2005 May

2nd month of the 2nd quarter of the 16th year of the Bush-Clinton-Shrub economic depression

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2005 May
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2005 May

  "Large refactorings harbor the danger of getting lost in minute details.   With each step, the number of compile errors grows, and it becomes more and more difficult to integrate a completely functional version of the system into the shared repository.   We want to be able break down even extremely large refactorings in such small increments that a functional system is guaranteed after each implementation step." --- Martin Lippert & Stefan Roock draft 2004-11-01 _Refactorings in Large Software Projects_ pg 117 section 4.2.9  


Norm Matloff _UC Davis_/_H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-NewsLetter_
Gates again (but some new items)
"the truth about H-1B is, 'The whole idea of the H-1B thing is don't let too many smart Americans work in the tech field.'"
USCIS rule-making

Dice Report: 68,110 job ads

body shop28,063

_Top Tech News_/_Seattle Post-Intelligencer_
Apple's New OS X Tiger Tightens Security
"A new 'stealth mode' in Tiger's built-in firewall makes your Mac invisible to ping signals from Internet predators hunting for computers to infect.   Mac OS X's built-in programs have been upgraded, too...   [Tiger] has more than 200 new features...   Dashboard. It's a constellation of gorgeous miniprograms that appear or disappear en masse when you touch a selected key.   They include real-time stock tickers, weather forecasts and airline flight information, along with a calculator, dictionary, Yellow Pages and other doodads...   Mac OS X's built-in programs have been upgraded, too.   Of these, iChat AV, which permits free audio and video phone calls over the Internet, is the most spectacular.   Up to 10 people can join a single audio conversation."

2005-05-01 05:00PDT (08:00EDT) (12:00GMT)
Tom Locke _NBC_/_Denver Business Journal_
Body shops excited about increase in abuse
"Demand is so hot that employees are starting to negotiate higher salaries before taking a job.   Indeed, Velinder has seen signing bonuses for accounting positions in the oil and gas field...   Regarding the temporary-help side, the five-county metro area (excluding Boulder and Broomfield) showed a 9.9% increase between 2003 and 2004 to average daily temporary help employment of 18,264, according to the American Staffing Association (ASA) in Alexandria, VA.   That was still 32% below the peak of 26,739 in 1999."


2005-05-02 05:00PDT (08:00EDT) (12:00GMT)
Hiawatha Bray _Boston Globe_/_Mac NewsWorld_
Apple Looks for More Converts with Tiger (10.4) Release
"the success of Apple's digital music ventures has not only made the company a force in consumer electronics, but increased the popularity of its desk-top computers as well...   'People who buy iPods tend to look wistfully at the Mac int he store.   If they're not buying now, they're thinking about it.'...   Spotlight... creates an index of all the files on the computer...   Apple has upgraded its Safari [web browser].   It now has a built-in feature for users of RSS, a popular technology that automatically collects the latest information from news-papers, magazines and web-logs...   Tiger comes with [utilities] that tell time, report on the weather, convert dollars to foreign currencies, and track the stock market...   Automator -- a collection of pre-packaged mini-programs to carry out a variety of common tasks, like checking e-mail.   By dragging icons into the Automator window, a user can create his own set of commands to perform routine jobs, like copying and saving all [of] the images on a web site..."

2005-05-02 07:05PDT (10:05EDT) (14:05GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
US March construction spending rose 0.5%
census bureau data

2005-05-02 07:50PDT (10:50EDT) (14:50GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM factory index fell for 5th straight month
"The ISM index fell to 53.3% in April from 55.2% in March.   This is the lowest level since 2003 July...   The employment index fell to 52.3% from 53.3%.   Prices inched lower to 71.0% in April from 73.0% in March."

2005-05-02 11:59PDT (14:59EDT) (18:59GMT)
_Mac Daily News_/_Boston Herald_
Mac OS X Tiger could alter how people use computers
"'Tiger, released to the public Friday by Apple, could radically alter the way you use your computer.   It should result in much faster and more efficient operation.', Eric Convey wrote for the Boston Herald."

David Utter _Web Pro News_
Tiger Sales Burn Brightly for Apple

Don Tennant & Gerald Cohen _ComputerWorld_
Q&A: Information Builders' CEO, Gerald Cohen, Blasts Gates over H-1Bs: "He can find all the engineers he wants in this country."
"He's going there because it's just cheaper.   He can find all the engineers he wants in this country...   You know who wants [to get rid of the cap]?   The Indian companies.   The way the Indian companies work is they have to have a certain number of people here, and a lot more people back there -- so they're the ones who want to get all these people in.   And they don't even pay them American wages -- they just pay them as cheaply as they can.   I'm the chairman of the New York Software Industry Association.   One of the programs we have is a federal government program that gives the city of New York money to run technical training courses for people in the city to upgrade their skills, so city companies don't have to go over-seas [for workers].   The program is essentially an H-1B replacement program.   The funny thing is, we've had our people apply for this -- it's a free course -- and they found a lot of these guys who took the classes were here on H-1B visas.   If you had more H-1B visas, the only thing you would see is the over-seas people coming here and replacing more American jobs...   If it was product, we have a mechanism -- we put a tariff on it, and we've used that for years.   It's a well-accepted idea.   In fact, most of the guys [over-seas] we're buying from have restrictive tariffs -- we can't get into their markets so easily.   For services, you don't have a tariff, so it's a phenomenon that now services are going outside the U.S.   And I personally think that's not a healthy thing for the country...   If you look further down the road, there's going to be a huge drain of IT jobs.   A lot of these jobs that go over-seas are the spawning grounds for future jobs.   So the whole industry's going to move over-seas...   No, I don't [have any problem finding skills I need for my company in the USA].   I go over-sease strictly for price...   Why do you have declining computer science majors?   Because every parent is saying, 'Why major in computer science when all the jobs are going over-sease?'   It feeds itself.   And I guarantee you, if it doesn't stop, in a couple years you're not going to have much of an IT industry here...   If you have a laboratory in France or England, that's not replacing American jobs, necessarily.   You're selling in England, you should do some work in England, for example.   That makes sense.   What are you selling in India?   Zilch...   The hardware we do sell them [India] is manufactured in [Red China] or Taiwan."

_IT Jungle_
Third World Increase in Numbers of Programmers to Exceed Growth in the First world
"IDC is projecting that the worldwide pool of professional developers will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.8% between 2003 and 2008, reaching 14.9M programmers by the end of 2008.   The countries with the most programmers are currently, in ranking order: the United States, Russia, India, Japan, Canada, Germany, [Red China], the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Spain.   But growth rates in [Red China] and India are going to shift the balance, with [Red China's] programmer pool expected to grow at 25.6% CAGR and India's at 24.5%.   On a geographical region basis, Asia/Pacific (which includes [Red China] and Japan and other Asian countries but not India) will have more programmers than North America by early 2006.   And because of the influence of India, the Middle East/Africa region will have the highest regional growth rate, with a CAGR in the number of programmers between of 18.3% between 2003 and 2008."


2005-05-02 21:37PDT (2005-05-03 00:37EDT) (04:37GMT)
Bambi Francisco _MarketWatch_
Intermix is just the start: Ramifications of adware suit are broad
Spitzer eyes abusive adware
"The way they get on our computer is through adware, which is on an estimated nine out of 10 computers.   The definition is fluid, but, broadly speaking, adware is software that's mysteriously installed on computers without user consent.   It can track user activity and serve up advertisements related to that activity.   It's typically bundled with applications...   New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has sued Intermix Media Inc., accusing the Internet marketing company of secretly installing spyware on millions of home computers.   Spitzer's civil suit accuses Intermix of violating New York General Business Law provisions against false advertising and deceptive business practices.   He also accuses them of trespass under New York common law...   There are a whole slew of companies that distribute malicious adware applications as well as advertisers or ad networks that know such practices occur but turn a blind eye to them.   There are file-sharing companies, like Grokster, Morpheus and Kazaa that bundle their software with 20 to 30 adware applications, according to Webroot CEO David Moll.   Then there are companies, backed by major venture capitalists, like 180Solutions, funded by Spectrum Equity Investors, as well as Claria/Gator, Direct Revenue and eXact Advertising, that many observers consider adware/spyware companies."

2005-05-02 20:06PDT (23:06EDT) (2005-05-02 03:06GMT)
Thomas Kostigen _MarketWatch_
Wealthy people are unrealistic and out of synch with realities of the economy
"Some believe they can earn as much as 5 percentage points more from their portfolios than what is historically accurate...   The most doe-eyed are business owners, according to the survey, while corporate executives are less sure of the markets.   Even that damper isn't prompting action, however; only 16% of those millionaires surveyed said they plan to change their investment allocations this year."

2005-05-03 07:13PDT (10:13EDT) (14:13GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Lay-off plans were down 33% in April: Lowest since 2000 November
"out-placement firm Challenger Grey & Christmas said Tuesday.   Job reductions fell 33% in April to 57,861.   Lay-off announcements are down 20% from 2004 April.   Despite the decline, job cuts in the first four months of the year are 3% higher than in the same period last year...   The largest cuts in April came in industrial goods, government and electronics.   Meanwhile, corporations announced plans to hire 22,452 workers over the next few months.   This is up 21% from March."

2005-05-03 14:04PDT (17:04EDT) (21:04GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Stocks bounce around as Fed increases rates again

2005-05-03 16:21PDT (19:21EDT) (23:21GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _MarketWatch_
Number of housing-poor families grew: 4.2M spent half of their income on shelter
"The number of working U.S. families parting with more than half their income to put a roof over their heads jumped 76% in 5 years -- to 4.2M in 2003 from 2.4M in 1997, according to a report from Freddie Mac, Century Housing and the National Housing Conference (NHC).   The number includes both renters and home-owners.   Another 800K either live in inadequate housing or have both problems -- a severe cost burden and dilapidated conditions -- for a total of 5M working families that have a crushing housing burden.   These working families aren't necessarily poor.   They include those with full-time jobs that pay the minimum wage of $10,700 a year and go up to those earning as much as 120% of the area's median income.   Overall, about 14.1M low- to moderate-income families, including the elderly and young unemployed people, faced a critical housing need in 2003, meaning they either paid more than half their income for shelter or lived in substandard conditions.   Most of those 14.1M Americans struggled to make the mortgage or rent -- 85% had a severe cost burden compared with 15% who were living in dilapidated digs, according to the analysis, which was based on a survey of 18K working families from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development...   immigrant families were 75% more likely to fork over half their pay for housing compared with their native-born counterparts..."

Randall Burns _V Dare_
MSFT wants more!
"MSFT is the top user of the H-1b program.   According to the Department Of Labor:   'In 2004, MSFT requested permanent status for 1,203 workers; 529 of the applications were certified...   MSFT, Intel, IBM and Oracle are among the top 10 companies requesting permanent residency for H-1B workers, according to the Department of Labor.   In 2004, MSFT requested permanent status for 1,203 workers; 529 of the applications were certified.   The software company led applicants in both categories.'   For the investment of a mere $13M in campaign donations in the last few years, MSFT and Gates are getting immigration rights for their employees that I estimate were worth over $50M in 2004 alone!"
Immigration Policy and Corporate Welfare


2005-05-04 13:51PDT (16:51EDT) (20:51GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Dow at 3-week high
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 127.69 points, or 1.2%, at 10,384.64 and the S&P 500 popped 14.48 points, or 1.3%, to 1,175.65 - the highest closing levels for both since April 13.   The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 29.16 points, or 1.5%, to 1,962.23."

2005-05-04 15:21PDT (18:21EDT) (22:21GMT)
Ill-Begotten Monstrosities to dump 13K workers, mostly in Europe
"cut up to 13K jobs, mostly in Europe, and take a second-quarter charge of as much as $1.7G...   It employs more than 300K people worldwide...   The computing giant is expected to see its 2005 earnings fall to $4.84 a share from $5.05 a share a year ago on sales of $100G, up from $96.5G."

Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_
Feds to release 20K additional H-1B visas next week
"Federal officials will open the doors to an additional 20,000 foreign workers under the H-1B visa program beginning May 12, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department said today...   the visas would be granted only to foreign workers with at least a master's-level degree from a U.S. academic institution...   If the visas being released next week are quickly claimed -- as some immigration attorneys have been predicting -- tech groups are likely to cite that as a reason to raise the visa cap further...   in an interview with _Computerworld_ this week, Gerald Cohen, founder and CEO of New York-based Information Builders Inc., said Gates is 'full of it.   He's going there [to Red China and India] because it's just cheaper.'"
previous article
USCIS news release (pdf)
earlier comments by Norm Matloff
"[In his response to this press release, UC Davis Computer Science professor Norm Matloff, in his e-news-letter said,] As I've pointed out before, those of us who are critics of the H-1B program 'don't have a dog in this fight'.   From the point of view of American workers, it's irrelevant whether the 20K new visas go to those with advanced degrees or not.   Either way, it means 20K fewer jobs available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents."

Patricia Keefe _Information Week_
Out-Sourcing, Off-Shoring, Caps and a Ship of Fools
"After years of corporate down-sizing, merger-induced lay-offs and wholesale [off-shore] out-sourcing of IT departments, it just seems incongruous to me that if a shortage of IT labor exists, it's as big as we're lead to believe...   technology companies, who tend to employ a lot of technologists, are still laying off broad swaths of people.   For another, the size of this alleged shortage is darn hard to pin down.   A couple of years ago I led a team of reporters in an attempt to ferret out some cold hard statistics in a bid to look into the urban myths of out-sourcing.   It quickly became clear that the government was not anxious to keep close track of this issue.   We found few useful statistics, and very little effort to track the size of the IT worker market...   The need to over-see and interact with teams of foreign workers far far away is difficult.   For example, some cultures don't like confrontation, others place an emphasis on being polite -- both traits can lull U.S. executives into thinking they have been understood or agreed with when they have not.   When that happens, and it does happen according to a recent study from Deloitte Touche, the end result is a dissatisfying, and potentially more costly, out-sourcing experience...   So off the bat you would be choosing to do business with an entity willing to cut corners and flout U.S. laws.   Of course the interest in out-sourcing is driven by a willingness to cut some corners in order to cut costs...   If technology titans like Bill Gates think we don't have enough appropriately skilled workers, maybe the best solution is to invest in re-tooling the work-force we do have.   There are 10-, 15-, 20- and 30-year veterans out there looking vainly for jobs.   At minimum they have the basics -- most have much more -- which makes them great candidates for training."

Bob Powell _Exponental Improvement_
The Trade Deficit and the Fallacy of Composition

Steven A. Camarota _Center for Immigration Studies_
Immigrant Job Gains & Native Job Losses from 2000 to 2004
"An important study published in 2003 in the Quarterly Journal of Economics showed that immigration reduces wages by 4% for all workers and 7% for those without a high school education...   A study by the Center for immigration Studies published last year shows that between 2000 March and 2004 March the number of unemployed adult natives increased by 2.3M, but at the same time the number of employed immigrants increased by 2.3M...   Not only did native unemployment increase by 2.3M, but we also found that the number of working-age natives who said they are not even looking for work increased by 4M.   Detailed analysis shows that the increase was not due to early retirement, increased college enrollment, or new moms staying home with their babies.   Our analysis also shows little evidence that immigrants only take jobs Americans don't want.   For one thing, immigrant job gains have been throughout the labor market, with more than two-thirds of their employment gains in jobs that require at least a high school degree.   However, it is true that immigration has its biggest impact at the bottom end of the labor market in relatively low paying jobs typically occupied by less-educated workers.   But such jobs still employ millions of native-born workers.   In job categories such as construction labor, building maintenance, and food preparation, immigration added 1.1M adult workers in the last 4 years, but there were nearly 2M unemployed adult natives in these very same occupations in 2004.   About two-thirds of the new immigrant workers in these occupations are illegal aliens...   Not only is native unemployment highest in occupations which saw the largest immigrant influx, the available evidence also shows that the employment picture for natives looks worst in those parts of the country that saw the largest increase in immigrants.   For example, in states were immigrants increased their share of workers by 5 percentage points or more, the number of native workers actually fell by about 3% on average.   But in states where the immigrant share of workers increased by less than one percentage point, the number of natives holding a job actually went up by 1.4%.   This is exactly the kind of pattern we would expect to see if immigration was adversely impacting native employment."


2005-05-05 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 288,626 in the week ending April 30, a decrease of 12,249 from the previous week.   There were 283,236 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.0% during the week ending April 23, a decrease of 0.1%age point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,570,929, a decrease of 41,651 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.3% and the volume was 2,915,357."

2005-05-05 06:50PDT (09:50EDT) (12:50GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US productivity accelerated by 2.6%: Labor compensation & over-head rose 2.2%
"Real hourly compensation (adjusted for inflation) increased at a 2.4% annual rate in the first quarter.   In the manufacturing sector, productivity increased 3.9% while unit labor costs increased 0.9%...   It now takes just 82 workers to produce what 100 workers could produce in 2000...   Productivity has increased 2.5% in the past four quarters, the smallest year-over-year gain in nearly four years.   Unit labor costs have risen 2.5% in the past year, the fastest gain in nearly 4 years...   In all of 2004, productivity increased 4.1%, while unit labor costs increased 0.4%.   In the non-financial corporate sector, productivity increased 3.9% in 2004, while unit labor costs fell 0.1%.   Unit profits in the non-financial sector increased 20%."

2005-05-05 13:42PDT (16:42EDT) (20:42GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Stocks down: U.S. stocks snapped a 4-day winning streak Thursday: Nasdaq hangs tough
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day down 44.26 points, or 0.4%, at 10,340.38, while the S&P 500 dropped 3.02 points, or 0.3%, to 1,172.63.   The Nasdaq Composite Index rallied back from an 11-point decline to close little changed, down 0.43 points at 1,961.80."

2005-05-05 (5765 Nissan 26)
Jack Kelly _Jewish World Review_
Dems & Reps slug it out in ethics "war" but both are corrupt

2005-05-05 (5765 Nissan 26)
_Gallup_/_NewsWeek_/_Jon Meacham 2006 _American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation_ pp287-288 end-note to pg16
about 80% of Amerians say they are some kind of Christian
"When asked 'what, if any, is your religious preference -- are you Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, or an Orthodox religion such as the Greek or Russian Orthodox church?', 48% identified themselves as Protestant, 7% as non-specific Christian, and 25% as Catholic.   2% identified themselves as Jewish, 1% as Orthodox, 2% as Mormons, 8% as none, and less than 1% as Muslim/Islam.   Other figures of interst: 58% believe 'religion can answer all or most of today's problems'; only 23% think such a notion 'largely out-fashioned and out of date'.   48% have had a 'born again' Christian experience, and 52% have tried to encourage others to 'believe in Jesus Christ'...   82% of Americans say Jesus was God or the Son of God, not another religious leader like Mohammed or Buddha.   79% believe in the 'virgin birth'.   55% say every word of the Bible is literally true, that the events it describes actually happened.   78% say Jesus physically rose from the dead; 75% say that he was sent to earth to absolve mankind of its sins."


