lowland lungs. On many summer mornings, the air above the asphalt in Philadelphia, New York or Washington is healthier than the air around Clingman's Dome, where ridges rise to 6,643 feet."
Barnaby J. Feder _NY Times_
Technology Strains to Find Menace in the Crowd: Crowds See Menace in Surveillance Systems
"Despite growing acceptance, there is still a huge gap between the hype about the promise of face recognition technology and the results when it is put to the test."
Geraldine Fabrikant _NY Times_
Need MTV but Not ESPN? Some Push for That Option
"There's pressure from Washington for cable operators to start offering a la carte service to their subscribers."
Adam Cohen _NY Times_
What Studs Terkel's _Working_ Says about Worker Malaise Today
"As much as 4% of the work force is now employed in call centers, reading canned scripts and being supervised with methods known as 'management by stress'. Doctors defer to managed-care administrators and practice speed medicine: in 1997, they spent an average of 8 minutes talking to a patient, less than half the time they spent a decade earlier. It is much the same in other fields. There have been substantial productivity gains. But those gains have not found their way to pay-checks. In a recent two-and-a-half-year period [what 2.5 year period is undeclared], corporate profits surged 87%, while wages rose just 4.5%. Not surprisingly, a study last fall by the Conference Board found that less than 49% of workers were satisfied with their jobs, down from 59% in 1995."
Tom Baxter _Cox News_/_Salt Lake Tribune_
Michael Badnarik gets Libertarians' nomination
"The Libertarian Party gave its presidential nomination to Michael Badnarik on Sunday at a convention that featured something those of the 2 major parties will lack: suspense... Badnarik's running mate, elected by the convention later Sunday, will be Richard Campagna, 51, of Iowa City, IA. The surprising ending capped a high-spirited convention by the 33-year-old party, which espouses limited government, low taxes and unfettered personal rights on issues ranging from guns to medical marijuana... Badnarik is a senior trainer for Evolutionary Technologies International, and according to his campaign biography has worked on the Stealth bomber project and the Diablo Canyon (CA) nuclear plant."
Libertarians tap presidential candidate Michael Badnarik
"Delegates to the Libertarian Party's presidential nominating convention in Atlanta have picked a computer programmer from as their presidential nominee. With former radio host Gary Nolan's endorsement, Michael Badnarik, 49, of Austin, Texas, defeated former Hollywood movie producer Aaron Russo on the convention's third ballot, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday... The Libertarian Party, formed in 1971, stresses the rights of individuals over the power of government. The party says it has nearly 600 elected officials nationwide."
_New Jersey IEEE_
The bueinss side of the engineering career
Michael Blanding _Boston Magazine_
Revenge of the Techs
"the 53-year-old technical engineer was one of the more vocal protesters when he stood outside the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City with other un-employed information technology -- or IT -- professionals... Through the windows pulse the bright lights of Route 128, the carotid artery of the Massachusetts Miracle, which transformed the focus of the local economy from manufacturing to high technology when companies like Digital, Data General, Wang, and Honeywell made the region second only to Silicon Valley in technical innovation... In 2001 May, he learned he was being laid off at about the same time his project was being shifted to a new production center in India. Over the course of two years, EMC laid off several thousand employees while expanding its Indian operation to 100 workers... he twice trained Indian computer programmers who replaced him... Meanwhile, George, a 48-year-old engineer who was also laid off from a locally based computer company, dutifully went to the state's Division of Employment and Training in Boston only to be told that the state wasn't training anyone for high-tech jobs... A certain anti-authoritarian streak has always run through the IT community... In the Boston area, on the other hand, it seems as if there are more tech-worker organizations than people in them..."
Ishwar Khatiwada, Andrew Sum & Sheila Palma _Center for Labor Market Studies, NE University_
Labor Market Problems in Massachusetts From the End of the Labor Market Boom in 2000 (pdf)
"There has been a steady rise in the number of permanent job losers or dislocated workers in Massachusetts in the past 3 years. These are individuals who became un-employed as a result of their job becoming permanently eliminated. This group of un-employed is frequently referred to as 'dislocated workers'. The number of un-employed, dislocated workers in Massachusetts more than tripled from 26K in 2000 to 84K in 2003, an increase of 226% in three years, surpassing the growth rate of 155% in the number of dislocated workers for the entire U.S.A... Those persons un-employed for 15 weeks or longer are frequently referred to as the long term un-employed while those continuously out of work for 27 weeks or longer are often classified as the very long term or hard core un-employed... The above findings clearly reveal that the sharp rise in the average durations of un-employment has been a key factor underlying the steep rise in the un-employment rate of the state over the past 3 years. While the pool of individuals entering the ranks of the un-employed during any given year has clearly risen, the problem is intensified by their far greater difficulty in leaving the ranks of un-employed due to the absence of job growth in the state... Another type of under-employment problem involves people working in jobs that do not fully utilize their existing skills or education. This problem often has been referred to as 'mal-employment' or 'over-education' in the human resource literature. Problems of mal-employment or over education reduce the productivity and earnings of these workers. For a discussion of mal-employment concepts and measures, see: (i) Frederick Harbison, _Human Resources as the Wealth of Nations_, Oxford University Press, New York, 1973; (ii) Andrew Sum and Neeta Fogg, _Measuring and Analyzing Labor Market Problems at the State and Local Level_, National Labor Market Information Training Institute, Washington, DC, 1997."
David Kipen _Atlantic Monthly_
Is Hollywood Off-Shoring the Audience
"CEOs of the 7 major movie studios routinely top lists of the hardest bosses to work for in corporate America... domestic theatrical admissions had declined by 4% in 2003; then, as a silver lining, that the international box office was up by 5%... The movie business is booming abroad precisely because Hollywood is making pictures for the world market -- at the expense of customers in America, where, not surprisingly, business is tanking. It's that hoariest of economic clichÈs, a zero-sum game. Lately the film industry has been wringing its hands over 'run-away production', which is understood to mean forsaking good old union shoots in Culver City or Burbank to film on the cheap in Vancouver or Romania or New Zealand. This is a legitimate problem, but far from the most serious one facing the industry. A far graver threat is run-away consumption: looking abroad not just for the workers who make the movies but for the customers who watch them... Here, alas, is the virus laying waste to modern Hollywood movies. What do, say, the 'Batman' and 'Matrix' pictures have in common, besides banality? Just for openers, insipid, infrequent dialogue. Why take the trouble to bang out good lines -- supposing one can -- if they'll only be mistranslated for their real target markets, abroad?"
George Borjas, PhD _Center for Immigration Studies_
Increasing the Supply of Labor through Immigration: Measuring the Impact on Native Workers
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