2005-05-05 17:50:35PDT (20:50:35EDT) (2005-05-06 00:50:35GMT)
_Bluefield Daily Telegraph_
Government project gives the lie to claims of telecomm "over-capacity": SW Virginia fiber optic back-bone deployed in hopes of stimulating tech sector in region
"Lighting of the Cumberland Plateau fiber optic back-bone was held in Richlands Tuesday, making way for the highly specialized energy to be extended from Lebanon to Richlands and ultimately to Tazewell, Grundy and Bluefield, VA...   fiber optic lines have been deployed over a distance of 51 miles from Lebanon on American Electric Power poles along Rt. 19 from Lebanon to Claypool Hill and along Route 460 through Cedar Bluff to the Richlands Small Business Incubator."

2005-05-06 13:53PDT (16:53EDT) (20:53GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Stock market rally faded
"After rising as high as 10,400 intraday, the Dow Jones Industrials Average pulled back to finish the day up just 5.02 points at 10,345.40.   The blue-chip gauge closed up 1.5% on the week, marking its first 3 week win streak since mid-February.   The Nasdaq Composite Index lifted 5.55 points, or 0.3%, to close at 1,967.35.   For the week, the Nasdaq gained 2.4%. The S&P 500 Index slipped 1.28 points, or 0.1%, to 1,171.35 on the day but finished the week with a 1.3% gain."

Ephraim Schwartz & Grant Gross _InfoWorld_/_IDG_
H-1B: Patriotic or treasonous
"The H-1B visa is either a betrayal of American IT workers or a necessity of the country's high-tech future, and in a fiery debate both sides are flaming about what should be done...   Although companies are required by law to hire foreign nationals on a pay scale equivalent to the pay scale of American workers, they are also permitted to hire by generic category rather than recognizing a particular skill set.   'You get an expert for the cost of a regular programmer.', Matloff said...   Some foreign nationals claim that their desire to stay in the United States has lead to exploitation.   One contract worker who has since left the country told InfoWorld that he regards his employment here as 'slave labor'.   'The companies try to lure you into accepting a green-card sponsorship, which means you cannot move for 5 years.', the contract worker said.   Others claim that what employers call loyalty of foreign workers really amounts to uncompensated servitude in order to keep their visa status...   hiring younger foreign workers at lower salaries instead of hiring Americans with years of experience.   Employers also benefit from the likelihood of foreign nationals moving on before they are vested in matching 401(k) plans offered by the company...   TechSource spent 6 months interviewing 150 candidates before turning to an H-1B solution...
U.S. engineers currently have a [higher] unemployment rate than the rest of the U.S. population.   Indeed, a government representative called the 5.8% unemployment rate for computer programmers and network, system, and data analysts 'extraordinary', pointing out that almost all professional groups have unemployment rates well below the national average, currently at 5.4%.   In 2000 the aggregate unemployment for computer and mathematical occupations was 2.2%; in 2003 it was 5.5%; it now stands at 5.8%...
The University of California's Matloff scoffs at the notion.   'The lobbyists point out that [Red China] graduates 5 or 6 times as many engineers per year as we do.   What they are not telling you is that most of them don't get work as engineers.   They get work as technicians, plant managers, building inspectors, and so on.', Matloff said.   'And our biggest competitors -- India and [Red China] -- refuse to participate in international tests.   India, for instance, still has an illiteracy rate of 50%.'...   Dana Rohrbacher, R-CA, called it a 'betrayal of the American working people'.   Rohrbacher claimed that bringing in more foreign nationals will depress wages in the United States."

Mark Larson _Sacramento Business Journal_
70 Roseville workers accept HP buy-outs
"The latest round of job buy-outs will reduce the payroll at Hewlett-Packard Co. by 1,905 employees, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday, including 70 workers at the company's Roseville campus...   Employees had 30 days to take the offer, said Teri Munger, public affairs manager for H-P's Roseville site.   Acceptance rates varied throughout the company's locations, ranging from 350 employees in Boise, ID, to 570 in Corvallis, OR, and 100 in Vancouver, WA, the company said...   The company has had a new CEO since April 1, when Mike Hurd left the top spot at NCR Corp. to succeed the ousted Carly Fiorina.   Hewlett-Packard has 151K employees globally and slightly fewer than 4K in Roseville.   70 departures equals less than 2% of the local work force."

"Charlite" _Free Republic_
Zogby poll: Americans fed up with illegal immigration, 81% believe local and state police should also enforce immigration laws
World Net Daily

Tom Hester _Newark Star-Ledger_
Law shields NJ jobs from off-shore out-sourcing
"Acting governor Richard Codey yesterday signed legislation designed to protect New Jersey jobs from being out-sourced to foreign countries by requiring all work done under state contract be performed within the United States...   Under the new law, only American citizens and people authorized to work in the United States can provide services under a state contract or subcontract.   Exceptions will be made only when a service cannot be performed within the United States.   It applies to state, county and municipal governments, school districts and authorities...   senator Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), a co-sponsor...   Studies show New Jersey has the potential to lose 492,420 jobs to out-sourcing, including 282,840 in office support, 115,990 in computer and math skills and 80,640 in business and finance."


_Florida Today_
MATRIX data-base of personal private information violates privacy rights of Floridians
"MATRIX, the multi-state anti-terrorism super-data-base that combined reams of information on millions of Americans, should be in its death throes...   But instead of letting the dangerous surveillance tool expire in the Sunshine State, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE] wants to expand it, giving police access to financial and insurance information on citizens...   the data-base companies the state is taking bids from to help expand MATRIX -- likely to include LexisNexis and ChoicePoint -- have a poor history on security...   the unwarranted grab for private information tramples on privacy rights guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment.   MATRIX was an offense against civil liberties at its conception."


Kim Berry _Programmers Guild_
phony job ads in Sacramento Bee
Employment and Training Administration (ETA): 202-693-3840
DOL Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): 202-693-3010

Alex Berenson _NY Times_/_San Francisco Chronicle_
Tax break allows US companies to pay 5.25% federal extortion on foreign profits rather than the domestic 35% rate
less graphic version
"A new tax break for corporations is allowing the biggest American drugmakers to return as much as $75G in profits from international havens to the United States while paying a fraction of the normal tax rate.   The break is part of the American Jobs Creation Act, signed into law by President Bush in October, which allows companies a one-year window to return foreign profits to the United States at a 5.25% tax rate, compared with the standard 35% rate.   Those figures show that the drugmakers have told the Internal Revenue Service for years that their profits come mainly from international sales, even though prescription drug prices are far higher in the United States than elsewhere and almost 60% of their sales take place in America."


2005-05-08 23:52PDT (2005-05-09 02:52EDT) (06:52GMT)
Kevin Maney _USA Today_/_Gannett_
Venture Capitalists Open the Banks to Red Chinese Start-Ups
"In the past 2 years, US venture capitalists (VCs) have been streaming into [Red China] like Manchu invaders breaching the Great Wall.   The business-class section on flights from San Francisco to [Red China] often looks like a VC convention...   In 2004, VCs pumped $1.3G into [Red China], up 29% over 2003, according to research firm Zero2IPO.   The pace seems to be continuing this year.   Silicon Valley firms such as DCM, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Global Catalyst Partners have opened offices in [Red China], looking for deals.   Silicon Valley Bank took 25 leading VCs, including John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, on a weeklong field trip to [Red China]...   Worksoft is run mostly by Chinese nationals who went to college or worked in the USA for years...   Heading north from Tiananmen Square, you need more than an hour of fighting brutal traffic to get to Zhongguancun Software Park -- a miniature city built in the past decade on what were farms and orchards.   Now, it's all high-rise apartments, glass office towers and an occasional tree.   Here you'll find Worksoft's offices -- modern, airy and not even half-full.   This is intentional, because Worksoft plans to grow like crazy.   It has 800 employees.   By the end of the year, it expects to have 1,200.   Its goal is 4K.   'We want to become the largest out-sourcing company in [Red China].', says Stanley Zhou, Worksoft's chief financial officer...   In 1995, Chen launched Worksoft with money scrounged together from friends and family, as is typical of Chinese start-ups.   It remained a small family company until 2002.   That's when the out-sourcing trend kicked into [a highre] gear...   With the rush of US VCs into [Red China], the most promising Chinese start-ups would have their pick of investors.   But the start-ups want more than money.   They also want to tap the Americans' international business savvy."

John Helyar & Brenda Moore Cherry _Fortune_
50 and Fired: Getting fired during your peak earning years has always been scary.   You'd scramble for a few months, but you'd find something.   Today it's different.   Get fired and you can scramble for years -- and still find nothing.   Welcome to the cold new world of the prematurely, involuntarily retired.
"Two years later he's still looking for that better place.   Or any place, for that matter...   He keeps up with fellow members of MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group), a national organization of 1,300 members who once held top corporate marketing jobs and now, for the most part, don't.   And he sees a lot of people out there like himself, trying desperately to keep up appearances...   When these anxious white-collar exiles aren't trying to look busy, they're going to support groups.   Or worrying about the bills...   Or hoping that a recent Supreme Court decision on age discrimination will give them some kind of legal recourse to sue the bastards who fired them.   Or all of the above...   In 1991, long before Starbucks became the waiting lounge of the damned...   'Of course I'm scared.', says a 57-year-old executive vice president of a trade association in New York City.   (He didn't want his name used.)   'I got laid off in 1989 and again in 1995, so it could happen.   There's always an extra layer of stress.   I'm always aware that the wheels could come off -- and if they did, this time it would be serious.'...   Bruce Tulgan, a consultant on generational work-place issues, estimates that 3.5M people between the ages of 40 and 58 vanished from the American work-force from 2001 to 2004.   That's about 5% of all baby-boomers.   The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of 'displaced workers' (people who lost their jobs for any reason other than for cause) offers a concise litany of the ways middle-aged people get screwed.   In the most recent survey, which covers 2001 through 2003, 55- to 64-year-old displaced workers were less likely to find new jobs than 25- to 54-year-olds (57% vs. 69%), and more likely to drop out of the work-force altogether (20% vs. 11%).   Of the lucky cast-offs who get rehired, older folks take a much bigger pay cut than the young'uns.   A 2003 survey by DBM, an out-placement firm, found that only 32% of workers over 57 earned the same or higher pay at their new employer, versus 42% of 38-to-56-year-olds (and 60% of 21-to-37-year-olds).   Those data are all a year or two old, but the trends are continuing.   'Older white-collar workers quickly become disenfranchised.', says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Economy.com.   'They have difficulty getting back into the job market, and when they do, their compensation is often significantly reduced.'...   In a survey of 428 HR managers by the Society for Human Resource Management, 53% said older workers 'didn't keep up with technology', and 28% characterized them as 'less flexible'...   There was the recent recession and its aftermath, of course.   Beyond that, there are some forces that have been building for a while, such as the bottom-line demands of Wall Street and the steady rise in health costs.   Other pressures have developed more recently -- for example, the proliferation of excellent, [cheap] engineers and systems analysts and whatnot in [Red China] and India.   All those factors have hastened the demise of the safe, secure white-collar job...   Today, he says, 'being employed is an illusion'...   By the 1990s the demand for speed and productivity dwarfed anything the industrialists of the 1890s could have imagined.   The most devout adherents of the cult of youth are arguably in Silicon Valley, where older workers can be forgiven for feeling black-listed.   'When the [Internet] explosion happened, all these young people were drawn in who were willing to work for 6 or 7 days a week for little pay and a lot of stock options.', says Paul Kostek of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA...   The bubble may have burst, but the industry's belief in the virtues of inexperienced, inexhaustible, inexpensive youth remained...   A November survey of 983 IEEE-USA members, median age 49, found that 42% were unemployed...   Jack Welch called it 'the vitality curve'; those on the receiving end called it 'dead man's curve' or 'rank and yank'.   (The generic HR term is 'forced ranking'.)...   Capital One, a Richmond financial services company, which promoted a 'fun' culture to attract recent college graduates.   The company once sent an HR delegation to Welch's Crotonville, NY, training facility to learn more about how GE Capital handled its high pots and blockers.   According to an age-discrimination complaint, those lessons in the vitality-curve arts came in handy in 2001 when Capital One had to trim pay-roll by 10%.   It used a Welchian system to pick who got the pink slips, according to the suit, and packed the C tier with older workers.   That produced such anomalies as a 48-year-old analyst being canned by her 30-year-old boss, even though just 7 months earlier she'd gotten a $2K raise for stellar performance.   The law-suit was settled out of court in 2003...   The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported 17,837 age-discrimination cases in 2004, a 26% increase over 1999, though a decline from the peak of 19,921 in 2002.   But people who file these complaints rarely win, or even get a cash settlement.   In fact, simply avoiding a summary dismissal is an achievement.   Less than 1% of the complaints are litigated by the short-staffed EEOC, and in 2004 just 15% of the cases closed by the agency yielded out-of-court settlements.   (In the rare instances when age-discrimination cases do go to trial, they yield the highest median damages awards of all employer-discrimination categories, at $255K, according to Jury Verdict Research of Horsham, PA.)...   Peter Cappelli, a professor at the Wharton School, says the executive recruiters he talks to don't want older people who have tenured compensation -- not when they can hire younger, cheaper people...   If they're young enough at graduation time, maybe they'll find a nice new employer.   If that doesn't work, there's a good chance they'll end up in a category you might call involuntary consultants... temping...   After working for only 2 employers up to age 47, he went through 6 in 9 years -- and then the job offers stopped...   From 2002 to 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of 35- to 44-year-olds in the labor force will decline by 3.8M, while the number of available 55- to 64-year-olds will increase by 8.3M..."

Caron Carlson _eWeek_/_ZD_
Tech Execs Wield Political POWER
"Until this month, Lezlee Westine answered directly to President Bush's top adviser, Karl Rove, but as of next week, she will answer to CEOs Craig Barrett, of Intel Corp.; John Chambers, of Cisco System Inc.; Stratton Sclavo, of VeriSign Inc. [a.k.a. VerySlime]; and 14 other IT luminaries...   Westine [will] become CEO of TechNet, a political [lobby for tech] CEOs...   But as its power grows, the IT lobby increasingly looks out for its parochial interests -- often at the expense of [customers and employees], experts say.   Policies on issues ranging from spam to security to patent law to stock options are being influenced by companies such as MSFT Corp., Intel and IBM in ways that protect innovation but often eschew consumer protections, they say...   Information Technology Association of America hired Stephanie Childs, a former Department of Commerce adviser, to lobby on tax policies.   The Cyber Security Industry Alliance, in Arlington, VA, joined the crowded field of IT lobbying a year ago with Paul Kurtz, former special assistant to President Bush, at its helm.   Ed Ingle, former deputy assistant to the president and deputy Cabinet secretary, joined MSFT's in-house lobbying team in 2003.   Also in 2003, the Washington-based Computer Systems Policy Project, another CEO-level trade group, hired Bruce Mehlman, former assistant secretary for technology policy at the Commerce Department...   IT grew with record speed into one of the 10 biggest lobbying spenders in town.   The amount of money the industry pays to affect public policy and government decisions now rivals that of the oil and gas business and the telephone companies...   In he last 5 years, MSFT reported spending approximately $39M on direct lobbying at the federal level, according to documents filed with the Senate Office of Public Records.   The sum does not include money spent routinely to influence law-makers through media campaigns, advertising in Washington newspapers, grass-roots initiatives, membership in trade associations and other lobbying activities, all of which add up to millions of dollars...   Intel's lobbying grew steadily from just over $1M in 1998 to approximately $6M last year, counting 14 in-house lobbyists and 6 outside firms.   In the last 5 years, Intel reported spending approximately $28M, IBM reported spending $28.4M and Oracle Corp. reported spending $11.4M."

_Daytona Beach News Journal_
Big Brother redux: Floriida government over-reaching with data-bases
"Privacy experts cheered last month when the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced that it was ending a controversial data-mining project that compiled reams of personal [private] information on state residents and dumped it into a statewide data-base.   Turns out the project -- dubbed MATRIX, for Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange -- wasn't as dead as it seemed.   The FDLE's real plan: Expand MATRIX by adding credit-bureau and insurance [government-supported protection racket] information on millions of Floridians, most of whom have never committed a crime -- and place all that information in the hands of a private vendor trafficking in personal information...   Credit bureau reports, for example, are notoriously inaccurate.   Last year, several state Public Interest Research Groups conducted a massive survey of credit data, and found inaccuracies in 79 percent of the personal reports checked.   More than half had some item of personal identification incorrect -- name, address, Social Security number, etc...   Less than 3% of the investigations run through MATRIX had anything to do with terrorism.   Yet the drive to collect information never seems to fade.   Even though Florida has dropped out of the multi-state system, it would be easy for the state to quietly form another multi-state or even national framework and begin sharing personal data again...   Seisent [Seisint] -- an off-shoot of data-base giant DBT, later sold to Lexis-Nexis, another big data-compiling firm -- to run the program."

Ron Paul _Ron Paul Library_
National ID KKKards Won't Stop Terrorism or Illegal Immigration
"Absent a political miracle in the Senate, within two years every American will need a conforming national ID card to participate in ordinary activities.   This REAL ID Act establishes a massive, centrally-coordinated database of highly personal information about American citizens: at a minimum their name, date of birth, place of residence, [Socialist Insecurity number, SIN], and physical characteristics.   The legislation also grants open-ended authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to require biometric information on IDs in the future.   This means your harmless looking driver's license could contain a retina scan, finger-prints, DNA information, or radio frequency technology [RFID]...   The REAL ID Act transforms state motor vehicle departments into agents of the federal government.   Nationalizing standards for driver's licenses and birth certificates in a federal bill creates a national ID system, pure and simple.   Having the name of your particular state on the ID is meaningless window dressing."

Bruce Schneier
"It's a bad idea, and is going to make us all less safe. It's also very expensive.   And it's all happening without any serious debate in Congress."


Eminem Label and Apple Agree to Copyright Settlement That Arose from Ads
"In 2004 February, Ferndale-based Eight Mile Style filed a law-suit in U.S. District Court in Detroit against MTV, Apple, MTV's parent Viacom Inc. and advertising agency TBWA/Chiat/Day.   The recording company claimed Apple used one of the rapper's hit songs in an advertisement without permission...   Apple featured a 10-year-old singing Eminem's Oscar-winning song 'Lose Yourself' in an ad on MTV for the computer company's iPod music player and iTunes music service."

High-Tech Industry's False CAFTA Promises; Limited Export Market and Wrong Target for Anti-Piracy
PR News Wire
"The report, 'The Real Pirates of the Caribbean: U.S. High-Tech Industry's False CAFTA Promises', found that despite industry arguments, sales to all CAFTA countries comprise little more than 1% of U.S. high-tech exports.   Neither U.S. industry nor the administration has identified high-tech piracy in Central America as a significant problem for significant enforcement, but it is clear that after 11 years of NAFTA, Mexico's intellectual piracy problems have increased greatly, the report documents.   Ian Chan Hodges of the American Ingenuity Alliance (AIA) noted that many of the high-tech firms lobbying for CAFTA because of its intellectual property provisions are simultaneously urging Congress to undermine the IP rights of inventors within the United States."

2005-05-10 13:44PDT (16:44EDT) (20:44GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Dow logs triple-digit loss
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 103.23 points, or 1%, at 10,281.11 -- its biggest one-day point loss since April 28.   The Nasdaq Composite Index slumped 16.90 points, or 0.9%, to 1,962.77 and the S&P 500 Index slid 12.62 points, or 1.1%, to 1,166.22."

2005-05-10 15:48PDT (18:48EDT) (22:48GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Techies square off over CAFTA
"Technology industry executives sought Tuesday to dispute a report offered by a coalition of groups representing tech workers and independent inventors charging that the proposed Central America Free Trade Agreement would be bad for the U.S. technology work-force.   The 17-page report charged that the agreement does very little to open foreign markets to U.S. tech goods, but instead furthers trade policies that have led to the [off-shore] out-sourcing of technology jobs...   Tech industry executives have been pushing law-makers to accept the pact, arguing it would help reduce software piracy and open markets...   Rich White, CEO of TechNet, a [lobbying] group that represents tech industry executives..."

2005-05-10 08:42PDT (12:42EDT) (16:42GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
CAFTA battle heats up
"CAFTA would remove all tariff and non-tariff barriers between the U.S. and 5 Central American nations: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.   The Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic was later added to the pact...   Both Republicans and Democrats are concerned about the record U.S. trade deficit and perceived trade abuses by [Red China]...   The one farm group that is opposed to the CAFTA is the powerful sugar industry."

_St. Petersburg Times_
Too much information: Reason to be apprehensive
"Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Mark Zadra tries to make the latest revelations surrounding its computer data-base system, formerly known as the Matrix, sound innocuous.   He claims that the request for bids from data-aggregating firms to provide FDLE with access to data-bases of commercially available information on most Americans is nothing different from what law enforcement may currently [unconstitutionally] obtain without a sub poena or court order.   [Such a pattern of on-going abuse, suggests that the additional demands are being made with nefarious designs in mind.]...   Zadra claims that the kinds of information obtained from these private data-bases are such things as current addresses, Social Security numbers and birth dates [information the constitution requires that the government have more than probable cause to obtain.]   He says that even if a data-base included health records, personal financial details or what magazines someone receives, investigators would be barred from freely accessing that information.   [Yah, sure.   We believe.]...   Zadra won't say what type of data are being searched...   the company that developed the Matrix, Seisint Inc., also provided the federal government with 120K names of potential terrorist suspects it [labeled as such] through data-mining... "
Privacy links


Dave Carpenter _AP_/_South Jersey Courier Post_
United Air-Lines gets federal OK to violate pension obligations
"A federal bankruptcy judge approved United Airlines' plan to terminate its employees' pension plans on Tuesday, clearing the way for the largest corporate-pension default in American history...   That will save cash-strapped United an estimated $645M a year, part of the $2G in annual savings it says it needs to line up enough financing to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as soon as this Fall.   But the cost will be painful to its employees, who stand to lose thousands of dollars annually off their pensions when they are assumed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.   The agency, the government's pension insurer, initially opposed United's plan.   But it agreed to drop that resistance last month in exchange for up to $1.5G in notes and convertible stock in a reorganized UAL Corp., United's holding company.   United's pensions are underfunded by an estimated $9.8G, of which the PBGC would guarantee only about $5G.   The previous largest U.S. pension default was Bethlehem Steel's $3.6G in underfunding in 2002...   T, 49, said her pension will be reduced from $1,700 a month to $800 a month by Wedoff's ruling."

Ellen R. Shaffer _San Jose Mercury News_
The health costs of CAFTA
"A quick look at the plummeting U.S. trade balance (that is, we import more than we export) confirms studies by groups like the Carnegie Endowment.   We now know that NAFTA-like 'free' trade agreements make a few multinational corporations wealthier, but fail to come through with job growth in the United States.   And they further impoverish the already-poor in developing nations.   But they are a very effective policy delivery device for the pharmaceutical industry.   Far from promoting competition with brand name drug companies, CAFTA presents numerous barriers to competition from generic producers.   It extends by years the monopoly pricing rights of the world's most profitable industry, thus protecting high drug prices...   the Canadian company Methanex is protesting California's order to remove the carcinogen MTBE from our gasoline.   No one questions that MTBE is a health hazard.   The problem is that it's also a moneymaker for Methanex.   If the United States loses the case, tax-payers will be liable for millions in damages, payable directly to Methanex."

Jim Puzzanghera _San Jose Mercury News_
Trade deal would further depress tech wages
"The 6 countries involve in CAFTA represent a tiny export market for high-tech goods, and the pact would harm US tech workers by [further] pushing down domestic wages and benefits, which [happened] with a similar 'free-trade' agreement with Mexico and Canada in 1994...   Marcus Courtney [WashTech president said,] 'Despite industry arguments, CAFTA fails to open any markets of any new significance.'...   The 6 CAFTA countries... accountd for just 1.4% of all US information-technology exports in 2004, the report said...   The high-tech industry... is eager to eliminate tariffs ranging from 5% to 30% on information-technology products in those countries."
Public Citizen report on CAFTA (pdf)

_AP_/_State College Pennsylvania Centre Daily News_
Federated Department Stores profit rose 27% in first quarter
"Federated Department Stores Inc., the owner of Bloomingdale's and Macy's, said Wednesday it's first-quarter profit grew 27%, topping Wall Street expectaions as it looks to acquire St. Louis-based rival May Department Stores Inc...   At its department stores open at least a year, sales grew 2.6% last quarter, Federated said, adding that no new stores were opened during the latest period...   Federated is paying $11G for May, which operates regional chains including Lord & Taylor and Marshall Field's."

Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Trade deficit decreased 9.2% to $55G in March: largest decrease since 2001 December
"Exports rose 1.5% to $102.2G in March.   Imports fell 2.5% to $157.2G.   Exports of goods alone rose 1.4% to $72.1G.   The largest increase came in exports of capital goods, which rose 3.3% to $29.1G.   Exports of civilian aircraft rose 26.9% to $2.4G.   March exports of consumer goods set a record, while farm exports were the highest since 2003 November.   Imports of goods alone fell 3.1% to $131.5G...   The petroleum deficit widened 4% to $17G...   The trade deficit with [Red China] in March was $12.9G, wider than the $10.4G in the same month last year and thinner than the $13.9G deficit in February."
census bureau data

2005-05-11 04:43PDT (07:43EDT) (11:43GMT)
Norm Matloff _Ziff Davis_
Johnny CAN program
"'America Is Slipping!'   It's become a standard lead, guaranteed to grab readers' attention.   Add in a few alarmist quotes from self-serving lobbyists with hidden agendas, along with the obligatory conclusion that 'Education is the answer', and you've got the economic horror movie that Americans love so much to watch...   News.com didn't tell you that the number of teams competing has grown nearly 7-fold from 1994 through 2005.   IOW, for a team to finish at, say, third place, in 1994 would be equivalent to finishing 21st this year.   So a hypothetical team that News.com would have lauded in 1994 would now be dismissed as having badly 'slipped' in 2005, even though it would be of the same quality...
Some nations, or some individual universities, make similar time commitments in the ACM contest.   Xu Jun, a public-affairs officer at the school, which fielded this year's first-place team in the programming contest from Shanghai Jiao Tong University put it in Olympian terms: 'All their time was spent in preparation except for their class work.'   A faculty colleague of mine who is a veteran coach in the ACM contest estimates that many foreign teams devote at least 10 times the amount of time to practice as do American teams.   Xu's statement suggests that the factor is much greater than 10.   As someone who married into a Shanghai family, I congratulate the bright, dedicated members of the winning Jiaoda team, which also took first place in 2002.   But it would be wrong to view their victories as measures of general superiority over other schools, let alone other nations...
But it is a shame that News.com did not cover the real threat to American technological competitiveness -- a threat that comes from the very entities News.com quoted as saying that the contest means America is doomed.   The earlier CNET article, for instance, quoted Jim Foley, chairman of the Computing Research Association [CRA], David Patterson of the ACM and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett, all of whose organizations have hidden agendas in playing the education card.   And those interests, I contend, form the real technological threat to the states...
In the late 1990s, the computer industry claimed a desperate labor shortage.   No independent study ever confirmed that shortage, but the hidden agenda behind the shrill shortage claims was to push Congress to increase the yearly cap on the H-1B work visa program, which enabled industry to import cut-rate engineers from abroad.   Government data show, for instance, that Intel, which claims that its H-1Bs have master's degrees and Ph.D.s, pays them far less than the national medians for engineers with these degrees...
academics long ago abandoned the noble notion of scholarship for the less noble goal of empire building...
Congress, openly admitting that it was responding to industry campaign donations rather than the popular will, complied by increasing the H-1B cap in 1998 and 2000, the latter action coming at the time the mass lay-offs began.   This past December, despite a continuing abysmal tech labor market, Congress enacted another expansion of the program...   And now the industry, notably including Barrett, is promoting the off-shoring of tech work (in which the H-1B program also plays a key role), obviously even more harmful to maintaining America's technological skills."

Sandra O'Malley _Daily Telegraph_
US creates E-3 guest-worker visa for Australians
"The special E-3 visa will [each year] allow 10,500 Australian professional or business people to temporarily work and live in the US -- more than 10 times the current number...   Last year, only 900 Australians obtained the visa, known as the H-1B.   'It was something that we were pursuing as part of the US free trade negotiations.', Mr. Vaile said...   The visa will allow the spouses and dependant children of the 10,500 visa holders to also work in the US...   the visa was included in the crucial package of Bills..."

_Prudent Press Agency_
ITPAA Grants Weasel Award to Bill Gates
"The IT Professionals Association of America (ITPAA) has awarded its second Weasel Award of 2005 to MSFT Chairman Bill Gates for his recent remarks supporting the entry of an unlimited number of foreign workers under the H-1b visa program...   Scott Kirwin, founder of the organization, states that Gates's comment only illustrates the 'richest man leading the least innovative company wants to pay Third World wages in the United States.   MSFT tried off-shoring work to Asia and that off-shoring has failed...   Gates wants to import people and pay them dirt to do the work here.   It's not about having access to the 'best and the brightest' the world has to offer.   For employers of H-1b visa holders like MSFT it's about employing the poorest people in the world and paying them to stay that way...   Gates seems ambivalent about America.   He doesn't want to pay Americans decent salaries...   He employs thousands of engineers and programmers in India, a country that refused to send troops to Iraq.   He opened up an R&D center in [Red China], a nation that steals his software and threatens our allies Japan and Taiwan...   H-1b workers make nearly half the salaries of the Americans they replace...   So firms fire their American staff and hire the cheap labor.   In the long run that they realize that they made a mistake because Americans are the most flexible thinkers and productive people on the planet, but by then the damage has been done...   Americans have the skills, but managers like Gates are too cheap to pay for them...'...   over 93% of Tata's [TCS's] staff have less than 5 years experience in their fields and 52% less than two years.   'It's nearly impossible for Americans to find a job with less than 5 years experience these days.', Kirwin says.   'MSFT has never been interested in innovation or productivity.'   Previous winners of the award include Van B. Honeycutt, chairman of the Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), for his out-sourcing of jobs to India at [tax-victims'] expense, Richard D. Fairbank, chairman and CEO Capital One, for his closing of call centers in the USA to cut costs while receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in stock options, and senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) for her statements supporting out-sourcing on a trip to India while publicly criticizing it at home."

2005-05-11 11:02PDT (14:02EDT) (18:02GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Federal government posted $57.7G surplus in April
"The U.S. government posted a federal budget surplus of $57.7G in April, compared with a $17.6G surplus a year ago, the Treasury Department said Wednesday...   It is the largest surplus for the month of April since 2002...   Receipts rose 26.1% from a year ago, while outlays rose 8.6% from a year ago.   For the first 7 months of the fiscal year, the government has run a deficit of $236.9G, down 16.5% from the deficit of $283.8G in the same period a year ago...   The Congressional Budget Office last week said that somewhat stronger than expected [extortion] receipts, particularly on the corporate front, could hold the fiscal 2005 deficit to around $350G."

2005-05-11 13:39PDT (16:39EDT) (20:39GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
stocks up as petroleum futures prices fell
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 19.14 points, or 0.2%, at 10,300.25, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 8.78 points, or 0.5% to 1,971.55.   The S&P 500 gained 4.89 points, or 0.4%, to 1,171.11...   On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude for June delivery closed down $1.62 at $50.45 a barrel amid mixed signals on the supply front.   The Energy Department reported that the nation's crude supplies rose 2.7M barrels in the week ended May 6, larger than most analyst estimates.   The American Petroleum Institute, however, reported a decrease of 6.1M barrels."

2005-05-11 13:47PDT (16:47EDT) (20:47GMT)
Bambi Francisco _MarketWatch_
Spyware gets senate hearing
Privacy links

Hannibal _Ars Technica_
Ulterior motives behind H-1B visa program
"The upshot of all this is that the foreign worker is basically stuck with the sponsoring employer if he or she wants to stay in the country and/or get a green card.   This is a situation that's obviously ripe for abuse, and tech companies have been the most notorious abusers.   Companies give H-1B workers much lower wages and benefits than Americans doing the same jobs, because the H-1B workers can't just up and quit.   It's a form of indentured servitude that not only exploits of H-1B workers themselves, but it harms Americans by artificially reducing American competitiveness in the labor market.   Why hire an American to do a job that you can bring in an H-1B worker to do for much cheaper?"

Hannibal _Ars Technica_
Papieren Bitte: REAL ID passes inside war-funding bill, Shrub likely to sign
"As a follow-up to this post on the execrable Real ID Act of 2005, I feel obligated to let you know that the inevitable has indeed happened, and Real ID has passed.   We all knew it would, because it was attached to an emergency military appropriations bill that had to pass...   So now we'll have a nice, centralized national data-base with your name, home address, and other personal data for identity thieves to target."

_National Review_
the disappearing case against John Bolton appointment as envoy to UN
Free Republic


2005-05-12 05:18PDT (08:18EDT) (12:18GMT)
Pedro Nicolaci da Costa _Reuters_
Pay-roll number mas deeper ills in US job market
"An April rebound in hiring may be more of a last hurra for the US job market...   employment is a lagging indicator -- a better signal of things past than future growth...   Burned by the late 1990s boom-bust cycle and frightened by everything from rising energy and health care costs to the threat of terrorism, companies have resorted to piecemeal hiring in an effort to shield profits from any sudden down-turn.   In doing so, they have also dealt a serious blow to American workers, who now have a much harder time finding employment or changing jobs than they did in the 1990s.   For those already working, this usually means doing more for the same amount of pay, according to job recruiters and other industry sources."

2005-05-12 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 295,800 in the week ending May 7, an increase of 5,158 from the previous week.   There were 292,754 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.0% during the week ending April 30, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,510,025, a decrease of 54,811 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.2% and the volume was 2,836,423."

2005-05-12 07:40PDT (10:40EDT) (14:40GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US retail sales increased 1.4% in April: Biggest gain in 7 months
"Excluding autos, sales increased 1.1%.   Excluding gasoline, sales increased 1.3%...   U.S. retail sales were up 8.6% in the past year, the Commerce Department said.   Sales excluding autos were up 8.1%."
census bureau data

Tech Execs Wield Political POWER
"Companies also spend millions of dollars yearly in fees to belong to industry associations that lobby for them...   IT continues to produce more trade groups, and large companies sometimes belong to dozens at a time.   For example, Intel, based in Santa Clara, CA, belongs to the Business Software Alliance, Computer Systems Policy Project, Information Technology Industry Council, TechNet, Information Technology Association of America [ITAA], SemiConductor Industry Association and an array of broader business interest groups, including the American Electronics Association [AeA], National Association of Manufacturers [NAM] and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce...   in 2003, those associations alone spent $28.6M on lobbying...   [Retail customer] advocates do not always agree, however, particularly on network security matters.   In the last Congress, outlawing spam was high on the agenda, and user advocates urged law-makers to enact an opt-in provision for commercial e-mail.   The industry opposed the opt-in approach and lobbied to prevent stringent regulation.   In the end, Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act in late 2003 with broad industry support, but users receive more spam today than ever before...   In a similar vein, legislative initiatives to require tighter network security measures have brought strong opposition from the industry, raising questions among some security advocates about the merit of the expanding IT lobby."

2005-05-12 12:13PDT (15:13EDT) (19:13GMT)
Jennifer Waters _MarketWatch_
Cheapo retailers noticing the divide between haves and have nots
"Target's income passed projections as the retailer said heavy customer traffic produced robust sales of such discretionary merchandise as intimates, women's apparel and entertainment... Target's 'Pay less, expect more' consumers..."

2005-05-12 13:36PDT (16:36EDT) (20:36GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Dow takes another triple-digit dive
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 110.77 points, or 1.1%, at 10,189.48, marking the seventh triple-digit decline for the blue chip gauge over the past month.   The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 7.67 points, or 0.4%, to 1,963.88 and the S&P 500 dropped 11.75 points, or 1%, to 1,159.36.   Decliners out-numbered advancers 24 to 9 on the New York Stock Exchange and 19 to 11 on the Nasdaq.   Big Board volume topped 1.57G shares while more than 1.76G shares traded on the Nasdaq."

Bob McDowall _IT Analysis_
Off-shoring issues: the US financial regulator's view
"A number of US Financial Services Regulators, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of Comptroller of Currency, have recently issued their own bulletins, reports and guidance on third party off-shoring."

Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
More Jobs Hype
"Of the [seasonally adjusted] 274K April jobs, 256K were in the private or non-government sector, and 211K of these were in the service sector as follows: 58K in leisure and hospitality (primarily restaurants and bars), 47K in construction, 29,200 in wholesale and retail trade, 28K in health care and social assistance, 17,300 in administrative and support services (primarily temps), 11,700 in transportation and warehousing, 8,800 in real estate.   A few scattered jobs in other service categories completes the picture...   The US economy has ceased to create jobs in high tech sectors and in export and import-competitive sectors...   The substitution of foreign labor for American labor allows executives to reduce costs and increase profits, thus producing large bonuses for themselves and capital gains for shareholders.   The long run effect, however, is to destroy the US consumer market and to reduce US corporations to a brand name with a sales force selling foreign made products to Americans employed in third world jobs."


2005-05-12 19:19PDT (22:19EDT) (2005-05-13 02:19GMT)
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
Pension planning worries
"The number of pension plans turned over to the government rose to 192 last year, up from 155 in 2003, pushing the number of workers and retirees in such plans to 1.1M...   And the federal agency known as the PBGC, which takes over plans and insures benefits for the 44M workers who still enjoy traditional pensions, expects to shoulder billions more in promised benefits from plan turn-overs in the future.   That's not counting the some 1,200 financially stable companies that chose to close down their fully funded pension plans last year in an effort to move workers into less costly retirement savings plans, like 401(k)s...   Workers' annual benefits are limited to about $45K a year under a PBGC-operated plan, and those who retire earlier than age 65 can also expect reduced benefits.   The current maximum benefit for a worker retiring at, say, age 60 is about $29K a year, said Jeffrey Speicher, a PBGC spokesman.   For retirees, the outlook is even less rosy given that they can face benefit cuts but have less time to make up the difference themselves."

2005-05-13 21:01PDT (2005-05-13 00:01EDT) (04:01GMT)
Marshall Loeb & Kelli B. Grant _MarketWatch_
Betrayal of pension obligations is widespread problem
"Indeed, this bond of trust has been the crucial part of the American social contract, which links workers and managers in common cause.   Managers trusted that workers would be efficient, industrious and loyal.   Workers trusted that the managers would treat them decently and pay them fairly, whether on the job or in retirement.   But now that trust is being ominously strained.   Increasingly, Americans are being told that they won't always be able to count on their pensions to carry them through their lengthening life, not even if they have worked for decades for one of the world's great companies...   Not long ago, Polaroid -- the picture-in-a-minute company that once was the high-tech marvel of U.S. industry -- paid $47 to each of its retired employees and said that that sum absolved the company from any further pension payments.   That's right, $47.   Meantime, Chairman Jacques A. Nasser, who came to the company in 2002, will get $12.8M for his shares, and J. Michael Pocock, who became CEO about 2 years ago, will get $8.5M."

Clarence Page _Baltimore Sun_
Blame illegal immigration on demand for low-price low-quality products
"'This country has become hooked on cheap labor.', Republican representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado, chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, said when Fox News Channel talk-show host Bill O'Reilly recently asked why Congress doesn't order the president to secure our borders.   'A lot of pressure is put on individual congresspeople to not do anything about the borders for fear of impeding the flow of cheap labor.'   Mr. Tancredo is on the right track, but I would go a step further: Employers - from factory owners to large-scale vegetable farmers to families seeking a nanny or a gardener - want the cheapest labor they can get.   The problem is that Americans are not hooked on cheap labor as much as they are devoted to cheap prices...   More Americans might want those jobs held by illegal immigrants if the jobs paid more.   But that would mean higher costs passed on to consumers...   Since politicians don't get many votes by telling us that our salaries are too high, the pols instead are promising us that they will protect us from illegal aliens hell-bent on taking our jobs and from run-away employers who are out-sourcing our jobs over-seas...   serious border-security measures are having a tough time getting through Congress..."

2005-05-13 06:42PDT (09:42EDT) (13:42GMT)
Mark Krikorian _National Review_
McCain/Kennedy illegal alien amnesty bill
"the anti-borders crowd created today's immigration crisis and is now offering as a solution the very policies that got us in this mess in the first place...   But the McCain/Kennedy bill (called the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act) has a good deal of muscle behind it, and in any case is the only amnesty-guestworker bill that will have a significant coalition pushing it.   Yesterday's press conference included not only senators McCain and Kennedy, but also Brownback and Lieberman, plus Republican representatives Flake and Kolbe from Arizona, and Illinois Democrat Gutierrez.   The U.S. Chamber of Commerce backed it, as did the National Restaurant Association, the Service Employees International Union, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the National Immigration Forum, as well as writer Tamar Jacoby.   The essence of the bill is the same as the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act: amnesty up front for millions of illegal aliens in exchange for paltry promises of future enforcement -- promises that will quickly be abandoned...   The amnesty part works this way: The former illegal aliens are re-labeled as legal workers; after a 6-year period of indenture, payment of some fines, criminal and security background checks, and an English and civics test, they (and their families) get green cards...   The guest-worker part of the bill provides for 400K new foreign workers a year, with an escalator clause if businesses snap up the cheap, docile labor faster than expected.   These 'temporary' workers would have to serve only a 4-year period of indenture before they, too, would get green cards.   To accommodate them, legal immigration quotas would be increased by close to half a million a year...   The part on border security is almost a parody of a Washington cop-out: It orders up yet another 'National Strategy for Border Security' (how about picking one of the previous strategies and just enforcing it?), plus an advisory committee, two coordination plans, and various other reports and programs and multilateral partnerships."

2005-05-13 07:38PDT (10:38EDT) (14:38GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index fell from 87.7 in April to 85.3 in mid-May: Down for 5th straight month

2005-05-13 13:48PDT (16:48EDT) (20:48GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Stocks rattled
"Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 49.36 points, or 0.5%, to close at 10,140.12.   For the week, the blue chip gauge lost 2%, snapping a 3-week winning streak.   The S&P 500 fell 5.31 points, or 0.5%, to 1,154.05.   The index was down 1.5% on the week.   The Nasdaq Composite Index, however, climbed 12.92 points, or 0.7%, to 1,976.80 boosted by strength in the technology sector after a positive report from Dell Inc.   For the week, the Nasdaq gained 0.5%.   By sector, hardware, Internet, semiconductors and networkers were among the best performers.   Oil services, integrated oil, home-builders, biotechnology and gold were among the decliners.   Decliners led advancers by an 11 to 5 margin on the New York Stock Exchange and by 9 to 7 on the Nasdaq.   Big Board volume was nearly 1.72G shares while almost 1.88G shares traded on the Nasdaq."

Jerry Seper _Washington Times_
Border Patrol told to stand down in Arizona
"U.S. Border Patrol agents have been ordered not to arrest illegal aliens along the section of the Arizona border where protesters patrolled last month because an increase in apprehensions there would prove the effectiveness of Minuteman volunteers, _The Washington Times_ has learned.   More than a dozen agents, all of whom asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, said orders relayed by Border Patrol supervisors at the Naco, AZ, station made it clear that arrests were 'not to go up' along the 23-mile section of border that the volunteers monitored to protest illegal immigration...   Another agent said the Naco supervisors 'were clear in their intention' to keep new arrests to an 'absolute minimum' to offset the effect of the Minuteman vigil, adding that patrols along the border have been severely limited."

2005-05-13 15:09PDT (18:09EDT) (22:09GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
US re-imposes textile quotas on Red China
"The action 'demonstrates this administration's commitment to leveling the playing field for U.S. industry by enforcing our trade agreements', said Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, in a written statement announcing the decision by the administration's Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.   'We will consult with the [Red Chinese] [government] to find a solution that will permit the orderly development of trade in a quota free environment.', he said. The move reinstates limits on the amount of cotton trousers, cotton knit shirts and underwear that [Red China] can ship to the United States."

Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
View from Lodi, CA: MSFT & Intel Profit without Honor
"Craig Barrett, CEO of... Intel... [said] his company can be totally successful without ever employing another American...   What Barrett didn't say is that his 'brain talent' comes to the USA on H-1B or L-1 visas...   Intel, Friedman pointed out, is making its engineering investments in [Red China], India, Russia, and Poland and, to a lesser extent, Malaysia and Israel...   Intel could save as much as $1G in taxes over 10 years by building its next factory in a country Malaysia...   But this statement is still more Barrett smoke as there is a glut of educated, talented but unemployed American engineers.   Noted Matloff, 'The U.S. produces more engineers per capita than any country in the world except Israel.   The problem is that Intel and MSFT won't hire them.'...   Barrett is, of course, protected. With a $2.4M salary and exercised options of $10.7M in 2004, he's set."

Rob Sanchez _PHX News.com_
amnesty redux

Elan Journo _Bergen NJ Record_/_IN Post-Tribune_/_Ayn Rand Institute_
Betraying Real Freedom Fighters
"despite president Bush's rhetoric about freedom, the United States shuns one brave group of people attempting to escape the clutches of a mighty totalitarian regime -- but endorses another group seeking to establish a tyranny."

Nicholas Wade _NYTimes_
DNA study yields clues about first migration of early humans


_Garavi Gujarat_
US bill would permit entry of 50K foreign nurses
"Under the bill, sponsored by Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski, an additional 50K foreign nurses will be permitted to enter the country...   Indian nurses are preferred by many hospitals in the US because of their better health knowledge and fluent English.   The bill also exempted H-2B seasonal guest workers who have already worked in the US from the 65K annual cap.   This will mainly help Mexican workers.   Another immigration provision passed by the Senate seeks to allow 10,500 Australian guest workers to enter the country annually under terms similar to the H-1B high-tech visa category."

Juana Jordan _Tallahassee Demagogue_
Tallahassee home prices going through the roof
"Over the last 4 years, the median sales price of existing single-family homes in Tallahassee has risen by more than $60K to nearly catch up with the national median average of $193K.   In Tallahassee, the median is $190,450, but still considered pricey [by locals] because the rising home costs far outpace the earning power of most Leon county residents.   From 2000 to 2003, the average annual wage increased by 9.6% to $32,059 while the median sales price of homes rose by 46.3%."


2005-05-15 05:00PDT (08:00EDT) (12:00GMT)
_Concord NH Monitor_
Here illegally: police chief called attention to a problem too long ignored
"Last month, New Ipswich Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain made it to the talk-show circuit by charging 21-year-old Jorge Mora Ramirez, a Mexican national who works for a Jaffrey construction company, with criminal trespass for being in the United States illegally.   Ramirez's arrest marked the first such use of criminal trespass laws.   Last week, the Hudson police used the same charge to prosecute two Nashua residents who are in the country illegally...   There are an estimated 11M people in the nation illegally [estimates range from 8M to 16M].   Some 500K cross America's borders each year and hundreds die trying [estimates range from 500K to 1.2M].   But the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which is now part of the Homeland Security Department, was not amused by Chamberlain's actions...   The preisdent's proposal can be summed up as a 'toil and go home' guest-worker plan...   The McCain-Kennedy bill is a 'work and stay' plan...   Despite the increased threat of terrorism, the government has taken few meaningful steps to combat illegal immigration...   Cracking down on unscrupulous employers who hire undocumented workers would, we believe, slow the rush over America's borders."

2005-05-15 11:21PDT (14:21EDT) (18:21GMT)
William Spain _MarketWatch_
Greenspan touts ethics to new MBAs
"[The] principles governing business behavior are an essential support to voluntary exchange, the defining characteristic of free markets.   Voluntary exchange, in turn, implies trust in the word of those with whom we do business.   To be sure, all market economies require a rule of law to function -- laws of contracts, rights to property, and a general protection of citizens from arbitrary actions of the state."

Michael McCord _SeaCoast On-Line_
H-2B visa bill in the works for vacation trade
"hotels and construction firms, golf courses and ski resorts...   earlier this past week when Congress passed immigration reform legislation that was attached to the supplemental spending bill to support ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.   When President Bush signs the bill into law within the next two weeks, thousands of immigrant workers will once again have the opportunity to apply for H-2B visas that will allow them to work for hundreds of companies in Maine and New Hampshire."

Elizabeth M. Grieco _USCIS_
USCIS report on temporary visas (pdf, graphs, tables)
"In 2004, there were an estimated 179M non-immigrant admissions.   Of these, an estimated 153M were Canadian and Mexican citizens who were not required to complete the I-94 Form...   In 2004, NIIS recorded 30.8M non-immigrant arrivals...   In summary, of the 30.8M temporary admissions included in NIIS, most entered as short-term visitors, either as tourists (74%) or business travelers (15%).   One half of all arrivals were by citizens of just 4 countries: the United Kingdom (16%), Mexico (14%), Japan (14%), and Germany (5%)...   The number of visas issued to alien victims of criminal activity and their families, for example, is limited to 10K per year...   In 2004, for example, there were 30.8M admissions recorded by NIIS, but only 25.8M individuals entered the United States...   Of the 30.8M nonimmigrant admissions recorded by NIIS in 2004, 22.8M entered as tourists with an additional 4.6M entering as business travelers.   [No data on numbers of people admitted.]"


2005-05-16 11:41PDT (14:41EDT) (18:41GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Flow of capital funds into USA slowed in March
"Net capital inflows fell to $45.7G in March from $84.1G in February."
US treasury report

2005-05-16 13:31PDT (16:31EDT) (20:31GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Dow ends on triple-digit increase
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 112.17 points, or 1.1% to 10,252.29, partially recouping losses seen last week when the bench-mark index fell 2%.   The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 17.65 points, or 0.9% at 1,994.43 while the S&P 500 climbed 11.64 points, or 1% to 1,165.89."

Mary Brandel _ComputerWorld_
Puzzle Pieces: Dueling Statistics on Off-Shoring & Guest-Worker Abuse

2005-05-16 16:08PDT (19:08EDT) (23:08GMT)
Gail Liberman & Alan Lavine _MarketWatch_
Deposit rate caste system: Banks use tiered plans to give larger accounts better terms but does that system short-change most consumers?
"Deposit rates, he says, are starting to hit a magic number -- 3%.   That's the historic base rate of inflation.   The problem: Money-market mutual funds are paying 1.5 percentage points to 2.25 percentage points more than banks are on core deposits...   The vast majority of banks and savings institutions have tiered deposit rates on money-market deposit accounts.   Tiered rates are becoming more prevalent on basic savings accounts.   Credit unions also have had tiered deposit rates on share accounts -- their versions of savings accounts.   So why are banks paying such lousy rates to smaller depositors even though short-term interest rates have been rising?...   it costs less for them to service a large account than it does several smaller accounts."

_Vero Beach Press-Journal_
FDLE program looks like fishing expedition
"The FDLE wants the information not just on suspected criminals, but on every person in the state.   The information would go into what has been called 'MATRIX'..."


2005-05-17 03:00PDT (06:00EDT) (10:00GMT)
Julie Watson _Forbes_
How To Complain Effectively
"For the most part, customer service has been heading downhill as companies try to cut costs by out-sourcing, off-shoring and hiring inexperienced staff... Know Exactly What You're Complaining About And What Action You Want [idiotic blather elided] Sneaky Ways To Contact A Company   Customer service representatives are much more expensive than web sites. That's why companies intentionally make their phone numbers difficult to find... Address Letters To Individuals... Patronize Locally Owned Stores... Don't Just Complain. Praise, Too"

2005-05-17 04:00PDT (07:00EDT) (11:00GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
over-time tussles at tech firms
Ziff Davis
"A spate of law-suits and new government rules has the tech industry scratching its head over over-time...   'The vast majority of computer programmers are entitled to over-time pay and are not getting it.', [Allen Graves] said...   Underlying the issue is what tech workers themselves think about earning over-time pay.   Historically, the field has been defined largely as professional work, having little in common with jobs that require punching a clock.   But that may be changing in era of out-sourcing, off-shoring and contingent work relationships, said Rob Helm, director of research at analysis firm Directions on MSFT [infamous for the perma-temp scandal just a few years ago]...   workers have been speaking out against schedules that can sometimes mean 80-hour weeks for months on end...   California's exemption for computer software workers requires that the hourly rate of pay is at least $45.84 -- equivalent to annual earnings of about $95,350...   Employees throughout the industry also may feel less loyal after the wave of job cuts that came with the dot-com collapse and as some jobs move off-shore."

2005-05-17 06:46PDT (09:46EDT) (13:46GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
PPI up 0.6% in April
BLS data

2005-05-17 06:49PDT (09:49EDT) (13:49GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US housing starts rebounded in April
"Construction of new U.S. houses rose 11% in April to a seasonally adjusted 2.04M annualized units.   This follows a 17.6% drop in starts in March to 1.84M units, which economists attributed to cold and wet weather."
census bureau data

_New Hampshire News_
New Hampshire Joins Majority of States in Rejecting CAFTA's Restrictions on State Procurement Policy
New Hampshire Union Leader
"On May 13, Lynch rescinded his predecessor's commitment to bind the state to the government procurement provisions of CAFTA and other proposed bilateral and regional trade agreements, bringing the total count of state governments agreeing to be bound by the pact's restrictive rules down to 19 out of 50...   Because government procurement is an intrinsic function of sovereign governments, states can choose whether or not to be bound by related trade agreements' terms...   CAFTA's chapter on government procurement places binding restrictions on the criteria that states can use when evaluating bids for contracts.   These restrictions forbid giving preferences to local companies or requiring that contractors employ local workers, the thrust of anti-off-shoring legislation introduced in more than 30 states.   In addition, CAFTA prohibits many common purchasing policies that treat foreign and domestic suppliers alike.   For example, green purchasing requirements that require recycled content, mercury-free goods, renewable energy or green building standards are prohibited under CAFTA, as are procurement policies that place conditions on suppliers, such as requiring that suppliers pay a living or prevailing wage or provide health care for their workers."

James T. Madore _NewsDay_
Journalist union protests over off-shoring at Reuters
"Union employees at Reuters are stepping up their campaign against the wire service's out-sourcing of U.S. jobs, most recently transferring the editing and caption writing of photos to its Singapore office and some Internet work to Toronto.   Members of the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America have distributed leaflets outside Reuters' office in Times Square.   Critical ads also have been placed in Investor's Business Daily and the Columbia Journalism Review, and more are planned for the web...   union activists point to a string of high-profile errors, most originating from a small news-room set up last year in Bangalore, India."

2005-05-17 15:11PDT (18:11EDT) (22:11GMT)
Greg Robb & Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US Treasury turns up heat on Red China over foreign exchange (FOREX) rates
"The Bush administration has given [Red China] 6 months to take a concrete, large step toward a flexible exchange rate.   In its semiannual currency report released Tuesday, the Treasury Department did not make a formal finding that the [Red Chinese] government manipulated the exchange value of the yuan for export advantage."
related press release & report

_Financial Express_
Saimon Overseas Ltd. to process US visas
"The US Embassy, Dhaka has appointed Saimon Overseas Ltd. Bangladesh to process non-immigrant visa applications and to schedule non-immigrant visa interview appointments.   The US Embassy, Dhaka announced the implementation of this new arrangement with Saimon Overseas Ltd Bangladesh Monday, according to an embassy press release.   Saimon Overseas Ltd. took over appointment scheduling process for non-immigration visa from 2005-05-14..."

Juan Mann _V Dare_
REAL ID is really for illegal aliens
"the REAL ID Act [inserted into th eEmergency Supplemental Appropriations Act] still contains loop-holes big enough to allow truck-loads of illegal aliens to get valid temporary state driver's licenses...   The federal requirements for state driver's license and identification cards are scheduled to go into effect 3 years from now -- 2008 May 10.   The final REAL ID bill still contains its most precious much-resisted language: preventing the acceptance of 'any foreign document' as a stepping-stone to a state driver's license.   It prohibits the use of the Mexican government's infamous 'Matricula Consular' card... although unfortunately not for 3 years...   Any of the aliens in groups (ii) through (ix) could be convicted criminals or illegal aliens currently in removal proceedings, which means they are supposedly on their way OUT of the United States.   But as readers of these columns know, Immigration Court hearings and appeals before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) can last virtually forever: ... assuring them plenty of time to enjoy their 'temporary' driver's license.   Mexican border-crossing card (BCC) holders are technically eligible for temporary driver's licenses under REAL ID group (v) -- ('non-immigrant visa status').   Their length of stay at any one time is only 30 days.   Yet they still are somehow now entitled to a temporary state license for 1 year at a time, apparently renewable at will as long as they hold the BCC..."

Thomas J. DiLorenzo _Lew Rockwell_
Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment
Jerry O'Neil


2005-05-17 18:03PDT (21:03EDT) (2005-05-18 01:03GMT)
Mindy B. Hagen _Durham NC Herald-Sun_
Ill-Begotten Monstrosities wants more IT students to spend their time and money preparing for field
"[In a common ploy of engineering shortage propagandists] Gina Poole, vice president of IBM's Academic Initiative, told about 120 university educators that an additional 2.2M people will be needed in information technology-related professions by 2010...   At NC State University, the computer science and electrical engineering departments are seeing increasing numbers of students opting for double majors in both fields.   The computer science department there hopes to [develop] new courses... that strongly [emphasize] 'services solutions' [a.k.a. bodyshopping]."

2005-05-17 22:31PDT (2005-05-18 01:31EDT) (05:31GMT)
Michael Paige _MarketWatch_
Globally 35% of software is pirated: Losses reach $33G
"Last year, spending on commercial package computer software rose to over $59G, up from $51G in 2003, according to the study carried out by industry researcher IDC.   Yet over $90G worth of software was actually installed on computers globally, rising from $80G a year earlier, the study revealed...   While the percentage of illegally installed software eased to 35% last year from 36% in the [preceding] year, the growth of the PC market and a weaker U.S. dollar resulted in a rise in dollar losses.   In 2003, software piracy resulted in losses of $29G...   VietNam, Ukraine, [Red China], Zimbabwe and Indonesia leading the list of countries with the highest piracy rates.   The United States led the list of countries with the lowest rate of piracy at 21%...   a whopping 92% of software in VietNam was pirated last year, closely followed by Ukraine with a piracy rate of 91%.   [Red China] and Zimbabwe both had a piracy rate of 90%, while 87% of software in Indonesia was illegally copied."

2005-05-17 23:54PDT (2005-05-18 02:54EDT) (06:54GMT)
Industrial production in Red China surged 16% in April
"[Red China's] industrial output rose 16% from that month a year earlier to 564.7G yuan ($68G), accelerating from March's 15.1% on-year increase...   The pace of growth in the nation's consumer price index slowed to 1.8% in April compared with the same period last year, the lowest monthly rise in a year and a half.   It was below March's 2.7% [year-]on-year rise...   The output data released Wednesday showed April exports of industrial enterprises rose 29.9% to 379.2G yuan."

2005-05-18 07:57PDT (10:57EDT) (14:57GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US April core CPI flat: CPI up 0.5%
"The CPI is now up 3.5% in the past year, compared with 3.1% in March.   It's the biggest year-over-year gain since November.   The core CPI is up 2.2% in the past year compared with 2.3% in March."

2005-05-18 14:31PDT (17:31EDT) (21:31GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US to impose quotas on more textile imports from Red China
"On Wednesday, a federal interagency panel, the Committee for Implementation of Textile Agreements, chaired by the Commerce Department, determined that imports of men's and boys' cotton and man-made fiber shirts, man-made fiber trousers, man-made fiber knit shirts and blouses, and combed cotton yarn are threats to the U.S. market.   The United States will impose a quota equal to 107.5% of the average imports in the past year.   So far this year, the U.S. has imported more than $350M worth of the products impacted by Wednesday's ruling...   According to U.S. data, in the first 3 months of 2005, imports of [Red Chinese] non-knit shirts increased 197% to $96.2M.   [Red Chinese] imports of knit shirts rose by 195% year-over-year to $142.1M.   [Red Chinese] imports of trousers increased 111% to $122.1M.   [Red Chinese] imports of yarn increased 62% to $1.6M.   Total [Red Chinese] textile imports have increased 54% year-to-date to $5.6G.   Textile imports from all sources have increased 11.5% year-to-date to $22.6G.   [Red Chinese] imports have risen from about 16% of all textile imports in 2002 to about 20% in 2004 and about 25% so far in 2005.   Since 2000, U.S. employment in textile and apparel manufacturing has fallen by 389K, or 36%, to about 700K."

Derrick Z. Jackson _Boston Globe_
A steeper ladder for the have-nots
"In 1973, the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay was 43 to 1.   By 1992, it was 145 to 1.   By 1997, it was 326 to 1.   By 2000, it hit a sky-high 531 to 1.   The [depression] shake-outs and corporate scandals of recent years on the surface narrowed the gap back to 301 to 1 in 2003.   But a much worse parallel global gap is emerging in the era of out-sourcing.   United for a Fair Economy published a report last summer that found CEOs of the top US out-sourcing companies made 1,300 times more than their computer programmers in India and 3,300 more than Indian call-center employees.   Such groups say if the minimum wage kept up with the rise in CEO pay, it would be $15.76 an hour instead of its current $5.15.   Looking at it another way, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, another often written-off [radical leftist] think tank, published a report last month that in the last three years, the share of US national income that goes toward corporate profits is at its highest levels since World War II, while the share of national income that goes to wages and salaries is at a record low."

2005-05-18 14:57PDT (17:57EDT) (21:57GMT)
Alorie Gilbert _CNET_
VerySlime bought RFID consulting boutique
"[VeriSlime] has purchased technology consulting firm R4 Global Solutions for $15M, expanding its presence in the emerging radio-frequency identification [RFID] market.   The [conspirators] completed the all-cash deal on Wednesday...   R4 Global Solutions... specializes in helping businesses [abuse] RFID technology...   Its clients include Levi Strauss, McKesson and Land O'Lakes.   Major retailers, including WM Stores, have given RFID technology a substantial boost recently, requiring suppliers to outfit merchandise with RFID gear."
Privacy links

Kat Huang _UPI_/_Washington Times_
Senators debate immigration reform
"Amidst proposals to increase patrols on the borders and put new limits on who can enter the country, several experts emphasized a need to develop comprehensive policies... The hearing focused on the question of what to do with the 10M to 12M [some estimates go as high as 16M] illegal immigrants currently 'living in the shadows' in the United States -- and on which [some in the economy heavily rely]... McCain's plan benefits U.S. fruit and vegetable farmers, hotel and restaurant owners, and construction companies that get access to an expanding pool of documented "guest workers" while some illegals already in the U.S. become eligible for permanent residency... Earlier this month FBI Director Robert Mueller testified before Congress that people from countries that are centers of al-Qaida activity are crossing into the United States through the porous Mexican border... 30,142 [OTMs] were apprehended in 2003 and 44,617 in 2004, a 48% increase... In a previous hearing Thomas Walters of the Department of Homeland Security said 1M illegal immigrants are apprehended annually. Quoting experts who estimate that for every illegal alien who is apprehended 3 or 4 others are not, Feinstein estimates that 3M to 4M illegal aliens enter the United States annually... Two months after signing an intelligence bill that authorized the government to add 10K border-security agents over 5 years, starting with an increase of 2K in 2006, President Bush requested only 210 more agents in the border provisions of the 2006 budget proposal, presented to Congress on February 7, garnering criticism from border-control experts."

_Fresh Plaza_
Washington state imports Thai farm-workers: Employers with a reputation for being fair and honest don't have a problem getting good people
"Last season, 170 Thai workers were imported to harvest Yakima Valley apples and cherries.   This year, there could be at least 1K...   The federal guest-worker program contains provisions intended to protect local workers and wages, but it worries unions and advocacy groups representing local laborers.   They predict the guest workers will reduce local hires...   Jeff Johnson, organizing and research director of the Washington State Labor Council, said the importation of Thai workers 'totally flabbergasted us.   We have no labor shortage in the state of Washington, so we question the need for these foreign workers to begin with.', Johnson said...   Dan Fazio, a labor specialist with the Washington Farm Bureau, said growers with a reputation for being fair and honest don't have a problem getting good people."

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee _Information Week_
Body shops dropped compensation in 2005 Q1
"Hourly wages overall fell 0.8% in the first quarter of 2005 to an average of $29.31, compared with $29.54 in the same quarter of 2004, according to the Yoh Index of Technology Wages, which the company says is used by many large employers to determine salary scales.   The index isn't based on a survey or polls, but rather analyzes quarterly wage data of about 5K Yoh job candidates and temporary technology workers who are hired by more than 1K employers in sectors such as aviation, engineering, IT, manufacturing, scientific, telecommunications, and utilities.   Tech wages had risen 3.1% in January; however, those gains were lost in February and March, according to Yoh...   Among the hottest job titles in the first quarter were RFID [privacy violation] engineers, who earned average hourly wages of $58.07..."
Privacy links


2005-05-19 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 273,917 in the week ending May 14, a decrease of 23,212 from the previous week.   There were 297,061 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending May 7, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,447,730, a decrease of 60,164 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.2% and the volume was 2,772,073."

2005-05-19 12:55PDT (15:55EDT) (19:55GMT)
Paul Streitz _Millinocket Maine Magic City Morning Star_
The Green-Backs
"A computer programmer in Hartford, Connecticut was complaining politely to an Indian programmer here on an H-1B visa that all the immigrants were taking American jobs and that it could ruin the American economy.   'That's all right.', said the Indian programmer, 'I will just go back to India.'...   Generally, only the few immigrants fleeing persecution in a foreign country come to the United States seeking its freedom, liberty and justice.   They often become citizens and often are more patriotic than native born Americans who take our freedoms granted.   Those fleeing tyranny realized that freedom must be valiantly guarded.   The Statue of Liberty is named the Statue of Liberty.   Not the Statue of Immigration.   It was given to the United States by France and completed in 1884.   Only 20 years later were the words of a poem engraved in a plaque at the base of the statue... 'yearning to breathe free'...   The most massive immigration into the United States started with the Immigration Law of 1965.   The backers of this law promised that the immigration quotas would remain the same, about 165K.   However, the provision that allowed those immigrants in the United States to be reunited with their families soon meant that millions of cousins, aunts and sisters-in-law were moving to the United States.   Currently, about slightly over a million immigrants arrive legally, plus another million illegally.   This is has been the largest mass migration in the world's history, excluding a catastrophic war...   There is nothing to indicate that he ever tried to gain citizenship.   For him, as for the overwhelming number of immigrants, it is about money.   These are the Green-Backs.  They are here for the money and that is it...   The United States and its citizens owe nothing to the Greenbacks and should not feel the slightest twinge of conscience returning them to their native countries.   At best they are guest workers.   At worst, they take the jobs that would be done by American workers.   They make corporations more profitable for the owners, but they unemploy and lower wages for millions of Americans."

James Murray _Computing_
Ill-Begotten Monstrosities moves to promote off-shoring at the same time promoting other abuses such as RFID
"IBM announced earlier this month that it would cut 13K jobs, stripping out much of its European management layer and pushing more responsibility to client-facing teams.   The changes will also lead to more emphasis on off-shore delivery centres."

Jim Hightower _East Texas Review_
Call India to find your old job
"An Indian trade group says there are 350K people there working in such back-office service jobs for U.S. corporations, and the number is expected to grow by 40% this year alone...   and American callers often take out their anger on them...   The Indian call centers try deception to deflect this anger...   But many callers know better and berate the poor operators, who are under such stress that they suffer all sorts of debilitating illnesses.   It's 'psychologically disturbing', says Manzoor.   It's also psychologically disturbing for Americans to see our middle-class future exported, while CEOs calmly count the billions of dollars that they rake in by pitting us against the Indians."

Paul Craig Roberts _CounterPunch_
Out Through the In Door: The Politics & Economics of Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
Red China and the Future of Globalization
"Off-shore out-sourcing is misunderstood by economists and policy-makers.   The phenomenon is misperceived as an extension of the mutual benefits of comparative advantage-based trade.   Comparative advantage has 2 necessary conditions, neither of which is met today.   One condition is that capital is immobile internationally relative to traded goods.   The other is that the trading countries have different opportunity costs of producing the traded goods...   The condition of capital immobility is required to insure that a country's capital seeks comparative advantage at home instead of absolute advantage abroad.   Different internal cost ratios of producing one good in terms of another are necessary if low- and high-cost countries are to experience mutual gains from specializing and trading...   Ricardo imposed the condition of relative capital immobility internationally in order that specialization according to comparative advantage could occur.   Otherwise, a country's capital would flow to absolute advantage abroad.   When US firms substitute foreign labor for domestic labor in their production for domestic markets, capital is flowing to absolute advantage.   Factor mobility from Ricardo's time to the recent advent of off-shore out-sourcing was qualitatively different.   Foreign investment was a way to evade tariffs, quotas, and high transport costs.   Foreign investment was not geared toward off-shore production for home markets...   Economists assume that off-shore production for home markets is trade because the goods count as imports when they enter the US.   But what is being traded when a US firm closes its American factory, lays off its American work force, moves its capital and technology off-shore and uses foreign labor to produce the identical product for the same US markets?   This is not trade in the traditional sense with one country specializing in cloth, the other in wine, and sharing the gains.   The old free trade argument that US labor has nothing to fear from cheap foreign labor, because US labor works with more capital and better technology no longer holds when US firms provide the same capital and technology to foreign labor.   The international mobility of capital and technology and the advent of production functions that operate the same regardless of location mean first world labor will be displaced in tradable goods and services until there is a global equalization of wages and living standards...   As the BLS pay-roll jobs statistics make clear, the US has ceased to create jobs in tradable goods and services.   The higher productivity, higher value-added jobs that provide upward mobility are missing from the data.   Our most prestigious engineering schools report a marked decline in enrollments in computer and electrical engineering.   _Business Week_ magazine reports that US firms are now out-sourcing R&D, design and innovation...   most of the new jobs in domestic services have gone to new legal and illegal immigrants...   employment growth of native-born Americans has ceased in the 21st century...   How do US universities gain when there are no pay-offs to a university degree?   The BLS estimates that the vast majority of the new jobs that the economy is expected to create during the next 10 years require no university education.   Where is patriotism when politicians turn a blind eye to the decimation of opportunity for native-born citizens."

Chris Mayer _Howe Street_/_The Daily Reckoning_
A Spin-Off Study
"the back-bone of America's economy is struggling under the weight...   Whatever it may be, this is no ordinary expansion.   It has a hunch-back and 2 club-feet.   Jobs that ought to exist don't.   Income that should be helping consumers to spend isn't there.   Savings that are vitally important to economic growth have disappeared...   An empire sets the trends in fashion, arts, style and manners - but it neglects engineering, science, and homeland-bound industries.   An empire depends on the periphery states for its savings, its consumer goods... and eventually, its soldiers and administrators.   As an empire matures, its center weakens and its back-bone bends under the weight.   Eventually it either passes off its imperial burden to a friendly power to which it becomes beholden - as England did to America between 1917 and 1950 - or its back breaks.   When it breaks, we don't know.   How it breaks, we don't know either."

Paul Johnson _Denver Post_
Off-shored Colorado jobs rile the unemployed
"'Yes, it's the kind of job I could have done, and would have been happy to do...   I liked the people.   I liked the work.', [said] SA, laid off in March from an Englewood company, on the information technology work out-sourced by Colorado.   Nearly $2.5M in state money will go to a firm based in India to create a computer system designed to get Coloradans working...   Galileo was not a candidate for the state contract awarded to HCL, but senator Deanna Hanna, D-Lakewood, believes the case illustrates why state jobs paid for with tax-payer money should not be out-sourced. "

Chase Blink == RFID == EVIL
Privacy links


2005-05-20 05:00PDT (08:00EDT) (12:00GMT)
Sonia Arrison _Mac News World_
Is Silicon Valley Libertarian?
"Silicon Valley folks care very much about the freedom to change and grow, but unfortunately they don't often think deeply about the idea of freedom in general.   This is further proof that the Valley isn't libertarian in the way most think...   But there is something about the area that screams freedom."

Christopher Ward _Western Mail_
Managers must focus when improving skills: Why improving skills is vital for the long-term prosperity of Wales
"Despite substantial employment creation over the past decade, the type of jobs we're doing, particularly in the service sector, is still at the lower end of the value chain - averaging about 79% of UK gross value added per job and only 60% of the US level.   Moreover, we face a growing trend for such jobs to migrate to lower wage, but increasingly skilled economies, such as those in Eastern Europe, India, the Far East and Latin America...   These blue-prints map out how Wales should boost a whole host of skills, ranging from basic literacy and numeracy to hi-tech engineering and software design, in order to drive forward businesses that will keep us in the higher divisions of world prosperity...   The extent of the challenge was well described by Massachusetts Institute of Technology academics Jonathan Gosling and Henry Mintzberg lately when they wrote, 'Management is neither a science, a profession nor a function.   Management is a practice that needs to be appreciated through experience, in context.'.   Their conclusion reminds us that neither measuring the volume of management training in Wales, nor indeed counting the number of MBAs or other qualifications achieved, gives any real indication of how effective we are at preparing our managers and leaders for the daunting tasks ahead."

2005-05-20 10:28PDT (13:28EDT) (17:28)
John Sinal _MarketWatch_
Slowing growth in IT market drives mergers and acquisitions
"Chief executives of many mid-sized companies, faced with a maturing IT marketplace where corporations prefer to deal with just one or two big vendors, are keeping one eye on their customers and another on potential partners...   M&A activity has picked up substantially during the past 18 months, after a brutal dry spell that followed the collapse of the tech stock bubble...   With few exceptions, hardware and software firms that sell primarily to corporations are seeing sales growth in the high single digits...   [And it appears that only the most vile big firms are interested in acquisitions.]"

Aliza Earnshaw _Portland Business Journal_
Oregon senate bill adds global economics to mix
"the bill is intended to forestall any further [off-shore] out-sourcing on government contracts...   In its most recent form, SB578 says that companies bidding for state contracts will need to say how many people will be employed in the state, how many out of state.   Companies will also need to state the minimum compensation they will pay.   [Earnshaw notes that SB578 will be even weaker than a NJ statute.] But it is stronger than what Washington was able to finally pull off...   Hudgins believes that some of the best, brightest and most skilled workers are being thrown out of work due to out-sourcing'..."

Mike Cassidy _San Jose Mercury News_/_Silicon Valley_
Valley's on fire, but workers get doused
"You need to be in with the in crowd for this economy to pay off. If you're at the top of the organizational chart, you may have already won...   Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network determined that average pay for valley workers declined by 1% while executive pay was sky-rocketing.   In fact, the valley's top 728 executives averaged nearly $2.9M in pay in 2004, about 44 times the average pay of all valley workers...   If you're working, chances are you're working harder than ever.   Productivity is up in the valley and nationally.   And it's increased productivity that's helped these companies make more money without hiring more people...   And if you're not working, well, you're the most important of all.   You, my unemployed friend, are part of a cost-cutting army that is pushing corporate profits and executive compensation skyward...   The unemployed among you are asking whether this prosperity will bring you work.   Let me put it this way: No.   Sure, jobs are being created.   Just not here.   Take Oracle (profit up 16.2% in fiscal 2004).   It added 2,317 new jobs last year -- all overseas.   In the United States, the company cut 1,309 jobs.   And you working people.   You're asking whether this prosperity will mean more money for you.   How to put this?   Not likely.   Average pay is down in the valley, remember?..."

2005-05-20 14:02PDT (17:02EDT) (21:01GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Nasdaq logs biggest weekly rise in 9 months
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 21.28 points, or 0.2% at 10,471.91, snapping a 4 day win streak.   But the blue chip index remained up about 332 points, or 3.3% on the week -- its biggest weekly point gain since early November.   The Nasdaq Composite Index made it 6 winning sessions in a row as it rose 3.84 points, or 0.2%, to 2,046.42.   With gains of about 70 points, or 3.5%, for the week, the Nasdaq was looking at its biggest weekly point gain since mid-August.   The S&P 500 fell 1.80 points, or 0.2%, to 1,189.28.   For the week, the S&P was up about 35 points, or 3.1%.   Decliners led advancers by an 18-to-15 margin on the New York Stock Exchange and by 15 to 14 on the Nasdaq.   Big Board volume was about 1.28G shares, while just over 1.52G shares moved on the Nasdaq."


Rachel Brand _Rocky Mountain News_
Medical services have been moving off-shore, creating additional privacy problems
"Off-shore radiologists, medical transcriptionists and medical coders are increasingly helping U.S. hospitals cope with ever-rising demand for health care and ballooning documentation demands...   But one thing everybody agrees on: Medical off-shoring exposes a host of privacy, quality and security issues, and federal legislators are scrambling to control it.   'Probably (off-shoring) has made it a tougher market to do business in.', said Beth Tribelhorn, president of Denver-based Preferred Physician's Transcription, a medical transcription firm.   'There is no margin.   Everyone expects you to compete with what an off-shore agency quotes as a cheap price.'   In response to privacy concerns, U.S. representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, three weeks ago introduced the SAFE-ID Act, which would bar the transfer of personal information outside the U.S. without the consumer's consent...   Nobody can supply reliable statistics about the volume of work going over-seas..."


Justin R. Kalmes _Lenawee Connection_/_Daily Telegram_
Under-Employed but Looking
"Nearly 2 years and several job interviews [after graduation], G isn't working with animals or the environment [in line with her studies].   The 24-year-old isn't even employed in a job that requires a college education.   She works between 18 and 20 hours each week as a librarian at the Adrian Public Library, a job she had through high school and college, and resumed in January when she desperately needed work.   The Pathfinders, a Dallas-based employment consultant group, has termed individuals like G under-employed workers -- people who possess the skills, experience and education to get high-paying jobs, but who must settle for part-time work.   G is among more than 56K under-employed workers in a region that includes portions of Hillsdale, Jackson, Washtenaw and Monroe counties in Michigan, and Fulton, Lucas and Williams counties in Ohio...   25% of under-employed workers say they would accept a new job if it paid $10.82 an hour or less.   About 6,800 people who are working part time in this region said they want to change positions and work full time...   Manny Salazar, a service center manager for South Central Michigan Works in Adrian.   He said there aren't enough good jobs available for skilled individuals after they get laid off, or when their positions get eliminated...   a competitive wage for manufacturing positions is considered between $10 and $12 an hour...   under-employment is tough to measure...   According to an April 5 EPI report, the nationwide under-employment figure stands at 9%.   That number has fluctuated, from 7.2% in March 2001, the last business cycle peak prior to the recession, and 10.4% in 2003 September.   Based on the Pathfinders' report, the February underemployment figure for the Lenawee County area was higher than 15%...   Allegretto said 200K to 300K new jobs are needed each month to fuel hope of a true recovery.   She said the elimination of jobs during the past 4 years has significantly contributed to the underemployment problem...   Employers seek temporary workers during economic recovery periods because they want to test the stability of the economy before adding permanent positions, said Bruce Weber, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth...   'Our continuing trend is that employers have made more use of temporary workers, particularly when economic conditions are improving.', Weber said.   'Temporary workers tend to be the first to be let go in economic downturn and first to be hired in economic recovery.'...   'They're not using it as a cushion, they're using it as a work force.', [Wimple] said...   'We found that the learning curves to get people up to speed take too long to use part-timers too much.', [Tom Degnan of Wacker Chemical] said."

Kimberly Bunton _Louisville Courier-Journal_
New attacks on poverty
"1 in 9 Americans live in poverty and 64% of those living on the social and financial margin hold full-time jobs...   there are an estimated 15,890 retail salespersons in Louisville, earning a median hourly wage of $8.51.   Likewise, there are approximately 13,840 cashiers earning a median hourly wage of $7.27.   While the food preparation/fast food industry locally employs roughly 10,570 workers, these workers earn a median hourly wage of $6.84.   Undeniably, these wages are not enough to sustain a family.   According to a report released by Kentucky Youth Advocates, a family of 3, consisting of a single parent and 2 young children, in order to secure its basic needs, must earn an hourly wage of between $11.92 and $15.48 per hour."

Garance Franke-Ruta _American Prospect_
Perfectly Legal: DeLay - Abramoff - murder, fraud, and labor abuse connection
"That's a point driven home by the sordid series of scandals in which DeLay has aided and abetted his longtime friend, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.   From boosting the SunCruz gambling fleet sale to Abramoff and his allegedly mob-connected friend Adam Kidan -- a sale that ended with the original owner murdered in a gangland-style hit -- to traveling alongside Abramoff at the behest of an energy concern linked to Russian military intelligence, DeLay repeatedly failed to put a reasonable distance between himself and friends whose concern for making megamillions, whatever it took, was always greater than their concern for the public welfare...   By the late 1990s, roughly 40K foreign workers, mainly Chinese and Filipina women, had been brought in, and 20K toiled in Saipan's 29 garment factories, producing goods bearing the 'Made in the U.S.A.' label for such all-American brands as Ralph Lauren, Levi Strauss, and Tommy Hilfiger -- even though the goods were made of foreign cloth, by foreign workers.   Workers paid as much as $7K to companies promising them jobs in Saipan.   Often they would borrow the money -- then, on arrival, find themselves making only $3.05 an hour.   After their one- to two-year contracts were up, they were sent back, often none the richer.   These were the guest workers about whom DeLay raved -- and reportedly joked, after a visit to the factories, 'I don't see anyone sweating.'"


2005-05-22 19:58PDT (22:58EDT) (2005-05-23 02:58GMT)
Michelle Kessler _USA Today_
Fewer students take computer majors
"New enrollment in North American computer science and engineering programs has dropped 4 years straight, falling 10% during the 2003-04 school year from the year before, says the Computing Research Association [CRA], a trade group for computer professors.   That's because good tech jobs have been hard to find, professors say.   'Students are responding to the alarming rate that the job market changed (during the dot-com bust).', says Ohio State University computer professor Stuart Zweben.   'They're also concerned about off-shoring of jobs.'...   Tens of thousands of tech workers were laid off during the dot-com bust of 2000, and the market is still tight...   more than 20K computer bachelor's degrees awarded to North American students in the 2003-04 school year, the CRA says."

David Utter _Web Pro News_
BBC Strikers Protest Job Cuts
"Thousands of journalists and technicians began a 24-hour strike at the BBC in response to expected job cuts...   The BBC plans to cut about 4K jobs, citing a potential cost savings of $640M as the reason."

David Utter _Web Pro News_
Out-Sourcing, Lay-Offs, and No Stock Options?: Thanks but no thanks, say students to the prospect of entering the computer field in college.
"good-paying tech jobs were wiped out in the dot-com crash and haven't returned...   How does one get experience in a field?   Starting in a low-level job and gaining it.   Who's hiring graduates for low-level tech jobs with the prospects of becoming qualified for high-level jobs?   That's difficult to tell...   It's not difficult to fathom the logic of employers who claim there are no job candidates in the market, after tens of thousands of technology workers were laid off and 20K graduates entered the work force.   Firms... have been complaining of a lack of H-1B visas for bringing skilled workers into the country.   Imported workers reportedly cost less than American workers.   The on-going claims of a dearth of tech workers seem disingenuous.   All those people who lost their jobs didn't suddenly leave the country...   Parents don't want their talented off-spring entering a field where their skill may not be in demand."

Deborah Lohse, Mark Schwanhausser & Jack Davis _San Jose Mercury News_/_Silicon Valley_
Top executives' pay rose 57% (table)
"The valley's top executives saw their pay rise 57% last year to a collective $2.1G, according to the Mercury News' latest 'What the Boss Makes' study.   The 2004 compensation for 728 senior executives was the highest in three years and approached the $2.3G of 1999, when the tech-stock bubble was approaching its peak...   the executives' options gains doubled in the year -- to $1.4G.   Options gains accounted for a hefty two-thirds of their total pay...   The median for all the executives' pay -- including salary, bonus and options gains -- rose 26% last year to $758,520."

_eGov Monitor_
IT Out-Sourcing Satisfaction Is NOT Guaranteed: Research highlights users less satisfied overall with out-sourced IT
"On average, satisfaction levels with ICT in out-sourced councils were found to be 13% lower than those where services were provided in-house."

2005-05-23 13:33PDT (16:33EDT) (20:33GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Tech stocks lead rise
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 51.65 points, or 0.5%, at 10,523.56 -- its highest close since April 7.   The Nasdaq, meanwhile, extended its win streak to 7 sessions, adding 10.23 points, or 0.5%, to 2,056.65 -- its highest finish since March 10.   The S&P 500 rose 4.58 points, or 0.4%, to 1,193.86 -- its highest close since March 15.   Advancers led decliners 21 to 12 on the New York Stock Exchange and 17 to 14 on the Nasdaq.   Big Board volume was about 1.26G shares while some 1.65G shares traded on Nasdaq."


2005-05-23 17:04:54PDT (20:04:54EDT) (2005-05-24 00:04:54GMT)
Terry Graham _ITPAA_
American Workers Have Been Out-Sourced and Off-Shored To Death
"Three Americans died in Colorado last week, victims of our government's failure to protect its employers' -- Citizens' -- jobs and access to health-care.   The murder-suicide deaths of a Colorado Springs mother and her 2 young sons left a husband and father without a family.   While depression is blamed, the fact is another American breadwinner lost his software engineering job and was forced to relocate to the East Coast to earn a living while his family stayed behind...   [Colorado] Senate Bill 05-023, the 'Keep Jobs in America Act', would have required Colorado to use tax dollars to hire US workers, ending the State"s practice of hiring foreigners.   Introduced in January by State Senator Deanna Hanna (D), SB 05-023 prohibited Colorado [government] from securing services from a contractor [or] sub-contractor using off-shore, foreign-based workers.   The Bill required prospective contractors to certify that all services would be performed in the United States when submitting a bid to a State agency."

Martin Crutsinger _Lexington Herald-Leader_
Existing home sales up 4.5% in April
USA Today
"The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of single-family homes and condominiums climbed to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.18M units last month, the fastest pace on record.   Single-family homes sales rose 4.5% in April to a 6.28M unit rate from a 6.01M unit rate in March.   Condo sales climbed 4.8% to a 899K unit rate from an 858K unit pace in March."

2005-05-24 05:55PDT (08:55EDT) (12:55GMT)
US chain store sales rose in 3rd work of May
Los Angeles Business Journal
"Sales in May to-date were up 2.6% compared with April. Sales at major retailers rose by 3.4% on a year-over-year basis for the week ended May 21, said Redbook Research, an independent company."

2005-05-24 08:47PDT (11:47EDT) (15:47GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
OECD says weak Europe stunts growth: Hopes fading for global rebound
"Growth in the euro-area is projected to slow to a 1.2% rate in 2005 from a 1.8% rate in 2004.   This is down from the previous forecast in December of a 1.9% growth rate...   In contrast, [GDP] growth in the U.S. was revised up to a 3.6% annual rate in 2005...   Japan is seen growing at a 1.5% rate in 2005, down from the previous forecast of a 2.1% rate...   In its forecast, the OECD trimmed its growth estimate for Germany to 1% in 2005 from the previous estimate of 1.2%.   The forecast for French GDP was trimmed to a 1.4% rate from 2.0%."

2005-05-24 13:01PDT (16:01EDT) (20:01GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_/_Ziff Davis_
H-1Bs not going like hot-cakes
"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Tuesday said it has received petitions for only 6,400 of the 20K new visas approved by Congress late last year...   39% of visa petitions approved in 2003 were for workers in computer-related occupations, with nearly 37% of all approvals that year for workers born in India.   Critics who have blasted the H-1B program say it has undermined U.S. wages, is ripe for abuse and fuels the shift of skilled-labor positions to over-seas locations.   Industry leaders have said the visas serve instead as a brake on offshoring.   They also have rejected the claim that H-1Bs amount to a cheap-labor program...   Given that about two-thirds of approved petitions translate into actual visas, that could mean the annual cap this year will be exceeded by 6,500 visas, Bentley said..."

2005-05-24 15:39PDT (18:39EDT) (22:39GMT)
Elana Schor _Medill News Service_/_MarketWatch_
Fault lines on trade seen at vote to pull out of WTO: Law-makers of both parties push for better trade deals
"Members of both political parties united in a House committee Tuesday to defeat a [noble] attack on the World Trade Organization, but the debate revealed strong disagreements about the wisdom of trade agreements [to date].   Congress has the opportunity to challenge U.S. membership in the WTO every 5 years.   Representatives Bernie Sanders, I-VT, and Ron Paul, R-TX, forced a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee on withdrawing the United States from the trade arbitration body, which recently sparked congressional ire with a ruling against U.S. cotton subsidies...   The WTO also struck down several U.S. safeguards applied to cheap imports, including steel, that were flooding U.S. markets...   But, [Bill Thomas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee] said, 'at least beginning to think about alternative models' for WTO agreements would be in the United States' best interest...   Industry groups fearing a drop in U.S. sales if CAFTA opens the floodgates to cheap imports have begun marshaling opposition to the treaty on both sides of the aisle.   Law-makers from textile and sugar-producing states in particular have been quick to condemn CAFTA.   Thomas, whose prowess in securing passage of difficult legislation is legendary, was unfazed by the growing anti-CAFTA lobby...   [Sander Levin's] CAFTA critique has focused on what he said are unacceptably lax labor standards in the treaty that require signatory nations to do nothing but 'enforce your own laws'.   Thomas acknowledged that Central American countries were intransigent in their refusal to permit workers to organize as part of the treaty.   Some Republicans have joined Democrats in fighting CAFTA for an entirely different reason: [Red China].   They cite the potential for devastating 'trans-shipments' of [Red Chinese] goods to pass through CAFTA countries and into the United States at rock-bottom prices without U.S. trade inspectors detecting the imports' origin.   Leading the Senate Republican charge against CAFTA is senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC.   Graham told reporters Tuesday the WTO 'an underutilized vehicle' for pursuing future action against [Red China]."

Shihoko Goto _Science Daily_
Telecomm merger opposition grows
"Four telecommunications giants are encountering obstacles in their efforts to merge into 2 super-giants, and opponents are claiming that preventing the mergers would be in the best interest of consumers.   At a briefing Monday on mega-mergers in the telecommunications industry hosted by the American Antitrust Institute, a senior research associate in economics at the California Institute of Technology warned if the deals go through as planned, then they would force telecom users to pay more for existing services...   the plans simply would lead to less competition..."

Louis Uchitelle _DFW Star-Telegram_
Nation's long-term unemployment rate is highest since WW2
Los Angeles Daily News
Houston Chronicle
"many of the nation's unemployed are still struggling to get back to work.   Not since World War 2 has the percentage of long-term joblessness -- the unemployed out of work for 6 months or more -- been so high for so long after a recession has ended.   The current trouble falls most heavily on people trapped by the shifting sands of the economy.   Today, the unemployment rate is relatively low, at 5.2%, and overall hiring has started to pick up again, particularly for younger workers coming out of college and professional schools.   But the presence of middle-aged women and better-educated white-collar workers among the long-term unemployed has increased.   'There are just not new jobs being created in the things these people did before.', said Andrew Stettner, a policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project and co-author of a study of long-term unemployment...   it becomes harder for some who lose their jobs to find new work suited to their skills.   And the bursting of the high-tech bubble stranded thousands of workers who are finding it difficult to shift quickly to other fields."

_New Orleans Daily Business News_
Tech Industry Employment Suffers a Net Decline: RIFs on the Rise
"Clark Consulting's CHiPS Pulse Survey of Human Resource Trends -- released at the 50th Annual WorldatWork Conference in New Orleans -- revealed that turnover rates continue to outpace hiring in the technology industry, producing a net decline in employment levels in 2005 Q1.   The significant increase of Reductions in Force (RIF) over the past 2 quarters has played a critical role in this downward trend.   Reductions in Force (RIF) increased at a rapid pace with over 30% of reporting companies announcing a RIF during Q1.   This is a significant jump in the number of RIF from 2004 when 13.5% in Q3 and 21.9% in Q4 reported reductions...   The 12-month index reading of 62 indicates that respondents anticipate the employment outlook will be 'slightly better' in a year, as compared to the 3-month index number of 54, 'about the same'...   In Q1 13% of companies reported some form of hiring freeze..."

Daniel Estulin _Axis of Logic_
Bilderberg 2005: The world in the palms of their hands
On-Line Journal
"2005 was a bad year for Bilderberg and its future looks gloomy.   Herculean efforts to keep their meetings secret in Rottach-Egern failed miserably...   the Bilderberg Group has lost some of its past luster, it is meeting under its usual secrecy that makes freemasonry look like a playgroup.   Staff at the hotel are photographed and put through special clearance.   From porters to senior managers, the employees are warned (under the threat of never working in the country again) about the consequences of revealing any details of the guests to the press.   International and national media are said to be welcome only when an oath of silence has been taken, news editors are held responsible if any of their journalists 'inadvertently' report on what takes place...   the comings and goings at Bilderberg take place under cover of a virtual publicity black-out...   After 3 straight years of open hostilities and tension amongst the European, British and American Bilderbergers caused by the war in Iraq, the aura of complete congeniality amongst them has returned.   Bilderbergers have reaffirmed and remain united in their long-term goal to strengthen the role the UN plays in regulating global conflicts and relations...   A much-discussed subject in 2005 at Rottach-Egern was the concept of imposing a direct UN tax on people worldwide through a direct tax on oil at the wellhead.   This, in fact, sets a precedent.   If enacted, it will be the first time, when a non-governmental agency, read the United Nations, directly benefits from a tax on citizens of free and enslaved nations.   Bilderberger proposal calls for a tiny UN levy at the outset, which the consumer would hardly notice.   Jim Tucker of the court-killed Spotlight magazine years ago wrote 'establishing the principle that the UN can directly tax citizens of the world is important to Bilderberg.   It is another giant step toward world government.   Bilderbergers know that publicly promoting a UN tax on all people on Earth would meet with outrage.   But they are patient; it first proposed a direct world tax years ago and celebrates the fact that it is now in the public dialogue with little public attention or concern.'...   They would 'harmonize' taxes by forcing the rate in the United States and other countries to rise so that socialist Sweden's 58% level would be 'competitive'...   The Bilderbergers have been vigorously debating giving, for the first time, nonelected, self-appointed, environmental activists a position of governmental authority on the governing board of the agency which controls the use of atmosphere, outer space, the oceans, and, for all practical purposes, biodiversity...   A German Bilderberger insider said that France´s yes vote is in trouble because of the 'out-sourcing of jobs.   Jobs in Germany and France are going to Asia and Ukraine [to take advantage of cheap labour.]'...   USA Criminals A US law, called the Logan Act, states explicitly that it is against the law for federal officials to attend secret meetings with private citizens to develop public policies...   the American government was well represented in Rottach-Egern by Alan Hubbard, assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council; William Luti, deputy under secretary of defence; James Wolfensohn, out-going president of the World Bank and Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of state, an ideologue of the Iraq war and incoming president of the World Bank.   By attending Bilderberg 2005 meeting, these people are breaking federal laws of the United States...   European and American Bilderbergers realising the most urgent of needs to expand into developing markets in order to help sustain the illusion of endless growth have agreed to name Pascal Lamy, a French Socialist and a fanatical supporter of a European super state as the next World Trade Organization (WTO) president...   Lamy was chosen to help steer the global trading system [against] rising protectionist sentiment in rich countries such as France and Germany, both reeling from high unemployment and averse to increasingly muscular demands for market assess from emerging economies."

2005-05-24 (5765 Iya 15)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Leftists, race, and history


2005-05-25 06:08PDT (09:08EDT) (13:08GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US durable orders rose 1.9% in April
AP/ Sun Herald
"Shipments of durable goods increased 1.6% in April after a 0.2% gain in March...   Orders for electronics excluding semiconductors fell 5.8%, as orders for communications equipment plunged 18.8%.   Orders for computers rose 15.8%.   Shipments of electronics rose 0.2%.   Orders for machinery increased 2.2% while shipments rose 1.5%.   Orders for electrical equipment increased 3.4% while shipments rose 1.9%."
census bureau data

Glen Johnson _AP_/_abc News_
Analyst warns of Socialist Insecurity Abomination financial collapse between 2009 and 2041
"Stephen Goss, the nonpartisan chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, says the nation will face a pinch in 2009 when excess pay-roll taxes that have been flowing into the program start to decline, halting the growth of surplus money that Congress has been tapping to fund other government programs.   Goss and the Social Security Administration project the program can continue paying currently scheduled benefits until 2041, using the IOUs that Congress has been giving the program since it started spending the excess tax revenue in the 1980s."

2005-05-25 10:29PDT (13:29EDT) (17:29GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US April new home sales rose 0.2% to 1.316M
census bureau data

2005-05-25 10:45PDT (13:45EDT) (17:45GMT)
_Palo Alto On-Line News_
FBI probes Stanford computer breach
"The university is notifying 9,600 clients and 300 recruiters of the security breach."

Gwen Mickelson _Santa Cruz Sentinel_
Santa Cruz area employment shows improvement
"The nearly 63% increase in farm jobs since March 'contributed to the overall picture', said Shriver...   Still, farm jobs were down 12.3% compared with last year at this time, going from 6,500 in 2004 April to 5,700 in 2005 April...   The labor force in the county grew from 140,400 in 2004 April to 144,700 in 2005 April, an increase of 3.1%.

Darrell Dvorak _Wisconsin Technology Network_
Interruptions lower effective IQ
"From _Red Herring_: 'The constant barrage of e-mails, text messages and phone calls decreases IQ test scores in office workers more than twice as much as smoking marijuana, British researchers reported.   Environments with distracting technologies lower IQ by an average of more than 10 points when compared with quiet conditions.   By comparison, other research has shown that smoking marijuana causes just a four-point drop.   A 10-point reduction is similar to the impact of missing an entire night's sleep.'..."

William Raspberry _Bergen NJ Herald News_
We can take action to cut off-shoring
"I spent a depressing number of hours on the telephone, talking to 'technical assistance'.   The overwhelming portion of that time was with technical workers in places like India, Pakistan and the Philippines, who were no better or worse than the tech-help people at the places that sold me the equipment.   Naturally, I started to grouch about the out-sourcing of all those jobs that might have gone to Americans.   Then someone said something to me that has me rethinking the whole subject.   'We're out-sourcing a lot of jobs right here in America -- right here in Washington, DC.', he said.   'All our low-skill jobs -- from driving taxi-cabs to house-cleaning to construction labor -- are increasingly being done by immigrants.'...   At the end of 1998, the District of Columbia had 613,500 civilian jobs, excluding self-employment.   At the end of last year, the number was up to 672K, putting DC among the top job-creating jurisdictions in America.   But the unemployment rate for District residents was 7.2% for 2003, 8.4% for 2004 - and appears to be climbing still...   Over-seas out-sourcing generally has 2 explanations.   The first is that competent and reliable over-seas employees are willing to work for far less than Americans would demand for the same job -- less than the minimum wage Americans would have to be paid.   The second, which applies to domestic out-sourcing as well, is the increasing difficulty of finding competent and reliable workers at home...   The largely immigrant-driven scramble for technical skills has made Northern Virginia Community College -- NOVA -- the biggest institution of higher education in Virginia and, with 62K enrollees, the second-largest multi-campus community college in America."

Tridivesh Singh Maini & A. Sen _Sikh Spectrum_/_Tribune_
Punjab from a Washingtonian Perspective: Hillary Clinton lauds role of Sikhs
Panthic Weekly: Sikhs embraced at Capitol Hill


2005-05-25 18:39PDT (21:39EDT) (2005-05-26 01:39GMT)
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
Teens face difficult summer job market
"Teens, facing stiff competition from older workers, immigrants [and non-immigrant guest-workers] and college kids, will fare about as well this summer as they did last summer, predicted Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.   About 36.7% of U.S. teens age 16 to 19 will work this summer, Sum said, just about matching the 36.1% of teens employed last summer, which was the lowest rate in 57 years...   Last summer, about 3M teens couldn't find a job, gave up looking or worked fewer hours than they wanted, Sum said...   Employers said they expect their hiring of college graduates to increase 13% over last year, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers [NACE]...   The leisure and hospitality industry added 823K new jobs since its low point in June 2002, said John Stinson, a labor economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   Retail, the other stalwart in the teen job sector, has also seen improvement, adding about 255K jobs since its low point in 2003 June, he said."

2005-05-26 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 275,918 in the week ending May 21, an increase of 614 from the previous week.   There were 293,974 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending May 14, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,401,221, a decrease of 41,967 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.2% and the volume was 2,734,768."

2005-05-26 07:49PDT (10:49EDT) (14:49GMT)
Jeannine Aversa _Mac News World_
US 2005Q1 GDP up 3.5%: some slowing from the 3.8% pace seen in the final quarter of 2004.

2005-05-26 11:50PDT (14:50EDT) (18:50GMT)
Alistair Barr _MarketWatch_
Spitzer sues AIG, former CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, & former CFO Howard Smith for fraud

2005-05-26 13:51PDT (16:51EDT) (20:51GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Stocks cheer higher GDP
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 79.80 points, or 0.7%, higher at 10,537.60.   The bench-mark index is now at its highest level in more than 6 weeks.   The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 21.12 points, or 1.0%, to 2,071.24.   The tech-rich index put in its best performance since March 8.   when it closed out the session at 2,073.55.   The S&P 500 Index climbed 7.61 points, or 0.6%, to 1,197.62."

2005-05-26 13:58PDT (16:58EDT) (20:58GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _MarketWatch_/_CNET_
The incredible shrinking IT staff
"Under pressure from ever-more capable out-sourcers, information technology departments are poised for serious staff reductions over the next several years, according to a new report from research firm Gartner.   By 2010, the number of IT staff in the profession will shrink by 15%, Gartner predicted Tuesday.   Apart from the rise of out-sourcers -- who often provide their services from lower-cost countries like India -- IT departments also face the diffusion of tech skills throughout an organization, Gartner said...   a study in 2004 from research organization RAND did not find evidence that shortages of scientific, technical, engineering and mathematics personnel in the U.S. work force are on the horizon."

2005-05-26 15:49PDT (18:49EDT) (22:49GMT)
August Cole _MarketWatch_
House defense bill favors domestic firms
"If members of the House of Representatives get their way, the $490G defense budget they just sent to the Senate would be off-limits to some key foreign firms gunning for ever bigger Pentagon contracts.   If cleared by the Senate, the budget contains a clause that would ban companies subsidized by other governments from bidding on U.S. military contracts if the United States has challenged the legality of those subsidies...   The budget tallies up $441.6G for the Defense Department and some security-related Energy Department work. Another $49.1G is allotted for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Bill Schweber _EDN_
No shortage of "engineering shortage" propaganda
"I've been around this industry a long time and I have been hearing about this shortage, with varying intensity, all that time...   Finally, but most importantly, the people shouting 'shortage' often have -- and I'm sure we're all shocked, just shocked, to hear this -- a vested self-interest in the situation.   Schools are looking for students to fill seats, pay tuition, and serve as research assistants.   Companies want more engineers to choose from as they staff their projects.   In reality, no one knows how many engineers our high-tech society needs...   the ratio of engineers to product volume is going down...   IEEE-USA, the part of the IEEE that represents working, non-academic engineers in the United States, speaks of diminished opportunities, un-employment, under-employment, and uncertainty...   There is also a shortage of gold at $30 per ounce, but far less of a shortage at $500 per ounce.   I think the 'shortage' is a myth, perpetuated primarily by the diverging mismatch of interests between engineers in school or industry and those who need their services."


2005-05-27 07:11:33PDT (10:11:33EDT) (14:11:33GMT)
Thomas D. Elias _Whittier Daily News_
Get out of immigration comfort zone
"an amendment proposed by Republican senator Larry Craig of Idaho that sought to grant legal status and permanent resident status to any agricultural worker who has been in this country illegally, but has worked 100 days out of any one-year period during the 18 months before January 1 of this year.   Their families would also have qualified under the Craig plan...   Had Craig's plan been approved, it would have started the largest immigration amnesty program of the last 19 years, one that might have dwarfed the 1986 amnesty plan that eventually produced more than 1.5M new American citizens, more than half of them living in California...   Republican senators are divided on illegal immigration because they know cheap labor provided by the undocumented helps many businesses, which in turn boost the economies of their states and -- not incidentally --contribute to their campaigns...   That's why Craig was unable to break the threatened filibuster that limited debate on his measure and killed it for now.   [Thus demonstrating that the article's author is thoroughly confused.   Filibuster is unlimited debate.   Bringing an end to such debate, breaking the filibuster, is called cloture.]   illegal immigration and its role in American business is the ignored elephant sitting in America's living room and especially in California's."

2005-05-27 07:30PDT (10:30EDT) (14:30GMT)
Robert Schroeder & Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Gas prices, taxes erode hefty income gains: U.S. April core consumer prices rise a moderate 0.1%
"Real disposable incomes increased 0.1% in April, the fourth consecutive month of tepid inflation-adjusted, after-tax income growth."
BEA data

Andrea L. Foster _Chronicle of Higher Education_
Student Interest in Computer Science Has Plummeted: as more technology jobs are out-sourced to other countries, such classes are seen as a path to unemployment (table)
"The number of newly declared computer-science majors declined 32% from the Fall of 2000 to the Fall of 2004, according to a report released this month by the Computing Research Association [CRA], which represents computer scientists in industry and academe.   Another survey, from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, shows that the number of incoming freshmen who expressed an interest in majoring in computer science has plummeted by 59% in the last 4 years...   Ohio State University at Columbus, where the number of computer-science majors dropped 28% from the Fall of 2001 to the Fall of 2004...   At the height of the Internet boom, in 2000, it was not uncommon to see computer-science class-rooms filled to capacity.   That fall the number of newly declared computer-science and computer-engineering majors reached a high of 23,416, compared with 15,950 in 2004, according to the Computing Research Association...   The Commerce Department data was released in 2004 March but collected in 2002...   The number of students pursuing bachelor's degrees in computer science at [Indiana U/Purdue U at Indianapolis] has dropped to 146, from 161 [9%] a year ago...   Professors say the creation in the last five years of new degrees in information technology or information systems may also be offering more-attractive [and less difficult] alternatives to computer science.   [In 1990 1.7% of all freshmen were interested in computer science, and remained in the 1.6% to 1.9% range through 1994, matching the ratio in 2003 but slightly higher than the 1.4% who were still interested in 2004.]"

Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-NewsLetter_
MSFT hypocrisy on declining CS enrollments
"I've written extensively about this before.   See the several files with names beginning with CS...   my main points have been:

  1. Students aren't dummies.   They see that the main technical jobs are going to foreign labor, both in the U.S. as H-1Bs/L-1s and off-shore.
  2. The academics protest that the jobs are there, in tasks that require both a knowledge of technology and business.   But most such jobs are much more business than technology, and as my student put it, 'If I'm going to end up in an Econ-type job, I might as well major in Econ.', so this will not solve the CS enrollment 'problem', either.
  3. The academics, ever anxious to please industry, were the biggest boosters of expansion of the H-1B program.   They are now finding that they caused their own decline...
'Richard F. Rashid, senior vice president for MSFT Research, says MSFT has more jobs for computer-science graduates with bachelor's degrees than it can fill.   The positions include developers and program managers.'   I've checked 3 different sources, including my campus placement office, and the consensus is that MSFT has not hired a single graduate of my university this year...   I could only find 1 student who had even had an interview with MSFT...   IBM... apparently hasn't hired anyone from UCD this year, either...   Why [haven't the reporters asked] 'Well, how many new local graduates have you hired this Spring?'"

2005-05-27 14:06PDT (17:06EDT) (21:06GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
US stocks ended higher
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 4.95 points to close at 10,542.55.   On the week, the bench-mark index rose 0.7%.   The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 4 points to 2,075 lifting the tech-rich index to a gain of 1.4% for the week.   The S&P 500 Index edged up 1 point to 1,198.75.   On the week, the broad gauge rose 0.8%...   Volume was light with 1G shares exchanging hands on the Big Board, while 1.25G shares were traded on the Nasdaq.   Striking a contrarian chord ahead of the bell, J.P. Morgan analysts reiterated an underweight rating on global and US stocks, saying a deteriorating earnings environment has the potential to reverse the trend of higher-than-expected US earnings in the last 8 quarters."



2005-05-28 23:22:11PDT (2005-05-29 02:22:11EDT) (06:22:11GMT)
Matthew Higbee _Connecticut Post_
Students continue to lose privacy
"A junior high school in northern California pins radio identification [RFID] tags on its students.   New Jersey high school students must hand over a urine sample before trying out for band or earning parking privileges.   While not as intrusive as other states, schools in Connecticut are part of the trend to use ever more aggressive techniques to keep track of where students are, what they bring to school and what they put in their bodies...   Since the war on drugs was declared in the 1980s, many schools have become part of the battle-field...   privacy advocates worry that an overzealous pursuit of a handful of offenders is sending a message that runs counter to lessons taught in civics classes.   Their greater fear is that schools are teaching a generation of Americans to accept greater limitations on their privacy and freedom...   A University of Connecticut survey earlier this year confirmed the fears of Vann, Sterling and others.   A significant number of high school students demonstrated a limited understanding of the Bill of Rights."

Frank James _Buffalo NY News_
new Socialist Insecurity KKKard proposed: high-tech plan targets privacy
Arizona Republic
Myrtle Beach
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"Congress is moving to replace the paper Socialist Inecurity cards issued to 280M Americans with plastic, harder-to-counterfeit versions...   Critics fear the cards could become de facto national IDs and eventually play the role that identity papers have played over history in repressive societies...   Currently, there are 280 million Socialist Inecurity cards, with 5.4M issued in 2003, the last year for which statistics are available.   About 1.2M of those were issued to immigrants 'legally authorized to work in the USA'...   The legislation would make the Homeland Security Department responsible for maintaining a new employment eligibility data-base...   'This is the beginning of a much larger surveillance network that the government plans to put together, ostensibly for immigration purposes.', warned Timothy Edgar, an American Civil Liberties Union general counsel."

David Colker _Florida Sun-Sentinel_
Protection rackets profit from privacy violations
"So in 1999, St. Paul Travelers became the first company to offer identity theft insurance.   It cost $25 [per year] as an option to a homeowners policy and covered the costs involved in fixing credit report problems in the wake of a crime...   Like many businesses, insurance companies give or sell information about their customers to data aggregators such as ChoicePoint Inc., whose data-base was breached by identity thieves, sparking a national debate...   The Federal Trade Commission has put the number of yearly victims of identity theft at about 10M, or nearly 5% of the adult population of the country.   The FTC estimates identity theft costs about $50G a year, in false charges and lost time...   But Beth Givens, head of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, which took information brokers to task both before and after the data-base infiltration disclosures, said that identity theft insurance might be appropriate in some cases."

Linda Valdez _Arizona Republic_
Day in court illustrates frustration with "coyotes"
"84% of illegal immigrants hire a smuggler to get them across the line, according to research by the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego...   Hector Jesus Soria admitted smuggling people, says Homero Torralba, his attorney.It's a lucrative business that can earn a smuggler $2K a head.   Tax-free...   Our country's contradictory immigration policy puts smugglers in business in two ways.   First, it makes it so difficult to get into the country that migrants must hire smugglers to get them past the Border Patrol [and yet still easy enough that between 750K and 1.4M make it across each year].   Second, it makes it so easy for undocumented workers to get jobs once they're here that the risks of crossing seem worthwhile...   Those who chant that 'illegal immigrants take jobs Americans don't want' leave out the part about how these are jobs Americans don't want at the wages being offered...   Without work-place enforcement, illegal immigrants will remain desirable employees."

Craig Wolf _Poughkeepsie Journal_
Off-shoring hits home
"When SB lost his job at IBM in Poughkeepsie, he became part of a new statistic: The shifting of work to other countries, over-seas out-sourcing, some call it, or just 'off-shoring'...   SB, now of Massachusetts, has worked 24 1/2 years for IBM Corp., one of them in Poughkeepsie, from 2003 August to 2004 August...   He had managed to get back on the IBM pay-roll after an earlier down-sizing only to find that his new job would lead to another lay-off.   This time, his work was to be shipped off to India, and he even had to help train the Indian IBMers who would take the work back to Bangalore...   'Not only do I have to teach my replacement, I have to sit with them... while they're in Poughkeepsie, taking my job from me, and then it's my job to be on daily conference calls to help them be a better team in India.', Bergeron said...   Ironically, one of his earlier assignments, begun in 1999 while he was based in Burlington, VT, was to help design the system of moving work off-shore that would eventually cost him the job he would have later...   At least 366,753 jobs have been off-shored, said the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, a labor group that reports IBM alone has offshored 15K jobs.   Industry analyst Forrester Research has predicted 3.4M more in the decade ahead.   The Alliance@IBM, a labor union group of which many IBMers are members, including Bergeron, has urged the company to specify how many jobs are being offshored, but the company is meager with details...   the post at Poughkeepsie [that SB landed came with] a 2-level demotion and a few days to report.   [OTOH, his first lay-off came just after he returned from a year's sabbatical to volunteer with Habit for Humanity, and his second came after he had taken quite a bit of time off for health reasons.]"

Jim Kouri _Sierra Times_
Illegal aliens discovered working at potential terrorist target sites
"Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested 60 illegal aliens who performed contract work at 12 critical infrastructure sites, including seven petrochemical refineries, three power plants, a national air cargo facility, and a pipeline facility located in six different states.   The arrests... took place in California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.   There is no evidence that any have terrorist ties or were engaged in a terrorist plot.   All the individuals were employed by Brock Enterprises, a company in Beaumont, Texas, that provides contract workers to facilities nationwide associated with the petrochemical industry, the nuclear industry, and other energy sectors."

Jonathan Krim _Pittsburgh Post-Gazette_
Personal private information in "public records"
"Betty (but call her BJ) Ostergren, a feisty 56-year-old from just north of Richmond, is driven to make important people angry.   She puts their Social Security numbers on her web site, or links to where they can be found.   It's not that she wants CIA Director Porter Goss, former secretary of state Colin Powell, or Florida governor Jeb Bush to be victims of identity theft, as were millions of Americans in the past year.   Ostergren is on a crusade to scare and shame public officials into doing something about how easy it is to get sensitive personal data...   ChoicePoint...   LexisNexis...   The information typically originates from records gathered and stored by public agencies, available for anyone to see in court-houses and government buildings around the country.   What's more, local [, state and federal] governments have in recent years rushed to put these records on-line.   A wealth of documents -- including marriage and divorce records, property deeds, and military discharge papers -- containing Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other sensitive information is accessible from any computer anywhere.   Many of the online records are images of original documents, which also display people's signatures...   They could start masking out sensitive data tomorrow for new documents they receive, but billions of records already are on-line...   Many counties, in fact, package their data to make it easier for data-base companies to collect it...   'Public records laws were designed to shed the light on government activities, not our personal information.', said Kerry Smith, an attorney with Public Interest Research Groups, a coalition of state consumer advocacy organizations..."
Privacy links

_Panthic Weekly_
Sikhs embraced at Capitol Hill
"'I am delighted to be the Senator from Punjab as well as from New York', said Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and the former first lady of the United States of America.   She received a standing ovation and thunderous applause from the Sikh Americans who had gathered in the Senate side of the Capitol Hill on May 17 for the Sikh American Heritage Dinner Event in Washington, DC.   The Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), based in the nation's capital organized this event."


2005-05-30 15:34PDT (18:34EDT) (22:34GMT)
Tim Gaynor _Reuters_
Non-Mexican illegal immigrants swamp Texas border city
"The number of illegal immigrants from Central America and Brazil caught crossing into this Texas border city jumped 3-fold in the past year as they rush to exploit a legal loop-hole, U.S. authorities said.   The U.S. Border Patrol has nabbed 15,195 non-Mexican migrants crossing over the Rio Bravo around Eagle Pass in the past 8 months, a rise of almost 240 percent on the same period last year, officials said on Monday.   Agents say what they call 'OTMs' -- 'other than Mexican migrants' -- now account for 90% of all migrant detentions in the sweltering trade and ranching hub of 40K people.   That is up from the 5% to 10% nationwide normally recorded by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement...   'Word is out that we are unable to detain the other than Mexican crossers, and they are exploiting a bottleneck in the system.', Dennis Smith, the Border Patrol's spokesman for the local Del Rio Sector, told Reuters...   Following a security and criminal background check, those not deemed a security threat or found to have a criminal record, are released with a notice to appear before an immigration judge within 30 days."
Sierra Times

_Taipei Times_
Academic calls for Chinese expatriates to help Red China democratize
"Peter Chow, a professor at CUNY, said that during the 1960s and 1970s, Taiwanese students studying aborad and other expatriates worked with democracy activists on the island, accelerating the collapse of the authoritarian regime in Taiwan.   Chinese students studying over-seas and expatriates 'should not just jeer at the negative reports about Taiwan's democracy', he told a seminar sponsored by the New York branch of the Global Alliance for Democracy and Peace.   Instead, they should learn from Taiwan's democratization experience and avoid repeating its mistakes when they help their motherland democratize, the economics professor said.   As the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre approaches, Chow said most Chinese people, influenced by the Chinese regime's media distortion and society's fixation on making money, have gradually forgotten the June 4 student movement which sought democracy for [Red China].   Chow said he does not see any possibility in the near future of [Red China's] communist regime acknowledging its mistakes in militarily cracking down on the student protesters in 1989 in Beijing...   the Beijing regime has not changed at all since 1989, in terms of opening itself up to dissident voices, and that communications technologies have progressed tremendously, making it impossible for the regime to suppress information to the same extent that it did 16 years ago.   However, Li also said there is no doubt that the Beijing authorities will adopt a strategy of 'nip it in the bud' when it comes to suppressing any democracy movement that may arise...   problems have actually expanded to the areas of education, housing and income, leading to feelings of frustration among a greater portion of society."

Stephen Smith _Boston Globe_
LGV re-appearing in USA
"A sexually transmitted disease rarely seen in recent decades in the United States has re-emerged in Boston and other American cities in the past 6 months, fostering fears that it could herald a new wave of infections of an even more dangerous disease, AIDS.   The return of lymphogranuloma venereum, known as LGV, to North America also illustrates the increasing globalization of infectious diseases in an era of rapid air transit and frequent travel for work and pleasure, disease specialists said...   the disease is endemic to Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.   Disease trackers who investigated a cluster of cases in the Netherlands in 2003 found that infected patients had multiple sex partners across Europe and the United States."
Sierra Times


Jerry Seper _Washington Times_
Permanent Arizona border ports blocked by congress
"While Border Patrol agents in Arizona accounted for more than half of the 1.15M illegals caught last year, Congress -- led by representative Jim Kolbe, Arizona Republican -- steadfastly has approved appropriation bills that prohibit permanent check-points along a 260-mile section of the Arizona border known as the Tucson sector.   Tucson is the only one of 20 Border Patrol sectors nationwide not permitted to set up permanent check-points.   Last year, according to the Department of Homeland Security, agents working at permanent check-points in the other 19 sectors detained more than 51K illegal aliens -- about 140 a day -- and seized nearly 450K pounds of marijuana and cocaine, valued at more than $700M.   [Mr. Kolbe favors patrols and shifting check-points, saying] 'If it's permanent, then everyone knows where the check-point is and they just go around it.'"
Sierra Times

Russell K. Pearce _Arizona Republic_
Amnesty plan puts citizenship up for sale
"Contact: U.S. senator John McCain and U.S. representatives Jeff Flake and Jim Kolbe.   What part of 'illegal' do these guys not get?   When Arizona's senior senator and two congressmen released their plan to push amnesty, millions of illegal aliens beamed with pleasure at the idea of gaining legal status after years of living a life as a lawbreaker.   In 2003, 77 border hospitals filed for bankruptcy, violent illegal-alien gangs plague our cities, and criminal justice costs soar.   What does it take for our elected officials to recognize and respond to the damage?   With an estimated 23M illegal aliens living in the United States, this 'amnesty on the installment plan' robs U.S. citizens of security and threatens the American way of life.   While illegals have been taking jobs away from Americans and depressing wages of other jobs, they have also been taking advantage of our services.   In Arizona alone, it is estimated that free education and health care for illegals runs tax-payers more than $1G."
contact your congress-critters
via House site

_Sierra Times_/_AP_
Big Brother tries to muscle ISPs
"The Bush administration asked a federal appeals court Friday to restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over information about their customers or subscribers as part of its fight against terrorism.   The legal filing with the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York comes amid a debate in Congress over renewal of the Patriot Act and whether to expand the FBI's power to seek records without the approval of a judge or grand jury.   U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of New York last year blocked the government from conducting secret searches of communications records, saying the law that authorized them wrongly barred legal challenges and imposed a gag order on affected businesses."

Tom Hays _AP_/_Sierra Times_
NYPD seeks funds for hundreds more surveillance cameras
"The nation's largest police force wants to install hundreds of surveillance cameras in busy commercial districts and other areas...   Police officers already watch live feeds from surveillance cameras in housing projects throughout the 5 boroughs, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said...   Civil liberties groups argue the practice does more to encroach on the privacy of average citizens than it does to discourage and catch criminals."

Rob Stein _Delaware News Journal_/_Washington Post_
Concerns increase as more radiology interpretation moves off-shore
"When patients needed urgent CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds late at night at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury, CT, emergency room workers used to rouse a bleary-eyed staff radiologist from his bed to read the images.   [Now, the images are sent over-seas.]...   Is anyone ensuring that properly trained and licensed radiologists are actually doing the work? Is patient privacy being protected? [No.]...   'Similar things are already starting to happen in other areas, such as pathology.'...   'Patients have the right to know, and the right to say no, before their X-rays or other private health information is off-shored to countries that lack strong privacy safe-guards.', said representative Edward J. Markey, D-MA, who with senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY, recently introduced legislation that would require patient consent in advance...   In response, St. Mary's and hundreds of other hospitals and radiology practices have begun out-sourcing, allowing their staff radiologists to come to work fresh each morning.   [But none of those fresh American radiologists are being paid for their expertise in interpreting medical imagery for Indian or Red Chinese hospitals.]...   'Because of the ease of moving this stuff around, the problem of being able to authenticate who is doing the work is an issue.', said Robert Wise of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, which is upgrading its standards for accrediting hospitals in response to the trend.   The companies providing the service, and the hospitals using it, argue that the reports are double-checked each morning by staff radiologists..."

Sheree R. Curry _Entrepreneur_
Start-ups being pushed off-shore by venture capitalists: Does off-shoring help or hurt?
"Off-shore out-sourcing, practically a staple for multi-nationals, is popping up more frequently in the business plans of startup companies...   A 2005 February USA Today study reports that nearly 40% of tech start-ups employ engineers, marketers and analysts in jobs created in India and other foreign nations, and many of them are doing so within the first weeks of the company's existence...   Off-shore out-sourcing might help a startup hit the ground running, but this tactic is adversely affecting U.S. jobs, says Dawn Teo, founder of Mesa, Arizona-based Rescue American Jobs, an American work-force mobilization non-profit organization...   historically, about 70% of new U.S. jobs are created by entrepreneurs."

William Jud _Sierra Times_
Beware the international vitamin police
"Congressional Socialists who believe that European policies and United Nations dictates are superior to our own laws and ought to govern American citizens, are about to make most personal use of vitamin and mineral supplements illegal, including herbal supplements.   Europeans created a policy known as Codex Alimentarius, a code of law for food.   Europeans and United Nations bureaucrats want Codex Alimentarius to apply to everyone, worldwide, including all of us here in the USA, where Codex regulations are already in effect for food imports and exports.   Naturally, American Congressional Socialists claim that they would only be 'protecting public safety' by enforcing European vitamin supplement policy in America.   Adolf Hitler used the same 'public safety' excuse for confiscating personal firearms when the Nazis came into power in Germany.   Under the guise of Public Safety, all supplements, including vitamins, minerals, and herbs, would become available by prescription only, and at 10 to 50 times their present cost to consumers."

2005-05-31 07:00PDT (10:00EDT) (14:00GMT)
Irwin Kellner _MarketWatch_
Fed seeks a way to deflate housing bubble slowly
"Prices of both new and existing homes combined are up 8% over the past year -- the biggest annual increase in 25 years.   For existing homes alone prices are 15 percent higher than they were last year at this time...   Since personal incomes are growing much more slowly, the typical home now costs 3.4 times the average household's annual income -- the most in at least 25 years.   From 1984-1999, this ratio averaged 2.8 times; in the early 1970s, when housing also boomed, this ratio was only 2.4.   In the past 5 years alone, average home prices have shot up by some 50%.   This has added some $5T to the market value of residential real estate."

2005-05-31 07:20PDT (10:20EDT) (14:20GMT)
Consumer Confidence Up
USA Today
"The Conference Board's May reading on confidence came in at 102.2, up from the revised 97.5 reading in April...   The percentage of consumers who believe jobs are 'hard to get' increased to 24.2% from 22.9%, but those who believe jobs are 'plentiful' also rose to 22.6% from 20.4% [in April]."
Conference Baord

2005-05-31 11:21PDT (14:21EDT) (18:21GMT)
Allen Wastler _CNN_/_Money_
Anderson/Accenture... wrong call: High court missed the point, but the jury did not
"Whatever the jury was told or instructed the fact remains...the accounting firm -- the firm, mind you [many individuals of which it is composed] -- obstructed justice.   The jury got that...and that was good...   But in this case you're playing semantics and not engaging in any sort of common sense...   Okay, I've read the decision and know it all hangs on how you read this law: 'Whoever knowingly uses intimidation or physical force, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to... cause or induce any person to... withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding [or] alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.'... think the jury wasn't told to think enough about 'knowingly' and 'corruptly' before issuing its verdict.   All the jury had to think about was if Andersen actually 'persuade(d)' its employees to shred Enron-related documents.   And that's a gimme...   [The notion that most Anderson/Accenture people were not in an culture that condoned willful initiation of force and fraud does not hold up.]   Enron was [not] just one case [in which Andersen/Accenture was up to its pent-house in corruption].   But then there was Waste Management... and Sunbeam... heck if you want to you can go all the way back to American Continental Corp. and its subsidiaries... one of which included a Charles Keating failed savings and loan.   There was a definite track record for the firm."

  "Furthermore, as an Andersen Consulting [now Accenture] spokes-person revealed in a 1991 article in ComputerWorld, the average age of an Andersen Consulting consultant is 25 years old.   A bit of quick calculation suggests that there are either an awful lot of 16 year olds working for Andersen Consulting to balance out hordes of more experienced people in their 30s & 40s, or else most of the clients who pay $125 per hour for Andersen consultants are paying for the services of folks a year or 2 out of college." --- Janet Ruhl 1994 _The Computer Consultant's Guide_ pp 18-19  

2005-05-31 13:36PDT (16:36EDT) (20:36GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Nasdaq posted best monthly gain since 2003 October
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at its low for the session, down 75.07 points at 10,467.48.   In May, the bench-mark index rose 2.7%...   The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 7.51 points to 2,068.22, with the tech-rich index putting in a monthly gain of 7.6%.   The S&P 500 Index dropped 7.27 points to 1,191.51.   In May, the broad gauge rose 3%...   advancers and decliners were evenly balanced on the New York Stock Exchange, while losers held a 16 to 14 edge over winners on the Nasdaq.   Volume was relatively light with around 1.5G shares exchanging hands on the Big Board, while 1.6G shares were traded on the Nasdaq."

Andrew Samwick _Dartmouth_
Re-Critiquing Kurgman, with Friends
"Labor Force = E + U
Population = E + U + N
E = Employed
U = Unemployed
N = Not in labor force
The Unemployment Rate is:
UR = U/(E+U)
Normally, upon hearing that UR fell, we would think that some people shifted from U to E.   However, we also know that the labor force participation rate:
has been falling.   This means that N has been rising.   Suppose we divide up N into two pieces:
N1 = Those who want to work
N2 = Those who don't want to work"

2005 May
Drew Robb _Enterprise Networks & Servers_
science & engineering shortage propaganda
"While the popularity of high tech careers means that there is no shortage of programmers for Java or MSFT tools, there is another crisis looming among older computer technologies such as Cobol, Fortran, mainframe and non-relational data-base technologies.   The guys who enthusiastically trained on this new technology in the fifties and sixties are nearing the end of the line.   And no one is in training in America to replace them...   Meta Group, the age of mainframe personnel in data centers is much older than that of their counterparts specializing in Unix or Windows technology.   60% of the people in data centers housing mainframes, for example, are 50 or older and 10% are over 60 years old.   How does that compare to IT staffers who work on Unix and Windows servers?   22% of Unix and Windows staffers are about 30 years old, compared with 5% of mainframe workers.   At the older age group categories, only 8% of Unix- and Windows-trained IT employees are 50 or older...   Consider that 22% of Fortune 200 CEOs have under-grad engineering degrees, the most commonly held.   Engineering-based CEOs well outnumber their liberal arts, business or law counterparts.   In the IT field, the number of bosses with technical degrees is even higher."

2005 May
_Malaysian Knitting Manufacturers Association_
Malaysian Free Trade Agreement Developments
"NAM said Malaysia's strong economic growth and large bilateral tariff disparity made it an interesting FTA candidate from a manufacturer's view point.   Malaysian tariffs on US manufactured goods average 6.6% -- 7 times as high as the 0.9% average US tariff on imports from Malaysia.   The average US import duty on imported manufactured goods was 1.8%, and excluding textiles and apparel, was only 0.9%."

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